I don’t want to sleep alone (2008)

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I Don’t Want To Sleep Alone

The Poet wrote a line that got lost in a bad poem: Loneliness clings like a wet t-shirt.
Though, the line escaped reference, it didn’t lose resonance. Each poem, the Poet wrote,
seemed an endeavour to crawl into the skin of the other, to become the other. The Poet
had a fairly tame imagination forged by memory, but Borges said: Memory is no more
than the noun by which we imply that among the innumerable possible states of
consciousness, many occur again in an imprecise way. The Poet met the Photographer.
Their – the Poet and the Photographer – furtive conversations at watering holes over
cheap whiskey, words between punctuating drags of cigarettes and post-ganja
confessions in bedrooms teased out nuggets of the stories around them: the thin-waisted
boy’s carelessly applied kohl to seduce, the overpowering desire to situate stories of the
surrounding queer desiring bodies in the technicolour dreams of Abrar Alvi’s Sahib Biwi
aur Ghulam or Kamal Amrohi’s Pakeezah and their own cleverly crafted stories of past
lovers to intrigue.

Afternoons that began on leather sofas raging about the aggressive, meter-
tampering auto-drivers turned into spilling anecdotes of blowjobs on rexine seats, then
onto Catholic confessions of masturbating turned into techniques on giving hand jobs and
immediate marriage prospects for one who could match a rhythm. There were even
slipping into characters from cinema – Paro’s mother from Devdas while crossing the
road or Chandramukhi when it suited. It seemed the Poet and Photographer had learnt to
play – the game of the queer, where real-life is cinematic, it is artifice.
The artifice does peel though – in the allowing for touch, not always sexual but to
confirm presence. The artifice in sometime wetting the end of the cigarette so the other
will complain. All gambits not to sleep alone, even for one night.

Text and Poety by Joshua Muyiwa