MAP #171-1 Theme: Be My Valentine

1. Man's Best Friend by Kelly Evans

St. Valentine heard the whisper of the little lad's wish,

"Let Katie be mine forever and seal it with a kiss."

In wait, he bid his spirit beyond the woodsy shadows,

and saved the best for last of his cupid arrows.

Dressed in knickers blue, a suit of Sunday best,

Sir Nick and his little pup approached the missy of his quest.

A cherry-shaped chocolate heart filled his tiny hand,

coupling the other in hers in clandestine they ran.

As down the hill they went, yellow daisies curtsy-swayed

to part a path for two young hearts on love's promenade.

With Cupid's arrow released, little Katie's heart was charmed

and her dainty shoulders befriended her beau's embracing arm.

Afraid the moment would pass, ever so tender and meek

Nick pressed his gentle lips against Katie's cheek.

In wonderment, a sky of stars appeared though it was only noon

and February's chill soon became the heat of mid-summer's June.

Amid this precious moment, though amore filled the air,

the heart of another grieved this silhouetted pair.

"Where does this leave me?", Nick's little puppy sighed

as he stood in pools of salt, close by his master's side.

"What about puppy-dog tails, snails, and being man's best friend,

does 'sugar-n-spice and everything nice' bring us to an end?

I bet she can't bury bones, chase her tail, or even fetch a stick,

so, won't you be my Valentine, my friend - Master Nick?"

I. [On Realizing] I Did Not Send You A


(i did not "remember you" on Valentine's Day!) by TomM Hall

BUT I think of you...EVER!

many times! many days!

"No Problem!"perhaps you say,

or perhaps:

"You DOG! I am injured! You DON'T loveMe!"



ever VALENTINE’S DAY was even a Glint

in the Heart of ST. HALLMARK

(a trillion? years back on the Track of Time,

the true Spirit of Love:

is as ever will BE!

(true love Forgives

/true Love remembers/............

© 1993/2001 TomM Hall.

From The L*ve Book:Theme and Variations the Book of Days - 20 February 1993

3. This Valentine’s Day… by Mary Eastham

Remember an old love with fondness not regret.

Pray for World Peace.

Send yourself flowers

give all but one

to people who matter.

Kiss a child's tears away.

Smooth over love's jagged edges

in a relationship

you've been meaning to mend.

Slow down.

Thank someone for being kind to you.

Wake up smiling.

Hold that smile close to your lips all day.

Bury a prejudice.

Kiss someone you love

a long, slow kiss,

deep and promising

like it's the first time.

© Mary Eastham

4. After a Picnic in the Park by Hilbert Turner, Jr.

The rain started falling

you sighed

we stopped walking

to hear the sound

of fresh water


an ancient tree's

young leaves

you clung to me tighter

as if cold

i had the basket in one hand

umbrella in the other

in a fleeting swell of jealousy

you took and

flung them gently aside

leaving me free

to embrace you fully

you kissed me


i kissed you

(no difference

the euphoria is the same)

while both objects

sat on the ground


catching the rain

had someone seen us

wet-headed and giggly

and taken a photograph

we might expect

to see it

smiling back at us

from a catalog cover

or in the dictionary

next to the word


© Hilbert Turner, Jr.

5. Do You Love Me? By Diane Fleming

Do you love me? Do you still love me?

Gall durn it pal, I hear they’re offering

French toast this week

at the Nudes-a-Popping Waffle House.

So this I gotta know

Do you still love me?

Stick with me baby, I’ll have you

farting in silk. We’ll lay pipe

while the trout get ready

to run to the sea.

And, pal, there’ll be arc-ing ropes of jism,

like Niagara Falls during a meteor shower

on leapfrog day in the stormy month of June.

I’ll take the falls in a barrel

and you’ll eat 'mater samiches

and a mess of greens.

I’ll have you shitting in tall cotton, baby.

You won’t look like seven miles of bad road no more,

not like you did when you were burying the pork sword

with that girl who’d been hit by an ugly stick;

her ass looked like

two hogs wrassling

in a tater sack.

So dad-gum-it, sweet dumpling,

pass the sweet tea and sit back with me.

We’ll talk about whatever we feel like

because dang-nab-it, you’re hotter than the

first day of August in Austin, Texas.

© Diane Fleming

6. Just Before Bandera by Jeff Knight

And if you were sleepwalking on those nights,

quiet as the cloud-shaped paint on the walls

of your bedroom back home (here the drifting

clouds of a western horizon cartwheel

from a picture frame), I would have heard you,

still, though your steps were light as cigarette

smoke, soft as reflected light on water.

