Ashgabat’s nostalgic sunset. (Headline show, second draft)

22 Jun

Ashgabat’s nostalgic sunset.


i. The Plane

I left Ashgabat, begging her that this would be our last sunset together.It was warm,orange, just like the camel wool carpets that used to attempt comfort at my toes. My 14 year old fingers, traceD the last rays of of sunshine, desperate for a  civil goodbye. Somewhere, in a notebook I record its nostalgic value. My mother later rips out the page on my ancestors.


ii. The Airport

The stewardess chases me down — the last passenger off the plane and hands me my forgotten watch. She’ll remember me. The only other native passenger. She’ll remember my flight number. She’ll remember that I a traitor, betrayed my country yet again. She’ll report back at the airport, back in the finally cloudy October I left Ashgabat in. Artykova is a familiar name there, you see.

I watch the last of the flight crew cross the border.

My mother tells me not to speak. I look at the officer and my feet, dig themselves into the ground, with my pulse suddenly thick with guilt.  Just by their looks, the sigh that sounded like  way too much like  “Oh god, why do I have to deal with this on my shift.”  or even louder still, “You don’t belong here.” or the glance to the co-worker that said “What where they thinking?”

I become scared, because the sunset doesn’t seem quite so nostalgic.

iii. The waiting room

The officers auras, as stale as the 3am air around us. There is a reason they wanted this job. and it wasn’t to be nice. I guess because I was a child they weren’t so harsh to me. I am not manhandled, not grilled with toxic questions like they do with my mother. A waiting room away, the soundproofed walls can’t block out the way I can hear or imagine my mother crying under a harsher light.

In that dim waiting room, that faced the Birmingham runway, my  heart kept on buzzing– It was cold, Ashgabat’s weather left us underdressed for the airport’s unheated October indoors. There was a TV there. When my mother finally fell asleep on the bench I figured the remote and switched to bbc3. Eastenders never felt so soothing before now.

iv. 2014

The Average law abiding human, as his fingers printed 0 times throughout his life. Mine have been recorded seven times in several different locations. That day  was one of them. My 1am fingerprinting and  tired face photoshoot said a lot when they were  shown to me two years later. “This was you.” They will say, as if I am not her no longer. Of course, they have some truth.


October 27th 2011.

all that buzzed through my heart was–

Hostility never felt so much like home.



HI, Jeiran here.  Stephen and a few others commented that the original of this draft felt quite detached in an effective way, is that still present? Also, age. I want to keep it simple and quite young. Does that come through? How does the split up parts work? At the moment they’re just helping me guide the structure and possibly the performance. The typsetting needs to be worked on too, but for now its just paragraphed for short story effect.  Feedback very much appriciated. Cheers. J x



2 Responses to “Ashgabat’s nostalgic sunset. (Headline show, second draft)”

  1. mouthypoets June 22, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    The emotion comes through. I felt the cold, the intimidation, etc. I thinkt he struture works fine, but it may be different in performing than in reading.
    Joshua Jones

  2. mouthypoets July 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

    Hi Jeiran,

    So glad to be finally sitting down with this after hearing it several times over the past week. I have to say, it is amazing seeing how your writing has grown since you joined Mouthy, I can feel the honest, power and individuality of your voice coming to life and it feels important. You should be really proud.

    -The whole thing to be honest, so simple and stark yet full of rich detail; the camel-wool carpets attempting to comfort you.
    -A very interesting juxtaposition of beauty and tension – the idea alone of wanting something to be your last sunset is jarring because this is something we associate with holding on… wanting to stay and watch it over and over, being on holiday whereas you are describing something yet different yet somehow similar. A really interesting, complex and touching arrangement of images and feelings. Well done.
    -“I watch the last of the flight crew cross the boarder” I really like how much you show in this piece, you leave imagery to paint so much of the subtext… it is really mature and the kind of writing I love to read.
    -I like the detail of her ripping up the page about the sunset… well I don’t like it, but it feels important and like there is another reason and I want to understand what that reason is. You are drawing me in.
    -I like the description of your heart buzzing, it feels like a fresh description and there is also something hostile and contained about it that works with the overall atmousphere of the piece.
    -Love the last lines and bringing that buzzing back in, it really hurts but also there is a sense of compassion and feeling and importance and complication that will make me take this piece home forever. Thank you.

    -Do you need Nostalic in the title? Feels a bit much… even the word sunset does, I wonder if there is an alternative that feels more specific to your experience or just less using words that have already been used so much in poetry like…
    “Ashgabat’s Dripping Sun” … maybe finding a verb that talks about a sun setting and also hints at nostalgia (I actually put nostalgia in a thesaurus and dripping was one of the first words that came up).

    -not sure how she can rip the page from your notebook on your ancestors? Is there a typo in this line?

    1. Line Edit:
    -I started playing around with line editing this piece myself as if I were the editor at your publishing house to get a feel of what you need to be looking out for when you go through it one last time. Here is where I got to…

    i. The Plane

    I left Ashgabat begging
    for this to be our last sunset.
    Warm and orange, like camel wool carpets
    attempt comfort at my toes.

    My 14 year old fingers,
    traced dregs of sunshine,
    desperate for a civil goodbye.
    Somewhere, in a notebook

    I record its value.
    Later, my mother rips the page
    onto my ancestors.

    ii. The Airport

    Last passenger off the plane
    The stewardess chases me —
    to hand me my forgotten watch.
    She’ll remember me.

    Doing this, I think you should focus on:
    1. Implementing stanza’s and line breaks to push you to use less words and also start guiding you on where to pause and stress in performance.

    2. Read it out loud and imagine you are hearing each image/movement for the first time… could imagerary/ narrative be given in a slightly clearer order? This is very very small stuff by the way… as you can see it was as simply as switching two lines in the begining of the plane section.

    3. You verbs could be working a bit harder, this can also make it feel a bit closer emotionally to you. Verbs like; record, rips, chase, remember, nostalgic, scared… I am not sure they are detailed enough for the intensity of what you are describing so maybe underline all the verbs and see if there are any more accurate alternatives… Again, I am not saying change all of them because this is really fine detail now with this poem, I just want to challenge you to make sure you are happy with every word.

    4. Last tiny thing – I am not sure I like the word aura… feels too spiritual for the tone of the poem. Thesaurus for an alternative?

    -How far have you got with what we talked about on Friday?

    Well done, you have achieved something important with this piece I think, really glad you have pushed yourself to write it.


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