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Poetry For Valentine's Day

By Usbkabel (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

If you enjoy poetry – and we hope you do - poetry about love is fun to read any day of the year. But Valentine’s Day gives us an extra special excuse to indulge.

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday – and Bruce Isaacson joins us here in the studio a couple of days early.

Bruce is Clark County’s poet laureate.  He's brought with him a few recordings of Las Vegas poets reading their poems about love.

Thai Food  (Click title to listen to poem)

By Andy Kenyon

One night over Thai food you asked me what I wanted and I am sure you meant what do you want to drink or what do you want to do later but me with my crazy poetic mind said I want to get the check

Then I want to go to Vons and buy a bottle of red wine and some wild flowers

And I want to go back to my place, drink that wine and learn everything about you that I don’t already know and the next morning I want to wake up before you do call in sick to work and go get breakfast and after breakfast I want to crawl back in bed with you just for that feeling because at this point I am still learning your skin like how a baby first learns that they have finger tips

And I want us to go to the park and the day that we go to the park I want to climb to the top of the tallest tree and scream from the top of my lungs


and I want the birds to fly away and I want you to laugh

and I want us to go to the movies and I will buy the tickets but I want you to buy the popcorn and I want to not remember a thing about that movie because you are holding my hand and I really like that sometimes.

I want to start memorizing the shapes your hair makes on my pillow cases while you are sleeping, I want to push the earth as far away from the sun as possible so the only way that we can keep warm in by touching

then I want us to fall in love and call it love and mean it

and to celebrate I want us to go to Cancun lay on the beach and pretend we know how to surf and while we’re in Cancun I think we should go to Chichen Itza and I want to climb to the top of the tallest pyramid and scream from the top of my lungs I REALLY LOVE THIS WOMAN

and I want it to be translated into multiple languages and I want you to laugh

then I want us to go back to Vegas pack up all of our stuff and drive, ending up in a small town outside of… Denver or something and I want to find work in a tiny hotel come home every night, kiss the insides of your wrist and stop all movement

and I want us to save up and buy a house and the day that we buy that house I want to climb to the roof of it and scream from the top of my lungs I’M ALWAYS GONNA LOVE THIS WOMAN and I want our neighbors to look at me really weirdly and I want you to laugh. 

I want to start growing old with you, watch your hair turn grey and wrinkles form like crescent moons around your cheeks from smiling too much and I want to know that their there because of me

And I want us to have children so we can have grandchildren and in the year 2047 I want our youngest granddaughter to be sitting on your lap on our porch in Denver and I want to be in the kitchen doing dishes and listen to you tell her about how there was a time in Las Vegas over Thai food how you asked me what I wanted and I told you that I wanted this.  


The Apple  (Click title to listen to poem)

By Bruce Isaacson

There are places you touch a lover

and never stop touching there—


even when you know it's impossible—

even three cities later, sooner

or later, you always come back

to the place you never stop touching.


And I wonder—how

many places like that do we have?

and when does it stop?

and how will I know?


I think my lover must be God

with those octopus invisible hands


Or maybe it's that love is God

and there is no God—

just touching, just

hands, a whole world of human

hands, about 10 billion hands

grasping, gesturing, waving,

cutting the bruise from an apple.


Tonight I think I am the bruise

and love is the apple and

you know how they're ruining apples with chemicals,

with fertilizers and breeding, hard cider and prozac and

the apple's rights movement and seminars and

learn how to be your own apple

and advertising and young girls in bikinis

holding apples next to breasts and

the caption: bite into one of these!


Well there are places you bite that never stop biting back

and bleeding & scabbing, getting tough

like saints making wisecracks at the cross—

one stubs his toe on a rock and

hah! — a bruised saint — an appleman

cutting the bruise from his body,

cutting the God from his soul,



Some cuts never go deep enough.

Some lovers never stop loving.

Lost faith is the one remaining God.

The apple bruise the point of the tree.


The Bottle  (Click the title to listen to the poem)

By Ken Wanamaker

It appeared on shore one day,

Surprising as flowers from a stranger.

Slim and amber it enclosed

A slip of paper curled in on itself.

Corked and complacent, the bottle

Seemed too lovely to shatter and then

Reveal, perhaps, on that yellowed pages,

Uncurled nuclear secrets or an

Unknown equation.

I placed it on the sill and each morning

Imagine what may be scribbled there.

Today, a letter from a lady in Madrid

To her lover sailing with the Armada.


Fortune: February 6th  (Click the title to listen to the poem)

By Ken Wanamaker

You heart will always

Make itself felt

Through your words.

What you say recedes

with the salty lip

of the sea. Syllables cut like shark-bite.

Time and patience are called for.

Surprises await.


a year walk for the papers  (Click title to listen to poem)

By Lila Brissette


we held hands over the great wall of china. we were about to

destroy, both of us, the world – and maybe we did, i can't

remember, and i'm afraid to ask, frankly. to answer a question i've

been asking myself, i do remember what we saw in the stars

that night, lying on solid rock bottom with each other, sharing pain

and maybe a little alcohol. 

(we saw ourselves, reflected back; the universe is a mirror and so

are we, and we died in the paradox of infinite sight between




i hope we never meet; for i am a human being, and you are

something else. you have been undefined in orthodox religion.

you do not exist in greek mythology. (you are: bones and blood, a

mass of distortion and god knows what else.)



i mean –

i hope i never find another heart that needs to be handled like a

ghost pepper.

(i mean: rubber gloves, maybe a suit, and keep out of reach of


it would be so poisonous, it would have evolved from past

experiences to be unappealing to my appetite, my tongue, but it

won’t be –– and my own toxicity won’t protect me from the

symptoms of being addicted to yours.



let’s finish this.

someday i'll play you a Mozart cadenza, my dear, and when i'm

done you'll feel the silence. you have no idea what I go through

when you get quiet. 

listen -- i'm a human being, and you are, well. they haven't exactly

figured out what it is that you are, but we know better. we have

fixed the mythos. we have written our own holy scripture. at mass,

the prophet will trap you, define you in the sacred language:


(love 10:3 - ) you are a monster. you are a thing of distortion. you

are a monster - you are a fearful being straight from the old

testament, and i am afraid.


(love 10:4 - ) you are a mass of distorted blood and static and

clicking unholy flesh, and i love you


especially when your collarbone threatens to put holes in my

sternum. especially


when your fingers are sharp enough to cut away the parts of me

that aren't real.


let's start over. let's hold hands over the great wall of china


alpha particles flying between our toxic ghost-pepper hearts 

let's make our primetime love the topic of conversation.


let's burn rome to the goddamn ground.


someday I'll play you a Mozart cadenza


and i'll take away the rhythm. you'll taste the raw notes, screaming

from the pain of being stripped of their potential.


you'll hear the silence, smell the void in a concert hall full of dead

finales and audience members


stare into it. you are surrounded by corpses. my love will take us

on a year walk for the papers, and the resulting destruction will be

a wedding present -- after that we will devour each other whole,

toxic hearts and all. 

Poet Happenings:

Isaacson Poetry Workshop Series

July 18, August 15, September 12 

2 to 3:30 p.m. 


Beat legend and Obie Award winning playwright Michael McClure reading

April 30 at 7 p.m. at Winchester Cultural Center.

Michael McClure Writer’s Workshop at the Clark County Library/Flamingo Road on May 1 at 2 p.m.

More details will be announced soon.


Bruce Isaacson, Clark County (NV) Poet Laureate; And these Las Vegas poets: Andy Kenyon, Ken Wanamaker, and Lila Brissette

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Since June 2015, Fred has been a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada.