Author Archives: Sasan Beni
“Wake up,” he said. “Hey buddy,” he kept shaking me. “End of the the line…”
I grunted, “Fuck…”
“Shit happens,” he chuckled, “You alright?” He was holding his hand out, to help me get up I guess. “Are you drunk? Where do you need to go?”
I remember grunting again repeatedly, “Fuck…Fuck…” and I may have sighed, “Where am I?”
“Downsview, end of the line,” he said.
Sitting up and staring down the deserted subway car, I began searching in my coat pocket for my smokes, took one out and placed it between my lips.
“Hey buddy, you can’t smoke in here.”
“I know. Don’t yell,” I whispered.
“How much have you had to drink?”
“Not much,” I said, getting up.
“Where were you going?”
“Where…” I whispered as I stood, while the cigarette fell from my lips; temptation from heaven vanished…good god, I must’ve been drunk! Drunk enough that I didn’t even notice him bending down and picking up my cigarette… He was laughing though, I remember that. Must’ve been a pleasant laugh, because I smiled awkwardly in my state, as sincerely as I could, while attempting to avoid eye contact, and stumbled my way slowly towards the opened doors of the subway car. Before I knew it, he was holding my right arm and helping me along my drunken way.
“Sit down for a bit,” he said. “I’ll get you some water.”
There I was on the subway platform, my head hanging like the cigarette in between my fingers, with what seemed to be surrender in my muscles and bones, and reverberating in my gut was the echo of an alcoholic’s cry for mercy, or so it seemed. My loneliness, it may have been, but I felt as if winter was waiting for me outside the station. It wasn’t winter yet, but who knew? Years could’ve passed. People may have died. He came back with a bottle of water. I emptied it in a couple of sips, let out an unpleasant burp that easily could’ve become a puddle of vomit on the platform. I gave him back the empty bottle. “You gonna be ok?” he said.
“Ok,” I whispered as I got up and began walking to the stairs.
“Hey buddy,” he called out, “Take care, pretty cold out tonight…”
I didn’t respond, only continued walking, but I remember turning back slightly and giving him a drunken wave or what must’ve seemed like the raising of a lifeless hand, with gratitude in between my cold and crooked fingers.
There is always a vast expanse of forgotten thoughts. That night, humanity poked its head out in a bottle of water. There was a galaxy of forgotten turns, and I could taste still the bitterness of insults on my tongue, but I couldn’t remember them. Humanity poked its head out. Humanity chuckled…That was the only time I visited Downsview station, I think…
Bitches keep staring,
I take my hair for granted…
There is an old grin in between the lines,
He knows me well,
He seems to know it all…
Meanwhile, bitches keep staring,
As this notebook draws to a close,
I’m in need of a better poem than this,
Their stares only make me angry,
And no poetry finds me there…
I’ll take my hair for granted,
But never the possibilities that might be
Between the lines.
I have a page and a half left now,
Within which to summarize my soul…
Fruitful eyes and a heart of gold…
Measured in pints,
Our love made many people nauseous…
The most comforting sweat
under the sheets;
So comforting that the
Cat’s meows of mischief
Came as music to my ears,
In the early hours of the sky.
Here on earth, in our corner,
Our laughter pricked so many people…
As I dedicated the bitter end of my
Temptation to the asphalt,
The hovering ash in the spring air,
Told me that love had made me a better person,
But I was still judgmental, and my movements
still maneuvered on anger…
The hovering ash in the spring air,
Reminded me that I would never know,
And it told me that my not knowing,
Was all the knowledge I ever needed…
“Love has made you a better person,”
Said the hovering ash in the spring air…
Greetings dear family, and I say family for I know that these words will travel from ear to ear, echoing over and over again among you, as they are analyzed and dissected, in search of some deeply rooted reason, perhaps a clue, to help once and for all solve the problem that is me, or just a faint glimmer of light to guide you further into the heart of the matter, even though there exists no such thing; nothing here that matters.
It appears that within my mind, I am still extremely selfish; and I’m now certain that this will never change. I’ve come to believe that our selfishness, as innate as it is, never truly lets us go. As we age, we may gain awareness towards it, and are then able to control it and keep it quiet, but it will always be there, breathing and keeping us in love with ourselves.
