Blanche the owl

It's 2am
Excuse me sir, is 6th ave this way?
Excuse me ma'am , there's a bird on your head!
Thank you!
And I move

That's Roma Pizza
I can't stop by
My owl
On my head
Already had
Two slices
One Hawaian
One Ricotta with tomatoes
You're laughing
While saying: "You need any help with moving?"
My owl is called Blanche
My owl doesn't laugh at all
"Do you need any help with moving to Liverpool?"
No!
My owl says
Just like me
Loud and clear

She takes the D,N,R
To Brooklyn
Just like me
Now she's moving to Chelsea
From Brooklyn to Chelsea
Then to Liverpool
Like you say

She's moving
One never stops in New York
Be it a an owl
Or an Iranian
Blanche does not know where Iran is
But you know
I look at you
You laugh
We both laugh
It' funny
We both know
What it means
being from Iran
In New York
Like teardrops
After you laugh so hard

You repeat
Trying to be a gentleman
"Do you need any help with moving to Liverpool?"
I laugh
Teardrops to follow
The owl whistles
Blanche laughs
Eventually
And we laugh
Three of us
Eventually
It's New York
Cause you laugh
It's New York
Cause I've got a bird on my head
Who laughs

And I take the D train
To Brooklyn
On my own
It's 3am
.
.
.
It's 4am
No one laughs in Sunset Park
My head is freezing
Excuse me ma'am you've got no bird on your head!
Excuse me sir,Blanche has flown to Liverpool
My head is freezing
And I move...

 

2011

Ophelia

I wanted to be her
10 hours ago I wanted to be her
And I was
Starting 6 hours ago
To 15 minutes ago
I was Ophelia for 4 hours
It's good to be her
And being waited on your second coming
And if I was really her
Would the joy arrest
It would have
Sooner or Later
But
I enjoyed being her
For 4 hours
Ophelia
She
Who's being waited on for second coming

He got in

A photo posted by Saba Riazi (@sabariazi) on

So he got in. I had my back to the door facing the stove making tea, when I heard him step in, I expected a few things to fall and break since I’d heard but the sound was only that of a huge mop being pulled on the floor, nothing broke, but I kept busy and did not turn back until he settled and I heard the door close, then I turned towards him, I said hi and I looked at him and I could not help uttering: those things are huge! He looked at his wings and he indifferently nodded yeah… you think so?, as if looking at them for the first time. Then I turned back again, poured two cups of tea and sat by the table right in front of him facing the door. Those wings were black at the edges and they gradually reached to white on his shoulders, how come he still had his hands, he picked up the tea, I should ask how he is doing, how are you doing he said it’s alright I said did you shut the rooftop’s door he said yeah. I all of a sudden started laughing. I kept on shivering laughing he kept on watching smiling sipping on tea letting hysteria travel across the room reaching windows. 

Come as you are

Come, as you are, as you were, as I want you to be, since its fall again. We used to plan something every fall. Last two weeks of November. Either somewhere where the leaves fall or a place where we could take our time enjoying a silent scenery. She was the one who liked foliage, so she would push all the plans towards trees, somewhere with long trees and the rich red. That’s what she liked. Fiery red. Last November we spent together was a hotel in West Virginia. I happen to be in a conference in that hotel which was a couple of hours away from Monongahela forest. First day, on Wednesday I had to stay at the hotel, she went for a walk alone and second day she asked to have me all to herself so I surrendered or a storm was imminent. She said she has a spot for us. She asked the hotel’s housekeeper to fill up our thermos, put her favorite tea and her tarp in my backpack and we bought recyclable cups on our way from a Seven-Eleven. She also got us two Mars chocolates. We had to hike three hours on a trail to get to that very spot. She knew where we’re headed. Then at some point unwarrantedly she stopped behind a rock, slightly bent back with her hand on her hips and climbed up the rock in two steps, I followed. On top of the rock she laid the tarp and we sat on it in silence. We were on a hill. View in front of us was another hill, we sat down she poured me a cup and one for herself. It looks like fire she said. I did not respond because it was fire, yellow, orange and red. Oxygen was moist, smelled of soil. We were both thirty-eight. We kissed. We loved each other. In the fall. Every fall. 

