Majid Naficy, the Arthur Rimbaud of Persian poetry, 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. In January 2014, his Portrait was aired on VOA in Persian. Now it is available with English subtitles on Youtube at:

The Wind as a Barber

Imagine that wind is a barber at dawn
Who removes dry limbs and leaves
And trims disheveled trees
For a bird feast.

In the wind
The sob of dry leaves
Mingles with wet limbs’ laughter
And gives the voice of the wind
A dual-tone.

The wind whistles
As it trims the trees
Like a street barber.
It puts down its scissors and comb
Only when the sun
Raises its handmirror
So that the trees
Can see their haircuts
And the birds
Begin their feast.

Published on


Skipping in the Rain

To sing a wet poem
You should have an open mouth
So that the rain
Falls onto your words
And you hear the voice of your sister
Who in the time of your childhood
Skipped behind you in the rain,
Sang Vigen’s “Rain! Rain!” softly*
And fragrant flowers poured
From her mouth.

She is Nasrin*
She is Nastaran*
She is Nahal*
She is Yasaman*.

Her daughters arrive one by one,
Hang flowers from their hair
And sing a wet song
With their mother in the rain.

*- Vigen Derderian (1929-2003): An Armenian-Iranian popular singer.
*- These four Persian words are all feminine names and mean respectively daffodil, dog-rose, sapling and jasmine.

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Welfare Queen

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

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.

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



© 2016 Majid Naficy


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