Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Arriving Valentine

There’s the wiser side of spring
Which summer brings but first
The screams and reckless infancy
Of green unfolding things
Openly in fields and streets
All the babies to be born this year
Gathering on the outskirts
Waiting their turn
Some to be torn
Buried under buildings
Soon upon arrival
Still wearing their wings
Is it just the passion
Life has for itself
More seeds cast
Than could ever survive
More surviving
Than could ever last

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sleepless Valentine

My hummingbird is never still
At least the one who lives in my yard
I wonder if he ever sleeps
Unless he crashes on some leaf high up
Finally at four in the morning
Drunk on all that nectar
After reading a lot of Baudelaire
And thinking about the devil-double
We all carry inside
Though he’s no philosopher
He has his pride
And keeps his distance
From dichotomy and me
And only knows the Lord

Spring In My Step Valentine

The older I get the more
I lean forward in my step a bit
To stay balanced and unbewildered
About the future
And there’s that terror
Of falling backwards
Of not keeping up
And finally falling down
But to survive the life-cycles
Of scents marrying the air
Puts a spring in my feet
After winter’s troubling sleep
And slowly lifts me
From the ground
Leaning into every step
For warmth and light and sound

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Homeless Valentine

Christ was not the first homeless man
To be crucified it was already
A well-established pattern
And still it goes on
But he wanted to be the last
And definitive one
To return from the dead
And say so clearly
To an endless crowd
Of incredulous believers
The effort to get around
His story’s real intent
May be largely what informs
Our time or at least it pays the rent

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Annunciation Valentine

If the gods had not invented us
We would not have to invent them
Instead of finally admitting
Their persistent presence
Now we live in everything around us
While their whole lives
Are spent in the interiors
Of things developing themes
And organizing their ideas
So every day they can overcome
The world and every night renew it
But one who stayed proclaimed
To know the inside and the outside
Though no proof of him remained

Friday, March 24, 2017

Leaving Valentine

The animal life of the world
Following the lead of the plants
Panicked or peaceful
Is leaving us beside the ones
We’re killing or watching
Be killed another Noah’s Ark
Another crossing of the sea
Another tree in Galilee
The long sacrifice of the gods
As it was meant to be
Must come to its end
So in their emptiness left behind
A human womb
Their final masterpiece
Might birth a mind divine

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Praying Valentine

In the case of my cat Spats
With whom I can speak as an adult
She was abused in her childhood
We all get our trust broken young
But there are ways and ways
And for what she can’t forgive
She searches for a little mercy
The unforgiveable sins Christ alone
Came to solve she says
I had no idea you were religious
I’m not she glares
But still she joins my prayers
For those who suffer in the world
Which is everyone and us

For the Sake of Its Flowers Valentine

Have I showed you my vine
From Australia the flowers
Are actually a velvety black
With yellow-green interiors
It’s like some burnt-out taper
Leftover from ancient Lemuria
The leaves are large and ominous
And soon consumed the trellis
I could have climbed like Jack
To some antediluvian Bolivia
In the giant clouds for lack
Of anything better some days
If I wasn’t forever hacking it back
Before it devours the iris and zinnia
And leaves the light not a crack

Landing Valentine

At last a storm is coming
It’s about four miles away
And one mile up
I’m on the flight-path
Waving it in
It’s like a zeppelin
With everything possible
Tucked away inside
The wind is whirling the dust
The garden grips the ground
Still I shout you can make it
Signaling with my arms
Gently guiding it in
To my little yard
Running for cover
When it touches down

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Scribe’s Valentine

Lines come out of the air
With a distinct urgency
Like once at the grocery store
I had to write some down
Quickly on a cantaloupe
Or I’d forgotten them
By the time I reached the peas
They’re hard to please
Our masters never ceasing
To pour down on us their
Best efforts of which
I have made I think
Yet still they come
Only this paste and ink

Busted Valentine

As if to say this
All this is mine
The bear-like hairy bee
Circles the flowering
Pomegranate tree
Decisively if not
Quite aerodynamically
He’s like the bumbling cop
Who’s already on to you
For stumbling with your shears
Too close to home
Forgive me I just wanted
To savor your flowers
Standing underneath
Now it's finally arrived
The flesh-colored sky
When I look up through them

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Loitering Valentine

A sharp breeze
Bringing a nasty rain
They fight like marrieds
In the narrow drain
A door left open
For the wind
A window shut
Against the wet
One of those nights
Sleep loiters in the yard
And won’t come in
Old war stories
With the wind
Old romances
With the rain

Careful Valentine

Fear is a cognitive failure
Expressing as hate in the heart
And doubt of any good future
The garbage truck terrifies
The cat the way bullets
Break out at any moment
But that’s just sudden fear
A physiological reaction
A shock to the system
Yet who is not afraid
Of hurting what he loves
Is not sane or reasonable
What abolishes fear
Must be thought that’s capable
Of honesty and care

Equinoctial Valentine

Maybe in our time on earth
We will force ourselves to admit
To settle it once and for all
The universal fact
The eternal recurring rumor
That no one of us can survive
Here alone no one of us
Can completely take care of himself
We are all everywhere dependent now
On everyone else everything else
In every conceivable way
A government true to this time
Can only be the understanding
Of the implications of this fact

