Copyright © 2001 by Mohammad Tavallei, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of U.S. Copyright law, and it may be archived and redistributed in electronic form, provided that the editors are notified and no fee is charged for access. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.
This canary is singing green
In fire and smoke
And like grass I am awake
In this dark night.
The thorn is in the flesh
But they want me to be a rose
And soon they will have a desire
To see roses in my wounds
More illuminating than fire
And the nails perform a function
Else, like a dead tree sawn,
I would have fallen
And discouraged my father
Trying to test
My courage against fate.
Upon the ladder my master shouts:
"Bring up the saw", "Bring up the saw",
And bound hand and foot to the stake,
The man on the gallows looks like my father.
He waits for death and death waits for him
And silence is a rose in his throat
Holding the "secret" in respect and awe.
As I look at him, I wonder
If he is a possessed, a sorcerer, or a saint?
(Or since gods are as thirsty as humans
He functions as a gift or a law?)
And something in my heart begins to thaw.
His pleasing mien testifies
The absurdity of our act.
Soon some regard his task
As a suffering and a heroic action
And believe that against his doom
There is only courage and sardonic laughter,
Yet, they all want him mutilated.
So that, like the sun rising in the morning,
He will illuminate their minds.
Afterwards, they will also whisper:
"There is always a bird here
Singing in the evening
In his memory."
And the saw begins to move to and fro
Only to mock our hasty preparations
For the flight of his soul
For his body is a skin to be shed.
It is not so heavy
And we shall help him carry it along.
Yet death should come late
Else, they will get disappointed
And my master will not be
Amply paid for his trouble
He will be angry and punish me.
I hate him from the bottom of my heart.
He is ugly, dull and cruel
And stinks when making love.
They have inspected my private property.
Finding a space as dark as hell
They have illuminated it with electric baton
Paving the way towards their heaven.
They have sewn my lips.
They believe silence is my virtue
And if I had all the words in the world
I could not say something good.
With sutured lips, I cannot shout
Or smile before the firing squad.
Yet if my handcuffs were unfastened
I would scratch the face of blue.
With eyes gouged out by their thumbs,
I can see neither sun nor moon
But if they bury me alive
I will make love with the earth.
There is nothing unusual about him.
He wakes up early in the morning
Takes a shower,
Brushes his teeth
Combs his hair and
Putting on his nice clothes
He has breakfast with his wife and children.
When he comes to his office at eight in the morning
He is ready to thrust his Pepsi Bottles
Into your ass and into my ass.
His vision of Heaven:
And the Whole World:
A Big Ass.
When I shake the iron trees to yield coconut
They break my fingers.
They give me bananas filled with needles
And thrust pepper into my ass when I masturbate.
They laugh at me all the time
And want me to laugh
And I am quite certain
They do not want me to die.
"Where will he rest tonight?"
He may have heard this question
Through an open window,
As his body wriggles like a snake.
In this alien city
Exile is the sting of a scorpion
And his mind a palimpsest making room
For trees bearing human head
And roses behind barbed wires.
Alert, like an animal at bay,
He pays heed to distant, faint and wavering sounds:
"Is it the howl of hounds,
Sound of police bull-horns,
Shout of secret agents or
Laughter of drunken pimps
From bowels of a red district?"
Reflection of light on the rain-washed street
And glow of cigarettes in the dark
Do not listen to him
As tongues of cold licking his skin
Lift him above the stars.
She tried to pray to heaven
But neither God nor angels
Took pity upon her agony
And her curses were dragged to hell.
The stars were dim and the night was thick
And dark had come over the lake
Yet her face gleamed with white
And her locks were yellow as gold.
She was at the man's feet
As rain poured from dark clouds
And he drew his eyes away
To look at the rotting moon.
He had a good eye for beauty
And there was no fear in his soul
So love gushed form his heart
As he started cutting her throat.
She was given death as a gift
And her body drawn to depths of water
As reflection of the dead moon
Mixed with mud in her eyes.
Her dignity depended upon her silence
When he shouted as if fire had stuck in his throat
And although he had drunk in reality
He was as light as a blessed ghost.