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.

purple moon

You walk outside in search of the perfect song. Today is the day you are going to kiss the person you’ve been saving up all your spit for. You turn left because right only takes you past the apartment with the cracked door and you are way too superstitious for that. You almost trip over a spiderweb that has been spray-painted blue; how could you have missed that?! There is a song in your head from that time this person touched your kneecap…just the cap…just the shell over all the good stuff. And you wanted to sing out loud when you could feel the lineage of their skin pressed against you, but you didn’t want to ruin the moment. Instead you sneezed, and bless you killed the mood. You know almost none of the lyrics to Happy Birthday because, as a kid, you were never invited to any parties, except the one you threw for yourself on the tip of turning nine and even you didn’t show up. You have to pause before you cross the street because the moon is a shade of purple the newspaper warned you about. How can you not notice that partially lobotomized tree standing eerily. It’s not that it appears dumb or drained; it’s just that its prefrontal lobe looks tampered with. It’s impossible not to think of this person whose tongue will be in your mouth, when you hear the buzz of the wind skating over your collarbone. Have you ever heard the story of the porcupines? Or are they antelopes? You turn around because you realize the song was hiding beneath your elastic the entire time. It is what was itching you. So you scratch it until there are flakes of your skin pushing out your nail bed. This is when you open your door, tired from walking but hungry for that kiss. You lay down on your bed, which used to belong to someone else, but now belongs to you. And the person you are going to give all your spit to.


how modern is this love?

Over 8 million humans live here in this land called new york city. It can be difficult to locate another who houses the same concerns as you. Or requires a similar amount of sleep as you do. One whose appetite is comparable to yours. One who votes in the same political party as you or understands the beauty of black ink pens over blue. One who has a similar work ethic. One who kisses as though your mouth unlocks theirs.

You ask around. In search of your other. Everyone keeps telling you to go online. They tell you to set aside some time to answer all of the questions, find a photograph worthy of getting someone’s attention.

Before you have a chance to type in the web address of this most popular dating service, you unplug your matchmaker.

You are a fan of typewriters and clock radios. Your pocket protrudes from your flip phone, which includes no internet or fancy ring tones. So you grab a piece of paper and favorite pen. You think about what you are looking for in a mate. Write down their coordinates. Various adjectives. Gender non-specific, though you prefer they are queer. Hope for a human who owns more books than technological toys. You ink out a list of feelings you might have around them: safeinspired, lusty, understood, cared for, satiated, full, understood, safe, understood, celebrated, challenged, safe. 

You write down some words more than once to remind you how important they are.

You roll this piece of paper up like a religious scroll. Place faded red rubber band from farmer’s market produce around it, to keep it from unraveling. You give these words time to surface.

Patience can be a difficult thing to channel when you are in search of love.

In the meantime, you stay off line. You enter rooms full of humans of varying appetites and politics. You travel. You exit your comfort zone of extreme shyness. You let go of the fear that you will never love again. You read. You listen to music. You make music. You write poems. You eat a lot. You cook. You learn new meals to eat and cook. You locate muses living in various parts of the country in which you live in. You take walks. You ride your bike. You travel over bridges on foot and bike wheel. You nap on benches. You strengthen your body through yoga and weight lifting. You locate the language of your body and give up various words like shame and gender conformity. You give yourself permission to live out loud even if that confuses others because sometimes inconsistent presentations cause others to feel uncomfortable. You masturbate until it feels good. You stop apologizing so much. You prepare yourself to learn the art and act of loving again.

Humans aren’t like parking spaces; we won’t run out. That mate written on that piece of paper is out there. You may have already met them. And after all that preparation, you will be ready this time.


what it feels like to think about wombs

How strong am I? Forget visible muscle definition or the amount of weight I can possibly bench press if I were to ever try.

What I mean is, can I juggle toddler, stroller, large bag full of necessities such as extra pair of pants, underwear, wipes, books, snacks, water…and can I hold onto all of this while reaching into back pocket to retrieve wallet where metro card lives in order to swipe us through. And can we make it through turnstile in time before it clicks closed.

