Mama said you have always been feisty,
Your legs have run too fast into the arms of trouble,
She said you spit fire sometimes but
You love like a storm in the middle of winter.
For someone who has had to fight her way through the years,
You carry an aura of hope that only a child would understand,
Your heart is the brightest shade of red, robust with goodness
and it surprises me. It surprises me because
I heard that war leaves you hard and distant,
And this life? This life is one hell of a battlefield,
but somehow you have mastered the art of fighting
with one hand and loving with the other.
Mama always said you need to be saved.
She worried that you might blow yourself up
Into a million pieces,
The smoke from all the places you have been,
Circle right back to her front door,
She can smell you from many miles away.
But I say to her, “Mama, she doesn’t need saving”,
She doesn’t need a cage to contain her,
The world is vast enough for everything inside of her,
She can stretch herself thin and there will be places
she is yet to touch, so let her.
Let her roam free, let her crash into the various versions
of herself and all the people she is destined to meet.
Don’t worry your pretty little heart Mama,
Even the world will smell her from miles away.
I know that life was hard for you
And maybe you didn’t know better.
I know that to you, Love meant
Wearing your masculinity like a shield,
Exuding strength and sometimes yelling at your wife,
Nobody taught you how to be gentle,
Nobody taught you that love could be soft and vulnerable.
I see how hard you have tried to defy history,
But we both know how hard it is
To teach an old dog new tricks,
If it is any consolation (at all), I hope you know
I learned the depth of unconditional love
By loving you.
They don’t tell you how much it hurts
when your heart is ripped from your sleeve,
Or how badly your teeth chatter and body shivers,
When you put yourself “out there” and a storm comes.
They don’t teach you how to deal with
the ache of misbelonging;
the pain of rejection;
the soreness of losing;
They don’t tell you because maybe telling, is not enough.
They don’t teach you because you cannot teach a person
how to deal with pain they have not endured,
They don’t tell you because
the warmth of belonging;
the joy of acceptance;
the fulfillment of succeeding; are all incredibly satisfying.
And really, what kind of life would you be living
if the fear of failure bound you by your feet?
I promise you,
If you can just get off the floor after a bad fall,
If you can dust off the dirt and
Find peace as your bruises heal,
If you can come to the understanding that
Nothing will teach you as thoroughly as experience will,
You will find flowers growing on the path you once walked.
It was desire coupled with fear,
It was reality and a dire need for freedom,
It was the sheer need for some honest answers,
The uncanny exhaustion of uncertainty and
The insolent diplomacy of feelings.
These were the things that stirred me away from my illusions,
These were the things that led me back home.