IN CONSIDERATION OF CORPORATE POWER HERE IS A SEEMING SENTIMENTAL MESSAGE IN BOTH TONE AND FEELING RE GARDING A NATIONAL DILEMNA: FOCUS IN TRUTH ALWAYS ON THE HUMAN Well I getta letter in the mail asking me to write a Val entine poem for a publication called valentine so I say (to myself) okay, and look it up in the dictionary, not surprised by what I find, so decide to write it out the way it comes: an old-fashioned little number in a hi-tech youthful enterprise, which means it reminds me of the past, and of a certain year... and I dunno know if it's me who gets this way and that here, and over there divided, or if it is the way these little numbers affect reality... I say people always come first although I know first the holidays serve corporations and their greed, like at christmas poor people go deeper into debt wanting to be in the spirit of things. Thanksgiving, too. The corp execs know this, and you say he (me)'s gonna say that about Valentine, St. Valentine's Day, too? That's true. That's right. I am. Chocolates and sugar-filled junk (ala Easter), hearts, like rabbits. Made real cheap but what ya don't know is what it means, what Valentine's Day means to young people more and more it's becoming a legit love day, or a day to be senti- mental. I discovered this on a teaching job in 1985, spring, House of Detention for Men on Rikers Island. A lot of guys in prisons write poetry to their girlfriends back home in rhymes like the Hallmark greeting cards use except there's something desperate in them, cause these young guys are alone, scared, 'n miss their mom. They don't come to the writing workshops or to school naw they don't take English as second language class maybe some do, sure, but in the faith they express in their cellblocks, writing her a poem, for Valentine's Day, I saw a poem a kid wrote to his mother, in chalk, on a small black- board, rear of a classroom, near the windows, you know what it said, it said dear mom I miss you, I miss you and I love you I love you mom that voice that handwriting (we know) is a shoot ing star high high in the sky, and makes corporate Americe irrel evant, unnecessary and vague, like ink in water, it dissolves... in the blood of a young man in prison.