Three Needs of the Avian Heart

October 21, 2016 § Leave a comment

Give me love like an anchor in the storm of my mind
a resting-place to return.
Give me love like a harbor,
the stone walls of a home,
solid and windowed and rooted below.

I fly, my loves; I soar.
This bird was not made for a gilded cage.

Give me love like the sky that can hold my whole wonder
an endless expanse to explore.
Give me love like the thermals
joy of flight, soaring height
discovering all we might learn.

I hunt, my friends; I strike.
This hawk takes no hood, just the glove.

Give me love like the pyre when my feathers have dulled
a passion intense and white-hot.
Give me love like a crucible
heat under pressure
to ignite, to renew, to transform.

I burn, my beloveds; I ache.
This phoenix requires the sun and the flame.

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Warning Label

November 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Written in November 2007.

I am a

pansexual
polyamorous
genderfluid
species-shifting
polytheistic
switch

and what
does all this
make me?

greedy? says a t-shirt and
an icon or three and
(with less humor, more scorn)
the extremes of either spectrum

indecisive? unable to commit,
choose a this-or-that –
make up my mind, pick a side
define the edges of a solid box
(why must I?
does anyone fit so neat and snug
into such things, with no edges hanging out,
no squeezing into discomfort?)

or maybe
it’s just that
I don’t believe in absolutes

and maybe
it’s just that
I think nothing and no one
stays the same

That we extend beyond the boundaries of skin
and there is more to me than what you see
or even what I show

and there is maybe more to You
than you have ever dared to seek.

I escape definition
because I am a flickering, shapeshifting,
role-changing, look-from-every-angle,
turn-it-on-its-head
jackal-child
bathed in
phoenix-change.

That Strange Madness

November 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Written in November 2006

“I love you.”

Those three words terrify me. I use them only sparingly at first, with utmost care; once said several times, the phrase loses its potency and becomes a comfort, a soft whiff of warmth on the breeze of breath.

I love you.

Powerful words for a powerful state. I wouldn’t call it an emotion – it’s more of a deep psychological drive, too complex to be mere feeling. Some say it readily, caught in the rush of passion mingled with intimacy, that high of infatuation; I don’t trust an early “I love you”. It’s too quick. Too easy. Too little thought. You can’t know yet, I say, agonized sometimes because I feel it too but I know it could just be hormones and the in-love high. Don’t say it. Not yet.

I love you.

I bite back the words for the first months of a relationship. I love you means commitment; I love you means there’s no turning back. Once I admit it, I can’t stop it. Once I say it, I’m open; I’m vulnerable; I’ve given over a part of myself. It’s dangerous. It’s difficult. It’s a rush.

But I have to make sure it’s not just infatuation. Have to make sure it’s going to last. Have to make sure I’m really willing to commit to it. So I wait, and probe at the feeling/state, and question it, and run it through a hundred analyzations, and wait some more – wait until I’m as certain as I can be. Until it batters against the cage of clenched teeth, tightens chest and throat and tongue with the strain of caging it, until I can’t restrain it any longer and it breaks free in a naked trembling revelation:

I love you.

That’s the process I go through with a romantic relationship, anyway. The courting, the circling, drawing near and shying away until I’m certain of safety.

There are other types of relationships too, though, and the only difference is the expression of love. I firmly maintain that there is only one kind of love, but that there are many different expressions of that love. To me, a romantic relationship is just a close friendship with sexual contact; there’s little emotional difference except in sociocultural conditioning and hormonal passion.

Maybe this way of looking at things is why it’s easy for me to be polyamorous. I love certain friends as deeply as any lover; I’d just never have sex with them. I’m as committed to them and have as intimate a connection with them as with a lover, but there’s little to no physical passion. And while physical passion is nice, and even desirable… it’s not high on my list of Necessary Things for a relationship.

So – I don’t make much of a distinction between close friend and lover. I do make some distinction, obviously; the phrase “I love you” comes into play more with lovers, and gets agonized over more – but that’s mostly because passion confuses the issue so much, and I have to make sure I’m not mistaking passion for complete, companionate love. I do not say “I love you” to friends, either – not in a serious, sincere manner, anyway – unless I am very close to them.

Here is the difference between “I care about you” and “I love you”. Caring is safer; loving is threatening. Love requires care, but care is not as complete as love. I can care about a person without committing to them; I can care deeply about a person without giving them access to the soft vulnerable parts beneath skin and shell and word-distance.

When I say I love you, I mean that I trust you. When I say I love you, I mean that I will stay as long as it is healthy, and likely a bit longer. When I say I love you, I mean that you may enter my dusty closets, touch my skeletons and scars, taste my shadows, hear my song and scream and taloned shriek.

I love you means I am laid bare and open and raw before you, a split carcass with the organs still beating within, and trust you not to consume me into nothing. Because to me, there is no love without trust; no relationship without closeness; no closeness without vulnerability.

I don’t stop loving. But I can lock it away, if you bite and cut and tear too hard. Love is honest, too; and love means I will hurt you if you need it. I love you does not make me a doormat; if this gift is abused, rejected, misused – it can be boxed up again, hidden in the wound you left and sealed within the scab. If you strike even the softest place enough times, it will callous and toughen and scar; there is no need for that. I have enough armor to protect the places between skin and soul.

This is what I love you means to me. It is as much a burden as it is a gift.

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