Uncle Parviz

Off the Silk Road
Our Land Rover is parked in a gravel lot
We have rhubarb drink over white cotton fields
With no end, fresh morning breeze over Neyshabur
Turquoise land sings to its Roof, Mount Binâlud
And smiles at us young children from Tehran
Our vacant summer time
In Grandpa’s.
Uncle Parviz
Takes us to see dead poets
Omar Khayyam, Farid al-Din Attar,
Dead painter Kamal-ol-Molk, old-time
Buddies of the dust and far-seeing ravens
Their footsteps on the unpaved road, their
Ghosts molding our souls in a solid way
Like gods of Primordial Times. On the
Way back, black mantle of night falls,
Half-asleep, scraped knees, we sing
The vowels of a new world.
Every day,
A mystery, a wild wonder.
Uncle Parviz shows us his little cinema,
A small vault into the wall of the courtyard
His hand winding a projector, against a
White sheet, moving pictures, hand-drawn
In blue ink, funny faces, his limber voice
From behind, telling us a story.
We sit upon the stairs, watch
His acting out a tragedy, his imagined
Fights with Grandpa, our breaths held,
His escape into night for good, we all cry.
Missing Uncle returns home thirty years
Later, we wipe our tears, burst into joy,
Uncle Parviz returns home
A white-bearded Dervish
One night
We walk to the movies, all of us
Children and Uncle Parviz, first time
I see humongous screen. Huge, cavernous
Hall of darkness speaks to me, moving colour
Picture rolls into me, sews my body to
My seat. Jack and his Beanstalk
Climb into the deepest centre of
My imaginings.
On the way home,
Sounds of our shoes pounding
Empty street cobbles and kerbs, meows
Of alley cats under a starry night without
Moon, Uncle Parviz whistles and
Echoes to us, children,
“I’ll be famous one day,
You will see!”

©2010, Azadeh Azad

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