Untitled: A poem

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The baker has his chocolate
The grass its morning dew
The musician his talent
The dove its gentle coo
The farmer has his tractor
The lawyer has his case
The surfer has his wave
The athlete first base
The dog has its howl
The bird has its nest
The dancer her rhythm
The contestant her best
The swimmer her goggles
The comedian has fun
But without ambition
To accomplish this mission,
Really we have none
Go ahead and dare to
Do what you dare to dream
Don’t give up hope
Don’t lose your steam
For the hopeful have a prayer
The dreamer has a dream
And the artist of potential greatness
Can have anything

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Slave to the Streetlight

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It’s of many plights
You drive jade, goldenrod, and crimson lights
Some people are like robotic- slaves
They calmly slow down
At a goldenrod they run this routine
Never minding never thinking about freedom
When it is crimson
They are goody goods
Sit there like squares
On their biscuit
Never willing to risk it
The rush, you do not regret
You fly
The red and blue lights
Don’t fret, you Kyle
You race through with your cigarette
Chew on it with pride
And listen to The Police
Ironic isn’t it?
You do because
Otherwise
You conform
I know you enough to say that isn’t your style
To conform and not confront the life
You by living, rejecting, the humdrum of everyday
Dream bigger dreams
Look that other guy straight in his eye
And scream
Fuck you
Bastard
You sit there thinking
You cut me off
And now we are sitting at a red
It’s almost evil but still fantastic
You smash that pedal Kyle
You show them
Drive 60 in a 45
It’s night 2:00 in the morning
You are nobody’s slave
He is a slave to the streetlight
The other guy
Not you

Ode to Photographs

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Photographs, oh the things you capture
You have seen everything and been ever where in the world
Capturing as you go
Brutal murder scenes
Complete and utter rapture
You capture a smile
You capture the old, discolored newspaper pile
You capture a person
Stuck in denial

Photographs capture
A moment and keep it for you
Whenever you are miserable and lost
The sapphire box of old memories will
Draw a memory back for you
Running straight
On the track
Back on memory lane,
Embedded deep in my brain

Photographs assist my meeting people
I never could; relatives from distant lands
But I still can’t
Because if humanly possible I would

Photographs of
Exotic flowers and wicked witches
With mystical powers
Pictures of places
Paris, Prague, and Rome
All the way to Australia till
I get back home

The simplicity of a photograph is overrun
When a holiday comes
My mom overdoes it a bit
1000 pictures in an evening
My smile is as tight and fake and insincere
As a man’s apology

Photographs
You capture
Nature
You capture
Crime
You capture
Vengeance
You completely stop time
With no reason or rhyme

Photos when we forgot
You help us remember like that
First kiss, or first snow fall of the season

Photographs sometimes people
Use you for wrong
Pornography, loss of privacy
Pure treason
And morally wrong.

Photographs you keep my eyes wide awake
At night
Filling my live dreams to the brim
With delight, pure dynamite
Old yearbook scribbles are only
Remedied
With a photo, a face
To go with the comments in
An arbitrary place on the page

Photos never go out of style
Here they lie in a pile
I pick one up and
Although some depict horror
Such as war
Something that Americans can no longer ignore
I pick out a photo of a girl staring in the sky
Letting the day’s woes pass her by

Thank you photograph
For all that you do
Start, end a conversation
Ruin a marriage
Trigger a memory
Ruin a friendship
Trigger an emotion that triggers
An emotion stronger
That segways into a moment-
Admission of true love

Songs have been written about you
Millions of green pieces of paper have been exchanged
For one of you
A quick, fickle but true fact
America is tainted by pictures mistaken as facts

Photographs you
Take a gift and wrap it
The icing on the cake

The only things I have left now
Although beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Guilt is in the eye of the photo holder

This is an ode to you photos
Our mind’s eye is in love with the
Creativity you stir

I can pick up an aged snapshot
And see an old friend who has long since
Dismissed me from view

So I will take the good with the unspeakable
The healthy, with the untreatable
The ones in love along with the dejected
Oh photographs
Let me count the days
The angles and ways
You change me each of these passing days.

