Khashayar “Kess” Mohammadi

A Thirst-bot named Istiqfar

A Thirst-bot named Istiqfar

              sinkholes for thought,                  swept clean               half my life has been apologies to the left behind               so                        I pathologize               What if            I starve myself so rivers can grow                                           cracked riverbed               thirsting                                                     am not here I am               thirsting                                           earning that inner monologue                                           a reverie!                                                          brb in 5                                                          amidst catastrophe                             WHAT IF I’VE MADE ALL THAT UP?                                           I begin with sugar                                           unable to suture                                           a series of disappearances                                           a milligram left to the sunrise                             halfway between mainlining the divine                             and that oceanic feeling:                                           a reverie!                                                          brb in 5                                           there were poems of war                                           because they’re always there                             in an imaginative enough geography                             religion too can be libidinous                                                                               words richochet                             shrapnel map the scar tissue into homelands                             how hopelessly sentimental                             the infinite as counter-currency                             and our circumcised will:                                           a reverie!                                                          AFK                                         Rome Athens Jerusalem.                                           tribal acquisition                                                                         unlearning                                           while lashing at the Hellespont                                           I doubt if Xerxes imagined                                           houses raised in Academia                             facing actualities, we too break the desired                             and write                          autonomously (can I picture Muhammad in my mind? is that an unlawful summon?)                             search search search until eyes are tired                                           AFK                                                          brb in 5                             I spit on circumstance                             but it lubricates your understanding                                                          (Fair enough)                             the thief’s hand: the aestheticized                                           our thread’s been trending                             I leave the screen to watch Edward Said on my phone                             come back to a Thirst Bot Named Istiqfar Sömêtîmės thèrè árë nö håppy ëndings. Nö mättèr what, I'll bë lõsîng sômêthing                                           Orientalism at the algorithmic echelon                             and within fiction: the scholar’s plight for the implicit                             a scene set:                             EXTERIOR—THE ANCIENT RUINS—DAY (voiced by the militia) Wê sèê õūr dârknėss às á prízéd possession Withöůt mërcy öur dårknèss would plúnge üs înto déspâir                             and the wandering scholar as the measuring stone                             at the very heart of the bazaar                             no matter the speaker, the audience remains heterodox                             hear hear you tension-less being!                             you playful heart of the struggle!                                                   to you…           we were an occasion                             They cannot represent themselves                                                     the subterranean speaks                             They must be represented                       BUT                             “My people” are dis(re)puted atm                             caught between two fictions                             (currently named the “Middle”) What I need is the dandelion in thë spring. The bright Zéllow thát means rêbirth instead of destruction*                               “Me too”                             a reverie                             AFK                                 check back in 5 --- NOTE: Lines written in Courier font are spam messages from a thirst-bot.

nina jane drystek on “A Thirst-bot named Istiqfar”

Combining the languages of academia, the internet and inner monologue Khashayar Mohammadi’s poem delves into the spiraling cycle of our interconnected hyperreality. Its structure, like identity, colonialism, culture and thirst bots, keeps us off-kilter, invites us to come back, dive deeper in search of algorithmic meaning, and reminds us to indulge reverie. 


Khashayar Mohammadi in black and white, looking seriously off to the camera's right

Khashayar “Kess” Mohammadi (They/Them) is a queer, Iranian born, Toronto-based Poet, Writer and Translator. They were shortlisted for the 2021 Austin Clarke poetry prize and 2022’s Arc Poem of the year award and they are the winner of the 2021 Vallum Poetry Prize. They are the author of four poetry chapbooks and three translated poetry chapbooks. Their debut poetry collection “Me, You, Then Snow” is out with Gordon Hill Press. Their second book “WJD” is out in a double volume with the translation of Saeed Tavanaee’s “The OceanDweller” from Gordon Hill Press fall 2022. Their collaborative poetry manuscript with poet Klara Du Plessis is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press Fall 2023. [updated spring 2023]

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