Sunday, August 22, 2010

Now; Green!

I am in Houston, trying to look normal, despite the wild humidity that crazing my frizzy hair, tripling its size. I always walk with an out of proportion head in Houston.

Since Zambezi left us, Zeitoon has become more sensitive to my absence. So I am a bit worried to be far from him at the moment. His protective gaze and forceful head-kicks concerns me every time I am leaving the house.

School and Work:
Another semester will begin next week. It looks like it will be my most intense semester; I will be defending my dissertation topic. I am trying to set the dates of the colloquium for some time before the end of November. Also I am looking forward to my first TAship at UT. The art history survey courses at our department engage students equally in art-seeing and art-reading. TAs will held most of their sessions in local museums and galleries. Thinking of New York’s rich cultural resources, I wish we could do this in our survey courses at Brookly College.

The summer heat has not gone, yet, fall is closer. Three full years far from home! Home is Iran; home is my brother; home is an argument over dinner with my aunt; home is my mom’s soft hands over my hair.

It is painful to be far, to not be home, to only read about home; to read about the inhuman adventurous path of Iranian regime, to read about the possibility of war, to hear of the long sentences and harsh conditions of political prisoners. It is hard to be far; to see one’s home reduced to digital images and printed words.

Believing in progress is tricky and being progressive is not easy. We shan’t forget that in all its beauty being Green - Iranian Green - is painful. We shan’t forget this Green is not alone, it is many. We shan’t forget the rainbow behind the Green. We shan’t forget fall always passes to winter and spring is close. This is perhaps one of those rare moments that I can allow myself to find peace in the metaphor of changing seasons!

Green, Houston, August 2010,

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost In The Distance!

I wish I had told him,
the old Farsi teacher who was asking me how he can apply for Canad immigration and if they need Farsi teachers?

I wish I had told him then,
before the painful forms, before the long corridors, before the exhaustion of experience,
and before the cost of memory!

I wish I had told him,
Farsi is a lost cause here.

I wish I had told him,
my mother tongue is buried deep under, and I cannot even hold my breath long enough to swim over and fetch it, not even in my dreams.

I wish I had told him,
my dreams are closer to the language of Foucault these days,
and Hafez has shrunk to a book on the extended bookshelf.

And believe it or not Foucault is a nightmare when dreamed!

I wish I had told him,
about the bitter taste of lost scents;
the smells that never leave and are lost in lust,
the smells of places and people,
and the smell of the ruins of one’s childhood!

I wish I had told him,
apples are tasteless here,
and there are no chubby Lebanese sweet lemons in reach!

I wish I had told him,
His students will always have bad handwriting and
They always expect the highest grade.

I wish I had told him,
at the end he will be a distant father of a happily married Canadian son,
With lifelong bills to pay,
And a thick Middle Eastern accent,
Which from time to time will remind him that he does not belong!

I wish I had told him all these in Farsi,
Before he gets lost in this distance like me.

I gave him the names of the two immigration attorneys, translated his CV and paid his application fee with my American-Express!

The Distant Kitchen,
Chickpea Chateau, August 2010

*I wrote this piece originally for the Shape of Change, this is an online archival project , which I am collaborating with. Find the blog of the project here.

Monday, August 02, 2010

The Kitchen Is Quiet!

The Kitchen is quiet.
The kettle is not belly dancing.
The order is a lost sense, here!

The kitchen is quiet.
The light bulb has gone cold.
There is no glory in the forced harmony of the three little blue plates above the sink!

The kitchen is quiet.
The cardamom jar is scentless.
The walls have grown, since you left!

Chickpea Chateau, July 2010,