This poem is a shit sandwich
Love is not a finite resource;
No it isn't a resource at all.
It isn't some oil for combustion,
It's not a waterfall.
Love is a feeling
A chemical released
A guttural pull that steers you;
Love is when you say your peace.
Finding it cannot be done through excavating mines.
Love is of a splendid truth that's only at the time.
Sublime when it happens.
So here do I request,
put to rest the notion that you can consume this;
Go forth with the attitude that this holy bliss is but a gift laid ore you by the angels very hands.
It's the shard of heaven that glimmers and brightens every man.
Attune to know the difference between manipulative lust.
Love is in your heart;
Love we can trust.
My love for you spreads through me like disease.
It's the chill spreading through my veins like ice.
It's the water that fills my lungs as I drown.
It's the weight crushing my chest as I fall asleep.
My love for you rivals that of sun and the stars.
It's the raging inferno that numbs my nerves.
It's the air I breathe and can't let go of as I suffocate.
It's the nothingness under me as I fall harder and harder to the earth.
My love for you is a pain I welcome wholeheartedly.
Because I love you and I can't stop.
Whoever. Whatever. Whenever.
I see you.
I feel you.
I love you.
Like electricity, sparks envelop
and run deep through my veins,
I know exactly what comes next.
I see it.
I feel it.
I am shown your purest form.
A special place is created;
You are a supernova.
Exploding deep within my soul.
I see you.
I feel you.
You’ve imprinted in my heart.
You could a stranger.
You could be a pet.
Whoever. Whatever. Whenever.
My love is not biased.
I simply see everything
In a vastly different way.
My love is a necessity.
I do not exist without them.
I share a love for everybody.
My love for you is unique.
But an equal part no doubt -
My love is not a finite resource.
I act as your translator.
I hear your deep desires.
I want to fulfil your needs.
I see you.
I feel you.
My love for you is forever.
FREE LOVE Dispensary
Ali stood in line at the Federal Resource for Emotional Enrichment dispensary to receive her weekly supplement of Low-dose Oxytocin Vital Enhancement. Her feet were tired after a day's work, but there was nowhere to sit. She could feel every crack in the pavement through the thin soles of her shoes. There were five people in front of her, at least a hundred behind her. She glanced over at the much shorter Pay-for-LOVE line wistfully. Maybe one day, she could afford to buy her LOVE, and not rely on government hand-outs.
Out of boredom, Ali read the faded, peeling signs she'd read thousands of times before. "A little LOVE goes a long way!" "A heart a day keeps the blues away!" "LOVE, scientifically proven to reduce loneliness, depression, and anxiety." "LOVE is for everyone!" "LOVE = Happiness = Goodness." She spared a thought for all the people who lived before LOVE. Would she have survived back then?
Her phone vibrated, it was Gary. She hoped she had enough time to wrap up the conversation before she got to the front of the line. It didn't occur to her to decline and call him back. He wouldn't be mad, just disappointed, and Ali knew from experience that life was easier when Gary wasn't disappointed.
"Hi Gary," Ali tried to sound bright and happy, as if she hadn't just worked a 10-hour shift on her feet.
"Hey babe, just checking in on you, are you on your way home?" Gary sounded relaxed, and Ali felt herself relax too.
"Yeah, just standing in line at the FREE LOVE dispensary," Ali said.
"Thanks sweetheart, it means so much that you do that for us."
"Of course," Ali said. She was well past feeling any resentment that Gary never stood in line for their LOVE. After all, like he said, it would be such an inconvenience for him to leave their apartment where he worked from home just to stand in line. So much easier for her to just pick it up on her way home.
"Can you swing by the store on the way home? I'm craving your world-famous stroganoff. Pwetty pwease with a cherry on top?" Gary pulled out his baby voice.
Ali hated the baby voice. It made her feel icky, somehow infantilized and like a dowdy old nurse at the same time. She forced a smile into her voice.
"Sure Gary, I'd be happy to."
"Thanks honey, love ya."
"Love you too Gary, I gotta go, I'm almost at the front of the line." Just two people in front of her now.
"Ugh, why are you always in such a rush to get me off the phone? Are you there with someone else?" As quick as a switch, Gary's voice turned from sweet to accusatory.