Kadikoy

Love is something if you give it away for free, you will be at the mercy of yourself you’ll have to admit, she wafted out three thick circles of smoke staring at that old chandelier then a sip of black tea, putting down the narrow waist cup, she looked at that tired street of Istanbul, where in the opposite sidewalk a cat and a dog were peacefully feeding on the dead crow whose body had laid in front of them generously, passed a man with a cart selling the freshest herbs and red radishes possible she thought. Her fingers long and delicate came to touch the baklava, she’d been here she told me, at the mercy of her love in someone else’s hands, thinking it will return, but the love was not solely for him I realized years later. That sparking love was equally for that month of September, beautiful sun, good food, good sex, view of Bosporus, as well as for Kara Deniz.  She smiled lightly as if she should have realized she’s always been a feather, not a bird and it’s alright she said, we do not get to chose our soul. Our soul chooses our body and a mind that finally outsmarts the soul and asks for more than it  can do, then it’s up to us to realize and navigate whether we want the soul to change paths or just walk its cozy way. Is there a destination? She looked at my coffee cup, she feathery smiled, you’ll be fine. There is love, a decent love a decent home… She looked closer, and a lover… She wafted out another three thick circles of smoke staring at that tired street of Kadikoy. 

 

Blue Fish

 

It is what it is. It’s just easier, he thought, besides he couldn’t afford it. It’s expensive to have a girlfriend. His heart aches. Yes it is expensive. He is sitting at the edge of his bed, pizza boxes under his feet, how long has he been staring at that empty aquarium? What other kind of fish he likes he thought. Except for those shiny blue metallic ones. His drawing teacher in kinder garden had forbidden for the whole class to color their fish blue claiming blue fish is none existent. He remembers clearly one day he drew a huge fish and spent hours filling it up with all shades of blue possible. He looked at the blank canvas she’d bought over a week ago still in the corner of the room, he looked at his toes, yes it was definitely expensive to have a girl friend, he looked at his palms, why had he hung up on her, why was he so used to pressing that damned red button while she was talking? Her words would all weave together like a crowd of algae wrapping around his neck and he couldn’t take it when he couldn't take it, he couldn’t breathe. She was constantly talking, she talked more than necessary and that’s why he felt the need to hang up in the middle of her conversations time to time, it was not even a form of complaint he thought, he just couldn’t breathe. And since last time he hung up it’s been three days and no news from her, she wouldn’t pick up, she simply acted as if she does not see him anymore. Does she see him? His heart aches. Spicy bitch. He did not care. Colorful bitch. He really did not need much from her but to say hi and bye and have sex and laugh and leave. Complicated bitch. And her paintings. Heartaches. Her paintings. She was going to paint a portrait of his kindergarden teacher and he was going to hang it on top of the aquarium containing the blue fish. If only he could mute her when she went nuts. No he did not. He did not miss seeing her going nuts. With words, memories, colors and the rest of the things within her reach. His eyes fell on his brown leather wallet on the side bed, on top of it receipts of pizzas of the past three days. Yes it was definitely expensive to have a girl friend.

Death

So we both died. Slipping down the tunnel of i don't know where I don't know why I don't know how where is this. We did not hold one another's hands, we were going same direction, we did not need to hold hands, we did not have any hands, the knowing of it all was so arbitrary that I did not even question loss. We were headed towards whatever it was:  immaterial dark matter something unnamable unknown unfamiliar possibly gas liquid or solid shit or nothing that we were drowning in. We questioned one another's patience, motives, navigation but we still went down whatever that thing was. Disgusted by one another by times, in love by times, bored or entertained or just indifferent it just took different shapes. Only trouble was that after we died we could only question each other, we couldn't change, we wouldn't progress we wouldn't have time. That ship had sailed. There was no escalation. Stagnation ruled. Things were what they were and what they'll always be. We were bound together in that immortality of whatever the heck it was. 

