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Fricatives

Klara du Plessis + Khashayar Mohammadi

2

ekke,1Ekke (Afrikaans, dialect form of ek) I
a softening of ego
                           each k
an I for either one of us
a butterfly-effect nudge
of history apart,        and
it could have been ego2Ego (Afrikaans) ego
<<ee-χo>>
dorsal to uvular
                            /
then there’s Ich3Ich (German) I
a halfway itch
in the roof of the mouth
               /that space
between I and ego
not as warm as the χ
not as deep in source
the orientation of the tongue
against the occidentation of airflow
               a fish-scaled throat
to fend off rounded consonants
searching for an uvular I
bifid into a dialect of r
tapped?                          or untapped?

2

Oxidation
trailing from ekke through echo to ego.4Ekke (Afrikaans, dialect form of ek) I
Ego (Afrikaans) ego

Flex fricative,
narrowing air in the scratch of production,
muscular language laminate
doubling ego back through eggo to ekke’s5Eggo (Afrikaans) echo
ovular catharsis. Breathe
out, out, out,
let go of the abdomen in red or green lust.
Iron’s rust to silver’s green spire / aspiration
of verdant lungs wheezing themselves
to self

2.1

two sentry
and
the pressure of f
the    bod
m
as certa
Oχ! l

on either s

a thou
m

I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I
I


echo
nger upon fist
ly vibrations of language
ddle toes retracted
n sounds leave the larynx
ke Ouch! as in6Oχ / آخ (Farsi) ouch 
ache
de of the

n the
rror

                             χash7χash / gash / خش (Farsi) scratch
                   χeesh/god8χeesh / geesh / خویش (Farsi) self
χod / god / خود (Farsi) self

the first syllable
a            stylus
“scratching”
a            gash
        or god
\\\\\progenitor
      \\\of the thought-ladder
            \exploding
                 into
binary
                                fractals

2.2

An  and9Oχ (Farsi) ouch
a herd of oxen
pass by,
syncopate
their hooves
in the mooing.
The upholstered air
squeezes hot
microscopic drops
from the sky while
Oχen lug legs
through the lug,10Lug (Afrikaans) air; sky
air cattle
tended by an inner
longing to talk,
therapeutic horde.
Ouch on the couch

2.2.1

11Oχ (Farsi) ouch
Ox
Oksel12Oksel (Afrikaans) armpit
Oxygen

8

                                                       there’s this female self
this she/ S(je)  S(I)          (P)Sy                 as in not me?13Je (French) I
Sy (Afrikaans) she; silk

                                     ray of Off-tawb peacock-tailing 14Off-tawb / آفتاب (Farsi) sunlight
the sword wielding (Male) lion/           of the ex-flag
and under the Sun/                                   male is male15male / میل (Farsi) desire

8.1

Female is male16Male / میل (Farsi) desire
                           mal17Mal (Afrikaans) crazy
                           mal18Mal (French) bad
                           maal19Maal (Afrikaans) time; to grind; to circle
Maal / مال (Farsi) worldly possession

                           male20Male (Afrikaans) times
Male is female

8.1.0.1

to ascend
is to leave behind
all that is male
ruby-red may21May / می (Sufi term) wine

8.2

S(he)
(S)he
(Sh)e
(She)
(S)(h)(e)
()She
She()
)She(
S(je)22Je (French) I
S(I)
(P)sy23Sy (Afrikaans) she; silk
Psychologically speaking
every pronoun contains at least one first person

Fricatives started as a dialogue between the two poets Khashayar Mohammadi and Klara du Plessis, a discussion of the importance and significance of the voiceless velar fricative “x” in linguistics, “g” in Afrikaans and “خ” in Farsi. The poetic dialogue revolves around the use, misuse, and signification of said fricative in different aspects of language.

Winner of the 2019 Pat Lowther Memorial Award, Klara du Plessis’s (her) debut collection, Ekke, was released from Palimpsest Press. Her second book is Hell Light Flesh, 2020. Klara is a poet, critic, and literary curator and resides in Montreal.

Khashayar Mohammadi (he/his) is a queer, Iranian-born, Toronto-based poet, writer, translator and photographer. He is the author of poetry chapbooks Moe’s Skin (ZED press, 2018), Dear Kestrel (knife | fork | book, 2019), and Solitude is an Acrobatic Act (above/ground press, 2020). His debut poetry collection, Me, You, Then Snow, was published by Gordon Hill Press in spring of 2021.

2×4^2 © Collusion Books, 2021. ISBN 978-1-7772244-9-3 (digital).
All rights reserved by the named contributors. Editing, design, and layout by Andy Verboom.
Animations based on work by the Seeing Speech project at the University of Edinburgh.
Collusion Books operates in Kjipuktuk, Mi’kmak’i, the traditional, unceded, and unsold territory of the Mi’kmaq.