The poem, without the illustration, was first published in Muse India ‘Ecriture Feminine’, vol ed. Semeen Ali. Issue: 69, Sep-Oct, 2016.

This is work in progress as I hope to illustrate the whole poem soon.

‘How to Find Politically Sound Love’
For my daughter

find love that doesn’t sweep you away
your feet
those you will need
find love that keeps you close
to all that you loved before
find love that doesn’t replace your home
you always had one
love shouldn’t evacuate
find love that will build more windows
make more room, more doors
add furniture or hang a star
in your old home

find love that doesn’t place conditions upon your soul
that doesn’t destroy that which you have taken years to hone

find love that doesn’t own
you, your body, your bone
they are yours
they shouldn’t ache in love.
they should hold you up
so you can arch with pleasure-
they shouldn’t break in love

find love that doesn’t make you erase
your past, slap your friends
behind their backs
find love that doesn’t justify hurt
by saying you asked for it
that it’s your fault
find love that admits to occasional wrong
not one that violates you on and on
and then tells you with a smirk
that it always takes two
meaning, it’s always you
find love that picks up after you

find love that knows the difference
between peace and silence
find love that doesn’t question your need for pleasure
nor call your tears false, or your pain
manipulation. Love deceives not.
find love that nurses you when you are ill
not loves it when you are
so it can feel strong
and bind you down further
and tell you it’s for your good
after all that you lie flat and he stands tall.

find love that loves when you sing
and sings along
love that doesn’t need
intoxicants to know
it’s got a good thing going on
find love that respects the ordinary
respects your mind, heart, body
love isn’t a luxury that you pay for.

find love that waters your roots
love will not deracinate
if he says he is giving you a chance
don’t believe him. You don’t need one
you have always danced
he needs one, give him the one
don’t you give more than that
if the ashtrays are always full
yours to empty
and the cigarettes his to smoke
make sure you can show this imposter
the door. Your heart is not a floor.
love always empties the waste
that it made.
love should have a parent that taught it
to do that.
love should have outgrown its oedipal mess.

Find love that seduces you
not one that stalks you, nor stalls you
love should want to hold your hand.
find love that swims with you
not tells you what you should be-
good bad wife or a jelly bean
love should be skinny dipping
with you in stormy seas
find love whose kiss you can hear
in your ears through a terrible day at work
not one that expects that you
text to stay in touch
love cares for your safety
but it doesn’t begrudge your freedom
oh and love will NOT
make you draw the curtains
find love that knows, and loves
the plain fact that you’re hot

love cannot tell you
that it is a contradiction
to be together and want to be alone
in love, you can stand up tall,
while you lean left,
that one’s important.
love will not barge into your room
when you’re trying to shut the door.
love knows the word ‘enough’.
find love, for darling you must,
that knows
quite simply
that no means no.
yes, in passion it may be born
but it is trust
that is its cornerstone
if you are going to bed laughing
you know
you have politically-sound love.
you have found love.

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