This side of the city

'For there’s more enterprise / in walking naked.' WB Yeats On this side of the city home is like losing parents to dementia, they touch the curved arms of an IKEA chair and know it's a different country but they live with habitual non-memory of Nowrooz, yalda, ghorme sabzi, even the coldness in their feet never remind them of the heat under the korsi. Some cities have borderline designs, there is a car park on Milton Street that turns into a drive-in cinema where apathetic cars watch the young Travolta dancing in Grease, but the rest of the year it is the finishing point of a long stare as if it was the Caspian Sea, they say 'once upon a time there was a hole in the road,’ the one I never saw in real world, it's the same void that degenerates the mind, a hole in the definition of the town, like having to mime to estranged thoughts, and again, 'what's the big fuss?’ asks a Sheffield lad with little loyalty to his mother's or the city's past, on this side of the city Sunday afternoon yawns in a dodgy lift in an unloved brutalist building cramped with immigrants, in an immigrant home family is an embroidered word you can throw on a sofa and binge-watch foreign language series, subtitled psychobabbles about actually nothing, about how one can be busy all Sunday afternoon moving from one madness to another, from mother to father. They say a rose survives longer if you insert a needle into the stem and let go the air, how many holes are enough to let go the drifting thoughts that have yet to settle? What if the needles, like memories, go blind and shred the wrong place in the wrong time? They say stories are rotating circles that touch each other, perhaps somewhere on the other side of the city, in that overlapped space, we redesign the borders, invent a language, display our wounds, walk naked, and tell the others we haven't survived, we only fake it.

Shirin Teifouri