Monday, March 20, 2017

Distant Valentine

A good meditation tries
To mirror the original
As if it were the original
And the other was the image
It takes several brush-strokes
Not to be confused as a copy
Of the living god in his dominion
Painted on this crumbling wall
Yet here he is resplendent
Preserved in fragmentary blue
And white as if condensing
Out of the clouds as promised
But for now often alone
He’s living in a tiny chapel
In a hidden valley far away
Still meditating night and day
Still listening for the phone

David’s Valentine

One cannot anticipate its arrival
Nor control its departure’
And yet it’s everywhere
The source of all the life around us
No wonder we let it into our bodies first
Our own and someone else’s
But it refuses to stay there
Nothing if not free
As you make clear
Now you must love the world
As love so loved
It could forget itself
Remembering you

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Trace Valentine

Science wants to know
How many times Christ
Used the word love
It wants to measure his feet
For the lakes around here
It wants to find out why
The water he blessed
Tasted like new wine
When the groom was already drunk
And our religions have become
Political organizations
And our politics has become
The worst kind of religion
Only in art can we find a trace
Of him that’s still believable
What happened on that hill

Missing Valentine

I always miss some places
So I have to go back
Over them with my clippers
Like trimming faces
Buried in the bearded
Weeds ladies in their curlers
But the sun keeps moving
Combing over the grass
So the more I eliminate
The more appear
First Spartacus with his million
Summarily dispatched
Then the savior dandelion
Whose sun has not been matched

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Left in the Street Valentine

If you find this note
Know that I am a prisoner
Of a deeply psychotic cat
With borderline features
Somewhere in this neighborhood
But if I told you the address
You might try to rescue me
And that would only make things worse
Because she's the kind of jealous lover
That won’t let you out of her sight
Bites your ankles if you leave
Her alone too long at night
But in the morning in my lap
She curls all’s reconciled
Even lets me sip my coffee
If I’m quick and don’t drip
And let her have her nap

Farewell Valentine

Down a long tunnel
You will come to the dark earth
Some people will recognize you
And take you home with them
After that there are various
Possible childhoods planned
But only one that is yours
It won’t take long to forget
Everything you’ve learned
To be entirely on your own
But try to remember one thing
When you get there
What can never die
Was never born

Exact Valentine

The world is always exactly
What we have in mind conveyed
For ourselves collectively thinking
Up to this point in the recording
We’ve memorized the music so
All that matters is how it’s played
Whether by mouth or hand
Serving the purposes of a certain note
Long awaited long pursued
Lest when it rushes through you
When it grabs you by the throat
Having come to the final pause
The flutes wavering in the background
You fail to lift your arms into the air
And let them float

Friday, March 17, 2017

Etheric Valentine

What if you could look
Into the three ethers
And in the first you could see
The pure light of your ideas
Coming and going as people
And in the second you could see
The vast turbulent ocean
Of your feelings warming
And freezing you as you sail on
And in the third you could
Barely see if you peered way down
The battling currents of your will
Steering that passionate ocean
Giving rise to those fiery thoughts

Erin Valentine

It was long enough ago
To be still remembered
A few scraps of something holy
Salvaged from the past
For those who wear the cross
But don’t believe in heaven
The boy with the snakes
Turning them into the green
Of spring before the Norsemen came
As if Ireland were the childhood
Of the world as we know it
Its birthday moment
Its point of departure
With its giants and little people
Its dancing into the future

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Etruscan Valentine

To fashion an image of reality
Is our unrelenting task
You were just getting out of the shower
And a week went past
I used to think of Emerson and Poe
Visiting the cemetery together
But now they don’t have to
When they got off the train
After a long lunch together
Their loved ones for whom they lived
Rushed to meet them I’m sure
You meanwhile looked like an Etruscan
I once knew but then it passed

Caught Valentine

And you my dear dead ones
Whose lives continue on the inside
While we are caught here
On the outside I’m sure
You hold the secrets to both
If we would only listen
You wield the spring light
The way we pick up a pen
And out of your murmurings
The brief memories of leaves
And flowers form and breath
Each thing once only for us
But for you they’re just down the road
Where they remain
In their eternal weaving

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

M’s Valentine

To have someone love you
More than you love yourself
Which is considerable almost intolerable
And to love them back
More than they love themselves
Which is considerable almost intolerable
This is the triple grand trine
As far as we’ve come
But often I think we love
Someone who doesn’t feel
The same sooner or later
Which is a shame
Given how much
We love ourselves

Shosta’s Valentine

To come upon the beauty
Of the 2nd movement
Of Shostakovich’s 2nd
Piano Concerto in the middle
Of a confounding day
Searching for something else
And then playing it over
And over how he places the notes
Fragmentary but tenderly
As if speaking to a child
Falling asleep as if here
In this quiet-restless music
He exhumed the old Slavic soul
For a few astonishing moments
Before it was taken
Underground again

Weeding Valentine

An old man weeding
Doesn’t need a life
If he has a garden
If he’s given up
On vegetables
And grows only
Flowers and weeds
An old man weeding
Is secretly re-seeding
His love for spring
In the winter of his soul
He sows his all
Try your best snow and ice
He will not answer twice

First Truth Valentine

We can be distracted
Easily why so easily
From the first truth but
It doesn’t go away
Our attention shifts
As if there might be
An alternate truth
To be laid
Beside the immovable one
Who does not die
Though death comes
In his footsteps
As if the truth
Had first to be buried
In order to spring again