Love is a security system.

When what is taught as kindness is represented as basic expectation
loving your neighbors is the first, most passive and inexpensive line of defense.
Love is a security system. You don’t need to be kind to be decent.
You only need to see beyond the present.
Your neighbor can’t be homeless.
You are not savior or saint for saying it.
Wealth is not a latch on your door, it’s a lock on your neighborhood.
Wealth surrounded by poverty is a nosebleed in the ocean while snorkeling.
You won’t be able to afford to shut your door tight enough
to stop us seeing you peeking through the blinds.
We know what’s running through your mind.
When your eyes look back over your shoulder.
The have-not world is shaped by the have’s paranoia.

Selfishly. Egotistically. Totalitarianistically.
Love is one hundred percent self-centered.
Make sure your neighbors don’t all hate your living guts.
You’re not Jesus for fighting homelessness.
You’re putting up magical fences in your yard.
You’re nailing down invisible doors.
You’ve drilled clear cold iron bars over all your windows
you’ll never need or see or grip longing to be free.
This amazing thing happens when people see more legal
than illegal means to obtain life’s necessities
that the richest of the poorest of us need
this crazy thing
we’d almost all rather live legally.

The Sapphire Dawn

Love. A river of milk. Framed by mountains of silk. 

A feathery cradle for filth. Love. An army of doves 

against an army of shotguns chasing mates in the sun. 

Mate for life shot from the sky by a man who cheats on his wife.

Have you ever seen a sapphire dawn? Me neither. But I have yawned

at wonders that would have ruined the minds of my ancestors. 

How the earth peeps through the windows of heaven.

Most of us never did anything important naked. 

Except for love.

Of Fireworks and Darkness

Where comets come from. Yes. You are brighter than stars
and have a magnificent tail. But we need to know where you dwell.
You should take someone there. Until then, you’re just an omen.
Of something. Beautiful. And terrible. All by your lonesome.
You’re a volatile couple. Ashley. Americanized Cinderella.
Do I know you hate that. Do we love you for it. Honey.
I need you. More than I ever let you know.
This has all been about you.
Give some back to us.
You’re American.
You’re British.
You’re Scottish.
And gypsy.
And arrogant.
You are America.
You are the cloth high up on the mast that catches the new wind first.
Before the sails that move the ship.

You are your own direction. Respect.
Head nod. Eye contact. Embrace. Stoic faced.
As streams rain down and embers soar sparks fly
celebrate no more than more light in the sky
sulfur in the air
no care
dressed eighteen hundreds
beaming red bursts with dazzling white gold finish
disappeared

smiling in the sporadic face
of fireworks and darkness.

That love…

Love sets your responsibilities. I find the phrase ‘falling in love’ intriguing. In a ‘saying the quiet part out loud’ way. When there’s nothing under you, we call it falling, but once you’re grounded, we just call it gravity. That constant nagging attraction our species has been trying to escape ever since we lost our first forest. We are the orphans of titans. Longing, and loss, are textures of our love. Strands within our braids. Should we leave one out when we weave our happiness, that stitch will fail. We fall in love, I know I did, and then we live with falling everyday, so that it becomes a peculiar particular gravity conjured up in the cosmic draw between all bodies. Stars are born out of the oscillating pressures and biochemical dynamics between us. Love has set schedules, and early morning alarms in neat fifteen minute increments, love forces you to obey at least one of them, love abolishes laurels, and hiding places, and high grounds. We climb in almost all external endeavors, be it power, be it corporate ladders, be it chakras within yourself, be it up on crosses or pulpits or podiums or high towers. But. But, we fall in love. I don’t know. I don’t know if I buy that. There’s got to be some middle-ground between always either climbing or falling, and if there is, it’s that incessant gravity. Climbing, falling, resolution. Sounds like a story. Perhaps that’s a more fitting phrase about the nature of love.

That love sets your story.

No One Hears It

My mom says I love you with her hands.
She spells it out for us. With her smile. With her eyes.
My mom doesn’t say anything unless she believes it is true.

Mom walks out of her room in pajamas at nine thirty on Sunday morning
we all know what it means.

Like a brim that wiggled off the hook but kept the bait.
We sleep in the results of the decisions she makes.
Answered prayers. Skipping church.

My mom has climbed into every trench with me chucked a grenade overhead
and charged the enemy inside me. There is no moment in existence more poignant
than when your parent looks at you honestly afraid and asks ‘what’s next?’

