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Oldies - Shahriar Shaams

You see the cables, polyester and flame-proof under all that plastic? You see all that? That’s the best part on this bitch. It’s romantic. I could shove some old history book down the printer’s throat and let it vomit. I’m the only motherfucker in this universe who has nothing to do. I’m that rarity with no hair, limp teeth and a bad back.

All my friends are dead. They change. You know they’ll say the opposite when you go corroborate my claim. They’ll say look at our skin and look at yours—which one’s jangling and which one’s tight? But you know it isn’t the same. This jangle to blame. They have a choice now and they whore it out so much it’s normal now.

Her feet’s all partex wood. Her Styrofoam insides wobble. She’s almost done. I hope the wire works. I hope they snake around under her so much she begins to feel she’s young. I used to back in the day. I even remember when the Internet was something you had to get onto with an antenna array.

My love life’s been a famine, ever since I refuse to wind up this skin. I pray they look away from this decay. The shell’s a throwaway.

All accusations of view-pimping, shameless stunting, all this Frankenstein-level taunting, they’ll all stop, once she clicks on, once the eyes pop, and look at this city of nonstop rot, where the blood in our veins run only on 200 mbps, where everybody’s a young mess, and the internet is no friend.

She’ll be in my arms then, in full view of all you subsidized voyeurs, playing our old-fashioned, long dead roles. Now we’re two oldies in a world of youth, she’s all clean but I’m missing a tooth. Now see us kiss, see our bodies make do with all the flab, all the blindness, all the healthcare debt, see us fuck, our failing body parts sagging under one over the other, see us without all the cosmetic, as wretched, pathetic, decrepit.

"I remember watching a Kazuo Ishiguro interview where he talks about the first sex-scene he writes and how it involves older people, as he wanted to show the decrepitude prevalent in the act. My prose poem "Oldies" takes that imagery and situates it in a future possibility, where body-modification and the shaming of physical attributes of age might play a big role. The poem is a rebellion of that supposed reality." -- notes from the artist


SHARIAR SHAAMS a writer and translator based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. My stories and nonfiction have previously appeared in the literary journals Singapore Unbound, Third Lane, Six Seasons Review, Jamini, and in the literary pages of Dhaka Tribune and The Daily Star (Bangladesh). Currently, I work for a local NGO in an editorial capacity and occasionally write book reviews for The Daily Star. I enjoy boxing and baseball in my free time.

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