Thursday, January 18, 2018

Extreme Valentine

The extremes go first
The hands and feet are whittled down
What they grasp is air and clouds
 
Where formally the electric company stood
And the rounded hill we called
Jupiter’s Temple with its gold roof-tiles
 
Ruined memories always under reconstruction
In an abandoned milk truck
With Cleopatra and Keats
 
One day you went down to the sea to swim
A single body alone in that great expanse
Where you could see your entire life
 
Back there glimmering
Not one grain of sand
But the whole shore line

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Owl-light’s Valentine

It was not the plastic owl
Melted into the roof by summers
That killed the orange tree
 
Or blasted the palm-tree into serpents
Or drew the four flower-spikes
Out of the thriving orchid
 
Or brought my books to me
Or tied my laces
And taught me how to skate
 
When we preferred tobogganing
That owl and I
A summer’s dream in a winter’s fall
 
We gasped our childhoods away
Unfinished things trudging home
Exhilarated and frozen

Invisible Valentine

Some clouds are quoting an ellipsis of stars
Just Orion belting one out
Last encore before the curtains closed
 
Research only proves the need
For further research winter for more winter
Every morning I look over the wall
 
Of flesh that separates us
Last night waking I saw the shape of my body
Outlined with a silvery light
 
Surrounding an empty space
If only I could show it to you
You would see yours was the same
 
We were being quoted
By the new moon of the heart
We were being written down

Monday, January 15, 2018

Blithe Valentine

Whatever the planets know
Of our arrival on this earth
There’s clearly a family resemblance
 
However circumstantial or anecdotal
The pleasure of the retrograde
The pain of going direct
 
We maintain a mercurial attitude
Even toward our own evolution
Our marriages and children

And taking what they offer
These cousins and uncles
Whose lives encourage us
 
With the burning out of their own
To go on even if blithely
Until nothing is known

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Homeward Valentine

I live in wait for words
Our true family and religion
Eventually they will bring us home
 
But first they must make us meek
For which archangels are needed
To try to make sense of the all
 
Into which they have placed us
Meanwhile we cut stones and trees
Building our cities out of their words
 
And then burning them down
While they try every language
They can think of
 
To bring some harmony to speech
A new verb
Or a kind word

Possible Valentine

Some of the leaves left on this tree
Look like hummingbirds nesting
And then a sharp squawk
 
A sound bigger than a bird lands
On the bright morning air
But no bird is visible
 
And nothing has moved from the fictitious
To the real leaves nothing stirs
The yard remains pictorial serene
 
While the sound of it circles round
The possibilities of its source
The intelligence of its intent

Maybe the sound spoke itself
That nothing but itself was meant
There was no bird or tree

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Grateful Valentine

I want to thank you
Forgotten soul
Old woman who helped me
 
Suddenly I remember you
That time in my life
Each person seemed like visiting
 
An ancient shrine
A renovated tomb
I stole some stones from
 
Unforgivably I feel
Yours was still a carnal life
Mine no life at all
 
By now you’ve reached the zenith
Of the after-death and know
What time and love are worth

Chaos-Adjacent Valentine

It’s the hummingbird’s emergency
A dash to a comma
That heals contingency
 
In the head of the writer are all other writers
The ones who drop the phone
And the ones who intend to
 
To find the flower of the thing
And suck its bitter honey
Its lovely irony our teacher
 
All writers live in the head of every writer
It has nothing to do with the quality of words
We love them anyway so much
 
We want to become them
As if words were the only hummingbird
A mortal could become

Friday, January 12, 2018

Its Valentine

How many lives do I have left
Today I lost another three
An invisible car I almost cleft
 
Another falling from a tree
The last just standing there
Watching the sunset’s glare
 
Did that dead leaf I kicked
Just scrape ‘I know’
It sounded like it
 
Spoke my language
That I am trying to die like it
I kicked it again
 
As if I lived to kick it
Kick it swiftly
Down the track

Thursday, January 11, 2018

When Valentine

Every mouthful of sunlight we breathe
Is codependent on us
Recognizing this
 
The cold sweats of the night
Continue in the fog of the morning
The glands the blood the nerves
 
Get married or divorced
Disease spreads from guilty hands
Only your pharmacist knows for sure
 
