Vineetha Mekkoth, INDIA


They say a man is polygamous
He is drawn to the women he sees
Around him
Drawn to them in daily situations
Blame it all on his hormones
That tough guy testosterone.
They use it for all the reasons
Why they flirt
Why the roving eye.
Well guys, we are not so different.
We too size you up
Look at you and label you.
He's fat, his cheeks are rosy
He has a paunch
Why are his eyes watery!
That one's skinny
That chap looks good
But he should keep his mouth shut
Or all he spouts is some rubbish about
Women being dumb, to be fettered.
Well, the ones who know,
Avoid such guys like plague.
Who would want to be
In the company of such a blade!
We sort out the guys
Into the good, the bad and the ugly
Sometimes the good is bad
Sometimes the good, ugly
Sometimes the good is pleasing to the eye
Sometimes the good, distasteful to the mind
And your behaviour matters a lot, gentlemen
Into which box you are slotted
How and where and when.
If your head and heart are empty
All your swagger is trashed.
Only a man with empathy
Oodles of kindness
Tender and loving
Is loved in return.
So, there are men.
And then there are jerks.
To the latter,
Go take a walk.


Why, I wonder, should I worry
If women do not enter that shrine
Or do?
But I do worry about discrimination
In the name of religion
I think about all this
Because I'm a woman.
Maybe if I were a man
I would be less bothered
I would have had unquestioned privileges.
I'm on my own journey
I search for answers
I read, I listen
I accept only that which is logical
That which appeals to reason
I cannot accept every belief
Because they have been believed in
By so many, over so many centuries
My Whys, Whats, Whens
Have to be satiated
I do not drink because everyone does
I drink if and when I need it
That holds true for the hillock shrine
That holds true for love
That holds true for everything


Like a snake sloughing
Off dead skin, she walked past the hushed whispers,
The knowing glances of those who molested her daily with their words,
Their imagination, as they cast stones
At her will to live, to not die in the face
Of the multitudes of lies and gossip,
Shocked at her zest for life when they
Craved for her very death.
The least,
She should have shed tears.
For the world loves a tragedy and it's easier to live with
Than any Amazon battling and surviving scarred

Vineetha Mekkoth, a poet, writer, translator, editor, works as Assistant State Tax Officer in the State GST Department. Has been translating for the Kerala Sahitya Akademi since 2014 and has also contributed articles for the Malayalam Literary Survey, a quarterly published by the Akademi. Her poems have been included in various anthologies. She has been selected for the ICOP Critics Award for March 2015. Her poem was on the list of Highly Commended poems for the months of March and October 2015 and selected as the ‘Poem of the Month’ for April 2015 by Destiny Poets, UK. Her work has also been featured in Duane’s Poetree, Learning and Creativity and Mad Swirl Magazine. She was the co-editor and a participating poet of the anthology ‘Umbilical Chords: An Anthology on Parents Remembered’ (2015). Her short stories have been published online as well as in the collection.

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