Jul 27, 2008

"Sleeping With the Enemy"

This is supposed to be tongue and cheek for people who are dating or having sex with Muslims.
Sexualized racism is supposed to be funny?
This is beyond offensive.

What is wrong with people.

Jul 23, 2008

For Muslims, from Mattel

(doll's name, Aroosa, means both bride and doll in Arabic. In Farsi too, Aroos/ak means bride/doll)

(doll looks like white barbie with frumpy clothes and a flimsy scarf on her head)

(i think i'm going to vomit)

Jul 18, 2008


I posted a couple of poems by one of my favorite poets, Forough Farrokhzad, and realized I had to delete them. The English translations were horrible. I've been spending time reading her work in Farsi (with the help of my mother). The magic of her writing doesn't always come through in the translations, at least the ones I have come across. So I refuse to post them.

Translating poetry is not easy. I realize this. But I was really upset to see such weak attempts. I feel poetry should only be translated by poets. And by those who really get the work of the poet. Or should poetry even be translated at all?

What also upset me was reading collections of Farrokhzad's work re-published after the Islamic revolution. The censorship was disgusting. They had taken some of her poems out, and in some pieces, omitted words and replaced them with ellipses. Seeing her work mutilated was devastating.

Translation is (often) not good to poetry. Neither is censorship. Words are sacred. Every damn syllable. Dis/mistranslating words is destructive, and in some cases, oppressive. Apparently this isn't fathomable, or worthy of care, to some people. I wish it were.

Jul 14, 2008

Random Check (part 2)

Once again, I was randomly chosen for a special security check at the SFO. They let me in through a different entrance and kept me in a glass cage, along with a blond haired white woman. She asked why I was in the cage. I told her I wasn't sure, maybe it had to do with my country of birth. She was in there because of an expired ID, and showed me her driver's license. We waited for a while. I was already feeling exhausted and emotional from leaving the Bay, and this situation wasn't helping any. Then a youngish man came over and opened the door, and led me to a machine I was already familiar with from last year's special security check. The "air valve" machine, where an intense gust of air, from a bunch of different valves, checked my body mass, to see if I'd been around "certain chemicals." I got through it and sat down while buddy checked my bags, thoroughly. He was nice enough. Asked if I was doing alright. I told him I was having deja vu. He smiled (knowingly) and said this was only random, that it was because I had a special ticket, that I was flying one-way. He asked if I felt better knowing that. I smiled and said no. Then I put my sparkling gold chrome sneakers back on, grabbed my stuff, and began walking towards the gate. All the while, trying to remind myself of all the reasons I loved traveling.

Jul 11, 2008

Deer Woman. aka "god loves ugly."
Artist, ESF.
Alley Way, the Mission, San Fran.

Jul 9, 2008


I saw Stevie Wonder. I saw Stevie live! A beautiful outdoor setting, on the grass, in the heat, surrounded by Stevie fans, and Stevie's sound. Serendipitously, a ticket came my way (thanks to K). I have now seen one of 2 artists I've been longing to see. You can guess who number two is, and she's coming to Toronto in August.

This post is for baba and maman. I only wish they were there to see him. To have gotten lost in his sound the way I did.

Jul 1, 2008

A Reminder

I ask him for directions. Boy with a gorgeous tattoo of a skeletal hand holding an old school microphone, inked on the left side of his neck. He told me to take the bus north. He was going that way. To the studio. He's working on a sick beat, he tells me. We talk music til we reach my stop. He asks if he can join me, whatever it is I'm doing. He thinks I'm mad cool. I don't mind. I like his skateboard. We get to the grocery store and he helps me find rye bread and dried apricots. He grabs a pack of jelly beans. I'll walk you back, he insists. His dark eyes, uncomfortably contrast against his translucent eyelashes and brows. Something disturbing, like an overgrown inked up cherub. Ok, I tell him. We begin moving. One step after another. He is young. Early 20's young, but with stories of someone who's lived a heavy life. Abandoned by his mom as a kid, father locked up, slept in dumpsters, rhymed on stage with Jeru, survived a stabbing in the neck, and went backpacking across the U.S. with no money. He's kicked it with Prince backstage because the artist loved his shirt (a self-made tee saying "WE ARE EVERYBODY-I LOVE YOU" in jean stitching). He works at a youth shelter for little money. He plays instruments, paints murals, writes poetry, and hopes to die doing something that matters. And he beat boxes with a harmonica.

We get to the corner of my block. Move to a sheltered area with a bench and sit cross legged across from each another. He lights a smoke and pauses. Tell me your stories, he says. So I tell him. Everything. With every story, he lights another cigarette, like incense clearing air. I watch him watch me speak. His face expressing my experiences like he's been there with me all my life. Intense comfort. I stop and reach into my purse for an apricot. Silence. A haze of fog and cigarette smoke shrouds this moment. I'm not sure what is happening. I could be questioning all of this. Passing judgments. Analyzing. Instead, I look at his tattooed forearms which read "First" on one, and "Union" on the other. A recently converted Baptist. By chance. Because he did not bleed to death in the alley that night. Because he lived. Because the man who rehabilitated him took him to his church. Because he found love. For himself. Through something much bigger.

I unfold my palms as my body loosens, rocking to the rhythm of something unknown. Something happening right here, at this moment. With him. This pasty born again backpack rapper with inked up skin and a fucked up life. This embodiment of hope. Love. Faith.

Pure. His essence a reflection of myself. A reminder of all that's good.

It's late. We get up from the bench and walk back to the corner. I'm not sure what to say. What to do. So I say alhamdullillah, and embrace him. Then we walk our separate ways.

When you close yourself to the universe, it stops offering you things. Good things.
Opening yourself is crucial to letting go. Of whatever heaviness we need to release. Of egos we are bound to.
It's not "i." It's not "you." It's not even "we." It's nothingness.
Only then can it be everything.

Tavakol means deep Belief. Faith.
In Love/
There's nothing outside of that Reality.
nothing more complete.
and ultimately, nothing more beautiful.
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