Saturday, March 27, 2010

Simin Behbahani

Stop Throwing My Country To the Wind translated by TobinJohnston

Known as the "lioness of Iran," Simin Behbahani, Iran national poet was detained last month as she prepared to fly to Paris for a reading.

This is a vocal translation of her poem
Stop Throwing My Country to the Wind. I have taken her words and re-imagined them. The audio contains sound clips from protest videos posted at GreenUnity4Iran on Youtube.

Here is the Link-

Here is a link to the NPR article-

I have included her original poem in the post below.

Stop Throwing My Country to the Wind By Simin Behbahhani

Stop Throwing My Country to the Wind
By Simin Behbahani

If the flames of anger rise any higher in this land Your name on your tombstone will be covered with dirt.
You have become a babbling loudmouth. Your insolent ranting, something to joke about.
The lies you have found, you have woven together. The rope you have crafted, you will find around your neck.
Pride has swollen your head, your faith has grown blind. The elephant that falls will not rise.
Stop this extravagance, this reckless throwing of my country to the wind. The grim-faced rising cloud, will grovel at the swamp's feet.
Stop this screaming, mayhem, and blood shed. Stop doing what makes God's creatures mourn with tears.
My curses will not be upon you, as in their fulfillment. My enemies' afflictions also cause me pain.
You may wish to have me burned , or decide to stone me. But in your hand match or stone will lose their power to harm me.
Simin Behbahani
June 2009

Sunday, March 21, 2010



If you want to write a poem about the sunrise
you have to get up fucking early

-Me, I said that.

I have a twilight nightlife
rambling before dawn

I am the four on the clock face
being pointed to
and accused
but now I am the four
and an inch more

the invisible mechanism of streetlights
continue in incremental changes, one eye ticks to green
to yellow then red, the other blinks green now
as if competing, they face north-south,
against east-west from red to back again

the intersection vacant of cars
the concrete shore line and asphalt sea meet and warm
the black hand of night is slowly robbed of stars
the heraldic rays of coming day
green-red, yellow-red, red-green

green, an rusty watermelon-green 89’ Le Baron
a black man with illumines eyes, his skin, dusty charcoal
his lighter skinned son in the blue light of twilight made steel gray
perched on stacks like an ashy pigeon
sits on stacks of white newspaper stack in the back seat

brake lights flare
blur and smear
their red stain written across the empty air
neon cherry blur
a brake lights smudge

the sound of a single issue of the Sac Bee
smacks its palm on the ground
drags itself across the anonymous face of some suburban driveway
the car’s engine grumble away
seeking a pocket in the still air

all your choices have brought you to 2nd street
the silence says, the clock hand points
all your years have brought you to thirty
all your words have brought
to you these words

the silence says,
the clock hand points
the streetlight mechanism


Thursday, March 4, 2010

Some Have Need of Words

Some Have Need of Words by TobinJohnston

Some Have Need of Words

Poets are poetic
Sometimes pathetic
At times frantic/fonic/frenetic
Always lazy empathetic
Meteoric, metaphoric
And almost never, never breviloquentic

But the point is,
because I should get to the point,
Is what a simple thing to say
Is to say

I never wanna/gonna go home with anyone else
But you
And only
You, baby

In/On a Friday night or any night/between
know what I mean

I never wanna/gonna go home with anyone else