Half my love poems

Half of my love poems will not be written
because half my love cannot be expressed
because I'm not supposed to love half the people I can.
I stand alone in this. I am a candle
burning at both ends
but light bends around one side -
it does not know how to go straight.
It only knows how to burn. And it was a tough lesson to learn
but I know how to hide half my light.
I decide what people see in me and so far,
it's the fire that burns straight.
But it's love, not hate that I hide.

Half my love poems will not be heard
because I break rules half the time -
half my love is a crime.
Half my love poems will not be published
because in public
half my love can be punished, like I need to be
taught a lesson, to lesson my love,
to hide my heart, to silence my spirit.
Half my love poems will not be written
because half the times I'm smitten
by grace, by beauty, by poise -
all good qualities, but not always found in boys
so half the times, I hide my love.

But I am a poet; when I feel, I really feel,
and half the times I don't know how to deal with it.
I am a poet; when I fall, I really fall,
not with half my heart, with all of it.
I am a poet and I have my pride,
even when my nerves are fried and my knees are weak
and my head is spinning,
it's a never-ending game of hide-and-seek that I know I'm not winning
and I'm made to feel my love is sinning
so I wait to heal but the weight is filling me up -
up, up, up, up I go, I know love feels like heaven,
and a heart is less than three (<3) but this is less than 377.

I don't ask for much, but only half my love is cheap,
I trade the other half for too many cigarettes and too little sleep.
It feels like drowning but I can't go in too deep,
it feels like too many heartbeats for one rib-cage,
it feels like too much love for one poem or one page
like being stuck in a world of too much hate and disgrace -
everyone's laughing and I need to keep a straight face -
like I'm down for the count after too many bouts -
like at the end of the day, only half my love counts.

We act like we can measure love.
We act like we can trade pleasure;
like we can buy it, like a box of Lego blocks,
like anything actually depends
on whether or not we fit together;
like human beings are a formula and aberrations can be tamed,
like this is an aberration and aberrations can be blamed
on anything except your ability to accept it.

Half my love makes me stop, brake twice as heart -
and this heart, double-size, can break twice as hard
and this feeling rises fast - more people - twice the starts
to my loves, twice the departures, twice the art
and only half the reach. Only some to hear it
because we're not used to so much love, we're scared to go near it.
It's a strange kind of love, not hate, but we fear it.
It's everywhere - as wide as wide goes, as deep as deep can be.
There's so much of it, but only half is what we can see.
Half my love poems will not be heard
until all love is treated equally.

Manasi Nene

Manasi Nene is the founder of the Pune Poetry Slam, a collective of artists, poets and organizers holding performance poetry events in Pune. She loves the crossroads of art, activism and the DIY ethic, and hopes to become a writer, journalist and/or professional rollercoaster tester.