Rapes in cabs and labs,
“Go down!” in godowns,
Sensual greed greets you in streets,
Beasts bark in the dark,
Grabs! Crashes! Smashes!
You burn our sisters like lust burns you,
She cries for help – in pain, in vain.
But have you noticed?
Only your penniless brothers go punished and penis-less.
The haves always have a way of buying their way out of punishment.
You say sleeveless and backless make us shameless and characterless
And we accept all these labels because less
is what we’ve always been taught to accept
Less love, less wage, less opportunity, less freedom, less respect
But there’s one thing you give us more than you give yourself. How selfless!
You feed us your opinions we don’t even ask for.
You don’t stop feeding us until we’re full. How generous!
You continue to force-feed us until it almost choke us to death
And then blame us for not being “lively”.
“Girl, smile more, wake up girl!”
As if your insecurity is not pressing the muzzle of his gun on my temple, maliciously whispering in my ear, “Don’t you dare wake up, young girl”
“Why didn’t you protest? Why didn’t you speak up?”
Like you were not the one who taught us to shut our mouths and bow our heads in submission to patriarchy.
“Why are you always so grumpy, smile more”
Like you haven’t invaded our minds, ousted Peace and Bliss and ruled tyrannically over it.
We’ve learned, the only way to fight our urge is by rolling our eyes, playing deaf and maintaining our resting bitch faces because being nice didn’t save us.
Arenkala is an aspiring poet/writer from Dimapur, Nagaland. Her poems mostly center on themes that portray the darker side of life such as rape, misogyny, mental illness, religious hypocrisy, emotional trauma and the like. Her approach to writing is slightly unconventional. Over the past few years, she has participated in several poetry contests that have taught her a great deal. Dandelion was published in Delhi Poetry Slam’s e-magazine; A Clichéd Tale and Grey Rainbow by Writers Villa Publication; Me And My Four Husbands was included in eShe’s 2020 Lockdown Poetry Contest.