Queer voicelessness: a fiction*

By Mumbi K

The Silenced

Every day your shoulders feel heavy with the weight of a silence forced upon you.

You mouth more words than you say and your lips sheathe your silence – the unsaid words that lay dormant on the tip of your tongue.

They are waiting,

to fight

to defy

to come out

to be.

Breath over your lips is the difference between silent suffering and loud, resistant suffering and everyday, the people around you pick the former.

They are building a glass home around your pain, made of shame and guilt.

And each empty pause, each unsaid affirmation is an extra glass brick hovering above your head threatening you with a

slow,

painful

undoing.

You know that if you collapse the walls of this glass house, you will be the one moving from place to place reminding people who want to love you that glass shards are indentured in your foot soles. You will be the one reminding people you want to love that peace has always been scarce to you.

So your lips have learned to find comfort in their own suturing.

The preferably unheard

Days like this remind you that people like you survive the bittersweet – the place between almost and solid memories; the narrow road between greener pastures and barren land. So you teach yourself to see peace as malleable – to compromise again and again.

But sometimes you come across women that remind you that greener pastures are possible – women who make it difficult for you to remain silent. And so you love fully, you love wholly.

One night your mind betrays itself and you tell yourself that if you move, maybe these hands – these woman’s hands around your waist will burn from the spite of a holy ghost that neither of you believe in. You think that your fingers will singe her hair as they run along her scalp – the product of fucking that should have rendered both your bodies condemned and unholy after the very first thrust.

Or maybe it won’t feel like you are melting each other.

Maybe it won’t feel like you are producing smoldered black flesh with each wet finger that emerges from your entangled bodies.

The dispersed

In moments like this you think of queer black bodies scattered from fear of things that could be, the things that may not be. Their feet are looking for solid ground – battling against the remnants of a familial anxiety stuck to the soles of their feet.

*Based on a quote from Arundhati Roy’s 2004 Sydney Peace Prize Lecture:

“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” – Arundhati Roy

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