David Stone

Love Lines for Your Valentine

Still need to write your Valentine? Use lines from a local poet.

Someone seeking clarification about another’s romantic intent and who enjoys the use of lowercase letters like e. e. cummings might appreciate a line from Cindy Rinne’s “Another Park Poem.” Inspired by a walk in Riverside’s Fairmont Park, Rinne wrote, “did you try to carve the bark/ leave a heart…” Rinne lives in Redlands. Her next work is titled “Quiet Lantern.”

Courageous individuals who are willing to be vulnerable might use lines from Cati Porter’s poem “Clearly.” “Look at me/ and tell me that you want me, that you want to heart/ the distance and that you cannot in the object see/ a flaw, and though I am (flawed) I am for you, and/ there is a small tight thought that is wound in me,/ that knowing that you love, a lightning, a lightning/ on the inside: so that you see; so that you know.” Porter lives in Riverside. Her latest book “My Skies of Small Horses” comes out this month.

Seasoned lovers may like to use lines from “Litany” from Claremont poet Lucia Galloway’s latest chapbook “The Garlic Peelers:” “O love, what is your wish?/ We’ve half again as much to say as we have said./ Set down the goblet, and the carmine wine/ sheets down its sides to pool in the bowl./ Let’s drink our words instead of hoarding them.”

Sweethearts who remind you of characters from the The Big Bang Theory should appreciate lines from Marsha Schuh’s “You and Me in Binary.” Appropriately published in the computer textbook Schuh co-wrote with Stanford Rowe, Schuh imagines a world based on four, considers the dominance of the decimal in our world and closes her poem with pondering the numerical effects of becoming a couple: “Then we unlearn it all /learn to speak binary,/ a better way,/ two as opposed to eight or ten,/ the most significant bit,/ the least significant bit/ one-two, on-off, you-we,/ binary.” Schuh resides in Ontario.

Lovers in a more ambiguous relationship may resonate with lines from the Palm Springs poet and writer Ruth Nolan. In her forthcoming book, “Ruby Mountain,” she writes, “shouldn’t I pretend you did it for love/ shouldn’t I believe it was a mistake/ shouldn’t I wonder why not/ shouldn’t I wonder why. . . .”

Those pained may appreciate the words of the title persona in Nikia Chaney’s “Sis Fuss.” The poem “Syllogizing Sis Fuss” closes: “we all hurt. And if we all/ hurt then we all hurt/ each other and the next.” Chaney lives in Rialto.

Jennifer and Chad Sweeney from Redlands are a couple, who are both accomplished poets. Jennifer provides profundity and striking imagery in her book “Salt Memory.” She writes, “As water poured into the heart flows out the palms, so does love return, as thirst, as satiation—the shape the lost ocean has carved onto the salt brick desert.”

With characteristic quirky humor in his book “White Martini for the Apocalypse,” Chad writes, “It was love./ She taught me to drive her bulldozer./ I taught her to forge my signature!”

In earthier lines from his poem “Effects,” first published in Caliban, Chad writes, “The best sex in the world happens during conjugal visits. I’ve gotten myself into prison twice, just to have it. That’s why I’m calling. Happy Valentine’s Day!” Chad Sweeney teaches creative writing at Cal State San Bernardino.

The longing and transformative power of love comes through in the closing lines of Judy Kronenfeld’s “Listen” from her forthcoming collection, “Bird Flying Through the Banquet,” 
“Let your eyes rest/ on my face. Arrest me/ in turn. I will burst/ from the seed/ of myself.” Kronenfeld is professor emerita from UCR.

Ontario poet Tim Hatch gives words to the desire to comfort one’s dearest when he or she is gone: “Scatter my memory where my memories are sweetest. Gulls cry, salt breeze carries me away. When you’re there you can breathe deep, take me inside and remember.”


For a wider array of classic poems to use for Valentine’s Day, search the Poetry Foundation’s website for “Poems for Valentines” or the poets.org site for “love poems.”

Sonambulant Funambulist: Countenance by Maureen Alsop

Lisa Kiernan cordially invited my response to the following questions:

What are you working on?
I’m presently anticipating the release of my third full poetry collection, Later, Knives & Trees (Negative Capability Press). I’ve also been engaged in a response to poems through image.
Over the summer I started two projects: 30×30, in which I’ve been creating 30 second videos overlaying audio excerpts from Later, Knives & Trees. Also a bodily, organic response to collage: 27/24 which may extend itself. The premise of carrying a collage upon the body for 24 hours. What have you learned from the message, the unattached self before the self. Strange illusion. Mostly. Seeking the ‘cosmic countenance’ inside the countenance, asking or responding to the secreted self, “what do you want to do next?”

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How does your work differ from others of its genre?

I’m not sure it does. Maybe it shouldn’t. It just is. I’m human, like a snowflake.

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Why do you write what you do?

See Tab: The Journal of Poetry & Poetics: space before text.

From a lecture I gave on Peristaltic Googlism and the Metaphysics of Ephemera and a quote worth repeating:

“Once you’ve heard a Maytag wafuuoom-per, wafuuoom-per throwing its never erring voice across the back yard, you’ll understand a knack for making songs. You’ll understand what Hank Williams’ rhythm section was doing at the laundry mat in Texarkana all night, June 1948; the night Hank knocked up Windy Beauchamp after she auditioned as a dobro player. Birds speak dialects, as people do. Dolphins use sound as a weapon. Crickets won’t answer recordings of their own voices. Even a small fish like an anchovy can hemorrhage, hearing nothing, a silence finally loosing substance.” — Walter Lab

Whether it’s the Maytag’s wafuuoom-per or a hemorrhaging silence, disparate elements endlessly congeal to form the delicate architecture of a poem. Why ask why? Ask, why not.

How does your writing process work? 
I’m not much of a cook. I seem to think there is only one heat level: HIGH. I write like I cook. Sporadically, intensely, quickly. I try to enjoy it. Always wish I did it more. I’m probably best around a fire pit. I’m comfortable with both the raw and refined.


For additional responses from incredible thinkers I’ve asked Sarah Maclay, Nikia ChaneyElena Karina ByrneSparky Campanella, Nic Sebastian, Lauren K. AlleyneCati Porter, Christina Cook, Marcia LeBeau, Farrah Field, Jared WhiteBethany Ides, Linnea Ogden, Cynthia Arrieu-KingCindy Rinne, Prageeta Sharma, Anna Leahy and others.