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What Does Queerness Care About Productivity? A Poem

The mind was kept busy while the body craved attention. The more it craved, the more I got busy. 


All my adult life was invested in being productive

For a cause I had made up

At the time when I was told to be productive.


Productive body and mind are valued body and mind. 

What I want 'to become' and what I want 'to accomplish'

were decided in order to be productive

in a body that does not care for productivity

but only desire and love.


The mind was kept busy 

while the body craved attention.

The more it craved, the more I got busy.


The body sent signs to the mind 

That I deleted at times and again

To focus on the pile of work I was rebuilding.

Productivity is what I learnt to live with 

not desire and love.


Along with this, only heterosexuality could fit

Like an easy jigsaw puzzle to ease the mind

And keep it happy and satisfied.


The idea of me in the arms of a man

Is one I have in the spare minutes of free time 

I curse myself for having it--the free time, not the idea.

Free time begs to be filled with socially accepted 

Heterosexual desire and love.


I had my moments of fantasy with men.

Oh, it is like knowing how to eat when hungry—

It does not slow you down


Unlike hurriedly replaced guilty pleasures 

Of fleeting images of a woman's bare body. 

Funny how I even felt guilty going back to examine 

The (queer) thoughts of what I did not want to label

Desire and/or love and/or anything else.


She's my friend

I will only upset and repulse her

I told an upset and repulsed me


And went back to work 

and my long hours of productivity. 

Capitalist production kills the queer, they say.

As in my case, it took up all space and left none 

For desire and love. 


The mind is still not guilt-free today.

It is a process, queerness, not necessarily time-taking.

Even if it is, I am free now.




Strange that you ask for evidence

Even though it exists 

In the deepest of my desires.

The more you dig, the more it settles in


Subconsciously and comfortably. 

I wear the identity, a name to call it by, 

Consciously and uncomfortably

I wish it had no name.


Am I 'bi' only because 

I cling also to heteronormative desire

Like you cling to a toxic relationship?

Or am I 'pan' – because desire must be standardized?


I say, desire, love and queerness 

Can't be named or tamed 

Much like poetry

which I like to leave unnamed,


Or call whatever I like:


Thighs that speak of the places they've sat, 

Or the smell of a long day on someone's shoulders 

Or the curve of someone's back and the way they rest on it,

Or fingers that age with the kindness they share.


These are are the only ways I can describe


And make sense of.

Better than a label or a name

To what and who I desire and wish to tame.


Only if desiring and talking about desire would 

Be given credit without affidavit. 

Yes, a queer life is as poetic 

As words can be queer.


Twisted and put together 

The way I want, not the way you want them to sound.

So, I would like to live 

The way I want, not the way you want me to be bound.


If my poetry can escape your meaning,

Be raveled and named other things, 

So can my queerness 

Be unraveled, unnamed and named many-a-things,


Whether you like my poetry/queerness or not.


Geetanjali Gurlhosur is a freelance writer, researcher and storyteller. At times, she writes poetry for her own selfish purposes. She is keen on writing about culture, sexuality, gender and justice.

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