Sepideh Jodeyri is an Iranian poet, literary critic, translator and journalist who has published several works, including five poetry collections, a collection of short stories and an anthology of her poems. Her articles and interviews have been published in Iranian newspapers and magazines as well as European ones. She has also translated poetry books by Edgar Allan Poe and Jorge Luis Borges as well as the graphic novel, Blue is the warmest color by Julie Maroh into Persian. After her works were banned in Iran, Jodeyri left the country and currently lives in Prague, Czech Republic.
In my homeland, Iran, it is very common for a man – if he wants to catcall a woman – to call her a piece of flesh.
From their point of view, a piece of flesh refers to the forbidden area of the body of a woman, i.e. the vagina. So, they use “flesh”, “a piece of meat” and “a piece of flesh” to objectify women. You may say: all the sexist people all around the world have the same point of view and the same behavior. But there is a difference in terms of countries such as Iran, because it isn’t just the sexist people who do this. I mean, a religious regime such as what we have in Iran – that decides for the women how to be dressed and how to cover their bodies and hair to protect the men from being triggered to rape them (!) – has the same point of view and does the same objectification of the women.
As a woman who doesn’t believe in wearing Hijab at all but had to obey those objectifying rules while living in Iran, and had to accept this unjust idea that it was my fault if a man would be triggered to rape me, I wrote this poem recently to refer to all those horrible memories and thoughts, and to dare to talk about my body, what it used to be and what it really is.
Also, here you may find many Iranian women expressing that they don’t believe in wearing Hijab and being objectified by those sexist ideas and beliefs, but they have to. The campaign has been founded by Iranian journalist, Masih Alinejad as a protest against forced Hijab in Iran.
The poem is dedicated to my artist friend’s, Nima Nia’s drawings because of their anti-sexism approach (a sideshow of Nima’s work can be found below the poem).
a piece of flesh
A poem by Sepideh Jodeyri
Translated by Fereshteh Vaziri Nasab
To Nima Nia’s drawings
Your mouth yawned an abyss
And I failed
Again and again to swear to you
My body, a cleft thing,
It has a sweet eye, sometimes!
Sweet and heavy
My body works
Like a heart
Like a clock
Which is gone from your smell
Which is gone from your side
Are deeply sunk in solemn words,
Which have no flesh.
I have flesh
To the highest point of the body
Is a dangling flesh
The most thorough talk we hold,
Is just a short expensive thigh.
And your deep hands
Cannot touch the untouchable of any body
I am not a woman of your storm and thunder
Collect my death one day
And throw it away
My candy shape turns to a piece of flesh in your mouth
And fleshy gets your mouth
He has won my aces of hearts
And my open mouth
Signifies my incompetence
To chew the meat, I have bitten off
My fleshy generation, which inflates on the side of meats
On the side of this corner,
Which could have been a corner.
The corner whose fluids are vegetative
Whose kisses are vegetative
Whose sex is…
The age of 12 was worth
Because of the black eyes,
That didn’t exist,
That didn’t catch
The eyes of others.
The cage is a canary
And I am the cagest
In becoming a canary
I sat in tens beside desolate sunsets
Beside crowded sunsets
Exhaustion/ How passionate it is!/ exhaustion
How monotonous are your yawns!
In the good time of that piece of body
The stranger has come from behind
Like a dagger
Directly from behind
In throng, sliding thoroughly through
Like a headless finger/ it’s strange for you
It’s strange for you
To rise a sun
It’s now weeks, the way the weeks are
That I keep it in my mouth, the way you keep looking
Looking this way
Not looking that way
To that great rise,
Which is setting
I long for you
Oh the great rise!
Oh the setting rise!
And you complain that I am cold-fleshed and juicy
To the hearing I make
From the back
From the front
To the gnawing I make
At your heart-stuck words
At your heart-stuck ribs
At your heart-stuck legs
At your heart-stuck piece
How cold-fleshed and juicy!
And his flag is higher than mass graves.
Sleep, oh mass loves
Sleep, oh commander
Your commands are detailed
Your kisses are detailed
Your eyes are detailed
I was an age of supremacy for you
An iron age.
Nima Nia is a 28-year-old Iranian painter and poet. In 2005, he enrolled in Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting at Bozorgmehr University of Isfahan. However, due to the persecution he suffered as a result of his sexual orientation and political opinions, he had to abandon his studies and escape Iran in 2009. Currently he resides in the US as a refugee. Nima could never pass the censorship and express himself in Iran where his works and sexual orientation were considered unfavorable. In August 2015, he published a collection of his poems, “He’s Always A Man” in exile.