Photograph by Bruce Caress

seaside road in Donegal

Alice at Finn Cool stones

me standing on the Cross of MacDuff in Fifeshire

Inuit art

With Sue in Stockbridge

A Crow's Dream

Marilyn Tenenoff from New Haven, PA:

The poems in Doug Valentine's book, "A Crow's Dream" are meticulously and carefully crafted. Many are tender meditations, deeply centered in Nature. Others contain striking juxtapositions and thought-provoking metaphors, like the three baby snakes who appear in the grass on Easter Sunday morning. There is even an imaginative personification of Talent as a beautiful, demanding and fickle girl.

Valentine has an acute sense of what is true; it ranges from the innocent to the mundane to the decadent. Especially rich are his vivid observations of people, from the swaggering Cadillac Jack, to the twirling girl in Shadow Land and the boy who is watching her, to the lost and struggling Marvis Flynn, who "wraps the pieces of himself in a blanket"."

Great poetry is something that you can never tire of reading; some mysterious quality enters your eyes and ears; there's something that you never want to stop looking at, like if you had a Gaugin painting on the wall of your tenement room. Great poetry puts you in a trance, even when it describes complete horror, like in some of Neruda, you are dazzled by the beauty of the language.

"A Crow's Dream" is great poetry-- any lover of language and its music just knows it when they see it. Here, listen:

faces in the stream
among passing clouds
have never been so near
or so far:

the look in their eyes is lost
in the time it takes
to give a name.

I could say that over and over again forever. I could learn everything there is to know about life with those few words. There is a great range of feeling and emotion in this collection of poems: vast spiritual meditations like "faces in the stream" to a child's instinctive disgust at false, boring adult rituals and empty beliefs, like "Memorial Day." I will take these poems with me wherever I go.

I like writing four-line poems I call quatrains. Below is a sampling:

Dancing Flames

Dancing flames curl the paper edges of sky
Silver and turquoise tinsel sketch the air
Like scars upon the universal eye
From viewing beauty everywhere.


Dream Feelings

Dream feelings vague at the city gate
Cloaked in alien garb absurdly congregate
And with incoherent shouts in costumes leap
Upon the amorphous landscapes of sleep.


As Never Before

We step, we hope, in harmony
Across a moonlit checkered floor
Beneath red lanterns on a string
In love again, as never before.


Ephemeral Glow

Your ephemeral glow
Your refined sense of reserve
Your shimmers in the darkness
Get on my last nerve.


The Shape Iím In

Sometimes I feel fat
Sometimes thin -
Itís a comment about
The shape Iím in.


Palestinian Pop

tactical nuclear Israeli rock
that's the beat he walk
terrorized round the clock, like a bomb, tick tock
that's the rap he talk.


Chinese Take Out

The colonialists had it right
Mao is graffiti on the Great Wall
Greed and the Internet will shatter China
Into a thousand tinkling Tibets.


Cuban Cigars and Russian Caviar

Cuban cigars and Russian caviar:
The foundations of capitalism.
Napoleon brandy, a guillotine handy:
The tools of radical revision.


More or Less

More or less having is only half;
Often one must stifle a laugh.
The charm is of this sense and type,
Working only when the time is right.


Wash and Dry

You always say that fair is fair:
Youíre gonna wash, Iím gonna dry.
So how come I make you laugh,
And you make me cry and cry?


Phases of the Moon

The getting done of this thing
Is planting a garden in spring:
Learning the words to the sparrowís tune,
Following the phases of the moon.


Presenting Things

Presenting things we knew, but forgot,
Fishing now in a shallow stream,
The speckled trout slip through my net Ė
And for once the image is free.


Non-Fiction History
"...highlighting the names and black deeds of an outlandish cast of wayward narcs, killer-spooks and globe-trotting godfathers (Wolf) is an expose of the never-ending lap-dance between organized crime and the national security establishment,"