One day, while chatting with Manizheh online, she swore to me on her life that Behrouz loves me dearly and so does she. There’s not a speck of doubt in my being regarding this love. Matter of fact, it is my opinion that we all have love for one another, but our loves differ entirely in perspective, and we’re not even in the same book of love, let alone on the same page. Exupery defined it as, “…Staring outward, together and in the same direction.” In the absence of this truth between us, what are we to call our love now? Habit…? Attachment…? Some sense of obligation, sentencing us to one another in the name of love, inside a house where we shall always owe each other a smile…? Or should I say four houses? Let us not speak of this. Let us not continue to fish for reasons and seek solutions; let us leave the root of it all alone, whatever it may be. Is there a need?
Someone, somewhere, once said that guilt is essential for human existence. It might have been Woody Allen in one of his movies. Either way, as I stare blankly at my hands, I’m struck with an abundant army of guilty fibers and regretful particles and pores, which are my belongings. Created by me, they are solely mine to bear and heal, and believe it or not, I no longer run around frantically within my head, firing the blame at all those who object my ways. No where in my being are you held responsible for my blood soaked hands. It is fair to say, “You are what you do, and who you are, you are for yourself.” We’re all well aware of many acts of mine, and there exist other truths and deeds, but let us leave them lying hidden. Allow me to carry my bag of broken bones, for I’m the one who broke them! Here now, with that put forth, I think it is fair of me to add: Dear family, please do not make me feel guilty about not helping out with your dreams and comfort, or not living up to your standards. I’ll be attending an “all you can eat guilt buffet” every night for the rest of my life, where they shall serve me flashbacks of moments and nightmares from my past…I don’t I’ll have room for dessert! At times it fascinates me, how we can often speak with such admiration and fondness of western societies, specifically about western families and how they interact with one another, and how their children are brought up, many of them on their own once of legal age. Every place is different, but tell me, how are we able to admire, but not adopt? Thus far in life, I have proven to not know much about anything, but I may know your answer. I think you’re going to pull the “culture card.” It is in our nature, right? As Iranians…? It is engraved in our eastern emotions and flows within our scorching blood, is that it? There’s not helping the sun, rising the east and setting in the west. It just might be that as Iranians, we must always see a mountain for the sunrise to make sense; any mountain in Iran that is…
I’m rambling now, steering far off point. Once again preaching furiously, with a sting if I might add, as if I’m the all-knowing. And believe it or not Behrouz, I can hear you saying, “Be minimal! Keep it simple!” Well, it is not in my nature. It is not my style, I’ve come to learn.
Allow me to state an obvious fact: Behrouz you are a smart man, a genius, many would say. Personally, I think you’re one of the few people I know who has true faith, in anything that is, surpassing any religious fucker in that category any day of the week, simply because your faith has nothing to do with your fears. Hence. a smart man has no reason to be afraid.
On another note, I’m sure you’ve already forgiven me for disturbing the peace in our family, or perhaps, that is a bit cruel of me to say. I have done disturbing things, that’s for certain; but peace in our family..? As far back as my memory allows me to venture- and mind you, the visions are blurry for we moved around quite a lot- there was of course peace and calm, but only in pieces, scattered here and there and never among all of us together. Looking back now, I can barely remember my childhood, but within the recent past, it is rather easy to trace the struggle and see the slow motion replay of every step taken, every maneuver made and experimental method used to shape the form of our family and to draw the line, upon which we were to march. That straight and perfected line, which Behrouz would often mention during that time; that morbid time that now arouses in me laughter. What have I done to be worthy of so many people trying, so many times in so many ways. Yes, of course, I am full of talent. Show me one who isn’t…So many attempts made, so many paths taken and roles played. Give him space: I was left alone and scouted from afar. Be his friend, speak of no expectations: I was hugged and kissed and handed a permit to smoke, but I should’ve known myself at that point. I should have at least seen the wrinkles in your smiles at that time, the tension within your thoughts. It is of no use, keep him grounded and in sight, scold the demons out of his head: and so it goes, I was taken to Shahrekord and kept confined and under observation upon the rooftop of our beloved land, but it seems that all the results learned were left ignored for some reason, perhaps due to the enormity of my talents, and hugs and kisses greeted me once again, along with the freedom to smoke. You then let me be, more so than you had ever done before. Funnily enough, even then I strived to spend more of my time is solitude, fabricating facts outside of our familiar frame, far from the father of our fantastic factory; or should I say, four fantastic factories? Deep down inside, where one almost always remains soft…I wish I could pull out of my pocket some proof; what I mean is a piece of paper that proposes an answer, as to why I’ve chosen to remain a question mark for all these years. You might be happy to know that I’ve done some research, but still, I would much rather say, “I’m possessed!” and hope we could all just leave it at that. However, even I know, that is only partially the case. There are too many factors, all around and at play, front to back and overlapping, they muster mazes out of miniscule moments, and deep wells out of incidents in time, occurrences and actions that have the potential to expand within the mind, and ultimately consume years out of one’s character.
