Photo of a magnet based on artist and activist Hank Willis Thomas’ work ‘Love Over Rules’

By rule we
inherit rules
or acquire
as price of inclusion.

Learn to honor
and obey,
control and be controlled

We’re told the rules are always right,
must be enforced by might
and switches,
shame and fear,
violence and captivity.

We’re not to ask
if rules are fair,
applied equitably,
do more harm
than good.

Follow unquestioningly
follow incessantly
or chaos will rule the days.

Rules rule
every action

fracturing us from one another

until the blinders fall
and we can’t unsee
the poisoned roots
of rules instead of care.

Rules oppress, constrict,
limiting what could be.

Love is spacious,
bathed in possibility.

Rules are ends
justifying means.

Love is wholeness,
ends and means.

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