Redefining north.

Blue by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad (transcript)

[Listen to a spoken-word version of Blue here.]


He tells me, I see you rock a lot of blue,
pointing to the icy glitter painted on my eyelids,
blue blizzard hue manicured on my fingertips,
cold topaz stones hanging low from ear lobes,
and the cool navy lace stretched tightly around my skin

Impressed, I tell him, I do rock a lot of blue,
and then, as if to reward his observation,
I suddenly open
like mussel shells abandoned,
risk jump, dive
into an Atlantic ocean of truth,
fearlessly recite my biography
inked in blue

Yes, I rock blue, like the blue whale:
flippers flecked, polka-dot skin,
long bodied, flat-headed Though she’s the largest animal that lives,
still can’t escape the fear of extinction
A heart that weighs a thousand pounds,
still not loved enough to be protected
Visitors watch her only from a safe distance
Museums will come close only for her blue-lost skeleton

Yes, I rock blue, like Persian blue:
calculated lines and symmetrical designs
perfectly combined
in geometric glory painted on these tiles
that speak my history in turquoise calligraphy,
but how quickly
they discount my identity,
as if I wasn’t once an empire
They just want the blueprints
to the nuclear power's
Misidentifying shades,
they tell me,
is only foreign policy

I tell him, but let’s turn the conversation light
blue, because tones don’t just carry woes, and
I can still relax blue like jazzy blue,
and I love the background screens
of Jeopardy blue,
and I dance 80s blue to Madonna’s True Blue,
and I sing along to blue jays, Beyoncé Blue, and every
World Cup I cheer for Seleção’s blue, and I’ve been c
ollecting words and letters in a mailbox blue,
and I’m a compulsive cookie eater,
but still a friendly monster blue,
and I know God’s love is royal blue, whether in cyan domes,
or His sky blue; even midnight blue
unfolds streaks of a holy view

But he tells me, I mean,
I see you rock more of that other blue,
and how much do you trust someone
before you show them your black and blue

Okay, yes, my birthstone is the sapphire blue, but
what use is a precious stone if not
chiseled and treated, sculpted slim,
carved thin, cut and fractured,
made presentable,
angles and edges acceptable
to the buyer
Waxed and sparkled steel,
blued to prevent the surge of rust,
but though polished and varnished
even solid gems erode,
and the electric blue spark will lose its glow
because this color was born and bruised
into my fibers,
like the cornflower blue coats donned by
the Kennedy kids at the funeral

I showed him
that this tall glass of water
is only clear because it’s filtered,
but my body of water is just
a deep blue sea,
and the courage to reveal this
comes once in a blue moon

So tell me, you,
You, who knew I rock a lot of blue,
why did you add a new shade
to be named after you

Blue by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Blue by Mehrnoosh Torbatnejad

Notes from Crew Quarters: Running Away

Notes from Crew Quarters: Running Away