Let us take a breath, the horizon has yet to show itself…
Behrouz, for nights on end now, I have pondered upon your sorrow, for you had said that you are happy for me being happy, but sorrowful for yourself….be sorrowful? I must admit, and I’ve said it before, you truly know how to write, and those who know how to write well, can often find pathways leading to the insides of people. You are quite the skillful master, even when it comes to breaking the heart of a heartless individual such as myself, and yet in the most through provoking of ways. It is true; your last letter brought to life many hours worth of thoughts and recollections, but I’m somewhat ashamed to say that I still haven’t stumbled upon the reason, that rock of certainty that justifies you feeling sorry for yourself. Could your sorrow by any chance, fall into the category of things that I’m never supposed to understand? At times I think this might be it, but the greater part of my being is always eager to ask you, “Why?” As childish as that may sound, when you’re lost without an answer, you might have no choice but to turn to one of your oldest and most curious companions, the word why…That is only, if you truly care to know.
Shall I allow myself to tread further down this dreadful path of disrespect? I pause, closing my eyes briefly as I inhale smoke long and deep, taking into consideration once again, my pair of blood soaked hands, and the stubborn stone on which I stand and have stood for so long relentlessly, I shall exhale the poison by saying, “It is my opinion father that your sorrow for yourself is rather pathetic. It bears not a speck of your genius, not a drop of your intellect, in my opinion.”
Have I hurt you now? Truthfully, I don’t think I can, but I guess in a moment, anything is possible. Simply single moments formed our distance, and so it goes, in a moment anything can happen. Moments and moments, all as insignificant as the emotions they rouse within us. Can you do me favor, for merely a moment then? For a moment, now, can you please refrain from declaring your sorrow, in any manner or form, and explain to me instead why it is that you love me so…? I’m an idiot, incapable of unmasking such mysteries, and quite frankly, most often of the time, I’m empty of all care. I am not one of your accomplishments gone to hell, so why so gloomy now? There is theory in my mind, a thorn of a thought, and mind you, I’m an idiot, but still an idiot who often remembers things and details, such as your nickname during your university years. Behrouz ‘Troubleshooter’ Salimi; throughout your life, problems defined you, for it was your soul that sought solutions. “Could this be it?” I wonder, but not with sense of selfish pride or sadistic pleasure, but rather with the eyes of a stranger, residing outside of our circle, the indifferent joy of an analyst. I wonder, “Could I have left him clueless? Was I the one problem in his life, for which he never found the answer?” Being the creator of your confusion, I must admit, it is a perplexing state. Being the man that you are, you’ll never truly believe that there exists no answer to your youngest problem. No. Personally, I don’t think this will ever happen. Perfectionists- true perfectionists that is- will always blame themselves. Isn’t that right? Most people would hear this notion and think to themselves that perfectionists must be rather depressing individuals, who almost always pass on with regret, never having done enough, every moment, all the time and always the pillar of blame in their own minds. I think this is true, but very much like all other truths, it isn’t absolute, meaning that it’s not entirely true.
Even to me it is astonishing what is happening here. It seems as if I’m falling angrily into an endless pit of confessions, or perhaps all of my spiteful ramblings are merely a means, in which to mock and make monsters out of my loved ones. Ah, who knows…? Look at who we are and wonder how we’ve come this far…All in all, I tend not to suppress such sighs of nostalgia, so in case you wondering, all withered and worn out with worry, be troubled no longer. Know that you are still present, and from time to time, each of you makes an appearance in my head, for which I may not have prepared even a single, simple welcome, but regardless of my carelessness, you are still entitled the stage and within your moments in the theater of my thoughts, as you “Strut and fret,” and often make noise, shouting inside a dark space of extreme character and depth that may have me somewhere inside it, I remain but your humble spectator, smiling enthusiastically among the audience. It is of no surprise to me, the unexpected the thought of you is of no bother whatsoever. After all, we were time spent, and we, were time spent away.
