Feb 7 2018

This is Not a Love Poem (III)– Blue Valentines

Welcome to Valentine’s week. Brought to you by the flower industry, the card industry and love cats everywhere. I have been writing anti-love poems for about 18 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
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






81 Responses to This is Not a Love Poem (III)– Blue Valentines
  1. H Dunston says:

    My Toy Heart
    Tossed and played with like a kitten’s toy
    A heart scented with catnip is how it all seems.
    Each day to awake to a different game.
    One day you’re torn and the next soaked and matted.
    The nights…oh, how they bring a different echo.
    The meowing and purring of calls in the night.
    Should I even bother to try to hide or put up a fight?
    The next day your heart is tangled and confused.
    How did my heart end up in this heap once more?
    Oh no here comes that cat …
    Tossed two and fro and no not again,
    Not the litter box…all gravel and poo
    Created for love but treated like a fool
    This heart just ends up a kitten’s old toy
    Waiting to find my way out the door.
    A way to escape the claws of love

  2. suzanne simmons says:

    just when I thought I wouldn’t get the valentine I wanted. This is a wonderful collection, Maria—your poem about the attempted apology-by-flowers should be in here. This could be the beginning of a great anthology.

  3. K.F says:

    If we pay more attention,
    If we look harder,
    Love is ever where!!!

    So look up,
    Your love is already waiting for you.

  4. R. Dawson says:

    To love or in love
    The difference is not clear
    Both can make you cry

  5. A.Valles says:

    I can’t catch my breath
    inside me your love hardens
    and breaks like lake ice

  6. P.Rodriguez says:


    I witnessed homeless lovers
    A home they were without
    The love they shared beyond compare there surely was no doubt

    I witnessed homeless lovers
    As she put her hand in his
    A simple show to let me know that home is where the heart is

  7. B. Amestoy says:

    You are not real
    A demon in a red dress
    Killing another

  8. L.coyazo says:

    Love is essential like the water in every human life.
    Without love we die and without water we don’t have a life. We need love and water to survive.

  9. D Sims says:

    Meaningful gestures
    are worth more than one thousand
    pounds of gold

  10. O Lopez says:

    What’s love given me?
    Stomach full of butterflies?
    Or was that just gas?

  11. G.Rico says:

    To love is to hurt your self
    It comes as a hurricane and it
    Erupts as a volcano
    Once erupted your heart becomes
    Ashes that can’t be put together

  12. S. Usrey says:

    Who needs mushy love?
    I have got two Valentines,
    And they are my dogs.

  13. A. Guerrero says:

    Rejection is my name
    To give oneself is the game
    Which hurt comes as a price

  14. amercado says:

    White and black fluffy all around. Jump, jump, wag your tail. Eyes big and brown the sparkle up when you see me. The love that is shown with the lick on my face. The safeness I feel as you bark to aware me.

  15. A. Lopez says:

    walking on air, bliss
    oh, you need some time, you’ll call
    sad painful descent

  16. Z. Cnudde says:

    a silent sound screams
    faces turn away in fear
    thine eye turn upwards

  17. D. Ruiz says:

    Great poems!

    My Haiku:

    Loving Someone

    Care for another,
    Make sure to keep them closer,
    To make sure they know.

  18. dolivas says:

    To love or to hate
    Both seem to hurt the same
    it’s an ugly game

  19. N. Huerta says:


    Beyonce, Jay-Z;
    So “crazy in love” are we.
    Until the time ends…

  20. V. Montesinos says:

    Netflix and ice-cream
    Happy Valentines day to me
    Who needs love and roses?
    While I have a T.V.
    Never been someones valentine
    I dread February 14
    But yet secretly wishing
    hoping I will someday be
    Someones valentine

  21. B Romero says:

    My heart torn apart
    Thoughts of eternity, lost
    She’s lost to me, gone

  22. C Rendon says:

    I extend these arms.
    And dream of holding closer,
    The one well unknown
    A future tense sits
    on past headaches to think one—
    Whom can sacrifice

    Pretentious, unhappy,
    I send words as love letters
    In immature talk.

    Withdraws from sweet fails,
    I am gnawing for the right.
    Bless me someone right!
    Then came you into my life.

  23. J. Hinojosa says:

    Temptation walks in
    My soul is set on fire
    I am devoured

  24. D Espinoza says:

    My amazing friends
    I will forever cherish
    You guys are my rock

  25. S. Monteagudo says:

    Nothing compares to,
    My love for Harry Potter,
    And his years of sass.

