Author's Note: For the last several months Morteza has been in the city of his birth, a place from which, as a young man, he fled in fear of his life and to which he annually returns and uses his medical skills to repair the many broken bodies from a long and terrible war. September found him about to return to the city of his refuge. He was meditative, peaceful, connected, feeing that he had done what he could and must be satisfied with that. In October we reach Part 2 of this three part narrative. Morteza is “home” but his city seems barely recognizable. There are many voices to be heard but in October we only hear that of Morteza.
Part 2. Voices in the Fog.
A New King The axis of Morteza’s world shifted. Old verities chaotically flew into fog incomprehensibly blank, Had gravity no power to hold? Could eyes no longer discern direction? The new king was a charlatan beating at the hollow chest of his own vast emptiness, a low grade thief who stuffed the crown jewels into his pocket, then peacock-strutted, flaunting them in pride of ownership. Morteza had fled oppression. This city had given him freedom, conferred on him honor and wealth, enabled him to help others, gave him hope for the future and belief in the rule of law. He lay awake, filled with grief. He feared the blank emptiness of fog winding through the streets, covering the city, blanketing even the unseen landscape stretching ominously beyond the walls. fog descended thick impenetrable hiding mountain trees paths the poor the dispossessed and Morteza groping despairing longing for light imagining of the clarity of the sun yearned for a glimpse of the distant mountain’s foothills ached for the low slung single star shining white beside a sliver moon. The Best We Can Do? The only sound was the flat slap of waves rhythmically rising to meet the stone harbor wall. Impossibly large luxury launches, once glistening white in sparkling blue, were now looming shadows. Fog had swallowed them and their owners, swallowed too their brittle white smiles, leaving only clink of crystal and the rank stench of privilege. Into Morteza’s mind came sun and heat, the vulnerable chug and cough of an ancient diesel motor powering an overcrowded, flimsy boat filled with desperation, hope and fear. He felt again the salt-laden clothes, saw the gathering sea, the looming swell, heard the creaking of the water-filling vessel. Then, despite the grey of the fog, flared a vision of streets aflame, angry mobs rampaging, tear gas clouds, baton charges, justice, fallen, trampled, lying bloodied in the streets. He groped blindly then stumbled. He stared into the blankness. His heart beat hard. Fog covered the brightness that long ago filled him with hope and guided him through the night.
©2020 Neil Creighton
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF