Poem: The Unintelligibility of Love

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Photo: Raven Yamamoto

Poem: The Unintelligibility of Love

By Jolie Brownell

We can love without fully making sense to each other.

my body, an unfamiliar language,

the way i move does not speak to you,

a language not made for you, my body not made for you.

my existence not yours to make sense of.

not yours to interpret.

not yours to understand.

we fear that which we do not know.

yet, you may not know my name,

but you know my body.

the language of human.

what my body does, what my body does not do,

does not need to make sense to you,

to still be a body.

what my language says, what my language does not say,

does not need to make sense to you

to still be a language.

to equate ‘understanding before’ to respect,

to equate ‘familiarity with’ to dignity,

is to violate my body, 

is to misinterpret my language into the sound of your comfort.

i do not owe you an explanation for who I choose to be.

i do not owe you access to my language.

ask yourself what gives you the right to fully understand me?

what gives you the self-entitled power to own my body?

own rights to my language?

me not giving you rights to my body, 

is not my body harming you.

me not giving you translations to my language, 

is not my language insulting you.

it is the truth that the interconnectedness of our humanity,

the interconnectedness of our language,

still powerful without fully making sense to each other.

the details of my sways, my steps, whose hands i hold, 

whose body my body rubs,

irrelevant to you,

yet not unimportant.

the details of my words for joy, my phrases for love, how i call myself,

my language for tomorrow,

not the same as yours,

yet not unimportant.

there is love in difference,

there is difference in love.

there is love in irrelevancy,

there is irrelevancy in love.

to believe you can only love what fully makes sense to you,

to believe you can only respect what first makes sense to you,

is to believe yourself as undeserving of love.

do you fully make sense to yourself?

there is this unintelligibility about love,

the ‘what words just can’t quite fully describe,’

the ‘i don’t have the words to explain it, but you…’

there is this ‘i don’t know’ in love.

do not fear this ‘i don’t need to know’ in love.

-\jolie brownell

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