A digital magazine on sexuality in the Global South
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Love Under CCTV + Swipe Right

Love under CCTV

i

I’m slowly learning how to not be afraid

While kissing my boyfriend

In the secluded adult fiction corner of a bookstore on 15th street

And when our lips meet, and our fingers curl around each other, I always look up

At the CCTV camera and smile

For the voyeuristic

 

ii

My boyfriend taught me how to disengage from a fight

First you smile, then you slowly walk away, and in your smile, they know you won somehow

They didn’t understand

My boyfriend taught me how to type messages

For my exes, telling them I loved them, but I just didn’t understand why I liked men more

Type them, but not send them

For no one deserved an explanation for my love

But me

 

iii

I’m slowly realising why

Councils tried and stoned men in Arabic countries, why the Old Testament called us an abomination, why three thousand students walk

Every year, placard in hand, demanding freedom from 377

I’m slowly realising why some men would fear

If others found love

While they remained bitter, over pleasures they never understood, and women they ignored

 

iv

But we still walk with pride, and we still kiss in bookstores, and when people stare

We smile and shrug

My boyfriend and I, hold hands, even between the sheets

And I’m slowly learning

Our love is like walking barefoot – muddy ankles and no high heels

‘Cos the neighbours think it’s pretty gross

But those fuckers don’t know how his body feels

 

 

Swipe Right

 

The first hi was the trembling of leaves

On monsoon mornings

When the rain dug holes on sand

And my toes, flooded, as water rushed in through the hole under my school shoes

My first words came rushing like the

Metro at Moolchand

And when you laughed, a little, blushed,

A little, it was like the sun had peeked

From behind the buildings of South Delhi

Your fingers traipsed between your curly

Strands of hair, and you said

I should go, and I said, alone?

You laughed, and

I felt a sudden stirring in my thighs,

At your laugh, I wondered, could

Something happen, between one-and-a-half hour

Old acquaintances?

 

But another half an hour later, we

Were in bed, together, in your

Room, a hoarding of Sunny Deol

In a vest overlooking your north facing

Window, and on the wall,

A painting of horses, swaying

Under the fan, like my heart

And as you undressed slowly, my pants

Felt as if on fire, and you bit your lips,

And my breath was hotter than

Summer winds in Ajmer

Every minute, my heartbeat raced, till you

Took off your bra, and I let my

Hands fall to my sides

 

The room suddenly felt awkward, and

Sunny Deol has always been my least

Favourite, and one and a half hours,

Isn’t enough, to decide about

Third base, besides, I like

Smaller breasts more, I think

Cover image courtesy Clément Belleudy (CC BY-SA 2.0), second image courtesy Jason Pratt (CC BY 2.0)