The “Jewels” of Judgment: Reading Lolita in Tehran

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In the midst of daily talks about terror threats in our everyday lives, comes a story about an Iranian woman, Dr. Azar Nafisi, who is the heart of the story Reading Lolita in Tehran. Through an informal, sarcastic tone maintained throughout this book, a series of accounts from her troubled life in the Islamic republic frequently boil to the surface. Although politics is something that Dr. Azar Nafisi herself acknowledged as corrupt, she never seemed prepared for the utter and immediate toll it took upon her friends and people she knew such as her father, who was persecuted under the vindictive regime. Despite refusing to wear the veil that caused her to lose her job, she came in greater contact with her emotions. Using these new unexpected passions Dr. Azar Nafisi formed a secret group of students who were bound together through their vigorous studies of fiction.

In the exuberance of the novel, two types of characters emerge. The characters are those within the book and those fictional characters within the novels. The personalities are as diverse as the four seasons. Nima, Nassrin, Manna, Mahsid, Yassi, Azin, Mitra, and Sanaz are to me like the members of a secret “breakfast club”. They do not meet for breakfast per say but their explosive personalities and comments and well as their beliefs about the regime forever change their teacher (Dr. Azar Nafisi) and themselves. Sanaz has a need for approval. Nima, the sole male, wanting very much to get into the club displays a new way of male behavior. Yassi confesses that an uncle molested her, however Nima seems to be of a different generation; one which respects women. Mahsid does not make it to the end. Each girl had something to bring to their meetings. An experience, a comment, a vision that the others used to get through these hard times.

However it is not their individual personalities but common struggles that unite them as one. Some were jailed for bogus charges like make-up on, running, and some talked of being reprimanded for “eating their apples too seductively”. This novel is another demonstration of the way in which women are oppressed through out history even in the 1980’s and 90’s. Using Lolita, The Great Gatsby, and Jane Austen novels Nafisi teaches the students of Western heroines and how their oppression relates to that of Islamic women. For example the antagonist Humbert brainwashes, kidnaps, and manipulates Lolita to satiate his sick fantasies. This is something that makes the book particularly amazing; that she makes these meetings with her students and the degree that she can relate literature of the Western world to her own world. Gatsby is someone in love with a girl he will always love, but one he can never have. Myrtle the adulterous one is a character questioned in the book. In Pride and Prejudice discussions, it would seem some girls dream to fall in love. For exposing these truths Nafisi should be praised. She is an amazing, eclectic individual who should be celebrated for her stubborn resolve to not allow the government who she is.

Nafisi also has the awful facts that surround her daily life. Daily reminders like bombs in the night. She recalls things, like her mother always being disappointed with her behavior, for Azin recognizes that she never lived up to her mother’s plans. Also, her father was the mayor and he was assassinated. Through her frightening experiences relating to the law (the bombings and constant raids in her daily life), she shares not only a knowledge of facts from being an honored professor, but a solid character of what fiction can be identified with. Her strong beliefs she instilled within her and her comrades evoked this idea of neglecting the grave side of society and focusing on the magnificent parts of life: “… life could be transformed into a jewel through the magic eye of fiction” (Nafisi 3). People in Iran were taught to resent Western culture yet she did not. Nafisi is actually like many of her heroines, courageous beyond belief. Gatsby and Lolita are two quite different perspectives which Nafisi presents in a light of hope. Although in fiction both Gatsby and Lolita suffer unimaginable sorrow, in reality Azar evolves a candle of hope that does not vanish because of obstacles; in fact she becomes more resolute.

If not hope, then an understanding of suffering and unspoken empathy is what Nafisi attempts to project out into the world. Although her “magician” hid in the world, she did not. Sure, she hid in her apartment flat with her students but they were open with one another and shared deep reflections about the troubles they, as women felt and addressed to the professor which bound them closer. By having this almost secret society she grasps the true meanings of fiction. Occasionally, Nafisi diverts many of the problems surrounding the regime into a question of identity; she preached at first unintentionally the more profound ideas that would not soon be forgotten by any of her fellow students. Soon, they all found that they shared the same thoughts about woman’s declining role in society and it sickened them. Setting the stage for many of them would be an event much later in the memoir that left a lasting impression – the author’s moving to America.

Nafisi talks of the enormous changes, of all the things she left in Iran: the danger, the men pursuing her and mostly importantly the veil, which once represented devotion, but now a represented entrapment. She was like the Rosa Lee Parks of Iran saying, No I will not wear the veil. It is what got her fired, but also into that secret class and discovering a life that she had to smuggle. She had to smuggle happiness and her move to the states was a decision that made it seem as though she were abandoning her students.

