by Yaniv Reich on November 5, 2009

I thought I would switch things up a bit and provide a non-news item for this afternoon’s post. I present a poem by Prof. Mohja Kahf (Comparative Literature, University of Arkansas), who is an American academic, writer, and poet of Egyptian descent. For more information about her, you can visit her university website here or see a NY Times profile of her work here.

Without further ado, this is “Hijab Scene #7“:

No, I’m not bald under the scarf
No, I’m not from that country
where women can’t drive cars
No, I would not like to defect
I’m already American
But thank you for offering
What else do you need to know
relevant to my buying insurance,
opening a bank account,
reserving a seat on a flight?
Yes, I speak English
Yes, I carry explosives
They’re called words
And if you don’t get up
Off your assumptions
They’re going to blow you away

–Mohja Kahf

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 asniaasim November 5, 2009 at 3:21 pm

So good! Reminds me of a poem by a Palestinian poet.

Lovers of hunting,
and beginners seeking your prey:
Don’t aim your rifles
at my happiness,
which isn’t worth
the price of the bullet
(you’d waste on it).
What seems to you
so nimble and fine,
like a fawn,
and flees
every which way,
like a partridge,
isn’t happiness.
Trust me:
my happiness bears
no relation to happiness.

(Warning by Taha Muhammad Ali)

2 Yaniv Reich November 5, 2009 at 4:59 pm

I love it. Thanks for sharing, Asnia.

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