July 31, 2017 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION


Koraly Dimitriadis



What I learned from The Handmaid’s Tale



The thing is, I’m just really sad since watching it

I know it’s only a TV show, a story, but it’s not, not really

I don’t know what to say other than I feel feverishly shit

My only appeasement to huddle like the handmaids do

Together with all the women in the world so we can cry in chorus

Even though we don’t trust each other

Compete in whispers to trample through the funnel for air

I started watching the series The Handmaid’s Tale at 10pm one night

I was conscious of the time and school drop off in the morn

Being a single mum, can’t afford too many late nights

But as soon as I saw Offred and her forced foetal offering

Her world controlled by Gilead’s Christian fundamentalists

(not ISIS, that’s Islamic fundamentalists which is different)

Her screams swallowed and gagged on until nothing came out

I couldn’t move, my gaze super-glued to her plight

And I couldn’t leave her alone trapped inside the TV

To be fucked between the Father and the Mother and the Holy Fucking Spirit

So I made the decision to stay up all night until I saved her

In the morn I woke exhausted having had no sleep and failed my mission

I told myself it was just a story by my favourite writer and poet, Margaret Atwood

I hadn’t read the book yet, and I was cursing myself that I should have by now

Margaret wrote her story in the 80s

But is it really a story or a terrifying premonition?

Sometimes fiction is just a stone’s throw away from fact

Or maybe a rendition of something we pretend isn’t happening

Thirty years later it seems the same issues are lingering

Except feminism and capitalism have morphed into some deformed monster

Or maybe that has always been the case

Margaret’s tale had me thinking back to my first poetry class

How I asked my teacher about rules and she told me there are none

I didn’t consider her a feminist as she was old and grey

But I guess she was because she showed me pages of writing by feminists

It was Margaret’s and Sylvia’s and Patti’s poetry that resurrected me

Their words had me question the cultural, sexual and religious repression

I had inherited like a birth right spawned from patriarchy

Never had I considered I had choices

I married when I was only a baby

So in poetry class I took to the notebook with bound hands

Wrote till blood soaked my clothes and I was considered mad

Sex poetry came out of me until I was labelled a slut

I like to be fucked so to men and the literati I made sense

I fought so hard to be free even my tears became blood

Wiped with the tissues of women I had never met wanting to be my friend

But I didn’t realise till I watched the last episode of The Handmaid’s Tale

Which was seven years after my emancipation

That my hands are still bound

Bashed, shoved, murdered, controlled, fucked in every way possible

I still exist under the foot of a man

The palace of patriarchy still reigns

Did anyone actually ever ask us

If we actually want to fulfil our biological destinies

Under His fucking Eye?

Margaret’s metaphor opens us up to consider

Gilead could happen even today

All that’s needed is some crazy man

With sexist, religious, racist beliefs

That has access to chemical warfare and bombs

To execute a Handmaid’s order

And suddenly Gilead is just a stone’s throw away from now

However, what I learned from the Handmaid’s Tale

Apart from how fucked the world was for Margaret

That she resorted to write such a disturbing and traumatising tale

Is how fucked the world still is today

But despite this, even in the most repressive circumstances

Where speaking up is punishable by death

The controlling power will push forbidden and wicked ways underground

But human nature is to fight even silently, to rise

And I learned that the resilience of women

The gender that bares the world in her womb then births it

Bleeds her dirty sin through her uterus and out of her vagina

Will find a slow, but gradual way, to an almost freedom

I also learned that Canada is the best country in the world

Even in the land of fiction, in the past and in the now

Especially when it comes to treating refugees

And every other country is pretty shit

It probably came as a shock of course

When white people were watching The Handmaid’s Tale

That the refugees were westerners (unlike today)

So they were probably relieved when Canada handed them

A phone card, money, clothes, food, etc

Rather than a big fuck off and go back to where you came from

I don’t know how Margaret came up with this story

But it had me crying like a scared child

Longing to slash my wrists in the bathtub






Koraly Dimitriadis

Koraly Dimitriadis is a Cypriot-Australian writer and actor and the author of Love and F**k Poems which is a bestseller for poetry in Australia and was published in Greek and English by UK publisher Honest Publishing in 2016. Koraly also writes novels, short stories, opinion articles, and creates her own theatre and film. www.koralydimitriadis.com Twitter @koralyd Facebook koralydimitriadis Instagram koralydim

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