Look at the clock – it’s almost nine!
What were you thinking staying out till this time?
What are you wearing?
Where had you gone?
And why are you so late?
Your skirt is too short –
cover up your legs!
I’m sure you’ve attracted all the wrong sorts of attention
People on the streets
lurking late at night
Don’t trust the cabbie
Don’t talk to strangers
Pull up your top-
Your cleavage shows!
Don’t buy tight tops
or tight jeans
tight tight – your body shows
And all the men will look at you
and they might come to rape you
they won’t rape you or even look at you
If the shape of your body is all covered up
Because then they won’t know
You have what they want.
Live in fear.
Every time you step out, or talk to someone
Have that fear.
Home is where you are safest.
Because home is where you can trust.
Because we, elders, know it all.
Always listen to us,
Because we know
how the world works
We are always right because we are older
You do not know
the things that happen nowadays
You are young
and therefore unwise, foolish even.
– Oh, but what if I told you
What if I told you
I knew that the devil
does not wear his name on his sleeve
He hides behind the mask of a trusted face
What if I told you
I have faced what you tell me to fear?
And I have known that fear
perhaps better than you?
And what if I told you that
sometimes strangers are not strange
That home is not always
where I am safest
And that trust is a thing
so broken, battered, abused
it is on-existent almost?
But there are things I don’t know
for instance –
How can you look me in the eye,
flawed as you are,
wrongs that you have done,
lies that you’ve covered,
secrets that you’ve kept,
and judge ME
in a way that you would never dare judge yourself?
How do you pretend?
How do you live?
But I guess loyalty and courage
integrity and honesty
mean little in the “adult” world
where putting up a facade
of piety and purity
while practising all that you preach against
Is the only twisted truth there is.
And I will strive everyday of my life
as the years go by and I am myself an ‘elder’
to never, never, never become a hypocrite
Post script: This is more like a stream of consciousness kind of thing, more than a proper poem. I don’t really write too much poetry. If the poem sounds bitter – it is.