Love, Like Poetry, is Not Gentle or Kind

by Tish Valles

I've never really been into Valentine's Day, the commercialization of it has always bored me. This year, when my collaborator Mia Dahlmer asked me this:

What is the greatest lesson that you have learned about love in the past two years?

I was prompted to contemplate this celebrated day, and I got to  thinking about the push-pull of the romanticism of love.



Popular culture likes to focus on the lollipops and roses when thinking about love, but I often think about the darker side of love.  Love is not kind– it tests you. Love puts a mirror right in front of you and forces you to stare your most unloveable parts - so you see yourself, so you grow, so that by loving another you learn to love yourself better. Love is not patient, it roars with urgency. It wants your attention. NOW. Love is not gentle. It sweeps you off your feet and takes your breath away.  And therein lies the magic, the duende, the source of every love song, the pulse of the dance. And everyone who knows me knows I LOVE to dance

I also love to write poetry.

In my writing, I am working on slowing down and taking my time with my poetry, and I am loving it. I am a prolific writer, and the poems can come quickly to me. Lately, I've been inspired by the amazing Ross Gay, who at a recent reading at the louderARTS Project  spoke about how he gives a poem time and space. He talked about the importance of staying with a poem until it almost turns on you, and in doing this, transforms you. I have been working on a poem called After The Wild Beasts Slumber and I am really taking my time with it, not taking any word or nuance for granted. In fact, I just made a subtle but significant revision to it yesterday.