Monday, December 19, 2011

Art is by much Weaker than Necessity...

[...]
CHORUS: Shoot not beyond the mark in succouring man While thou thyself art comfortless: for Am of good hope that from these bonds escaped Thou shalt one day be mightier than Zeus.

PROMETHEUS: Fate, that brinks all things to an end, not thus, apportioneth my lot: ten thousand pangs must bow, ten thousand miseries afflict me ere from these bonds I freedom find, for Art is by much weaker than Necessity.
CHORUS: Who is the pilot of Necessity?

PROMETHEUS: The Fates triform, and the unforgetting Furies.
[...]

[Excerpts from Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus, ]





Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Majesty of the Myosotis

There is no magic in the lonely nights,
There is no miracle in the sound of rain,
There is no majesty in the Myosotis near the stony brook,

The magic is made by you!
The miracle is in your happiness after the rain!
The majesty of the Myosotis is in your memory of their tender existence!


*Happy Birthday Brian!



Friday, December 02, 2011

The Black Notebook: An Autumn Rain!


It is raining in Austin; an autumn rain.
Tehran is far away, two oceans away!
The struggle to remember the smell of my hometown in the rain ends in a fiasco of tears.
It is raining in Austin, an autumn rain!
Missing you all! (Dec. 2nd 2011, Austin)

Resting at the bookshelf, the black notebook gave its last page to these lines.
At the end of my shopping list I added, Black Notebook!


Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Gloomy Occasion!

That occasion,
when the day is cold, and the fear is warm,
when the hands are empty, and the eyes are full,
when the night is long and the hope is short,
that occasion, is a gloomy one!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Momentary Pause!

A momentary pause,
The pause before the image attacks you,
The image of your own ruins,
The rush of blood to your veins,
The unimportant veins, that of your little toe,
The toe that its appearance was not noticed and its disappearance won’t make any difference,
No difference to anyone, but you,
And even you will get used to its absence!

A momentary pause,
Before your being recognizes a loss, a vacuum, a void
Before that void takes over the light in your eyes,
Before your eyes shot the image out,
The image of a dead bird,
The bird that got so close to fly all its being into the unknown,
The unknown that takes over your eyes!

There is a momentary pause before the recognition of nothingness,
A momentary pause!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Everyone knew, but the Myosotis!

Everyone knew!
There was no escape; there was no denial,
The night was long and the moon was peculiar,
The light was gone and the garden was frightened,
Everyone knew before it struck,
Everyone knew, but the Myosotis!



Thursday, September 22, 2011

Gone!

Nothing is complete when you are gone,
nothing is full,
the nature responds to your absence,
the moon is gone!


Saturday, September 10, 2011

Autumn Takes

The new semester has begun.
Juggling between teaching and research is disastrous.
My cat is getting old.
The humble pool in the courtyard is drained, and a rug of fallen leaves is covering its empty belly.
Autumn is here and I am not ready for it!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Things that Transcend Time!

There are very few,
things that transcend time,

Courage and consciousness are among them!

There are very few,
things that transcend time,

And they are not even things,
they are concepts associated with feelings and acts,

They are very few,
things that transcend time,

Pain is another!

You have transcended time, and I am left behind!



*Remembering you and your dear comrades!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Rare Commodity!

For a pickerel caught on the hook, hope is a rare commodity, and although he is in the boat close to water, home is a far away place!


Sunday, August 07, 2011

Something Woke Me Up!

I woke up to the occupied forest;
Rain has taken over the populated birds' conversation,

Yet it was not the rain that woke me up,
something did,
something in my dream,
something that made me sigh,

The rain has taken the gloomy forest under its touch;
It was the shine of the green velvety moss that woke me up!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Sunday, July 24, 2011

False Values!

Seconds,
the ongoing seconds,
the false sense of eternity generated out of continuity,

And there is a value to continuity,
and there is a desire for eternity,
false, yet, exist that timeless desire for eternity!

That false value!

