four poems from the Psychotic Notebooks


                                                                NOT A LUXURY:

                               WHEN HE SAYS HE DOESN’T LIKE BIG WORDS
                                      HE MEANS HE DOESN’T LIKE POVERTY


a poet called another poet a merchant of sugar
and we just looked at each other
cycles of holding and being held
haggling for a sound mind
the curtain offers me definition
to hell with symbols I want the real

that painting
once from a standing perspective

or Pollock
and his canvas on the floor



| | | | | | | | |

a new chapter of the kama sutra

“my Own Private Idaho”

rented but never watched

attentively enough for the discussion

a willingness to move to the US

“phone’s dying” friends

I need fewer

“Phone’s dying” friends




my mouth bubbling underwater

the narrator mentions me by name

I am the cliff hanger

for one of a thousand nights before slaughter

having asked more questions than I have answered

in the city within the city I swerve

among the cacophony of the tunnel

an ocean within an ocean

the dung beetle on its knees

in front of a pile of shit

or the suicide hotline

and its hold music

watch out !

I am not a mountain

but the sand in your sandals years after the beach

the viral memory of an ex-

fellated in darkness

once upon a time

the narrator mentioned me by name and I

was the consequence of desire

in the city of escape-artistry



| | | | | | | | | | | | | |

I am dressed for the poem

it doesn’t take much to forge new memories

the pitch-darkness of the cradle

and the flour’s ghostly shape on the ground

the nationally defined sabbath

and its afternoon boredom

wishing to be a moment on Television

hushing the entire world around

kneeling on University avenue

a gun

and an immigration’s exit wounds

tired of bus-size projections of well-being

be right back

I have fireworks

knocking at my door

About the author

Khashayar “Kess” Mohammadi (They/Them) is a queer, Iranian born, Toronto-based poet, writer, and translator. The winner of the Vallum Poetry Prize (2021), they have also been shortlisted for The Puritan’s Austin Clarke Prize (2021) and Arc Poetry Magazine’s Poem of the Year Award (2022). They are the author of four poetry chapbooks and three translated poetry chapbooks. Their debut collection Me, You, Then Snow was published by Gordon Hill Press. Their second book WJD is forthcoming in a double volume with the translation of Saeed Tavanaee’s The Ocean Dweller, also with Gordon Hill Press. Their collaborative poetry manuscript with poet Klara Du Plessis is forthcoming with Palimpsest Press in 2023.