Khaleel Gheba



On a small scale, the human system becomes a senate of neighbors and voices—disagreement, then resolution, democracy as high school ballet. Then again, I've been sleeping for a while, how are you? Everything's the same, but louder, faster, and preemptively wet. The way the curtain shudders in the satellite dawn hurts me now, as does the rain, as does sulfuric acid, as does this way I'm always leaving, then returning after two knocks, each ending defeated by its sequel. I want to skip through the airlock, through space-time, to you, but this isn't a game. Over man's system, there is industry, which scales up gloriously, each person a slick black bullet in the chamber, which is an air duct, which is a flickering corridor, which is an esophagus, which is a mouth within a mouth - each person a passageway towards an unclaimed plot, which is you. It'll be fine, it's shit outside today, I'll pull through, I have to now. Counting bullets this morning, I felt the third act's finality, as I glimpsed your figure in the window, full and warm. Royalty is said to survive all systems, beyond megatons and exosuits, the dominance of a singular position in a sea of moving stars. But no, it was only the reflection of the rifle's ticker, going up.







This poem is part of a larger project I'm working on with my friend, Matt Minicucci. It started when he sent me a poem about a movie, which seemed weird at first, but I couldn't shake it. So I wrote one back to him. Then he to me and so forth, each prose block responding to the other, working our ways through genres and sequels, good and bad films, finding threads to connect them. This project has become a way to figure out how I actually feel about a movie, how its characters work without a moving image or a linear narrative. See also [his poem "Alien" in this issue].