Seconds rushing one after the other,
seconds create with pain,
the false sense of eternity
and crush with anguish,
any desire for eternity in any single moment,
for it goes out of existence, the moment the continuity is recognized!

There is a false value to continuity,
for the pain of passing seconds is its only eternal quality!

Time is a hopeless thing when the desire to be is demolished due to its passing!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Terrified!

The moon, yellow and painful,
The pain that expands in yellow,

The moon, bounded and feverish,
The fever that pushes boundaries,

The moon, confident and terrifying,
The terror that breaks confidence,

This feverish moon that terrifies me with pain,
Just look at this moon!


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Haunted Dreams!

Why did I let it be?
Why did I care, why did I cry, why did I cave in, why didn't I care?
Why?

The why that has forcefully occupied my reality,
this never-ending why,
is now haunting my dreams!


Saturday, July 09, 2011

Shadow (I)

The ironic duality of our earthly existence: the sun has no shadows, yet it is the creator of many shadows!


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Crumbs!

For years, cookies were a usual scenery on my coffee table, and there were always crumbs all over the place. I hated crumbs.

Today happy that I have seen no crumbs for some time, I realized there are no cookies!

The living room was shiny, the tea was bitter, and I was alone!



Friday, July 01, 2011

Pausing on History

"There was nothing else to do but work seriously and devotedly, struggle for food, see friends quietly, and look forward to freedom."* I was reading Frances Morris's Paris Post War, Art and Existentialism 1945-55 that I arrived at this quotation by Picasso. I paused. I had to. How could I miss the historical similarities between what we are going through today and the historical accounts of WWII.

Today, not so far from Europe, in Syria, Egypt, Libya, China, Iran, and in many other countries under oppressive totalitarian regimes, artists, intellectuals, thinkers, people, are under similar conditions. Our contemporary experiences of working under oppression is similar and yet different from what Picasso described in 1940s. It is different for the simple fact that today we have access to the accounts of WWII and the postwar era. Today we can allow ourselves to be more hopeful in our fight against oppression.

Picasso was among a few artists who did not leave Europe during the dark years of the Second World War. His descriptions, poetic or factual, unique or collective, have recorded an experience of a sensitive mind, a mind worthy of remembering. For us too, There is nothing else to do, but to work seriously... and look forward to freedom!



*Picasso, The Recent Years: 1939-1946, H. and S. Janis, p.4



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sublime!

When extraordinary becomes ordinary,
When magic becomes a norm,
When sublime loses its power and becomes beautiful,

It is the beginning of our gradual death,
And I will die to stop this death,
to stop becoming ordinary,
to stop the norm,
I will die to keep the sublime!


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Doubt!

Doubt;
This damned detestable damaging distracting distressing distasteful doubt has taken over me!
This doubt has become me!
This doubt is me!
I am it!



Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Distance!

Sometimes I think how far doesn't matter, being far matters, and yet with those who are close to my heart, the distance matters...



Friday, June 17, 2011

My Lovely Fat Male Ginger Cat!


Three States of Mind Around A Balcony With A View:

- The maintenance guy saw my lovely big-boned cat, Zeitoon, on the balcony and yelled at this other handyman, "hey, this is the house of the fat male ginger cat."

- I overheard the comment and went like, "Ouch!" and "He is not fat, he is just big-boned!"

- And Zeitoon was relaxing on his side on the balcony, enjoying the view, looking please and probably thinking, "Are you talking about me. Oh, I am so cute and happy when people notice me, no matter what!"



Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Forgotten Truth!

"Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose..."

"I am responsible for my rose," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember. [The Little Prince, 1943, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Chapter 21]


For some reason I needed to reread this chapter over and over today. For some reason I read The Little Prince couple of times a year. For some reason, I need to make sure I remember!




Sunday, June 12, 2011

There Is No Magic!

There is no magic; it is easy to fall into it. I know!

There is no magic. I know!
What happens after the fall, can take away the magic of it all.

There is no magic!
Believe me, I know,
I was there when they fell for me!




Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Particles of One Moment

The extended moment,
between the crash of coffee scent and the trembling leaves,

The extended moment,
between the red cross of the miss connection and the green lines of connection,

The extended moment
between the existing distance and the realization of that distance,

That moment and its particles,
the extended moment in that insignificant letter
that makes a significant difference
between word and world,

It is in the particles of that moment;
that nonexistence becomes the existence!






Saturday, June 04, 2011

Stopping Time!

While chatting with another comrade in humanities, I thought that not being able to enjoy the moment is a casualty for people who are working in any History related field.

Practice helps!

PS. Recently I have found a great inspiration to Stop Time; to enjoy the moment. (Thanks to BMac!)





Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Grief!

When grief becomes the norm,
it scares away the hope;

When grief becomes the norm,
it takes away the light;

When grief becomes the norm,
it breaks us apart;

When grief is the norm,
being is resistance and existence is bravery!




* In the memory of Ezattolah Sahabi, and his daughter, the activist Haleh Sahabi, who was killed in his funeral today. (news link)






Sunday, May 29, 2011

Somewhere on the Horizon!

As long as you are there, somewhere on the horizon,
far, but there,
I can be!

I know you are there somewhere,
for the faces that have passed you,
have a touch of happiness on them!

I know you are there,
for the swallows that curve the light between us,
have a dance of joy in their wings;
I know they have seen you on the horizon!

I know you are there, somewhere hidden on the horizon,
for the air is smoother on my lungs!

I know you are there,
even if far,
even if I don’t see you,

I know you are there, somewhere on the horizon,
that is how I can be!



Thursday, May 26, 2011

On Writing In General - I

I like to write to make things less ambiguous; to bring unclear thoughts to a clearer filed; to a more concrete grounds. But I often fail. I figured writing does not make thoughts clearer. It does something, but that something is not of a revealing nature.

I like to write to make things more concrete, more frozen in time, to bring thoughts out there. And I think writing does that. While it does not necessarily make things, thoughts, and issues clearer, it does make them concrete. Writing records thoughts and in this freezing act a certain train of thought is concertized in time. This makes writing a more reassuring act than unwritten words; the history becomes more touchable due to writing.

I feel lighter when I write the melancholy of my thoughts. In writing I find safety.





Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Lusty Light Ash

As the wind takes the ashes away from me,
I wonder how many more cigarettes should be lit to break us free of our mass-memory;
As the wind takes the ashes away from me,
I wonder how to be part of the ash, part of the wind;
As the wind takes the ashes away from me,
I wonder how to turn our dusty mass-memory to my lusty light ash!




Monday, May 23, 2011

The Time of Collapse!

The time of collapse is not only the deterioration of a mass,
the time of collapse is not only the falling apart of a body of flesh,
the time of collapse is not only the falling apart of connections,
the time of collapse is the cement under your feet coming at you,
the time of collapse is the stairs flying downwards and upwards,
the time of collapse is the blood and the ideas evaporating all together,

I collapsed!


Never Forget!

The three things that should not be forgotten:

One: The bitterness is not in the wrestling of ideas. It comes afterward, when you are left alone with your ideas!

Two: If you enjoy the match and not the win, don't even give the impression of a winner; you will end up opponent-less!

Three: Even the "Existentialist Hope" drains your human energy, and if you are hesitant to use your animal side, remain a hardcore pessimist for even dreaming is forbidden in this world!





Sunday, May 22, 2011

Wish The Sun!

In the cold misty moment, before the sun warms the leaves,
In the slow motion of turtles in the crowded pond,
In the misplaced wild berry bush on the edge of the trail,
There is a phase filled with absence,
a phase out of place,
a timeless phase, which makes me wish the sun!



Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Life of A Green Ribbon


I arrived at your smiling faces and I tried to hide my dancing cells; they have been in this melodious suspense for 13 days now. Some normal greetings and some joyful gossips and then I revealed the melody of my dancing cells and you went curious, cautious, and then content with my melody. How happy we were; genuinely happy and how much I miss this true feeling of happiness in my life.

