Let Go

I still remember the day that father took me up the mountain.
I gripped the bundle of wood tightly, desperate.
My hands swelled white with the strain
Fingers hurt beneath the grip
But I wasn’t letting go!
The marks would race across my palms
long after I dropped the pack.
Scars remain long past the hurt.

Dad had his hands full.
Dad carried his heart.
No, it didn’t beat from his sleeve or stream from his face.
Sometimes you have to look to see the world shaking.
The earthquake splitting my father’s heart it two
wouldn’t even measure on the Richter scale.
Those old-man hands shook with every step;
afraid that if he let go, let it out,
the shaking would wrack his body long
after his war-drum heart stopped
beating.

When we reached the top
I didn’t want to let go of my pack.
It was my one job, to hold the wood,
and letting go would mean I had nothing left.
The hardest thing to let go of is the one we hold too tight.
Finally I gave in, placed the logs on the alter,
sacrificing more than even my father knew.

He looked at me, tears in his eyes,
the first crack of that storm inside.
It was only then that I realized
he had given up everything for me.
His whole life waiting to raise me.
His whole life longing for the Promise.
He had me carry it all because without me he had nothing left
Everything hung on this wood, on my shoulders
A weight far too heavy for a father’s hands to carry.

I held the wood.
My body lay atop it, tied to this tree.
The knife shook in my father’s hands,
sky rolling and crashing above.
Could he pierce my skin?
Give up? Let go? Give in?
Knowing that scars remain long after the hurt.
The hardest thing to let go of is the one we hold too tight.
One bridge to cross between everything and nothing.
One cross to bear.
One knife to plunge.
One sacrifice to make.
One… and yet everything.
Sacrificing more than even I knew.

The end flashed in lightning strikes
Thunder groaned in agony.
My father turned his face away.
A weight for too heavy
for a father’s hands to carry
Couldn’t look. Couldn’t watch
Everything that he held dear torn away.
One knife to cut apart his dream. Cast lots
to keep the tattered remains of his heart together

“Stop.” The voice stilled his hand.
Father fell down.
Vulnerable. Broken.
Heart sacrificed on the alter of his ego.
The voice spoke through tears:
“The hardest thing to let go of is the one you hold too tight.
Now I know
you would give up everything for me.”

Looking back, I remember that day well.
I was only a boy then
(sacrifice)
barely knew the meaning of the word
But memories are perfect scars,
remain long after my father’s war-drum heart stopped beating.
He sacrificed more than even he knew:
A weight for too heavy for a son’s heart to carry.
So, I carry the wood, transfer the weight from shoulders to alter,
And let go.

Sometimes Janitors (A Role Playing Game)

Sometimes, being a janitor can be a hard job:
Cleaning floors that other people have dirtied,
Taking out the trash that no one wants to touch,
And cleaning toilets after someone left their crap behind.

Sometimes we stand there and take it like Mr. Clean:
Juice boxes spilled on the floor right beside the garbage,
Apple cores and banana peals using us as bin backboards.
Disrespected. We become part of the furniture that we wipe.

Sometimes we can get a little cranky.
“I just cleaned this floor!” We say,
words chasing muddy sneakers,
But all we see are the shadows they hide in.
We shake our heads at the three-point shots
of a ball through a hoop,
Wondering how such perfect aim
disappears when hoops and traded for toilet bowls.

Sometimes janitors have a dirty job.
Sometimes we meet the culprits,
(leaving the bathroom in a hurry)
… but often we don’t.
We inherit someone else’s dirty work
with our punched clocks
We wrestle other men’s demons
with a scrub brush and a bucket
And when the crap hits the fan
(a prank only juvenile’s think is assuming)
we are the first number on speed dial.

Sometimes we do the jobs no one wants to do.
Someone has to battle the monsters with a broadsword mop.
We carry magic spells in spray bottles,
Wipe away the sadness of pencil tips on desk tops
(memory monsters, struggles, and sorrow slugs that others have conjured up).
We deal with the dirt that slips through the cracks.

