My poems are full of native language games
I have been writing in different genres and forms for over three decades in the “world of literature” and have experienced different environments. But my reputation in Iran is mostly due to the establishment of a literary stream called “Postmodern Ghazal”. In this course of poetry, I have been able to combine postmodern techniques and philosophy with old and traditional forms of Persian poetry. “Postmodern Ghazal” in Iran has many supporters and opponents, and the Iranian government strongly opposes it.
But what I love most is teaching. Prior to my arrest, imprisonment, and escape from Iran, I had been teaching underground classes for about 14 years, teaching young artists with new methods: literature, philosophy, and other humanities. I still continue my classes “online”, after my escape from Iran, and stay in touch with young poets and writers.
For me, writing is neither a creation of beauty nor a commitment to particular content, but rather a combination of the two in such a way that the work of art is neither slogans-free nor thought-provoking. My poem does not claim to change or improve the world, but it seeks to immerse people in thinking and also enjoyment. In my poems, “silent voices” and minorities are present. Women, transsexuals, prisoners, homosexuals, children, and anyone eliminated by the power system are present in my poems, and their voices are never censored. Of course the people in my poetry are gray, and none are bad or good. The oppressed people are not heroes and have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Unfortunately, my poems are full of native language games and local culture so either they are not translated or they are seriously damaged in translation. This is my main concern in the days away from Iran and Persian speaking audiences.
Translated by Fereshteh Vaziri Nasab from Persian to English
Like a sexual orientation
From words I’m a deviation
Baseless, I’m from madness a realisation
Genderless, I’m from being an incarnation
Compounded of impatience and patience
I’m a volcano on the peak of a mountain,
Indifferent to “subject” and “object,”
I’m engaged with the love making of the spirit
Darling, enjoy your life, no matter how
Why should I hinder you? “I”, who am “you”!
You, the last reason forever!
I have nothing but you.
Genderless, I ride the bed
In a concoction of fantasy and pain
Although I was Nothing
Although I did nothing
Darling, enjoy the whole world
I am bound to your hair, to your hands
To your eyes, to your breaths
Oh you! The doubt, needless of proof
Nothing but you is worth thinking in the whole world
Nothing but you, who are the whole world
Hug my night more
To return me to me,
Maybe I can become a cry
Maybe I can forever cry
Maybe I am not ideal for you
I am so silly, forgive me darling,
What’s that pill in my glass?
What’s that razor on my wrist?
I was genderless for you
I am genderless for you!
These “love you”, “don’t love you”
Fit the fucking moaning on T.V.
This is not sex…This is not arousal
This is not love…This is pure lunacy
Don’t let you down from all my absurdities
I am the essence of all enslaved entities
My life is bound to one word
Just tell me “die” and I do die
Satisfy me with the sparkle in your eyes
Satisfy me with the warmness of your smiles
Melt my night between your lips
Oh you! The last of all saviours
I am lonely, like the weeping after sex
Or the soul of someone different
I continue with you “oh my soul mate!”
“Sad, silent, patient and heavy-hearted.”
I was smiling at the gun machines
I went crazy touching your tears
What was that smell in my alleys?
What did I tell you from behind the masks?
I was in love with you behind the mask.
You sent me a kiss from behind the mask.
On the weary grotesque background
Of the blood covered Azadi*square
On one side, the whining of Motorcycles
On the other side, the crumpled wrath in your fist
Someone took position behind me
Someone took position behind you
From you, who are the suicide of death,
I have no fear, terribly obvious
From me, who am the drowning in drugs
You have no fear, terribly obvious.
I’d run the whole desert
Not to die waiting for water
Here is my heart, shoot soldier
I’d never die in bed
You’re there, so crazy, so beautiful
Crimson red, the colour of your body, the makeup of your lips
Your bleeding lips whispered in my ears
“Never grieve for me
I am the destiny of the pleading for justice
In the melancholic Middle East
I am in you, in your body, in your soul
I behold everything from under your eyelids
Tomorrow, which is the day freedom and laughing
I continue to live happily in your heart
Make me a captive of your breaths
Captured in your hands, I feel free.”
