1 = 1

Khosrow Golsorkhi, an Iranian journalist, poet and activist, was accused of plotting to kidnap the Shah of Iran’s son and arrested at the age of 29. In televised court proceedings he defended his Marxist beliefs and compared himself to Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the prophet Muhammad. He was executed on February 18, 1974, at the age of 30.


The teacher was shouting at the board.

He flushed angrily

and his hands were covered with chalk dust.

The students in the last row of seats were eating fruits and making noises;

on the other side of the class a student was flipping through a magazine.

None of the students were paying attention

because the teacher was shouting and pointing to the algebraic equations.

The teacher wrote on the blackboard, which reminded us of darkness and cruelty,


one is equal to one.

One of the students rose

(always one must rise)

and said softly,

“The equation is a blunder.”

The teacher was shocked

and the student asked,

“If one human being was one unit

Does one equal one, still?”

It was a difficult question and the students were silent.

The teacher shouted,

“Yes, it is equal!”

The student laughed,

“If one human being was one unit,

the one who had power and money would be greater than the poor one

who had nothing but a kind heart.

If one human being was one unit,

the one who was white would be greater than the one who was black.

If one human being was one unit,

equality would be ruined.

If one were equal to one

how would it be possible for the rich to get richer?

Or who would build China’s wall?

If one were equal to one,

who would die of poverty?

or who would die of lashing?

If one were equal to one,

who would imprison the liberals?

The teacher cried:

“Please write in your notebooks

one is not equal to one.”








  1. Nermin said,

    July 1, 2020 at 5:09 pm

    Its not a very good translation. Comparing the equality of number one to a human got lost in translation..

    • thomasbrady said,

      July 1, 2020 at 10:45 pm

      Really? It seems very clear to me.

  2. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 2, 2020 at 6:42 pm

    It is a beautiful poem and has perfect clarity in its tragedy. In my opinion. I would say if it were my poem but of course it is not, all is solved in the oneness of God but it is difficult now to write of God in that way or maybe it is just difficult to be read the way it is meant. I still think that though. Nothing can break the oneness of God. That is our hope. Our only real one.

  3. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 2, 2020 at 6:45 pm


    skating farther in is skating farther out

    I don’t know how I ever doubted it

    skating farther out is skating farther in

    since I can’t skate anyway

    but only in my mind I can pretend

    where the light dazzles

    the ice on the ponds

    and I am caught in Currier and Ives

    with a green tinted muff

    because it’s December

    and crows etched in the near snow in the clouds

    I know somehow

    it is a familiar landscape

    I read early in a novel about Hans Brinker.

    his skates of silver.

    I will have skates of gold in another chapter..

    and pirouette at sunset on a frozen lake

    so that the torches of the sun might burn

    in deep rose and vermillion Amy Lowell.

    your opal images.

    it’s winter and my favorite prisms glow.

    the sweet old forgotten poems, their legends, true.

    I have not forgotten you.

    and they are in my heart forever

    near the pines laden with snow

    and this is for John Greenleaf Whittier too.

    For snowboundedness and the brittle air the sense of

    home I keep looking for, where is it? under the Tree?

    under the festooned tree..imagine with me that

    I am in love with poetry;with the immortals.

    I want to skate out in my skittery poems on the lake of Time

    and breathe and breathe the snow cold air

    braiding rubies in my hair.

    mary angela douglas 2 july 2020

    • maryangeladouglas said,

      July 3, 2020 at 10:01 am

      I KNOW

      every day I dig the tunnel deeper

      every day I wash the sea out of the door

      every day I rinse the curtains

      every day is Heaven implored.

      I believe in exits from the sorrows.

      I believe in sudden bright reprieves

      i believe with every click the tumbrills

      will unlock and then disclose the keys.

      carry just a cloud in your last pocket

      meteor showers in your only pail

      I know God made earth to be a meadow

      only man made it to be a jail

      mary angela douglas 3 july 2020

  4. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 4, 2020 at 12:02 am


    every day is a star that shines on you

    even through the mists.

    what will you do

    will you remove the cloud cover

    will you polish the mirror of the sky

    will you sigh oh bye and bye

    if I get to it. maybe, in the amethyst afternoon

    and withhold your dream horses at the ford

    pulling on the jeweled reins…

    till the night comes and the moon too.

    to shine on you. with missed refrains.

    what will you do now in your snowy dress.

    there is still enough light to see by. you confess

    the vase of flowers in the parlour had

    such hopes for you when you brought them in from the garden.

    just – try. play something on the piano.

    put a glass record on the victrola.

    hum to the carpet sweeper. strum on the mandolin.

    through the beaded curtains, let a little joy in.

    mary angela douglas 3 july 2020

  5. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 11, 2020 at 6:28 am


    “boys and girls come out to play

    the moon doth shine as bright as day…’

    =Old English Nursery Rhyme

    crossing the lawns, I see them by moonlight

    in fanciful dress and with their antique toys

    the children who make no noise by day

    ghost children over the merry green

    as seen by Blake or in other rhymes

    of the English kind in the orchards of Walter De La Mare

    scooping bright berries with mirroring spoons and under the

    restless trees content with cherries;

    trailing the blue mists of dawn

    and the rose ones.

    silver in their play.