Ali's heart pounded in her chest, and she felt her hands go warm and clammy. She froze, unsure what to say.
"I'm sorry babe, that sounded really jealous, didn't it? I didn't mean it, I trust you 100%. I'll see you soon." And just like that, Gary's voice was sweet again, almost apologetic.
"Ok, bye." Ali managed and hung up.
She slid her phone away, just one more person before her. She started going over the shopping list for the stroganoff in her mind, calculating how much it would be. Could she also afford the bottle of wine that Gary said "completed the meal?" While they split the cost of rent equally, she often paid for all their food. Asking him to chip in was more trouble than it was worth. She calculated that if she put off getting new shoes she could afford the wine.
As if on cue, her right shoe clapped as she stepped forward. The sole was separated from the rest of the shoe and had been re-glued multiple times. Another gluing should hold a couple more weeks, and then she'd get new shoes for sure. It would be worth it to make Gary happy.
Without saying anything, the clerk held out a scanner, and Ali placed her ID card under it. The clerk read the scanner and portioned out fourteen heart-shaped pills into a small plastic bag, placing it on the counter instead of handing it directly to Ali.
Ali took the little bag gratefully, and said "Thanks." More out of habit than with any expectation that the clerk would respond.
The clerk simply raised one eyebrow slightly and tilted his head, as if to say, "Move on."
Ali turned, bag in hand. The clerk, through a loudspeaker, said in a gentle, charming voice, completely at odds with his expressionless face, "We are out of FREE LOVE for the day. Come back tomorrow, visit one of our other locations, or move over to the Pay-for-LOVE line." And with no ceremony, pulled down the cover on his side of the counter.
The hundred people behind her in line let out quiet groans, many mumbling to themselves. Some moved off, more moved into the Pay-for-LOVE line. The woman directly behind Ali let out a strangled sob.
"Are you ok?" Ali wasn't used to engaging with strangers, but something about this woman pulled at her heart and it was unusual for people to display sadness in public. The woman reminded her of her mom, in her forties, brown hair peppered with gray. Laugh lines and worry lines on a kind face.
"My children," the stranger whispered. "They've never been sad in their lives."
"Can you take them to the church?" It was well known that the church gave LOVE to anyone who could sit through their sermon. It was handed out right after the communion, and Ali had many memories of sitting on the pews, warm between her parents, as they waited for their portion of LOVE. It was where she'd developed the ability to think through problems in her mind, to tune out and turn inwards, relying on her own imagination, feeding her dreams while appearing outwardly attentive.
The woman's eyes, holding back tears, turned hard and stubborn. "No." But then her eyes dimmed to despair. "I suppose we will have to."
Ali understood. Her parents had encouraged her to think for herself, and even though the church told them how to think, how to live, they knew not to take the lessons to heart. At church it was Mom and Aunt Jo. Only at home could it be Mom and Mama. Ali had not stepped foot in the church since her parents had passed.
The woman pulled a locket from her shirt and opened it, drawing strength from what she saw inside. At a glance, Ali could see four faces, two women on one side, and on the other, two children. Ali's parents had worried constantly about her getting enough LOVE growing up. Looked for any sign of sadness, depression, anxiety. Ali remembered pretending to be happy so her parents wouldn't give up their own LOVE for her.
Without thinking, Ali opened the bag still in her hand and carefully drew out four hearts. "Here."
The woman looked up, shocked, and gently took the hearts from Ali's hand. "Thank you," she whispered."
"You're welcome." Ali pocketed her bag and walked away quickly, already regretting her moment of kindness. What would Gary say?
Her shoe clapped as she walked, mocking applause for her grand gesture. She could go on half rations for a week, she'd done it before when Gary needed an extra dose. It would be fine.
She tuned out the sound from her broken shoe and focused on her grocery list. Ali rounded the corner and collided with someone, causing them to drop a sign. Feeling out of sorts already, Ali took a moment to gather herself by picking up the sign. It read, REAL LOVE IS INFINITE. Oh no, she thought, an Endless Love Freak. The ELF, as they called themselves was gathering their composure also, looking a little rattled from the collision.