Your eyes close gradually
Your pulse fades out of shouting
I cry … from now on
I stop being patient.
Enough with dying with a smile
Enough with the torture and silence
I am the historical movement, revenging
No more forgiving, no more forgetting
Tomorrow, the certain day of freedom
Tomorrow, the day of joy and laughing
You would be in me, beside me
However, the whole world would miss you
We were “love in the time of cholera”
On the torn pages of a calendar
Or we were in an improper place
Or we were in an improper time
That was our funny story,
Gloomy and more unfinished than all other things
The love that remained from the man,
Who is weeping in the middle of autumn…
*Azadi means freedom in Persian
Someone has kicked the skin of my belly from within
Which of you is the father? I am pregnant again…
Put me in the jail of your arms,
‘cause I’ve deviated from myself, I am a convict
From which man or woman? I am pregnant again…
My nails are broken and bleeding again
If love is prohibited in this city,
I am the dirtiest prohibited thoughts!
Take my lips in the sharpness of your teeth
Suck me so that my body get black and blue
Dance to me in this moment of oblivion
‘cause life is a cigarette to get smoked
I am pregnant again….I hate everything but you
There is only nausea in this fucking mood
There is an entity in my belly….waiting….fevery
Instead of your child, I have a time bomb in my belly
All my memories are disorderly and irrelevant
It’s a gang rape of my body and soul
It’s me, running from myself towards awakening
It’s me, swallowing my anger not to scream
I cross myself out of beliefs, out of noughts
‘cause I am the breaking of the wood, the crying of the nail
I look away from myself towards the mirror
‘cause I am the funniest event of the history
I am pregnant again, from thousands of men
I am pregnant again, from lots of humiliation
I am doomed, it’s said from the beginning of human being
“Die!” It’s been engraved on the first slate
I am the passion of having a relationship with plants, with things
I am the passion of an apple, coming from the tedious paradise
I am the passion of drawing on the walls of the dark caves
I am the passion of saying no amid thousands of yes
My body is solely rebellion, my soul is solely rebellion
I am the love before and after the distance
I am the writing of poetry in the world of names and numbers
Tell your pills that I am pregnant again…
Without a bag, without a ticket; I am sitting in a train
On my silhouette the traces of historical alienation
“Where can I hang my shabby cloak?”
On my son’s tears? On my wife’s hands?
How many kisses are locked behind my fastened lips?
How many lumps are there in my throat, that I am bursting?
You are the deepest love poem of the world
I am the gloomiest man of this tribe.
I am the one with chained hands
How can I make a right decision?
There are thousands of secrets in my head
There are thousands of bruises on my body
Don’t give me the false hope of the existing light behind the clouds
‘cause I have no doubt about the shadowy end of the story
I have no doubt,
That the shadows at the end of the alley will put such an end to me
That there will be no traces of my shroud or me
It’s neither possible to come along with this anxiety
Nor to let go of my homeland
I cry after you like the divorce children
I think of you and bitter gets my mind
No desire for leaving, no hope for returning
There remained just a ruin of my pride, of my homeland.
I told her:
“Don’t wear your red dress
We’re not communist.”
I told her:
“Don’t wear your black dress
We’re not anarchist”
I told her:
Don’t wear your green dress
We are not rebels
I told her:
In this country
Only the naked people
Are not in danger of detention
Then, they came
And stoned us
The first stone was thrown by someone,
Whose attire I can’t remember
The last stone was thrown by someone
Who has no doubt that
The ones who throw stones
Won’t be detained.
Mehdi Mousavi (Persian, translated to English) is a poet, editor, cultural activist, and pharmacist from Iran. He is a leading force in postmodern poetry and the “Postmodern Ghazal” movement. Many of his works were banned and distributed underground. He published poetry collections, taught literature, and arranged his own illegal literary gatherings and writing courses. After being sentenced to nine years in prison and ninety-nine lashes, Mousavi fled Iran in 2015. In 2017, he became an ICORN guest writer in Lillehammer, Norway.