Author Archives: Sasan Beni
My limited understanding shows itself to me
All the time now; limited from head to toe,
Limited in love and sacrifice, limited within
The borders of intellect and conversation,
Limited in the absence of purpose,
In the eyes of my lover,
In thoughts shared and horizons sought.
Undertaken by a simple soul
With immense desires, by the bluest of fires,
From head to toe, within the spine,
My galaxies are always changing,
People walking, hunger passing…
In the end, some sort of sound
Shall signal life…or maybe not.
When people look at us, they probably think, ‘Aw, that lady has brought her retarded cousin to the park on this beautiful day.’ They look at you, with your crossword puzzle on your lap, while I’m humming, as violently as I can, the theme song to Rocky. Unfortunately, I have to be obnoxious, for reasons unknown. Genetics maybe…Perhaps, now that the sun seems to be back for good, I must amplify my being and all that I am; everyone in the park must hear the Rocky theme, and so forth…Please don’t feel bad sweetheart. I’m aware that my frantic feathers may be hard to handle, depending on the time of day or the light in your eyes. I’m aware now, how desperately your mornings yearn to be silent. But here now, it is the early afternoon, and my blood is acting up again; captive breaths seem to be rattling the scrawny structure of my being. Perhaps this cage doesn’t even belong to me. Believe me, I know; it’s all energy, and energy comes and goes.
We all have an urge to conquer, and you seem to have conquered that crossword. I wish I could’ve helped you, but very few blanks…What’s that? Forty two down…? Mordecai Richler Novel: Solomon ——– Was Here. Ah yes, great book! Gursky. Solomon Gursky Was Here. I did help you after all, I did help you! Would it scare you if I screamed? It has become even a finer day now because of Solomon Gursky, and the sun is definitely back for good, and people looking at us now must think, ‘Aw, she’s letting her retarded cousin help with her puzzle!’ as I return to banging my head and screaming the Rocky theme. Yes, screaming! Dunah nah nunah naah!
I’m sorry sweetheart, I’ll try to keep it down. All of this is really hard to explain, but we seem to have time; an abundance of moments waiting in the fresh field of grass beneath us. Your crossword is nearing it’s glorious end, and hopefully by then, the Rocky theme will have ceased to beat from inside me.
I knew this guy years ago. He’d frequent a coffee shop in my neighborhood. An intelligent looking young man, always hovering over his crossword puzzles, swinging from row to column, leaning back in his chair to light a smoke, then diving again into his sanctuary of squares. That was his world, and I often watched him, and I often wondered how exactly he saw the world…Was it one giant crossword puzzle? Was he always counting letters? When I met him once and we spoke, I was surprised that he was so human, and that he treated me as a human also and not just as a five letter word. He also had a very gnarly mustache.
Dunah naah, Nunah naah!
Hey sweetheart, check out that topless guy by the baseball diamond. What is he, tanning? People are weird, but you gotta love it. I mean, there are kids playing baseball, and this guy…Ha! I kind of wanna go beside him and yell, ‘Dunah naah, Nunah naah!’ and wish him a good day. Ah sweetheart, it’s great to see you laugh…Smile…Grin…Whatever; I’ll take what I can get.
Unfortunately, I have to be obnoxious to give birth to something new. I’m not out to scare anyone, but if I happen to provoke any stares of confusion, I will surely put them to rest with the sincerest of smiles; smiles of a retarded person. I’m loud, but far from harmful. Sweetheart, you do see my sincerity, don’t you? Something new is restless in my voice, can you tell? Sometimes I can’t figure where you are. Ah, crossword complete, the world is turning again, and that topless weirdo must be asleep for I haven’t seem him move for a while, and I can almost hear the distant echo of a school bell, and inside me, Rocky is taking a break, but I want to scream some more, or sing another song, be retarded in another way, but for some reason I am empty. Ah, but the crossword’s complete and the world is turning, and soon enough something new shall surface again. I hope something new, something soon, will make you laugh…Smile…Grin…Whatever; I’ll take what I can get.
“He just sits there, like a bag of bricks, with the same expression on his face the whole time.”
“He’s a dudd,” said Jane.
“That is a great word!” I exclaimed.
