Hello Jacques Chirac
On the human rights travesty of March 15, 2004
I can’t help but wonder
what it is about the hijab
that drives those men wild—
is it the way she wears it?
How it folds on her forehead, or reclines
on her shoulder like
How much danger
can a piece of fabric be
when it wraps the mind
like a present, in harmless little
and assuming. It’s not Red Death’s
mantle, or sheep's
clothing, or pertussis or
toxoplasmosis; she looks more
like Mary than Medusa.
If people ask you for it,
why can't you just
give them back their clothes?
But perhaps this is what happens
when men discuss
behind closed doors.
You know I know
-you know that some people don't like the way I
pronounce diversity, my raw
red tongue jerking to
a jarring stop at the T, the sound can
sting, like a wasp, like an ant-
bite, perilously yellow. Wouldn't they like to swat
me, I, buzzing fly. They'd like
to point out that it's spelt with Ss and a double M.
They'd insist on asking, do you
speak English? Grudging to say Mazel tov
when I respond: Well, yes I do. No,
they will repeat, Do. You. Speak. English? They might
do that to make a point, like shouting Tabarnak!
when you're in Montréal. At least, I suppose, when I go
to a dairy to get a Tictac, I'm not greeted by an array
of colourful words, big as a
zeppelin cluster of stink bombs, like my friend was
in that other place. “Kata mereka, kita kita, mereka mereka”.
Note: “Kata mereka, kita kita, mereka mereka” roughly translates to, in Malay, “They say: we are us, they are them”.