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Friday, February 20, 2015

This Is Not a Love Poem--A Rose is a Weed in a Cornfield

This Valentine's offering from marialoveswords-This is Not A Love Poem IV-- is for all those love-poets who still believe in love, in all of its many-faceted forms. We here celebrate love in its sticky thorniness, believing as we do that gender is a thing with feathers. Poetry may not save the world, but it could just save your relationship. I disagree with Shakespeare--kind of--he says music is the fruit of love, but I say it’s poetry. So dig in--let the nectar drip from your lips, run down your neck, let the music of these words play on . . .

“The Offering”
There were moments you slew me,
With a grindstone of curses
I’ll cut off your head to bring the rain
This god with his liver dangling beneath the ribs like a bell
I will ring it till it peals, peals, peals
Plastic trinkets in an offering box
A skull with spine attached
A shaman greeted you and beat
you lightly with branches
It was a blessing, a welcome to this city
Milagros pinned to a shrine
Calcium grins grim
Face to face with volcanic stone
I’ll never forget, my enemy or my lover’s shape
Cradling a head in my hands, memorizing the bony plates
Below the cobblestones
Temples built over temples
Riding the lake under the bed of the city
I’ll cut off your head to bring the rain
Wear your hair and face to the temple
And light the braziers, the belly
A stone bowl carved to hold a beating heart
Brenda Coultas
I cannot
Be away from him.

My Argonaut,
My wild flock

Of bright red

Feeding me
His sweet and golden fruit.
Cynthia Cruz
The Apologist
Orange lilies are not an apology. Maybe crimson columbines, if you picked them naked,
were caught by a ranger in your all-together, and given a ticket, yeah, then maybe it’s an apology.

If you offered your herbarium of pilfered wildflowers you’d pressed and labeled: “Flowers of the North Fork of the American River, of which I am most proud,” with taxonomic rank penciled in next to each entry: class, subclass, order and species, then maybe it’s an apology.

A recognition somehow of effort, not a florist phone call delivering flowers unseen.

