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Glenn Shaheen


Glenn Shaheen



In a perfect world, or whathaveyou, I’d like everyone to be happy and get everything they want. Of course, some things people want include (but are not limited to): unwanted sex, murder, violence, revenge, and even tripping the nerd (me) for laughs. A good revenge plan if you don’t want to hurt somebody physically is to buy deer piss or coyote piss (both available at your local piss store) and pour it into their car vents. They’ll never get the smell out; they’ll be breathing in piss molecules for months! But that’s soooo like one to be an animal. The best revenge is living well. The best revenge is a living will. Heaven, an individual happiness, the brain crystalizing at death, firing all its neurons at once, an infinite amount of pleasure, pain. Pain is important for heaven, pleasure meaningless without it. Dots forming along the retina, an ellipses stamped across the horizon. Quitting a shit job also a heaven, but I’ve never quit well. Once, I tried to leave my grocery store job and the manager cried, so I changed my mind. Love to read the fake stories on Reddit tho.


Airplanes, a used to be heaven. The pilot couldn’t land on our honeymoon to Jamaica, had to take a second go at it. That’s scary! But the view, the mountains and the sea were worth the fear. Plus I was on pills. I used to love flying, before One Bad Flight. Used to want that pressure of liftoff to mix with the riseup of a Propellerheads song, the stomach drop of the weed setting in. Harder to smoke weed in public back then plus it was Florida and Florida cops are just looking for any excuse to fuck up the public. Then, an airplane lost my luggage, or some Orlando individuals stole it by accident, refused to return it. What gives? I returned their baby clothes and they took them. I just wanted my computer files.


If I won a billion trillion dollars, I’d love to take a train across the states, across Canada. Have one-a those cabins and not have to sleep in a chair, although I will say train chairs are way better than plane chairs. I just like to stick with beauty for a bit. I’ll fly anywhere now, they make pills for fraidy cats. My doctor asked if I considered specialized therapy to get over my fear of flying but why bother, I only fly like four times a year. Gimme those pills, Doc, and stop saying all that mean stuff about my weight. I prefer chunky docs; docs who are also fat are less likely to bring up my weight first and foremost.


I’m just trying to be happy with a little bit of sadness lining the package. Who knows what heaven will bring, if anything. What if my friends and family aren’t there? What if it’s just filled with Christian Jerks? I want a mountain view every once in a while just so I don’t get sick of em. I don’t put piss in people’s cars. That’s extreme, an extreme way to live, those who wrong us forget about it quickly enough. I hope to see them in heaven. 



Earth. Envelopes. Eat all you can. Elephants. Easy does it. Earls of Sandwiches. Ears. Earmuffs. Entropy. Escalators. Elevators. Enterprise. Excitement! Each according to his ability, each according to his need. Engines. Early to tell. Eff you! Ells. Ellipses. Episcopalians. Eastern Middles. Exacto knives. Excuse me? Excellent, I’ll save those for later. Ekphrasis. “Everlong” by the Foo Fighters. Everclear, the alcohol, only for extreme fuckups. Echo chambers. EZ Bake Ovens. Ewers, a good crossword word. Easels. Edison light bulps. Excuse me, I meant bulbs. Effective diplomacy. Exact casualty figures. Evansville, Indiana. Egos. Ergo Sum. Everlasting Gobstoppers. EZ Cheez. Erotic bakeries, I don’t believe they’re anything more than a sitcom plot, like how or why can a cake be erotic? Early birds vs. the worms, let the worms win. Ernie and Bert. Ephemera. Ethanol, is that the good kind? Enjambment. Eloped couples. E-Mail, make it stop. Extreme fuckups. Extreme sports. Emus. Emcees. Ebony. Elevens or double ones? Edmonton, Alberta. Einstein, his bones at least. Effluvium. Ecks Vs. Sever. E Trade. Electricity. Education. Easter. Evil! Eggs. Egypt. Ejaculate. Edge of the world. Ether. Egregious acts in our name we did little to stop. Electronics. El Niño. Eraserhead. Errors, more truth in em. Either one. Escargot. Empire. Enchiladas. Ethyl alcohol, is that the good kind? Empanadas, excuse me, I’m hungry. Elementary, my dear Watson. End to end. Eaves. Elders. Etc. E pluribus unum. Eat me! Excuses, excuses. Euphony. Ease into it. Eros in general, a feeling, a failure. Eagles. Eons in the American parlance. Elko, Nevada. Eco warriors, eco everything. Endless corporate murder. Equality in the graveyard but not even. Events until the calendar goes black. Enough. Enchantment Under the Sea dances. Elves. Effeminate, cool. Eh, forget it. EE Cummings, he wanted it capitalized. Everlasting pain. Eeny meeny. Eggo Waffles. Elysium. Enough. Eager to get this started, to get this finished. Echoes in the night. Exams. Eucharists. Eneros. E/V Mode. Enough. Exclusion, we try to stop it, a loose we. Euclid. Equations. Equus. Ewe and me. Enough. Equestrians, a good word to know and never use. Elementary schools. Eyeballs. Eternal flame. Enough. Edam cheese. Epoxy won’t even hold it together. Enough. Ever get the feeling… Enough. Ever want to know… Enough. Enough. Enough.



Always the imperfect world we strive to make less. Pain is… no, no, that’s not right. Emptiness? Far from my wife, my love, and life fading from the whole situation going on inside my little skull. The world through a cotton gauze. Only two more layers til we’re there. A sparkle in the highway grass —an engagement ring, a small mammal’s skull. 


I wonder how big that Hieronymous Bosch painting is, the Hell one. No I will not “look it up.” A real chance we’ve wound up on one of our paranoid neighbors doorcams as a suspicious character. Love to see it. Imperfect neighbors, imperfect fences. People lash out at NYC, but they have block parties, and everybody in the suburbs smiles through the peephole with their fingers on the triggers. The unspooling grassland beside the highway: an illusion, it’s more stripmalls behind it, and they’re empty so forget about browsing for new jeans while eating a cheap sub filled with some sort of Meat Product and Vegetables™. 


Legit serious publications filled with articles titled “Would Nuclear War Solve Global Warming?” I saw a photo of a skeleton jerking off during Pompeii and I don’t want some archaeologists in the year 7860 to find my skeleton in the remains of whatever city in some sort of Compromising Position™. You’d want to survive any catastrophe in America? All the white gun nuts would love the excuse to shoot somebody brown. I don’t have enough contacts. I mean lenses.


Little children’s toys and distractions: I don’t think I like The Online Discourse. No trademark this time. Smart friends who try to get zingers off of war, it’s not a game. They didn’t pay attention until it was Europeans. Eeef. Only a World War if it starts there, tell that to the dead Somali children. It’s ok, you died but it was only a “regional conflict.” Hope you felt loved in your three years of life. 


But I like the abundance of cereals. I like driving relentlessly! I don’t need a new Batman, and yet they manifest every three years and I drop $20 to watch them. Unspooling the extension cord; we wanted power in the yard in which only lightning bugs held court. I never saw lightning bugs until I was 18, or maybe my eyes were just bad as a kid. They’re bad now. 


Look, a space station passing overhead! We can even see it in the washed out light of our stinky metropolis! A marvel of engineering! We got out of our puny clouds, out of our heads! And stopped! Spare these other rocks from our stomps and flags!

Glenn Shaheen is the author of four books. He is the President of the Radius of Arab American Writers and teaches creative writing at Prairie View A&M University.

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