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The little kid is now writing poems of the woman he could be, Poems by Harshit Jalan

1. The little kid and the woman he kept inside.

I wanted to write about that little kid who bloomed his own flower on his hand by practicing "Ma, I want to be a woman"

I remember being in the hands of my mother when she applied mehendi on her hands. She used to draw a moon on my hands and told me "This is who you are." Ma knew, I am learning to be kind like her, ma knew I want to hold that mehendi but was scared to convey, ma knew love has always been in my hands and yet never learned to touch it without aching in fear. Ma knew everything, yet we never talk about it.

"Ma, I want to wear your saree"

I want to write about that little kid who practiced walking with his hands on his waist because the first time he saw a movie, he thought about his pants to be a skirt twirling around his own home, where he wants his father to braid his hair.

Being a queer and loving your own father is a difficult picture because you want to tell him about yourself but you know, he was never nurtured with love. But today when I am away from him, he asks me if I ate properly, he asks me if I have enough clothes, he asks me if I am making friends and it makes me realise how we learn love with the absence of a person. Pa knows I miss him, pa knows I want to hug him and tell how beautiful of a man he is but pa, will you love me if I were your daughter?

"Pa I want you to braid my hair and put me kajal"

I want to write about that little kid who stole his sisters nail paint and practiced in his balcony because he wanted to fill the colors that were taken away. The kid, who loved pink, purple and red.

Sisters are a gift to a gay men because you know they'll hug you even if you tell them, you like flowers and earrings on you. I remember when my sister was born, I saw a girl who raised hope to me, who didn't pressurized me to walk in a certain way, who didn't ask me to behave like a man, who didn't push me to play with cars and gave me her Barbie. Ma used to tell, "I think I have two daughters in my house" and I smiled but I remember the jokes hounded by around people. I slipped that Barbie away because hate comes easy, love doesn't. But my sister hugged me because a woman senses another heart that is aching to be loved.

"Bacchu, gift me that pink color."

That little kid bloomed himself in his own hands, within the fists of his mother. That little kid had the mouth of a revolution, but ma, why couldn't the world love him?

[the little kid is now writing poems of the woman he could be.]

2. I never got to live my childhood.

I wake up with pain throbbing my

throat and every memory of abuse

lumps on my skin. I walk with cemented

memories of my trauma where a child

was not living, but surviving with

taps open in his bathroom to numb

his voices of help. My childhood was

a lie, a war where the bullets of pain

crossed through my heart like balloons

floating in the sky. My hands have the

bruises of playground where I was

pushed to stay for questioning

masculinity. When your mother isn't

proud of your choices as a child, you try

harder to win her back even it comes at

a cost to leave your truth in a locker.

The voices of my childhood screams at

me today, to go hug that child who was

always wanting to bid goodbye. The child,

who survived his own death from the hands

of society. Today, I eat my childhood trauma

in chunks to make myself believe

I have always been loved. I surround this

bubble around me, to not let my past

question my existence. But when does the

past ends, and when do I begin to live?

As a child, when I cried, my mother accuse

me for my own sadness, 'You always find

another wound to bleed' But ma, when

has ever anyone put a bandage to my

wounds? How do I let her believe that

I am losing out on time, and I don't know

if I will wake up the next day. So let me

hold that Barbie and go out wearing kajal

and unlock the self, you grew in your womb?

I was always an abandoned watch, that

stuck to a time loop. Today I question

every memory of my childhood, asking

if I ever got to live happily? How did I

come so far? Will I ever go home?

Mother, rebirth me, give me my childhood

back. I don't deserve the broken child

who was locked in a room with the chains

of masculinity. Mother, give me my self

back, for I will never forgive the places

you never bandaged me.

How to survive with the child who was

fighting a war with his silence?

[running around the corpse of his childhood.]

3. How do you say goodbye to a lover,

you dearly wanted to stay?

Grief sits with me in the kitchen of

my anxiety where I fear adding even a

pinch of love to men whose teeth whither

the skin sitting in the nest of longing

Yesterday night, when he calls me to

ask about my unfiltered anxiety attacks,

my heart pauses itself to let me remind

that he is not a love story, he is a half

spoken sonnet, left midway to choke

you with realization. He bids me goodbye,

every night as if I wont hear from him

again the next morning. I keep shivering

while reading goodbye from him, because

men had their doors around my chest to

leave whenever they tasted a pinch of

love in my lips. "Can you still make me

believe I am wanted even though,

you want to leave the next morning?”

I pluck love out of every flower in my

garden, and by the end I am left with

the deserted island where my blurry

eyes see another man offering a pond

to swim in. I know, by the time I rub my

eyes, it’ll be long gone but my heart says

"Maybe that’s the amount of love you

deserve, enjoy till you again curl up

yourself in bed and thinking to kill

yourself” Maybe, that’s what I am,

a lover destroying his own nest of

longing for someone to stay. The thought

that men have grown in me is I don’t

deserve the softness I keep in my palms,

I don’t understand the language of

heartbreaks. My body is just another war

I lose every night a man rip of my clothes

and leave the marks of suffering in me.

“How to take a bath in longing and clean

myself of the marks that reminds me of

nothing but death?” In the kitchen of my

anxiety, I cook another poem and feed

them to the people who call me nothing

but a poet. I know who writes poetry is

called a poet, but I write about a war

battling every night, plucking flowers

out of my garden of love. I write on men

who crawl on my belly, tangling their fingers

to burn inside me. I write for love to stay,

just for once because for me goodbyes

aren’t poetic. For me goodbyes are the

suffering of a lover who dearly wanted

someone to stay.

So tell me, am I poet or another love letter that didn’t reach to his lover amidst the war in his own kitchen?

[plucking flowers every night.]


Harshit Jalan is a 22-year-old poet who writes about queer identity and queer related issues. Their poems surround the issues that are not very voiced in the society. They like to read and their favorite writer is Ocean Vuong.

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