The 2River View 16.2 (Winter 2012)

James Valvis

The Philosophies of Loneliness

1. Western
Nothing matters. Except your eyes.
They might matter. No, nothing matters.
Except your lips. They might.
Nothing matters except your legs,
but when I see your breasts
your legs don't matter. Nothing matters.
I think, therefore I am
not with you.
It doesn't matter that I think.
It doesn't matter what I think.
God is dead. Therefore, I am God.
Therefore, I am dead.
It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter to you.
You are God.
You matter.

2. Eastern
Life is suffering.
The Way comes and goes.
You come and go. Away. A Way.
A way I don't understand.
I don't understand away.
All suffering arises from attachment.
All attachment arises and goes away.
The one gave birth to the two.
The two gave birth to the none.
The none gave birth to me.
I am one of the ten thousand things.
You are the nine thousand-nine hundred-ninety-nine.
You are my suffering.
You are my way.

James Valvis is the author of How to Say Goodbye (Aortic Books, 2011). Other poems appear in Anderbo, Arts & Letters, Midwest Quarterly, New York Quarterly, Poetry East, River Styx, and Verse Daily. contact