There is worry in the eyes of love. Mother, I am well aware of the love you possess.I’m aware now that love possesses judgmental eyes that often worry and could easily come to hate, but of course, the eyes of love would much rather love. I have stories to tell; the people, the adventures, the chilling absence of togetherness, I have come to grasp in the year that has passed. The irony of it all is a killer. All this pain perhaps…No, most definitely there was no need for all this pain. No pride in it now, but I can still smile. I still have it in me…Where am I going with all this that is the meaning of love and change? One thing is for sure, and I know this now and it provides pride to declare, “I know nothing!” Do we really think about things or do we just make decisions because it feels right in the gut? Should I keep going with this letter, which will ultimately cause you either to place me in a higher throne of literary potential (which I deserve), or it’ll provoke you to say, “To hell with him, the inconsiderate prick!” ( Again a truth I am worthy of hearing.) ??
My dear family, dear people of Iran, I failed to understand you. I will dare to call it that, a failure, even though I know that in order to fail, once must try. Try, I did not. You must want things in life. Anything…What have I come to want now? The few years I spent in Iran, taught me all about the time we invest in the thoughts of one another. Some nights I stay awake and wonder about the conversations between you now. Here now…
Here now, I think I’m in need of someone to harness my thoughts, or put down the horse in my head. Can I ask you to be proud of me? I will help you soon to be. In the course of this letter, which has taken me about two months to write, due to laziness and my scattered mind frame, I seem to have lost myself, my point. Oh that’s right, there was no point. It may have started out of anger, with the intent of revenge perhaps. I flooded it with sarcasm and painful notions, yet again proving my age, and now…Now, I can write to you of my smile, the intensity of which does not allow me to gather in words the entire essence of it all.
I am loved dear family, and I have become a nowhere man.
I am sorry,
Regardless of my talent with words,
Honesty is often the greatest poetry…
Try, I did not,
Proud, you’re soon to be.
Every face was in close up. I could see people’s pores like millions of stars on blown up sheets of sky. Their wrinkles, like canyons with history carved in a unique character of rock and sand. I felt as if I could see thousands of years in people’s faces, all in close up, all passing by, and despite the pleasantly frantic beating within my chest, my mind slowed down and stretched out their passing. All in close up, all in slow motion. Occasionally, for a moment, panic would poke its head out when I’d think of my eyes and those enormously happy pupils, greeting strangers with a sense of fear and curiosity. My mouth was dry. I must’ve looked like an animal, but I’ll never know exactly what. It doesn’t matter though, because I was genuinely happy, stumbling with each step further into the simplest, most sincere sense of acceptance I had ever known. That is the best way I can describe LSD; one can find acceptance.
Here and there, on certain occasions, I have smiled and nodded at the mysteries of life, content with the question marks I see, wearing a cloak of humility that perhaps best belongs to those of true faith. I’m certain that they know what acceptance is, for god seems to have a plan…and so does LSD.
It was pointless, looking back to see how far I had walked. There was no pain in my feet, the cancer in my soles that had raised me was asleep, and so I kept on walking. I must’ve been walking fast. I must’ve looked like an animal. It had been a couple of years since my last trip.
With a smile, one can sit anywhere. Sincerity is the disguise I have often used while sitting in a park getting high, or walking on a crowded street smoking a joint. I won’t go as far as to say that LSD was the cause of all sincerity within me, but it brought it out, and so far, remnants of it that stayed behind have changed my core. I’m generally a nicer person now. At least I hope…
Places and people; I’ve jumped about, and every place had a piece of me that I found. Amusing as fuck! And I have to curse, ‘cause all in all the pieces found were nothing gained, but I still must keep moving. Irony is a killer, amusing as fuck…I’m sure I’ll be laughing when I die, and I hope for it to be a silent laugh. I hope at that point, I will be as content as I was in my past with all the questions marks circling the sphere of my story.
Oh how the mind drifts! Have you ever sat and wondered about the speed of thoughts? Somewhere, spinning in my subconscious might be the secret as to how one can travel at the speed of thought. I hope man never calculates the speed. There should never be a unit for it. Because then, everybody’s gotta have a unit. Some geniuses came up with these numbers, and…
Every moment, in which I mutter, “What is this shit you are writing?” is always brief. My rambling state is rather obvious all the time. Inside the pub, on an autumn Thursday evening, I think I was telling the story of an acid trip…I was walking…people’s faces. “I can write in a crowded pub,” I say to myself, “I can write in a crowded pub. I can write in a…”
“Are you writing your memoirs?” she said suddenly. Her voice rang in my head like the echo of some bell made to subdue animals. Fucking shriek…
(This isn’t the best time I’m sure, but I must apologize every once in a while for my use of curse words; moments bring about things…right now, ten to midnight, I’m at the pub, writing about the other time I was at the pub, on that autumn Thursday evening, and was trying to tell the story of some acid trip I had, and well…fuck is just a word.)
