Fully cloaked



We’re all just microscopic ants, really
crawling all over the vast earthy expanse
Someone falls off the face of the earth
Every day, every second; Who knows, who cares
other than a shovelful of other ants…

Does anyone care what I think? Read what I write?
Will anyone notice me, if I step out as just me?
Maybe not. Maybe people see right through me.
Unless, unless… I defy the current
The tidal wave that seeps through generations.

So how do I defy? Flow against the current.
Yesterday I got up and roamed the streets
Wearing all of my clothes, all at once,
and I didn’t care for people’s frowns and stares.
What’s the point, you ask? I was noticed.

A desperate plea for attention,
To send a message with a specific intention.
To some in my part of the world
who justify rape, on the kind of clothes worn
Say the woman ‘asks’ for such lecherous attention:

Was I not noticed enough? Jeered, laughed at?
But I was seen as a freak, and those women as opportunity.
Difference lies in perception.
The women who wanted to be heard,
and the pleas heard, of a woman silenced.


This poem written for Poetics at Dverse, where the prompts are twelve portraits on ritual and costume by Phyllis Galembo. I must admit I went in a different direction, but I was led by the photo to this rather sinister topic.



37 thoughts on “Fully cloaked

  1. amazing write!

    “To some in my part of the world
    who justify rape, on the kind of clothes worn
    Say the woman ‘asks’ for such lecherous attention:”

    Rape culture is strong. It’s really sad how most look
    at harassment and sexualization of women as “normal.”
    it’s so common, people act like it’s a problem to make an argument about it!
    Like it should be kept behind closed doors… That is one of the biggest problems
    in society… And one of the worst things anyone could say is she “asked for it”.
    I could go on and on about this topic… Once again, amazing!


    1. It’s not normal at all, and it’s not at all to kept behind closed doors. Thank you so much, Anthony for your kind comments… I’m glad you feel so strongly about this…


  2. An excellent poem, indeed. I remember getting a very tough argument with a lecturer on my law degree about women ‘asking for it’ by the way they dressed. And strangely, I was only reading today about how hard it is to swim against the tide, be different, and not care how others respond. Yes, this took a dark turn, but isn’t that how life sometimes goes, when we try to be different? A very interesting piece – and wonderfully written.


    1. Yes, no predicting what the turn will lead to. There’s still a long way to go from swimming against the tide to making a point across. Stronger, or several more hands to beat the current, to start with!
      Thank you so much for reading and commenting..


    1. That’s true, not just my country where is happens, sadly. It’s just rather staring in our faces here at this time.
      People may not come out and say it directly that she asks for it, but it’s certainly what they are thinking, if they see the girl dressed inappropriately.
      Thanks Brian…


  3. I hate that rape culture and mindset from men that our clothes asked for “it” ~ Perhaps its better that we go unnoticed then ~ In another culture though, it would be challenge to go against the current or tide ~ Enjoyed your interpretation ~


    1. In a culture such as mine, going against the tide would meet a hell lot of resistance indeed. I hate that such a society has brought us to feel like it’s better to be invisible, locked up in our homes, or venturing out fully dressed, only during the day. I hate that it’s reduced women to this, in an age which screams women empowerment.
      I think even I can go on about this! Thank you for commenting, Grace!


  4. Ohh.. A sensitive topic touched upon nicely.. Showing the plight of the opposite sex.. A question that goes unanswered still ‘are we really free’
    A powerful one indeed 👍


    1. I agree too, of course. And you’re right, it is quite downplayed in society, as people just don’t think it is that important.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  5. A powerful message in your poem that left me thinking about many things. Just read an article from a man on Hubpages. He had no problem saying that although rape is not right, women bring it on themselves most of the time by how they are acting or what they are wearing. He just didn’t get it. Left me furious!


  6. Powerful… you carve the two lines simultaneously: the search for your identity and distinctive self and the society’s perception and judgement. It is a pity that even to this date, the mindset of many people has hardly changed.
    Great writing… I liked your poetic voice along with your gentle but scrutinizing words. 🙂


  7. ugh.. that’s so tough… it is sick to excuse rape with the clothes someone wears… those men should rather take over responsibility for their sick way of looking at things….grrrr


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