Sometimes people ask us “What do I do with this?”
Pulling you around like a tied trash bag.
“Just leave it here with me. I’ll take care of it.” We say.
They are far too eager to leave the undesirable at our feet.
“Where is the washroom?” They ask,
jumping from one foot to the next.
We show them where they can drop that load
that has weighed them down for far too long.
Sometimes they don’t ask,
simply track their dirt through your halls, across our floors,
leaving scars that take a mop head magic wand to cast away.

Sometimes, being a janitor can be a hard job:
Cleaning bodies that other people dirtied,
Taking out the trash from minds too long left untouch,
And cleaning souls of all the crap that someone else left behind.
When it all hits the fan
(a prank only monsters think is assuming)
we are the first number on speed dial.

Sand Castles

Ecclesiastes 1:2 – “ Life is fleeting, like a passing mist.
        It is like trying to catch hold of a breath;
    All vanishes like a vapor; everything is a great vanity.

 – The VOICE


5550623402_4320068e17_zLife. Breathe it in.
Breathe out.
It is all but a simple breath.
One line on a page.
The dot at the end of our sentences.
The breath between our words.
We are the pause while God wonders what next to create.
We are clumps of clay in toddler fists.

All those great towers we work so hard to build
cannot hold back the dancing waves
cresting on the shore.
No amount of shouting or raised fists
can hold back the rain.
Sand castles
competing for attention.
Constantly crumbling.

Vapor. Dust. Breath.
A drop of rain in the ocean.
A snow flake lost in the swirling storms of life.
Here today. Gone tomorrow.
A vapor. Dust. Breath. Sand castles.

Life happens in this moment right now.
Today.
None of us can start our life tomorrow.
No one can hold time in a bubble.
It will always escape us.
The only thing we have is today.
Today’s smiles and struggles.

What are those struggles of yesterday?
Bills and paychecks both meet paper shredder
The same way
Every time.
High school traumas disappear behind gray hair clouds.
Lost lovers break our heart, but heart can mend.
To a child the world is ending all the time.
That toy that is broken.
That vegetable they must eat.
That time they have to leave a friend’s house.
Bed time tears.
Dust on a camera lens before the picture snaps.
A breath. Vapor. Sand castles.

Why argue about the past?
Why worry about the future?
What does the falling sky mean to someone who never looks at it?
What are those things that we laugh about later?
What are those arguments, squabbles?
Those moment when we have to be right.
Those times when we just can’t get along.
When we put ourselves higher than everyone else.
Dust in the sun rays.
Sand castles in a storm.

Release those moments to God.
He holds all those cells together in your body.
You have no control over it.
He takes the smashed pieces of our hearts from the dust.
We can never keep it together.
He fashions us into something different, something better…
Something new.
And he does it today.
Not tomorrow. Not yesterday.
God lives in the omnipresent now that is gone before out next breath.

3760119097_7a84b1378e_zLet us not worry about sand castles
Or try to hold our fists tight with dried clumps of clay.
What grown up is still torn to pieces at their smashed castles?
Most of us.
All of us.
All of us who are in the future and the past.
None of us that walk with God where he is,
Today.

So be now.
When the waves lap at the shore
Get your feet wet.
When they crash down on your castles
Sing in the rain.
And after the storm
Splash in the puddles of the past.
Breath in. Breathe out.
That moment is now gone.
So what will happen in your next breath?
Where is God?
Where are you?
Where am I?

