2 Poems by Sharif Shakhshir


Elegy on Unlicensed Nuclear Accelerator

for J. Park

The old ambulance-slash-hearse winds its way

through these Southern Californian streets.

The west coast Ghostbusters franchisee driving as

I check the Tobin’s Spirit Guide with your diary

to see what type of specter you would be.

Bifurcated, where would the ethereal half go?


Your physical body, possessed by a demon,

makes traditional parents worry less:

“Mixed-race children are just inferior.”

“This law-school has a large Korean student body

for me to find a man to marry.”

A satanic blessing. Who would ever know

she wasn’t just a daughter simply tired

of not meeting the conditions of a parent’s love?


There is psychokinetic energy

in the place where we would go to get sushi.

A carousel of chopsticks and knives

chasing bowls of wasabi in the air.

This is where we went on our first date.

You wrote you were impressed with my degree

in paranormal psychology:

he studies the anguish of the dead

the way I would study an old poem.


A class seven floating manifestation,

You’re trying, failing to take your old form

in our booth. You tell me I want to start over.

This time the demons won’t get me.

But it’s too late to restore things.

I fire a stream of protons

waving who you were

into a tiny radiating box

which prints out a ghost report on receipt

paper, a summary of someone gone

in small letters with gentle serifs.

The things left in the air come crashing to rest.



Via Terapeak

Best Pony

Which pony is best pony?

Pegasus or Unicorn?

Would you rather use magic or fly?

Can you use magic

to turn into something that flies?

Why would anyone want to be

a regular pony that can talk?

Did Mr. Ed enjoy his existence?


Do you think Equestria has a history

of apartheid and genocide? Can you imagine

separate drinking fountains and

borders for unicorns, pesgusi, and earth ponies?

Or do you think they separated them by color,

having pinkie pie districts, and blue mare groups.

Would they have little pony ghettos

and little pony work camps

overseen by little pony fascists?
What would they call them,

concentration corrals

or glue factories?

Palestine or Israel?

Are you hopeful

about the Arab Spring?


What cartoons do you watch

in order to escape the news?

Wile E. Coyote or Road Runner?

Do you sympathize with Pepé Le Pew or Penelope Pussycat?

When you fight with loved ones are you Bugs or Daffy?

Do their words send your beak in orbit around your head?

Does this mean war?

Do you cry out for help,

or pull signs from behind your back?

How far can you walk off a cliff

without looking down?

Climb out of Hades

without looking back?

If I were to draw a tunnel on a boulder

would you be able to follow me through?


Do you think the scope of My Little Pony

is a post-apocalyptic future

after the nuclear holocaust

where ponies mutated and evolved

wings and magic?

Do you believe in evolution?

Do you believe in God?

Do you believe in love?

Do you believe in God’s love?

Do you believe God is love?

Do you believe Jesus is

Lord? Son of God? One third of God?

Do you believe that there is one god?

Do you question whether Muhammad is his messenger?

Do you believe in the Elements of Harmony?

Is the world doomed?

Can the world be saved?

Will you help?


What do you think Twilight Sparkle will do when she graduates?

Do you think she will work retail or an office job?

Do you think she worries

about student debts?

Does Princess Celestia subsidize the loans of her students?

What are you going to do

when you graduate?

Where do you want to be


Who are your Wonderbolts?

What is your fashion?


What would Discord have to tell you

to turn you against all of your friends?

Do you hate your friends?

Do you freak out

if they don’t come to your party?

If they don’t come to your pet’s party?

If they don’t come to your pet’s party’s after party?


As an artist, do you empathize

with Princess Luna’s crafted nights

being ignored?

How does it weigh on your mind?

Does it give you insomnia?

As an artist, do you work

until exhaustion like Apple Jack?

As an artist, do you beg

for criticism like Rarity?

Does everything have to be just right?

As an artist, do you mock

the 4th wall like Pinkie Pie?

As an artist, do you dash to the spotlight or shy away?

If you were Twilight Sparkle, as an artist,

would you study your craft

or your market more?


When saving the world with your friends,

what could Nightmare Moon turn into

that would send you back the other way?

What are you afraid of?

Which ghosts can’t you giggle away?

Do you have dreams

where they circle you?

Do you imagine someone

saving you?

What do they look like?

Would you be disappointed

if they looked like me?


Sharif Shakhshir is a poet of Middle Eastern and Latin descent. Born, raised, and educated in California, Shakhshir has studied creative writing at UC Irvine and USC.  Other poems by the author have appeared in Anthology of Writing that Risks, Crows Holow, and West Wind.

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