Michael Andrews Arts

See Announcements for details on publication of Archilochus poems in Arion Magazine.

Mullah

Current Project

 


The Mullah & The Pusher results from working for a year in Tehran, Iran. Having been in both kinds of hell it was easy to decide that I would rather be in jungle getting shot at by folks intent on ending my young, young life than spend a single afternoon in Iran.
      It was one of the worst places I have ever survived. I made some friends there, and lost a lot of my humanity.

It is my feeling that humans are more related to one another than they are alien. We wandered around the world by bus and train and ship and plane and finally, by VW bus. Like Diogenes I was searching, not so much for the Good Man, but for a Good People, a Good Culture, and Good Geography. I was searching for a way to escape an America gone insane. I was, and still am convinced that every dollar earned, every dollar spent, and every dollar of tax paid is a form of rape.
      Somewhere going over the Khyber Pass I read Camus' Rebel and gave up the idea of god. God, like government, was an impediment and an offense to a mature human being. Or, any human who could think.
      Sometime in the year of someone's lord of 1974, on orientation day in the merry old town of Tehran they warned us about venereal disease, bad water, dysentery and miscellaneous other evils lurking out on the mean old streets. We were told the Savak would probably bug our telephones and read our mail, and if we were in the need of edification we could go watch the public executions on any bright and sunny weekend.
      Welcone to Tehran.



Photographs


                                                                                                                                   



Poems

The Mullah & The Pusher
1974

In Amirabad
the Mullah swirls the dust
scatters the less holy
like a black cloud
black robes, black beard, black eyes.
You could squeeze more laughter
from a dry shriveled lemon.
He calls out a curse
on the blond ferrenghi,
spits at his Persian girl
whose arms are bare,
calls her a whore
and climbs his spiralling tower
of concrete and whitewash
to call the faithful
to prayer.

The Mullah hustles god at dusk.
The megaphones wail
his righteous sanity.
The faithful revolve
toward Mecca and Meshed
bang foreheads against the cement.
The Mullah's family
has made fine carpets
and swords
for a thousand years,
made laws to protect
his camels and donkeys and women.

When his megaphone wails –
god listens.

Somewhere
in the bowels of the bazaar,
the pusher
lice ridden
unwashed for years
hashish in a Baggie
stuffed into his crotch,
opium
like a Tootsie Roll
stuck into his ear,
limps in the urine and mud
down a back alley.
When you come
you come with a knife
and a friend
to watch your back.

And they all come,
the faithful and the ferrenghi.
He sells them golden hash
the sweet stink of opium
his absurd rage to survive.
He survives public execution.
The police know him.
They have common relations
who make fine carpets
and swords.
He screws the blond ferrenghi
in a minor hash deal –
how else can he remain proud –
and disappears
into the dark laughter
of night and hunger.

The city of Tehran
runs down the side of a mountain.
Between the prayer-towers
of the sane
and the alleys of the survivors
the streets are slick
with the urine and mud
of 3000 years of dead men.

There is no safe place to stand.

The streets between
are slick with blood.
The gutters all are deep.
The gutters all run downhill.
If you slip in the muck
you don't stop
till you hit bottom.