Waiting For You

Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipedmondson/1051130431/in/photostream/

Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/philipedmondson/1051130431/in/photostream/

I can’t tell you how many times I thought you were here.
I thought I saw you last night
hiding beneath the shadow of the moon,
but that was just the sunshine
waiting for me to see it hadn’t gone anywhere.
Waiting for me.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought you cared.
There were the little things like Sunday afternoons,
or the way that you would invite me over for a kiss,
or how you would whisper my name—
an orgasm trying to find space between the clouds of emptiness—
Waiting for me.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought I knew you.
You were the one who could make life seem magical.
You were the one pulling rabbits
from every black hole in my heart
until you showed me how the trick was done.
Until you showed me that my clouds are still full—
even though you made me forget how to cry—
scratches on the edges of my heart
Waiting for me… to fall.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought you were beautiful
because beauty is not a mathematical equation.
It is not a symmetrical face + big boobs + winning smile – body fat =
It is not something that you add to or subtract from.
It is more like a rabbit you can pull from a hat
before you realize the hat was empty all along,
and I’m left with darkness on one side of the equation and the “=”
waiting for me on the other.
Waiting for you.

I can’t tell you how many days it has been since the first day I saw you
because it feels like you never left.
It feels like maybe, if I scream at the clouds loud enough
they will stop to take a breath.
Or maybe, if I cry hard enough, the clouds will hold up their hands
in defeat because there is no competing with
me trying to get rid of something—someone—who just won’t leave.
Waiting for me.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought I would never leave you
but some days I wished I had the strength to
because I knew no matter how much abuse this body could take
you would never leave any marks,
but I thought I knew you.
You wanted me to be the villain in this story, but you got tired of
Waiting for me.

I can’t tell you how many times I thought we could make it work.
Some things belong together, are never apart
but how can a bowling ball love the pins
it keeps knocking down?
And every time I pick myself back up
I just stand there shivering at your near misses
wanting to pick you up out of the gutter,
but I know you will fight if I do,
so I stand up again and flinch
Waiting for you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve missed you.
How can I be in love with a broken mirror
that cuts me up as if I were your reflection?
But I’d rather be broken, smashed and bleeding
than a puzzle all put together with missing pieces
Waiting for you.

On Feeling Old

Note: Sometimes I feel older than I am and like to joke that I am an old man. This is a tribute to that feeling.
 

I am not old.
Not even close.
Yes, I enjoy 70s style diners and shelves lined with dust,
But better than dust
Books and a creaky rocking chair
Spelling out all my not so many years
Between front porch slats.
These whispers take me back to times
I never knew.
The antiques in my home remind me of all the years
I never had
But feel clinging to my scars like bookshelf dust.

I know about aching backs and popping knees
And that pain in my chest hides behind a cavity of bitter bones,
Skeletons too long in the closet:
Left to rot.
I know how everyone under 30 is irresponsible
And 50 is just waiting to dust off closet bones
Put colour in scars where it never belonged
beneath a coffin lid
Heaped with dust.

I grow out my hair and scuff my jeans,
Suicidal scrapes of falling down,
on my knees
Too often.
But there are decades between each lack of wrinkle
On my face.
Time says I am 23… or 24… 25?
Doesn’t matter.
It’s all a lie beneath 50 years of closet dust.

And so, I work my knee joints,
Forget the oil,
Cringe as my chest gives out
It’s message to the world
Just to say:
I’ve learned how to grumble with the best of them,
The rest of them,
And hope someone will find the colour
I lost beneath these scars
In my unwrinkled skin
To brush out this dust-greyed hair.

A Letter to My Unborn Child

Life starts in a womb room.
Walls block our way, but we do not think of them.
We push against the sides, not knowing what lay beyond,
Longing to find all the flavour and colour outside of this room that we do not think of.

Life passes us from one room to the next,
a mother not wanting her child.
Childhood holds us too long,
a small room we push against
hoping to crack its shell.
Adolescence is shorter still, yet feels even longer:
a smaller room with black walls of despair and empty promises.
But adulthood… adults, we wish to go back:
Not enough time to love our honeys, raise children—just make money,
And looking back, the rooms always seem larger than when there we were trapped.

Find a road, tunnel, river: whatever analogy you prefer.
See that little light shining at the end?
That is what we all work towards,
but desperately do not want to reach.
Lightposts, walls, tree branches clatter closer as we walk further,
and further, and further away from the first room of our conception
Until we are trapped between a rock and a hard place:
No amount of pushing against the walls makes either move,
and we have no conception of how we got there.
The road, tunnel, river gets smaller closer to that light.