Drunk

She was drunk in a situation where she shouldn’t have been, she saw clearly every glass of Margarita she downed, She saw every particle of salt on the rim of the glass. She knew she was getting there. There were three or four producers she was supposed to have a conversation with, or that’s what she had planned. Every time she tried to get closer, they were surrounded with a circle of the rest of the directors, who she thought, just like her, needed to pitch. She felt helpless trying to break their circle. Was that the reason why she lost count of her Margaritas? She took the very last glass, salt was glowing like disco lights, people were talking movies around her, budgets, festivals, winners, bad cinematographers, extraordinary editors, flexible actors, Muslim actors, Latinos, webseries, Sundance gossip... How much she detested these trivial talks that pertained to everything but the very thing that they were pretending to pertain to. She felt like she is breathing in the mud. As she put the Margarita on the shelf she hears a SIA’s song paying. She doesn’t think it’s pop, she doesn’t think it’s tacky. SIA HAS A HEART. She was just thankful she said to a sad looking guy who was lighting his cigarette by the window and looked back at her just like he looked at his lighter, she started dancing, she felt the room watching her she imagined or she simply was more comfortable feeling that way. She saw the same guy offering her a joint. She got closer, took the joint, took a drag and in no time the ceiling was under her feet. She ran to the bathroom. Was everyone still watching her? She stumbled she got up. She touched the door. She squeezed the handle. It was locked. She had vomited all over the door was what she realized in the next twenty seconds.

Itching

Would it be right to scratch it? It’s as if a herd of ants are marching in a circle right above his anus. He has lots to do, in the madness of the kitchen with all the other waiters running around bringing in new orders picking up the plates. He checks the plates. The design. Quality control. That’s his job. He checks the last tray. Table fourteen. Poulet aux Porto, mushroom cream sauce needs to be slightly cleared on the right side of the plate, it itches. Truite aux Amandes, fish needs a crown of basil, when did this fish die, did it feel it itches before he could scratch? Carre d’Agneau, he couldn’t bear the sight of bones but made sure things are cleanly arranged with the, when done with table fourteen he felt the battle field of ants down in his pants. There was no time to go to bathroom. Itching is only a feeling on my skin. Table 23 Crepe au fromage de Brie, feelings are feelings. Like I can smell this handsome Brie now. Table 23 is ready. Like I can feel those freaks marching, I’m feeling them. But I’m not my feelings now. I am my job. I can appreciate the freaks’ effort. Escargots Bourguignon for table 17. He looks at the order for a beat, touching one of the snails. He really likes snails he thinks with their slowness and spiral mobile houses. Table 17 is ready. He pushes the tray. Ants are gone. 

Something was not right

Something was not right, she stopped dancing and took a chair. She sat down, took out her high hills and looked at her toes. Music was still playing and other couples were carrying on with that exquisite tango song, she had excused herself telling the partner she has to take a break, the guy was already dancing with another partner, did she know him she thought, but her toes were calling for attention, there was a glittery feeling climbing up her toes and now she could feel it almost in her ankles. She couldn’t even explain the feeling, she looked at the guy again who, while dancing was time to time laying worried gazes at her. It was a light glittery feeling as if all the particles of her existence were staring to pulsate, now it was up in her knees, she looked at him again she knew him, it was impossible, that velvety gaze the soft skin of his hands. Up in her waist. Even his smell was familiar. It’s been a while she thought. It’s been a while and glitters were up in her breast. Only problem was that she could not move, she could not move she thought, song was over, he was walking towards her, I can’t dance she thought, she looked at her toes, she looked at the glittery disco lights above. lightest tango she will dance to in a while, she thought.