Orange lilies are not an apology. And don’t even think about roses--don’t--no matter the color. A rose is just a weed in the cornfield of this argument.
Maria Garcia Teutsch
Orange Lilies
Let’s take off our clothes and fool around.
We can roll all over
like dogs off-leash at Lighthouse Beach. Let’s rummage
through each other’s body
like a Fourth of July blowout sale, pawing through the orgy
of tweed and twill, silk and sequins swirling up in flurries.
The Buddha says don’t argue until it’s necessary.
Let’s shuck oysters,
wash them down with dirty martinis,
the table littered with pearly shell. We can fill
the bathtub and pretend we’re looking out
at sunset over Tomales Bay. Your breasts
are lanterns flickering on the water.
Your hips are still California’s golden hills.
This morning I opened an e-mail from Texas
that said I’m going to hell and you don’t really love me,
but if I repent, though my sins be scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow.
Darling, it’s good to know we have options
but for now let’s get triplet Chihuahuas,
carry them around in patent-leather purses.
Drag your guitar out from under the bed
and sing “Rose of My Heart” again.
I’ll hunt in the garage for my zills and coin-covered bra
and do the three-quarter shimmy down the skinny hall.
Let’s not think about our children, miles away,
doing things we’d rather not know.
Haven’t we carved enough statues?
You remember the meadow I rented for you.
You wanted it sunny and edged with trees.
I paid the old woman a hundred dollars
so I could lay you down under the sky’s blue marquee.
The longer we’re together, the less I can tell you.
But hasn’t it been a long day?
The President of Infinite Sadness is sorry
she ever ran for office. She imagined
she’d be like those brawny angels
who lower you into the tubs of warm mud at Calistoga.
But monkeys are gorging on peanut butter
so science can prove fat makes you fat,
and the workers who grow roses in Ecuador
are poisoned so we can say it with flowers.
Tomorrow we’ll write letters. We’ll try harder
We’ll turn down the thermostat and bicycle to work
and you’ll swish plastic bags in a sink of soapy water
where they float like the jellyfish they’re mistaken for.
But tonight let’s bring Bessie back for an encore.
Don’t you want a little sugar
in your beautiful bowl?
Let’s make some rain, let’s invent skin,
give me your glorious, gorgeous, generous thighs.
The ghost of my mother’s in the basement doing laundry,
offering the damp clothes that extra little shake.
Wouldn’t she be happy
to hear us nickering and neighing?
Wouldn’t she be happy to know
death is feeding elsewhere tonight?
I’ll dust your eyelids with cinnamon
and braid those old feathers into your hair.
Morning will find us asleep on the roof,
our faces blank as the new day, just the mockingbird
in the neighbor’s tattered palm
whistling a tune that sounds a little like a Persian raga,
that twangy sitar, raising the sun.
Ellen Bass
On Love, On Representing It
We are so alive!
Planes and stars hang among stars
which I saw from the roof of the ineffable.
I distilled almost to vapor.
Meanwhile, the violation
of social distance defines
the panic element
of sex, the marvelous panic, the hoarder’s
closeness of gorging the flesh, but none of this
is love, only a coarse moon, orbiting but cold,
producer of tides and fickle odes,
but itself an emblem of the impassive
and worse, unable to sustain life.
Your purple earrings
sit on the edge of an earthly sink and I inhale
your age of sage and pine, I inhale
a particularity that could eat
everything for a thousand years
like a collapsing star, some angel
of nervous light, our shape
in a mirror, a forest, a garden.
But nothing will stand in, nothing will complete,
not even the coast road we took,
the views stunning, then a rockslide
halfway closed the way and what else to do
but pose with the ocean
behind us in its currents
and distant liners and the moon a vivid coin.
Jesse Nathan
The Kiss
(for DC)
Tonight, the kiss I’ve dreamed of,
the kiss of a lifetime, is here.
And now we hug and kiss
and kiss and love–
exploding the moment,
as if we were an extravagant bouquet
of burgeoning buds and stamens.
Like creatures dashing through the forest,
we tumble into each other’s arms,
our mouths and leafy boughs entwined.
Some strange and wondrous magnet
is drawing us together
like orbiting stars, carrying us
beyond the dust of ourselves.
Carolyn Mary Kleefeld
Divine Kiss
They Forget to Tell You
Here is the part of the story all the cards and first date performers forget to tell you:
The End.
Of which there is always at least one. You know this.
What you may not know, is that today a lone sailor took a tiny boat out on choppy waves
while I sat on a rock a few miles away recording how today was another day of mourning for the way someone would jerry-rig a buoy to look for rays
and the way another might forget sunscreen on the back of her neck and turn a painful red
and for how he sang while he packed, licked spoons on their backsides, lost socks in drawers, or took pictures of her in a certain light, and lost the film
or for how she would lose her voice, and root around in the bottom of her bag for her keys
and for how he lost so badly at cards, he cheated to avoid losing
for how he had always wanted to sail but lost the will-- who doesn't fear the open water, the unknown conditions?
The lone boat with its lone driver waited for a ferryfull of people to pass and didn't wave, but held still in the open water
and kept holding-- not moving, not changing, but holding--
then turned in the direction of the harbor, starting the motor which I could not yet hear
as the water kissed the hull,
and the hull kissed solitude
and this was a love song.
Jamie Zeigler Laurens
solomons love song done
Katie Cloutte
The milkman greets the hairdresser. The hairdresser greets the window washer. The window washer greets the street sweep­er. The street sweeper greets the priest, who greets the mayor, who greets the housewife, who sends her children on their way to school this Tuesday morning. The children greet the puppies that follow them, then scowl and send the puppies crying home. The puppies lie down and greet their own crotches, then greet the cats. The cats greet the milkman. The milkman greets the tourists, who point at a sculpture. The sculpture greets the jew­elry maker. The jewelry maker greets the chef. The chef greets the butcher. The butcher greets the baker with fresh lard for baking a limone-semolina cake. The baker greets the winemaker with a slice of sugary grape cake. The wine maker greets the wind that pollinated the grapevines where the grape cake grapes grow. The wind greets the gardener, who greets the pigeons, who greets bluebirds, who tweet to the doctor. The doctor greets the poets. The poets greet other poets. These poets greet a curvy dressmaker. The dressmaker greets the fine lady who had been waiting every day at the café for five days for her dress to be repaired and re­turned. The fine lady greets her and the café manager, who greets his miniature infant twins, who greet the angels they brought with them. Each one greets this crisp sunny day.
Shelley Marlow
What If
Orson Welles never existed? Or Vienna?
I’ve never seen The Third Man but what if
I had? Would I have faked my death
or made sure of hers? What if
there were phones that took selfies
ten years ago, when I shook my head
and told myself I’d met a crazy one, a woman
as likely to eat me as love me, who left me
staring at myself in window panes
as dusk slicked the world with darkness
and there I was staring back, lost or
in love: I couldn’t decide which. But
a picture: if I’d studied myself in a phone
tucked like a mirror in my hand, I’m sure
I’d have seen the truth. And what if
there is a single truth? I’ve been to Vienna.
It’s as if there was never a war. Until you look
past the cobwebs in attics, shuffle through
pictures and old letters, all the other secrets
hidden away in trunks and unmarked boxes,
or look into the eyes of the last lingerers,
who worry a little more than the rest of us
about what awaits them in the afterlife.
I feel like Sylvia Plath. And so what?
But what if I’d never returned her calls?
What if I’d looked into her eyes the first
time I heard her lie and called it
what it was: her truth. What if
I’d thrown her clothes into the street
that morning I read what she’d done in
a trail of texts on her phone, as she slept
with my son on a bean bag chair
in the next room. What if I’d walked
next door and borrowed a gun.
What if I’d written down her lies
like a list of wishes sung blue into the cold
space of cupped hands, her hands
as she walked home from another lover’s
crumbling tenement, walked home to me
still asleep in the predawn wheeze of our son’s
humidifier, asleep certain that my wife
had come home hours earlier, was drunk
and motionless a foot away, her hair
tangled in her own hands as if she’d
tried to climb free of a nightmare
and found herself in bed with me.
I remember her once offering me a lank
length of hair and lifting her chin
as if to say, Here, wrap it around
my neck. As if to say, Please.
What if.
James Harms