In the haze of smoke and spirit I noticed this delicate green ribbon tied around the umbrella pole on our table. I glanced at it and said “Nice!” You got me right away, saying, “Ya! One of those things you would do!”

You were right; I very well may do this kind of things; adding little pieces of what I think is “prettiness” here and there, especially when it is green.

We talked and talked. Some drops of rain panicked us to open our umbrella shade. An hour has passed and I could not take my eyes away from the green ribbon cuddling the umbrella pole. The thin shred of green ribbon has one clean-cut end and one rough end. I saw how it could have been hugging a small square box before, for the edges of this imaginary box had imprinted their mark on the delicate ribbon. I took my time imagining the life a ribbon, which has gone unnoticed by many, but not to our overly awake Iranian consciousness; to us it grew, for it was green!

How long the ribbon was tied around that umbrella pole, I do not know. But it was long enough for it to loosen its grip around the pole. And while I am thinking of refastening it, your hands opened the ribbon up and tied a neat bow around the pole. You know me well; now the umbrella pole won’t have a lonely night for the delicate green ribbon is hugging it so tight.

When we were leaving, I just wondered if we see them together the next time we sit on that bench.



Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Time Stops!

The tragic sound of time passing through me,
triggers the shock of silence,
when the time stops,
for you are here!


Friday, May 13, 2011

Turned Off The White!

Rushed out,
rushed in,
I froze at my own image.

The lies in my life,
and the truth in the mirror; my inside-out blouse!

In the endless battle of mirror and me,
I sensed the serene scent of harmony.

The inescapable truth of the moment, trembled at my destructive touch;
I turned off the white of my inside-out blouse, and melted away!


Monday, May 09, 2011

Dreamy!

Like a cold drop of water rolling down the skin of my back, this new sensation is ticklishly refreshing.


*Just the thought of B.M.

Gravediggers of the Present!


In his text, On the Advantage & Disadvantage of History for Life, (1874) Nietzsche addressed the task of human existence, what he called, the task of living, in appropriation of history or better say in the relationship between life and historical knowledge. The quest for truth is also part of the task of existing. The values of this quest for the truth, like any other human related task, is intertwined with the nature of human existence. Now the question is what if some knowledge, some truth, proves harmful and deadly? What if in regard to some truth we are faced with this dilemma; know the truth and die or live and continue in error. Nietzsche recognized this dilemma and argued that given the choice between life and knowledge/truth there is no question about which we ought to choose; any knowledge which destroys life destroys itself, for knowledge presupposes life.

From the same text I have somewhat of a long excerpt, which I strongly recommend you to read. What interests me in this text is the complicated position that man has in regard to the truth(s); it is not as simple as the representation of many thinkers before and after Nietzsche on the matter.

"All acting requires forgetting, as not only light but also darkness is required for life by all organisms. A man who wants to feel everything historically would resemble someone forced to refrain from sleeping, or an animal expected to live only from ruminating and ever repeated ruminating. So: it is possible to live with almost no memories, even to live happily as the animal* shows; but without forgetting it is quiet impossible to live at all. Or to say it more simply yet: there is a degree of insomnia, of rumination, of historical sense which injures every living thing and finally destroys it, be it a man, a people, or a culture.

To determine this degree, and through it the limit beyond which the past must be forgotten if it is not to become the gravedigger of the present, one would have to know precisely how great the plastic power of a man, a people or a culture is. I mean the power distinctively to grow out of itself, transforming and assimilating everything past and alien, to heal wounds, replace what is lost and reshape broken forms out of itself. There are men who have this power to so small a degree that they will incurably bleed to death over a single experience, a single pain, frequently over a single delicate injustice, as from a quite a small bleeding laceration. On the other hand there are those who are affected so little by the wildest and most gruesome calamities of life and even by their own malicious acts, that in midst of them or shortly thereafter they achieve a tolerable degree of well being and a kind of clear conscience.* [...] What such a nature* cannot master, is how to forget; it no longer exists, the horizon is closed and whole, and nothing can serve as a reminder that beyond this horizon there remain men, passions, doctrines and purposes. And this is a general law: every living thing can become healthy, strong and fruitful only with in a horizon; if it is incapable of drawing a horizon around itself or, on the other hand, too selfish to restrict its vision to the limits of the horizon drawn by another, it will wither away feebly or over-hastily to its early demise.

