Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Be Someone's Valentine

Well, it's that time of year. Ted Kooser is recommending poems that compare romance with rocks. Kay Jewelers is once again stating for the record that love begins at 1.25 carats ("like" starts at 0.75; less than that is schoolyard flirtation). Love is in the air. (Note: The link isn't to the Staten Island Club's performance of that song. Sorry.)

The particulars of Valentine's Day in my house are, quite romantic -- in that "It's OK, I'll get milk on my way home" sort of way (
Writer's Blog archives, February 2004) -- but there's no need to rehash all that here.

But It's nearly impossible to find, let alone to write a decent love poem anymore. It's all glurge and dirge - sickly sweet and slow and almost always with word "above" at the end of the penultimate line. Slate's annual effort is not quite in that mold, however, and Kelli includes today a David Lehman effort that includes baseball references, which makes me think of Mike Fleming's "Rookie":

I was good -- damn good. I could bat for power
and for average, my arm was strong and true,
my glove as quick as a bullfrog's tongue. Hours
in the cage, days on the grass -- oh, I knew
I was good, all right.

It's a love poem. Really. I'm pretty sure, anyway. Go read it and find out for yourself. And as a quick aside, Mike's wife Meg Kearney, who directs the Solstice Creative Writing Programs at Pine Manor College, has updated her appearances list and will be making the rounds quite widely in the coming months. Oh, you lucky New Englanders.

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