A song for the old country
September 17, 1999
Came upon this poem yesterday. It was written, in fact, in a night-club
off Esteqlal Street, downtown Istanbul in 1997 Don't know what to think
of it now. Once finished, you can only read your work from the outside.
Such is the case with this one. Nothing to write home about, but I remember
being emotionally struck at the time of its composition. And, to my surprise,
it does have bearing upon the current predicament.
Life in difficult lanes
The tumult of the hour
What is happening
to my country?
The shame of not having met with your will
The will to be free men and wage war at the
mercilessness of your condition
The failure of waiting till you have reached the
end of your rope
The repetition of such ambulatory vigil.
The fear of not having confronted the deed, to
feel like you have always been in the wrong,
Your instincts wronged dust-bitten
Your powers fake and ever in the midst of
God gave you the power, now you are god's
Ready to make your dwindling knees meet the dust
In your heart rages endless incantations of your
Your eyes spittles of fire, ears moth with the
cloud of a hundred thousand noises
Voices sugar brown molasses,
Sweet old stench of infinite stories repeated
Your cat need no caress, attention missing from
the scene. Its geographical sign ready to be
interpreted with no one ready to attempt exegeses
You stall, horses refuse to heed your whip
Being used to you lashes
Rivers of poem no balm for their bruised buttocks
Smile do not hide your smoke tarred teeth,
gapping in the tune of ludicrous unseriousness.
Your body frail beyond recognition
Your pot-belly craving garbanzos in dead meat
Your meat not enough to slack the thirst of your
Your mind ready to jump the bandswagon of any old
Garbanzo gases gushing out of your insouciance.
And you still tolerate the highest injustices in
the name of intransigence
Your intellect fleet-float abroad
Your knees bruise black calluses
Tired of praying to a god which you can only be
certain of in the solitude of your desolation.
And I thought you were alive
Now I know it's the bread-blind abundance of your
Wax-oil happiness ruse-rusted sunshine-dusted
Specter of your foiled unhappiness.
Am falling for your failure in end-year Nissan of
Flowers blowing in winter heat and salt
Desert till eyes-could-no-more-see.
Will love you with an empty heart
And will wonder what you think of me
Your soul your conscience your body
Garbanzoed old junk of a country
Have only sea-weed sweat swears to siphon you.
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