Leave the Gloves

When true love
formally introduces herself
it’ll feel like
a sparring match gone wrong.
She’ll be seasoned in MMA
and carry an unblemished record
in the UFC
and you?
You’ll be decorated
with hand-me-down gloves
from a family tree
that left you ill-prepared
to land a love tap,
and forget about defense. 

She’ll punch you
square in the face.
Laugh.
Ask if you’re okay,
then repeat.
You won’t find
any of this funny,
but she’s just trying
to knock your ex
out of your future conversations;
so if you lose any teeth today,
you won’t lose their wisdom tomorrow. 

She
will then jab you with a combo,
a multiplicity of questions
to question your masculinity.
You
will pretend to be unphased
until she has you in a choke hold asking:
“Who’s
your
Daddy?” 

Understand,
she’s not trying to offend,
she just
needs to make sure
you know who you are
before approaching the mat.
Far too many men
have desired to fill her in
with half-hearted efforts
in filling themselves.
Now that she’s whole
she’s searching for another mind
to color out of the lines with and,
is that you? 

She’s going to play dirty.
Land cheap shots
below the belt,
connect your jaw
with an uppercut
after the bell has rung but,
there’s no refs in love.
The rounds
are eternal and
she’s going to need you to fight;
and if you can’t stand
on your own two feet
in a sparring match then,
tap out now.
Letting go
is the least you can do.
Please,
leave the gloves
for someone who’s worthy. 

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In a Burning Room 

Trust. 
I built her once. 

Cemented into her foundation 
was time well spent, 
patience, 
bloody knees well bent 
upon pavements
to plead my case
for a love that lied latent
for you. 

I prayed
for my emotions
not to be preyed upon. 
Prayed, 
for my heart’s strings
not to be played upon, 
for some
altar of a heart
I could be saved upon but,
I was wrong. 

Altars are made of stone
not to build faith upon. 
So how could I expect yours
to hold mine dear 
like a sacred song
full of promise,
full of truth.

If I’m honest, 
and I were you, 
I would’ve called it quits
from “Hello, 
how are you?” 
“I’m…?  
not interested, 
but thank you.” 

Truth is 
you would’ve still had me at
hell no, 
but at least
I could blame myself
for wanting to be the pyromaniac
trying to light
the nothingness between us,
for trying to be the flame
your wick of attention
would never give a flicker of notice. 

I guess
what I’m trying to say is:
there’d be no museum
of betrayed memories to walk through
if you 
had any appreciation
for the art of honesty. 

I hung portraits 
of my intentions
as tokens 
of every act towards you
so you’d already know
the inspiration
behind every stroke. 

Little did I know 
you had me painting
masterful illusions of our future;
permitted me to sell
these fanciful delusions
to those who only wished the best for us. 

Little did I know, 
the only image I ever sold
was solely of me
slow dancing
in a burning room. 

Connecting Flights

When her emotions
feel like they’ve been 
stranded at an airport
for half a lifetime
waiting for the next connecting flight, 
hold her hand
and don’t let go. 

She won’t need your words so, 
can them if you can
to the nearest bin
and deposit hope
into her lap
with a sincere smile. 

Let your eyes
voice reassurance that she
won’t be one of many
to compete for your attention;
may it express
that your itinerary maps a future
she can forget her past in, 
that you won’t abandon her 
for taking longer than most
in the security line. 

She’s
checking for explosives. 
Patting you down
for reasons you might detonate today,
or tomorrow. 
Understand, 
she may be used to seeing things
blow up in her face, 
but that doesn’t mean she likes it. 
No part of her
has adjusted to find beauty
in the flames. 

So when her touch
feels like it’s tired
of bracing for impact,
embrace her soul
and be gentle. 
Be patient. 

When the time is right, 
you’ll know. 
She’ll look back at you 
as if she’s found
all the pieces of herself
and you
have redeemed them
from the land of lost baggage claims. 

You won’t understand why, 
don’t ask. 
Let her love you
in the silence
of your heart’s connecting flights.