Khashayar Mohammadi | MY CITY THE CITY, 1st Place Winner of the Vallum Poetry Award 2021

MY CITY THE CITY

my city the city, or wherever I’m flung into the arms of back-alleys and streetcorner loot: the art
of lower class feeling: to start at the shoe. Asphalt: faulted at the foundation and sinking. I
neighbour a dozen names for Allah by proximity, I build clay bowls to crush: can you feel the
durability of the mosque?
. fill the tile cracks in color, Kintsugi my history into pride: broken.
pride the history into cities: barefoot trodden.

and my city that isn’t my city, not barefoot, arms stretched, cowering under transmission
towers: rain-trickling metal. not this— am partial to highways, having slept next to one,
wherever roads crackle beneath car tires is my ocean, chain-linked

once my city was my city, خانه به دوش says the history book, pointing fingers. the “nomad” says no
city or civilization
, no organ for organization. seeding in ancient clothing, still unsure: we watch
rain roll down the street where-pass through car tires and flow-rivers used to be, no city or
civilization
but faith but sky: the natural curve: a nation wounded by the notion of a country.

my city resurrected in لفظ, a god manifest in names I’ve forgotten: I’ll study you, I’ll study truth
and in words I’ll manifest the truthful. prophecy as death reborn: having seen the colossus fall
far too many times, the failure to cultivate the soil:
……..a poetics of exile, scribed onto the cracked bas relief of the once-imperial
……..a poetics of oppression scribed in blood and up for auction
……..a poetics of blood, a new fetish for capital
……..a poetics of capital:……..the cracks of our history
……..……..……..……..a poetics of history: a poetics of exile:
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…..fruit geography
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…..animal geography:
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…………………………………………regional mythology
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…………………………….black/ grey / white mythos
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…………………………….from Khaak to Khaakestar
……..……..……..……..a poetics of compliance: with Rumi at the helm, not our Rumi NOT that
man
……..……..……..……..of action? tearing through the ego to rouse
……..……..……..……..a poetics of misunderstanding:
……..……..……..……………………poetics of demand with no supply for solace

……..……..……..……………………-what do you seek in us?
……..……..……..……………………………….-inert as the line
……..……..……..……………………………….folds in on its
……..……..……..……………………………….own vowels
……..……..……..……………………………….a poetics of consonants:……..con-sonance
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…..the barrier broken So:
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…..say the name
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…..say the name
……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..……..…..say the name


Khashayar Mohammadi is a queer, Iranian born, Toronto-based Poet, Writer and Translator. He is the author of poetry Chapbooks Moe’s Skin by ZED press 2018, Dear Kestrel by knife | fork | book 2019, Solitude is an Acrobatic Act and The Ocean Dweller both by above/ground press 2020. His debut poetry collection Me, You, Then Snow is out with Gordon Hill Press.

This poem will appear in Vallum issue 19:1 – Bridges.