Things did not turn out as we expected

We had to pack and leave or else our nervous system would have collapsed staying any longer at his place. We were honestly expecting a calm, relaxing vacation and with the photos we had seen from his villa we thought, there will be space for everyone and even if he acts any weird we can just hang out by the sea, in our rooms, in living room, kitchen, in the garden, by the pool, by the beach, in the woods… We thought you can easily get lost in a castle. But you know… I realized that extensions of one’s mind can spread all across his castle, even on his share of the shore, even his share of the sea. A man could poison any space if he deems absolute authority over any piece of land. We last had met him fifteen years ago. He had a temper, and we thought… You know… We’re all older, we’ve all been through our share of problems that have trimmed our edges, but funny my analysis is that by the virtue of his power and money, castle and all the people who dare not say “No” to him because their financial survival depends on him, he has lost track of his ego being swollen as wide and huge as his property. He has forgotten about looking at himself. And on our way back, watching his castle shrink in that island as we got further away up in the sky, I was no longer mad. I just felt… We’re all where we have to be. He probably needs more time or another life or maybe somethings are just what they are … 

In your Dreams or who is the witch

“In your dreams” said the little boy running across the living room. Little girl did not give up, she did not scream, she just followed him across the living room. He jumped on the sofa and made his way up to the corner of the window. Now he was standing on the windowsill. He pushed the sofa violently to the center of the room, there was no way she could reach him. He stretched his hand out the window, moved the wand in circles a few times in the air. “It’s mine” he yelled, she looked at him “what are you going to do do with it?”, “throw it out” he replied. Then it’s neither mine, nor yours. It’s mine! He yelled again. You know it’s not yours, she responded calmly. Abracadabra! He yelled again waving the wand in the air. It’s not gonna work, she sighed indifferently. Abracadabra! I want a black cat! Abracadabra! That’s stupid she calmly expressed her feelings crossing her arms. Do you see a black cat here? No, he said, In the back yard? He looked out, No he responded sadly. You see? It’s not about the wand, then what is it about he inquired eagerly. It’s about me! But why? Because I am a witch and that is my wand, but you’re not. He yelled Abracadabra loudly a few times as if he did not want to hear her, but there was no sign of any black cat anywhere. You’re a liar, you’re a liar he cried abruptly tears running down his face. She slowly pushed the sofa towards the windowsill. I am going to throw it in the backyard he threatened. Do you really need a black cat that bad? Yes he screamed tears rolling down, Then climb down and give me the wand. He stood there for a beat. Looked out. No black cat. He slid on the sofa. Do you promise to give me a black cat? Yes she said firmly. He handed her the wand. She climbed up the sofa, up the windowsill, closed her eyes and skillfully circled the wand three times in the air, ending up like an arrow towards the tree. A gray-eyed golden cat appeared on the tree behind the window.

Cockroaches

Where do you wanna go, he whispered in her ear, weight on top of her, smell of sweat, wet bodies, her fingers, both hands, pinned down to the bed with his hands, under his hands. He licked her neck from shoulder to ear, close to her ear, he, again goes I said where do you wanna go? She is moaning, he rolls inside her body, she murmurs something, what? he distances himself from her body, chests unglued, Neverland she says staring at the ceiling, he adjusts her chin, eyes meet to make a straight line from one eye to the other, vertical. No one knew but that line would find its way to the center of the earth. Where it's hot. Really hot. And dense. So dense it's not a place. It's a spot. They burst in laugher. Room is filled with laughter. Liquid laughter. They did not know but a couple of cockroaches hanging out in the corner of the room halted their rambling for a beat and listened to them. They thought they were drowning. They decided they were drowning. I'll take us he said, you'll take us? I think I can handle walking on my own. No, I, will, take, us, and he pushed harder, she almost screamed, he went on, she couldn't breathe. I love it she said, I'll take you, he said and they both screamed reaching orgasm. How long did it take? By the time they were back on the surface cockroaches had left the building.