Cheerfulness, clear conscious, the carefree deed, faith in the future, all this depends, in the case of an individual as well as of people, on there being a line which distinguishes what is clear and in full view from the dark and unilluminable; it depends on one's being able to forget at the right time as well as to remember at the right time; on discerning with strong instinctual feelings when there is need to experience historically and when unhistorically. Precisely this is the position the reader is invited to consider: the unhistorical and historical are equally necessary for the health of an individual, a people, and a culture."*


* Light and dark being a metaphor for remembering and forgetting.
*Animals not having the sense of history (past, and future.)
* Please note that in this argument Nietzsche is not praising "a kind of clear conscience." Nietzsche has been misinterpreted many times by his future readers, and some times these misinterpretations resulted in horrible events.
*Those who are affected little by wildest calamities of life.
*Translated by Peter Preuss, 1980.



Sunday, May 01, 2011

Fruit of Your Labor!


Happy May Day!
Happy International Workers' Day!
&
To those whose tireless mental and physical labor is turning the gears of progress,
To the brave Iranian workers and teachers,
I hope for a day that the fruit of your labor can be harvested freely!

HARVEST, Malevich, 1912


PS. To my extraordinary parents, Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Peculiar!

Peculiar destiny of being; to a delicate butterfly, a charming canary is a monstrous beast!



Monday, April 18, 2011

The One Who Doubts!

An animal who doubts its habits; I want to be that animal.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Loss!


There is no sublime in loss, only nostalgia.
Page after page, the lost sensation cannot be found.

In the collected fallen petals of memory, the tenderness is lost!

Thanks to M.V. for the sensation. Chickpea Chateau, April 2011


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Demonized Assassin


The first time he told the story, I was shocked. He told it to his adviser and his wife. They adore rabbits. I was frozen; my ears were burning.

My childhood secret, the rabbit story, was told by him to everyone we met. Almost always in the first meeting. Strangers and acquaintances, friends and colleagues, it didn’t matter, he was a democratic storyteller. The rabbit story was an icebreaker for him; something he could count on to launch a friendlier conversation and with its strangeness, the rabbit story, insured a cool friendship with the audience. And why not, it was a good story with a natural suspense point and a needed complexity for a short narrative.

The rabbit story pronounced our confidence in our relationship. After all who would tell horrible embracing horror stories about his wife in her presence, unless the couple are so cool and well-matched. There was always a short pause before the audience started to laugh, and that was the moment I jumped in with my wide smile. The rabbit story also distinguished him from me in his ideal way: he gentle, normal, and loving, and me aggressive, abnormal, and demonic.

It never occurred to him that his rabbit story was my childhood secret. I never told him I hated to be the demonized rabbit killer.


Saturday, April 09, 2011

The Void Is Felt!

Searching for the crack,
Finding the hole,
Feeling the void,
There is nothing special about this crack, this hole, or this void,
Nothing special about this search, this find, this feel,
It is just too close, too near!

My tongue searches for the cracked tooth and rests on it,
The void is felt!


Black on Maroon, 1959, Mark Rothko


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Happy Spring!




To all who enjoy spring, Happy Spring!
To all who celebrate their New Year with the beginning of Spring, Happy New Year!
To all who celebrate Nowruz, Happy Nowruz!
To my fellow Iranians, better days will come and we will celebrate a truly green Nowruz!

Happy Green 1390!



My Haft Sin, Chickpea Chateau, Austin, March 20th 2011,
Nowruz 1390




Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Daily Austin Happenings ...

South by Southwest is here in Austin. I have not gone to any of the events yet; for some reason I have not even passed through the downtown area in the past week. Of course my distance from SXSW has not discouraged me from blogging about it. Well, Austin has become weirder because of it and that makes me a non-participant fan. Aside from SXSW Austin is welcoming spring by little purple and white blossoms.

