al youm: for yesterday & her inherited traumas

al youm: for yesterday & her inherited traumas

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George Abraham's hefty chapbook, al youm, is an examination of what is inherited, particularly in the face of Zionism when the body is queer, Palestinian, and wildly alive. It is a chapbook composed with form as much as it is with the erasure of form—form as poetics, form as memory, form as function, form as home. Redaction, too, is a wound that bleeds, as when Zionist revision forces a reissuing of meaning, an eschewing of Palestine, a violence bristling confessional into agonized song. But George is more than the black bars that keep him. His is a voice scarred but inviolate, able to move in the preternatural way survivors must carry themselves on. He travels forward and backward in his memories with a rage that starts to bloom into something new and haloed.

Through erasure, redaction, and traditional and new forms, he transforms the solipsism of his condition into a psalm: "you've danced with oblivion many times, / if anything else, she will remember your name." With nods to powerful contemporary poets such as Marwa Helal, Angel Nafis, and Ocean Vuong, this is a book that looks history down the barrel and sees beyond it the real community that drives us to speak. "& i, lone traveller, reshaping continents with my hands" George writes in the final poem "ode to my multiple orgasms." In his work, he gives the powers that occupy no credit to their destruction. It is resistance through subversion, immersion, a "body bursting mid / -air."