I turned to her slowly, pretending rather skillfully that I had not heard her high pitched question mark piercing my right ear.
“Are you writing your memoirs?”
“No, just a bunch of short stories,” I said.
“Short stories,” she exclaimed. Goddamn her voice was annoying. “So, you’re a writer. This is my friend Dan,” she said, tugging at the arm of the man next to her.
With alcohol painted in his eyes and face he turned and said, “Hey man, you’re a writer?”
“I’m working on it,” I muttered, while on the inside paragraphs of thoughts and buildings of poetry and past days were crumbling and rolling away. I’ll blame that high pitched voice of hers. I’ll blame the sky and the counter of the bar. I’ll blame myself for not being able to write in a crowded pub.
I’ll crawl my way back now, back to square one, then square two and three; back to my three tiny tabs of LSD. Nature is often on our side. I remember how inspiring the winds were that day. Fascinating clouds…I had to sit, for the clouds grounded me. Must’ve been the wind, must’ve been those clouds…
The window, through which I am gazing back at my walk with LSD, is more or less foggy from time to time. The winter that is in my head, has made the children in my thoughts, steam up the window with their mouths and noses pressed foolishly against the glass. I used to do the same, somewhere, back in the day, when childhood was around.
Anyways… either way; here now, I’m thinking, “Goddamn she’s beautiful!” while I stare at her, gliding it seems, behind the bar. “Goddamn…Goddamn,” and the occasional, “Fuck…”
And just like that, flashbacks fade; I put pen to pocket, dedicate these papers to a forgotten autumn Thursday evening. Finish my pint. Smile at her beauty, and try to write a poem to make myself feel better.
This was not supposed to be a story. I am sorry.
Every poem these days,
Wants to begin with mother;
Mother’s pain, mother’s hands,
Mother is on my mind…
I’m in the habit of hiding daggers
and covering scars…
These days, every time I sink into the page,
the poem wants to begin with mother,
and end in a whirlwind
that sits well upon the ears of our thoughts,
but offers no resolution,
like a comfortable darkness.
My eyes are accustomed to this blackness,
Find me later when I’m laughing.
These awkward moments might take us places…
They probably wont,
but let us laugh,
let us hope…
He isn’t forgotten,
his energy is around here somewhere.
Every other day,
someone’s energy greets us,
on the sidewalk,
in the park,
smoking on a rooftop
watching the city,
watching birds drawing circles.
I used to get so high,
LSD made me realize,
the energy out there,
energy in the waves of smoke
that caress the air…
Followed around still by fragments
of conversations and shadowy fingers
in my solitude;
I hope his energy never leaves me be.
We were all insecure,
we were all friends, for a short while,
it was the greatest summer.
All said and done,
his energy still tends to wake me some mornings,
His energy is out there,
like that of Jesus or Muhammad…
Who knows who’ll follow us later on,
on the sidewalk,
to our homes…
This emptiness, this empty world,
is not all that empty…
“I’m always winning,” she said,
The Blue Jays too, were kicking ass,
or so it seemed…
Buying everyone a chocolate bar,
made me feel like a celebrity,
without the drugs and depression,
and all the other good stuff…
My sweet tooth can give a fuck
if it rains all night, again…forever.
We’ll draw time out of stagnant puddles
at our feet,
we can sew together laughs
to keep warm;
Let it be winter all the time,
We don’t care,
We will live.
Big Joe Turner;
I suddenly clued in to the song,
despite the noise,
and all the chatter…
Big Joe Turner;
My hand was dancing retardedly,
on the counter of the bar…
Mexican food was on my mind.
All of a sudden,
in the hollows of my head,
I heard the echo of prayer calls
and verses, from a mosque
I could not see…
In the hollows of my head,
there was a sunset I could not see,
And flocks of people,
whispers and worlds
made of god and nightly bread…
I began to hate myself.
I don’t want to hear these things,
in the hollows of my head.
I have never even been inside a mosque
during prayer time…
Sacrificed for a moment’s comfort,
Eternity was in my glass for a short while…
Routine kept swinging open doors,
Routine was soft,
It fooled our hearts;
Moments later, walking home,
A speed-walking lunatic,
Mother, please forgive me,
Rage nurtured in my childhood cup,
Father’s words never left,
Nor did the shadow of his hands…
The beer sat well tonight,
this poem however, did not.