Pride Month: Twelve poems by 4 poets that replicate on queerness

Kinshuk Gupta

For a very long time, I wasn’t comfy with labelling poetry – whether or not it was the black poetry of Philip Larkin, the non secular poetry of John Donne, or the queer poetry of Ocean Vuong. Labelling poems ripped away from the multiplicity of meanings, fading the sheer pleasure of being misplaced within the absurd wonderland of a poem.

But as soon as throughout a sultry afternoon, I used to be discussing a set of poems with a buddy. We got here to Home Wrecker by Vuong, and I, as typical, stored focussing on the craft of it when my buddy began sobbing. On asking the rationale, she mentioned that when her youthful brother tried to return out to her, she bought livid, and complained to her mother and father, who later locked him in a toilet for nearly per week.

She informed me that her (then 20-year-old) brother didn’t shed a tear or ask for an apology. He simply requested for a blue folder from his room. Later, she realised that the folder had print-outs of poems from poets who, she later discovered, belonged to the LGBTQ+ neighborhood. It was then that the significance of calling a poem queer dawned upon me – the intricate relationship it creates between the poet and the reader, the commonality of shared experiences that offers any individual braveness to outlive, to be themselves.

Dibyajyoti Sarma

Do poems have a sexual id? Of course not. I’m drawn to poetry as a result of it’s fluid and ambivalent. It’s not the poet, however the readers who determine what a poem is. As a reader, I can learn a poem as a queer poem, it’s my prerogative, however as a author, I can’t label my poems as queer poems – it would stifle the very act of writing poetry.

On the opposite facet of the argument, we desperately want a physique of queer writing in India. We want our personal Thom Gunn, Mark Doty, or Ocean Vuong. We want to maneuver previous discussing the Indian queer id when it comes to the legislation and the wrestle for recognition. We want to inform tales past the identical popping out/coming of age tragedies.

Making Love

Making love is like having fun with a magic trick.

You are awe-struck till you study
how the magician conjured a rabbit
or a silver spoon up his sleeves,
and you recognize, it was not what
you anticipated while you first noticed him
beneath the smooth gentle in a inexperienced sweater.

You shut your eyes
and picture his physique.
You didn’t envision
the mole on his chest,
the cut-mark on his again, and
how his thighs are so skinny!

Making love is like having fun with a magic trick.

You understand it’s only a trick
however you imagine it.
You shut your eyes
and picture that excellent physique,
that excellent kiss, that keenness.
And when it’s executed,
you applaud the magician.

Making love is like having fun with a magic trick.
You make like to your self.

Love Story

Ten years with out you. For so it occurs. I’m starting to overlook you. And I don’t dream of you anymore. Just sometimes I miss you. Not you particularly (I’ve forgotten what you regarded like, and I don’t have {a photograph}), however the concept of you. How I courted happiness while you had been with me. Now alone, I courtroom a phantom ache gnawing at me – the model of me ten years in the past.

Already like a disciplined scholar, I piece fragments collectively to maintain you alive in my reminiscence. Your title is my e-mail password, however I don’t bear in mind how we met. I bear in mind the date (I had written it on a paper serviette and tucked it away in my pockets), however nothing else. Was it raining that night time? Was it raining the day you left? What did we do collectively? And the place? I do know we met each single day. I bear in mind the quiet pleasure of ready for you – a talent I’ve grow to be adept at since.

For so it’s correct to seek out worth in a bleak talent, a talent I’ve honed for a decade. So even after I’m starting to overlook you, I can’t let go of this act of the quiet pleasure of ready. And so, that is my memorial to you, this quiet pleasure of ready. Perhaps it’s artless nevertheless it’s pure — for this wait would by no means finish and I’ll carry on making an attempt to not overlook you.

springtime –
watering the roots
of a lifeless tree

(The strains in italics are from The Songbook of Sebastian Arrurruz by Geoffrey Hill)


This is how I discover you –
in synecdoche,
in fleeting, furtive conferences and partings,
in tentative fingers discovering me within the crowd on the metro
for another person’s pleasure,
in a whiff of your favorite shampoo on another person’s hair,
in a pair of random, desirous knees closing in on me within the bus.

This is how I discover you –
in disjointed physique elements,
in neatly trimmed moustaches, in manicured fingers,
in gray hair protruding by the shirt button,
in toothy laughter, in brown leather-based sneakers, in pink ties.

