It seems a lifetime ago that we discussed how even the nation’s most important cultural institutions are in the struggle against the cacophony of crazy from Trumpet and his minions. The Museum of Modern Art installed several works to add voice to the chorus of those of us protesting and fighting. With each plaque accompanying the pieces you read

This work is by an artist from a nation whose citizens are being denied entry into the United States, according to a presidential executive order issued on January 27, 2017. This is one of several such artworks from the Museum’s collection installed throughout the fifth-floor galleries to affirm the ideals of welcome and freedom as vital to this Museum, as they are to the United States.”

Inspired by this, today’s poem joins the other ekphrastic pieces responding to some of the works in the MoMA’s collection. The poem, untitled at the moment, simply bears the name of the artist and painting. Photos of the piece are the author’s own.


The Mosque 1964
Ibrahim El-Salahi, Sudanese, born 1930
Oil on canvas

somewhere just off-canvas

        or so it seems

                the muezzin begins the adhan

        and it calls out from the minaret

        stretching far beyond frame

                and gallery, far

        beyond wall and window

and from the west

        a figurey shadow looms

                menaces in manic paranoia

        the mosque suddenly marked & monitored

                        no longer sanctuary

to the east, a figure


                perhaps Munchian in style, no


                        perhaps he the muezzin

                is it a look of dread

                        eyes wide mouth agape

                is it a look of reverence

                        the call pouring from outspoken lips

                is it a look of caution

                        a warning warbled of the wicked

                wizard of

                                the west

the shadow rising from

        & the call continues

        and the mask reveals nothing

                as if frozen in oil on canvas

        & the call continues

        through soundless swirls and silhouettes

& the call continues

        the muezzin is muzzled/is the muezzin muzzled

the perilous penumbra poised in the west

        poisonous in its prevarications

        dangerous in its discharge of belligerent jingoism

the western aggression

        threatening bans & walls & wars & blitzes

another call starts

is it to line up for prayers

        or deportation

        or encampment

                        for petitions

        or capitulation

        or opposition

somewhere just off-canvas

another call starts



© David Siller – Text and Images – 2017


For the first 100 days of the Trumpet administration, this blog will feature a new poem of protest, by my own hand and by others. They will be polished gems, or rough cut drafts of rage, or in process pieces searching for peace. They may be haiku or tanka, limericks or lyrics, verses free or fettered. If you would like to submit to this endeavor, please send an email, with poem saved as a word document (.docx) to waxyandpoetic AT gmail DOT com. All rights remain with the author.

VISUAL ARTISTS ! Do you have something visually poetic that you’d like to submit? GO FOR IT!

Please address any formatting preferences in your email. I will post submissions time permitting, with at least one per day. Editing will be limited to obvious errors of spelling and the like.

Read, follow, share, re-tweet, submit, live, love, spread light! Don’t forget to use #100Days100Poems !


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