ROMANCE.

"i want it hard, mystical, tender, and correct/without expectations but all of them met..."--Tamia

I've been a writer since I was four years old, literally. At the age of four I wrote my first short story. As such, for years and years--until I was maybe about 22 or 23--I wrote every single day. Whether it was an article (I wrote for my school paper and literary magazines in HS and college), a short story, copy for television or my radio show in college, a song, or someone else's term paper (I did everyone's work, never charged and regret it now!), I put pen to paper daily. Maybe three out of seven days in a week, I'd write a poem. Of course, my last year of college was over a long time ago, and I've written approximately one poem (other than songs, which don't count for me) in the past six years. But for some reason, this past Sunday night I felt something tugging at me and I couldn't wait to get home to write.

I was sitting in Kitchen 24 in Hollywood, just observing. Some guy was trying to talk to me and get my number, and he was good-looking and nice and cool and sweet and just the type of guy I'd go for if I wasn't me.

I looked at him as he was speaking and just thought "no, this is not it." And I felt certain in that moment, as I always have, that when it is "it", I will know. Emphatically. It won't be hard, I won't have to be sold, it won't have to grow on me like fungus. I will just know. Anyhow, out of that thought came a poem.

Locked Up  

He locks eyes with me

and 

I find it impossible to look away 

I try 

but there's too much promise, 

too much potential.

This man is speaking to someone else

but looking at me and I am looking at him and we are looking at 

us 

He stops talking because he must know my name, 

and I must tell him, 

and when he sits close to me I feel all the space, air bubbles, all the invisible holes from which leaks spring in my life being filled 

I don’t know what he will say, but I know how he'll say it instinctively.

The sensation 

of meeting him 

has altered something permanent 

I will give him a way to contact me 

He will give me a way to contact him 

And the first time I'm alone with him 

all I will think of is his smell

that intense scent of cologne purchased where it's sold exclusively, that odor of care and attention and sophistication 

And when I'm alone after being with him, I will smell myself over and over and I will not wash the clothes that I wore when I was with him until I see him again 

This man will have a voice: distinctive, sharp, intelligent, clear, direct, solid 

And when he speaks I will believe it 

And when he doesn't I will trust it 

This man will call me first when things go South, if they go South 

because 

he will trust me 

He will trust that I am able to do the thing 

to fix what's broken

He will trust that I will fight 

for him 

He will admire my principles, 

my morals, 

respect the things about me that I cannot change and do not want to.

He will be uncompromising, easygoing 

He will walk the same way down the street in the 'hood as he does down Rodeo Drive 

And the way he walks that walk will make those who pay attention to those kind of things pay attention to him 

This man is sexy 

truly 

sexy.

There is sex in his touch and his gaze and his voice and his smell and his clothes and his carriage and his posture 

There is sex in his sex. 

But only when he's with me.

And when he gives it to me, I will take it 

and treasure it 

and give it back 

and know that his is the last I ever want, for sure. 

And mine is all he wants, Forever Unafraid, 

this man will take my advice--not just when things can't get any worse, but before there's a problem This man will sing to me…softly, sweetly, passionately and on key in the dark corners of our evenings 

and I will let him sing as long as he wants because he will be singing about love and loving me.

And I will sing to him with his head in my lap and feel close to God when he's sleeping 

next to me. 

This man. 

This man's creativity challenges mine 

in unexpected ways 

and I don't always agree with his methods but his integrity blows my mind over and over and over again 

for the rest of our lives. 

This man. 

Makes a decision and does not back down from it, 

and makes me feel like I've joined an exclusive club if I buy his opinion over my own. 

This man's mind leaves me speechless at times- 

Confounded by my inability to respond and yet I challenge him in ways he thought impossible. 

And we will discuss, and comprehend, and understand each other 

better over time 

better than anyone else can understand us. 

We will build a language all our own 

that hums late at night in our bed, early in the morning in our bathroom, 

in the car, 

in the store, 

in the fish spot downtown, 

in exotic restaurants all over the world, 

in the streets of Paris and Istanbul and Johannesburg and Seychelles 

and the museums of Philly and DC and Virginia, 

in the subways of New York and the freeways of California,

in the dimly lit cabins of commercial airlines,

on quiet islands in easily-mispronounced countries, 

through our neighborhood at dusk... the harmony of us, 

the harmony of which I will miss whenever he's away. 

This man knows God and God knows him 

and so I feel safe when I'm with him, 

truly safe. 

He goes before me and I never feel as though I'm walking behind him. 

I am comfortable following his lead

I am comfortable following him anywhere. 

This man will give me the greatest gifts anyone has ever given me 

and we will watch them grow out of my belly 

and bring them home 

and teach them how to love, how to learn 

how to live. 

He locks eyes with me.

And locks hands with me. 

Locks minds with me. 

Locks hearts with me. 

Locks spirits with me. 

Locks bodies with me. 

He locks families with me. 

Locks addresses with me. 

Locks destinies with me. 

This man locks lives with me 

and I with him 

and we're both 

Locked 

Up.

Ashleigh Marie Brown