  26. J marquez says:

    These are great poems which really represent the valentines day spirit in both ways the good and bad. I like to relate my life in the poems as I read them because it makes me understand them better.

  27. M Almanza says:

    Beautiful Ocean,
    lovely waves,
    touch the sun with your mysterious and rhythmic ways.
    Because tranquility is what you bring to me with your charming sounds of crashing waves.

  28. TJohnson says:

    A smile and glance
    A candlelit romance
    Laughter and joy
    Kisses filled with passion
    Your heart is mine, and mine is yours
    This must be love
    My trust in you is gone
    My heart no longer flies
    Sadness drowning the joy once in my eyes
    Where this love was once true
    Out time has come and gone
    It’s time to face the facts
    It’s time to move on

  29. C Hawkins says:

    Whipping winds and briny smells
    Grains of sand in between my toes
    Splash Crash Roar
    Your nautical song can speak to my soul
    In your presence I feel at peace
    This is my home

  30. H vega says:

    Generate traffic.
    Like buttons and followers
    Drones get commanded with
    a click of a button.
    Numbers in a database
    Advertisements sent in your

  31. H vega says:

    It’s all an illusion.
    It exists for a brief moment.
    Just a mirage that I see.
    Fools gold and a sugar pill

  32. E. Guevara says:

    The ocean is a beautiful thing
    It can be calm and gentle shooting your worries
    Earsing your fears.
    When you’re least expecting it,
    Pulling you under leaving you without air.

  33. E. Guevara says:

    I’m like a tree
    I live in the spring
    And die in the fall
    Sun makes me shine, moon makes me hide, but I’m still alive
    I am strong from the inside and beatiful from the outside
    If you turn your back to me I might fall, and you won’t see.

  34. B. Guerrero says:

    Like a butterfly,

    Delicate and inspiring,

    Love is pure and free.

  35. P. Romero says:

    Lipstick oh Lipstick
    You are divine
    you sparkle on my lips
    like a glistening dime
    I can wear you out in a night in town
    or simply to shop on a rainy day to simmer down
    Lipstick oh Lipstick
    You are my favorite of them all

  36. E. Manzo says:

    You’re the one I love.
    The one that I hate the most.
    Love is confusing.

  37. A. Haro says:

    The beach. The relaxation and peace it brings. Don’t have to say a word as we lay there together. Only admiring the immense body of beauty in front of us.

  38. AGOMEZ says:

    You’re so perfect. How can I stay mad at you for licking my face? When you give me that look for not liking your dress. You’re my Bella Boo

  39. s schultz says:

    Let’s talk about love..
    First you have butterflies
    Then comes the heartbreak

  40. J Marquez says:

    Concupiscible Woman

  41. J Marquez says:

    Drinks up two redbulls

    Drinks up until thirst goes gone

    Cant sleep the whole night

  42. S Hernandez says:

    in my life you came
    you stole my heart at first sight
    it was meant to be

  43. K. H. says:

    The untainted hearts
    spoil their color from the crime
    of denying love.

  44. K Lacsi says:

    “Little Maya Bird”

    Flap goes his lil’ wings
    To oblivion, he soars
    His chirping healed me

    My soul yearned freedom
    Away from shackles of life
    How? He just showed me

  45. I Nava says:

    With heart filled passion It is she that I am after.
    With arms wide open, my heart i offer.
    With eyes of beauty it is I that catches her attention.
    With one great gesture, together we fall into infatuation.
    Forever following each other in this great chase.

  46. M Medrano says:

    Snuggling next to me
    a curious white rabbit
    healing my sad heart.

    • M Medrano says:

      Your bright smile

      brings pain to my heart

      how much I despise

      your angel like face

      your sweet words

      brought me to the floor

      you were my ying

      and I was your yang

      You were so cold to me

      with those crystal blue eyes

      making my heart beat uncontrollably

      every time I stared directly at them

      I guarantee you

      that you are never in my mind.

  47. S Valle says:

    Opposites attract
    Our hearts were like magnets
    You were so negative and I was too positive
    But you always knew what to say
    To keep me
    Until now

  48. R Lepper says:

    When I think Of you
    confinement, hatred , regret
    So Glad we’re not married

  49. E Palomares says:

    Your eyes are so green
    Your hair resembles fire
    Goddamn you’re perfect

  50. M Medrano says:

    I do not miss you
    you broke my heart with sweet words
    evil but perfect.

