Monday, January 16, 2017

Praise Valentine

Lords of light
Fill the world
And while you’re at it
Fill my heart
That it may overflow
The world with the sun
Of one more person
To be enumerated
And forgotten but not
Without having had
A world to fill
Without having added a drop
To the worlds of light
A heart and a will

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Security Valentine

When you cross the border
First all your falsehoods
Rush out to meet you
In the form of wild beasts
Disguised as pleasure and pain
Power and passivity
Like going through security
But on the level of the soul
Before you even see the gates
You are treated badly
To test your response
Often your eyes wander off
To a particular guard watching you
With a welcoming gaze

Refugee’s Valentine

Even though we didn’t mean to
We still have to show up
For the meanness in our deeds
And the misunderstandings built
Upon our necessary self-focus
I often think of my own father
In heaven and the conversation
We will have with his father
And his father’s father and so on
Even on to Adam until we finally
Get to meet Eve our mother
And hear her side of the story
They were so young when they
Married and her so huge and wise
The first refugees of the war
In heaven and we’re still
Running for our lives

Hollow Valentine

In my past
Rhyme was passé
But not today
After you left
With your life
It’s all that
Was left the
Rhyming echo
Of time hollow
As life I
Could be still
Listening to my will
Speak the words
Only love can fill

Cat’s Valentine

What does a cat hear
When it listens to our music
But more music of its spheres
Of daily rounds unimpressed
By Rachmaninoff or Feldman
Nor in the genealogy of sounds
Does it envy the birds
Its older brothers their charming
Personalities and clatter
Caught in a time before
Such scruples matter
But to sit on my chest and purr
And stare up into my face
Next to climbing a tree is best

Friday, January 13, 2017

I Will Not Valentine

I will not die now
Because I am picking
Up an orange from
The ground where it
Has collapsed and carrying
It to the compost mound
I will not die now
Because my leaning
Against this wall
Is holding it up
Preventing its fall
I will not die now
Because I am writing this
And therefore alive
And just learning how

Sitting Valentine

Lines end suddenly in poems
To remind us of the precipice
All around us and particularly
To precipitate a falling not just
A grounding but not even
That much of it needs to happen
If we are called to the edge
Of ourselves where we can sit
And look out knowing the cliff
Is inadequate if the climb
Has not been difficult
Our legs tell us to plunge
But our hands hold on
Even if it’s all just desert
And our hearts have gone

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Hypothetical Valentine

If from what was only lacking ourselves
We were to look back clearly
On the present and the past
From the point where only spirit is
I think we would easily see
The mountains of fear we rallied
Against it in our artful sciences
Our governments and religions
Ignoring hunger for a piece of bread
That the good could not be good
Without the darkness to resist it
That the evil of freedom be prodigal
To the love of a deeper will

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Dream’s Valentine

The dream of the body
From which death finally wakes us
Often harshly through some malady
Of soul dragging us into a living death
Which is neither like nor unlike the dream
That seems so real we call it life
In which somehow we always think
Of ourselves as free
At least in our thoughts
But what if the thoughts continue
The conversation after that brief pause
And even disembodied we don’t believe it
And turn away from the gods
Hastening back to the world
Until the effect becomes the cause
And we have re-written all the laws

Still-Motion Dancing Valentine

An unfriendly large leaf
Fell loudly by the door
Yes I said why not
Get up off the floor
It’s always once in your life
You get to be lusty
And once to be crusty not lovely
But curled in upon yourself
Trying to be a seed-like thing
At least the gesture’s there
Like two bowing or one hand
Reaching for another
Across a yellowing expanse
Asking you to dance

Imaginary Cornell Box Valentine

(In the top left corner)
A good man
Is not enough
He must have
His other half
(Over by a blue marble)
All true narcissists
Are suicidal
They fall
Into themselves not
Such a great distance
After all
But fatal
(Laying in the background)
What white person
In America today
Is willing to pick
Pistachios for nine hours
Six days a week
(Next to a plastic donkey)
And then wire the money
Back to a wife and child
Is this not Christmas

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Moon’s Valentine

The moon sits
On my shoulders
Colder now
I’m older
Now I know
The notes full
And quarter
And can sing
Along or not
After all it
Is a dirge
Or a snatch
Of a waltz
And the dance
Is either true
Or false

Just Valentine

Because we are all just words ourselves
And as we say only as good as
Each of us one of the languages
The gods speak us into
Writing about them insisting
On their necessary cohabitation
Making of the world a just place