Monday, February 9, 2015

This Is Not a Love Poem-Blue Valentines

Welcome to Valentine's Month and This is Not a Love Poem-Blue Valentines. Not brought to you by the flower industry, the card industry, but instead brought to you by this love cat. I have been writing anti-love poems for about 15 years now and also assigning this task to my students. It is a liberating experience. We never have Hallmark cards that read, "here's my heart, you can smash it to smithereens if you so chose," though this is sometimes the end result of our love experience. So no matter where you weigh in on the love question, one thing is true, without love of some sort, life is all white bread and mayonnaise. This year the object of my affection is the creek that runs through my back yard. What's yours? Below I have assembled some various takes on the love equation by some extraordinary writers. Dive in babies. These poets are the mathematicians of love: Anne Waldman, Carol Frost, Kim Addonizio, Alan Jude Moore, Francesco Levato, J. Hope Stein, Dan Linehan, Adeena Karasick, Joanna Fuhrman, Michael Odom, Jillian Mukavetz, and Dena Rash Guzman.

She’s got my heart and I’ve got hers
It was fair we fell in love
I hold hers precious and mine she would miss
There never was anything like this
My heart in her keeps us one
Her heart in me guides thoughts and feelings
She loves my heart for once it was hers
I loved hers because it lived in me
I once wounded her it was misunderstanding
And then my heart hurt for her heart
For as from me on her her hurt did sit
So I felt still in me her heart hurt
It both of us hurt simultaneously
And then we saw how we’re stuck
With each others' hearts now.
                                    after Sir Philip Sydney
Anne Waldman

Any white heron trespassing in the fallen tide
any dawn will wait for least brine shiver, silver fish and silver
fish coming into its realm, helpless in their swimming
as heron in devouring; and you, beloved, god filling
you with yourself, helpless in trespass.
I see heron will not move its crooked leg or moves so little its magnificence
is, as it is, in being live and, as it will, in swallowing;
water or wine glass, some promise, is ever bound
to be broken by your wing span; o heron, flying off all at once,
like stars splashing. By the time the sky
swallows the true stars, day & death will have trespassed.
Carol Frost
Love in a cold climate Meet the penguin with a heart-shaped breast

Candy Heart Valentine
In the story of the three famous words, things turn out badly :
one word is washed overboard, another ends trapped under a machine
drinking and dialing, the third is still apologizing to some rocks.
I’ve forgotten how to swim, and the sharks are circling. Love
is hopeless in exactly zero of the Hollywood movies I’ve watched, alone
in bed or sitting in the overbuttered dark in a chair that rocks slightly,
someone’s hand on my thigh, my hand on someone’s stirring
private parts. You were someone to me once, but now I’ve razored
through most of the frames. I only occasionally hear the clatter
and dying fall before the projector stops. Love according to the Greeks
came in four flavors, eros being the most likely to turn to old gum
in your mouth and so end up smashed on a sidewalk by the boots
and perilous heels of happier passersby, flattened under the swivel
of stroller wheels. You know what I miss? I miss lying next to you
like a lifeboat snug against an ocean liner. Love isn’t love,
according to Shakespeare, if it’s confused about whether it’s a star
or a distant reflective planet, if it’s a winestain that succumbs
to a little seltzer water. You know what else I miss: you strumming
your electric lyre, plectrum flashing in bar light. I still see
a pink cloud where the spill was. Love is deeper than nothing.
You, love, you. I’m writing our story in small block letters. Love
mixed in a machine, cut and stamped into dough. You know. You know.
Kim Addonizio

