Coping

Fitting in the new country,
Trying to understand the rules of the society,
Fighting to be heard as an immigrant.
And then trying to change the social norms,
Racism,
Capitalism,
Poverty,
Definition of democracy
All matter to you now,
While being super-sensitive about the international affairs.

Then one morning,
You wake up to a cold, sunless day
With the bold news headlines:
-maybe not bold headlines, as they soon fade into thousands of other pieces of news-
Iran is in unrest,
Protested,
Violated.
Hundreds of ordinary civilians are shot to death in the streets
By the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.

In your fragmented, technology-obsessed existence,
You hear that the Internet is shut down in the whole country.

Then at a grocery store
Unable to concentrate,
You can’t understand a word of English anymore.

You are shifted in time and space.
Your body is here, but your soul is wandering in the streets of Tehran,
Mahshahr,
Karaj,
Shahriar,
Sanandaj,
Ahwaz.

Today,
The concept of democracy sounds like a joke to you.
Your colleague says happy Thanksgiving with a smile
And you want to puke.
Because all you think of is the man shouting “I’m hungry!”
to a cameraman in Eslamshahr,
During a protest.

Then comes the holiday season.
Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas!
You are far away, in another galaxy,
While you smile and say the greetings back.

Every immigrant, at least their first generation
Is familiar with the concept of dissociation.
But there are some days,
You blend into the events of your home country so bad,
That you are a stranger to yourself in your new home
And wonder if you ever emigrated.
Then you find yourself reciting the Mexican poet:
“I will call this city a sad marionette/ And call the continent’s shorelines roving wolves.”

January 2, 2020

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