"Sorry I bumped into you," Ali said, holding out the sign and hoping she could get out of this encounter quickly. Gary didn't like to wait too long for dinner.
"That's ok, thanks," the ELF took the sign and smiled warmly at Ali. "Hey, are you ok?"
Ali's face must have given something away, "I mean, no, but what can you do?" She was surprised to have given such an honest answer. It was out of character for her to burden anyone with her real feelings, let alone a stranger. People with too many negative emotions were considered LOVE-less. Obviously, they couldn't afford enough of the heart to be happy.
The ELF's smile turned slightly sad, not with pity, but with empathy. "It's ok not to be ok, I'd be happy to listen if you ever need a friendly ear. My name is Robin."
"Thanks, Robin, I'm Ali." It was the kindest offer Ali had received in a long time. A very long time. Such a small thing, but it threatened her protective shell. She felt seen and vulnerable at the same time. To distract herself from the uncomfortable feeling, she focused on Robin's face, trying to come up with a polite conversation ender.
Robin's face was a series of contradictions. An expression of curiosity and child-like wonder, but also wisdom and intelligence that spoke of experience and education. The more Ali looked, the more she was drawn into Robin's eyes, a deep smokey grey. She pulled her gaze away, and the loss of connection was a physical pain. Ali wanted to pull out her bag of LOVE pills and take one right there. Loneliness and longing carved out a familiar hole in her heart. Depression and anxiety weren't far behind. Guilt and apathy nibbled around the edges. Bitterness was an easier emotion to handle.
"How can you possibly believe there's infinite love?" Ali snapped.
"I could give you a thousand reasons, argue with you until the end of time. I could tell you about how people loved before we created the LOVE pill, how they felt a whole range of emotions, but I won't. Nothing I say could change what's in your heart. All I can say is I wish you health, the full spectrum of human emotions, I hope that you find purpose and recognize your own worth. I love you." Robin spoke plainly, but from the heart.
It made Ali angry. "How could you possibly love me? You don't even know me!" But she wasn't angry with Robin, she felt betrayed. How was it possible that she felt more love from this stranger than she'd felt since her parents had left her. Certainly more love than she'd ever felt from Gary.
"I have to go." She felt a wave of emotions threatening to overtake her.
"Ok," Robin said simply, holding out a business card.
Ali took it out of habit and so she wouldn't have to speak again and hurried off. The claps from her unglued sole now sounding like accusatory slaps.
An hour later, finally home, Ali dropped the grocery bags on the floor as gently as she could. She was physically and emotionally drained. She continued moving on muscle memory and sheer stubbornness. She put away the groceries, put water on to boil then retrieved the glue and fixed her shoe, setting it to cure by the front door.
"You're finally home, what took so long?" Gary asked.
"I ran into an ELF on the street," Ali started.
"You ok babe?"
"I'm fine," Ali said out of habit. She felt the slightest stir of affection at Gary's concern.
"You gotta watch out for those nutcases."
"Mm hmm." Ali tuned Gary out as he started on a rant about ELFs and how LOVE was a resource and as such, there was a finite supply. Supply and demand, LOVE was for the deserving, the elite deserved more LOVE, hadn't they earned it? She'd heard this rant so many times, she knew where to nod and make affirmative noises.
He followed her around the kitchen as she cooked her Mama's stroganoff. The familiar motions brought comfort and nostalgia.
They had their own rhythm, Ali thought, as they moved around each other in the small kitchen, Gary stood by the counter as Ali pulled things from the fridge, then by the fridge as she chopped the mushrooms and sliced the beef and cooked it on the stovetop, added the cream and salt and pepper. Back to the counter when she drained the pasta in the sink. A dance, practical, if not romantic. Maybe this is as good as it gets.
"What's that babe?" Gary paused mid-rant.
To Ali's chagrin, she realized she'd said that last part out loud. "Nothing Gary, I'm not sure what I was saying. Just talking to myself."
"Aw babe, it's a good thing you're so cute. I love you, stupid bunny." Gary said with affection, which made it worse in Ali's opinion. If he was nasty, she could fight back. Instead she just felt ever smaller.
