Let Us Believe in the Dawn of the Cold Season

Let us believe in the dawn of the cold season began as an ekphrastic dialogue between my photography and the poetry of Iranian-born Forugh Farrokhzad. I, as an immigrant from Iran, have not been able to return to my place of birth due to religious persecutions against the Baha'is in Iran. With the current winds of intolerance towards immigrants in the US, including the recent violence in El Paso- my current residence, I find myself traversing the landscape of exile.

I first came to the poetry of Forugh Farrokhzad as a teenager in Iran. Like many young adults I dwelt in dark thoughts romanticizing the macabre. The listless wanting and dark desires she spoke to in her poetry resonated inside my anxious, restless mind. In Forugh’s verses I found a language unknown to me before, a language of dark desires and poignant melancholy. Love and desire, loneliness and death, and the relationships between them all were exotic countries too far to touch, but easy to imagine myself in.

Forty years since leaving Iran I find myself returning to the verses of Farrokhzad, stumbling over her words in my now broken Farsi. This time, however, I am experiencing her poetry as an immigrant as well as a seasoned physician who has come to know death intimately. I have become an exile, and the lines of Forugh’s poems spin a silken bridge from me to Iran. 

The recent violence in El Paso has affected me deeply and in a personal way. This project started out of my desires to connect me to my birthplace, but in reality it brought me home.