How to love someone without a gender – a manual in four parts:
Part 1: You love them without a body.
They is an entity,
They wraps themselves around myself
And I will touch their every curve and crevice,
Plunge myself into their cracks and touch them
Where I’d want to be touched.
Kama comes bodiless and swift
…Much like me in bed.
Yet it is always she that I see,
Me, I am as visible as I believe.
And invisible when I am everything
The world wishes me to be.
Part 1: You love them without a body.
Part 2: You are the object.
She comes and asks me who I am
Asks me to grip harder.
When the moon is unreachable
I push myself into the breachable
Her eyes feel my insides and suddenly
I am nobody.
I am nothing that matters
my desire is entire.
My love is above
All these contracts of rough
And the ragged is all I am.
Part 2 – you become the object.
Part 3: you love yourself.
They say it for fun
They know it hurts, but say it anyway
“He” likes attention,
“He” is the butterfly stuck to the wall
The flower without nectar
“He he he he he”
It’s like they’re laughing at me
“He he he he”
I smile. I correct them. I tell them to call me “they”
Every time I smile, I remember the abuses entertained,
I remember the warmth of that day
That day once, much long ago
When she called me and said she needed me,
And I was hers since then, forevermore.
Each time you call me a man, a boy, a son, a sir,
I lose myself in the depths of the darkest days
And I can’t love anymore, again.
I can’t. Because I must spend that love for myself,
And I am not much, but everything at once,
A speck of stardust trying to wipe away immovable rust…
Part 3 is me, and I am such –
I am they, for I am many,
and my love doesn’t need your touch (but wants it).
I am the zenith of your imagination,
And I had to learn to say “I” again.
They told me it’s selfish of me, and I had to learn to say it…once more.
To love myself, I remember the resentment, the guilt and the fear,
I remember that my penis is not me,
My throat can be musical, as it can be deep.
That within this dysphoria,
I can craft my own Utopia,
And love will forever be, mine.
Part 3 – you love yourself.
Part 4: And this is the hardest when you love. You listen.
She taught me this. I always used to say, I can listen. I can listen.
She told me of when she used to be the master, the “Babu” of her home,
When Kama rushes into my soul,
I can’t hold myself. I relate and converse
She tells me she loves purple,
I say, “Oh! That’s my favorite color!”
Tells me she used to dream up fantasies, and was a dreamy child,
I said, “Hey that sounds like me!”
She says she’s been through abusive relationships, and I say “Me too!”
says there’s nothing as tasty as cold water on a summer afternoon, and I say “How true!”
Every sentence must be relatable, every word must deal with me. Empathy, empathy
That’s everything I should be.
But in order to see, to truly truly see
I needed to listen, to listen to her, and listen to me
Know that abuse isn’t the same for us all
That different pain is felt differently,
That we’re humans, to be queer is to be different
To standout from the crowd is to form a crowd of misfits and strangers who see all that’s invisible
And when she could see me…
She could, she really could
When she could see me when no one else did…
My penis doesn’t matter!
My beard doesn’t matter!
My body doesn’t matter!
All that mattered was to listen.
Listen to the histories that whispered to me, telling me who I am and was, when I seemed to forget.
Listen to her as she tells me her fears
Feel the sweat form on my brow as her horrors become my own…
And listen to her voice when she called me “They”…
Listen to her correct every soul who passes my way
And for once, I can be anything.
Nothing is finally everything
And feeling is believing.
Listen, listen to the unheard voices and finally
Listen to hear
When she tells me she loves me.
How to love someone without a gender, a manual in four parts.
Performer one – Srivatsan
Posted by Archanaa Seker on Sunday, June 17, 2018
Note: Q read their poem at Orinam’s 40th Quilt poetry and spoken word event (Chennai Pride 2018 edition) at ICSA Chennai on June 17, 2018. Thanks to Archanaa Seker for the video.