This is My Post Mortem

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Shuddhashar: What is it that you strive to explore and convey through your poetry?

Kosal Khiev: I strive to explore more layers of myself as well as the world around me. The world is rarely black and white but more shades of gray and all the other colors in the rainbow. And I hope my poetry conveys a different perspective from what one is used to seeing. Sometimes all it takes is a pivot in position in order to see another view.


Shuddhashar: How do you interpret the present world, and how have current events spurred you to write?

Kosal Khiev:  Our current world seems to have leapt from the pages of George Orwell’s 1984. Very sci-fi, futuristic exciting, yet very scary in so many different ways.


Shuddhashar: What literary pieces – poetry, fiction or non-fiction – and writers have informed and inspired your own writing? How have they done so?

Kosal Khiev:  I find inspiration from all things around me. Mostly from unknown writers and poets. During open mics where they face their fears for the first time of performing what they have written.


Shuddhashar: In what way do your personal identity and experiences shape your poetry?

Kosal Khiev: In all ways. Poetry was and is my lifeline.


Shuddhashar: How do you use structure, language and grammar to accentuate the message of your poetry? Do you subscribe to conventions or break them?

Kosal Khiev: I tend to follow the beat of my own drum. Not necessarily breaking convention but how best to convey a story or emotion.


Shuddhashar: What is your opinion about the conflicts and solidarities between political poetry and the literary and artistic values of poetry?

Kosal Khiev: I think all poetry serves a purpose. Whether it’s to delight you with wordplay or inspire you to think on a deeper level. Poetry is political.


Shuddhashar: Does your poetry transcend national boundaries? Does it appeal to different nationalities or linguistic groups?

Kosal Khiev: I would very much like to think so. I am of southeast Asian descent, born a refugee during war. Raised in California. A former gang member, ex-felon as well as a deportee. I have friends from all walks of life. And I feel in the end of it all, we are all trying to connect on some sort of level.






Walk with me… (War memories)

From the fields to the hills

Where the pastures ever greener.

Them killing fields was real

With a slave posture, and demeanor.


All black everything.

So you know,

we all looking similar.

Red sash for a blood bath.

It was all familiar.


And you can almost hear her.


due to bombs dropped

encroaching ever nearer.


Very possible,

she pleaded for her life.

But that scythe cut her down

like she was made out of rice.


Kill her or be killed.

He was told twice.


So when that blade made way,

And fear took hold.

His eyes turned opaque,

As his fear went bold.


Rage aimed at self-hatred,

for he was too scared to say.

I would rather die,

but it was all too late..


So he zombied off into battle

And said goodbye to his shadow.

His appetite was ravenous,

With the gait of a scavenger.


Came across a ravine,

Full of downstream passengers.

Felt like a dream

if not, for that scream filled laughter.


And in between, came piercing.

A cry for a, happily ever after.

It was a scene of serene peace.

Far from this maniacal chapter.


But as pages turn as do years roll.

Sages burned into cursed scrolls.

He grew old with an opaque soul.


With eyes oblique,

brimming with tears,

That never unfroze.


Accompanied by a million ghost.

All speaking in a silent code.



how does life go…


We’ve been waiting to be floated upstream.

Down that dream you thought once saw.


Syllables you caught,

and once heard.


The wind had whispered.


Free her.


Let her go.


So she can return home

And be at peace..


And you can finally sleep.


Cause them haunting memories is daunting.

He can forever see the gauntlet.


Covered in blood of the slaughtered.


he can never escape,

the face of his daughter.


Bubbling out,

From underneath that water.


Daddy I love you!

I forgive you.

It wasn’t your fault.

You was never meant to falter.


But evil men came with fiery flames,

And their bodies became your altar.


You sacrificed your life

thinking to be a martyr.

Instead, you became

one of the walking dead,

With nothing left to offer.


So here’s my offering

Your offspring

Here to reclaim your honor…


Your honor,

Pardon me,

for my artistry.

But this picture makes it hard to speak.

The framework of this hurt,

Makes it hard to reach.

Those that are so far out of reach.

Out of speech.

I beseech!

Out of peace.

How do we begin to live

How do we forgive

Time has been calling me 

To be linear.

The minute, and minuscule 

The micro that expands beyond the physical, 

digital age of informational 


being burned 

to awaken our human spiritual molecule. 

This is the miracle.

Individual experiences laid bare,

Where moments become critical 

Shift the spectrum.

