Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 400,000 monthly users. Over 6,000 archived posts.

Kareem Tayyar: Gas Station

The Indian woman behind the counter
is reading The Upanishads when I enter.
The radio is playing a French chanson.
The photograph on the wall to my left
features John F. Kennedy…

May 6, 2021 · 4 Comments

Video: Lunch Time

A 16-year-old Iranian girl has been notified by the local morgue to identify her mother’s body. Over the course of the next 15 minutes, this painful task proves to be more difficult than we could have ever imagined in Alireza Ghasemi’s engrossing and humanist portrait “Lunch Time.”

April 12, 2020 · 3 Comments

Kareem Tayyar: New York Elegy

I saw the ghost of Whitman bathing in Bethesda Square, The mounted beat cops directing traffic on a moonless Manhattan night, The St. Marks street queens stalking rainbows with a … Continue reading

February 19, 2019 · 2 Comments

Kareem Tayyar: Tempests

We are sitting in the nature garden on the southern side of the campus. It is dark, and the autumn wind has picked up her ancient violin. We are talking … Continue reading

December 11, 2018 · 1 Comment

Kareem Tayyar: The Prince of Shiraz

This is your country. You know which wells you can climb down before nightfall, Which wells will be dry even after the autumn rains, Which wells have paintings on the … Continue reading

October 16, 2018 · 3 Comments

Kareem Tayyar: Listening to Sergeant Pepper in Dasht-e Kavir

You hadn’t heard of the Beatles until they had broken up. It was 1971. You were still two years from leaving Tehran for Los Angeles.   Hassan’s uncle had gone … Continue reading

March 1, 2018 · Leave a comment

Kareem Tayyar: Thoughts While Reading “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” By Dr. Seuss

I watch as the boy sets out for the larger world and think of my grandfather’s father, On a boat bound for America, Silently reciting the Our Father while crossing … Continue reading

September 14, 2017 · Leave a comment

Kareem Tayyar: On Queshm Island, Iran

Last night I saw you in the Valley of Stars. “Ghost country”, you called it, As you floated through the rock formations like a prophet in love with the loss … Continue reading

August 15, 2017 · Leave a comment

Kareem Tayyar: James Baldwin

I try to imagine you on a night when the moon is full. When the woman you are with did not have to leave the house before you. When the … Continue reading

August 15, 2017 · Leave a comment

Kareem Tayyar: The Ocean is Wide Enough for Many to Walk Upon It

(For Mahmoud Darwish)   On the night that Muhammad entered the gospels, Christ was out on the water, Dipping his toes into the sea.   Muhammad walked down to the … Continue reading

June 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

Kareem Tayyar: My Father’s Favorite Bookstore in Shiraz

Is on a small side street a few miles from his house. “What wonders it has,” he tells me, As if he were describing King Arthur’s castle, Or the Impressionist … Continue reading

May 26, 2017 · Leave a comment

Kareem Tayyar: Night, Westwood Boulevard, Waiting for a Friend

The mad girl says the sky is a garden hanging by a silver thread. Everywhere the light you love becomes your death, And no one turns the daffodil of darkness … Continue reading

March 31, 2017 · 1 Comment

Kareem Tayyar: A Summer of Last Suppers

  When I would come home from school, She would look at me and ask, (In Farsi, a language I had never learned to speak), What I wanted for lunch. … Continue reading

March 6, 2017 · Leave a comment

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 … Continue reading

February 21, 2017 · 1 Comment

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