2 poems by Tufik Shayeb

Bad Fight, Bad Storm

there is a storm, gathering its skirt
and stepping over puddles

it is ready to hobble away
with a huff and a puff and a blow
your house of cards down

he is too funny for his own good
somehow, a friend laughed himself
to death

it was written on the toe tag

it was written on the coroner’s report,

so it must be true

lightning always strikes
in the same place twice, for him

it is kung fu fighting, fast 

as blackbelt clouds-

his shoulders are worn down hills
rounded from gloomy karate chops,
he is the cinderblock

he is much less related to Benjamin

Franklin than he ever imagined,

this was his invention

there is a no kite-string, for him
there is no brilliant arc 

and no flash, there is no lightbulb
going off in the dark

only the punchline of a joke
dressed up as a martial arts attack,
only a bad story teller

only himself,
placing all seven cards face down,
and going out for a smoke in the rain

Paper Shredder

grinding, like teeth

in the night


like dry coffee beans

like broken bearings

like a disposal drain

where your whispers

tear apart

where your bills

are past due

one more month

where credit cards


when someone

has stolen

the only part of you

that mattered

and old pictures


when someone

has stolen

the only part of you

that matters still


you are stuck

with stop lights

for winking eyes

and a jaw,

all jammed up

About the contributor

Tufik Shayeb is author of three chapbooks and one collection, I'll Love You to Smithereens. (Loose Mannequin Publishing; 1st edition 2009) his poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including Backchannels Journal, Potomac Review, Sheepshead Review, The Menteur, and others.

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