AUTUMN 07: Sheema Kalbasi
Two Poems by Sheema Kalbasi
Sheema Kalbasi (born in Tehran, Iran) is a human right activist, an award winning poet, and literary translator. She is the President and head of Research & Writing Department at Reel Content Productions, a film production company with an exclusive focus on human rights. She is the director of Dialogue of Nations through Poetry in Translation, director of Poetry of Iranian Women Project, the poetry editor of The Muse Apprentice Guild and the co- director of the Other Voices International. She has authored two collections of poems, Echoes in Exile in English, and Sangsar (Stoning) in Persian. Kalbasi's work has appeared in numerous magazines, literary reviews, anthologies, and has been translated into several languages. She is one of the few literary figures to promote poets of Iranian heritage as well as international poets to English speaking audiences. Kalbasi's work is distinguished by her passionate defense of the ethnic and religious minorities' rights.
She has worked for the United Nations and the Center for non Afghan Refugees in Pakistan, and in Denmark. Today she lives with her husband and daughter in the United States.
Nothing is all I am
Nothing overloading nothing
Closing the doors,
Opening an extra into an empty space,
Nothing ensues but a further war.
The bombs, lights that blind and Damascus,
Burning after Tehran. Sisters calling in despair,
Brothers callous the arms of infidels. Nothing happens
But children die, and journalists are filming for a deadline.
Nothing comes after nothing but I,
Kneel, cry for nothing,
and still the no shepherd birds burn at flight.
Nothing happens. I walk by the Central Park
Next to nothing, and the no flight zone is
Just nothing yet throat slides over throat,
Bullets shut and blood drops. Here nothing happens
But I write to keep nothing from overloading nothing.
The little girl's drawing,
with her father
hand in hand
in a Halloween costume...
and a rabbit,
a white home.
The mother's drawing but...
showing her dad, dead
behind prison walls,
the soldiers with guns,
the cluster bombs.
© 2007 Sheema Kalbasi