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 us,

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

Too often

Too much

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 nice.

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.



these days,

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/