One of the strongest pieces of feminist poetry

“Ishtar Awakens in Chicago” by Mohja Kahf, an Arab-American poet. In her poems she discusses tensions between societies, religions and genders. This poem comes from her extraordinary award-winning book called ‘E-mails From Scheherazad’ (2003).

My arrogance knows no bounds
And I will make no peace today
And you shall be so lucky
To find a woman like me

Today neither will the East claim me
nor the West admit me
Today my belly is a well
wherein serpents are coiled
ready to poison the world,
and you should be so lucky.

All I have is my arrogance
I will teach it to lean back
and smoke a cigarette in your faces,
and you should be so lucky

No I will make no peace
even though my hands are empty
I will talk as big as I please
I will be all or nothing
And I will jump before the heavy trucks
And I will saw off my leg at the thigh
before I bend one womanly knee

I am poison
And you will drink me
And you should be so lucky.

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