The Futurist
Somewhere                             there is your love
Lying in wait like an escalator
The apple trees shaped like a crucifix
There is no-one here to say otherwise
Trams meet in the centre of town
Like metal tongues sliding against each other
Or beached whales whose bones remember
Looking for some way off the land
In the zoo they predict the breeding patterns
Of an almost extinct African species
In telescopic towers we extend our reach
Scrape at planets with our gods and debris
Somewhere our love in the future waits
Like dogs in the wild
                                       slim and patient
Alan Jude Moore

Oscillations (vi)
We speak of attraction or repulsion,
possess a power of motion which would realize itself
                                      if all hindrances were removed.

We have had pulls and tensions,
and might have had the force of heat
but we are two utterly distinct things.

I have tried to steer clear of confusion,
fixing the mind on things rather than on names,
but names are essential.

It is actual then, and we agree to call it that.
Francesco Levato

For the necklace with a tiny silver pony she misplaces on the floor of my factory—For I rescue the necklace from the floor of my factory and wait for her to disrobe and change into her street clothes. For when she sees me looking through the curtains that don’t quite close. For I give her the necklace and ask if there’s a story behind the pony. She whispers - zebra not pony and merry-go-rounds me like a ghost. Her hair, golden. For I levitate with my high plane of thought and summon her to keep returning to me. For touch is the only true correspondence of tiny men and I begin to sculpt her:

One I drum on her head.

Two I place my hand on her abdominals to possess her of her meridians.

Three I sandwich my weight to her bend & she can feel my monster.

Four She keeps saying zebra and keeps coming back.

Five I notice the chisels in her body.

Six I invite her to balance on one leg by clasping her foot to my inner thigh and she can feel my monster.

Seven We do seated poses to add suppleness to her knees, groin and ankles.

Eight We do reaching poses that make her blouse slide, exposing elements of her stomach. At first she struggles with one hand reaching. I have the factory hold these positions for a full minute. For she is swimming in golden hair.

Nine Sometimes she keeps on her necklace and in inverted positions, the zebra dangles to her lips. Sometimes she lets it slip inside her mouth.

Ten For it is the new moon—The disciples in the factory are wood-working with their eyes closed.

For night is a dark open mouth & I have the mind to make a cocktail of her. I stand over her body, (for the fragrance of her swollen body in corpse pose) the room is dark, her eyes are closed—She must have summoned me with levitation. For sometimes you think about going right up to a rim of a volcano and having a glass of scotch. I bring her left pinky inside my mouth—She does not change the pistol or compass of her electric breath. This girl does not make a single movement or noise in darkness surrounded by disciples with their eyes closed. We stay just like this for 4 minutes.
J. Hope Stein

She told me about her silver ring.
Her mother had said
silver has healing powers.
I showed her my silver earring.
I feel like a pirate now.
She has a telescope back in Chile.
This is her last cruise.
She knows magic tricks.
We watched the comet,
                           sharing a pair of binoculars.
Dan Linehan

From Salomé: Woman of Valor
Through all that is verboten burdened blurred
let me --
in the rife frivolity of shadowed runes fused
in nightshade rills riffs
taste you --
writhing with s’lipse signs sobs secrets
obscured through
the trace of your skin tongue
taste you ---
across the length of this enclosure
For, fraught with illegality
each day, a scarred cirque
of hazy gaming
gambits ambits orbits
a quirky surplus of excess-flecked flourishes
Each day
a strung cluster
of awkward urgencies
And each day
I reach towards you
through all that is forbidden and unthinkable
dripping with blood text breath histories stirred with
strung pleasure
Adeena Karasick