The other end is meaningful.

Full of dreams,

And I’m catching every syllable.

Can you see the invisible?

Visual so vivid.

Feels like it’s video scripted.

But this life,

depicted image

Is the way we live it.

So livid,

red hot from all the friction.

Strategically divided.

Then left a remainder after division.

Each boxed in, and replicated.

Each locked in, and heavily medicated.

Speech at a toxin level

of lividity. 

Spinning deities with envy.

Plenty you see in the frenzy.

Mad feelings,

They be telling me.

Drink up! Before your cup is empty.

So here’s a toast.

To those making the most out of nothing.

To Those living with ghosts,

I feel you.

I feel ’em too.

It’s haunting.

So salute,

Here’s a promise.

If it means, her life, or mine

This time around,

It’s death before dishonor…




This is my post mortem

This is my post mortem

metamorphose with caution

spent a better part of my life in a coffin


He’s been torn, and mended in portions

Distorted, and warped.

Placed out of order with caution-tape

placed over his story.

“Parental advisory”

But there’s no hiding me.

I’m out in your front steps,

barefooted on blacktops.

hat snap backwards

with a pair of flip-flops

in the back pocket

Shooting off

like a rocket

like what’s chasing him

Ten bald-headed men

dressed in dickies ’n benz

Hootin’ and hollarin’

While blue collar are all out hollering

Collar all of them damn bastards

and send ’em to the pastor…


But there’s no pastures

Only ashes

Scattered across fields

of battered dreams

Your memories

were of children laughing

Mine were of screams


While imagining

burning crosses were hung

And there I was slumped

among marshes

calling out to God

heal this heathen

for I was born sick…


Trip and fall deeper

Let these words swallow you

Sink within these lines

Like you just time-travelled through

And let these bars bother you

Like you feel your lungs tighten

and you’re fighting for your life

Like you feel the noose around your neck

And you’re feeling like you’re next


Take a deep breath

Let the next step take process



A pulpit has been resurrected

Behind it

lies a pyre of flames

like hell has been infected

And there I stand

Like a man

that has been injected

with the notion

that the good book

is no longer good..

Look, there he goes

Flow so sporadic

Like an addict

addicted to words

heard within the attic

A clear image discern through the static

I’m seeing in plasma

Colors refracting light like I was covered in magma

That’s lava base molten tumultuous rocks

Forever changing landscapes like I was draped in blocks…




City of Ravens

City of Ravens

Where horns blare

and thorns dare

To stick out

amidst sticks that stand accordingly


if we can afford

to conform to being normal

or ordinary

Scary thing is

My mind’s drawn this picture

before these scriptures ever came

Like I have seen the slaying of my brothers

And felt the mothers of Cain

Like I’ve heard her thundering rage

When Adam has misbehaved

and blamed it on Eve

cause he was lost in his ways.

I’ve seen hell open

Within the bars of a steel cage.

Iron wrought

Bought to contain our youths rage

Why educate

When we can produce slaves

Homage to Eric Gardner

Rest In Peace Maya Angelou

Tell Dr. Luther

I’m still living his dream

I just can’t let it go

If you see my grandmother

Please let her know

I’m back in her land

with hands ready to sow

And you can tell Nixon and Fitzgerald

You can claim body

but you can’t claim soul…


Indigenous. First Nation.

Cherokee, Geronimo

This is that Sioux,


Trail of tears,

They call it, “manifest destiny”

I call ’em Men of fear

I wanna sah touk.

Burn incense for all the lives took.

Been a pawn too long.

Need all my Rooks out.

Fuck a bishop,

Cause that’s what they used.

Ideology, psychology, physiology

to wipe us all out,

and it’s true.

So to all my dark knights


galloping underneath that starlight

Shine bright

keep fighting the good fight

Humanity hear you

long after the good fight

This is Hood might

Navaho Chieftain

Chiefing on peace pipes.

Long after division,

Still searching for meaning,

in all of the killing.

See, I’m on that peyote vision


Natural built up DMT,

Watch me coyote jet.

Next to road runner.

My other gunner

Covering my other left.

The enemy of my enemy, is my best friend.

