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New York
Four post-9/11 poems >>>Also in Persian

February 11, 2007

New York
New York bent down
And cried
In the Atlantic waters

She suffered a wound 
To her spine

Then she remembered
The old wounds of her kids
From the Netherlands and Ireland
From black Africa
From Poland and the Ukraine
And the oases of the Holy Land

No! She will rise again
And let the sun
Shine on her face
And her children
Will hold hands
And come back to dance
Around her whirling skirt

September 11, 2001

But Larks have not forgotten to fly
And grass still sprouts from the earth of Kabul
And rivers are replenished by the snows of Pamirs
And the groves of Samangan are filled with sounds of birds
Tahmineh will stand by the road
Unveiled, with gleams of joy in her eyes
And Rostam will dismount Rakhsh
He'll see no ordeal facing him
But love, love, only love.

Thus the cannons will go silent
and the tanks rust under the green moss
And the soldiers return to their garrisons
And the turbaned to their temples
And the children to their desks
And the country girls will come to the city
Shouting in the alleys:
"Flowers! Flowers! Flowers!" 
And the old poet of the city of Toos*
Will look toward the east
From the balcony of his garden
And say in the sweet words of Dari:
"Ah, Kabul! Do not suffer any longer
Or shed your blood in vain
Roodabeh will untie her hair again
It falls from her high balcony
And Zal will rise to his love".

November 13, 2001
Ferdowsi of Toos is the great Persian epic poet who wrote Shah Nameh a thousand years ago, in which Roodabeh, the daughter of the king of Kabul gives birth to Rostam, the greatest Iranian mythical warrior.


Iranian Panic
On the Greyhound bus
There is the empty place of a man
Who has gone to In-n-Out for lunch
The other passengers have all returned
The driver is looking behind
Through his side mirrors:
A man is biting his hamburger
A little boy is taking Cheetos
From a big puffy bag
With his saffron fingers
And a woman is speaking Spanish
on her cell phone
I ask myself:
Who will stand for him
Who will call his name?
This is not Iran
But I have an Iranian panic
His book of Rumi is on the ground
His khaki jacket is hanging behind the seat
The driver puts his hand on the horn
I hear within its sound
The moans of a man punched and kicked

November 6, 2006


To a Soldier's Wife
I see you looking at him
In a mortuary in your town
Where the chimneys have darkened the sky
And poverty passes in its black suit.

There, I became a drop of tear
Falling from your beautiful eyes
Onto his sutured mouth
And his torn body
And I became a mournful cry
From your tightened throat
As his casket was carried away
And placed into the shameless ground.

Did you ask his mother
When he took his first step
And what was his first word
And who got his first smile?
His last cry can still be heard
When the American god of war
Put a machine gun in his hands
And sent him to the battlefield:
"Kill! Or be killed!"

I know that he loved you
And tenderness had polished his eyes.
When did you kiss him first
And for the last time
With what dream
Did you send him off?

>>>Above poems in Persian


Majid Naficy's books include Muddy Shoes; Father and Son and Modernism and Ideology in Persian Literature. He lives in Los Angeles.


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Majid Naficy


Book of the day

Stories From Iran
A Chicago Anthology 1921-1991
edited by Heshmat Moayyad



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