Rami Farawi

Rami writes poetry. On a good day, he likes to think of his poems as little typed out emojis. Like, how to signal to someone (in words) the feeling of winking a face while kissing a floating heart to the side? How does one write that they feel like a charcoal colored moon looking suspiciously to the right? On a bad day, Rami doesn’t think these thoughts.

Rami is from Michigan, United States. He has a background in Chemical Engineering and would like for it to stay there, that is, in the background.


Right now, there is a deer in Oregon, chewing cud,
making fun at the lilt of Texan deer grunts with her
friends at the river bank. A raccoon in New York who’s
just been back from her Aunt’s in Michigan thought
the garbage was garbage over there, and a Chicago Mallard
who’s been there since he was two (by means of Arkansas),
is at the beach right now for his fourth birthday and thinks
Lake Michigan is great. A fly in Maine has just embarked
on his move to Florida after a midlife crisis, but will
die on the way there due to old age. A Berlin crow is
perched on the slack of a telephone line waiting for the
3:55 North-West Wind, and an Atlantic gray-whale
has just had enough of those two, and is turning the whole pod
back around to Mexico. Yes, right now, a cat is on the red bus
in London after just moving into her flat just hours ago,
looking out the window at all the cat-strangers of the city,
how they stalk down dim and damp alleys and snap tails at people with kebabs.

She’s looking at all the cat-strangers here that are the same as
the cat-strangers in Lisbon, how they all mean the same amount
of nothing to her, how they all ignore her in the same way that
the cat-strangers in Canberra do. She’s looking at how all the
cat-strangers here are doing exactly what they were, their
cat-muscles and cat-bones moving how they would,
even though she’s arrived. She’s thinking of her past eight cat-lives
and all the cat-lives she’s twanged back home in Cairo —
At the Vestry Road stop someone asks her to scooch the hell over,
she hisses back then slides to the window, purring.




Listen son, you never let them pick the pickle for you,
point pay and walk away. You’re going to grab two extra napkins
by the latte machine, if it’s limp, three.
Get back in shot-gun, make sure nothing but sun is on the dashboard.
You are going to hear a click at your southwest, full tank, check.
Your friend will probably still be on the toilet.
Now I need you to focus, you only get one first bite —
lean forward, head between your knees, clear the feet
lips over teeth god-damnit are you with me? When you bite,
the pickle will give a bit before the brine breaks,
so you’re going to have to be slurping well before you make contact.

Suddenly, you will hear a random assortment of clanks at your southwest.
You, have just blacked out. This, is normal —
there is a pre-you before having had eaten that pickle,
a post-you after having had eaten that pickle, but no in-between.
Your friend will come back in the car.
He will ask you if you had just eaten a gas station pickle.
You will reply with out of a brown paper napkin.
He will reply with something like what was once a brown paper napkin.
You will look down at the wet excuse of a napkin stretched over your hands.
He will say something like caught you brown-handed!
And you two will laugh and laugh.
You will start playing whatever trash music you surely will be listening to.
He will start the car and say something like only four hundred miles left.
And you both would rather be nowhere else but going somewhere else together.
And you both will be back on the highway, nothing but dash on the sun.
This day will come, and when it does, I just ask that you  —
it’s not every day that you get to make it heaven alive kid.




At a McDonald’s, there is a mother and her child
sitting in a booth by a window with a tray between them:
McNuggets, a double cheese and a chocolate shake,
fries, barbecue sauce and way too much ketchup.
Anything for the little man still in his school uniform
who against all odds had zero cavities,
although his wisdom teeth will be coming in soon.

On the muted television above them, the segment
on rising sea-levels is interrupted with breaking news:
the US military with much research and development
has just discovered a new way to kill a person —
Little man having just had taken the pickles
off of his double cheese, flutters his feet
under the table in excitement.

In other news, the President in an effort to fulfill
his campaign promises before reelection is re-instating
waterboarding as an interrogation technique —
Little man shoves a McNugget into shiny barbecue sauce, dunk,
some spills over the side and splats onto the tray, dunk.

A Palestinian boy was shot dead last night from a sniper
during a protest at the Gaza strip, he was just 10-years-old —
Little man bites into his double cheese
and ketchup sneezes out onto his shirt.

Back to the dramatic rise in sea-levels. It is estimated that 87%
of the world’s land mass is now submerged —
Little man looks out the window. Across the street
he sees the windows of an HSBC shatter as water storms in.
He likes the idea of reverse aquariums.

Mom decides that she will go for a run later,
or maybe have a light dinner. She steals a McNugget
from Little man, winking at him. Thinking about his shirt
that has so far gone unnoticed, he doesn’t protest.
He pinches a fry with his thumb and finger
and pac-man chomps it all the way into his mouth.

More on that story after the break. The use of
Lethal Autonomous Weapons, or LAWS, passed in both
the senate and the house, making the United States the 9th
country to use AI in warfare. In a statement Tuesday
the Pentagon assured that the technology will save American lives.
Little man uses his teeth to pull at the plastic holding
his happy meal toy.

