By Golnoosh Nour
One silver day my father called from the North of Iran
I could hear the sea in his voice and the sun
dangling from the ceiling of his worn villa; my skin
streaming to the source of his humid voice,
I feigned love for London, this gilded well
I, an ambivalent immigrant, always on time for visa stamps,
vomiting smiles at the police concealing
my stress, sticking to deadlines like they were guns,
thrilled to be allowed by whiteness, the sparkling promise
of praise. Speaking my second language
like chewing ice: foreign words swimming in my foreign mouth
tricky, always surprising – a secret I shouted to
betray a friend, but then I recalled
I have been to many a house, alas, never a home
and I betrayed myself by confessing to my father:
I want to be where you are
melting in the Caspian under its ruthless sun
until my pale skin turns brown
and I become a real brown person who
can keep secrets and admits that she misses
the streets of her burning country.
In Your Arms I Am A Boy
by Golnoosh Nour
A sparrow, trapped and warmed in your hands,
a nightingale singing the songs of misery and victory,
a boy who competes with other boys to win at pool, at fights, at life.
A boy who murmurs in your ears that you are an empress for whom
he is ready to murder everyone else.
A jealous boy, a delicate boy, a delicious boy.
An inebriated boy, a pauper, a landless poet, a nomad who
has been accused of being a solipsistic prince.
A socialist boy, a sociable boy, an isolated boy, an island in love
with the ocean that is drowning it.
A brown boy, daggered by injustice,
an attacked prince like Siyavash, dragged
to walk through fire to prove his innocence.
As I storm through the fire, you hold my hands
like a bouquet of blossoming roses.
You are right, my empress, I am nothing but a wounded prince:
stabbed in the back and front by all of my friends and
none of my enemies, bleeding on your cold marble, and you,
mesmerised by my golden blood,
will betray the world to save your boy.
Golnoosh Nour teaches Creative Writing at the University of Bedfordshire and has a radio programme on Soho Radio Culture. Nour studied English Literature at Shahid Beheshti University and gained a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from Birkbeck College, University of London. Her debut short story collection The Ministry of Guidance was published in 2020, the debut poetry collection was published in 2017 and her next poetry collection Rocksong is forthcoming with the87press.
Her writing has also appeared in Granta, Poetry Anthology, and Spontaneous Poetics amongst others. Golnoosh regularly performs her work at literary events and festivals across the UK and internationally. She is the co-editor of Magma 80 and an anthology of queer writing forthcoming with Muswell Press.