A simple youth I came

I moved in freedom’s name

they said it was a shame

that I should bear this name


“Although we act so lenient

we think it inconvenient

because it lacks all fame

just ditch your awful name


Outsiders we detest

we’re better than the rest

you have yourself to blame

your face and foreign name


Its consonants are weird

as is your shaggy beard

you people are the same

regardless of your name


Your turban we’ll address

enough we cannot stress

your look is pretty lame

in keeping with your name


your headscarf is unstitched

a rag you should’ve ditched

before your hither came

it’s lousy like your name


Your modesty said no

to our open maillot1

we’ll ban yours all the same

you’re only free in name


We love your food and spice

hot curry, golden rice

we say this dish is nice

but never learn its name


We claim our thoughts are equal

but hide the evil sequel

imperial is our aim

and Babel’s corrupt name


For though we say exotic

we deem it quite demotic

although this sounds quixotic

it’s all a simple game


We covet all the power

within the watchful tower

these peasants must be tamed

that’s why we rigged the game”


I missed my wālidayn2

The palm tree shaded lanes

The winter here’s insane

The snow was 40 names


My language I forgot

and see, although I got

my cousins in a frame

I can’t recall their names


I didn’t much inherit

besides my father’s spirit

my things I got through merit

except my ethnic name


They gave a reign of words

and dreams to flightless birds

on every cell of shame

each bird had etched its name


They gave us rhymes and ghazal3

and focus on the azal4

they should’ve upped their game

for me to keep my name


And now I roam the streets

in thrall to cold and heat

mad blisters on my feet

one item to my name:

a notebook with no name



  1. swimsuit
  2. parents, mother and father
  3. a poetic form common to Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and other Islamic languages
  4. eternity


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