assembled poem

a poem assembled from the words on T-shirts of people I passed on Bishkek sidewalks on 21 June 2014. I stopped about six of these people and asked them to translate the words on their T-shirts to Russian or Kyrgyz. The universal reply: I don’t speak English.


First Name: Greatest

Last Name: Ever.

It all begins with love, and I was born to break dance.

Let me be.


Butterflies make me happy,

so go fuck the nation.

Want some fries with that shake?


The wine has not only objective material.

Miami Beach = Islam.

“Writing and travel seem indivisible to me now. And these trips—the process by which you uproot yourself, pack a bag for some adventure ahead, and hurtle across an ocean to lose yourself, not knowing what lies ahead—become a vital way to break the gravitational pull of your everyday life, in order to pass through some seam that allows you to see the universe in a completely different way, to enter these worlds and stories as a kind of babe in the wild, resonating to every bright color and strange note.”  ~ Michael Paterniti