I thought there was more life
where traveling stars could whisper
as they rose over desert
or broke through smog above Cairo.

I tried to get lost in crowds
watching yellow tanks grind by,
my body suspended like a target.

Helmeted police
with plastic shields
shouted commands
that splintered in the racket.

Everything in decline—
when was it new?
Of course nothing worked,
never had.

Isn't this one form of resistance?
No traveler went unharmed
unless too poor.

Even in Tahrir all was hearsay,
danger, silence.
There were no maps,
no dictionary of the new gestures.

(Published in Hotel Amerika — 2018)