When it comes to love, it’s been said that
my rose-colored lenses are 7 to the power of 9
Too blinded by the earnestness of my own trust
Enough to be guided by hands that lead to dead-end paths
It’s been said, that
disabling every red flag alarm is my form of self-harm
And all I could think about, was how urgent it was
that my fragile heart could keep cracking and still serve love perfectly warm

Now that’s just the fairy tale philosophy talking
The hopeless infatuation of Top 40 hits teachings
Sacrificing without knowing how to fight
Worshiping without knowing how to doubt
Under the covers of a love disguise,
recklessness strips me bare over and over,
my naked chest leaves comfort for others and me utterly careless

Naked, is what you shouldn’t be when you go around offering people a shirt
Trust me, I’d been putting 10-digit price tags on the smiles of my lovers
While I’d never even once own an ‘I am worthy’ sweater
Until I dialed my self-emergency number, and it said,
“Sorry, you are no friend to your soul. Press 1 to continue the war, or Press 2 to withdraw and begin to patch up the hole.”
I’d already lost the sword
But my finger was too heavy to pick up the thread-and-needle work

Someone came to me and said,
“What would you do if you were someone you loved?”

So I led myself out and stood in the desert,
held my hand under the sun until it didn’t burn anymore
Under a shelter I crafted together from impossible mercy and more impossible hope,
I mapped out all the places I have gambled with my heart
I traced my losses back to an ignorance of value
I broke into my safe to find it mostly empty, insecure

Someone came to me and said,
“What would you see if you were someone you loved?”

So I led myself out and stood over the river,
faced the image on my mirror until I didn’t want to break it anymore
In front of a reflection I framed with kindness that had to be possible,
I stitched together a sweater with the cotton thread of my sanity
and the wools of my madness
I weaved soft pastel hues of my tenderness
with the steel gray shades of my fierceness
On my sleeves, I wear patches of my broken heart pieces
And puzzles of dreams I have yet to assemble,
Of prayers and poems and anecdotes and quotes like,
“Sometimes I feel like giving up, then I realize I have a lot of motherfuckers to prove wrong.”

It still wears itself thin in the cold,
but moving my fingers to stitch it stronger is the only way to keep myself whole

Yes, loving yourself is an art
And I wish there was a Prize
for owning the parts of yourself you’re still learning to like
I wish there was a gallery of post-it notes
of how more than pretty you are
That there was a museum of figures, sculpted with the strength of their mind,
to show exactly how it’s done

Then maybe, we’ll rewrite fairytales of soul courtships with no excuses
We’ll rewrite songs and sing,
“Darling, don’t forget to fall in love with yourself first.”


“And if I asked you to name all the things that you love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?”

As performed at Betelnut for the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival 2015 Poetry Slam on October 30, 2015. Bali, Indonesia.