July 12, 2014

Cyrus Mahan

POETRY, BLOOD AND CYANIDE

Cyanide was used during the Iranian Revolution in the struggle against the Monarchy and then the Islamic regime. We used carry a capsule of cyanide so that we could chew of it in case of danger, to save the information from falling in the hands of the reactionaries.

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide.

I will fight you to the bitter end
So that my neighbor,
A bus driver of fifty or so,
Can shave his beard and let his mustache grow.

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide
So that the bank teller of my neighborhood
Is allowed to wear his tie and perfume

And the school teacher that I have known since I was six
Can dress up in the morning
In a three-piece suit.

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide

So that you, the foreigner
Without a fear of apprehension,
Can visit me at my home

And my neighbor’s daughter
Who has just joyfully completed her first year at school
Need not hide her head
For some more years.

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide

So that the kids of the south ghettoes
On the last Wednesday of the year
Can merrily jump over the flames

And the same kids
On the thirteenth day of the New Year

May gather in a garden
And the young girls
With no shame
Tie the graces,

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide

I will fight you in the city streets
In the rice fields of the north,
In the seashore of the south,
On the Elburz peak
And the central creek

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide
So that the Jews are allowed to be Jews
And Bahais and Christians and Buddhists
Alongside with Zoroastrians and whoever else
Can pray to their gods, no permission asked.

I will fight you
With a book of poetry
And a necklace of cyanide
So that Iran
Will rest in peace and let others respite
And the nations of the world
Come together in accord.

I will fight you with words,
With a book of poetry
Hidden under my cloths
And a necklace of cyanides
Standing by
And my teeth set to chew

I will fight you
With poems, blood, my teeth and cyanide
I will fight you to the bitter end
I will fight you for the rights of prostitutes
That you stone in public show
I will fight you and

These are my reasons:

Perfume, mustache, tie, three-piece suit, joy of jumping over the flames, music of all kinds, having a typewriter, typing the grasses in the thirteenth day of the new year, communists and Jews and Bahais having a decent burial.

I am not talking of the mass graves,
The executions,
The stoning,
The death by hanging,
The torture and torment,
The destruction of a nation.

I am holding you responsible for simple things.

Ties and perfumes and decent burial.

Therefore,

I will fight you.

I will fight you

With a book of poetry

And a necklace of cyanide.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003