Vincent and Franz

 Vincent and Franz

Vincent and Franz were my neighbors when I was young

Both lived in dark corner houses, the end

Of our dead-end alley invisible to the naked eye.

Where was this neighborhood?

Many asked me all along.

And the ones who knew where I was from

Didn’t believe a word of mine.

Iran has no foreigners, let alone two on your side of town.


Vincent was Ana’s little brother I explained,

The youngest son of a pious family

Who lived next door to the mosque.

Ana, the coquettish girl who was touched

By devout worshippers and married men alike

Such a bizarre story I have no reason to devise.

Who do you think was behind

The scandalous affair of Haji Morad

The respectable rug merchant in the bazaar?


Why do you think Ibrahim, her father

Cut her throat in sleep one night?

A stream of blood-drenched her pillow,

Tainted her young plaid skirt

Ruined the doll she loved the most.

I know this tale firsthand

Vincent painted this crime.

The real story behind the Starry Night

Yes he was not talkative at all

A reserved character, aggressive at times

Yet, he could capture the essence

Of every mirage engraved in his twisted mind.  


Frantz was a bastard child of a housemaid and a judge 

He told me once himself,

Not being shy of calling his mother a whore.

Frantz had a wealth of knowledge on self-gratification

It was he who taught Vincent and I

How to enhance our pleasure by refining our minds.

How to molest innocent words with grace

And to defile a virgin without ever touching her flesh.


Our dead-end alley was long and gray

Filled with so much filth and deception

Even rain could not wash away.

Amorphous homes leaning on one another

crooked walls erected high, doors warped with despair,

Iron bars of windows distort the light.


I never forget the scent,

That mystic aroma of their kitchens

Their mothers’ cooking, I pined to taste

Yet the rule was clear, I was not allowed

To set foot in their homes

As everyone in the neighborhood knew

Vincent was insane and Franz a Jew.

The only friends of my childhood

The only ones I had got along,

Were two disturbed individuals, outcasts by all accounts.


To capture the exotic times we had together

To decipher the chaos, to make sense of it all, I write


The more secrets I reveal

The murkier the canvas grows.

For that reason only I don’t wish to share

The colorful twirls of our boomerang.


Suffice it to say, together

We shared wickedness and perverse delight

As we roamed the town on starry nights.

Wandering specters, that’s all we were

Caressing the velvet of fantasy, forever lost in the haze of life.