Sphinx

For some inexplicable reason she was in love with him, or so she thought. My take? I thought it was crazy, period. Why a woman her age, with her looks, education, character, charm, career would fall for a guy with whom she has not met for the past two years and has only interacted with virtually? Cherry on top, the guy had stopped emailing her three months ago. Last couple of weeks she was around, we met a few times and she was totally sinking in man's instagram posts and she was telling me stories of how she thinks his photos are a response to hers. And I'm her best friend, it was ok to express her fantasies to me, but she wouldn't keep it that way, that was actually all she talked about in gatherings, parties with her iphone in one hand wine glass in other hand going around clumsily presenting his photos as proof of some weird statement like her beloved husband's opinion in between serious conversations. She was shattering herself in pieces. Those days her eyes did not look right to me, there was a certain fog mixed with pain and grin and melancholy. She seemed distant. I did not think she seems normal. Her head was floating in the air way above her body. You wouldn't believe me but once when we were out for lunch she showed me a folder of her photoshop crafts made up of hers and his photos stitched together side by side and below was the text of the email as she sent him. They were a total of sixty something files, I looked at a few of them, I thought they were presentable artworks and I also thought she definitely was crossing the reality boundaries by her imagination of what she wanted that relationship to look like and although it was art to me but it was reality to her and then, for the first time I thought her sanity might be at risk, so I took the liberty of reminding her whether she still checks in with her therapist and she got way too offended plus this was the last days and she was not feeling well because the guy had stopped posting photos (probably because he also had a life or something) and she took that as a message! She was stalking him on every single social media platform imaginable and not a trace of him, so she ended up at a psychic to seek consultation. All I know was that one night she called me and asked me to go to her place, I went in. It was around 8pm. She was packing. I asked her what the fuck she's doing and she said they are going to meet under the Sphinx! I said has he called she said no, but his last post is all about that message and the psychic has cracked open the code for her and she's headed to Egypt! What? I asked to see his last photo. It was a snapshot of a cat on a pedestal with its neck stretched all the way out as if in a yoga pose, the caption read: Giza. I did not say a word. I did not think. I just shed a few tears while helping her pack her suitcase, dropped her at airport for a 1am flight to Cairo and headed back home. I have not seen her or heard from her in three months now.

Gray-eyeds

She had a golden cat with grey eyes. The cat was an attention whore. She gave her it. The cat returned the favor massaging her slowly walking on her back every morning. Years went by. One day like any other day the cat was sitting at the window observing the room in serenity, with the tail waving and curling against the street tree. She saw her. Something about the grey of her eyes that day. She sat on the sofa. Looked straight in those pupils. And her in her pupils. Time stopped. Eternity mirror. They both had grey eyes. Heavy heads. Time then moved. She prepared coffee. Holding the cup she opened the window. Sat there staring at the tree. The cat still at the window licked her pussy.. Turned her back and stared at the tree for a while..Then first paw. Second paw. Third paw. Fourth paw.. Cat walked out. She took a sip. Second sip. Third sip. Fourth sip. Breathe.. She then slowly walked towards the window and closed it was the sound heard the cat climbing down the fire-escape. She sat down again facing the tree. Sip by sip. Everything looked like it should be.

go

go

There was a car crash. That's what they thought but did not utter. That's what they heard, but they didn't turn back, they decided they'll keep going. Her hands were heavy, three plastic bags, his hands four. Are you leaving this weekend? She asked, his cell phone rang he put the bags down, took out his phone and answered. They were in the midst of the sidewalk she thought, she didn't put the bags down, her question was floating in a bubble around their heads, she looked up. She saw a blimp up in the sky airing a "Happy birthday", she looked back, there were people on the street, beyond she saw a blurry image of a motorcycle torn apart... torn apart she looked at the blimp, she looked at him, he was done with the conversation, he put the phone back in his pocket, grabbed the plastic bags and they walked towards the blimp. Question was still hanging

from the sky.