Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Shiraz, Iran
Resides: Los Angeles
HSR: So, how do you currently relate to your Saturn’s Return
Yassi: Libra?! Hmmm, wait. My mother is a Libra, So I love and hate Libras.
HSR: For some reason, I thought I was older than you. So, you’re in the same boat as Jaz and Arianne. Their Saturns also return in Libra.
Yassi: Oh shawn, always reassuring that everything is connected
HSR: So, your mother is a Libra.
HSR: And you have a love hate relationship. Are you aware that the libra’s saturn deals a lot with partnership. Do you find that you’ve had “relationships” and partnerships as a large struggle recently?
Yassi: Relationships have always been a maze of learning. Partnerships, yes, I’m being tested.
HSR: Give me an example of a recent challenge that you’ve had, or “test”.
Yassi: So there’s this gurl… She lives nearby. So far we have a lot in common and i’m not willing…
What I realize is that basically I have a lot more perspective when there’s more distance and in the concept of “partnership” I’ve been taught you’re supposed to live near the person. Still, distance makes sense, lesbians, we like to have our relationships in our head sometimes, over the phone etc.
HSR: Yes, we do.
Yassi: So a physical connection is important, but i’m being tested in that when it’s here, close to me, I don’t want to take the dive.
HSR: That’s interesting, do you feel pressure to take the dive from her end?
Yassi: I languish in longing. No, not pressure.
HSR: Have you tried distancing yourself in “time” instead of location as an option?
Yassi: Hmm i’m trying to figure out a response.
HSR: Take your time.
Yassi: Relationship advice. Thank you.
HSR: No, I meant take your time answering the question, but, it’s also solid relationship advice.
Yassi: I haven’t thought about that.
HSR: So you can keep it, the advisement.
Yassi: I like getting caught up in the intensity, which then burns out quick if i’m not careful, and then there’s blisters and burn marks obviously.
HSR: Has that always been the case, or do you find you are more that way now than ever before?
Yassi: All my photos as a child were of me playing with candles and burning stuff; My dolls all had burned faces. It’s always been the case part of that is my relationship with my loved ones.
HSR: So, as a Scorpion, you are always dealing with fire.
Yassi: I have to note about my childhood also that I was in the water a lot… I want to look a little less crazy in your publication
HSR: Okay, Noted!
Yassi: fire and water
HSR: But it is true that the Scorpion is intense and complex by nature?
Yassi: The female bodied scorpion certainly is.
HSR: Libra is supposed to put some of that water out, no
Yassi: Is Libra air or earth?
HSR: I have to check. But it does say that when the saturn is in libra, partnership is forever, all the sources say it… what are you fighting?
Yassi: Oh boy, commitment, the notion that I can’t have it all if I go into a partnership.
HSR: Libra is air.
Yassi: A village voice horoscope once told me “you have the choice of going deeper, or wider, take your pick”
HSR: So perhaps the fire is being blown around and spreading? And did you pick wider or deeper?
Yassi: Well, when I read that, I was going wider and wider, but since turning 28 I’m going deeper, because you still go the same distance, just in one place, less brush, more earth.
Yassi: Closer to the core of the earth.
HSR: I think that your need to spread and go deep are indicative of your scorpio-libra mix, but also indicative of being a queer woman, and having so many multiple reference points of identity. How could you not go both wider and deeper?
Yassi: The word.
HSR: Let’s talk about the poetry… the word. Why did you choose to include Evidence? I’ve been dying to ask.
Yassi: Thank you for asking about Evidence. I was about to back out and ask you to not including it.
HSR: You are welcome. Thank you for submitting it
Yassi: It is a testament to my bisexual self consciousness.
HSR: Really? Well, Devonne and I talked about it and we felt like it represented a queer woman’s experience, but what do you think?
Yassi: I think so. I wanted to balance it with a happy lesbian poem, but my poems are not that happy generally. If i was happy I wouldn’t be writing them. I’d be out dancing in the sun next to a body of water.
HSR: So, poetry is your medicine.
Yassi: And i think, like all my poems, it’s related to death, alternative medicine. Just acknowledging my death in that poem.
