One person's clutter might contain another person's treasures. (Wikimedia Commons)

I was in the middle of the Sisyphean task of tidying my office recently, when I realized just how much stuff I had. I looked around the room and felt the beginnings of a Marie Kondo-induced panic attack coming on.

“I should get rid of some of this,” I said to myself. But as I took stock of the room, it became clear to me that this wasn’t just “stuff.” The trash had transcended to treasure. I couldn’t part with any of it.

To paraphrase George Carlin: Other peoples’ stuff is shit and your shit is stuff.

While I didn’t consider these things to be treasures only because they’re mine, I did consider them treasures because of the love I’d invested in them. These were the things I loved so much that I made them my own. Or that someone had given me to convey their love.

These things meant something only to me and to the people who gave them to me. Whether it was because I loved the objects or because the people who had given them loved me, the common denominator was love.

Love might be the only thing that can be everywhere and nowhere simultaneously.

It can be in things, like a worn out NERF football you taught yourself how to catch with, a painting or a sketch from a friend portraying something that has a special significance to the two of you, or a poem written to you that exposes your soul. Take love out of the equation and you’re left with an old football, a picture of a potted plant with no context, and the ramblings of a person talking about a woman living in a man’s heart.

Love can be in a series of words: an inside joke between you and someone you’ve worked with for years, or a letter to someone you’re rarely able to see in person anymore. It can even be in just one word. Take for example the word “bread.” The word “bread” can mean quite literally just the bread you eat, or it could be a term for money, or, if you add love, it can be a playful nickname you’re given because autocorrect messed up your name in a text thread. Why “Bread”? Because everybody loves bread.

It’s entirely subjective. You can choose what to love, what has meaning to you. It can also choose you with the memories it holds. You can give your love to anything and everything and, in doing so, make things meaningful. Or not.

Whatever it is you do, whatever gifts you give, whatever words you say, I hope you choose to do it with love. I’m certainly trying to these days. Love can make the simplest things gold.

Here is a poem I wrote about the word “love” in all its minuscule and grand nature. Dear reader, be aware that things get a bit spicier from here….

Love Is
by Brand Rackley

Love is

Such a small word


Your smiling
Your questioning
Your come-hither
Your arresting
your blue
lesser men call eyes

The batting of them
Because you say
most of what I do is cute


Your hand
Its thumb
The circles it made
on my back
when the world stopped turning
When we thought
we’d never see each other again

The looks
you gave me
when it turned again


A comment
A glance
The bumps
that rise and stir across your skin
when our knees touch
The hairs that graze

The tense
of a thigh touched
Innocent reaction
Interrupting thought
Inciting action

that crackle
and spark
A radiating red
that erupts from the base of the porcelain vase that holds
your honest yearning
Like a cup that can’t help but runneth over

A scorching flood
A heat that not
can cool

A roiling knot
longing to break
An open gait
To gallup
like wild horses
Ridden hard
Not sidesaddle

A quiver
hidden deep
Not of arrows
Tight as a pussy bow
it’s loose
it’s on the floor

The indentions
on places meant for private
Dots that Morse need not scrutinize
Not an SOS
Not a call for help
Their result nonetheless
His holy name
taken in vain
And mine
taken in no less
Like my teeth that left them


Your arms
Your squeeze
around my waist
Like your voice
when you say
will be okay


The length of time
I can bear
to be
without you

Love is

such a small word

Love is


Love is