Little man, as a consequence of playing with Mr. Potato Head
as he eats, chokes on a fry. Mom passes him the Diet Coke
and he slurps and slurps. His face flustered red instantly pales
when he looks outside again. An orca wafts by.
Breaking news: our last estimate shows that 94% —
Mom takes a napkin and reaches across the table,
wipes the corner of his shirt, then the corner of his mouth,
none of that is getting in here —




The only sound that came from the dinner table was the hurried static of spoons
clicking on plates. As soon as we were done and the dishes cleared we tumbled
back down those fourteen steps, a stampede of feet all of which were still growing.
At the bottom of those fourteen steps masterbating made your dick bigger
and Bush did 9/11, a banana peel in the microwave feels exactly like a vagina does
and Dave Chapelle was a god our parents didn’t pray to.

Down those fourteen steps the sun eavesdrops outside, the carpet is unfinished
and if you tap out in a chokehold then you must not be your father’s son.
Under that ground, three thundering stomps from some other world above means
to quiet the hell down. Underground, you were made into the boy you are today.

When you saw Mo’s dick poking out from the bottom of his boxer briefs,
you ran upstairs to take a shower, and you looked down on yourself. You asked,
is this it? It was. Now no matter where you walk and no matter where you go
the world refuses to collapse around you, you ask the same thing, and again it is.





You’re at the table smoking a cigarette
and you can’t be any more there with her:
sitting in a tiny apartment in south London,
admiring her through smoke, how she makes
even an oven mitt seem fashionable.

She pulls the bake from the oven and interrupts herself,
goes off about something, how she’s always
in love you think it is, but you’re too there
it just sounds like scatting to you.


She asks you for a Rizla outside of the Q&A
you just stepped out of. With cigarettes rolled
conversation also sparks.
A river walk, more cigarettes, a pub you two end up in.
Two whiskies on ice that the bartender scoffs at,
The only thing you should put in whiskey,
is more whiskey!

How she says she is thirty-five you know
you are too young for her.
You say things:
At the rate I’m smoking, I’ll have grown
two wrinkles next time you see me,
and besides,
that’s 12 more years I get to know about you.
You roll up another cigarette at the foot
of the Waterloo Bridge.
She tells you of the wooden tobacco pipes
you can still find in the sand along the river.


She’s going off, how she’s always in love you think it is.
Seasoned portobello and garlic cloves
still in their skin that she hasn’t put down yet,
still being held, legs hiding behind the counter
you reckon must be holding her also.

Cigarette smoke. Steam off the vegetables.
Yellow for the ceiling and dew for the words suspended in air,
you at the table, almost too there.
Pyrex you hope she never puts down,
a cigarette aching to be flicked,
for a night like this you wouldn’t mind living a little less.




They say deer have this gene or gland
(I think somewhere under their livers?)
that makes them impervious to the cold.

And since they have this gene or —
you know what I think it’s the gland actually,
yes, since they have this gland, they must not mind
trotting around all day looking for a bite of grass here,
a berry there, like a little deer scavenger hunt.
Doesn’t that sound nice?

I could never be a deer though,
I get light-headed by lunch just sitting
in a chair all morning, imagine walking
a mile for a gulp of water!

I don’t know how they have all that energy
on such little food, I think I read somewhere
that deer hate eating until they’re full.
You know what, I would be a deer for a week
just so I can finally get rid of some of this holiday fat, ha!

And because deer have this gene
and go on these bohemian scavenger hunts
and love eating so little, they must not wake up every morning
and think, “fuck, again?”

You know, I knew this deer back in college — he was always smiling
and regurgitating cud, so I figure he must not have kept anything inside!
I mean, if he was always bragging about himself how could
he actually be insecure? I mean, have you ever seen a deer cry?




I found a banana outside its bundle, unanimously green,
already wrapped in a jacket of husk what a pretty little package.

I decided to take it home, rested it on top of my microwave
and said, you can ripen here. Before I left, I stood and stared

at the stiff little fruit, nothing happened so I left
and when I came back the next morning, my little banana

was covered in yellow save three thin green creases along its sides.
Immediately I stripped. My shirt and pants spilled on the kitchen tile

while I posed for the banana, turned, showcased myself —
but it just laid there unimpressed, bitter and still stiff.

The next morning the banana was waiting, softer, flaunting the dots
it was keeping inside, but when I poked at my belly and around my thighs

I was surprised by nothing — my body was still yesterday’s,
and tomorrow’s, but not last year’s or a decade on howdo you figure.

The next morning the banana was even softer,
long patches of black, leopard printed and so sweet on the inside

but I couldn’t find anyone to forgive that day. I have all this starch not turning,
I have a whole lot of what could be sugar.

The next morning when I checked on the banana on top of my microwave
it was welted all over and swamp mush brown within,

on the inside it was called rotten that’s how sweet it was —
and I just stared, unimpressed, bitter, still stiff.




and somehow out of this entire crowd
of held hands and babies on shoulders
and drunk admissions and pointed fingers
and laughing into phones and out of this entire
city of grass and alleys and shops where plastic=
is flashed for food, somehow, there you are=
handing change to a woman behind a churro stand.

You’re not supposed to be from mountains in Italy
I had never heard of, you shouldn’t be able to hold
a conversation about ants for an hour or who I walked
arm in arm with in Dalston last night,
you’re supposed to be a woman buying churros.

And I should consider everyone in this crowd
absolutely nothing to me, and ignore all the faces zipping
past who might love Umm Kulthum also,
and not hearing snippets from all these mouths that could
get me into some French director I’ve never heard of.
I’m supposed to be on my way to a place
unlike this, with walls, where the bodies
there are people too I’m supposed to be walking
right past you walking to where I’m going
I’m supposed to be walking —