Published on Academy of American Poets (

the days is numbered

startling semiannual saccharine sensitivity to sentencing in a season of severing and severances to so called civil servants of streachery and separation i sense a series of spectators or investigators wont save us like stolen generators nothing speculative about spectacles we beasts spit and sputter   spits and sputters splitting sutures of your occipital up your occidental skeptical of this spectacular softness of this plexus flex i choose the best for myself   swearing the swivel of the stank of spangled smear with speared wet spirit spent to coalesce in this nonsense that’s the thing about your language is i make it sound so good it doesnt have to make sense they is all what you is where you from  someone tell these oxymorons we is dual citizens former resident aliensss and we have only just begun counting down this society’s days with the efficiency of arabic numerals


Copyright © 2019 by Marwa Helal. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 24, 2019, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem came out of the frustration of being asked to speak up at several recent readings, during which I began to notice two patterns: 1. The request often came from a certain kind of woman who thought she was doing the rest of the audience a favor and 2. It was always after I read the fast-paced ‘poem that wrote me into beast in order to be read’—so I realized it isn’t that they can’t hear me, it’s that they can’t keep up. So I made a poem at a frequency they ‘can’t hear.’ This one goes out to my beast sibs. Taking inspiration from Justin Phillip Reed, Harryette Mullen, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. A question though: What are they doing with all that yoga and meditation if they can’t stay present for the poem?”
—Marwa Helal


Marwa Helal

Marwa Helal is the author of Ante body (Nightboat Books, 2022), Invasive species (Nightboat Books, 2019), and the chapbook I AM MADE TO LEAVE I AM MADE TO RETURN (No Dear, 2017).

Date Published: 2019-06-24

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