A Woman's Language in a Man's World
"friendly men, smiling men
monsters my father's age,
they walk in broad daylight
and cast their shadows in my way,
they smile and say only good things
though their eyes and limbs leave me scared.
i thought then compliments were paid
in whistles and hands brushing my back,
a child's language does not know
how to say No to men her father's age
boys will be boys as i heard them say
and i am just a girl as they also said,
and the language of a good girl is silence
wear pretty skirts and tie your hair back,
this is a man's world. watch and learn
and remember the language.
when boys come pulling at your ponytail,
when men come pulling at your pretty dress
remember the language.
you carry on you parts
that make you a woman
and they carry with them
eyes that see what makes you woman,
what can be done
this is a man's world
a good woman speaks the language
of silence, of listening, of nodding head
of closing eyes and walking quietly on.
when a man speaks his language
loud, harsh, eyes roaming your skin
speak your language.
and i speak my language
the one you taught me
i speak it as loud as i can
but nobody listens
because nobody understands
the language of a woman in distress
this is a man's world"
"'it was the best of times
it was the worst of times”
a year of empty streets and undecorated winter,
a year of oversleep and overthought
a dreary odd year
with few days and so many nights
a year without proportion,
of disorder and delay
it was a year of making ends meet, of trying
to make things look better than they are,
a year of learning to change and
to be the same all at once
a tough long year of tolerance, of understanding
of learning to accept a half-opened door
and a nod instead of a handshake
it was a year of learning to be still
in a speeding wagon,
to hold onto whatever bars and hooks we find
it was a year of taking a step back,
to learn to watch and love from a distance
it was a year of rest and reflection
of risk and reminiscence.
and most bitter, most sweet
shall be the tales we tell
of the best of times
and the worst of times"
"i am not scared of death, but i am nervous being the only dead person in the room
what are these people going to say about me?
what do they remember of my unhappy life?
my kind teacher says, 'she was an extraordinary
thank you but i was not, except around my wrists where i think i stand out because they survived all the cuts, until they didn't of course.
my generous neighbour says, 'she was an angel'. oh but you should have seen my soul.
my old grandfather says, 'she was a tough one.' but grandpa, didn't anyone tell you how i died?
my sweet friend says, 'she was my rock.' but i got crushed by the weight of all the air i breathed.
then comes you and you say to me, 'i know you don't like
flowers too well,
but they're all i can give you now i'm afraid'
ladies and gentlemen gathered here today
now you know i was the unhappiest person alive
and i apologise that this is how you find out
but my blood was blue right from the start
and it didn't grow any brighter
the world is not to blame
the world is beautiful and you all are too
even dressed all black and tears in your eyes
you still look so lovely to me
and this is what i will picture when i think of life
and i know it is too late to change my mind
but if i may make one last amend...
Oh world, I am the happiest person dead."
Rodingpuii, or rdp as she signs her name on every poem she posts on her very popular Instagram page (rdp_ralte), was my neighbour for almost 20 years. In all the time that she grew up from a little girl to a young adult, I had absolutely no idea that she wrote, and so prolifically at that, until the middle of last year. Ironically, just a few months after I found out, her family moved away.
rdp has published a collection of poems titled Secondhand Scars (2018) and appears to be one of the most promising writers of her generation. It may also be noted that somewhat like e.e. cummings, she tends to write mostly in the lowercase, with an irregular use of punctuation. She is presently doing her MA in English Literature at Pondicherry.