It’s time for another annual tradition that goes back so many years I’ve lost track. I have records from at least 2005 forward, but I KNOW it was much farther back than that. At any rate, this is the day where I share some of my favorite gems of love poems that I’ve been culling all year long. Last year was the first year I shared them on this blog (if you’d like to know why), but I’ve been sharing via email and social media much longer than that. Read on if you’d like.
I laugh at myself scrambling over the last few weeks thinking “I can’t find poems for this year!” I’ve read a TON of poetry the last few months and nothing was sticking. Well, I might blame my brain for that. It turns out I stock piled SO many that I had to cull the herd QUITE a bit! So I share only 4 gems of others’ work, and 1 of mine.
The first poem came from a collection called “Under All Silences: Shades of Love” selected by Ruth Gordon. It’s a really great collection with poems translated from many different languages (Chinese, Japanese, Egyptian, Hebrew, etc.) and poets throughout many centuries. This is but one poem I found in it that I loved and had to share.
“Love, It Is Time” by Karl Shapiro
Love, it is time I memorized your phone
Number and made it part of what I keep
Not in a black book but in living bone
of fingertips that dial you in my sleep.
Time that the Roman wires of my heart
Lead all to you like artery or vein
Or tourist roadmap or a fever chart,
Since you are central now to my love’s brain.
Teri, I have your number in my blood,
Your name is red and racing in my pulse
And all my nerves are ringing as they should
Through the night’s black and sweet umbilicus
Connecting our two lives with strings of words
That you send back this spring like flights of birds.
Next is a poem from a collection called “Passionate Hearts: the Poetry of Sexual Love” selected by Wendy Maltz. I found quite a few I loved in this one as well, but I wasn’t sure that I should share them here (warning too, this book had a lot of poems that are VERY blunt about sex and body parts). This one is a bit racier than I tend to share, but I loved it so much I couldn’t cull it.
“Desire” by Kim Ports
We leave the bed where your fingers
are a wide surprise, where your tongue
tells me slow stories. I watch you,
in the daylight, bring your hand
to your face, to your mouth. I tuck
pieces of myself behind
in the tangle of our bodies.
We make our way onto buses,
we pass the old women who sit
rocking and tapping their feet,
we blow our noses, clear our throats.
It’s just life picking us up,
moving us from one place to
the next. We fumble for our keys,
tie our shoes, greet people we
care nothing for greeting. But
today, when you reach into your
pocket, you’ll find the curve of my
neck, you’ll brush away my hair
from your cheek. I’ll slip inside
your shirt, lie flat against your chest.
Your hands will catch themselves
reaching. And the scent of me, the
scent you long for, will draw you home.
Along those same lines comes this poem I discovered last year and saved for this. I found out that an Alaskan author from my hometown I only knew to write mysteries was also a poet. I feasted upon his Haiku and loved them. I found another collection of his called “The Rising and the Rain” which I still want to buy a copy of I love it so! This poem is just a taste of how beautiful his work is (so definitely give him a read!).
“words to say while kissing” by John Straley
I would say “perfect”
then lean into you
tasting your breath
and the salt on your lips.
I’d say “lovely” moving my tongue
lightly onto yours,
laughing as your breath fills
I would say your name
over and over again
making you more than
lips, or tongue, or breath.
I would say your name
and you would become the cool water of a deep lake
holding both our bodies
above the leaf-matted bottom,
suspended where we could say everything,
in our skin’s
This next one was also discovered last year in another anthology called “Poetry Speaks: Who I Am” collected by Elise Paschen and Dominique Raccah. It was an interesting collection of poems for teens. This one jumped out at me.
“Pause” by Nikki Grimes
The sky is slate
and the world is a cold
and slushy place till
Kiara stops by Video Haven,
sunshine in jeans
and knee-high boots.
I see you’re working hard.
Make sure you stack those videos
in alphabetical order.”
I smile as if
it’s my invention.
The manager cuts his eyes at me,
so I keep moving.
My part-time shift
runs another hour.
“Catch you later,”
I tell her,
and she blows me a kiss
warm enough to melt
every patch of ice
on the planet.
Gotta watch out
for the sun.
Finally, this is a poem I wrote. I was ruminating on the day my husband jokes should really be our first date, but I kept insisting we weren’t dating then! LOL!