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Posts Tagged ‘love’

Already he’s lived a dozen years longer

than any other man in his bloodline.

One died of malaria. The rest of heart attacks.

Not one of them knew how to show love.

Sometimes a river changes its course—

perhaps slowly, eroding over centuries.

Perhaps all at once in a mighty flush,

as after a flood or an ice-floe.

I want to ask him how change happened in him—

how the impulse toward anger

rechanneled into tenderness,

into patience, into a willingness to be vulnerable.

I want to believe the same might happen for the world—

that by tending our hearts more carefully,

we might jump the banks of what seemed possible.

We are all of us here to be changed.

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At seven, I sat on a towel in front of the freezer

with the blow dryer, a sponge and a bucket

to earn money for a new plastic recorder.

Oh, how I wanted that reward.

So for hours, I switched the blow dryer

from one hand to the other, inwardly fussy,

wishing mom would just buy it for me.

How enormous the task seemed then.

When that brown recorder

finally came in a beige vinyl pouch,

I played “Hot Cross Buns” like I meant it.

I blew “Ode to Joy” in bright torture through the house,

and mangled “Mary Had a Little Lamb,”

but oh was I happy.

 

Now, scrubbing my parent’s refrigerator

I see how the tables have turned,

how the work becomes its own reward.

Decades of my parent’s love and sacrifice

bring me to this moment, when,

kneeling in front of the fridge,

sponge in hand, bucket beside me,

I feel like the luckiest woman alive,

Mom going through the cupboards beside me,

humming “Love is Blue,” perhaps a little out tune,

but oh, she is happy, so happy.

 

 

 

 

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We ride on the rusty old bikes

in the swelter of June,

legs pumping, waving at strangers,

the wind making a kite

of our laughter—

 

The eight-year-old version of me

would never believe

about how happy we are—

she’s still ratting her brother out

to the recess guard.

 

But here we are, like two

young kids, playing in summer—

sticky hands and suntanned arms,

the years an ocean,

our love a boat.

 

 

 

 

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though during midsummer in Finland, the sun will float

above the horizon line for weeks, and each light-soaked

day seems longest. That is what I wish for you—

day after day of unsetting love, whole months when you feel

the most beloved, the most seen, the most embraced

for exactly who you are. I want to send you

giant bouquets of days, all of them the loveliest,

all of them invitations to feel the most wholly yourself.

And on the shorter days when warmth feels distant,

those are the days I want to remind you that it’s normal

to feel unlovable. It’s normal to feel not enough.

It’s normal to wish (unreasonable though it is)

that those days would disappear and every day could be

the best day, the longest light, the day most soaked with love.

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Ravenous

Perhaps I was already full

when Danny offered me

a sweet potato pancake

for breakfast, but there

he was with a bowl

of homemade batter

and a cast iron frying pan

hot on the stove, and so

I did what I longed to do,

I said yes, yes to feeding

a hunger that has little

to do with food—

the hunger for someone else

to offer you something

they’ve made, the joy of sharing

a meal together, the honor

of being served. The fact

that the pancake was delicious—

both sweet and hot—

was a bonus. The salsa

he handed me fiery—

fantastic as long friendship,

fierce as gratitude, as love.

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The duty of a musician is for us to take anything that happens on stage and make it part of the music.

—Herbie Hancock, Master Class

 

 

No wrong notes in jazz, said the musician

and the poet insisted, no wrong words.

No wrong leaf, said the tree,

and field said, no wrong grass.

No wrong time, promised the friend

and the river said, no wrong rock.

And the heart said, no wrong love,

but the mind said, no, that’s wrong.

And the wrong love replanted itself like grass

and grew wild in all the wrong places

like a gorgeous weed, like a tap-rooted song

until the whole field was beautifully wrong, wrong.

 

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for Jim Tipton

 

 

I woke up needing proof of love,

proof that we feel it,

proof that we share it, proof

that it matters. And there,

old friend, on the shelf

I found you, surrounded

by dusty covers. I hugged

your pages to my chest.

Is that silly I somehow felt your book

hold me in response?

The way you would hold me—

the kind of embrace that has summer

inside it, and desert honey, and patchouli, and silk.

 

No one could write a love poem

like you—a poem that made

almost every human feel as if they, too,

had a heart full of orchards made for wandering in,

eyes wide as high mesas

where any lover would want to explore.

 

Today, I want to read everyone your book.

I want the dark bread of your words to find

every lonely woman, every lonely man,

retelling them they are beautiful. I want

the salt in your words to dissolve on my tongue,

to attune me to thirst. I want to remind

every person what we are capable of—

a love so astonishing it gathers in us

like ripe peaches, sweet,

so impossibly sweet, and yet real—

something we treasure so completely

that all we want to do is give it away.

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Sorrow is how we learn to love.

—Rita Mae Brown, Riding Shotgun

 

 

If sorrow is how we learn to love,

then let us learn.

Already enough sorrow’s been sown

for whole continents to erupt

into astonishing tenderness.

Let us learn. Let compassion grow rampant,

like sunflowers along the highway.

Let each act of kindness replant itself

into acres and acres of widespread devotion.

Let us choose love as if our lives depend on it.

The sorrow is great. Let us learn to love greater—

riotous love, expansive love,

love so rooted, so common

we almost forget

the world could look any other way.

 

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A big green meadow

opened in my heart

filled with dark purple larkspur

and fragrant sage—

and I stepped into it,

wondering how I had ever

stepped out of it—

come, meet me here,

here in the temple

of pulse and blue sky,

where everything

seems possible,

even love forever,

even love right now.

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!

 

I was five, perhaps,

when my mother and I

would sing duets

in the nursing home,

and though I can’t recall

what I ate for dinner

two nights ago,

I still recall the lyrics

to our song.

Funny what sticks

with us through the years—

like a goofy song

about zebras and penguins,

like the zig zag of the piping

on the dress I wore,

like the certainty

I feel even now

that I was totally loved.

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