43F at sunrise—it feels balmy. The trees rock back and forth under a cloudless sky, touching in ways they rarely do, clattering, groaning.


  1. Love Poem with Skull and Valentine

    “…And everich of hem did his besy cure
    Benygnely to chese or for to take,
    By hir acord, his formel or his make.”
    ~ Geoffrey Chaucer, “Parlement of Foules” (369-371)

    In Cosmedin, Rome– in the Chiesa di Santa Maria,
    a flower-wreathed skull sits preserved in a shrine
    more ornate than any foil-covered box of candy–
    that’s Saint Valentine himself, as the hand-lettered
    strip of bandage across his brow proclaims.
    “Protector of love”, martyr of Terni, he got
    couples hitched at a time when (would you believe)
    it was illegal to marry. The stories say he was “beaten
    with clubs and stoned; and when that failed to kill him,
    he was beheaded” outside the Porta del Popolo.
    Poor Val, his aquiline nose may even have been broken.
    But he seems to have kept most of his teeth, which rest
    (some gaps between, though they say that can be sexy)
    just inside the edge of the reliquary frame. His gold box
    resembles a 1930’s RCA TV, or the consoles in the Dr. Who
    episode where an alien disguised as a woman is trying
    to take over the world. Even here, the theme is love
    and monsters; or love and sex, lust, appetite, desire–
    everything you want but can’t actually have, so naturally
    you want it even more. On the eve of the festival
    of Lupercalia, young Roman boys and girls wrote
    their names on slips of paper and put them into jars;
    then they held a grand old raffle to find out who
    they’d walk hand in hand with the next day, share
    a honeyed sweetmeat with, maybe spoon a little,
    golden in the olive grove. Did the trees make noise
    under the cloudless sky, touching in ways we
    rarely do? Everyone loves a little sugar every
    now and then; why not them too? Cushioned
    in red and gold, the saint would understand
    the meanings of excess: candygrams and chalky
    conversation hearts (“Sweet Dreams”, “URDGR8ST”,
    “Be Mine”, “Big Hugs”), little mounds of milk
    chocolate goopy in their maraschino centers,
    cardboard boxes lettered with their swirly
    tic-tac-toe of X’s and O’s; lacy thong, slinky
    sarong, velvet codpiece. Welt of pepper and spice,
    ascetic stripe of sea-salt on the hungry tongue.

    ~ Luisa A. Igloria
    02 14 2011

  2. Dave, one correction please:

    “(some gaps between, though they say…)”


  3. As someone who was born “smack dab in the middle of PA” who has lived all over the free world and settled in SE PA when I fell in love with a man who had a business there, I adore recognizing fellow artists who are, whether by fate or choice, secluded from the coasts. Dave, I’ll be adding you to my bookmarks.

    1. Thanks, CeCe. Pleased to “meet” you! As I’m sure you know, everyone from Pennsylvania eventually does return (if they ever manage to leave at all).

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