Art has been known to get people in trouble. Risqué paintings were at one time considered cutting-edge media (and potentially blasphemous) before mass media was available to the masses. But this poem, read by Concord-Carlisle High School principal Peter Badalament (on 9/11 of all days), should get the principal in trouble. At first reading, I have several issues with it, mostly in it finding fault with America. It was written by a Muslim daughter, the Syrian poet Mohja Kahf, talking about her grandmother washing her feet at Sears:
“Respectable Sears matrons shake their heads and frown
as they notice what my grandmother is doing,
an affront to American porcelain, a contamination of American Standards
by something foreign and unhygienic…
They fluster about and flutter and I can see
a clash of civlizations brewing in the Sears bathroom.”
“‘You can’t do that,’ one of the women protests,
turning to me, ‘Tell her she can’t do that.’
‘We wash our feet five times a day,’
my grandmother declares hotly in Arabic.
‘My feet are cleaner than their sink.
Worried about their sink, are they? I
should worry about my feet!’
In an interesting twist, the pledge of allegiance was not recited, but the above screed was.