Comfort Women: Say It

This is a poem based on the testimonies of Comfort Women.  The link below has an introduction that gives background to their situation and the rallies for Japan to make a legal apology.

SAY IT

For The “Comfort Women”

 

Our stories only exist inside our heads

Inside our ravaged bodies

Inside a time and space of war

And emptiness

There is no paper trail

Nothing official on the books

Only conscience

Only this.

 

What we were promised:

That I would save my father if I went with them

That I would find a job

That I would serve the country

That they would kill me if I didn’t go

That it was better there

 

What we found:

No mountains

No trees

No water

Yellow sand

A desert

A warehouse full of tears

Thousands of worried girls

My braid cut against my will

No time to wear panties

 

What we were forced to do:

Change our names

Wear one piece dresses with

A button that opened easily

50 Japanese soldiers a day

Sometimes there would be a ship of them

Strange barbaric things

Do it even when we bleed

Do it young before we started bleeding

There were so many

Some wouldn’t take off their clothes

Just took out their penis

So many men I couldn’t walk

I couldn’t stretch my legs

I couldn’t bend

I couldn’t .

 

What they did to us over and over:

Cursed

Spanked

Twisted

Tore bloody inside out

Sterilized

Drugged

Slapped

Punched

 

What we saw:

A girl drinking chemicals in the bathroom

A girl killed by a bomb

A girl beaten with a rifle over and over

A girl running head first into a wall

A girl’s malnourished body dumped in the river

To drown.

 

What we weren’t allowed to do:

Wash ourselves

Move around

Go to the doctor

Use a condom

Run away

Keep my baby

Ask him to stop.

 

What we caught:

Malaria

Syphilis

Gonorrhea

Stillbirths

Tuberculosis

Heart disease

Nervous breakdowns

Hypochondria

 

What we were fed:

Rice

Miso soup

Turnip pickle

Rice

Miso Soup

Turnip Pickle

Rice Rice Rice

 

What we became:

Ruined

Tools

Infertile

Holes

Bloody

Meat

Exiled

Silenced

Alone

 

What we were left with:

Nothing

A shocked father who never recovered

And died.

No wages

Scars

Hatred of Men

No children

No house

A space where a uterus once was

Booze

Smoking

Guilt

Shame

 

What we got called:

Ianfu-Comfort Women

Shugyofu-Women Of Indecent Occupation

 

What we felt:

My chest still trembles

 

What got taken:

The springtime

My life

 

What we are:

74

79

84

93

Blind

Slow

Ready

Outside the Japanese Embassy every Wednesday

No longer afraid

 

What we want:

Now soon

Before we’re gone

And our stories leave this world,

Leave our heads

 

Japanese government

Say it

Please.

We are sorry, Comfort Women

Say it to me

We are sorry to me

We are sorry to me

To me

To me

To me

Say it.

Say sorry

Say we are sorry

Say Me

See Me

Say it

Sorry.

 

http://www.vday.org/static/download/SayIt.pdf

2 Responses to “Comfort Women: Say It”

  1. Alyssa Dandrea Says:

    After reading through this I was thinking it seemed familiar to me and now I realize it’s because a couple years ago when I read for the Vagina Monologues this poem was included. I remember hearing it and being extremely moved. What a powerful poem. Especially the end…”Say Me/See Me/Say it.” It’s a reminder that these things may be easily forgotten by some, but for the women involved, their families, and the generations that follow never forget; lives were ruined and not even just ruined but taken away completely. It gives me chills. Thanks for sharing Michelle.

  2. Ashley Says:

    I’m working on the project, “Broken Flowers”, about “comfort women” at the University of Michigan, and I found this poem would be useful to make more people aware of the “comfort women.” So, I want to use this poem to help document about comfort women. May I ask where did you get this poem from so I can provide proper credits? Thank you.


css.php