HSR: We actually placed evidence into Other People’s Money, instead of Death. We felt like the loss of agency was less of a death to self and more of a relinquishing to another person.
Yassi: He was her capital it’s true
HSR: Also, because the other person was a man -Men are the stuff that queer women often funnel through, stuff like money, to get through to themselves
Yassi: He was all capital let me tell you, well dressed man in his late 30s, I never had sex with him, just liked to take him places with me. Did i just say that? Yes i did!
HSR: It’s okay if you did, just to be on the record about that, if you had sex, although, the lack of sex in the poem meant that’s not what the exchange was about, so, we didn’t place it in sex.
Is there anything in particular that you feel represents your poetry, besides “not happy”
Yassi: longing, channeling the ancestors mostly. I’ve written something recently, not in time for your deadline, but that’s how I feel about my work lately, that it’s quite effortless. The poetry about my grandmother inspired this feeling
HSR: And thank you for bringing your ancestors into the conversation. I’m guessing you mean Falcon. I thought it was lovely!!!!
Yassi: I’m dying to talk about that one. The whole backstory
HSR: Tell me.
Yassi: The night before my grandmother passed, she was in Iran, me my mom and two aunts were in California. No one said that was the night of her transition but the feeling was absolutely there. I sat down at the dinner table next to my mom, wrote it as a facebook poem, it was my way of being able to communicate with her and the words just started to come. I was shaking/vibrating and this image of a falcon really stuck with me, somehow it just entered my poem, sealed it so naturally like the way my grandma would seal washed cilantro in an empty yogurt container. Two days later, my homegirl Roopa sends me this poem by Rumi It’s called “that which has no clue”. And what does it have but this continuing image of a falcon. It was as though I had written an epigraph of his poem without ever having read it.
Then I find this foto of my mom holding a falcon, the falcon has this hood on, because the domesticated falcon will tear you up if it sees you and it’s one of those moments that could only manifest in an 80s foto.
HSR: Have you ever held a falcon?
Yassi: Not that I remember. They were everywhere where I used to live.
HSR: I hadn’t realized how tangible the poem was, but it is very textured, sensual, and colorful, now I understand why. Is there anything else that you’d like to offer to other young queer women of color experiencing their Saturn?
Yassi: There is lots. I had a discovery this week. For saturnites always wondering “what do I want?”
HSR: uh huh
Yassi: I noticed that you can’t always chase that question
It makes no sense to chase that question
Why would I chase the air?
If you chase it it’s just gonna look at you like you’re scary and it’s gonna run away from you.
The things I want are surfacing in the present moment, every day, they are not usually destinations to treck to
I sound non sensical I think, but yea, what you want doesn’t come form the outside
HSR: No, you sound like a poet and a prophet
Yassi: Today I went to a meditation class.
HSR: uh huh
Yassi: And I just saw the shapes in the earth, that I was making those shapes from inside my body out into space
HSR: What type of meditation?
Yassi: Kundilini yoga, which is a lot of chanting and blessing the space you’re in, we chanted today “I am what I am that is I, I am what I am thank god I am” along with certain hand motions. It was just a way to create that reality, and it reminded me of the color purple
HSR: As in the book, the film, or the hue?
Yassi: When Shug says the universe wants to be loved just like you and me. So, the book, which I just lent to my mom by the way.
HSR: I’d love to know what she thinks.
Yassi: Just telling the air, you, the universe, “thank god I am” I felt the universe got so happy that I loved her. My Mom loves it so far, she read 15 pages already and I just gave it to her on Sunday, my mom who was educated in Farsi. She got a kick out of when Nettie tells Celie to remember columbus as in “cucumber”.
HSR: Awesome. She’s lucky to have you as a daughter. Ok, last question: Are you excited to be turning 30?
Yassi: I tell everyone I am. I’m excited about getting more perspective over life and death. The finiteness of this particular life, when I see the edges of things I can drown in joy and experience.
HSR: Your responses are like miniature poems. Thank you Yassi! And thank you for inviting your ancestor(s) here with us in the interview. It was a pleasure.
Yassi: Thank you Shawn. My ancestors want to be in the conversation all the time, they don’t ask me permission.