* Tower of Identity
Against this tower, towering doubt, bemused and
so struck with dark, and what’s behind I
dare not know, civilization watch
ticking at my wrist.
Who’s there? Lights have sealed
the tower’s maze, blinding lights
burst on its pane, surrounding its flag-pole,
blind to my window’s wink.
* A Reef
I need someone to tell me
what shapes my mind.
The light grows less, the more
I self-reflect, and currents within the laps of
my cave fall.
Does brutal air weigh down with a frost?
Does Autumn speak fewest lines?
What makes being grafted to our essence?
Not sure of roots but leaf and branch alone.
Life comes over us by foil and force
and thickening first then flays us to the
for death is its course, and our illusions
* We are In-Between Islands
We are in-between islands.
Between their waters, spirit dishes a
life it bled.
And sun moves unkindly on the flesh.
The odor of empathy stains
the memory with a shape of
They grow like spring grass,
those pledges of faith flocking
around the islands.
A Veteran of Love
All night long I glance
against the empty roof of love
glancing at me.
Be easy, nothing changes that you move
not even your heart.
That I have known like a century,
written on my heart’s envelope, sent
Will it die if it’s delivered?
It’s not love but pain that keeps the journey alive,
as if I know.
I call for love’s unity,
but the envelope’s dusted:
I am capable of delivering
my own alienation.
* Hoping a Civil Day
Ravaged by a nightmare
I engage the morning gear, dressed in hope.
Hope in what, where, whom?
For my car’s inveterate start,
fuel lines clear, ignition smart,
distributing hope and fire together,
and hope no treachery in morning traffic,
trusted only in perfect still.
* Shade of Shades
Once while I slept, life rolled up
like a shade, its branches smelling strong.
Of the dream I can only remember lights and
song lifted before a shade worn in sun’s light,
the sweet gleam of lights,
their branches betraying us all in their effervescent
To dance with the shades, that I can do very well.
* My Crisis
What must I do?
I circle my sphere and
cause the loud speaker:
love, hate, heal, sever, perish, peace.
Desires of the mind for
right and wrong over
the speed of light there quiver
like oracles that instruct us
as worm waywards for
cold and hot words apart.
Harmony is always someone else.
Clouded judgments, whatever their source.
Bury the metal from my tongue,
for the venoms I spit, a
and along the shores of my lips, a
I will talk of stones and flames, warming
me like a warrior. No one can amend
my desires. My loyalties come
Talk peace, neckpiece, pieces of stone,
talk of taking, not giving.
Are we within the rigor
of a fine sphere?
Wilderness crowds my breast.
I call for the bow of honor and find the arrow
* Watching the Other
At the twisted junction of civilizations,
up from the dark to this darker time,
the engines of dialogue churn new converts
climbing up the folded bridges past our
moments of estrangement.
My neighbor has no appeal except for
techniques of his washing machine.
The heart dictates an urgent visit
leaving the spirit safe and sound
from the freighted haul of
I am no foreign correspondent.
Faced with redefining me role in the
world, dealing with implications, globalization,
proliferation, cultural relativization, trans-border variations,
not to mention carnal multiplication, only content
to keep my selfish dimension.
I read and lecture about coexistence
and shut my window to the other, thinking
When I was young in a poets’ land, their
salt breath swam eastward even when westward like
a perpetual game of masquerade of
curved spaces as a cave curves the waves,
bearing perfect in a strike of stanza.
I home in on the memory that sweets the air
gripping within its purchase east and west
like a hungry beast.
My talents shudder to their ghosts of savior
cruising the meadow, like a white footed mouse
poising in wonder, no shame to warm old souls
like sheltering islands from ocean swell,
wishing myself a safe passage to the skill
of god’s butcher.
Subscribe to The Iranian newsletter
Sign up for our daily newsletter to get the top news stories delivered to your inbox.