Of exact guilt and possible reparation
All of us equally panicked equally exultant
Just not all at the same time
All of us still learning the new language
Of calm consideration of one another
Which many of those gods
Work diligently to founder

Full Valentine

Words we are so full of words
The way the world is full
Of people craving a context
An enunciation a church
Or a bar some so full and
Some so empty as at the birth
Of a word the mouths gather round
To lick it clean and lift it up
To push it out into the world
To be used and betrayed
By its opposite equal
Nothing as strong
Nothing as feeble
Words that can only be everything
Or nothing to people

Monday, January 9, 2017

Happiness Valentine

I know I’m really happy
When I feel I don’t deserve it
When it humbles me for a moment
Grateful to be a child again
Where everything is equal
To everything else around it
Fear is fear that can be laughed away
By total invulnerability and sleep
Brings easy passage to another world
No less challenging than this one
But slowly the child sinks
Into himself laughs less and less
Loses the thread that hooked him
To that heaven and rest

Worried Valentine

But it’s you I worry about
Yellow-flowering hibiscus
With too much yellow in your leaves
So no flowers come the rape       
Of one system by another
Which provokes me to remedies
You refuse won’t even sip
The soup of love and fish emulsion
I pour over you in frustration
But don’t depend on the gardener
Please remember life
Has options though death
Is not limited to the grave

Secret Valentine

The secret purpose of thinking
Is a philosophy to cross the threshold
Of what to do with the fact
Of the unknown and the unknowable
In our lives and words
Even in their presumption
Of the existence of some truth
Which gives the game away
Are the most sacred things we have
Whose daily struggle is to separate
Thoughts from feelings and sensing
In order to be able to look at both
Of them separately and see them
For what they really are
Different as fathers from sons
Mothers from daughters

Saturday, January 7, 2017

The Work of Love Valentine

Even when you’ve written all your life
Mostly detritus and debris
Smitten but never kissed
You can still carry on
The work of love
Which is never tedious
Or wasteful though grim
At times because of
That other one inside
Who sings your destruction
And demise the one
Who has no faith
Even in himself
Or the love you prize

Standing Valentine

On the last of the holy nights
Just as the unholy ones appeared
While one star opposed many others
And another old shrine was proven
Scientifically impossible a myth
Of pilgrims downgraded to tourists
The wind fingered the old
Pale yellow umbrella in the yard
Warning of the gale to follow
Soon darkness swallowed
The trembling horizon
My scarecrow bones lit up
With lightening crumbling with thunder
Another storm raging against which
We all must stand
Or be torn asunder

Friday, January 6, 2017

Domestic Exchange Valentine

Two cats one feline
One human align
Their bodies eye to eye
One on the other’s chest
And stare and stare their way
Into the other’s skin
Your glassy eye is grim
Your blue is full of I
As each lets the other in
Your wildness burns my lips
Your tameness makes me cry
It feels like coming home
To a home I’ve never been
It feels like leaving the known
And having to carry your sin

Some Assembly Required Valentine

So I call a meeting of the body
And the feet say they’re sore
But not sorry they got the job done
That they did what they were told
But then the neck interjects
Always running toward the block
That’s not quite the case
I defer to the authority
Of the eyes all three
And I refer explicitly to the skin
Which closes us in each
A seed in its own shell
Finally I call upon the soul
Whereat the lungs collapse
The heart straightens its smile
And old conscience wanders in
Pushing a walker one day a mile

Unhappy Hour Valentine

I think I need a drink
Of old desire the wine
Of one more time
Just one more glass
For the past returns
Just when you’re
Really not ready for it
But that’s the point
One learns to live
And after all there’s
Already so much
To forgive
And so much to be
Forgiven for

Two or Three Things Valentine

The privilege of growing older
Is not that you get rid of the world
But that you finally get rid of a job
And so many other unnecessary things
Required to materialize our time
And if you are gifted with
A few good years of health
You can finally get a grip on yourself
And get back to the two or three things
You see now you started out with
A voice that can still not
Carry a tune but loves to sing
And a hand for the earth
And love’s glance sought and caught

Blessed Valentine

Willfully ignorant
Or painfully delusional
Or incredibly helpless
Or karmically conflicted
Or a hopeless admit it mess
Even still you are blessed
Or dreadfully cowardly
A soul without a breast
Or even an arm or a leg
Or days without rest
When you start to beg
For your death
Even still you are blessed

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Portrait of Gold Rain Valentine

