Monday, November 3, 2014

All About the Love

If I really think about it, I have been writing love poems for the last fifteen years, but they all belong to my son, who has been the brightest experience of my life. But for the last twelve years I have pretended I don’t write love poems. I don't read love poems— I shun them. Heartbreak, Hollywood, and being forced to endure hundreds of horrendous love poems could do that to a person, right?

But about six months ago, I broke my boycott and started writing a series of love poems. —See prior blog entry for a bit more info on that...

This poem is the first in that series and it's for Aiko Yamashiro, who is one of the best and most generous people I have ever known. Aiko has reminded me that letting people into your heart is as joyous as it is terrifying— that love is supposed to be difficult and beautiful and fierce— that love is an act of faith leaping into the unexplainable space between— that in this day of cynicism and sound bytes, love is an act of revolution. 

Love One
for Aiko

Seven years four months and fifteen days ago 
we read love as a hopeless practice.
We defined affection
as horizontal alignment when we slept 
and memories of good sex. 
In our arms we cradled fear 
as a twin to love
and confused them with towers.

Today love wrings us dry. We
blink too often, but finally sit, a table between us.
Between four hands rests courage 
on a platter, an offering we cannot pass off
as jackass punking or chalk down to artless youth. 

Five years ago
we called love stupid.
We thought scaling the ragged peaks of mountains
in a hail storm
the smarter choice
as if thinner air and falling skies might 
make our grief weightless, but without gravity
our hearts became spherical as satellites,
peripheral to our bodies.
Inside us we shrank our wishbones to nothing,
jumped on heady winds and forgot
about landing. 

Three years ago
love was still stupid
still commitments to badlands, 
foolish dives into mirages  
or battles against uninhabitable masses.

Two years ago love
was a rose by any other name
and red for the first time.

almost happened
between our four fists 
on a platter when we stretched our heart globes
to elliptical shadows
--risked holding hands
with the wounded
and called them namesakes. 
Yes, we are large enough
for this table sitting among white beards 
who confuse faith with invasion
and sanctuary with anxious greed.

we put naive on a table
on a platter
between hands
placed closer to hope
than to fear.
We promised to be naive
to be sweet 
so we might hope
we could be better
we could do better
than we have done.

Today love wrings us dry
after almost drowning. 
In a mouth of water we drink salt
and dare to imagine the brackish 
without suffocation and homelands
without fear. 

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