Valentine’s Poetry #2

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

my cheeks.

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,

every word,

in our skin’s

specific vocabulary.

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.

“Hey, Keys.

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!

“Fossil hunting” by me

There are places

where fossils lie scattered

on the surface

crumbling from a cliff

waiting to be sifted and found.

I did not know this

when you asked me

to go fossil hunting.

I assumed there would be

digging involved.

This was how it was with you too.

Love lay waiting

to be turned over

like those rocks,

waiting to reveal to my heart

the deep grooves of discovery

and lifelong devotion.

All it took 

was the time to look,

the time to turn over rocks

and emotions,

one at a time.

3 thoughts on “Valentine’s Poetry #2

  1. Pingback: Valentine’s Poetry 2020 – Jena Benton

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