Poetry, art and ‘to dare to talk about my body’


Joderyi, Sepideh_Your mouth yawned an abiss_photo 1Sepideh 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

Like hearing,

Which is gone from your smell

Which is gone from your side

 

All things

Are deeply sunk in solemn words,

Which have no flesh.

I have flesh

And laughing

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

 

Fleshy mouths

Fleshy eyes

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

Exhausted!

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 split

A sunset

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

 

I swear

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.


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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.