love.

It happens sometimes. Our eyes gather up steam from the humans we house our bodies beside. There are the ghosts of those who claimed us first and led us to learn what we like and need. All of the movements on our skin are evidence of these loves and all the books read and songs sung and diagnoses and dreams.

Seven years ago, I took notice of my cervix on a small television screen in a clinic in Boulder, Colorado. It took many years before I could find the instrumentation of that trauma.

Seventeen years of falling in love. Each time different. Each human a different shape, gender, gathering of cells and stories. Each time louder and sturdier and what happens when you leave behind one for another.

On the day before Valentine’s Day on a snowy Thursday, I gathered up my ukelele and held my neck up by double-windsor tie. Took a deep breath and poem’d on the logistics of letting go and the memory of pixelated loves. At The Inspired Word Stuck on Cupid: St. Valentine’s Poetry/Music Show.

oh, love…

I fell in love with a girl. Then a boy. Then a girl. Another girl. A girl who is a boy. Love has found me at my place of employment, at university, at the corner of a small town, at a bar where the queers gather, at a center for writing. None of it was easy. Some lasted longer than others. Learned new recipes and songs, picked up hobbies and habits, faced fears and fondled time.

Nowadays, love can be found on computer screens and fancy phones. We swipe and click our way toward the one, but I still hold out for magic.

Like that time, a few years back when I would have missed my flight for one more minute of conversation with the one who confessed his addiction to coffee and testosterone. Even in his hard angles, I noticed softness seeping out of the ridges of his smile.

Here, there are bodegas on every corner and whether I need okra or oranges or cold remedy or condoms, these things never run out. Some are even open twenty-four hours. But love….love is not shelved or stocked in places we can easily find. There are all those intentional spots to find someone, but this doesn’t mean it will last or be any easier, just because you answered some preliminary questions.

OK Cupid, I am ready. And also, I am not. But what I am open to is the unexpected gathering of stories and trust. Not all of us are easy to love and I can furnish a reference sheet of all those who (tried to) love me and called me difficult. But so is opening up jars that house the most amazing flavors of preserved food. Learning a language isn’t easy either, but the benefits often encourage travel and expansion of mind.

At this point, I feel gratitude that I have felt it. More than once. And each time was more magnificent and painful and stunning and tragic. But we go back. There is a reason for this.

For now, I’ll buy my own chocolates and write poetic love notes on my body. Until I can find the one who can sound out my skin without mispronouncing the jagged interruptions of scars. Then, I’ll head into the city and storm a stage.

Tonight, I ask cupid to remain in the air and tend to the ones in search of a stab wound. I’ll be on stage with Pancetta, my ukelele, some words, and (perhaps) a special appearance by some peanut butter.

Hear fantastic performances of poetry and music at The Inspired Word’s Stuck on Cupid at Tammany Hall / 152 Orchard St. NYC / Doors open at 6pm / Show begins at 6:30pm / $10 / Featuring Essence Revealed, Jherelle Benn, Nichole Acosta, among other thought-provoking artists.