A Hafez Expert

          "I'm a hopeless romantic and passionate person when it comes to love."
                                                                                                                          Jennifer Lopez
Hey Ali!
Now that I'm writing this email it’s 1 p.m. in Portland, I don't know what time it is in Tehran, it's sometime close to noon, right? Dude, why you are not in Gtalk? It's an hour since I came back home, you didn't show up on Gtalk so I decided to write this email.

Well, I think you were right, she has a crush on me. I did everything you said. I bought wine—that French one, Madame Pierre Gelin. But fuck you, it cost me $130. When I got there, I gave her compliments about her hair, her clothes and the food. And she was the only one that I was complimenting. Her apartment is only two blocks away—imagine, I could bang her two times every night and then come back home. Everything was clean, organized and fairly expensive in her place. The front door opened to the living room, and then there was a long, tight way connecting the room to the kitchen and the bedroom. In this hallway, there were some interesting arty pictures on the wall. When I asked her: Who is the photographer? She smiled and said: James, my ex. I looked at them again—well, they were not that good.

Kelsey has a dog called Jules, who was barking all the time, wooof. You know me—I'm someone who can't hate any creatures in the world, especially animals, but this one was driving me crazy. I just wanted to cut all his hair and then put him in the washing machine and watch him rolling and rolling. When I arrived, we went to the kitchen, I was behind Kelsey (4/5 stars for her ass ;) ), and Jules was behind me. Some people had not arrived yet. Kelsey continued to prepare dessert, Sarah and Tara were helping her, Annie was sitting at a small table on Kelsey’s laptop, finding music for the dinner, while Anthony, Sarah's boyfriend (the total asshole who I told you about), was sitting on other side of the table. There was a plate of carrot pieces and a pink sauce in front of him. The first shock happened that moment. Annie yelled: Wow! See what I found!! Then, all the girls started to laugh. Tara said: I knew that, the website URL showed up while he was trying to show us another website starting with the same words.

Anthony said: What's going on girls?

Annie turned the laptop around, and for a second I just wanted to cry, but I controlled myself, instead Anthony cried—at least I could see his tears while he was laughing. He was about to fall on the ground. They had found the profile of Tigran, our Armenian professor on a dating website. And potentially some topics for joking, about the information on his profile, the movies he likes, the music he listens to. You know, I like Tigran in another way; we are neighbors after all. We understand each other. For a second I thought they were all (but Lady Kelsey for sure) laughing at me. I put a carrot into the sauce. The strange pink sauce. To change the discussion I said to Kelsey: Wow. This sauce is so good! Kelsey said, Jason, her ex, learned how to make it on his last trip to Chile, and he has taught her. Of course, I only asked this for saying something and the sauce was not good at all.

Finally it was dinnertime. Other people had arrived—Jing and Jiang the Chinese couple from our class, Fernando from Puerto Rico and David—all the people who had nobody to visit on Thanksgiving. The guys borrowed a big table from the school and Fernando brought two extra chairs. I was sitting on the right side, in front of Anthony, and Madame Pierre Gelin was in between us. Kelsey came later with a bowl of food. Other spots were taken, and I understood that she had to sit on the left side. So in a decisive moment, when Tara went to grab the salad, I jumped and sat in her spot. Unfortunately I was not successful to take Madame Pierre Gelin as Anthony was touching her. When Tara came back, she said something, but I think she was not that mad. She is so jealous of Kelsey and I’m sure she preferred to not sit in front of her endless beauty. Anyways, I didn't understand it as serious or sarcastic, but David prayed before the dinner, thanking God that aliens hadn't attacked earth. Then, instead of aliens, they attacked the table. I was so well-mannered, in the way you suggested to me, and I was the last guy who stood up to cut my piece of turkey. But when I was cutting the shit, I also cut the aluminum plate and the juice ran all over the table. I was embarrassed—so embarrassed. Kelsey said it was so funny, and it reminded her of the time her ex, Josh, had exploded the popcorn plate in the microwave. Of course it wasn't that funny, and she wanted to make me feel better.