You’re going to miss this,
these wide open spaces where you can stretch your arms
run back and forth, prolonging the trek forward.
The end is so short, so small, so darling
do not run into it.
It will not greet you like a schoolboy when you drop your books,
and when his hand touches yours you may feel the heat,
But that is just a light quickly expanding from heart to fingertips
because it has nowhere to go.
A tree with no more sky.
A child with no more room to run.
A stream finding the lake it has been drawn to all along
then finding out that the lake does not run with under-toes of adventure,
Merely sits.
Stagnant.
Dead.
Nowhere left to go.
Seemingly large and free,
but quite small in reality.

Darling, I do not know you yet.
This is maybe something that you will never get,
But I am afraid,
Afraid of the opportunity I will never forget,
And do not want to regret
never sharing this with you
Or forget.
So, darling, this is my message to you.

Stay in your room until it will hold you no more.
Yes, I do so long to hold you,
and in my dreams, you are already there, but please
The next room will wait.
Explore every corner.
Jump to the highest spaces that you can manage to reach
and if you need a step ladder, always ask.
Do not wait to grow longer legs
because in that next room where the legs wait…
the ceiling is lower. The world is smaller.

There will be times when room confinement feels like the worst punishment
When the world has grounded you, and you do not want to learn the lesson it wants to teach you, but please…
Darling, stay in your room until the door bursts from its hinges
so when you look back, it is not vacant,
empty: a white space filled with “if only”s.

Do you hear my words?
What language do they speak in that womb room, darling?
It has been so long.
I do not remember.
I hope that the day you understand my message to you—
That day when you can read this poem, and comprehend the language of my heartbeats—
the large rooms behind you are already full.
True, I could wait til then,
Maybe, til I know a bit more about you,
But then my message will arrive too late
Like a letter sunk with the ship,
and you have to find it tucked inside a coral reef
Long after empty rooms yawn taunting, empty mouths:
A toothless shark
Just grumbling snarls.

And when you finally do grow
and after we have met
and after, or before, or while you are still in the room where I left this letter to you:
Stay in your room.
So when I come up, you have not flown out the window,
So when I come to speak with you, you are there.
So when I ask what you have learned,
you will not grumble and give me no answer
But show me all the spots in the paint job that I missed
tell me of how the bedsheets crinkle just so when I sit,
and how the window whispers message to you
and contemplate the conception of the world itself.
Darling, this is not a punishment,
but a time to learn.
A time to never miss the little things:
The way the clock ticks in the hall… or doesn’t,
and why sometimes I wish it would just stop
so we could sit together in this perfect moment.
Forever.
So when I ask what you did when sent to your room,
and you come out to tell me,
you will say
“Everything, daddy. Everything.”

This is Breathing

Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/db-in-uk/3411989827

Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/db-in-uk/3411989827

Each day, a blessing.
Each breath, a shuttered gasp
wheezing through window slats
like a swimmer almost drowned:
salt and sand and air.
Life. Vitality. This is breathing.

On the shore, freshly spewed from Ocean’s mouth,
I know what it feels like to be drowning:
like clouds before they dump their fill with mighty gasps,
beavers with broken dam,
a sinner who isn’t Noah,
a fish out of water—
no, man out of air, life;
I have more water than I know what to do with.
My lungs reject it like a desert oasis that is just a mirage,
an empty vessel sinking,
a washed up failure—
washed out,
slapped about.
Pulled from the waves on fisherman’s hook:
a trout
on the shore.
This is breathing.

They say we do not think about breathing.
(In, out. In, out.)
So natural, automatic… vital.
I wonder, did they query the one who rasps in the dark:
lungs smaller than shadows on a sunny day,
sweat on clammy hands,
and even raisins seem to hold breath within their wrinkled folds.
An asthmatic sprinter without a puffer,
a cracked open clam shell on the beach… smashed.
This is breathing.