Life. Robin. The early bird who could not wait to get to us. Robin.
Egg cracked many months too early. You knew to hurry and get to her.
You carried her to us like a robin fills the little yellow triangles chirping in her nest.

My mom is her mom.
My mom had to also be my grandma.
Before she was ready. She was handed a burden
I will never in my lifetime be strong enough to bear.

Because my mom is here.
She fights for it.
She outpours it.

She says I love you with her hands. Some fingers bend and others straighten.
She spells it out. My mom shouts I love you across the room.

And no one hears it.
But her children.

Like you’re used to

Lost is still on the map.

Lost is not suddenly some other earth.

You are still found, when you are lost.

Just not without help like you’re used to.

Love is still on a map.

In the mountains of Virginia.

I believe.

Love is not suddenly some other earth.

Our feet are still on the ground even when

we are high on love.

Just not stuck without choice otherwise

like before.

Like we’re used to.

Want – A poem mistitled Love.

I want love the way a single breeze makes all of summer bearable. Dryly washes warm from minds. Heat off shoulders. Tickled sunlight into nibbling instead of gnawing. I want love. Outward. Give. The way I want to live. Kind of already caught up in it and maintaining a status quo before I even know what it really is I really have to live for. Three. Two. One way I love is by biting my tongue. Quetitude. Silace. I brood. Like I just bit a lemon. Clearly thinking all about how I feel about it. But it isn’t citrus, is it? Love. Four letters. Three forms. Two directions. And one great big excuse to crowd out all other excuses. You’re never let off over-easy again. Hard time. Still not hard. Like boiled eggs. Soft as hell. Still stiffer than calcium cradled saliva clear and sunlight yellow centered. Hard time. Beneath a salt shaker. For bites. Three’s the leftovers. Too left over. One rotten stomach. I want to love the way Pepto-Bismol coats the throat and pink lines the gut like in those commercials. I want to be sick. Just so I can take medicine for it.

Labeled love.

Happy birthday to an incredible woman, and the love of my life

Still laughs like a little girl

Where comets come from. Yes, you are brighter than any star in the sky
and you have a magnificent tail. But I’d love to know where you dwell.
Should you choose to take me there. Until then, I know you’re a sign.
Of something. Beautiful. And terrible. All by your lonesome.
You’re a volatile couple. Ashley. Americanized Cinderella.
Do I know how you hate that. But we love you for it. Honey.
I need you. More than I have ever let you know.
This has all been for you.
In hopes you’d give some back to us. You’re American.
You’re British. You’re Scottish. And gypsy. And arrogant.
You are America.
You are the cloth high up on the mast that catches new wind first.
Before the sails that push the ship even.

You move your own direction. Respect.
Head nod. Eye contact. Embrace. Stoic face.
As streams rain down and embers soar, sparks fly.
Celebrate. Nothing more. Than more light in the sky.
Sulfur smelling air. No care.
Dressed eighteen hundreds.
Beaming in red bursts with white gold finish.
Disappeared.

Smiling steady in sporadic flashes of darkness.

If you also own a shovel

If you fell out of it, it wasn’t love.

If you lost it, it wasn’t love.

If it waited for your sight, if you had to use your eyes, it wasn’t love, at least not at first.

There is no such thing as puppy love. There are no lovebirds.

Let’s say something poetically asinine, like love is a flower. I ask, what is a flower?

Do roses not have thorns? Do plants not feed on decay? Are there not many completely crucial elements required for flowers that you would not call beautiful, that you would not recognize, or think of as desirable?

Love. My mother has it. But not all mothers. Love. The same farm that produces milk also creates a lot of filth. And who wants that? Who wants to know the true, putrid cost of all the things we really like a lot? I can tell this with confidence, there aren’t many of us.

It is not love if you refuse to recognize the cost. I love my child, but he will not remain a child. He is not just his wonderfully sly side smile. There are smells that come out of him that would earn the respect of a skunk. I love him, as a child, all the while, I dream of the man he will be. A man who, by all means, may not want to be like me.

Love is different from comfort, or happiness, or joy, or appreciation. Love has a dishrag in its hand already, ready to clean up after all those things.

Do you understand what I’m trying to say? Is it clear just how rare true love really is?

It is hard work.

How many people have you met who say they love hard work?

That is how many people you have met who have loved.