The Future of Secularism: Chapter 8

THE AYATOLLAH, THE MAILBOX AND ME

I ran down the driveway to my mailbox,

I listened to Khomeini try Rushdie,

But, he pleaded, it’s only blasphemy because it means so much [to thee]. 

Water hangs in the air, silence floats below the clouds.

I put down my throat and speak through my glass,

Water drowns my voice and indifference supports my choice.

A cloud I have become: grounded. 

No words can I find for this blasphemy, coming as it does against no enemy,

No ways to describe this defeat, coming as it did without fighting.

So I hid in the sun, as bright as it was,

Summer has come, without even waiting for spring,

I have become torn within me, and not for nothing. 

I echo against belief,

I yearn for relief, but not inside the mihrab, bouncing the sound inside of me!

I listen to all the voices,

As Khattab whispered, don’t be a slave to freedom,

As Rushdie pleads: I meant no insult, I simply meant to make you aware...

Oh be proud Ruhollah, your anger should soothe thee,

Seeing as I am the enemy, be happy you can even find me!

Salman I ought to kill thee, screams Khomeini,

But Satan smiles and reminds him... were there no one to love,

There would be none to make you hate. 

So tell me my Lord, what haven’t I done to deserve this,

What is she, that she may preserve me?

What is it with me, that I must notice me?

And who am I, that I don’t even know who I am? 

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