Infants take 40-60 breaths per minute.
20-30 breaths for young children.
15-20 for teenagers.
Adults, 12-15.
Age steals our breaths—
vitality—
And we do not think about it.
This is breathing.

(In. Out. In. Out.)
I need you like breathing.
A smile whispers from her lips.
Romance to wedding rings to children
to working long hours
to coming home late.
Tired.
Out of breath.
From 40 to 20 to 15 to 12.
Love. Automatic.
Don’t even think about it,
And it slowly dies:
age stealing it like mouldy bread forgotten on the counter.
A relationship dying
that you can’t even made croutons out of.
This is breathing.

If it’s not important to us, we won’t learn it, savour it,
or even care.
Lungs know breathing is vital,
learn it well in formative years…
then slowly forget.
We do not think about it.
(In. Out. In. Out.)
Less important—
Oxygen communicating with raisins,
or trying to.
But raisins cannot hear the wind.

Meanwhile, drowning men lay alive on the shore
shouting at the sky
with every luscious (In, out. In, out).
THIS! IS! BREATHING!

I need you like the sun needs a sky
like shadows need darkness
like oceans need water
like mountains need rock
like trees need wood
and the wind needs trees so that you can see it is
Breathing.

But sometimes I forget.
Breathing becomes no more than background noise.
Like a city boy first hearing the birds sing out his window…
then forgets.
Silence can be so loud,
until we stop listening to it.
And 40 becomes 20 becomes 15 becomes 12.
This is breathing.

Let my (In, out. In, out.) not grow stagnant:
bread not turn mouldy on the shelf,
Love for you become so natural, automatic,
that I forget.
That you could leave and I wouldn’t notice…
NO! I would notice!
You remind me with every word from the silence
Every story on the wind like dancing leaves.
Let me dance with those leaves like a care-free infant—
a child with more faith than sense—
40, 50, 60 breaths a minute.
No. A second.
And I cannot tell myself that I do not need you
because I need you like breathing,
and I know what drowning feels like.

This poem was originally written for a sermon that I preached about the vitality of God in our lives. You can find the audio of the original work and accompanying sermon at klbic.org

Mother Sun

Attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/alicepopkorn/6965191653/

This poem is dedicated to my mother who I appreciate more and more as wisdom comes with age.

 

Life runs, but never tells us where it’s going.
Time swings from a rabbit’s pocket watch:
always late,
but what is that date it reaches for?
Once, we thought Mother Sun revolved around us,
but we grew out of that—
grew up—
Knowing we are just one planet chasing another around Mother Sun:
like children under-foot in the kitchen,
mice in a race for men
fearing that if we ever stop spinning
Mother Sun will not catch our fall.

Life stands in the distance, urging us on,
time cast in the shadows from Mother Sun.
Peering into those shadows we see the mysteries of history:
times before older boys had bigger toys,
when playgrounds were not made of concrete and cash
but of tree-branches walls;
butterflies held the wings with which we painted the sky,
and Jello was our favourite food group:
when Mother Sun still revolved around us.

Mother smiled at our mornings
shining food into growth on the breakfast table.
She taught us things we never wanted to learn:
“Make your bed!”
“Pick up your room!”
“Sweep the floor!”
She sparked our imagination like a match
no matter how much others rained on our parade.
She taught us how to paint the sky with ice-crystals on our breath,
but always made sure we wore a coat.
Showed that any ladder was safe to climb
if she closed her eyes, and squeezed dad’s arm
while he held the bottom.

Mother had the ability to speak softly when April showers glistened in her eyes,
but could lay on the heat when the ground needed a little scorching.
(A plant with just sun is shrivelled and will die alone.
A plant with only rain drops will drown:
too much freedom in a river, and not enough roots.)
Mother was salt and pepper, sun drops and rain kisses:
just the right amount of both.
She was the ever-present gardener,
and when we were sad—
falling apart with every Autumn leaf drop—
she reminded us of all the Summer beauty we had gone through to get here,
warned us that Winter was coming, and it would be hard,
but promised Spring:
new growth borne on the frosted wings of Winter’s butteries.

