Monday, November 5, 2012

the Old Country

Plastic soccer balls
A garden hose in the bathroom
Milkmen in the morning
Melting ice cream
Fresh baked bread baking on a bed of stones
Cartoons from countries that haven't sanctioned ours
Condensation on the steel communal cup
Chained to an ice water tank in sweltering heat 

The sharp rap of the school disciplinarian's ruler
On fingers and palms
The sweet sound of school bells
Accentuated by the azan
Running water in the washrooms of local mosques
Bare feet on hand-woven carpets
Minarets, high rises and luxury buildings
The Jurassic limestone of the Alborz mountain range  

Iridescent Rosaris and black Chadors
Sandaled feet and prayer beads
Murmur of a grandmother's reverence
A blue glass eye dangling over the dashboard
Sidelong glances from dark eyes
Dancing beneath arching brows
Young couples discreetly holding hands
As they skirt along the mountains
Melting into the foliage
Fading from sight into the crevices of sheesha cafes
Along hiking paths leading to secret oases of tree-shade
And  the bubbling giggle of mountain streams

Conversation and companionship in communal cabs
The relief of air conditioning
The melody of heavy traffic
Over-heated radiators
The din of the bazaar
Unabashed stares in the marketplace
The cloying fragrance of rosewater and saffron
Pick up trucks on the side of the road selling seasonal fruit
70's Yamaha motorcycles backfiring
Into the glare of brand new BMWs

Street vendors hawking flowers and fresh walnuts
Chewing gum and knockoff cheetos
Charcoal-fired corn and skewers of liver
Mp3s of the latest hits and scrolls of Hafiz poetry
Randomly selected by trained canaries.


azan: call to prayers
rosari: headscarf
chador: bodyscarf

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