The Legalization of Love


Measure two humans marinated in childhood trauma discourse. Add in a heaping scoop of resistance, fear, curiosity, desire, and a pinch of ready.

Build a bar or cafe or library or meeting place where people can walk through doorways freely. With windows. Several bathrooms. Strong, but not aggressive, lighting. Paper tablecloths.

Stop blinking. Get used to the way eyes begin to scream, begging for a nap. But you can’t because suddenly there is a human who makes you feel color blind. Because everything you look at is suddenly the color of them.

Introduce your fingers to theirs. Let them fumble against each other. Call this holding hands. Call this an opportunity to read the morse code of their calluses.

Swap stories, spit, and recipes.

Fill each other’s mailboxes with letters because you each like to watch your words in flight.

Leave your toothbrush at their house. A week later, carve a poem into their pillow and let it submerge into their knots.

Learn how to kiss for the first time even though you’ve been kissing for decades. Even though some even called you good at it.

Run away. Because that’s what you do. That is how you communicate that you are scared. Because you are feeling something.

Allow yourself to be found.

Kiss some more; learn how many freckles sit on their shoulders. Tell them the weightiest secret you’ve ever kept and feel the mass of your body shift.

Get used to what it feels like to be heard. To be understood. To be loved. Without cracks or disclaimers.

Read a newspaper; learn that even though you’ve been human all this time–just like everyone else–suddenly the law opened up to include you. And this person whose hand you hold, whose mouth you’ve memorized but still learn from, whose brain cells are like fireworks you are in awe of, this person, your person, is the one you stand beside each day. And even with the government involved, you still tempt each other’s wild. But now you call them spouse. And you still call them friend. Partner. Pen Pal. Love.

one day.

One day, you will rise out from the ghosts of your bones and declare your entire body a forcefield of beauty.

One day, doors will no longer be a vehicle for slamming or keeping others out, but the shape of a wooden welcome banner.

One day, you will walk outside and forget about the trauma of yesterday; instead, you will gasp at all the oxygen and color and music and calories awaiting to be consumed.

One day, you will not be afraid to keep going.

One day, you will finish all the books you had difficulty starting and then, write a poem for all the days that led you here.

One day, you will try out religion again.

One day, you will ask yourself out on a date and actually enjoy…no, savor… the company of your skin.

One day, you will eat without guilt, without mathematics, without purge.

One day, you will leave your declared sexuality behind and experiment with the language of all-of-the-above.

One day, you will dance in the middle of an ocean and flap your arms against the salt that has waited for your swallow.

One day, you will finally go to all the lands you read about in the Travel section of The New York Times.

One day, you will finish your novel.

One day, you will forgive yourself.

One day, you will learn how to trust men again.

One day, you will remove part of your body in order to feel whole.

One day, you will get married and it will not be synonymous with any other contract or relationship. It will be gorgeously queer.

One day, you will sleep through the night.

One day, you will recognize your body.

One day. One day. More.

how to be (or not to be) an adult

Every Tuesday and Thursday, I purchase a small hot chocolate in the Bronx for one dollar from a kind man who appears like a giant, elevated in his metal food truck. Our first conversation sounded like this:

“May I have a hot chocolate please?”
“You want sugar?”
“Oh, no thanks. Do you have soy milk?”
“Skim milk?”
“Just milk.”
“Ok…I’ll have that. Thanks.”

When he handed me the small paper cup, wrapped up in napkins, he said, “Soy milk? In the Bronx?” And he laughed.

Two months later, and we have developed sweet banter like this:

“No milk today, please.”
“Straight up?”
“Off the rocks?”
“You got it.”

Yesterday, I ordered my one dollar hot chocolate on a particularly cold day. I once again asked for no milk. “I need it extra hot,” I said. “It’s so cold out today.”

“You teach kids around here?” he asked.
“Yes, but they’re adults.”
“You’re only an adult if you’re married,” he said. “And have kids.”
I laughed. “Oh, then I’m nowhere near being an adult. I may never be one.”

As I walked away, wrapping my fingers, reddened from the cold, around the paper cup, I thought about this definition.

Adult = Married + Children

As I get older, I notice my womb calling out to me.
You gonna fill this? it whispers.

I’ve never had any pressure from my parents to marry, maybe because I’m a homo.
Maybe because I’ve never really gone the traditional route.
I don’t think anyone expects me to have children.

So, there’s ticking in my womb and suddenly New York says I can legally get married. I will probably forego the marriage part, but maybe one day I’ll adopt a baby or some sperm.

Can I still be considered an adult if I only partake in one of the requirements? And if I do neither, what am I?

As a kid, I thought adults were people who paid bills.
I do this.

The thing is, there is no one definition.
Just like: there is no one way to be a woman or a man or a human.

I’ll keep drinking my hot chocolates, falling in love, playing with other people’s children and paying my bills. I’m not sure these encapsulate adulthood, but I know they are signs of just living.

a modification on ignorance

I almost got married…once.

Hid informal ring beside a home-made nest of found branches and twine. With an egg in the middle, symbolizing new life.

In an alley in a city somewhere closer to the west, I led a woman toward this ring where I disrobed my language and asked.

This was a time when less states were involved. This was a time when it was safe for queers to marry in Massachusetts. In Connecticut. In Vermont and New Hampshire. In Iowa. In the state in which I asked her, it would not have been recognized. But that did not stop our friends, two women, from exchanging vows. Still together. Still in love. And they even made a baby.

* * *

I almost got married…once. And now, as I reflect on this almost, stuck into a rising pile of almosts, I think about where this country is headed.

Now, we add Maine and Maryland.

Minds are cracking open and stretching into larger, wider shapes. Ignorance still wafts in the air, crossing borders and state lines, but I sense the aroma of forward-thinking ahead.

* * *

I almost got married…once. And now I wonder if it is possible for that to ever happen again (without the almost). I’ve never been a fan of rules or regulations. Ran away many times to prove that I could. I don’t need the permission to get married, but it sure would be nice to have the recognition/benefits.

Before gay marriage was legalized in Connecticut, my dad and I sat in a church listening to testimonies from queer mothers and daughters. Photographs lined the stage of queer families and they just looked like humans smiling because that is what they are. Because that is what WE are.

My dad has since volunteered to promote gay rights and he has always been by my side, fighting for what shouldn’t have to be fought for.

How odd to live in a world where we must publicly come out. An announcement of our orientation. Maybe we should force this on everyone. Because for some of us–for me–there is not just one coming out.

So, we hop onto stages. And we form marches. And we make t-shirts and buttons. And we vote. And we VOTE. And we VOTE.

And we come out come out come out because there is strength in numbers. Because there is strength. Because the fight doesn’t end just because an election is over. It continues.