Sunday, December 30, 2012

A Short Walk!

A short walk;
A short walk around the kitchen,
A short walk around the yard,
A short walk around the neighborhood,
A short walk around the classroom,
A short walk that was stretching, exhausting, and seemingly- never-ending,
It was a short walk around the year that surrounded the entity that is often called "life"!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

With Baudelaire!

Remembering is only a new form of suffering.”  
- Baudelaire, Charles, La Fanfarlo, 1847.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Autumn Serenity!

The impossibility and the possibility of lost sensations! 
In this plight, 
when the fiery autumn pours over the paved particles of my memory,
The longing for serenity begins!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Burn Like Silk!

Silk burns itself out!
The autumn quietly walks into the small yard.
The cat hums to the burning leaves!
The desire to burn like silk, smooth, clean, and calm, takes over the fiery leaves!

(An Autumn Haiku!)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Very Simple Secret!

Every once in a while, sometimes everyday, I need to remind myself of this very simple secret!
And he went back to meet the fox.
"Goodbye," he said.
"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
"What is essential is invisible to the eye," the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember. [...]
(Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince, Chapter 21(the Fox),1943)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Soldier Student!

She was uncomfortable the first time she walked into my office. It was the second week of the classes. I knew her face, but for names, as always, I had to check the class roster. She was tall with strong arms. Her hair was short and silky. Her eyes… I wish I remembered. I wish I looked at them better and for longer. She was a soldier. Four years in Iraq and Afghanistan. Honorably discharged. She knew three languages. She was an athlete; best at volleyball. 

I remember the first thing she said, after I asked her to take the seat next to me. In a low voice she said, “I have never done this before.” I wasn’t sure what she meant. She sat there. She didn’t offer more explanation. I asked, “ Do you mean you never had an art course before?” She looked at me and said, “Ya, I did drawing in school. But not art history. We didn’t need to talk about art.” I understood. I said, “I know, it is strange to talk about art and how you feel about it.” She said, “I like to. But I don’t know how.” I told her how this class will help and that she should come to my office hours if she needs any help with the course.

She was hardworking. She stopped by my office almost every week. She sat in the back of the class. Never volunteered any answers. On exam weeks she looked more uncomfortable. Sometimes I could see her frustration. She liked Renoir. I saw her joking once with other students outside the class, but the moment she noticed me she swallowed her laughter. She was too polite with me.

I am trying to remember as much as I can of her.  She was thirty-two last autumn. Two days a week for sixteen weeks! That’s the memory pool I am fishing into. Sixteen weeks! It may be enough for an introductory course to the visual arts, but it is not long enough to know a student and definitely not enough to know a soldier!

Once she came to the office with a male friend; a classmate perhaps form her other courses. He was not in my class. He said hi and stood in the corridor near the exit, while she discussed her paper topic with me. She chose to write on Lorenzo Lippi’s painting, St. Agatha. I liked her paper topic. She left the office. I did not look to see if she held hands with the guy. Now I wish I did. I don’t know if they were together. She once mentioned something about her ex. I don’t remember.  She got ninety on her paper. I could see how she was engrossed by Lippi’s ability in capturing a look of innocence and determination within a playful setting.

In the last day of our class I had my climbing shoes with me, planning to go for bouldering after the exam. She saw the shoes. She liked climbing. We talked about going for a climb in spring. It was just a talk. One of those talks that never actualizes and we both knew it. That was the last I saw her.

I wish I knew what was her favorite color. I wish I knew her favorite book, her favorite song, her favorite movie. I wish I knew her. She was a soldier. She survived the war. I am trying to remember as much as I can. I want to remember everything about her; a student, my student, who passed away three days ago in a car accident. I wish I could remember the color of her eyes! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

And in-between!

Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, there is something curious about that, and in-between!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Never-ending Edge!

That never-ending canvas, 
That unforgettable splash,
That splash on the edge,
When the edge is created,
The canvas ends and the edge is never-ending! 

Detail, Number 1A, Jackson Pollock,

Friday, July 13, 2012

This River!

The sound of the river,
Its silverish shine under the black velvet of the night sky, 
This river has many stories to tell!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Unhistorical Ruins!

That sense of stillness, that sense of termination, that pause that one feels when a living body is drained of its energy!  
Unhistorical ruins of one's anatomy is left unmovable and unforgettable, yet vulnerable to the touch!
That sens of stillness, that sense of termination, that pause, to an anxious soul may feel serene! 

Friday, June 01, 2012

This Lonely Moon!

This moon, 
that appears in the summer sky, 
before the sunset, before the darkness, before the empty streets,
this moon is lonely!

