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May 2016, Week 4

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Fri, 27 May 2016 20:01:59 -0400
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Welfare Queen

May 27, 2016
By Majid Naficy
portside.org (May 27, 2016)

The exiled Persian poet Majid Naficy draws on Christian parable (the Book of Matthew), suggesting that some of the irate voices on our streets are not enemies but prophets. 

Welfare Queen

	By Majid Naficy

	Here she comes
	With incessant shouts
	And two fiery eyes
	Which like dying candles
	Have suddenly inflamed
	Before they finally burn out.

	Passersby
	Change their direction.
	A man takes refuge
	In his car,
	A woman grabs her daughter’s hand
	And crosses the street,
	And I shelter behind a tree
	Thinking to myself:
	Perhaps she ran out
	Of her pills
	The day the Governor
	Closed mental hospitals
	To cut the budget
	Or the President
	Called her “a welfare queen”
	To make a public enemy.

	And yet
	She doesn’t even have a shopping cart
	To make a barricade
	Or a walking buddy
	To give her a hand.
	Thus
	She shouts incessantly
	Until a hand
	Puts a red robe
	On her shoulders,
	A crown of thorns
	On her head
	And a reed cane
	In her right hand*.

	* Matthew 27:28-29
Majid Naficy fled Iran in 1983, a year and a half after the execution of his wife, Ezzat in Tehran. Since 1984 Majid has been living in West Los Angeles. He has published two collections of poetry in English Muddy Shoes (Beyond Baroque, Books, 1999) and Father and Son (Red Hen Press, 2003) as well as his doctoral dissertation at UCLA Modernism and Ideology in Persian Literature (University Press of America, 1997). Majid has also published more than twenty books of poetry and essay in Persian.
	 


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