And if you were sleepwalking on those nights,

dream-unreasoning-drawn to a window

frame, to feel the glass press back cold against

your face, the sweet remembered nerve jangle

of holding a favorite pipe, I would

have found you there, taken your unwaking

hand, would have led you dreaming back to bed.

© Jeff Knight

7. Small Death by Ryfkah

in memory of Pablo Neruda

He makes love to my name

in blues and gold light

Like a python

I swallow him whole

He pens tongues

of fire and blood

breathes his amor

I am jealous of Mathilde

his last love

wonder if he'll tread

gently with my name

as he did his prior wife

of eighteen years

synonymous to life

His ship passes into poetry

its beacon bright

an ever flaming torch

The mast pierces my name

takes me fully

into passion's small death

8. Heart To Heart - The Valentine’s Waltz by Mary Beth Essary

As I slipped into the crowded room I caught his gaze, the deep blue eyes, the jet

black hair curved round his straight jaw line, suddenly our eyes locked.

I demurely lowered my glance, as closing a window shade against the blazing

noonday sun, wondering if he was doing the same.

I carefully raised my eyes only too find he was still standing with one boot on the

fireplace, confirming my suspicion that he was good Texas stock.

The trembling of my hands, the quivering of my heart, the sweeping curve of my

gown floating down the stairs, slowly crossing the room, as a moth drawn to

the forbidden flame,

His eyes swept over my body and his dark felt hat tipped my way, in a sultry fashion,

beaming approval, without a womanizer's mock.

His tight jeans and dark boots were headed my way, causing heads to turn, my

balance to sway, fully knowing this rugged handsome man had laid claim to

me, as his dame.

His arms encircled the satin and lace at my waist, tugging me into a gentle embrace,

that would last the night, dancing and dreaming without one peek at the clock.

We moved in perfect union without missing a step. Few words were spoken as our

hearts kept perfect time, swirling and swaying to the urgent strains of the

Valentine's waltz, the cowboy and the lady had learned the song's name.

© Mary Beth Essary

9. Untitled by Ricardo Garza

Palm trees flap in this february sky as i wander erraticly like the
whirlwinds of the hurricane
breathing stripping my body in the Gulf of Mexico
this is the Rio that flows from the Colorados
chapped/dry/cracked as I yearn in our border
I a ruby eyed pale skinned bridge
stretching beyond the musky sweat of the huisaches
tecate urined air that dances with the accordion shattered night
the Rio Grande economy thirsty in its barren steam plains
question the nomadic winds of my rational mind
drift lazily in clear winged oceans of my pacific
Arizona heat
if hell is a valley in winter sweating
i want to die in the last sweat breath of your fire...

© Ricardo Garza

10. Timing by Deena Hardin

Communion, but not.

You’re playing the piano,

a hymn that I love,

good Anglican sedate kind of hymn,

communion hymn.

Then you’re jazzing it up,

making it blues, and I have to smile,

the piano rocks and rolls, black and blue.

Listen up, buddy, this is a love letter to you:

sometimes you do these things

that make me want to smack you

and wrestle you to the floor in passion

all at once. It’s late and I should just

slink off to bed,

leave you to your wild improvisations-

but I can’t.

I can’t miss a minute of them

or your turntable retrospective

of our first years, all the old albums

dragged out and put on too late at night,

too early in the morning-too late, too early,

the way we are.

11. I Would Seduce You by John B. Lee

I would seduce you

with the sound of first fruit

dropped in an otherwise empty pail

with the blush

of berries on the bottom

of the box

with the balsa flutter

of a model wing in flight

with the rainbow blink

of bubbles

so close they sting the eye

with colour

in one wet expiring sphere

of startled light

I would seduce you

with the petal pull

of April

breathing from a perfume branch

with a chestnut loss

of blossom

and the burn of snow

I would seduce you

with a tickle rain

that does not touch the earth

beneath the hush of trees

I would seduce you

with a fog

that almost hides the horses

on the Conklin road

I would seduce you

with the foat of orchids

kissing their reflection

on my garden pond

where New England slate

is marbled grey and marvelously red

and the foxglove bow

like slips removed

and I would seduce you

with a common love

of water jewels

a brilliant silver kiss

so delicate and strange

it seems extraordinary

theft of breath

and the flexing of a wind enwombed

and fluttering to be born

as butterflies are born

to slow imaginings

of naked sky.

© John B. Lee

from The Half-Way Tree: poems selected and new (Black Moss press, fall 2001).

No Promises in Paris by Stazja

Saying goodbye, haloed by

Parisian gaslight, I clung to you

Who kissed away my tears

And promised nothing.

In unrepentant memory

drizzle still mingles with misery.

Paris is not easily forgotten.

Nor are you, my love.

When I told you in Paris

my love would last forever,

did you think that death

would make me a liar?

© 2001 Stazja