15 | tamer mostafa

Against Privilege Perception


The arena stands, a rounded minefield of metaphors
and similes of potential, piled in repeated piecemeal,
a brief anomaly in the sequence of order and projection.

I wanted to tell a man at the bar to pack up his car,
leave when he said the city wasn’t good enough for him.

An ivy league university alumna wants to stay a resident,
be the first ball in a Newton’s Cradle, confident that her momentum
is universal and the first strike will capitalize
like a pacman devouring white pellets to run up the points.

She identifies as a person of color, but I wonder
how much bleaching she’s been exposed to,
how much inhaling she’s done on her own accord.

There are two different communities here.

The first is situated in pockets like little cruel tricks,
children in line at the water slides
looking to the top with thoughts of conquering
the documented number of sharp turns,
the inertia permitting their bodies to ascend and descend
the tiers of water, exit the chute with a cessation of coolness.

A headline from September 17, 2015 reads:
“Stockton Community Mourns the Loss of Real Estate Developer,”
found dead in a gutter of his adopted city.

The second community peers through a knot hole on a fence plank
speaking of grids, the thick veils of colored graffiti
scrubbed down to outlines with a steel wool sponge,
the gutting of cognition in the haunt of one’s own element.

Tell them about life behind the gun line boss.


tamer mostafa is a Stockton, California native whose work has appeared in various journals and magazines such as Confrontation, Triggerfish Critical Review, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Extract(s), and Phantom Kangaroo.