  51. S Cho says:

    Two hearts in one beat
    Never lasts more than two years
    Love is a mayfly

  52. M Gutierrez says:

    Love makes me upset

    Sitting here and my heart aches

    Yet I miss your face

  53. Christopher Ramirez says:

    Your touch is so empty

    Your kiss is so shallow I tremble

    Why do I love you

  54. J. Perez says:

    Love is the core of humanity’s romanticism
    Your love is the core of my contentment
    Together, our love is a story of both
    And as bright as the sun

  55. K. Lightner says:

    You are acting single
    You think you are so perfect
    Your guts I hate them
    I hate myself for loving you
    Get out of my life
    You are breaking my heart
    Love bites, love hurts, love stinks
    You soaked my heart in kerosene
    Where did I go wrong

  56. Priscilla R Rodriguez says:

    Why me?

    Why did you pick me?

    You chose my heart to break

    I guess Its my fault

    For believing you loved me

    How could you do this

    I trusted you with my heart

    And you tore it to pieces

  57. S. Garza says:

    In the morning I rise
    and by night I fall
    When I think of you
    it helps me though
    and when I’m down
    you lift me up
    Your words are captivating
    like flowers in the spring
    Hearing your voice
    makes me want to sing
    The sight of you
    makes my heart skip a beat
    Watching you smile
    lightens my insides
    but it’s the memory of you
    that silences me the most
    The beating of your heart
    is like a beautiful song
    while it’s your charm that keeps
    my heart warm
    I’m at a daze
    because each and everyday
    I am amazed
    that someone like you
    can make me feel the way I do.

  58. S. Garza says:

    Deepest love of mine

    darkened nightmares that haunt me

    gone… not forgotten.

  59. M. Hernandez says:

    January comes, and I wish you were there,
    I open my eyes and see you nowhere,

    My heart is breaking, Can’t you hear it ticking?

    You got me enchanted, and I took it for granted

    You walked away, now I’m left with no bae.

  60. H. Avalos says:

    I remember you
    The love of my life I thought
    Forever my love

    Never forgotten
    Until the next time my love
    Forever I’ll love

    Love that will not fade
    Love Forever and always
    I love you so much

  61. Nanci says:

    Love is a fairy tale
    Your love? Is a fantasy
    Why cant love be true

  62. M.Sanchez says:

    If I could stop time
    and contemplate your glamor,
    That is my first wish.

  63. V Villagomez says:

    Lovable candy
    All candy is love but one
    You’re black licorice

  64. Ivan Camacho says:

    When I close my eyes
    the plants start to bloom
    I think more about you
    how amazing our love was

    How my heart skipped a beat
    How your smile gave the color
    I remember that breeze
    How you swept me off my feet

    But when I open my eyes
    Your presence was gone
    And the plant did not bloom

  65. R. Olson says:

    I was a lost soul
    But the way you embraced me
    Filled my lungs with air

    It has not been long
    And still you enter my thoughts
    Why do you not care?

  66. M.Mendoza says:

    The Roses Are Red,
    The Violets Are Blue And I,
    No Longer Love You

  67. A. Rivera says:

    On Valentives Day…
    Everyone on dates
    While I’m making your date the best
    by being your waiter

  68. Maria Tena says:

    I yearned for love
    Your big, brown, beautiful eyes
    convinced otherwise

  69. Maria Tena says:

    I yearned for love
    Your big, brown, beautiful eyes
    my prayer fulfilled

  70. L. Cayabyab says:

    When I am with you
    I am where I want to be
    I feel safe and sound

  71. L. Cayabyab says:

    What is love for me?
    Arguing like no other
    I’m glad its over

  72. L Ramirez says:

    Looking at the moon, as I think of you
    But I won’t cry a river for you,
    For all those tears are gone
    Those long nights I longed
    For you to return my calls
    I say I no longer love you
    But my love, you’ll always be.

  73. B McPherson says:

    This day of the year
    Together with you my Dear
    How did I find you?

  74. Nicholas Ruiz says:

    N. Ruiz

    I Do Not Miss You

    You Tossed Away My Heart

    Hurtfully, But Magnificent

    I Do Not Miss You

    I Do Not Miss You

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