(“But when I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”
Jello musings beneath my feet.)
We forget about mom as we grow strong:
An aged Oak, no longer afraid of the wind storms,
and when Winter comes, we know that Spring is coming
because someone told us that once…
and she was right.

Now, as we wake up—
life pulling us by a rope,
time ticking in shadows—
we can still see Mother Sun smiling down on us.
She is always watching as we revolve around her
keeping us in order while letting us spin free.
That rain you hear dripping through your leafs?
those are her tears shared with you.
That wind whistling through field reeds and drifting on desert streams?
those are her songs for you.
The grass beneath your limbs are her arms catching your leafs when you fall.
And the sun still smiles, just as beautiful every morning.

Thievery: A Lost Art

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wrigleywrld/3910060559

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/wrigleywrld/3910060559

Plagiarism.
I was told before writing was even a hobby:
“Don’t take that. It’s not yours.”

Thievery.
I still remember that day when I stole that toy
from the kid across the street.
See, he had different Lego than me.
But then, I had it, stuffed in pants pocket,
Pieces clanking together with each step like skeleton keys on a jailor’s ring.
I hid the pieces behind my clothes in a dresser.
Didn’t take them out for two days.
I couldn’t even play with them.

Guilt.
What if the neighbour came over
and asked where I got them?
Or mom asked, or… (keys rattled in my mind).
Finally, I took them out, all wrapped in an old t-shirt,
and sent them back across the street, dropped on the front steps.
Never said a word.

Borrowing.
See, mother always said that if you want something, ask first.
There is no fear of someone finding out, if you ask first.
Now, people say, “It’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.”
But I know they’re wrong.
I know what self-guilt feels like.

Plagiarism.
It feels like borrowing.
It feels like, “you are smarter than me, so I will take your words, use them, then put them back in your mouth.”
They tell me the difference between borrowing words and stealing them
is not whether you can put them back,
or if you asked permission first,
But that you say where you got them from
so that as they rattle out your mouth like Lego pieces clinking,
And someone hears them
and asks you where you got them,
you can tell them without guilt eating out your heart.

Copying.
All our lives we learn how to copy—
Walking, talking, potty trained copiers—
But once we learn the basics, they say “Stop.
You are stealing!”
Like when Suzzie wanted to build a tree house
and I did, but not with her,
and she cried because I stole her idea.
“No, Suzzie, I know what stealing feels like
and this wasn’t that,”
But I never said that to her;
Just stood there, confused, later apologizing.
It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission.

Inspiration.
Did the painter ask the sun for permission before casting it with oil on canvas?
Did the musician ask his girlfriend for permission to compare her to
the Spring showers that come to wet his desert heart?
Or should he ask the rain?
Or the clouds?
Or the sky?
Or God himself?
Does the poet ask the airwaves before pulling them in
and pushing them out with new words between the strands?
And when I am inspired to write because of someone else’s art,
Is my entire piece stolen, borrow, plagiarized…
If someone asked me where it came from, I could not tell them,
And I did not ask permission of the world before using it as my muse.

So, form hand-cuffs out of Lego bricks and
throw away the skeleton keys,
Because I will never stop being inspired,
Never stop copying other’s ideas.
Always steal words from the airwaves,
And never give them back.
And don’t tell me that it’s wrong
because I know what stealing feels like.

Love is like a box of chocolates

Love is like a box of chocolates.
You see her in the crowd, all dressed in bows and lace
Her colours pop amidst the dismal greys
And you think, for a second, do I have enough?

Your hand shakes
Change rattling in pockets
Desperate to claim her before prince charming comes back,
Because that man is more than twice of you,
And even if he stepped down off his mighty steed
You would still be shorter, smaller,
Like jam between his toes,
An ant staring up at great laces and bows.
She’s beautiful.

You climb the outside of her box like a mountain hiker,
Lungs drawing breath, then failing,
Heart beating, then stalling.
The air is so thin up here, that when you reach her lips—
Not for a kiss, but just the chance to speak with her—
Words are not enough to express
How she stole your breath away.

