Tuesday, August 30, 2005

6 March 1989 (Salman Rushdie)

Boy, yaar, they sure called me some good names of late:
e.g. opportunist (dangerous). E.g. full-of-hate,
self-aggrandizing, Satan, self-loathing and shrill,
the type it would clean up the planet to kill.
I justjust remember my own goodname still.

Damn, bother. You saw what they did to my face?
Poked out my eyes. Knocked teeth out of place,
Stuck a dog's body under, hung same from a hook,
wrote what-all on my forehead! Wrote 'bastard'! Wrote 'crook'!
I justjust recall how my face used to look.

Now, misters and sisters, they've come again for my voice.
If the Cat got my tongue, look who-who would rejoice --
muftis politicos, 'my own people', hacks.
Still, nameless-and-faceless or not, here's my choice:
not to shut up. To sing on, in spite of attacks,
to sing (while my dreams are being murdered by facts)
praises of butterflies broken on the tracks.

(From Granta 10 - Birthday Special - Autumn 89)
[February 14 1989 was when the fatwa was issued
against Salman Rushdie]


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