Ruhollah and Me (My First Blog)

Well it’s been I guess about a month since I started posting here, and that was after about two years that I couldn’t be with things Iranian because it was too painful, actually. And then there were the two years previous to that when I first came to things Iranian (and hidden somewhere in this website that story is quietly told, partially in poem). And before that were the first forty four years of this life that sails like a boat.

And in this past month or so as I approach completion of one half century on this earth that sails like a boat, I feel I’ve gotten to know some of you somewhat surprisingly well. And some of you have indicated the same to me, and this gives me more happiness than you can possibly know. And you’ve known me to speak in different voices and sometimes also in tongues. But I’ve never blogged because I’ve found myself drawn to babbling on your babble instead. 0:D (Smiley Emoticon with halo). It seemed so much more imortant. But finally yesterday one of you asked me about my poems. And that was when I knew it was time to start posting my Persian-related poems. I have a whole book of them called “Notebooks from the Persia Within” and they were written between 2003 and 2005. And one is hidden quietly within the womb of this website. And the rest I now shall post.

But the first one I wrote was actually, surprisingly written in 1989. And it keeps coming back to me in this past month, as I listen to all of you here. Haunting me, so to say. I was thirty then and the world was changing in oh so many ways. And things which seemed stable had liquified, and things which liquid solidified. And the Soviet bloc was beginning to collapse and Tianamen Square had happened. And a man had died in a country I knew very little about despite the fact that I possessed a very privileged advanced education in the Humanities, with two degrees in Spanish literature and much focus on Al-Andaluz, whose caliphate I was never ever even told was Persian. I say all this just so you know how little about you in Amrikaa is known.

But I knew that a most glamorous king and queen had graced the cover and pages of Life magazine in 1971 when I was I eleven years old. And then when I embarked on that privileged edducation at Columbia University, in 1976, fine men and women, and some from my college, from the land of the glamorous king and queen, would stand at tables at Astor Place even in the cold, with large graphic pictures of tortures the king and queen had done to people of political persuasions perhaps not unlike my own. Always with petitions when they were there, and almost always there..

Then, suddenly one day there was a man in black with eyes as black as a crow, and also there were hostages, and that was all I knew. And everything started going black, and over the next couple of years the image of the glamorous king and queen were somehow replaced in my mind by a woman dressed like a crow, standing before a very large picture of that same man with eyes as black as coal. And sooner or later those very same fine men and women who’d stood out in the cold, with graphic pictures of people just like me who’d been tortured by the glamorous king and queen, were standing again on Astor Place, with other petitions andgraphic pictures of tperhaps the same or different people tortured by the crow. And then everything went completely black except for the sound of the crow. And then one day it was 1989, and this is what I wrote:



In Poland people vote.

In China people die.

In Iran the man with the eyebrows

meets his turbanned god in his mosque in the sky.


The agitated crowd flocks to the rooftops.


In Iran maybe people will vote.

In Iran maybe people will die.

Probably people will vote and die.


The angry crowd rocks the rooftops.


And I am troubled

by a great, desperate and dictatorial love

for the Poles, the Chinese and the man with the eyebrows

saying save us we are drowning

to his turbanned god in his mosque in the sky.


if I love you can I kill you?


ayatollah ayatollah I am drowning I am drowning


Robin Jayne Goldsmith, 1989




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