An Epistolary Poem to Patriarchs

This poem is addressed to
All those patriarchal pigs and crackbrained clerics
Who use the whip of male power to punish dissenting women.
You keep asking women to stop “exciting” male lust –
This “lust” is neither etched into unquestionable biology
Nor covered with the cloak of divine absoluteness;
It is simply an ugly outgrowth of a rotten history
Written by equally rotten men, that assures you
That you are somehow entitled to sex.
For you, any of the woman’s acts can be seen as “inviting” rape,
Her entire life can be destroyed because she was “asking for it,”
She can be stripped off her humanity, served on a platter as a
Body lying between death and life –
Becoming a woman of “loose” morals
(Mere flesh to be ogled and molested)
Becoming a woman of “virtuous” chastity
(Repeating her performance of self-inflicted pain).
You remain fixated on the length of the woman’s skirt,
She is seared by the blazing tip of intimidatory stares
Even as a bare-chested “stud” strides across
The republic of phallus, coddled by a macho state
That judges the “character” of raped women
Before delivering justice.
The “honour” and “morality” which you prize so much
Feed on the bruises of women classified as “sluts,”
Women whose way of dressing, talking, walking, sitting…living
Decenters you, reminds you that the social universe
Has its own living rhythm that escapes micromanagement.
You say that a woman remains incomplete without a man,
Reducing her life to a puzzle piece that fits
Into the jailhouse of masculinity, that adorns the
Bloodstained corners of domestic servitude,
That remains manacled by the shine of bridal jewellery.
For you, the female body is the source of order,
The instigator of disorder, the key to the door of “decency,”
The harbinger of “indecency” – I wonder what will happen
When this very body starts making its own decisions,
When it chooses to bomb your binaries into smithereens.

Yanis Iqbal is a student and writer based in Aligarh, India and can be contacted at

Featured image: