On the Phone
By: Gol Noush
Your strong hands look wrinkled
And you don’t remember my name
How can you tell me
where you hid the weapons?
Mother, I’m afraid I
Have some bad news for you – as always:
I killed someone today.
Out of pure pleasure.
Mother, tell me
Where are we going now?
Take me somewhere else and tell me
If we lost our Syrian friends to chemical weapons
or bad luck?
Or are we fortunate
After all, we weren’t bombed
and sometimes we can drink Christ’s blood
In our sunny basements.
Where are we now?
Where are you
And where am I?
Do you still cover your hair with a floral scarf?
Do you still pray to God?
Mother what are we doing?
Are we making stew and rice
For the poor too – so we won’t feel guilty afterwards –
Or have we become poor ourselves
Due to the sanctions?
Should I stop whining
And consider ourselves lucky as we don’t have honour killings as much as Arabs and Pakis?
But I can’t feel lucky.
I feel bad for them,
for every one.
Tell me why we should abhor Arabs.
Are we really better than they are?
Please, tell me we are.
We have Persian poets, Persian carpets and Persian cats.
All they have is oil, Islam and America.
And yet I confess
I read Nizar Qabbani and cry.
Let’s face it
I’m one of those weak fighters, destined to fail
A country could never be proud of me
I could only be a spy.
Nobody needs me
And I don’t need anybody.
I don’t need any country.
I’m free and strong. I don’t belong.
I fancy suicide
It makes me calm.
I can’t care that suicide is a sin
I want to go to hell
And violate all my friends.
Don’t be ashamed that our government is supporting Assad
My therapist convinced me
I shouldn’t be ashamed of the things that aren’t my fault
And according to him, nothing has ever been my fault.
Tell me the truth for once
Have you sold our weapons
to feed the poor and buy black scarves?
Why do you act like a prophet?
like a victorious warrior
Why don’t you accept we
have lost the war,
‘Which war?’ You ask, as if you have no idea.
‘Mother, don’t act. Not for me.’ I murmur.
‘The one with Iraq?’ You ask as if you’re ignorant, innocent and young.
‘God, no, not that one, thank god, they were as weak as us.’
The other war.
‘Which war? Elaborate.’ You say like a sadistic teacher.
‘The war against everything and everyone.’
Yes, mother, there was a war.
And we lost because we were right.
I remember, mother
I remember failure
Its sour taste
It felt liberating to be the victim
to show the world it was bleeding.
But did any one care?
Do we care?
Mother, I confess
I’m not impressed with your strength
My therapist implied I should not be so power-obsessed
And I’m trying to be impressed and cured by his false interpretations because
I like his neck.
I meant to only tell you about his neck, but
Is America going to attack us?
I confess I like Obama
He’s not going to bomb us
for oil and human’s rights.
But what about Israel?
Mother did you hear their new speech?
But maybe they have a right to hate us
Our government threatened them first.
And what about Palestine?
To be honest with you
Palestinian suicide bombers scare me as much as
the Israeli army.
Do you think I’m crazy?
When I asked this question from my therapist whilst staring into his sorry eyes
He took my hands and squeezed them with an ideal pressure,
A lefty white slave
with a fetish for dark hair.
Then I informed him I don’t need therapy
And I never did.
‘I need your neck.’ I finally showered him with the truth he was after.
‘I need power.’ I guided him to my broken bed.
Mother, I know you consider this a wrongdoing
And it does not make you proud of me
But I swear to you, my only prophet
it was okay.
He was nice in bed.
And out of bed
Until I opened my closet and showed him our weapons
which made him run away.
I need to protect our weapons.
I want to protect your sacred wrinkles.
And like Antigone
I want to bury the corpses of our Syrian friends.
Living people bore me.
Why are they so shaky?
Like a pot of jelly
Afraid to say if they want tea or coffee
Well, that’s the only thing they’re not scared to express, really –
Do they fight like us?
Do they care about Syria?
I have news for you
I’ve stopped caring about Syria, too.
Now I only care about Turkey
Because it’s pretty
And less bloody.
I always ask my Turkish friends
Why their president’s wife wears hijab
And even though, I already know the answer, I keep quiet.
I don’t talk.
Nobody really talks.
Except about the weather
the taste of tea and the importance of milk in their coffee
Grilled sausages and cheese
And how well singers can sing.
But mother, let me tell you a secret:
Singers are the only people who can’t sing.
I drew a mosque.
Then I threw it away, as I got scared.
I will not say what I thought.
This morning, I drew my therapist
and masturbated on his picture;
It was nice.
My drawing was nice.
My masturbation was nice.
Everything was nice.
I remembered the way I shot him with one of our guns
His blood – the colour of my nail varnish: blue and calm
On my pink, floral sheets
I licked it – it tasted raw.
It tasted like Syria.
Mother do you think the police will find me?
Or do we have enough weapons?
And enough time to die.
Mother I feel safe.
His corpse is safe.
The world is a safe place.
I’m a good person, like you always asked me to be
I don’t murder for pleasure
I have morals
I use clean guns
And I sympathise with the poor and avoid going to any more wars.
I’m a pacifist.
Can’t you see?
Coming from the Middle East and I’m advocating peace;
Aren’t you proud of me?
About the author:
Gol Noushwas born in 1988 in Tehran. She received her BA in English Literature in Iran, and has taken her Masters in Creative Writing at Birkbeck while working on her novel which revolves around sexual taboos, beauty, mental issues and literature itself. She finds writing in English (her second language) both challenging and inspiring at the same time. See more of Gol’s work at http://golnooshwrites.wordpress.com/