A woman stands and opens her mouth
to screech: “These HORRORS, these EVILS, these CRUDE-“/
While pamphlets are scattered like holy white birds.
He pleads with them. Islam! Jihad: Striving
For Peace!/ “CRUDE and BLASPHEMOUS-” Just
some old woman
in some shopping lane, in the skin-stripping wind.
Words carry. Heaved and tossed by the wind
they shoot like tear gas from the round black mouth.
“-UNHOLY, INHUMAN-“/ The Muslim Woman
is dropped on the pavement. His opinions are crude
but earnest. He talks. He’s trying. He’s striving
to make them see. But they scatter like birds./
The air is thick with obese birds.
She hollers: “-this SPREADING DISEASE-” and
can’t drown out the sound of the people all striving
to ignore him. His truth. Some muttering mouth
will mock his pamphlets and effort but no crude
jokes can stop him./ “WHAT kind of WOMAN
SUBMITS herself to it?” Not this boiling woman,
her bosom heaves, creaking like dying birds.
She has a banner. The drawings are crude
and you laugh at her dress that flaps in the wind
while I stare at the red-black, street-eating mouth.
To be so sure’s what we’re all striving
for./ And he’s still sweating, striving
against her. The Muslim Life, Man & Woman – /
“-these SINS straight from the QUR’AN’S MOUTH-“/
– whip through the air amidst throngs of birds.
He stops strangers, urgent./ She shouts down the wind./
His eyes are so desperate and raw it’s crude –
they single me out, as you make your crude
hand gestures, behind his back. You’re striving
to make me laugh. But I’m watching the wind
blowing his hair in his eyes./ Now the woman
fights to be heard over pamphlets and birds
and a city’s huge noise, its one howling mouth./
Crude free hell. How can we hear one boy or woman
striving against all this street shriek – as fat birds
battle the wind – from the scores of black mouths?