I have met many women who feel the urge to produce. It’s more of a yearning. A need to push freshly squeezed baby out from between thighs after nine months of baking inside of body. A need to feel/see their genetics drip out from various movements or gestures. They want to experience the birthing process full-force. I have never been this person.

There have been times in my life I put myself at risk for procreating. But this is not about that. This is about feeling what it feels like to be a mother (or appear to be a parent/guardian) to the gentlest little boy I call nephew as we searched through an entire day together: one adventure at a time.

Here is something: as a childless human, I travel everyday and watch other people’s children on the subway on the streets in the grocery store in museums. I notice the variety of energy levels and communication skills. Some parents soothe the cries from high-pitched screams to laughter. Some look away and have lost the ability to remain calm. I try hard to notice, rather than judge. As a non-parent my voice/ my opinion is weightless.

So on this magical day of exploration with my nephew, I realized how hard a parent must work just to get on a subway or fill time while we wait to get into filled-to-capacity children’s museum.

I have always adored children; took care of other’s as a nanny for many years. I wonder –especially now as body tick tick ticks toward that time– why I still have no desire to birth.

As an aside, I fear my genetics.

Between you and me, I cannot afford my own care; how can I possibly afford another’s.

Does it depend on partners and love and if I met the right one would I want to make babies now now now?

Could it be that none of the partners I choose produce sperm and I’ve yet to make any of my own so so so….it’s going to be slightly more complicated than just waking up pregnant one day.


A woman…a mother…helps me up the two flights of stairs at Bergen Street with sleeping nephew in stroller and I do not ask, she offers. We wouldn’t want to wake him, she said.

I wonder all day if people think I am his mom and I like people thinking I am responsible enough or brilliant enough to produce this earth-warming boy.

I’ve thought about adoption. Maybe when I am ready if I’m ever ready. Because when my womb aches is when I’m with children who will make up songs with me for over an hour while we wait to get inside a museum. Or a boy I know who lives by the mountains in Boulder, Colorado who finds as much joy in farmer’s markets as I do. Or two great kids in Denver who devour books like cake.

My ears are clean, so when the ticking starts, I’ll hear it. And I’ve got health insurance in my future and soon I’ll have my own place and maybe maybe maybe sperm will just be a formality because maybe love (when it exists and when it’s prepared) can produce a life too.

an ode to the green-dressed woman…

…in red baseball hat which read: OBEY, who curves her body in a hip-hop way, curled lips into teeth, bent knees in the direction of the moon (which I had to imagine since we were underground).

I feel the need to admit that when you lifted your right leg in a dance move that can only be described as the concrete scrape, I saw your underwear. And I only committed to my stare for as long as I did because the color was nude or blanched peach like your skin and I suddenly felt closer to you than to myself.

Your fingernails match your dress and I wondered which area of your body gained the green first.

If I wasn’t so shy insecure withdrawn self-conscious, I’d whisper into your ear: jungle green, the shade of crayon you represent.

When the local 4 train arrived, I sat across from you. Tried to ignore the fullness of my bladder by studying the various shapes of moles and freckles on your calves.

Can I call your eyes slate? How about I compare their color to the time of night when black, grey and green compete with the stars.

Are you a dancer or do you just dance well?

Beneath your red cap, your brown hair is lopsided. Do you know how you turn beautiful into a language, rather than just a word?

What happened was I bent my neck down, wrote notes into my notebook for a length of time I lost track of, but when I looked up you were gone. Your red baseball cap was on your friend’s head. The other dancer. Lithe male with deeply padded lips. You got off at Grand Army Plaza or Eastern Parkway. You live somewhere near to me. More importantly, you live on this earth. I wanted to watch your exit. Would you twist and hop your way off this train like you did on the subway platform? Would you twirl, leap, pop your limbs through the double doors?

I missed your finale.

beethoven and beets

She comes at me with hands like a percussionist, creating a beat against my skin. Presses my hips away from each other to see how far they can spread. Her kisses are meals that bloat me. Afterwards, we lay in bed, our bodies blushing and sweaty like steamed beets. I make hot peppermint tea and we listen to Beethoven as the water’s temperature gets cool enough to swallow.