And we’ve been fighting too long

the same men

Time to unify

May mayday

Sound the call

United as one

As all the tribes blend…



Native Son

Times is crazy like times of slavery

Remember how it feels in them fields

How it made me

Picking potatoes and okra

With a cup of Folgers

In the dead summer heat

Praying, let it be over

It was 95 in July

I was full of pride

15, that year I died

I don’t know how many times

Saw both God and the Devil

Didn’t know which was who

Shoveled my way into hell

And that’s where I grew

Where the preacher preached

About the 7 headed beast

Spoke of no peace

His speech was unleashed

Preaching God and Revelation

How His patience ran thin

Chasing and aching for Salvation

’Cause he was knee deep in sin

And we was his sheep

Poor souls in need to be redeemed

With his paddle he would waggle

Let us be clean…



See I was taught dreams were illegal

How dare I acted regal

I was taught to be a hamster

How dare I acted like an eagle

Little did they know

I was also a panther

A native son to my people


I’m busting back now

With a clap like thunder,

in the Kingdom of Wonder

I know you hear me overseas

In the state you’re under

Fear running rampant like a plague

Spread in the dead of summer

But I got feathers in my head

So I’m flying high

in the sky

full of colors

I know you hate it

While my loves ones love it

you buzzards

See you in desperation mode

as you plotted to plunder

Schemes to imprison me

You figured

I would lay still

While being smothered

Little did they know

My spirit would seek to hover…


I was taught dreams were illegal

How dare I acted regal

I was taught to be a hamster

How dare I acted like an eagle

Little did they know

I was also a panther

A native son to my people


You can be a Blood

And still end up in blues

You can be a Crip

And still bleed red

It’s true

But I’m a Raider head

With a third eye view

So everything I see

is full of grey hues

Shadows in the limelight

Take a look at how time flies

Real talk

Reminisce just to miss

How many times I could have died

So now I’m trying to live between the seconds

Tell my love ones

How much I love ’em in the present


See, I was taught dreams were illegal

How dare I acted regal

I was taught to be a hamster

How dare I act like an eagle

Little did they know

I’m also a panther

A native son to my people




Auroral Lights

Like Nomads

I’ve walked through pastures of solitude.

Found myself among the stars and shot through.


Wonder if you heard me call you?

Out, out, out in the wild where no one knows nothing about you.


See, I see more than just exterior.

You’re my mirror image of my interior. Designs shines my darkest corners,

so every corridor is filled with your aroma.


I space out and fall deeper.

Until I suffer from overexposure.

But I ain’t falling back, I’m knee deep in it.


Swimming in its moistures.


Foraging, exploring forests,

it’s a wonderland

and I’m dancing in its overture.


That’s a prelude to this orchestra.


I’m sure there’s more to come.

More to be done.

More sunset as the sunrises with more prizes to be won.


No longer counting losses.

We’re living large.

Only counting blessings,

praise to God,

we keep ’em guessing.


So let ’em ignore us, while we focus on what’s more important.

Legacy, destiny, bless me.

Fortune favors the brave, so let ’em test me…..


This is flow gone wrong.

Call it lost in reverie.

’Bout to switch it up

like Sal before Kosal

and he was just a refugee.


Dirty little monkey from the southeast. Pledge allegiance to the flag,

that’s what they told me.


But you can hear the villain in back.

Go ahead, and hold your heart,

’cause we’ll never hold you back.


So go ahead and hold your heart,

and keep yourself intact.


Manifest your dreams and let ’em beam through this vacuum beast.

There’s a monster in the background scene.

Eating up lives like it ain’t no thing.


So sing a song, better yet spin a poem, and watch this monster cringe.

Watch the belly rip open and see what this monster brings…


villages, cities, nations, populations, depopulated through starvation. Inoculated to obey without patience,

upon the use of force

with deadly means to relocate them,

to the afterlife or prison cages.


These are the stages of hell

and I’ve lived it.

Been through hell and back,

but in the midst of it.


Heaven reigned supreme

within my dreams beyond freedom.


So erase hate,

and hold your heart in love.

Write it in your veins like it’s the only pulse.


So when you get squeezed,

know nothing else comes close,

to the feeling of being free,

with the power of choice,

how you react,

when you assert your power of voice.


So speak, and be heard

when you stand amongst the herd.

We are neither wolf, nor sheep.

We are the shepherd.


Destined to watch,

and walk along pastures

growing desolate.

So I call this flow, desperate.


It’s evident. It’s relevant.

We’ve lost sight on what’s heaven sent.

It ain’t a messiah

riding on a white pegasus.


It’s that drug addict.

Clicking and clacking.

Fingernails rapping,

itching and scratching,

while desperately

trying to kick his bad habit.


