Cordite Review

The Consequences of My Body offers a discourse on desire as it is mediated by the electronic interfaces that obviate the need for ‘skin to skin contact’ even as they turn out to exacerbate it: email, Skype, Facebook, Netflix (and chill). Part of this has to do with Maged Zaher’s unique trajectory as an engineer turned poet who still maintains a ‘day job [as] a software guy – a field in software called enterprise architecture … it is about overarching systems design’. Zaher is based in Seattle, which with its ‘poets, engineers, investment bankers, and – of course – musicians’ provokes some larger thoughts about networks and ‘the oppressive morality of productivity we live under’. Consequences is the work of a savvy poet in one of America’s savviest cities and one is made to feel it in the academic accent of such theoretical interludes as well as in the contrived flatness of Zaher’s low-strung diction: ‘I will / Also hide hope in an okay refrigerator’; ‘Thank you also for the few moments of hope / And for sleep after okay orgasms’. In such verses, ‘okay’ is pitched rather precisely at the point where whimsical satisfaction becomes difficult to discern from jaundice. Such ambiguity offers a clue to the kind of character we are dealing with in the poem: a digital dandy.