Chocolate boxes sit on shelves, all dressed in delight.
Hands shake as she walks home with you.
Heart beats faster, waiting for that day when man will be husband and she will be wife
And then… you can pull off the ribbons, and bows, and lace.

Love is like a box of chocolates
Never knowing what you might get.
But boxes have labels read by in-laws at table.
Chocolates have wrappers,
Unopened, fresh, unbroken…
Or perhaps broken.
Pieced together and wrapped in foil frame,
Done up with a red bow,
And like a stop light it screams,
But you press on, blind to box labels and deaf to in-laws.

You peal off the label on that wedding night.
Her dress falls, silk to cover the alabaster of her skin.
You pull her close, rough hands caressing hers—smooth as chocolate—
And for a moment you think, this is it.
Then, you roll her between the sheets, take a bite, and faint beneath the flood.
Sweet. Sweat. Wet with caramel gushing from the fountains of her deep.
And you laugh, and love, consume each other;
Lick creamy milk chocolate melted on fingertips.
Love is sweet.

Like a child on Christmas morning, you rush
Opening presents, longing for the next candy inside.
The wrapper falls away and you swallow it whole,
Savour the chocolate as it melts down your throat,
Salty caramel exploding from within,
Leaving you longing like a love addict.
Can’t wait to come home for your next fix of her beauty.
She is your delight.
The apple of your eye, your salt and light.
Love is salty.

The next chocolate is smashed.
A mess underfoot, stuck to the wrapper,
And when you peel her open, she pulls those covers tight
Hides her nakedness. Shame.
Not willing you to see that part of her,
To taste the dirt mixed with broken candy shards:
The one who paid for nothing, but ripped her open
Ravaged the chocolate like a rabid dog at prey…
Then spat her out.
Disgusted.
Wrapped her back up in pretty bows
Left for another to discover.
You to discover.
Love is broken.

You try to remind her of that day
All wrapped in bows and lace.
Breath catches in your throat again, words failing.
This time, it is not her beauty that stops you so… but tears.
Her label is faded, and now you see why,
A woman trying to scratch the pain away,
Cover it in sweetness and wrappers,
Tears bleeding the ink.

You tell her, “We can get past this.”
Reminder her of your love.
Work her wrappings off again,
But she holds back,
And when finally you coax her,
The chocolate pops in your mouth like a sour patch kid,
But she is not a kid.
A woman angered that you would ignore her pain,
Throw away the broken with the used up wrapper,
Only keeping the parts of her that you like.
Love is sour.

You bite down, hard,
Try to draw her in with your arms,
But she pulls away
With dark circles under her eyes
90% pure and 10% soft cream–
Feeling 10% hard and 90% dirty–
The silky smooth milk of that chocolate first no more than a memory.
Love is bitter.

You stare at the empty box in your hands,
Watch her back as she goes,
Still feeling the salty longing on your tongue for her,
But now it shares a place on your face with salty tears,
And an empty heart like a chocolate box.

Love can be like a box of chocolates,
In so many ways.
Sweet, salty, broken, sour, bitter, empty…
But it is not a box of chocolates.

Love ebbs and flows like the mighty ocean
And you drown in those waves,
Kiss in the rain beneath those crests
Then get lost for a time in the after-wake…
Heart empty like that chocolate box in hand.

See, with chocolate, what is bitter is bitter
And sweet is sweet,
But love ebbs bitter and flows sweet,
Then crashes down leaving salty droplets dribbling.

And so, you stand with an empty box of chocolates,
Waiting for the next wave, sweet smell of love on its crest.
When sweetness comes, breathe her in like a whole field of flowers just for you.
Linger beneath the caress of that salty wave,
And when it crashes, leaving a sour taste in your mouth,
And empty chocolate box,
And bitter remembrance of her kiss.
Breathe in hard.
Squint.
Wait for the one flavour that chocolate does not have:
Love is forever.