We Are the Women/Continue

Poetry from Tehila Hakimi, a member of the Ars Poetica movement.

Poems: We Are the Women/Continue

Introduction

by Melissa Weininger

The poet Tehila Hakimi’s work touches on gender, labor, and the quotidian violence of language and everyday life. These poems were among a group featured at the multimedia exhibition “A Woman in Workspace,” held at Musrara in Jerusalem in late 2018, and appear here in translation for the first time. Like Hakimi’s other work, they explore gendered power relationships, the potential of language both to subjugate and liberate, and the repressed anger hidden behind calm facades.

We Are The Women

I am the women dishonored

Women pierced by all

we have shot them with

that has also shot us

I am the women larger than life

Women dismembered by

Photoshop and we’ve already forgotten how

women look and who gave you permission anyway

who authorized you to give me permission

I am the bad women

who say what we think

Devilish women

opinionated about everything,

I am the women rejected, abandoned

by divorce certified in the annals of religion and law

Whose place is this to whom does it belong?

I am the women worth thirty percent less, at least

and it doesn’t matter how much we work or at what

You’ll never understand this issue

We are the women imprisoned in a limited language

strangled behind double-paned glass

Continue

Life slowly teaches you be careful of the things you ask for, aloud or in writing or by the sweat of your brow, and that later materialize (not for you). Beware of the evil eye, others warn you: guard against men, good souls, all Israel are brothers but beware of your brothers, your sisters, beware of strangers, of politicians, the poets say beware of the poets, and the writers say beware of the writers, and the journalists of the journalists and the musicians of the musicians, beware of snakes, beware of lawyers always, all of them, don’t believe a single word of the telemarketers on the phone, or at the corner, or in hiding, beware the celebrities advertising banks, what the hell are they smiling about, beware the man at the crosswalk, don’t spare him a look, he’s already reached out to touch your bottom, beware of that hand, beware of that other hand, and your hand? Don’t ever answer calls from unknown numbers, cancel your voice mail, in any case only your mother leaves you messages, you listen too late, Tehila hello this is mom, keep a reasonable distance on the road, on the radio the morning news warns: stay away from the beaches, sewage is leaking into the sea, and the sea stands still and for another moment the summer stands still and you stand still, cautious, the sun already half burning from all the sorrow, a cage of thoughts, continue

Translated by Melissa Weininger

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