#136 ~ A Silent Circumcision

(A work in progress: Initial draft)

You think you know me?

You think you understand

what it feels like to feel rusty iron shoved up between your thighs

at the age of nine, crying until your eyes

turned rheumy red, mimicking the blindness that endorsed this

abomination masked as

enforced chastity.

You think you hear me?

You hear my cry, my voice, my silent holla

as I wave good-bye to you

standing under dappled streetlights, the pavement creaking under the weight

of my souls bereavement

the face that glares back at me from those sealed windows

tightly bolted doors

the curtains screwed together  – except i’m the better whore

That’s right. I thought you knew me? Or didn’t I give you my name?

Oh, you want to come up all inside me

Get to know  me, as if what counts is on the inside?

Well let me tell you what’s up in here. Twisted fallopian tubes, bruised intestines

pools of congealing blood mixing, mixing

choking, beating

sealed shut with stitches wound tight

dark skin, once soft and fleshy

drawn taut like a stretched leather hide

a tiny hole, not like the orifice you described

Just enough to let the trickle of urine strike the insides

of these interlocked thighs

But shhh – why you laughin’?

Don’t you know silence is the sign of a purified life

As we sit, separated by styrofoam walls

each crouched over porcelain bowls, holes in the creaking, cracking, fecal stained floors

Silence is the sound of my worth. So silently I scream giving birth to Ibrahim, Joseph, what ever it’s called

Silence is the sound of my worth. So silently I piss, not groaning in pain as though my uterus has compacted into a spiked ball, as UTI’s sear through my crouched and quivering form

Silence is the sound of my worth. So silently is how i sit, giving you blank stares as i sit in the clinic for African Mutilation, found in the Elizabeth Garret Anderson Ward off Tottenham Court

road, dumb to your question, oblivious to your silent gestures.

I wanted to cry when they thrust that rusted iron deep into my soul

Seared the pointed needles, kept me drunk on alcohol

I wanted to protest at what they thought was best for me and my chastity

But i didn’t have the words, didn’t have the voice to say, no, this isn’t for me

When you do it, it’s a sign of worth. A symbol of your status as a man of the cloth, a man of honor, virtue, clean and pure,

That scaly foreskin that slips off hardly leaves a dent in your, male principle

Hardly leaves a scar on your manly stature

But when you do it to me…

I am not emasculated – in fact there is no word

I simply cease to exist

I am no more – just a silently screaming hole with a botched up cover holding me together

Till you come to claim me, pin me down, impregnate me

and ignore, this silently screaming horror, like a toothless jaw, wrenched open to envelope your – to envelope you.

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6 thoughts on “#136 ~ A Silent Circumcision

  1. T says:

    interesting. very vivid and raw. what brought this on? However, compile of things: firstly i got slightly confused during the transfer at the beginning from talking about the circumcision to the waving good bye, whore part. then when talking about standing over porcelain bowls why do you mention childbirth first? i’d have thought it would make more sense to talk about silently pissing, then childbirth then the EGA clinic. Only flagging these as you mentioned it was a draft, otherwise well done. I feel like it needs a follow-up Voice(less) post perhaps to explain the inspiration/background/power behind the piece

  2. T says:

    Excuse the spelling mistake on the first line: silly autocorrect.

  3. Kéhindè says:

    Inspired by Ayan Hirsi Ali’s experience of female circumcision which she talks about in her book ‘Infidel.’ It’s something i’ve been thinking about for a while so, at 3am, couldn’t sleep, and just wrote the above in one go.

    So the idea of the whore part: Waving goodbye is waving goodbye to childhood innocence and at the same time her (the character’s) parents/culture which/who ‘inflicted’ this process on her. The idea of the whore is the implication that those who aren’t circumcised are promiscuous, prostitutes who sleep around. It’s a bitter reflection on this enforced chastity which automatically assumes, if one isn’t sealed shut then she’s wide open for anyone to walk into. I’m not talking about childbirth before the toilet ‘scene.’ Those are some of the problems that happen when women are circumcised and then go on to have periods or have sex or give birth. It’s a premonition/reflection of what will/has occurred. The voice of this poem is polyphonic – it’s a conflation of the child as adult looking back in retrospect on what has happened, but also whilst it’s happening – if that makes sense. That’s why she can say: “But i didn’t have the words, didn’t have the voice to say, no, this isn’t for me”

    So from there she considers childbirth and next being at a Mutilation Clinic but being so used to silence she doesn’t or can’t even express what has happened to her.

    Probably will do a follow up post, maybe on Friday or something. But yeah, I may still mould and reshape it. I like the rawness and I think it works best when spoken aloud, but I will re-look at it to see how to tweak or re-create it.

  4. Kéhindè says:

    realised you were referring to the ‘Silence is the sound of my worth’ section. Um, I put childbirth first…not sure, it’s what came to mind first. I guess people still pee even after childbirth so in terms of logic it doesn’t matter which way round they go…

    • T says:

      mmhh, but because you mention the toilet: “each crouched over porcelain bowls, holes in the creaking, cracking, fecal stained floors”
      i thought its make more sense to then do the silence for peeing before childbirth.
      Ahh, makes much more sense and hits deeper still. If you did this as a spoken word and introduction before hand would work wonders for the impact! Good job

  5. […] A Silent Circumcision  Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tagged blood, Christianity, Circumcision, Clitoris, external female genitalia, Female Cutting, Female Genital Mutilation, female genital organs, FGM, Haemorrhage, health, Islam, Judaism, Labia, politics, religion, vagina, Vulva, WHO, World Health Organisation […]

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