I would like to paint you
As gold light along a roof-line
Reflected in this gray pail of rain
I’m saving for a drier day
But we won’t stay still that long
You trailing off when no one’s
Looking more felt than seen
Darkness creeping into the conversation
Water and twilight maintain
While all the light drains out
Each day dies so differently
It could be you or me
We can barely look to see

Cling On To Love Valentine

Cling on to love
The way the last leafless branch
Adheres to the blue-black heaven
Which knows it cannot hold
But holds and holds
A hand in the icy flow
Of burgeoning time
Love slips away
But still it clings
An annihilation of wings
Rushing upward as one
When love is done
But love is never done

Erin’s Valentine

Of course when you speak about ideas
You mean the gods the ruling forces 
The occupants of the third heaven
Who stand behind and issue forth
With what to them is commonplace
But to us is rarest wisdom
Our words sharp squawks to them
Their mountains of light
Falling on us then rising in red
And green shoots of the present
Moment in our weedy minds
But what happens when love wakes up
Won’t it be harsh and hopeful
Pushing its way into the heart
And hollering for its new day

The Dream of Love Valentine

The seed must be placed
Either by time or hand
Right there close to the base
Of the trellis or the fleshy wall
You can even push it in
With your finger or
Some other similar device
Always there is something
Pushed into something else
Both receptive and unwilling
Sheep and wolves wander up
To the empty manger
And several raggedy kings
Come later like a foul breeze
Soon the seed will enter

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Numb Days of Missed Opportunities Valentine

The only insignificant thing
Is the word insignificant
Which has done so much damage
Today I planted the last of the nasturtium
Seeds but they may have to catch
Up with the moon to bloom
Obama did not kick the money-lenders
Out of the temple but gave them back
Their thirty pieces of silver
The slow man you shunned at the store
Came running after you
With your car keys
When you went out at evening
You couldn’t force yourself
To look down into the abyss

Garden Catalogue Valentine

Though the heart’s no annual
It does re-seed itself
Nor yet perennial
Though it must be torn apart
It’s always the last to go
Because it comes from the future
It’s not yet fully in flower
But only in this little part that beats
Which itself is a seed in the field
Of the body one day to be all-heart
Heart-head and heart-arms
A heart that has eaten the liver
And the bile of many lives
And comes back reliably in spring

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Visionary Valentine

The crooked pictures
On the walls of heaven
Await your straightening
Because only the old know
What it’s like to grow older
How you actually become more
Alive inside as slowly the evil one
Leaves you seeing your death
Like a pale sail on the horizon
Knowing he can’t go
With you into that heaven
That awaits the perfection
Only you can bring
To the whole vision

My Stray Valentine

They moved on and left
Her behind she was once
Part of a great garage band
That found fortune and fame
But they left her behind
She went wild after that
Her song descended to a wail
She flicked her tail
Like the great whip of Satan
To survive in alleyways
Pursued by feral boys
And roaring garbage trucks
That left her behind

Graveside Valentine

Poised is the grave of the last
Pomegranate we watched
Hang for weeks the thud
Came in the night like a head
Like a soft blow to the head
That woke us for a moment
Of pure terror rending us
Unconscious but in the morning
To calm ourselves we buried
It in a sunny corner of the yard
Gathering up our ripe and rotten
Thoughts and burying them with it
That it save itself and us

Poor Poem’s Valentine (for John Berger)

The racing cat broke the jade
Leaf off so it fell just covering
The hole the bird had dug
To find and kill the worm
At the heart of the world
But I can’t tell if that beak
Plucked desire from its shaft
Or if things go on as planned
With celestial purpose and daft
Interruptions for comic centuries
And then the ant of the poor poem
Crawls up out of that hole
Where the heart had been
And starts to build again


Monday, January 2, 2017

Pete’s Valentine

A garnet didn’t even want
To become a rose
But it was brought up so
To become a keeper
Of a tower and a mad sower
And that flower didn’t really want
To become a tiger and certainly
Not a tiger eater
But it happened so
Clearly these things haven't
A mind of their own
But go on from perfection to perfection
As seal and sign of one

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year’s Valentine

Lost in the labyrinth
Of my desire I came upon
A glistening choir of raindrops
Pendant from a cedar bough
Pointing to a clearing
Where a cheerful fire
Soothed the emptiness around
So I sat hoping never to be found
For the eternity it offered
The warm blaze that extinguished
My desire to move or be
Listening to the green around me
Drawn up from the depths of earth
By silvery hands of glory
Arrayed for love’s journey