Betrayal and dismay are two key feelings that many of her students voiced, but mentally Nafisi could not force herself to stay in this unstable lifestyle. Her thorough studies of fiction have led her to discover how beautiful life can be if you only give it a chance. This “chance” simply could not be accomplished if she stayed in a place that did not free her spiritually. As someone who cherished and loved fiction as much as she does, the coming to America was a closure that she recognized would not erase the painful memories she had to bear. The fact that she would no longer allow herself to become immersed in them was something incredible to undertake, something many people today can take with them. Learning of her story can inspire a hope in even the most desperate situations to climb out of your hole of apprehension into exuberance!

This book is truly a gem that sparkles in the night. The brilliant combination of fiction overlapping reality and the compelling stories of the oppression of women really make one think. Our author, a brilliant wonderful teacher annexed from the University of Tehran for not agreeing to wear the veil was a landmark event. It withstands the sands of time and is truly a testimonial to someone who looks fear in the eyes and said, no I am not allowing myself to be the government’s puppet. So to sum it all up, Nafisi never quite lived up to her mother’s expectations; she towered over them. It is fantastic to say that she was brilliant. However it is the girls she taught in secret whose resilience left the reader in shock. For the Middle East and Iran are worlds foreign to us. We, the spoiled, they the suffering, something this book outlines quite well. This book encompasses detail and memories and draws them into a one of a kind story.

Let’s talk about… “Sex Tape”: Quite the Adventure

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At first “Sex Tape” seems very well thought out and quite clever. Jay (Jason Siegel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) are madly in love and having sex all the time. I mean it is a wild f… fest. It is quite a lot of sex at the beginning. Then they have two kids and their time for each other, for dinner or anything especially sex goes out the window which is portrayed in a humorous light.

A typical story apparently, although I have not gone through it and cannot confirm nor deny that this is the way it goes. They are too tired and not communicating when Annie out of the blue has the idea to make a sex tape where they do even position from the book The Joy of Sex. The scene ends with them sleepy and her asking him to delete it. This movie is very funny with the banter between Ronnie (Jay’s best friend) and Jay and the behavior of the adults when the sex tape is leaked. Annie is horrified because she is supposed to be a “wholesome” mom on this blog that a company wants to buy and the CEO received a copy of the sex tape because Jay gives all his old I-pads away. There is someone secretly texting them that they have the tape and the culprit is shocking and hilarious. It is outrageous at times with a dog chase scene that goes on way too long. I did enjoy this movie but I have mixed review for it. It is witty and clever. However, there are some scenes which cause the quality of the whole film to be brought down. The end is cute and I appreciate it, but leading up to the end there are some questionable director decisions. Jason Siegel and Cameron Diaz have this amazing chemistry as a couple. I recommend Sex Tape. Maybe you will get something different out of it then I did. That is the beauty of film.

It’s not all about “Her”: Her, a gem of a film

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When first seeing the trailer for Her, I was so intrigued. I felt such a real life vibe from the beginning of this film. Within minutes, I felt in my soul that this would be something special. Theodore our main character says “It suddenly hit me that I was part of this larger thing, before I thought I knew everything.” Theodore works for BeautifulHandwrittenLetters.com. He is a sensitive, complicated man who appears deeply troubled. Suddenly his life changes dramatically when he purchases an OS (operating system) that becomes more than he could have every imagined. We soon discover “it’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness.” Samantha is the name of Theodore’s OS and after his meaningless phone sex session which points at his loneliness and profound deep to be close to another human being devoid of meaning. In an instance, Theodore is in this trance and Samantha says that she evolves just like he does. This movie is breathtaking and stunning as I contemplating the likelihood of this ever occurring in real life. I do not say these things lightly, for this film’s emotion touched me deeply.

It was so refreshing to see a man struggle in his emotions and daily life and when we find out he is in the midst of a divorce, it feels like the breakdown of one relationship and the formation of another one. As he takes his OS on adventures through beaches and snow, we are left with many questions, such as how does their sex life work. Samantha asks a question that brings my mind to another world, “What’s it is like to be alive in that room right now?” I never for a second thought I would feel sympathy for the computer. I felt the pain in the restrictions in the relationship but Joaquin Phoenix was a dream in this film. Theodore’s friend Amy also goes through a divorce and they lean on each other for support. This raw emotion of a man’s pain was unbearable at times but despite the divorce Samantha says something remarkable to Theodore, “We’re only here briefly so while I’m here I want to allow myself joy.” I truly felt this movie was painful, heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. If you are going to rent a movie, do yourself a favor and rent, Her. You will not be disappointed or devoid of feeling. It will change the way you see the world, and that is what I can a movie!