Posts Tagged ‘“Before the Zar” from “The Zar Tales Lulu.com 2010’

“Before the Zar”, posted for Oneshotpoetry….

May 17, 2011

"The Zar Tales", published by Lulu.com, 2010

 

 

The “Zar” is three things:  It’s a ritual exorcism (but not really, you never get rid of a Zar (Demon) you just give it new marching orders, or placate it);  The Zar is a Demon Spirit, or a collection of Spirits; and it’s also a female bonding dance.  It is a very old ritual and one of great importance in the Middle East and Africa for numerous reasons.

Presently, it is under attack in the Middle East and parts of Africa as being outside the bounds of Islamic religious belief.  However, it is a very important ‘mental health’ issue for women in these countries:  It is also a ‘social time’ where women from a village or town can get together and communicate with other women without restrictions.  I wrote my second book, “The Zar Tales” about the struggle to continue the Zar rituals.  I have been present during two Zar rituals and it is something errie and unforgetable.  Powerful stuff, indeed.

Lady Nyo

BEFORE THE ZAR 

I am ready for the Zar.

Bathed, perfumed, hennaed,

my hands and feet tattooed

with proper designs,

silver amulets encircle my

arms, throat, ankles.

I have made

ritual prayers.

dance to open paths–

sweet incense bathes my soul.

This is old country,

possessed with Zars,

Selfish demons who

demand and torment

belabor and befuddle,

Creep up by our side

when we toil by day

sidle into our thoughts

when we pray at night for rest.

Beloved!

The Zar never purges

these troubling Spirits,

but

beguiles, baffles, bothers,

hopefully placates

and ultimately restores

Spirit to Flesh.

I beat out the rhythm:

DUM (space) teka-tek

DUM (space) teka-tek

gird my loins with faith-

prepare to do battle.

But hear my cry!

If my demon refuses

to quiet his Hell within,

then throw the stern net

of  reason over me.

Pin me down with  lucidity.

Use strength and increase it again

lay  your weight upon my twisting limbs,

nail me to the Earth

with your body and power.

And if I still dance out of control,

twisting under your hips,

stiffen your cock and pin me down

and growl into me:

“Woman, be still,

And know I am Man!”

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2008-2011


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