Dear Poetry + patrons, a long time ago, as I sat at a bus stop in Ramat Gan (suburb of Tel Aviv, where the majority of Iraqi Jews relocated after exile), and I wanted to sing out loud, but didn’t feel I was “allowed,” because someone was sitting next to me, and it was not socially acceptable, and it would be considered “intruding” on his space, or the space of anyone within audible distance, it occured to me that silence can feel as invasive as sound – depending, of course, on the context and intention and energy and so forth. Ultimately, I found the courage to sing out loud, wherever, whenever, and challenge this ideology. I was called crazy by some, of course, which only furthered my thoughts on this matter. Why is it “crazy” to walk down the street, singing with our hearts filled with gratitude for this glory of being ALIVE?

It’s quiet
Why is it so quiet
Why isn’t the neighborhood
Dancing in the streets
Shouting praise to the Creator
Why do we cultivate a culture
Of suppression
Where is the elation
And why must I always risk
Ridicule and attack
When I do it all alone


©2015 by Loolwa Khazzoom. All rights reserved. No portion of this article may be copied without author’s permission.