The gibbons
deep, guttural cries
mark territory
with swelled throats.
I watch.
Is this my home?
Is this where I come from?

At graduation,
I sat with my family.
Grandfather recited a prayer I did not understand.
“Jang!” he said.
“Jang,” I agreed.
Arms raised.
I shook them as he did.
Knew it meant something powerful.

tea in hand,
around the rug,
My father woke us from the quietude:

“I am Hussein. I am Sadrollah. I am Camiar. I am Talat. I am Aziz. I am Mariam. I am Khadijeh. I am Ismail. I am Ayatollah. I am mountain. I am desert. I am spring. I am freedom. I am unity. I am Mohammad. I am Esfehan. I am Hooshmand. Son of Ayatollah. I am Hooshmand. I am Hooshmand. I am Hooshmand.”

It moved me very much.

Was this my home?
Was this where I came from?
I asked him to write it for me.
He did not remember.
“I just say it now,” he laughed.

I remember only details:
A taxi,
the chick I bought from the vendor,
the golden cage,
mohst, a Persian yogurt,
I fed to my pet.
My grandmother upset.
Khan Joon, my
great grandmother,

Ayatollah in a yellow hallway.
Young and tall.
He looked at me for a moment.

Her arms.
The room spinning.
smiling at me.
Hands on my wrists.

This is all I remember.

Other memories,
not mine,
are told to me,
as if,
I simply
could not
But no amount of digging
can bore water
from an empty well.

my Father said,
I must write for Iran,
for his sister, Soheila,
for all those poets
who are being persecuted.

“You are their voice!” he shouted.

He almost convinced me.

Still lost
Stations A and B
I did not know
how to convert
miles to hours.

The child’s desk
he had bought for me.
My left hand
dark from the lead.
His voice urging me on,
“Again! A-gain!”

He almost convinced me.

In the lounge –
Say Anything
on the screen
in the background –
His voice
a whisper,
“I will send you wherever you want after you finish your degree.”

He almost convinced me.

My mom puts cardamom in my tea,
“Is special ingredient.”
My wife calls me baby.
My dog snarls like Elvis when I smoke.
Our roommates are barely ever home.
My brothers live far away.
My father’s sharp laugh.
Reunions at Broadkill Beach.
Marshmallows and saffron,
poppies and dill,
the deep color red.
These things I know.

I drink from my hand,
an endless well,
whole in spirit.
ears intact,
I see no winter
or dead flies in cupboards.
No voices to tell me what I am
or judge to shout wrong.
Only gibbons in a far off canopy.
A lonely bear on a mountaintop.
A humpback whale 300 miles away.
The plant on my desk.
The earth beneath my feet.

Happily shipwrecked.
My possessions in my throat.
The New Moon
drops into the valleys of my hand.
Great rivers of intoxication.
I drink what I am I am.
American lands.
Arapahoe country.
Canyon Boulevard.
Boulder, Colorado.
I am mine. I remember.
I am mine! I shout.

October 26, 2004 11:35 PM

1 comment:

Say said...

help me Pirooz, my legs ache.

you are you.