Little Mosque Poems.
|Publication:||Name: Journal of Pan African Studies Publisher: Journal of Pan African Studies Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Journal of Pan African Studies ISSN: 0888-6601|
|Issue:||Date: Dec, 2010 Source Volume: 4 Source Issue: 2|
Parts of this poem has been published in Azizah Magazine.
Little Mosque Poems In my little mosque there is no room for me to pray. I am turned away faithfully five times a day My little mosque: so meager in resources, yet so eager to turn away a woman or a stranger My little mosque is penniless, behind on rent Yet it is rich in anger every Friday, coins of hate are generously spent My little mosque is poor yet every week we are asked to give to buy another curtain to partition off the women, or to pave another parking space I go to the Mosque of the Righteous I have been going there all my life I have been the Cheerleader of the Righteous Team I have mocked the visiting teams cruelly I am the worst of those I complain about: I am a former Miss Mosque Banality I would like to build a little mosque without a dome or minaret I'd hang a sign over the door: Bad Muslims welcome here Come in, listen to some music, sharpen the soul's longing, have a cigarette I went to the mosque when no one was there and startled two angels coming out of a broom closet "Are they gone now?" one said They looked relieved My great big mosque has a chandelier big as a Christmas tree and a jealously guarded lock and key I wonder why everyone in it looks just like me My little mosque has a bouncer at the door You have to look pious to get in My little mosque has a big sense of humor Not I went to the mosque when no one was there The prayer space was soft and serene I heard a sound like lonely singing or quiet sobbing. I heard a leafy rustling I looked around A little Quran on a low shelf was reciting itself My little mosque has a Persian carpet depicting trees of paradise in the men's section, which you enter through a lovely classical arch The women's section features well, nothing Piety dictates that men enter my little mosque through magnificent columns Piety dictates that women enter my little mosque through the back alley, just past the crack junkie here and over these fallen garbage cans My little mosque used to be democratic with a rotating imam we chose from among us every month Now my little mosque has an appointed imam trained abroad No one can dispute his superior knowledge We used to use our minds to understand Quran My little mosque discourages that sort of thing these days We have official salaried translators for God I used to carry around a little mosque in the chambers of my heart but it is closed indefinitely pending extensive structural repairs I miss having a mosque, driving by and seeing cars lining the streets, people double-parking, desperate to catch the prayer in time I miss noticing, as they dodge across traffic toward the mosque entrance between buses and trucks, their long chemises fluttering, that trail of gorgeous fabrics Muslims leave, gossamer, the colors of hot lava, fantastic shades from the glorious places of the earth I miss the stiff, uncomfortable men looking anywhere but at me when they meet me, and the double-faced women full of judgment, and their beautiful children shining with my children. I do I don't dream of a perfect mosque I just want roomfuls of people to kiss every week with the kisses of Prayer and Serenity, and a fat, multi-trunked tree collecting us loosely for a minute under its alive and quivering canopy Once, God applied for a janitor position at our mosque, but the board turned him down because he wasn't a practicing Muslim Once a woman entered my little mosque with a broken arm, a broken heart, and a very short skirt Everyone rushed over to her to make sure she was going to cover her legs Marshmallows are banned from my little mosque because they might contain gelatin derived from pork enzymes but banality is not banned, and yet verily, banality is worse than marshmallows Music is banned at my little mosque because it is played on the devil's stringed instruments, although a little music softens the soul and lo, a hardened soul is the devil's taut drumskin Once an ignorant Bedouin got up and started to pee against a wall in the Prophet's Mosque in Medina The pious protective Companions leapt to beat him The Prophet bade them stop A man is entitled to finish a piss even if he is an uncouth idiot, and there are things more important in a mosque than ritual purity My little mosque thinks the story I just narrated cannot possibly be true and a poet like me cannot possibly have studied Sahih al-Bukhari My little mosque thinks a poem like this must be written by the Devil in cahoots with the Zionists, NATO, and the current U.S. administration, as part of the Worldwide Orientalist Plot to Discredit Islam Don't they know at my little mosque that this is a poem written in the mirror by a lover? My little mosque is fearful to protect itself from the bricks of bigots through its window Doesn't my little mosque know the way to protect its windows is to open its doors? I know the bricks of bigots are real I wish I could protect my little mosque with my body as a shield I love my dysfunctional little mosque even though I can't stand it My little mosque loves Arab men with pure accents and beards Everyone else is welcome as long as they understand that Real Islam has to come from an Arab man My little mosque loves Indian and Pakistani men with Maududi in their pockets Everyone else is welcome because as we all know there is no discrimination in Islam My little mosque loves women who know that Islam liberated them fourteen hundred years ago and so they should live like seventh-century Arabian women or at least dress like pre-industrial pre-colonial women although men can adjust with the times My little mosque loves converts especially white men and women who give "Why I embraced Islam" lectures to be trotted out as trophies by the Muslim pom-pom squad of Religious One-up-man-ship My little mosque faints at the sight of pale Bosnian women suffering across the sea Black women suffering across the street do not move my little mosque much I would like to find a little mosque where my Christian grandmother and my Jewish great-uncle the rebbe and my Buddhist cousin and my Hindu neighbor would be as welcome as my staunchly Muslim mom and dad My little mosque has young men and women who have nice cars, nice homes, expensive educations, and think they are the righteous rageful Victims of the World Persecution My little mosque offers courses on the Basics of Islamic Cognitive Dissonance "There is no racism in Islam" means we won't talk about it "Islam is unity" means shuttup There's so much to learn Class is free and meets every week I don't dream of a perfect mosque, only a few square inches of ground that will welcome my forehead, no questions asked My little mosque is as decrepit as my little heart. Its narrowness is the narrowness in me. Its windows are boarded up like the part of me that prays I went to the mosque when no one was there No One was sweeping up She said: This place is just a place Light is everywhere. Go, live in it The Mosque is under your feet, wherever you walk each day
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