    I see them stray and gather each other up again

    in circle games

    and toss the ball into the heavens so that it is meteor bright so

    that the angels retrieve it, laughing

    in their variegated Christmas moods.

    and there is bread and milk for them as in a fairy tale and

    never doom

    and sweets too so that the air itself is spun sugar and the


    and the milk is from the moon

    and it shines like pearl poured from the blue the dark blue

    pitcher of the skies.

    I see them, every boy and girl

    and they are free with no disguise

    as dreams are until sunrise and beyond

    and the world for them is cloth of gold

    as it was not on earth

    and they are made of the marigold sun the morning one

    and know all the exits into God. and right from wrong

    as it was for them on earth

    and have left me this song.

    mary angela douglas 11 july 2020

  6. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 11, 2020 at 2:16 pm


    for Vladimir Bukovsky who, among other notable things, built a castle and tended his rose trees…

    I planted a rose garden in my head

    and labyrinthine scented too and hedge on hedge

    so when trouble came

    roses were my only view and quaint

    against a silk screened sky I wandered there without reply

    away from cares and far far from the needling; needless sighs

    and plucked them where they grew;

    then more profuse my roses blew

    nor torn in the erratic winds

    and I could all belief suspend except

    for that haven and the fountains pluming near

    the orangeries…

    and all that blended there to please, to make of solace

    a flowery stair and no more ambuscados of words

    or pernicious stares or the blank sum glaring everywhere

    the workplace blaring the tedious forms the roaring


    and the reprimands for I had roses near at hand

    and hedge on hedge since I was born o the rose trees;

    a bench of pearl to sit and dream

    to make of roses a faerie screen

    to forget a thousand thousand stings and all the world’s

    scalding: the ratlike gnawing codes to oblivion assigned

    where the pale and the emerald waters flowed.

    mary angela douglas 11 july 2020

  7. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 11, 2020 at 3:20 pm


    though the day be like a crystal fruit and the glaze on it
    of diamonds and topaz, rubies she exclaims, ready to drop into the jewel box of the Princess

    still, we would rather have, my sister and I

    strawberry shortcake,with Mama or all the ice cream in a malted shake
    on a Sunday afternoon and Grandfather asks

    do you want that with Hershey’s syrup?

    and we look up all saucer eyed with joy and whisper yes
    still in our Sunday dresses from church. don’t spill that on yourselves

    our Grandmother says. in her caramel voice and we say eagerly
    oh no, of course we won’t. and we dont.

    though the night be splendid and woven from silk
    and the moon like buttermilk churned in a Grecian urn
    still we would rather have our allowance dug from our

    Grandfather’s pockets earned,
    when we get good grades

    so that we can buy school paperbacks all the rage or of all the classics in our parade of pennies
    and read away all the summer days, the piano days too (after

    practicing, Grandmother)and after chores

    pushing ourselves off into the swings of reading and in our scuffed shoes Grandfather will polish again by noon on Saturday

    and when we are paper dolling it up in our blue room.

    mary angela douglas 11 july 2020

  8. maryangeladouglas said,

    July 13, 2020 at 1:11 am

    I AM NOT

    I am not the news that is on TV

    I am not whatever it may be

    that is trending now I am not.

    nor the formulation nor the sucking up vacuum wise of data

    on my particular age group, gender, race, proclivities

    sensitivities, low low income.

    I am not the product of research.

    the variable in the equation you have replaced God with.

    i am not whatever category=coffin=cubbyhole

    you and your colleagues itch to shove me into.

    to prove to the world your ingenuity.

    in figuring it all out.

    I am a child of the living God

    I am beyond history beyond time I have a soul

    beyond responsibility for what is not mine

    or anointed by God for me to address to confess;

    beyond all reckoning except

    the reckoning of time

    of time of time

    tuned to my own heartbeat lifeline

    part of the living tree of mankind

    and the living God. beyond all tears

    and recriminations;beyond the judgement of man

    so do what you can and I will too

    tuned to the reasons I am here.

    which God foreknew.

    and not you. those who have taken upon themselves

    truly a role not assigned to them.

    mary angela douglas 12 july 2020

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