Ali Abdolrezaei

Ali Abdolrezaei


Ali Abdolrezaei was born on 10 April 1969 in Langerood in Northern Iran. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Technology (KNTU) in Tehran. Ali published his first book of poems “Only Iron Men Rust in the Rain” at the age of 19, which had an undeniable impact on poetry circles with his speeches and media interviews. Ali left Iran in September 2002 after his protest against the censorship of his last book to be published in Iran, “So Sermon of Society”, which led to him being banned from teaching and public speaking. He now lives in London, UK.
Ali has published 34 varied books which include “In Riskdom Where I lived”, “This Dear Cat”, “Paris in Renault”, “More Obscene than Literature”, “Hermaphrodite”, “You Name this Book”, “Terror”, “La Elaha Ella Love” and “Wisdom of Sin”. Ali Abdolrezaei’s poems have been translated into many languages including English , French ,German , Spanish , Dutch ,Swedish ,Finnish ,Turkish, Portuguese ,Urdu , Croatian, Armenian, Bangali , and Arabic.

Miss Ziari’

My eyes didn’t wander
I just wandered in her eyes
those burning embers
I was fuel to
The deft sculptor
to chisel such delicate nose
was me
the butchering of her lips
between the teeth
What a tongue!
Hands of a masseuse hid in her eyes
O my God
someone come light up
this black pair of cigarillos
squirming like seductive serpents
in such grace
this woman
was born
prettier than any bunch of flowers
I ever put to water
I ever lost my marbles
under the skin of those cheeks
H’s still playing marbles
with the little eyes
my childhood possessed
My eyes do not wander
event if under the desk
I’m still climbing up your legs
in the short skirts you wore
to the prep class at Yari Primary
Miss Ziari*

* I was six when I started school. I had long straight hair, a navy blue jacket, wearing a tie of a colour I cannot remember. We had eleven silly girls in the class who kept coming on to me and I didn’t care. There were eight other boys in the class too, but I had become a man, because I was in love with Miss Ziari. I kept coming onto her but she didn’t care. So I kept getting top marks so she would come caress my hair and tell me with her budding lips, Excellent Ali! There was still one year left to the Revolution which put my love in a frame. Tonight when another love was torn away from me, I remembered my classmates and my teacher, Miss Ziari who, I still do not know why, when the schools shut for holidays, they put her against the wall in the middle of summer and shot a bullet in her chest. No, I still can’t believe it. It is impossible to kill a beautiful woman by a bullet.

‘World War Final’

We who had not believed
the war has ended
did not leave the trenches
nor put down our “Death to…”
or quit being so ridden in dust

We who have not believed
the towns are still on the offensive
the fields, still in retreat
and in between the forests are lost

While the war is still in between us
we are worming Kusturika’s Underground
like when the bombs came
and we hid under the school bench
so behind the desk
they could give a seat to Mr Veteran

The war is approaching again
so Zahra’s Heaven Cemetery
won’t sit so far apart from Tehran
so the military police swap places
with the street dogs
and women who recently learnt to smile
sit a little closer to tears

There won’t be sirens in between respites
to run to the basements this time
there shall be no enemies
the earth shall be
the trench in which to take refuge

We who don’t believe
The missiles won’t arrive this time
to take away a hundred people at a time
this won’t be a soldiers’ war
we shall all flap feathered wings

One cannot play pranks
with an atom bomb


In the massacre of my words
they’ve beheaded my last line
and blood ink like is hitting on paper
there’s death stretched over the page
and life like a window ajar shattered by a rock
a new gun has finished off the world
and I imported goods like through this alley’s doors
am still the very meagre room that emigrated

I in my life who am pen like to the lines of this meagre page
am mother
The cat’s paws are still prancing
to scare the mouse
running for the hole they filled

In pursuit of the lesson I did at school
I’m no longer Jack the lover to my Jill
I’m doing my new homework
You cross it out
And in the girl who will tumble at this poem’s end
build a house
filled with a door open like a wound
and from in-between the edges of death
like a room gone from this house lived happily
a girl who wanting to make me her own
would throw morsels in her voice to tease me over
to the temple of her body
for my eyes to keep whirling and whirling
to make a Dervish of me again
How the eyes
these empty sockets
in between the love making of two are thousand handed
How this side of being where I am is all the more other-sided in Iran
Fathurt mothurt my brothurt!
My condition is more critical than hurt
writing’s more emasculated than me
and London with its hair highlights of a weather is still
sisterly awaiting
Death to stretch over my body
for life to kill me again

My heart is bleeding
for the poet whose queue of words is getting longer
for the branch less sparrow who’s swallowed its twitter
for the restitution of a crow with no overhead wire
for myself
gone from the house like electricity
I was somebody
Did the foolish thing became a poet!

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