You awake to the soft sound of bells, nearly inaudible but you hear them. You seek them and walk through the door. A projector turns on in an empty otherwise unlit room.
…LOVE shines a light. All is revealed: your relationship with God, your relationship with yourself, your desires, your weaknesses, your insecurities.
You didn’t choose this. It chose you — and your feelings are all that are yours: ecstasy, or maybe pain and suffering.
…LOVE: the hard-hearted will say it isn’t real but even they love something, their own suffering, maybe.
Mom. Dad. Grandma. Grandpa. Perhaps your loved one isn’t a person. They are a love object. Their humanity is erased by your projection. Or perhaps you love an actual object. A collection.
…LOVE: hard to say what it even is.
Today, on this Valentine’s Day, we seek to finally define it. Define it by what it is. Define it by what it is not. Lust, attachment, transference.
It’s easy to say all the love stories have all been told, all the love poems written. But no real love story is alike. And the mystics, malcontents, misfits, and maligned must find the ringing bells and illuminate the room.
BATHWATER by G. Cameron Perry
COMFORT STATION by Gwen Hilton
“CORNUCOPIA” by Aldous Asterion
CUPID’S DAGGER by Russell Thayer
GET THAT NUT! by Brad Kelly
JIMMY’S MOTHER DIED by William Dustice
KISSING THE ROBOT by Keltie Zubko
MIDNIGHT IN LOVE by Arbogast
“NO TAKERS” by Atsushi Ikeda
ON THE BLINK by Dia VanGunten and Beppi
THE PRISONER by Chris Heavener
SHNOOKUMS by plasticbagger
“SNAIL MAIL” by Paul Hostovsky
THE SONG OF THE HARPER by Elliott Neal
SOUTH BEACH by Evan McConahay
SUMMER OF ED AND KALLIE by Nathan Pettigrew
THINGS ARE LOOKING UP by Warren Benedetto
A TOWN IN THE WOODS by Steve Gergley
TWO QUINTAINS by Humphrey ‘Huck’ Astley
UNTITLED (2023) by Matthew Kinlin
“WIGGLING TOES” by Trout Fish