Ramad

Ramad

Diving under a watercolour sun,

Rising with the sickle moon.

 

Snake spined in the sand,

We called the desert Trickster spirit

Out to play.

 

In Your alpine eyes

I saw us.

 

Making love without making love.

 

I went to the universe in your mouth

as Venus blinked.

 

Under her we were all beautiful.

Tasting infinity

on a desert industrial beach.

 

Beatrix Sokali

Distacco

Distacco

<<Moderns who neither kill their own food, nor grow their own food nor bury their own dead would seem to have solved the problem by avoiding it; but in fact the resolution is simply delegated, nowadays, to nightmare, slaughterhouses, torture rooms, death squads, and ‘snuff’ films in which criminal priests perform obscene sacrifices to the gods of displaced responsibility. No one can truly avoid the continuous paradox of life/death as one continuous god or process. Such perception arises from the deepest labyrinth of our psyches, where there is no distinction between ‘primitive’ and ‘modern’. The only difference is that ‘primitives’ strive to be conscious of the paradox; ‘moderns’ try to escape it. But the paradox shows us and ontological maze we cannot sanely deny, destroy, or over leap; we have to learn to walk it again, to dance it, as our ancestors did, with grace, strength, and awe-full wisdom.>>

Monica Sjöö

Artwork Credits: ©Monica Sjöö

Forough Farrokhzad

Forough Farrokhzad

Iranian poet and film director, 1935-1967. Protestor again patriarchy, film director, feminist supreme. Social pariah, for her art and her divorce, her masterpiece is The Wind-Up Doll:

More than this, yes

more than this one can stay silent.

With a fixed gaze

like that of the dead

one can stare for long hours

at the smoke rising from a cigarette

at the shape of a cup

at a faded flower on the rug

at a fading slogan on the wall.

One can draw back the drapes

with wrinkled fingers and watch

rain falling heavy in the alley

a child standing in a doorway

holding colorful kites

a rickety cart leaving the deserted square

in a noisy rush

One can stand motionless

by the drapes—blind, deaf.

One can cry out

with a voice quite false, quite remote

“I love…”

in a man’s domineering arms

one can be a healthy, beautiful female

With a body like a leather tablecloth

with two large and hard breasts,

in bed with a drunk, a madman, a tramp

one can stain the innocence of love.

One can degrade with guile

all the deep mysteries

one can keep on figuring out crossword puzzles

happily discover the inane answers

inane answers, yes—of five or six letters.

With bent head, one can

kneel a lifetime before the cold gilded grill of a tomb

one can find God in a nameless grave

one can trade one’s faith for a worthless coin

one can mold in the corner of a mosque

like an ancient reciter of pilgrim’s prayers.

one can be constant, like zero

whether adding, subtracting, or multiplying.

one can think of your –even your—eyes

in their cocoon of anger

as lusterless holes in a time-worn shoe.

one can dry up in one’s basin, like water.

With shame one can hide the beauty of a moment’s togetherness

at the bottom of a chest

like an old, funny looking snapshot,

in a day’s empty frame one can display

the picture of an execution, a crucifixion, or a martyrdom,

One can cover the crack in the wall with a mask

one can cope with images more hollow than these.

One can be like a wind-up doll

and look at the world with eyes of glass,

one can lie for years in lace and tinsel

a body stuffed with straw

inside a felt-lined box,

at every lustful touch

for no reason at all

one can give out a cry

“Ah, so happy am I!”’

The main theme she draws on, like Sylvia Plath in “The Applicant”, is that of female repression in patriarchal society, and its devastating, life-draining effects on women. A powerful critique of patriarchal structures, Forough succintly depicts the psychological effects of the limited roles available to middle-class Iranian women in the 1950s and 60s. 

Where in previous poems, Forough’s voice has been deeply personal, in “Wind-Up Doll” she assumes a poetic persona that is impersonal and ungendered. She is speaking about herself, but her Self as All women. An ancient concept, of the One as All, in the “Wind-Up Doll”, Forough’s position as spokesperson is clear. Her protest takes on a universal quality. She speaks softly but strongly, meditating and reaching a painful Truth: the forced domesticity, and domestication of women by the patriarchy has created

In her poem, Forough primarily demonstrates observation rather than criticism. However, through her observation lies implicit criticism. In her use of everyday object metaphors for the female body is a powerful critique of the objectification and taking for granted of women.  Her relation of the mechanical doll to the female role also represents a critique of the responses that society dictates for women. She strikingly portrays the underlying female depression caused by forced domesticity, and the patriarchal tearing of women away from nature.