Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Nature, and Politics

Kareem Tayyar: The Electrical Engineer

He could make a radio out of anything

You’d come home and he’d have put one together out of the parts of that old

Defunct television set that died one night last summer

During the fourth quarter of the Lakers-Celtics game on television

He’d connect two final wires together and suddenly Tony Bennett would be in the room

Oh you boulevard of broken dreams where my father stays up nights

Making radios and imagining the answers to equations that God has asked

Him to figure out if A is Tehran and B is Baghdad and X is Muhammad

Then what is the square root of the child’s body that was destroyed

In the bombing?

My father who I would see in the middle of the night when I would walk into the kitchen

For a glass of water

His ear to the speakers as the rough hum of some Persian folksinger delivered Farsi

Back to his ears like a postman whose hands were full of flowers and poetry

My father whose radios tapped into frequencies that the radio we had purchased

As a family at the local KMART could not

One night there was Christ on the radio reciting the love letter he had written

To Mary Magdalene but never sent

Another night there was the voice of his mother two weeks’ dead

And singing him back to a childhood where each night he would give the moon

A different secret name

Some nights there was the voice of the Shah and my father would smash the radio

He had built into pieces with his fists

And then from the fractured speakers of that wreckage the voice of the Ayatollah

Would emerge

And my father would set fire to the speakers

And throw them into the street

But most nights there was the voice of Vin Scully

Calling a Dodgers game that would not be played until the following night

My father whose radios could tell the future

My father whose radios ran on faith and not batteries


 

Copyright 2017 Kareem Tayyar.

Kareem Tayyar is an Iranian-American poet who lives in California. His most recent book is Magic Carpet Poems (Tebot Bach).

One comment on “Kareem Tayyar: The Electrical Engineer

  1. Diana L Elser
    February 23, 2017

    Wonderful poem!

    Liked by 1 person

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