Hell on earth
has many forms
— over seven billion
to be exact.
Nav K (via navk)

their high school principal
told me I couldn’t teach
poetry with profanity
so I asked my students,
“Raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Holocaust.”
in unison, their arms rose up like poisonous gas
then straightened out like an SS infantry
“Okay. Please put your hands down.
Now raise your hand if you’ve heard of the Rwandan genocide.”
blank stares mixed with curious ignorance
a quivering hand out of the crowd
half-way raised, like a lone survivor
struggling to stand up in Kigali
“Luz, are you sure about that?”
“No.”
“That’s what I thought.”

“Carlos—what’s genocide?”

they won’t let you hear the truth at school
if that person says “fuck”
can’t even talk about “fuck”
even though a third of your senior class
is pregnant.

I can’t teach an 18-year-old girl in a public school
how to use a condom that will save her life
and that of the orphan she will be forced
to give to the foster care system—
“Carlos, how many 13-year-olds do you know that are HIV-positive?”

“Honestly, none. But I do visit a shelter every Monday and talk with
six 12-year-old girls with diagnosed AIDS.”
while 4th graders three blocks away give little boys blowjobs during recess
I met an 11-year-old gang member in the Bronx who carries
a semi-automatic weapon to study hall so he can make it home
and you want me to censor my language

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

your books leave out Emmett Till and Medgar Evers
call themselves “World History” and don’t mention
King Leopold or diamond mines
call themselves “Politics in the Modern World”
and don’t mention Apartheid

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

you wonder why children hide in adult bodies
lie under light-color-eyed contact lenses
learn to fetishize the size of their asses
and simultaneously hate their lips
my students thought Che Guevara was a rapper
from East Harlem
still think my Mumia t-shirt is of Bob Marley
how can literacy not include Phyllis Wheatley?
schools were built in the shadows of ghosts
filtered through incest and grinding teeth
molded under veils of extravagant ritual

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

“Roselyn, how old was she? Cuántos años tuvo tu madre cuando se murió?”

“My mother had 32 years when she died. Ella era bellísima.”

…what’s genocide?

they’ve moved from sterilizing “Boriqua” women
injecting indigenous sisters with Hepatitis B,
now they just kill mothers with silent poison
stain their loyalty and love into veins and suffocate them

…what’s genocide?

Ridwan’s father hung himself
in the box because he thought his son
was ashamed of him

…what’s genocide?

Maureen’s mother gave her
skin lightening cream
the day before she started the 6th grade

…what’s genocide?

she carves straight lines into her
beautiful brown thighs so she can remember
what it feels like to heal

…what’s genocide?
…what’s genocide?

“Carlos, what’s genocide?”

“Luz, this…
this right here…
is genocide.”


A poem from my book, By Bodies of Water. http://navk.ca/water 

#navk #poetry #names #diaspora

A poem from my book, By Bodies of Water. http://navk.ca/water

#navk #poetry #names #diaspora


nathensurman: Something interesting happened. I mentioned earlier that I rarely ever tell my peers that I write, but I did today because it came up in conversation. So no, I don’t completely object to having people know. Writing is a passion, it’s what I love to do and it’s very much a part of me. As such, I don’t necessarily feel that everyone I meet should know that fact.

To answer your question, I don’t feel that we should be embarrassed or treat it as a private thing, although much of it can be. But also, writing is a very intimate thing and I suppose some of us are cautious as to who we share that with. At least that’s how it is for me. In terms of sharing my work publicly, the upside to that is I’m not interacting with the thousands of people who read my work on a daily basis, face to face. That aspect is taken away in an online, although very public, environment. Whereas sharing work with peers I know and interact with physically in person automatically causes me to be more careful of what I share and with whom I share it.


I want to study the quantum physics of your hips. Because the switch and twist with every step gives new life to the pulse in my wrists. I want to study the whispers on your lips, memorize every kiss that I’ve missed in the twenty years on this earth that I’ve spent in your search. And there’s no diction that could quantify the friction of our skin. The nearness and the fearless nature of this bliss that we’re in. You make my head spin, flashing cheesy grins, shouting “she’s a ten.” But really, you’ve tipped the scale. And in all honesty, every other woman in my eyes seems to always grow pale. You set my lungs on fire, and then you extinguish the flames. And even with the ebb and the flow of time, you and I remain the same.
Nav K (via navk)

(via navk)


Your mind is a masterpiece I’ve tried to master on a piece of paper. But perhaps as a magnum opus, I’ll save that for later. So with any luck, I’ll soon give this up and search for another vocation. But I’m stuck between chasing dreams or chasing your hips in rotation. I’m caught between quotations, you’re my meditation. And I can feel the quake of tectonic plates when your lashes fan the flames of my temptation. So I’m a victim of persuasion. I’d take my case to higher court, if only I didn’t fear to slip. I’m just looking for a catalyst to quicker reach your stormy lips. I have my eyes on that hour glass, figure the things I’d do would be a crime. I’d much rather be pressed against your body than ever be pressed for time.
Nav K (via navk)

Anonymous said: Does your professor know that you write? :-)

No, actually. I almost never mention to my professors or peers that I write. I prefer to keep that aspect of my life separate from school or work.


Usually I would never look forward to an 8:30 class, that too on Monday mornings. But the prof I have for my English teachable is absolutely phenomenal and I’m actually upset that my parents having guests over tonight has prevented me from going to bed early. I have to be out of the house by 7 and pray I make it in time.


Anonymous said: Do you happen to have an email where fans could contact you?

I can be contacted at: nvd.abd.khn@gmail.com


I think therefore I must be.



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