Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Thursday, February 18, 2010
She is Persian
She is Iranian
She is Kurdish
She is Muslim
She is mother
She is daughter
She is sister
She is more than these nouns of identity
flowing down the lyrical river of verbs known as poetry.
Several years ago a friend sent me some of her poems. I replied that she could not expect to be published in English because there is so much accent in her poetry, but yes, yes and yes again, she is amongst us, the poets. Thus began a foreign exchange; her Farsi for my English and back again.
“But poets dare to confide
That is why they are dangerous
Poets love freedom
Freedom is the woman you love most of all”
Two poets making love to language, speaking in the tongues of mothers. I key in a password, click on an icon, and the bomb-proof net delivers her rich declaration:
“You brought me a miraculous pen, which amazingly even writes in English; never running out of ink.
I conceive by the moon in the sanctuary of the night.
Precious tiny kicks in my womb tenderly fulfill my feminine desires.
I am creating a third language - the common pain.
I give birth to my baby; her name is poetry; she talks rain”
The romance of rhyme, the longing of lyric, and a garden of verse detonating into diversity, she declared:
“You are a pleasant accident in my life
My heart seeks refuge in you
from the repetition of colorless days,
from the infinity of odorless nights.
And it happened
as simple as a butterfly conquers a petal”
Poetry lovers. As simple as that. I gave her Irving Layton, “Whatever else, poetry is freedom” and she gave me Parvaneh Forouhra:
“Let us clear this dark trail
With the chimes of our hearts
Let us sing the song of life
In the path of freedom.”
So there she was, in Tehran, all of 19 years old, a prisoner in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison, the same prison where Canadian-Iranian photographer, Zahra Kazemi, was tortured to death in the name of all that is holy. She was 19 and not dancing and spinning to the music, her skirt flowing like ripples in still water. She was 19 and not flirting with stolen kisses. She was 19 and not letting her hair tangle with splinters of sunlight. She was 19 and a prisoner, a three year prisoner.
When? Decades ago. Today, she lives in Vancouver, today, where precious metals reward a lifetime pursuit of physical excellence. Her body lives free in Vancouver, while her spirit continues to fury against the prison walls that confine colour. It is my blessing to know her. It is my blessing to have received her missive below, her request to sing agony to the world, to the world of well-lit West, a dove cooing in the darkness of bright lights.
NB: “Neda” is the young woman who was shot dead in the street in Tehran late last year. A handful of seconds as RED pours out of her head and into our hearts, and her unlonely death will live forever in YouTube memoriam.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
I memorized none because it was understood that I was most likely to be the chosen one for execution. Shortly after the memorization, I was taken to an inner courtyard with two of my poems. We were made to kneel down in a row.
The poem on my left was executed.
The poem on my right was executed.
The gun was put to my head and I was taken back to the prison cell.
Another poem disappeared; we never learned of her fate after the prison transfer. Only two poems remained alive to recite themselves back onto paper.
A few years ago, I told this story to poet, Wally Keeler, a Canadian. He replied incredulously: “I never wrote a poem that had been executed. I wrote poems that had been neglected, orphaned or returned, but never executed.”
February 12, 2010, the news:
These days in a festival of Olympic light, Canada celebrates its self-awareness in a garden of mass color that washes away the cry: FREE POLITICAL PRISONERS!
Meanwhile an army of dread and decay in full force celebrates the 31st anniversary of ignorance in a colourless prison as big as a country; repeat after me, a prison as big as a country.
We will endure massive violence, brutality, and chaos, while the world hardly endures the picture of what we Iranians have already witnessed.
We have been killed for 31 years -- my children and I, not because of big dreams, but for free spirit.
I am guilty of illegal imagination,
and y/our Neda illegally whispered,
“There are colors,
other than black, green and gushing RED”.
Can you imagine?
WE SINNED and we don’t have any live hero to participate in the 2010 Olympics.
Mr. Poet; A few years ago I failed to respond to your disbelief, but I trust today you can see that by definition, in a land I call home and you know as The Islamic Republic of Iran even colors are executed.
The ironic words of the Iranian poet, Sadi, written 800 years ago, adorns the entrance to the Hall of Nations inside the United Nations building in NewYork, calling for the breaking all barriers:
"Of One Essence is the Human Race,
Thusly has Creation put the Base.
One Limb impacted is sufficient,
For all Others to feel the Mace.
The Unconcern'd with Others' Plight,
Are but Brutes with Human Face."
We, the continuing Illegal Generation.
Monday, February 15, 2010
The Stadium is a global collaborative art project for fans to participate in the XXI Olympic Winter Games.
Celebrate Canada and the spirit of the Games, with Canadian slam poet Shane Koyczan's tribute, We Are More.
For a transcript from the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games, please visit http://ow.ly/17hel
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Written and performed by Blurred Vision. Directed by Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Babak Payami. www.blurredvisionmusic.com
Here is a poetent mashup of a rock&roll classic, Another Brick in the Wall by Pink Floyd altered. It has been morphed to express the situation of youth in Iran. HEY AYATOLLAH, LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE.
During the Cold War, I was deeply involved in the smuggling and distribution of samizdat in and out and between the nations of the Soviet bloc. Samizdat consisted of underground publishing, always paper bound. Magnetizdat consisted of underground audio cassettes.
Technology has evolved and the youth know how to wield it big time. This is 21st century samizdat – youTube, Twitter, etc. (Coming soon to a tablet near you) For instant news from the Iranian youth front, a Twitter site [http://twitter.com/search?q=%23iranelection
] provides links and info. Fuck the Ayatollahs and their Islamaniacs!
Below is a description attached to the above video:
"Rarely in the history of rock 'n' roll does a cover version come
along that actually dares to exist at the right reactionary time. By
cleverly updating Pink Floyd's 1979 iconic protest anthem "Another
Brick In The Wall" exactly thirty years to the month that it was
originally released, Blurred Vision are wielding their activist music
as an irresistible force irrevocably set in motion to shake up the
staid conventions of repressive regimes and show solidarity with common street soldiers everywhere. Thanks to Blurred Vision, the revolution will be downloaded."
-- Jeffrey Morgan, authorized biographer of Alice Cooper and The Stooges.