Kate went on to say, “I can’t stand him, asking everybody for cigarettes. He chain-smokes his whole pack, then starts bumming around for smokes. I’ve told this guy,” she pointed at me, “So many times I’ve told you not to give him any cigarettes. Don’t be an idiot! The man is…”
“Reflexes,” I said, scratching my forehead.
“You really shouldn’t,” said Jane, “He’ll just keep asking everybody.”
“Hell, we’ve all given him a cigarette at one point in time. A couple of nights ago, when Laura and I were at the bar, he comes over and asks if he can sit with us. We say, ‘No, we’re waiting for someone.’ Then, he goes on to sit right next to our booth. I mean, we’ve all been nice to him at one point in time. I don’t wanna be a bitch to anyone, but when he sits there and shortly after, he asks us for a smoke, and both Laura and I immediately say, ‘No, sorry, we’re out,’ he starts yelling ‘Liars! Liars! Both of you are liars!’ I mean, what are we supposed to say to that? And then this guy,” she said, pointing at me again, “This guy walks into the bar, and before he can even reach the booth, the dude is asking him for a cigarette, and…”
“The dudd,” I said, chuckling under my breath, “The dudd…”
“…And you gave him one, like an idiot! You should never give him any cigarettes.”
“His reaction was priceless though,” I chuckled again.
“What did he do?” said Jane.
I was about to tell the miniature tale of his reaction, after all it had been born out of my cigarette, my idiocy, but Kate beat me to it.
“As soon as he gave him a cigarette, the man-child turns to us and says, ‘Ha ladies, I got one! Ha ha..'” She exclaimed, sniffing ferociously at the imaginary cigarette in between her fingers, running it under her nose like the man-child had done. ” ‘Ha ladies, I got one!’ What a fucking loser.”
“This guy is really getting under your skin,” said Jane, and I chuckled as I normally do, nodding my head in agreement. “I’ve never seen you so worked up.”
“I let him get to me. It’s just, seeing him every day takes a toll; every day, sitting hunched over, bag of bricks, with the same expression on his face. Every day asking people for smokes…Not to mention, he’s racist too.”
“Racist dudd,” I said, letting out a laugh; abrupt, for I was the only one laughing. I kind of wanted to repeat it a little louder, in a different tone. “Racist dudd. Racist dudd…” But I didn’t. It wasn’t all that funny.
“Moral of the story,” said Jane, smiling that mischievous smile of hers, “do not give him any cigarettes.”
“Yeah, you can’t give him any cigarettes!”
“I won’t,” I replied, dropping my head slightly as I reached for my glass of water on the table. “I won’t, I won’t,” I repeated in my head, but deep down I knew I couldn’t promise anything. One day I might be in a really good mood, and giving people cigarettes, whether dudds or not, will only make me happier; sharing is caring and that kind of bullshit, you know? One day, I might be so indifferent to the universe and all the turning that I’ll just give him the remainder of my pack and praise his dudd-ness while I’m at it. Perhaps, I will give him two cigarettes every other day, and hope that eventually one of them will give him cancer. Who knows…? There is still some humor in a bag of bricks.
Start the day with a bunch of likes,
A group of thumbs in my ‘hopeless little screen.’
I no longer build my aspirations
Off of the weather,
And the cancer in my soles,
Doesn’t stop me from climbing cliffs
And conquering urges…
Shall we say, innately insane…?
Hopelessly romantic on the page…?
Practice and perhaps pain
Made me poetic over the years,
Love only made me a better person,
And I no longer build my aspirations
Off of the weather.
She just doesn’t know how to hide it,
How to not care, how to shrug her shoulders
And free her soul, even if only for a moment,
She doesn’t know,
And it’s not her fault,
She is how she is.
She knows that she needs the outdoors,
But on another note, she doesn’t know
How people can talk so much,
And how they say the things that they say;
She just doesn’t know, and she lets her anger show,
But it aint her fault,
For she just can’t hide, what she don’t control.
Often times, she sits silently,
Reading articles on her phone…
Often times, I hope that she knows
How much I love her.
All in all, she is who she is,
And enveloped in her silences, she is hard to read,
But I’ll keep trying…
Tell me nothing, tell me silence,
I’ll nod my head, and try my best.