And Then We Started Again
I need you as a red panda conquers Minnetonka,
filling all the empty ponds with aqua vodka
because he is a god from another planet trapped
here when his intergalactic bicycle broke down.
I need you like an elbow, like I need my elbow
to be able to pick up a phone and call you from
New Jersey Transit and ask you the time. Always
I need you, even when the rubber palms pick up
their saxophones to play love and anti-love bebop
or to toss the schoolteachers and their stuffed
walkie-talkie jewelry out of the classroom and
into the revolving plaza where it is snowing
miniature white kitty-cats and gooey marshmallow
frogmen. Despite everything or because of everything,
I need you most when I don’t need you at all,
when all the windows are locked shut and I put
my fuzzy earmuffs and flannel armor on, and
then suddenly find you smiling and lying right
next to me in our bed with all the covers drawn.
Joanna Fuhrman

Venus Stoops, Conquered
(to the woman who offered her beauty in marriage to any man making more than 500k annual and received only a lecture on finance in response)
Your stuck-shocked arch gaze, your unbreathing (unpored)
Waxed skin, bald hatchling’s body with a blonde sculpture on top -
Are you sapiens anymore? Or angel-
Paint on a parvenu chimp? By grace and expert hand,
Among women now, Goddess, your hard symmetry and luster
Should make men, and wealth, love you. Intense brow work alone
Should earn powerlifting with the muscles that work
Male jaws (They win gold). Beauty’s neglect in our time
Is no flaw in you, Precious, purchasable as art.
But looks do not appreciate. They trend down.
And your face-depreciation won’t write off.
And what beauty can blame business for failing to love
When throughout history it’s been beauty’s love
To hang on business.
Michael Odom

This Can’t Be a Love Poem Because I Am a Poet
Fox Mulder was too sensitive
To tell Scully the truth. It’s out there
on Netflix. He should have stopped her
from wearing those boxy jackets
and too-long skirts. Scully,
he could have said. Scully,
they do you no favors.

He cared more for greys.

Nancy Botwin was too insensitive
to really go for Andy. You might think
she was sensitive and holding back
because Andy was her brother-in-law
but we are talking MILFweed
and suburban baronesses
and spankings in limousines Nancy.

She cared more for selling weed.

In/sensitive? I’m neither one of those.
I’m numb. I’m dumb. I ask questions like
how did you like the book, or
would you like to talk about this tomorrow, or
I just turn on the TV and write a story
based on a show I saw another time I turned it on.

I care more about metaphor, Fukushima, and sorrow.
 Dena Rash Guzman

act 200

scene :                                    glenn pets kittens watching the snow fall from the beach

cowboy to glenn:                    why is your bed made, wingless weather of a blue dress
we play flowers on a branch, pulled leather petals placed against my lips I don't need to understand all you have sad

glenn :                                     dear magnetic peach
the air under the sidewalk
walks backwards
knees like wild animals
Jillian Mukavetz

 Tom Waits: Blue Valentine

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Ode to the Creek

Love Poems come in many forms: mine is to the creek running in my back yard. For more love poems check out This is Not a Love Poem III--Blue Valentines here

Ode to the Creek

To the burnished waters
snaking facets
of silver minnows
in my back yard.
Meek cousin
to the royal
humble tendril.
You toss
onto the shore
like bread
the poor,
I string
into a path.

O creek!
you cannot
what the full
moon pulls:
alms of stars
from your
of ferns,
and the two
purple fountain
into a bower
for their chicks.

You sometimes feign
like a sleeping
eye opens
to the peck
of walnuts,
to the pelt
of their concentric
on your surface,
like patterns
on a taffeta
each layer
you hike
up reveals
from the sycamore
two doors
A red twig
cozies up
to the redwood
which umbrellas
the wild willows.
Why does it always
come back
to the sorrow
of willows?

You sometimes rage
when the neap
tide fattens
the ocean’s
and crowds
you back
the mountain’s
You fight
and froth
the storm,
small trees,
broken bottles,
and cedar shingles,
the ocean’s
mad gob.
You swell the
of the shoreline
into two
threaten me
with a divide
too wide
to cross.
Make me think
I may never
this foaming

O creek,
the morning sun’s
into a tinkling
The wood ducks
and the shore
makes a bridge
of a fallen tree.
Your grand symphony
now a penny whistle
of rapids receding.
You blush
and offer
a perfectly round
a wedge of polished
and a broken
tea cup,
on the riffle of
the currents’ edge.
I take these
and place each
on an altar
of mud,
and twigs,
in an
to appease
a sometimes