But the dark horse

got him by the veins,

and it’s black magic.


And he can feel the reins slipping.

And you can feel the pain sizzling.






Drum me up a killing.


And it was there,

as the air about him turn cold,

he can hear God

within the center of his own soul.


Hold onto to your Dreams,

and never let them go.


I can see you growing old

with a village to bestow

what you’ve learnt,

and left on that once dark road..


Yellow bricks.

I’m yellow tint.

Feelings spent.

Fingers bent.

Except the middle.

Riddle this.

Why poverty exists.

All I see is meadows


bellow this.

Let the young

and old come, I’m plentiful.

Let’s fellowship.

Just for the hell of it.

We hella rich.

Kettle thick.

Born from the iron.


pick pocking locks.




This is my story

and I’m telling it.


So visualize with me.

Grow wings

and fly with me.


I’m sea bound.

Chasing the Auroral lights

From the other side of the world now…



Coming of Age

Love borne

I was conceived between the tree trunks of my mother’s knees.


I imagined she screamed our peace with a belly swollen holding on to me.


See back then I was just a seed.


Thoughts have yet to formulate

I was too weak.


Malnourished from the hunger

I felt her hunger speak


But she couldn’t weep yesterday’s sorrows cause tomorrow’s were full of woes.


So the story goes..


My father came back from the dead,

But I was hidden.


Forbidden from his keep,

I was the youngest brother of seven.


Born in the eighties.

A refugee camp baby.


I was born crazy with a destiny that refused to lay lazy.


So the state raised me like bonsai trees wrapped in steel wire

with shackles on my feet.


That day it rained sheets of ice snow.

I remembered clearly how I shivered

It was so ice cold.


And there,

for the first time

I heard the beast’s breathing.


And like spoils of war we was offered.


Into the land of fathers with no fathers.


Fatherless sons;

who got lost within these deep waters.


Clearly we were boys playing to be men.


In pursuit to be warriors bathed in sin.

We were boys, taught by boys,

claiming to be men.


So my rites of passage

came through the devils den.


But I was destined not to die


So what didn’t kill me,

Made me stronger in my eyes.


You see, I was love borne

Conceived between the tree trunks of my mother’s knees.


And as I grew like bonsai trees

wrapped in steel wire.


I grew and broke free

And rose even higher…




Started out grey, now my days are colorful.

Meaning, I got dreams within the Kingdom, and it’s full of wonders.

And what a wonderful feeling.

Used to be in them street corners dealing.

Now I’m reeling, reeling.

Out in the SEA,

and I’m peeling, healing.

Could it really be?

Seeing, and


freedom, feel me.

What a scene.

This scenic route took me.

From route 66 to overseas,

Somebody please pinch me.


My real ones know.

Journey been old.

Started long ago,

On that yellow brick road.

Use to sling dope.

Now I’m slinging words,

Like David, with a rock, and a rope.

Heard a guy yell in the back.

This is for Hope!

Might as well go for broke.


It’s a slingshot, shot,

In the dark, and I’m going for its throat.


Goliath in a downfall.

Heard ’em all sigh in the nightfall.

Behold, you are now,



The Legend of Kosal.


See we did it our way


Back in our day

Pacino Vito

Corleone we was Scarfaces

Original hard cases


As the dusk turn to dust,

You can see his eyeballs,

bulging .

Where the rock hit him,

And I’m still holding.

Hock spit ’em, and

I’m still throwing,


Cuff off the shoulders.

Rough around the culture.

Left for the vultures.

But here I am, back!

With strength incredible.




golden hot.

Lava flow.

Molten rocks.

Dalai Lama dough.

Law of attraction,

And I’m basking in the action,

Slowly, slowly,

Emotions flowing,


Ocean’s glowing,


Oh!  What an oldie.


everything to self,

And everyone who came,

before me,

And after

let ’em ask ya…


I’m paying homage to the old me.

Started back in 9-3

I was 13,

Jason Voorhies.

Having Freddy dreams,

Living poorly.

Poor me.

Poor he.

Should’ve never slept.

Now you’re feeling kept.

Eyes slitted like steel grates,

Like they never wept.

Shank at the bedside,

Just in case they crept.

Two on either side as the door popped.

Two tools in the hand as the mole dropped.

It was two in the morning too late before the sound off.

Nothing left to do, but to growl on.

This is our song.

Our poem.

Written on them gun towers.

Twenty-four hours, who would have known.

It all came down to mind power…

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