Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday's poem: Ali Alizadeh

The Suspect
Ali Alizadeh

Over there, in the Other land, I was
gharb-zadeh, Farsi to the effect of west-

smitten. Over here, in 'Our' land, I am
Muslim immigrant, nomenclature with grave

 allusions: unemployment, anger, and
unpredictable police attention. Over there

I was an 'apostate', principal's term for
the boy who failed Koran Studies and wrote 

 an essay on Leonardo da Vinci. Over here
dainty high school girl rejected this thick

 -accented adolescent for being too hairy
and a 'Muslim rapist'. Over there, utterly guilty

of doodling Zorro; hence flogged by the irate
principal. Over here shackled to a passport

etched with 'born in Tehran'. 
There I was suspected of perfidy to the Faith, an Infidel

- wannabe. Over here I am suspected 
of terror, 'Our' values' covert enemy. My likes

 don't belong to tribes, nations, et al; but 
welcome at the cells of the Islamic Republic's
Evin Prison, pliers pinching their finger
- nails; or sleep-deprived and hooded indefinitely

 in the dark solitaries of Guantánamo Bay.

(from Ashes in the Air 2011)

Ali Alizadeh was born in Tehran, Iran in 1976 and came to Australia in 1991 as a teenager. 

Alizadeh is  a lecturer in creative writing at Monash University and writes poetry, fiction, drama, novels, biography and translates Persian poetry. He has taught at universities in Australia, China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and has worked as a street performer, hair-wrapper and delivery driver.

The poem The Suspect is from Ashes in the Air is his third book of poetry. An interview with Alizadeh is here.

His website is here.

More detail on all his books can be found here.

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