She wanted a LOVE pill so bad, she could almost imagine the wave of emotions the pill brought, chasing away the dark shadows, replacing despair with acceptance, the feeling of a hug, that everything would be ok, that feeling of belonging. Her hands shook a bit as she plated their meal and brought it to the table.
"Did you get the wine?" Gary asked, a little too sweetly.
"I did, I know how much you like it." Ali said.
"Don't you mean how much we both like it sweetheart? You're the best. Do you want me to give you some money for all the food?" Gary asked as he opened the bottle and poured them both a glass.
"No, it's fine, I'm good on funds," Ali said, putting thoughts of new shoes out of her mind.
"I'm so proud of you babe, you were such a financial mess when we first met, honestly, you had no sense. Ha ha." Gary always thought his puns were hilarious. Ali shrunk even smaller.
The thought reminded Gary of the LOVE pills. "Oh babe, why don't you give me the hearts so I can keep them safe for both of us." Gary liked to pretend he was the great protector.
"I'll give you yours, but I'd like to hold on to my own this time, Gary." Ali had forgotten until now that she was short the four hearts she'd given to the woman with children. She didn't want to explain her actions to him. Unfortunately for her, Gary was always so good at picking up when she was trying to hide something.
"Give me the hearts sweetie. Now." Gary didn't raise his voice, but the tone made Ali shiver. Reluctantly, she handed over the bag.
It didn't take long for Gary to count, only eleven hearts to last the both of them a whole week, seven days. And the temper he always kept so carefully under wraps started bubbling up. Usually, a heart a day kept Gary's anger away. And when that wasn't enough, Ali always gave him hers, it was easier for her to pretend to be happy than to deal with Gary angry.
"Where are the rest, Ali." Gary's voice was cold ice, the question more of a statement of disappointment. Anger was not far behind.
Ali was so tired, just so tired. She had nothing left for pretending. "I gave them to an older women with children. She needed them more than I do. You can have your full seven, I'll just take the three for the week."
"That's not for you to decide. I can't believe how dumb you are. What if I need more this week? Did you think about that? You're so selfish, so ungrateful, you disgust me. How dare you give away your hearts to some whore on the street? I can't believe I'm with such a lazy, stupid slut."
Ali was speechless, Gary had never been so openly insulting before. He'd hinted, he'd insinuated, but always with a just kidding attitude so she never felt she could take offense. It was almost a relief to hear him say out loud all the things she'd heard under the surface for years. Her silence and lack of response unnerved him.
Gary smiled, "Oh babe, you know I'm just kidding, we'll have to make some sacrifices, but we'll make it work. What are we going to do about that bleeding heart of yours? You're so lucky you have me, no one else could ever love you."
"Robin." Ali whispered. Robin's simple statement of love earlier that day ran through her mind, and with it a storm of emotions.
"Who the hell is Robin?" Gary shouted. "Is she your secret lover? I knew you'd turn out perverted, just like those evil demons who raised you."
Gary's insult to her mothers broke through the storm of emotions like a bolt of lightning, throwing everything briefly, starkly into focus.
"Robin, who I think is non-binary by the way, is the ELF I met on the street today, and I felt more real and honest love from them in five minutes than I have from you in the last five years. I may not deserve your love, but I certainly don't deserve your hate. I'm done."
"I'm done with you first! Get out!"
"This is half my apartment."
"Not according to the lease." Gary's smirk was slimy, and Ali wondered that she'd ever felt a drop of love or affection for such a creep.
He was right, when they'd signed the lease, he'd made up some story about it being better for Ali if only his name was on the lease. Ali realized she didn't care. She didn't care about any of it. There was nothing in this apartment that was worth her spending another second in this lie.
With nothing but her phone and wallet, she walked over to the door, and put on her shoes, hopefully the glue was dry enough by now.
Gary realized she was actually leaving, maybe he'd thought she would try to apologize and smooth things over as she'd done so many times before. "If you walk out that door, don't bother coming back until you're ready to apologize."
Ali said nothing. She thought about all the ways she'd minimized herself to show Gary love. She thought about all the times she'd shorted herself on LOVE, on love, for him. Maybe it wasn't his fault, maybe he was just a product of these times. It didn't really matter, like Robin said, you can't change someone else's mind. She would make the choice to love herself.
