the poetry that matters

Omar Azam

Omar Azam lives in Chicago and dabbles in all sorts of things. He writes computer programs most days and journals his mindscapes as a way to center himself and touch paper. He aims to liberate words from the shackles of intentional meaning and reclaim the beauty of phrases and spontaneous revelation. His poetry has been published in Autumn Leaves and Breadcrumb Scabs.

Being somebody everybody nowhere at the same time

A manually rupturing addenda
of fruit and caterpillars
in the upwardly mobile sword of reason;

Sword of seasons,
love gently the equivocal being
tying the mind to infinite intellect,

make them the mistake of thinking
gender contains me
the way my sack does my sex,

and mind is completely separate
from body + world

+ free will costs nothing
+ is the dirty little key
that opens every heart +
door in the universe,

which doesn’t care
how many souls
live + die
or the number of teardrops
in your + mine stories,

remember we are alone
in a plane of timelessness,
only brothers, twins, two flavors
of the same self, aiming
for that one true beauty
that is a flower, a pair of lips,
a pearl opening + ending of our consciousness.

+ meaning
with a capital


brain in the jar

You can write eight hours a day
and string together a parade
of non-sequiturs.

You can listen to the depths
of a human heart + come up
with seaweed.

You can honor words like crystal,
never daring to dust the menagerie.

You can view a continent
through a black prism
+ call yourself a scientist.

You can act like it’s all just a game
+ wake up screaming in terror.

You can yell ’til you’re blue in the face
+ find yourself agreeing.

You can fall in love with a brain in the jar
+ discover it’s a stuffed pussycat
who gives good email.

You can read a drop of poetry
+ let its bitterness flavor your dreams.

You can get drunk trying to forget yourself
when you meet him.

You can pretend there’s no politics
+ bring home burning bacon.

You can disbelieve in music
+ find your heart without rhythm.

You can preach freedom
+ find yourself clinging
to the blanket of your skin
like a coward.


artist as family man (daily decisions)

It’s a sign of insanity
to scratch nervously on paper,
a public pièce de résistance,
a pen moving to keep pace
with the fire in your lungs,
every corner a corpuscle of biology
in this motley-colored haven of security.

But nothing tastes as sweet
as a foot under the covers
a round set of cheeks and baubles
to keep me constant company,
the timeless conjoin of my daily ritual
an almanac of our hundreds of daily decisions,
joys in the shape of a soap mold or a cupcake,
or maybe an apologetic declaration of détente,

a dirigible hand on the knots of your back,
the first face I see, the last glimpse I get
is your peaceful visage,

and yet the shapes + colors + screams
awaken me at night + pull at my skin,
suffocating me with playful rhetoric,
a sheath of metallic footprints,
misconstrued largesse.




A sonnet of erstwhile repentance,
A shout of laundered conscience,
A retinue of constellations twisty-tied,
A slovenly elegant display of mannerisms.

This is the coterie of our dankest desires,
The company of creeps and the latent oeuvre,
The histrionics caged in a rhythm of ink,
The sanguine cheekbones of a teetering tot.

Speak in dialects of sulfur and magenta,
Bind my torso like a fishmonger’s secret,
Your fluent overtones are stuck in remembrance,
The breeze alights and a harvest beckons.



I go to bars to talk to people
and cafes to listen to silence.

Quiet creation surrounds
thin-lipped conflagration.

Living, breathing nuances
speak dockets of cursive myopathy.

I forget myself in crowds
hypnotized by blood, plasma, + sweat.

The brown sounds of dusty cows
+ dark eyes
become ancient memories
+ fuel melodies

of packing never-ending reams of laundry
into suitcases + herding unwilling travelaitrics
into ornery schedules + transparent prison cells.

We are at the mercy of the tour bus now,
praying for a bit of sun without the glare,
the tender heart of a kind stranger,
pretending that shelter makes a home,
that tarps make a wall;

we retreat into timeless mores of right + wrong,
as time + space make fools of mothers + fathers + hope.



And then I met the girl of my
dreams, our eyes met like oceans
meeting for the first time, every
note part of a melody, every
pivot of a joint legendary.

And then I was hit over the head
by a ton full of bricks, your
father with a shotgun, a nation
full of rich bums.

We agreed to long- distance courtship,
promises of mass communication
and destructive insurrection, surrender
your papers to the authorities, dear,
your old boyfriend called, he’s looking for

A crisis of faith, could it be God at the touch-tone,
I wait on the other line and I  don’t have call-waiting,
my 3-way conference fuck is a plan for a brighter day,
I’m in a hall of mirrors now, french-kissing and fondling myself.

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