He sat there reading his book. My grandmother would keep saying something like, “Lousy bastards!” or “Ungrateful kids!” and I would laugh under my breath as I let out the smoke toward the window. My grandmother would always say something. I needed some concentration. I needed to focus to do work. I wanted to read for hours on end like back in the day and have it be silent all throughout. Almost nobody in that house had ever respected the silence of a book reader. “Ungrateful kids,” she said while bending down into the fridge. “I have to make three kinds of food every day just to keep them quiet. They’re grown men for crying out loud.”
“Are you sure about that?” he said, looking up from his book for the first time since he’d started reading. I couldn’t help but let out a laugh. “Are you sure about that?”
“Well, seriously, they shouldn’t be so picky.”
“You’re the one who raised them.”
“I never raised such ungrateful children.”
“She raised a bunch of bums,” he muttered, looking at me all of a sudden.
I laughed out loud and said, “Yeah, you’re right.”
“What? What did you say?”
“I said: you raised a bunch of bums!”
I laughed again and my grandmother just shook her head and let out a sigh. His eyes fell back into his book and I put out my cigarette and wiped a few pieces of ash off the counter. “You really should quit that crap! All of you should quit. I’ll make you quit before I die, if I have to. You’re just like your uncles. Why couldn’t either of you be more like your father?”
“When is everyone else coming?”
“At around one,” she said, taking the ashtray away from me.
“I’m starting to get hungry.”
“I told you to eat breakfast, didn’t I? Nobody listens around here. You don’t eat breakfast but you sit there and smoke. Your father doesn’t smoke. You shouldn’t either.”
“Don’t listen to her. She’s raised a bunch of bums. Can you guess how long she’s been saying the same things?”
“Since she stopped smoking?” I said and began to laugh out loud.
“I never smoked! I’ve been telling people to stop ever since everyone started to become a drug addict or an alcoholic. Nobody listens. You look at the neighbor’s children and what do you see? Elegance, class, faith…and each one has a degree in something. You look at these kids and…what can I say? It’s a good thing their old man is gone and doesn’t get to see them.”
“Give it a break,” I said. My father chuckled as his eyes fell gently back into the pages of his book.
“You need to learn some manners. All of you need to learn some manners! I will teach you some manners, before I die, if I have to…”
I got up without saying anything and walked to the room where I’d left my suitcase. ‘Only one more day,’ I thought. Lying there on the bed I could hear him turning the pages in his book, and I could hear her setting the table for lunch. Soon enough my uncles would arrive, along with my mother, who would hurriedly strip herself of her hijab, walking from one end of the room to the other, fanning herself, and in her own frantically adorable way, filling us in on her shopping adventure; the traffic and summer heat of Tehran, the pollution and the prices. One of them would most definitely complain about the air conditioner being off. My eldest uncle would be the one who turned it on.
“They turn it up as high as they can,” my grandmother would say, “Nobody cares. My bones are weak; I can’t sleep in a freezer. Nobody cares…”
Here now, glued to the monitor, occasionally glancing over at my cup of coffee getting cold, trying to recollect and gather pieces of that day from twelve thousand kilometers away, give or take, I find myself at a loss. Perhaps she was right. Nobody cares. We have always been lonely, in our comforts and in our pains. We all wanted something; our own things, and all the while we pretended to need each other. Nobody did care, but one day we would. Here now, glued to the monitor, scattered embers of my father’s words come floating and find me from twelve thousand kilometers away, give or take…
“To be needed is the greatest happiness I have known. To know that people need your knowledge, that your being and not being makes a difference to your surroundings…One must be a source of impact.”
Pages in some book are always turning, regardless of those who never seem to respect the silence of a book reader.
“I see wolves,” he said. He; his name was P…Peter…Paul…Patrick…Doesn’t matter.
“What?” I said, as I continued rolling us a joint.
“Sometimes I see wolves.”
“I love wolves.”
“I see them on my bed.”
“Are they friendly?”
“So far,” he said.
I continued rolling. Strange character he was. He; Peter…Paul…Patrick…Doesn’t matter.
“They say I am excessively happy. I see things like wolves on my bed. Once every two weeks I get a shot. It brings me down.”
I roll quickly. I must’ve been done rolling.
“You really know how to roll. When did you learn?”
