Thursday, February 20, 2014

Belated Poetry Valentines

Last year, I gave out Haiku Valentines at the monthly reading I host,
on those little kiddie cards that children hand out for school.

Elizabeth McNeil and Jared Duran were February's featured poets.

This year, I decided to write memorable lines from other poets
on those little Valentines cards. But my handwriting is so atrocious
that they probably weren't legible, anyway.
So I will post them here.
(just imagine these lines scribbled on the back of tiny cards with kittens
and hearts and cupid's aimless arrows)

Charles Baudelaire

Even when she walks one would believe that she dances.
some women inspire the desire to conquer and possess them;
but this one rouses the desire to die slowly while she watches.

Erin Belieu

You’re the new stoplight,
the red direction from nowhere,
the unnecessary signal I want to run.

Jeffrey McDaniel

I want to rip off your logic and make passionate sense to you.
I've been ignored by prettier women than you,
but none who carried the heavy pitchers of silence
so far, without spilling a drop.
Even when I'm dead, I'll swim through the Earth,
like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.

Nin Andrews

Even my cotton panties can hardly breathe.

Charles Simic

Love, that damn fool, who points a flashlight
with a dying battery into the past

(these were all fragments, except for the following complete poem)

Their Sex Life
                      by A.R. Ammons
One failure on
Top of another

Kelli Russell Agodon

my fingerprints smudge your history,
the beehive evenings where we once buzzed.
Maybe I'm still the mermaid.
Maybe the ocean is your hand.

Jean Cocteau

The prettiest dresses are worn to be taken off.

Beth Ann Fennelly

Intimacy linked with pain---I covered my eighth-grade hickeys
with curling iron burns.
my charmer: I’m
still wound around your arm. When the snake loves,
it’s the fiercest kind of love.

Charles Jensen

You are like a hotel that has a vacancy:
I want to fill you with me.
brunettes have less fun
but keep better secrets.
unwrapping yourself
as if you were
the one thing I’ve ever lacked.

Kim Addonizio

I like to touch your tattoos in complete
darkness, when I can’t see them.

Julio Cortazar

May you look beyond me,
may you love me with violent disregard
for tomorrow

Drew Myron

Know what grows in tangled vines that trellis the heart.

Pablo Neruda

I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

Love is so short, forgetting is so long.
I have forgotten your love, yet I seem to
Glimpse you in every window.

Emily Dickinson

Morning without you is a dwindled dawn.

Matt Mason (with his mistranslations of Neruda)

I bought her some cheese, sometimes she also brought me some cheese
In nights like these, I just hold her groceries in my arms.
In you, rivers sing, and my virginity hugs sailors
I have macramé car seat covers from your discount supermarket of hope,
and alone in delirium, the back of my neck is itchy.
you are there with your invisible kisses
where my arms are bound and my humiliations broadcast.
Ah, your mysterious voice that loves tinfoil and pop songs
in the resonant and dying candlelight!

ee cummings

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

Denise Duhamel

I said, “I dream only of you,”
which was romantic and silly and untrue.

T.S. Eliot

Love is most nearly itself
When here and now cease to matter.

Joshua Beckman

we are now
part of a garden, that is part of a  
landscape, that is part of a world
that no one believes in.

Gregory Sherl

attaching strings to clouds. Alone with wind. I came here
to tell you I have loved everything once.

Frank O’Hara

I admire you, beloved, for the trap you've set.
It's like a final chapter no one reads
because the plot is over.
and my heart--you can't plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

Sylvia Plath

Kiss me, and you will see how important I am.
I’d say go to hell, but I never want to see you again.
we all like to think we are important enough to need psychiatrists

Hope Cupid didn't have to use one of his arrows to commit seppuku.


  1. Well, hey! I'm tickled pink. I just love how you spread poetry in the world, and I'm so happy to be a part of your valentine vibe. Thank you Shawnte.

  2. That was such a fantastic line that I just couldn't keep it to myself forever.

  3. Love that I was a valentine! Thanks, Shawnte!!

  4. And I blatantly stole, I mean borrowed, the O'Hara quote that you used on your card.
    I mean stole.