Love is Messy and Doesn’t Keep Well in Boxes

Artwork by Chanel Arif

Artwork by Chanel Arif

Creating rules and equations make it easier for us to recognize and understand things, but sometimes we define things beyond recognition. Love for instance, is something that doesn’t live in equations and definitions of who and what we are. Let Swastika show you how sometimes, love is just love:

I am a man.
I am a woman.

I am neither a man nor a woman.
And I have loved.

A man.
A woman.

Neither a man nor a woman.
I do not like being categorized.
I do not like being confined to closets of any kind.
I live my life here, as a free being entitled to free choices.

The secret is out.
Anybody can love anybody.
It is a problem. How can it not be?
Where is the order of this society
when anybody can love anybody?

There are limits, lines, straight, curves,
governing norms for how we must love:
it must be decorous, demure, one eighty degrees.

But love spills over into spaces it has been denied,
breaks into rainbows.

Whoever said you can fill-in-the-blanks with only one word from the box?

There are dripping silences.
Rows of deleted words, whitened out
meanings, blank screens,
a series of voids.

There is a state-of-the-art mechanism
in place for silencing, and the place
for art in the state
is also shrinking into these silences.

We are almost convinced of our unnaturalness,
the misfits, malfunctions,
people gone wrong, defected pieces.
There is a system error.

There is scope for rectification, it is believed.
They can cure this disease like others
with pills and therapy sessions.
You are not what you think you are.
You must be mistaken.
You must be a mistake.

But then, there is freedom,
even if it is only in the margins.
It is the very last inch, but within
that inch we are free.

This is a celebration of that inch.
This is an ode to the independence of that inch.

In this inch, we are writing our stories,
telling our tales.

Swastika Jajoo is in her final year as an English Literature student, with an ardent love for words and food ingredients, and a self-proclaimed ability to create new flavors out of both. She lives on the poetry of Agha Shahid Ali and believes in afterlife.