“as a friend”

If ever you feel the need
to qualify your love for someone
as a kind that is shared
not as a lover,
but as a friend,
I kindly ask you to get real.
Has this not been implied?
These words—
‘As a friend’—
do nothing more
than strip away
what makes love,
love.

Qualifying your love—
‘as a friend’—
does to love
what ‘No Trespass’ signs do to the natural beauty of Yellowstone.
To truly love me as a friend,
trust me.
I am not a stranger—
who will trample you.
To know me as you do,
is it still necessary to construct barrier walls,
razor wire fences, and paint ugly red letters on aluminum?
As a friend,
I know to politely keep my feet on the path.
I do not stand at your majesty to trample your grasses,
shoot arrows in the direction of your buffalo,
or take baths in your hot springs;
Although I have known one or two who have—
and they have remarked about its healing ways.

But I am not sick.
I am not in need
of anything but love,
if you know what I mean.
So be a friend to me
and I will be a friend to you.

As a friend,
I love you.
As a friend,
I comfort you.
As a friend,
I claim you.
I will love you more perfectly
than any other who dares
trespass on your property.

And if,
while we are friends,
you wish our love to be romantic,
appear upon my bed wearing nothing but your blush.
I promise I will understand your meaning;
And I will likely oblige you,
peeling my clothes off and sitting beside you
in order to explain how I too love you,
but as a friend.
Do not feel humiliated as I utter those words,
for I prepared my body to be naked aside yours—
and that is a fine quality of love;
To be willing to bare yourself,
no matter what the romantic significance.
Love is love,
no matter whom is the hunter,
whom is the fox—
and whether your body is ever a trophy prized above all others.

Love is, after all, just one word--
and love can only be that.
There is really only one use—
and no types or categorizations,
although we try.
If the love is real, however,
it is universally understood
and no further boundaries
are necessary to contain the impetus hurling toward the infinite.
Ultimately, we are both human—
and so is my wife,
and I am capable of loving you both as such.
Love me as a person and be thankful I am not one of those
whom you need qualify anything
to be fully understood.

narrative poem written on 03-14-2010 by: on mattkane.com
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