Speak The Mag

They Lay ~ Love Wins! But the War Is Not Over ~ Custody

They Lay

pressed like slabs of meat curing

in the salt of each other’s tears
the salt of each other’s sweat
the salt of each other’s piss

packed like rows of balut steaming
in the anti-womb of enslavers’ ships
unforming from feathered promise

transforming into hawkers’ wares

that will be slurped whole
swallowed with only a soft crunch

fodder for the greedy beast
still manifesting stolen destinies.

Love Wins! But the War Is Not Over 

Love: action verb, intransitive form

  1. to work actively, directly or indirectly, in opposition of hate

in any form
from any source  (including yourself!)

regardless of personal benefit

Neither Merriam nor Webster signed off on this definition.
It didn’t leap from the catalog of Shakespeare’s lexiconic creations.

The days when dead white men delivered our truth are over.

There is no ambiguity in the meaning that I offer you here-
unlike the cloudy quagmire of tome-bound definitions like:

Love: verb, transitive “to feel deep affection for.”

 Who determines the adequate depth of feeling for it to be deemed “deep”?And affection means fondness which… means… affection.

Love is more than a candy-coated confection.
It is the cleansing fire and soaring flight of a dragon armored in grace.

It sounds like a lot because it is.

You may be mentally retreating to the safety of the directive “Choose your battles wisely.”

I say we are where we are now because of that cubic zirconian piece of advice, because of people seeing THEIR battles as separate from or even against their neighbors and everyone and everything else in this world and cherry-picking the shiny issues plumped up on the limbs of the trees that only grow in their yards while ignoring the fact that those trees are possible because of the soil toiled and tended for generations by the original stewards of our lands and the roots that have been and continue to be watered by the life-blood of black and brown people.

But, that is a poem for another day.

To love is NOT to pick your battles but to know that all of our battles are the same battle and to pick your TACTICS wisely.

March or make sandwiches.
Shout or sing.
Fundraise or film.


Set boundaries. See things through.
Stay informed. Stay hydrated.
Rest. Return.


Take your time, but take a step.
Take your meds.
Take a chance.


Say thank you when someone holds the door for you. (Come on Tacoma!)
Say I’m sorry.
Say no.


Hold someone’s hand.
Hold so someone’s heart.
Hold folx accountable for words and deeds against others.
Hold another’s burden, just for a moment, just for a breath. Just let them breathe.
The Universe is holding you.


Live - even when you don’t know how.
You are a gift. You are meant. Live.


Let go of the toxic.
Even if it came from your Mama.
Even if it came from your church.
Even if it comes from within.


Remember your name.
Remember your worth.
Remember your self-ness that LIVES
regardless of relationship or real estate.


Love wins because to love is to fight
for all of us. And it never stops.

Love Wins! But the War Is Not Over


When I stepped beyond defined borders
I didn’t know my entire meaning
would change.

I’m an intelligent person. This is a fact.
But book sense ain’t common sense.
I’ve been asked so many times,
“How can somebody so smart

be so stupid?”

I didn’t mean to lose you.

But you only asked
if you could visit the dogs

some time.

Lydia K. Valentine
meet the author

Lydia K. Valentine

Lydia K. Valentine is a playwright and poet, director and dramaturg, editor and educator. Her proudest accomplishment, though, is being a mom to two creative, intelligent, and caring individuals and activists. In her own writing and the projects to which [...]