Someone comes to the door
Soliciting heaven and we dream
Together on the threshold for a second
 
Not even death can approach us
I tell him to come again tomorrow
When Jesus comes

Dandelion’s Valentine

The dandelion in winter
Is reflected in the snow
Of its flying falling hair
 
Populating fields and rivers
With houses and cars
The only relevant question on earth
 
‘Do you believe what just happened?’
Walks her dog up and down the street
Weeping and looking at no one
 
A theatrical despair
Runs around like a snowstorm
In the ball of her head
 
Her dog is all she’s got
I gave her 75 cents
All I had at the time

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

True Valentine

After fifty days of sun
A pouring cleansing rain
Dust becomes mud and fleshy
 
Leaves spread into action
Paintings if you can picture
That sort of metaphor
 
Entering a homeless mind
Houses slipping down hillsides
Sirens in the distance
 
But I write to you because it’s raining
Just to tell you it’s raining
It’s still raining finally
 
Not fiercely or randomly
But consistently and steadily
Like a true sadness or joy

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Still Valentine

I think not
That I am
But let me think of something
 
I could still be
That I could tell you about
And you could smile in agreement
 
We could talk about non-being
And his girlfriend being
Something to laugh about
 
And you could put your face
Close to mine still
And whisper their secret
 
How their love foundered and fell
How they’re stitching it
Back together again

Monday, January 8, 2018

Contemplation Is a Ravenous Thing Valentine

Two apples and a yellow-green banana
Can take me though an afternoon dream
Just contemplating them
 
Resting in their blue machine
Of a bowl still radiating
Back to the sun its favorite colors
 
Under which the flesh grows sweeter
All that pleasure for the seeds
To feast on and grow fatter
 
To think to ripen and survive
Is all they want or need
That love is their blue sky

And then to feed on them
Ravenously
As they look me in the eye

Red’s Valentine

The Christmas hibiscus goes on blooming
Past the flight and the circumcision
Still following the star
 
The baby is only a receptacle of light
That grows and ripens
While the mother sits for her portraits
 
Pondering death in her heart
Sealed from the child but not us
By love’s gaze
 
While in the background
The red hibiscus goes on blooming
Letting memory paint it too
 
As if a little of Christmas
Could be carried forward
Into every future new

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Twelfth Valentine

At the twelfth hour
On the twelfth night
We knelt before the light
 
Dressed as shepherds and kings
Angels and animals
All played by us adults
 
While the children watched
Applauding when the donkey entered
Recognizably their teacher
 
Who held a hoof to her lips
To quiet them
Gesturing toward the infant
 
Whose cries were just
Waking his mother
Our new baby brother

Epiphany Valentine

The uses of evil are one
To spur the various good
But the weight of love
 
Sitting on your chest
Like an old cat
Ready to spring
 
Deeper into inaction
A drowse that forms a ring
The seed of a new body
 
Taking its time to get here
To steal back the heart
From the animality of the world
 
We think we have a childhood
But it only watches and waits
Naked at the end too late

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Relative Theory of Valentine

That these our streaming thoughts
Come from what the telescope reveals
Of black matter in the brain
 
Where the old alchemists and magicians
Work on in improved laboratories
Settling the latest arguments
 
With explosions of colorful gas
What is a black hole if not
The first heart
 
Pumped by its flow of stars
Where the old blood and the new
Run together and apart
 
One who speeds on to destruction
And one who ventures out into the wide sea
Sailing by the stars

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Little Valentine

When I visited the ancient library
Down the street in Ephesus
All the books had been checked out
 
Only the thin pamphlet of a boy
Standing on a fallen stone
Staring crowds where stairs had been
 
To the floors above in the air
Where the lost books were kept
Bearing the secret past
 
All we have is the shattered house
Where the first thoughts
Gathered together in a horde of feeling
 
So when you entered and sat
In the darkness of all that knowledge
A little light would be brought to you to read

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Lightening’s Valentine

The police tried to arrest my cat
For drunk-driving last night
Frantic from the fireworks
 
She drove right through a tree
Heading for the shred of hope
She had left in the shed
 
She changed her name to Lightening
And though she used to make it
On the streets she’s seen the Lord
 
As just another customer
When survival takes hold
She fights for her lives
 
Nine is never enough
When one is immortal
One lives to survive