She cries against my shoulder and her whimpers are sweetly rhythmic like a ukelele. Tells me I must love her. Tells me bodies are meant to wander and crash like waves but eventually settle. Tells me we should move in together.

Beethoven smoothes my scars with his instrumental language. The tea coats my throat, soothing it into sleep. I kiss her goodnight, knowing love is not always strong enough to survive a shared mailbox and bank account.

When I awake in the night, my tongue slips out of my mouth, tasting the salt left on my face from her tears. She talks in her sleep; sometimes she laughs. Never lets go of me.

Beethoven still plays. He must be an insomniac. She is most beautiful at night when our bodies are nude, still minty, secretly dancing.

She whispers: I love you in her sleep…to me…or to Beethoven.

that time.

There was that first encounter with a honeysuckle. Beyond my backyard in small suburban New Jersey. My appetite was choosier then, yet when she told me it was edible, I let my tongue extend through my parted lips, and dig at its yellow powder. I really wanted it to taste like honey like sweetness like strawberry pie interrupted with brown sugar. Instead, it was more like a subtle whisper of nothingness. She smiled at me with painted mouth, dyed from the golden dust. I wanted to kiss her then because that is what friends do. They kiss each other. They compare hip size and knock all their teeth together to create a thunderstorm of bruising. The only thing I kissed that day was the flower.

There was that time a severed tree pressed its anger into me. Lunch was on its way toward completion on deserted patch of earth where water grew nearby. I tripped into its splintered curve and felt my blood awaken and pour out. There was that woman who rescued my fear of injury; she taught me about fascia. Held me as I limped. There is something about having skin tear that makes you want to marry another.

long-term relationships or dissecting my fear of monogamy

I have been inside quite a few relationships.

I’ve gathered up miles, kisses, spoke the word love more times than I can keep track of, and find myself at this certain age feeling the wrath of commitment.

Forget another.
Forget the idea of girlfriends, partners, wives, lovers.

I’m talking about myself here.

I have a difficult time committing to me.

And oddly enough, this constitutes as my longest relationship.

Granted, it’s kind of hard to walk away from me.
(And I’ve tried)

Over two years ago, I got involved with a gender-unconfirmed lover with wide angled bones, graffiti’d thighs, and an unyielding adventurous spirit that never sleeps.

This lover has breath of apple cores.

This lover has many other lovers.
(I guess we are polyamorous.)

This lover speaks more languages than I can keep track of and I tend to feel inferior to this lover’s infinite knowledge of art, music and history.

This lover is moody, though I am too.

And those times when I feel overwhelmed and want to run from all of this,
this lover unpeels the sky and throws the moon up there, extra bright, for me to notice.

Hard to compete with that.

This lover……this…..this lover’s name is New York City.
Nicknames include: Brooklyn, NYC, the apple, my city, my home, the grit of the east.

We’ve gotten quite close recently, but suddenly I find myself looking for more of a commitment.

This is where it gets complicated because I don’t need to be exclusive with New York…..I just need to know that I am wanted.

So, I am pressing this into the earth, as loud as I can get…..
competing with the sounds of police and ambulance sirens
and ladies with curlers caught inside their hair screaming at their own lovers
and subways screeching against the tracks from down below
and car traffic with disgruntled 9 to 5’ers
and the birds outside my windows
and pigeons scraping their beaks against chicken bones left on sidewalks

as I beg this city
with infinite possibilities
this lover
this partner of mine
to ask me in the thickest accent I have memorized and cannot do without
to stay
persist just awhile longer.

In this land of rainbow’d buildings and elevated parks and benches everywhere and more food than one could possibly consume in a lifetime, I find myself thinking of past lovers:
called Denver
called Boulder
called Victoria
called Vancouver

as I romanticize my life then.

Brooklyn, NYC, the apple, my city, my home, the grit of the east,

I can no longer afford you
why do I feel so lonely when I am surrounded by millions of people
if I could just find a job here that would explain away the student loans and overpriced education
could you just send me a sign that reminds me how phenomenal you are?

I really, really want to be monogamous with you, New York.