Dolores Park

Poetry

here people dance in the street
some naked, or almost
and everyone is some degree of happy
and you can’t not hear it
like you can’t not have a mother
everyone has some degree of one
all our paths led us here
and we all know the lyrics to ‘born this way’
we’re all on 18th street in the mission
there’s skin against me and I’m shielded
from the cold outside
I’ll capture this moment on instagram and people will like it
and I’ll remember dancing with strangers
being accepted by strangers
being loved

Hosgeldeniz

Poetry

**This poem was published in the Lighthouse Literary journal. You can buy it HERE**

when even the sky feels different meaning the clouds here are from a different air or rather the difference in everything is told by looking up
white barges move leisurely as they’ve done a thousand times with red-topped houses mish-mashed on a once grassy hill resembling legos
the city wakes up to a crescent moon still visible against the dawn and you wonder about things like how people drive here or whether the men selling simit on street corners have the same supplier
and strangely everyone speaks english except the old cab drivers who complain about tourists and arabs and I think to myself that I’m lucky I blend in everyone here knows their history and where the monuments are
and where I live there are no monuments and young kids here have Ataturk’s signature tattooed on their arms and chests and speak passionately because they understand the situation
not like here
I remember the trip from the airport passing through a barren hillside that somehow carried itself proudly and seeing a flag in the distance and nothing else but a hill and flag and thinking it defined this place perfectly
“I guess you can just take me home now” I’ll go back to the traffic and ignorance and bad food and know that despite all that my life is good
and I’ll sometimes hear the morning prayer in my head and think about the summer here

Just two weeks

Poetry

can’t you wait just two more weeks for that three year dream to come through while you think of that brief prelude on 18th and Q
and it tells you what its like to wake up and not be alone as how to smile after that mile walk because tonight you’re cooking for two
because it’s not just the sex even though that’s part of it but rather it’s more about the drive down to Melrose together
or picking the right things in the frozen food aisle of Trader Joe’s and knowing that you can hold her hand and make a joke and she’ll probably laugh
you can que netflix for a Breaking Bad marathon and not have to worry about buffering or refresh rates or whether the call will drop
or sometimes when the volume is too high how its hard to hear her voice and you can make use of that big orange-white blanket that sometimes alone you feel lost in
and you sit and think or lie and think about taking a road trip to the Mission and not have to worry about snorting coke or drinking Redbull
because you can just take turns driving along the coast an listening to Michael Jackson’s 1981 version of Ben or Gaga’s newest single or nothing but the sound of driving with the windows down
and you can look back at the last three years and think that you didn’t do everything perfectly that sometimes tears were shed in some dark moments
and once you got caught in a downpour and had to walk with a sprained ankle and no umbrella and things were hard and you’re sure she has the same stories
and you both can share them and you both can feel the same pain because that’s how this works and you both know that maybe there will be some more pain
and more tears but that’s ok because you can have dinner together and walk to the promenade together and pet Jeffrey together and things will work themselves out
not magically but because you love each other and that’s what matters
and there will be times that are great and it will be most of the time where you’ll smile and be happy and you won’t have to say a word because sometimes it isn’t needed and we can give each other massages after a long day and you won’t have to tackle the bottle of Chianti by yourself and you can really enjoy the sound of two glasses uniformly saying
it’s time to unwind and then the night will continue and your hands will do things and your lips will touch and the curtain will fall as the lights turn off and the cats will run because they know what this means.

The Child

Poetry

a flash captures two fingers outstretched
two brown eyes and two smiles, both illuminated
made immortal by the press of a small button
a child in his innocence creates, can fly unfettered
as two giant wings propel him farther up until
at last he has reached the heavens and only
utters the words I MISS YOU as though
the clouds could hear

The eyes of a child open to see a sun through
window shade filtered in a criss-cross pattern
his tongue tastes salt on his upper lip
cautiously he rises up to see, with his own
the same sun and the familiar grass
the hammock out back where he used to lie,
the painted shed with our names scribbled

His eyes can see beauty in the world
upon waking his smile no less painful
than the night.
beauty and the tenderness of a caress
which by now exists only with eyes closed
Thus the sun wills beauty on the earth
injecting light in his smile

History, Deception, and Repression: Khamenei’s Grand Strategy

International Relations

History, Deception, and Repression: Khamenei’s Grand Strategy

Abstract:

This paper seeks to explain the three primary strategies used by the Islamic Republic of Iran to consolidate power and silence opposition: (1) using a religio-historical narrative to defame opposition leaders, (2) promoting a revisionist history to create external threats to the regime, and (3) censorship and repression of dissenting views. An analysis of these strategies shows that Ayatollah Khamenei has become the most powerful figure in Iran and is the key decision maker. Understanding these strategies and the importance of Khamenei can help to formulate better policymaking. I suggest a change in U.S. policy towards Iran that focuses on fighting censorship and raising international awareness of the domestic situation rather than focusing on the nuclear issue.

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