This is how I discover you –
in public locations,
within the contact of the butcher’s outdated, blue palms as I pay him,
or within the handshake with a stranger in a celebration
as a result of he’s ingesting your favorite drink.
I discover you when somebody brushes me by on the pavement, or when
I shut my eyes and let a stranger kiss me at midnight of the park.

I hold my eyes shut and allow you to kiss me
for the primary time, for the final time.
This is how I discover you –
amongst strangers within the public.

Sandip Baidya

I just like the phrase. Queer. It means being totally different. It additionally signifies that I’ve grow to be adept on the observe of hiding my elements since childhood. An ever-changing world that I inhabit daily in my head and coronary heart, like a rainbow eddying on a bubble – all the time in battle with the precise world that we inhabit.

Restless In Summer

I bear in mind a summer season when catching daylight
on the ends of my legs wasn’t sufficient.

I regarded for it in every single place, like a new child duck
with no mom in sight. I went to the swimming pool,
operating all the best way there, coated with ovals of sweat,
showered & cleaned between the crotch, smelled
the chlorine waft earlier than diving the place the underside
turns into a sore eye of cobalt colur,
touched the tiles, teased the lungs with loss of life

But nonetheless, one thing was lacking.

I took to sitting on dry grass and felt the scruffs
of park canines, felt mud and dirt gather between
my toes, and it nonetheless wasn’t sufficient.

I drew endlessly that summer season, from when the solar
butt-touched the tiles of my room, to when it receded
again into nightfall, oil pastels sweltering towards paper,
my thumb peacock-blue, and I realised why nothing was sufficient –

All day, daily, I failed to note that I used to be
drawing issues that had been spiral in form with one finish
extra sharp than curved, and I knew –

I needed you a lot –
Your adam’s apple to coincide with my adam’s apple.

In Laogang 1984,

you & I might be sitting, ft dangling
inside river Muhoori, amongst swimming pools of eels


you’re not in flesh anymore, however
in ensemble of photons, buzzing each summer season close to the shore.
All these years I’ve been
studying to the touch your gentle. Somedays I run after it like
youngsters after reduce kites.

In Laogang,
moms push out armies of fishermen
Some dwell to battle
the treacherous waters –
grow to be champions,
grow to be massive and properly umber beneath solar.
Others such as you
are martyred.

Our ft as soon as, had been dangling like free magnets,

toe discovering toe.

ants then stopped work to look, crabs captivated
dropped their trunkful of infants to look,
worms turned up heads to look,
forest closed in on us to look. We had been golden

& we’d found a brand new carnal artery in every of us,
rising just like the dangerous waters beneath.

Laogang (lao + gang) (lao: gourd, gang: valley)
has give up fishing.

Every child grows up now, to dig up smooth earth that’s baby-river-proof,
to plant rows and rows and rows of gourds.
They make ektaras out of
their dried-up chassis & play day
& night time to earn alms. Unlike you, they survive.

Vanity of Some Adventures

I see bare youngsters falling off the top of sidewalks,
which can be swept clear by skinny moms. My cycle spokes converse
uneasy language on the highway. Sometimes my arms open up
to embrace downhill air, stretch to catch crow ft whereas the
solar beats on the pores and skin like Green Day drums. I’m nicely-burnt once more.

When, close to South block, my eyes tear out, prancing by grass
to creep up stranger legs and relaxation there for some blissful o’clock of time
and I’m respiration once more by nothing – no material, no surgical material, no concern.
Life, they are saying is a matter between you and your self
so after I velocity by roundabouts on the threat of shedding this life,
I boldly whisper, “It’s my life”, my coronary heart turns into horse legs –
racing racing and racing until all of it involves a cease. Like a interval
at finish of probably the most significant sentence. You marvel, “what next” –


– Home is a check, an ascension of mammoth staircases,
house is a chilly consolation ground and a roof above our heads
house is the cradle the place I come to mourn the loss of life
of radioactive adventures.

Agam Balooni

Of queerness, one can say that it names an inclination that the truth is – in praxis, that’s – reveals the spectrality of Law when Law claims itself to be absolutely the actuality. It is contingent, may be recognised, and makes itself identified within the on a regular basis. It is as outdated as need, it has a historical past, and it comes from and lives by language, from which it’s due to this fact inalienable. A queer id – a queer poet, for example – consolidates, quickly, parts of this tendency right into a recognisable kind however can’t thereby seize its entirety.

Which Sunset

Choose – of the sundown now
breaking with launch

indigo with blue now
throughout this large lake
passing as the ocean

on the overextended loss of life
of first-world solar. The edge
of this greenback five-hundred eating desk

burnished now besides beneath my forearm –
leaf-blood standing uncovered within the glow
of insufficient midwest home windows

and people who bleed in reminder

and people different faraway, temporary

spectres swallowed by the hungry mountains
aromatic each day simply till the diesel
knocked round – in offended fumed exhales –

the iron gate that rang


Let us attempt to drown in drink
treasures which were with me these previous
thirty years. I’m finally
fortunate proprietor of my giant inheritance
and little has all my raging come to vary
about it. I’d prefer to assume I’m
acquainted with a residing that’s spent –
see the solar caught on a straight horizon:
caught, pulling away to flee
their very own daylight, colouring the nightfall redder
and redder tearing themself in half
The moon isn’t their buddy
Saturn not their buddy
Neptune not their
Earth, not


Here – a provocation in a blanket
heat as ears
ringing from a shelling near residence:

I hear so many voices

The lake
the lake surpasses sight
one sees it holds the our bodies of so many boats
during which younger males, drained from all of the rowing, lie

younger fascinating males
burden of equity flickering
on their faces as they stroll, away from residence,
with us on our busy streets

In the darkish a brat tears a sheet from his atlas
and wakes the entire home

Never been to the valley
though I hear that for miles
ft stick with it without having for turning
the face is dotted by a rain

whose impression lingers for years – I hear
the wind is spent with using the fields
so the lake is rarely roiling. In the quiet
schoolchildren should sleep with out stirring

There are not any girls within the valley I hear
awake now in your sorrow
a chook begins: aligns
a wing to a present

a murals a shroud a canopy
unmeaning besides in passing to
unfold itself over effective bits of metals

Yamini Krishnan

For me, writing is a spot the place I can perceive issues, in addition to escape from them. Desire, feelings, my physique, and the experiences it carries – they’re all ineffable and entangled in me, and it’s solely by poems that I could make sense of them.

Macchar Maarna

In the summer season, you flip right into a warlord.
Your bed room is giant and pink
and doesn’t maintain time the best way the remainder
of the world does, nevertheless it does maintain mosquitoes.
You prefer it once they die at your palms, perverse little streaks
of dried blood on the partitions as we lie tangled like
social gathering streamers. We watch sitcoms with fairly ladies
in them, however you hear buzzing and out of the blue
the clock strikes homicide. Your hand raps my leg,
smearing it with insect-blood, my favorite scarlet letter.
I kill time with you, and also you kill mosquitoes.
You don’t need them to get me – in right here,
solely you get to chew me like that.

I Think We Should Start Saying Poems are From People, Not By Them

Lately, I’ve been coughing up phrases
like stray cash from outdated pant pockets.
My poems come from my coronary heart typically,
however not cleanly, and by no means from the precise place.
When I write folks poems, they’re typically
flummoxed. I think about my family members holding
a new child poem of their palms,
it wobbling of their palms, ready
to be made into one thing stronger by being seen.
My buddy hates ribcage metaphors
however there’s fridge poetry lodged
in my chest, alphabet spaghetti draped
round my bones like Diwali lights
a number of days after. To write from the physique
is to make paper from pores and skin. A boy jokes
that I cannibalise myself on the common,
making poems from every little thing that
makes me an individual. I want we mentioned
that poems had been from folks,
not by them, like saying right here
take this bloody, shiny factor – it got here
from my physique. It’s for you.


“The entire history of human desire takes about seventy minutes to tell.
Unfortunately, we don’t have the kind of time.”

— Richard Siken, from ‘Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out’

I would like a lot and so little –
to purchase mugs and floral linens,
to drink on a wet balcony.
Happiness inside a metropolis stormed-in
a monsoon with out tears. I’m
alright with drowning, as lengthy
as I’m with my pals. My foolish
pack of wolves, grinning and crying
in flip, and typically I’m alone
and one thing like longing hits me
within the area between my ribs. Wanting
looks like summer season clouded by smoke,
and I’ve by no means loved something extra
than dancing with out worrying about
being watched. What I would like is a room
with out eyes, ones that model me like males
or demons, even when I’m asleep.
I need to be unmarred by my histories,
to belief simply and damage with out wanting
to die. My need pours itself into
an empty swimming pool, one thing dusty
and blue, like a lady ready to be crammed.

Curated by Kinshuk Gupta.

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