“Practice,” I said, as modestly as I could, and added, “Been smoking for a while…” Interesting he was. “Tell me more about these wolves.”
“They’re made of waves,” he said, “They float over my blanket and bed sheets.”
“How many do you see?”
“A bunch…sometimes just one. Sometimes they change colors.”
“Is that all you see?”
“Can you see anything now?”
“No, I got my shot yesterday.”
We smoked in silence for a while. For a short while I couldn’t stop staring at him. I knew he wasn’t bullshitting me. He was always nervous. That was the first time the two of us hung out together. Usually we’d be among other friends. He would take extremely long drags off the joint. He would suck the life out of it. I had noticed it before, but had decided not to say anything to him. He was more of a pipe smoker. Pipe smokers tend to suck the life out of things. He would look away quickly whenever he caught my eyes observing him. For a second, I felt as if he had begun to regret sharing his story with me. But, that’s just how he was.
“How long have you been on medication?”
“Couple of years,” he said as he coughed. His bloodshot eyes fascinated me. I hoped I’d be with him one day when his wavy wolves arrived. I wondered what color the walls were to his bloodshot eyes. I wondered whether the joint helped him get closer to his excessive happiness. I wanted to bombard him with questions. I wanted to know how his brain operated. I probably wouldn’t understand, but I wanted to know…but I didn’t ask.
We smoked in silence for a while. At one point, when he passed the joint back to me, I couldn’t help but smile at what he had done with it. Soon enough, our other friends arrived and our conversation, bent and crooked, was outed amongst many other moments passed within the crystal ashtray. None of us see each other any more. It was a brief summer. Interesting he was…He; Peter…Paul…Patrick…Doesn’t matter.
What’s your poison?
What emotion kills you, but keeps you going?
I’ve got to keep walking, my head up high like Johnny Walker,
And when I cave, I pray to St. Remy,
And never do I fantasize of wearing the Crown, known to be Royal.
I am a simple man, Canadian in my ways,
But not quite part of the Club.
Winter nights in exile I have spent with my friend, Igor the Prince,
Some would say he is wise beyond his years,
But I guess they all have something; something to offer…
A bum that I met on the corner, with one hand in his pocket,
Picking cigarette ends off the ground,
Told me that his name was Captain Morgan,
I smiled and chose to believe him as I resumed to walk my path…
Jack taught me to be a Gentleman,
And run smoothly like the river through Tennessee.
I can say that I have traveled to Shiraz and met Cyrus in a glass,
And Napoleon too, but bent on Brandy,
trying to conquer my temptations.
My temptations, they come and go,
And I have often thought it true,
The fact that nothing ever is Absolute.
Can I say that I’m Wiser, every now and then,
With the taste that carries courage?
Once, down by Forty Creek, I came to meet the Famous Grouse,
I had Whiskey in my coffee;
“You get there faster when it’s warm,” I have heard some old-timers say…
“Do you ever grow to miss us?
You never call, you never write…
Have you lost us?
When will you return?”
Heartless in the heart of distance,
I should’ve said something,
I should’ve told her that I missed her.
I said, “We all choose a corner.”
She wished me the best,
Happiness and health…
“They are better off now,
Without me…” I convinced myself.
The scent of chicken curry,
Was the pleasant forgetfulness
of my roundabout;
Random and ridiculous all the same…
Mother, I do miss you,
But I belong in a forest with
The other animals…
Still, I will try and call more often.
I will try…
Once the echo of despair subsides,
There will shine a thin layer of clarity.
Take care of that surface…
They told me for years
To take care of my insides,
“You won’t be handsome forever,” they said.
“Am I all that handsome?” I thought,
Scratching the scarce patches
Of my hopeless facial hair…
Jon used to call me Patch Adams,
He used to call me lots of things,
He used to say that he was my father;
He’s always been funny,
Not to mention, fucker has a full beard…
I had a dream recently, in which
I kept breaking wine glasses in my hand,
And that’s all I remember.
Sometimes, I see canopies in my papers,
Focus comes and goes,
But anger has it’s own nest here,
Anger is comfy…Strange, I know.
Rambling thoughts and numbing agents,
Lead me quietly to my careless corner.
Love can defeat it all,
But as they say,
One must take care of his insides,
One won’t be handsome forever.