Self portrait in the city where I was born

after Jake Adam York


I go arm in arm
with only the shape of me


the men arm in arm
ogle me like some strange


dodging cars and looks
feline bodies dead or alive


he says ‘fantastic’
in the space between us


passing, just a second
and all of my time


imposing himself
forever, a word


he believes to be mine
a whiteness, a look


some body he sees
as not belonging here


too much, too little


somehow surviving.
no one likes to see that


not in this city,
especially if you can get out


if you’re not from here
passing, papers, flights


you’ve seen the insides
of the walledoff US embassy


worth more than my own
language thrown at me


not worth my own language


Why did you come back                        I live here
Why did you leave                                  I live here


the rarity of why any

one would come back


here, this city is home
cradled in a toothy mouth


committed to eating
all foreign bodies


Nour Kamel

Nour Kamel is perfectly lit and writes things in Cairo, Egypt. Kamel works as a writer and editor, studied at the University of East Anglia with a year abroad at the University of Mississippi, is a Winter Tangerine workshop alumnus, and was shortlisted for the Brunel International African Poetry Prize in 2018. Kamel writes about identity, language, sexuality, queerness, gender, oppression, femininity, trauma, family, lineage, globalization, loss, and food.

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