"You'll never make it on your own, good luck getting enough hearts to survive out there."Gary sounded desperate.
Ali stepped through the door without looking back, and closed the door behind her. She felt sad, and let herself feel it. She felt pity for Gary, and let herself feel that. She felt fear, but also exhilaration. A feeling of freedom she'd never imagined.
As she walked away, she heard Gary slam the door open. "You worthless bitch!" he screamed. "You're going to die alone and miserable, you freak!"
Something else was simmering up, embarrassment? No, anger. Anger made her feel hot, made her blood rush. She felt powerful.
Freak. Ali pulled Robin's business card from her pocket. Endless Love Freak, Robin Hart (they/them), with a number underneath. And on the back, Love is infinite. Are you ready?
"Yes." Ali said to herself, and called Robin's number.
Love is for the living
She drove a purple '98 Pontiac Sunfire, and the other day, I saw a video that was spoofing those. It made me laugh out loud, and I tried to send it to her, but then I was reminded that she's gone.
She isn't dead, but she may as well be.
I could use the internet as my Ouija board, but I've seen those movies.
If I open that closed door, devils will certainly step in.
I'm haunted enough.
I content myself with chuckling about her old car. Meanwhile in my mirrors, ghosts of the past appear closer than they are.
They talk about Making
Love is not a finite resource
it makes itself
squelch as we might
or see here,
to a point .
tied in a knot
as much as living
is holding on
the involuntary scales
of existential crises
Love cries unabashedly
as the innocent babe
that may be swaddled
or cuddled or throttled
by the mechanic cleaning
of the Nanny
in the body
who chides and tickles
on a whim
how or why or wherefore
to salt and pepper
what has already begun
and now runs
to unknown curtains
a shadow stain
resistant to mopping
or other hand holding
Love is not a finite resource
"Love is not a finite resource" challenge @AJAY9979
Love is not finite
I do not need to dole it out
Like a ration in limited supply
It does not need to be shared
I do not need to be fought over
More and more can I produce from my heart
But as I'm tugged on like a rope- back and forth, told these same lies over and over
Why would I want to produce more- ever
But I do,
For their sake
Their smile, my gifts
Maybe true love requires a ration, a limited supply
And maybe I was born with none at all
When my soul came down from heaven and placed in my body, had I not been distributed any to share?
I share my ears, my eyes, my voice, my mind
So I produce “love”
For the others as well (more and more line up. how many genuine?)
Love, here, can be ears, eyes, voice, mind
Combine and combine it looks like the sickly pink substance many ooze out (in hallways, under night skys, over a candle lit dinner)
To me, if it quacks like a duck it is a duck
So I use that instead
Maybe love really was finite, all wasted on those feelings I wanted to leave unhurt
Maybe love really was finite, but at least this is close enough
Gender Reveal Party
a man and a woman had a gender reveal party
the one in California
that burned down thousands
of miles of forest trees and natural beauty
and when their child
is born, they can say to him or her:
we did this all for you
this is your inheritance, your legacy
a world on fire
and guess what?
it only gets worse
famine, poverty, war
impossible beauty standards
(for girls of course)
collect your free card
and when you need it,
you can wave it
at God, and he'll laugh loudly
because it's not free
nothing is, except love
and that's hard to achieve
the low expectations
who made headlines
for their benefit only
If I could shape it,
I would make it of clay,
Malleable and moldable in my hands.
If I could rename it,
It would be different for every day,
Not just of the week, but til the end of time.
I wish I could remake it,
I wish I had claimed it,
While I had the chance.
You can never know about love,
Whether it is real or fleeting.
You can always second-guess,
And end up hugging empty air.
Love doesn't grow on trees,
Bet you never heard that one before.
It is sewn with care and devotion,
A tapestry woven through willing hearts.
Love does due diligence,
Love has no closing costs,
Love is not an as-is sale,
Love has no fine print.
Love is ever-evolving,
Love changes with the seasons of the heart.
Love is reborn with the sunrise,
It is born again with the emergence of the moon.
A snuggle by a roaring fire,
A giant bear hug,
An unexpected gift,
A compliment on the escalator.
Love is what you make it,
Love, the most underrated resource on Earth.
2/28/24 (A leap year)