The Lonely Moon, Mulberry Chateau, Austin, June 2012

Sunday, May 06, 2012

The Day We First Met!

The spring blossoms, 
These condensed matters of existence,
Appearing in a moment as if out of nothingness,
Yet, a universal effort shines through each one of them,  
The spring blossoms, 
These condensed matters of existence, 
The spring blossoms, 
The constant contradicors of nothingness!

Destiny is often merciless!
Often, because there was that one day that contradicted the rhythm of vengeance, violence, and void!
Destiny is often merciless!
Often, because there was that one day in May that the chilled room with dim lighting got warm,
for I found your heavenly eyes!
I remember that day, for destiny is often merciless, 
And the day we first met broke the rhythm of destiny!

*For Brian on the day we first met!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Many Days!

Many days have past since we sat on the comfy brown sofa in the corner of our living room, 
Many days since you tried to show me how great a painter Courbet is, 
Many days since I thought of Courbet as boring, 
Many days since I enjoyed colorful paintings, 
Many days since we last celebrated our birthdays together, 
Many days since the last spring we hold hands! 
Many days have past since we last celebrated May Day together!
It is another May Day!  
I miss you, mom and Mere!
Happy May Day from Austin!

*To all of you Happy May Day! Happy International Workers' Day! & To my extraordinary parents Happy Anniversary!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Anti-Hitler but not Anti-Totalitarian!

Weekly Art Quotes:

"The Bauhaus was anti-Hitler but not anti-totalitarian (including the new techtronic totality)." (George Cohen on 1940s Chicago art scene, October 11, 1969, in Dubuffet and the Anticulture, exhibition Catalog, 1970.) 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mondrian Is an Outgrowth of Vermeer

Weekly Art Quotes:

"In the complexity of the modern art, in the wide and diverse background of causes and origins it is fatal to look merely on the surface for cause, but to go back to the arts of the primitive cultures classic constructions and even national traditions -- for it is apparent that Mondrian is an outgrowth of Vermeer and the Flemish tradition, as Matisse is the French tradition, while Picasso draws directly and freely on the Spanish, French, African and classic cultures." (From Twombly's statement in his travel fund application in 1952.)

"If my work seems difficult to someone not familiar with the present trends in painting, it is nonetheless sincere and dedicated in its intellectual honesty." (From Twombly's application for the Catherwood Foundation Fellowship in 1956.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Spring Is Constant!

Spring comes,
whether my hands tremble pouring vinegar in the small jar or not,

Spring comes, whether I shake with fear or not,

Spring comes, without me asking for it,
It comes after winter ends, regardless of my skepticism or hope,

Spring comes every year,
It comes after the cold days of winter,

Spring comes every year!
Spring is constant in its habit of change!
Spring is constant and so is change!

To all who celebrate spring, Happy Spring!

To all who celebrate Nowruz, Happy Nowruz!
To all who celebrate their New Year with the coming of spring, Happy New Year!
I wish you all a Greener Spring, Iranian Green!

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Office Calendar!

I was afraid all day today!
All through the morning coffee, the lectures, the lengthy office hours, and the afternoon tea, I was worried for an unknown-forgotten-something; worried that I am missing something!

The office calendar, sat on the desk with an air of confidence that robbed me of mine! I sat there as if all day, yet not!

I miss the scent of tuberose that filled our home every March 8th. I miss the scent of that one tuberose, that one Gool-e Maryam, the one dad brought home, every year on March 8th. I miss being home on March 8th!

The office calendar with an air of confidence reminded me of home!

* Happy International Women's Day! Happy March 8th!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Your Print!

You left your print in me,
An image of you that has permanently marked my retina,
An image that warms me, shines through me, and dances with me.

The warmth of the sun in a winter day,
The shine of the moon in a dark night,
The dance of the Chergui wind on the feathers of a seagull,

You left your print in me, warmer than the sun, shinier than the moon, a better dancer than the Chergui wind!

*For Brian,

Friday, February 03, 2012

What We Are...

"It is certain that we cannot overcome anguish, for we are anguish."

(Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and nothingness: an essay in phenomenological ontology)

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Quiet Space!

The skin of my hands are pink, pulsing and in pain. There is not much to say. The bleach odor has occupied the quiet space, screaming sharply. Zeitoon and I are huddled together, perhaps in an attempt to escape this frightful image of loneliness. The house is clean. My hands are empty. There is not much to say!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

The Mysterious Logic of Shadows!

The mysterious logic of shadows has taken over the light,
the light that danced over your eyes,
the eyes that took me in as if I belong,
the belonging that was delicate to my being,
the being that is lost in the search of the mystery; the mysterious logic of the shadows!