2003 - Saloni M swims East
He has a B.A. with Honours and is currently completing a PhD at Deakin University. First book Elixir: a story in poetry published by Grendon Press in 2002. Interested in history, spirituality and dissent. Plays include Irene’s Inquisition (Melbourne Fringe Festival 2001) and Elixir (based on the book; Melbourne Fringe Festival 2003).
Has won a number of awards including the 2003 Hussen Benn Non-Fiction Award, the 2000 Verandah Literary Award, and the 1997 GUGC National Tertiary Art Prize. Current project: La Pucelle: the Epic of Joan of Arc. Influenced by ancient and medieval poets and mystics. Born in Iran and migrated to Australia at 15. Has worked as writing teacher, ESL tutor, proofreader and street performer.
You call me a barbarian.
You don’t speak my
But I must understand
because you’re so
civilised and meaningful.
Me, I’m naked
Yes, I understand
your language. I’ve been learning
what you want your
filthy slave to be. I am
© Ali Alizadeh 2003.
from Romeo and Juliet Deserted by Rahman Shiri, translated by Ali Alizadeh
originally published in Bennett, Debbie et al (eds.). Verandah: Issue 18. Melbourne: Deakin University 2003.
In the morning I stayed in my bed and fantasised. I thought to myself ‘What am I going to do after getting up?’ I could go to work or go to the park for a bit of exercise and then have a shower, a big breakfast and a kiss from my girlfriend. I was enjoying my fantasies before reminding myself that in the solitaries of the Juliet prison of the Refugee Detention Centre dreaming is an unforgivable crime. But that’s not why I couldn’t rise from bed; I was waiting for the sound of the Chinese girl’s laughter. I wanted to wake up to her noise because the sound of her laughter was so many things; it was love and freedom and lips and shower and a full breakfast and job and happiness and…
I couldn’t eat the dry breakfast and, once I had given up on calling the golden girl, I climbed the bed and looked out through the small opening. I finally managed to see her. She was sitting next to a tree in a corner of the Juliet prison’s courtyard. Her face was downcast with hair covering it in a way that prevented me from seeing her eyes. I knew that she was probably still crying. I knew that her crying hadn’t ceased since last night. I knew that her crying wouldn’t cease for as long as we were stuck in this rot. Her crying wouldn’t stop for as long as we were living in the realm of cruelties, atrocities and separations; for as long as the officials and guards, the Romeos, with their numbers and batons, imprisoned us in their Juliet. The golden girl was crying with my eyes. Her weeping will never stop.
© Ali Alizadeh 2003.