What If Women Poem
What If Women Poem

What If Women

I’m healing the injuries bestowed upon me by the dominant western model for women
Replete with halo she smiles looking down upon us mere mortals
from glowing portraits on very catholic walls.
I’d bruise my knees in devotion to beatific scenes of the Virgin Mother
for ‘holy art though amongst women’ and I had better not be any way OTHER.

Do you remember the first time you ever saw Kali Ma?
I recoiled in disgust at her vulgar red tongue; her weapons and bones
Black as night, adorned in skulls, atop a wasteland of the dead.
That recoil was an abysmal severance from my self.
Squashing her down, along with Lilith, Medusa and Hecate,
Buried my ‘No!’ My ‘step off’ and my ‘fuck of’.
No wonder I found a deeper sense of peace amongst the dead than with the living.

What if some women are more fur than skin?
Nobody questions the she-wolf when she bites to protect her den
Yet when a woman does, she is a mad dog!
What if, like tiger, some women are plenteous alone in their marked territory?
Why then shall we name her difficult, selfish, frigid, spinster, unloving?
What if, like the Bonobo, she’s immeasurable for pleasure?
Shall we stone that slut with our judgements and jealousies?

In the west, our goddesses are now depicted as long-haired super models in silvery gowns
With glorious waistlines and impossible skin,
Artemis decked in Vivienne Westwood-esque hunting garb
Well bred dog in tow, shiny bow and arrow designed to perfection
The goddess of the hunt sitting daintily in the curve of the crescent moon,
I think not!

What if some women are most beautiful in distilled outrage?!
What if the clear fury of her arrow burns a new path through the dead wood?
What if her song at times is less nightingale sweet, more guttural howl of spittle and grief?
What if I wear invisible bones that rattle when I walk?
Perhaps I should smile inanely to ease your discomfort when they talk?
Perhaps I am not NICE. I am not SWEET. I am not GOOD.
The soft, warm cushion of my maternal bosom is not open for business!
You can’t pay me in kind to feel your feelings for you.
Get your arses wiped elsewhere, you’re barking up the wrong temple!
I will no longer be shamed by perceptions of shadow and light,
In this hot mess called human, we mine for the particular flavours that sit right.

It’s wearisome, wading through my refined wardrobe,
What if I just wore my scars instead?
I know so many pretty, rhyming and magnificent words
And simply don’t feel my honeyed tongue today.
I will not hold this tongue for your convenience-
I swear, laugh madly, and want to get things ridiculously wrong.
I forgive when nature intends, not blowing imaginary love hearts at you along the way,
And when I love it is absolute and true.
I apprentice myself to the animal arts of my body
Unapologetically feeling my way into God.

– Arianne Sheikh.

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