Thursday Poem

Before and After the Iranian Revolution

In the early eighties the shipment
was denied entry onto our land.
The dildos likely still buoy bloated
on the gray sea, greasy with the surplus
of embargoed oil, choking the long-inflamed
passage through the strait neck of Hormuz
like a midnight belch. They turned away
many goods and bright colors, our men,
barely managing, fumbling to keep
our confounding thighs, our unruly hair
out of view, and rule the country
with the other fist, without foreign
aid, trade, or hair spray.

The fifties and sixties ushered in the Tango,
Twist arrived in cassette tapes packed
with overlap miniskirts. In the late seventies,
after the revolution, our Sony players still sucked
the Hollywood VHS in place, coached us
in the new Occidental moves, we clapped
to each other’s jig, our belly-dancing hips
swinging easy in the warmth of kerosene heaters.

Late eighties though, it was then that
the definition of Dirty Dancing grew broad
to embrace our lashes, lips and other indecencies.
We were urged to keep still, not fiddle
with our faces. It was then that stoning came
back in vogue. Most of us missed out entirely
on Swayze’s steps and those who played
the clandestine soundtrack past earshot
got ninety-nine lashes, one for every name
of God. Virgins took it the hardest, a Coca Cola
bottle inserted in the rectum and a torn vagina
sealed their outcast state— flapping that wide
they couldn’t leave their cells, their splayed souls
would never fit through Heaven’s narrow gate,
nor contain its pleasures.

Still today we’re not to be trusted
with a casual glance, a dildo,
though we can’t help
but sit with our hair by the window,
and enjoy the Persian rose,
the scent wafting in,
out and in,

by Rooja Mohassessy
from The Rumpus Magazine