We finished dinner and needless to say that my turkey piece was raw and so fucking salty. I mean really salty. Sarah said that she has made a mistake and has emptied a packet of salt on the turkey sauce, then they have googled and added potatoes which didn't work that much. I was happy that it wasn't Kelsey's fault. Then I asked Kelsey which part of the dinner was cooked by her, she answered only the salad. I said I imagined that, as it was the best part and she smiled. But forget the rawness or saltiness, the most painful part of the night was the moment that I understood the right side has sucked my Madame Pierre Gelin's blood—until her last drop—without Lady Kelsey and me even tasting it. Then it was time for dessert and Tara and Sarah and Kelsey and Jules went to grab the cake. The ‘Assthony’ asked do we have turkey in Iran? The bitch had forgotten that he has become funny with my Madame Pierre Gelin. I only smiled, but everyone laughed loudly. In the meantime, we heard girls screaming, then they showed up from that tight way laughing. Kelsey had the plate of the cake on her hand. The cake was looking like the photos that I had seen of Hiroshima after nuclear bombing. Kelsey said no worries, it's still delicious, and this time she gave me a piece, asking: Isn't it? I ate my piece and and gave her compliments, and asked for more as nobody was really keen to eat it (extra credit for me ;) ). It was not that bad—I found some dog hairs on it. I avoided saying that lest I might remember someone to her.

After dinner, the guys decided to watch TV. Everybody was suggesting something. Kelsey turned on the TV. We saw some people beating each other on a field; they said it's called "Football." Honestly it was the first time I had watched their football. The game was between the Philadelphia Eagles and I think some turtle team. I was about to love it, when Tara and Sarah pissed me off by wanting a movie. I looked at them as they hugged each other on the Sofa. Jules was between them, resting his head where their butts met. At this moment I noticed Jing winking to Jiang and then Jiang said: Well guys...we should call someone in Beijing so we'll see you later. They left. Then Kelsey asked David who was sitting on a chair near the TV to connect the laptop to it in order to watch a movie on Netflix. David went behind the laptop, and said: Oh. What’s the password? And Kelsey said: Jahmal. And then she spelled it: J.A.H.M.A.L

Anthony said: What the hell is this password? Before Kelsey said anything, I yelled: What movie should we see guys? And then the experimental performance poetry started. Everyone said a line: Titanic. Shall we dance? Die Hard. Dracula. Zombie Lake. Old School. Jackie Brown. And of course, Kelsey suggested the last one. But I have no clue how we ended up watching Honey Boo Boo. It was approved in a flash. Anthony asked me if I knew of it and then said: You have wasted half of your life without knowing her.

If you have wasted half of your life, too, you should check it out, Ali. Honey Boo Boo was a wrong girl with a wrong mother, in a wrong context. With every sentence that this poor stupid Honey Boo Boo was saying the guys were laughing like hell. They were exploding, seriously. Despite everything you said, I couldn't accompany Kelsey on this one. It was painful. I was thinking if we had this girl in Iran, maybe Kiarostami or Makhmalbaf could make a movie of her, a very sad one, and we could win another Palme d'Or from Cannes.

To Cut a Long Story Short, after seeing Honey Boo Boo for some time, in the middle of one of the episodes, Sarah asked Kelsey if Jules would stay with her? I said to myself, where can Jules stay? Then Kelsey said: Yea...he will arrive next week from Lions. I said: Lions? She said: Yea, Jules is my ex, who is a professor at the Sorbonne University and has a PhD in comparative literature and is coming to Chicago to attend two conferences. She said: You MUST meet him because he loves Iranian literature and is working on an Iranian poet called...aaaa. Heifetz?

I said: Hafez? She said: Something like that.

I was kind of confused. So under the pretext of being sleepy, I said goodbye and went out. I was still on the stairs when I heard them laughing loudly, they might have been watching Honey Boo Boo again. Anyway, I’m thinking about the whole situation. The boy is staying a month and my program will be postponed for a month, which is a shame. But then I thought maybe I could go there everyday with the excuse of helping Jules with his research. Then I might not be able to bang her—too many people there. Me, Kelsey, Jules and Jules.

I don't know, or perhaps I forget her... I'm so sleepy now; will you come to Gtalk tomorrow?

Take care,

P.S. Do you know any Hafez experts?

Mohammadreza Mirzaei is an Iranian writer and photographer based in Philadelphia. His recent book What I Don’t Have is published in Italy by Edizioni del Bradipo. Mirzaei has an MFA from University of Pennsylvania and a BA in Italian Literature from Azad University of Tehran.

Photo Credit: Gordon Stillman

Photo Credit: Gordon Stillman