sometimes life tastes like bus exhaust. but it's good to feel appreciated. i asked a soror for advice, and she happily obliged me - gave me just what i needed. called my best friend to check on her and the baby, and i could hear in her voice that she was happy to hear from me. when i get on the mic, they call my name. the other poets in my collective make sure i know they're listening - the one said, "that's my sister!" and the other gave those go on sounds of encouragement and affirmation as i read my poem. it's nice to be invited to the party. to get a real sincere hug from the friend who could tell that the poem i read on stage was for real and from the heart, and not just some stuff i wrote 'cause i thought it would sound nice. it's good to hear poets who i admire telling me that they will try to make it to my feature. it's good to not feel some insane amount of pressure about the buildup to this event, 'cause i know my audience will be there to support, not criticize. it's nice to have a brothafriend call me beautiful with no expectation of anything in return. it's nice to greet familiar faces of people who i enjoy saying, "hey family," to when i see them, whether or not we are blood kin. it's good to know my cousin trusts me. to see the happy pick-me-up-and-hold-me face of his beautiful baby girl when she sees me. to get that returned smile from strangers when you offer them a pleasant face. it's good to be able to look forward to seeing people again and again. it's good to make new friends. all of it added up just tastes like love - is sweet like chocolate. now i know the favor of man is fickle and ephemeral in comparison to the love of my Creator. but i also know that the love i get from His creations is possible because of our ability to surrender to His presence in us. so when i get it, i treasure it, i applaud it, i encourage it, and i try to meet it with the best that is within me. because maybe as i surrender to love, and they surrender to love, and we keep using each other to increase the intensity of love, we will all make His love for us easier to believe and understand. so we can seek that clarity, that compassion, that contentment that only He can provide when we surrender to Love. so it can always taste like chocolate.