Battle Lines

They say “All is fair in love and war.”
Well, they don’t say it. John Lyly said
something like it and they repeat it.
until it’s crammed
into our collective proverbial unconscious.
But unlike most cliches,
(and it pains me on some level to admit this)
this one isn’t really true.

It’s not love and war
because love is war.
A constant struggle between you and me
and everybody else. We all want it,
nobody’s got it and we think we need it.
So we make it up and make it out to the world.
A blank check they’ll never stop us from cashing
because nobody trusts the numbers, anyway.

What is love?
Love is war.
Like rocks buried deep
in each other’s fine dining and fancy clothes
like banging your head
against the passenger-side window
until it breaks.
Oh, baby, don’t hurt me.

What is love?
Love is war.
What is it good for? Absolutely nothing,
but do not say that again because
it is absolutely wrong.
I have seen love lost, found, misdirected,
misguided, and temporarily misplaced
And it is such a beautiful thing.
Knowing all you have to do to cheer
someone up is to say her name.
Knowing that three short, simple words can
bring down some of the strongest defenses.
Knowing that someone out there,
someone is waiting for me.

Furthermore, nothing is fair.
Not in love, sure as hell not in war
and nowhere else I’ve ever been.
Five-hour drives are not fair.
Blind-siding break-ups are not fair.
Being unable to let go is not fair.
Love is not fair.

But love is war
and we’re all fighting
on the same side.

by James Patrick Schmidt

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