The sad art history news this week was the death of Leo Steinberg. He was a great art historian who was considered one of the three "Kings of Culturberg" along with Clement Greenberg and Harold Rosenberg. His print collection (3200) is held at the Blanton Museum of Art under his name. Here is more on Steinberg.

Tonight is Chaharshanbe Suri. Traditionally Iranians celebrate Chaharshanbeh Suri on the last Tuesday night of the year by lighting bonfires. Like the past years, this Chaharshanbeh Suri provided yet another resistance opportunity for people in Iran. I salute their courage and wish us all a Green Charshanbe Suir.

Leo Steinberg



Wednesday, March 02, 2011

White Ceiling

There is something in the blank look of sadness; something that scares them,
it scares some away to a long walk to nowhere,
it makes some to turn the lights off,
and the others just close their eyes.

There is something in that sadness that scares them,
and makes me adore the white ceiling above my head;
it does not escape me,
it just stares back with a blank look of sadness.


White on White, Malevich, 1913



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Austin: Two Museums, Two Exhibitions

Are you looking for some visual stimulation in Austin? Great, there are two exhibitions to see this month. Visit the Blanton Museum of Art for Recovering Beauty: The 1990s in Buenos Aires and Austin Museum of Art for New Art in Austin: 15 to Watch. Recovering Beauty is on view from February 20 to May 22 and 15 to Watch will be on view from February 26 to May 22.



Benito Laren, Buscando precios (Searching for Prices), 1991






Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Happy Resident of Chickpea Chateau!

After half an hour of complaining about my graduate life, that covered my poverty, lots of work, no romance ..., I hesitantly asked "Am I pathetic?" and he said: "not really, you eat lots of potatoes and you are poetic, but you are definitely not pathetic." And his answer made me the happiest resident of Chickpea Chateau.

Chickpea Chateau, February 2011




Sunday, February 06, 2011

Missing Monsieur Dubuffet!


This is my exam semester; I have to pass four exams and I am not looking forward to them at all. The reading load for each is so brutal that I get to spend very little time on my own work with Monsieur Dubuffet. Today I have noticed that I had surrounded myself with the black and white copies of his paintings. He is everywhere; on the fridge, on my desk, on my laptops' screens, I have even used paper copies of his paintings as book marker here and there. I think it is clear; I miss him!


Jean Dubuffet photographed by Arnold Newman, 1956



Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Winter!

The new semester has begun with pain. I keep myself busy, trying to expand my memories of that condensed week; the magical week that we finally gathered like a family. Finally there we were. It was short.

The new semester is cold; colder than winter. Everywhere I go, every face I see, every hand I shake, freezes me back into loneliness. The cluster of their bodies, their kind eyes, and their warm voices are weirdly distant when I happen to them as if leprosy; they pass through me making the small city and the smaller citadel of migrants colder than a usual winter in Texas.

The new semester has begun and I keep myself busy, waiting for the winter to pass through me!


Rain in the Forest, Malaysia, January 2011



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Kuala Lumpur In Detail (Part I)

Chinese Temple, Kuala Lumpur, January 2011


Burning Incense, Kuala Lumpur, January 2011


Crowded Incense Jar, Kuala Lumpur, January 2011


Chinese Temple, Kuala Lumpur, January 2011


Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Believer No More!

I don’t know when the process began.
I didn’t catch the beginning.
Maybe it wasn’t painful then!
Maybe it had a silent start!

It happened imperceptibly;
It was a quiet conquest!

I was a believer;
I believed in fire!
The potent fire of mind,
The fearless fire of truth,
The mysterious fire of existence,
I was a believer!

I don’t know when I stopped believing,
I don’t know!

I gave up fighting on the side of hope,
I gave in to the numbness of destiny!

I don’t know when the process began,
The process of me not caring,
The process of me shutting up,
The process of me shrugging more and more,
The process of me hiding me,
The process of me becoming him!

I was a believer no more!




* Kasimir Malevich, Black Square & Red Square, 1913