Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Scientific Valentine

At the Institute for Emotional
Control and Difficult Personalities
you get your diligence stretched
until it fits your theory of the brain
is there a spirit in the pia mater
or merely uncooperative substances
undergoing violent eruptions
going back to the original pain
when tools applied to coping
had implications for dysfunction
an axe cuts either way
we rush to help and to insert
what’s missing but the receptors
are suffering so we revert
to dietary or prayerful acts

Light Bulb Valentine

When 51% of the people
living on the earth like me
come to the clear decision
that we must stop fighting
for personal reasons and countries
and start feeding the children
and women and start taking care
of all of us valuable all of us beautiful
as one human species still evolving
who have been here before
and will return on a later date
so it not remain dark as in the days
before Euclid spoke and pointed
or in the centuries spent longing
for the Messiah when we could
have been salvaging ourselves

Monday, July 6, 2015

Grecian Valentine

God you’re gorgeous
and yet we must move on
and cherish little breezes
on still hot nights
where do they come from
on the way to sleep
the 18 million viewers
of the soccer match tonight
who celebrate and weep
as they have always done
or are there soon to be
new sons new daughters
who don’t have to drown
to pay their father’s debts
but who see at last the rich
are only rich because they’ve
taken everyone else’s money
and that won’t work for them

Fox's Valentine (for Erin)

Those great flocks of passenger pigeons
still darken the sky but now invisibly
and those huge herds of so-called
extinct animals and birds of all kinds
still graze ethereal fields and forests
and even those new creatures
not yet bodied in the world
roam with them and the one fox
you saw first in a hunting mode
and then later in the mode of death
both of them are mirrored there
in the mind’s all-inclusive panorama
which still somehow feels so feeble
poorly-lit and bare compared
to this stone bridge and these
heavy feet strolling home over it

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Vacation Valentine

Our descent into chaos
like our repeatedly aborted
ascent out of chaos
short-lived leap-frog progress
such as we have made
all under the watchful
collaborative eyes of the dead
who see so clearly
the divine steeplechase
we’re up against lest we forget
we actually only came to earth
for a kind of summery holiday
from hell for a couple of weeks
but like so many weary travelers
got caught up here and stayed

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Gone Fishing Valentine

A man compared to a fishing pole
would find his ego in the hook
often bated with nothing but hunger
the body’s kind of desire
but sometimes with a real worm
the soul’s model of desire
like the one in the bottle
with which to draw its subjects
into opening their mouths
and swallowing the hook
so it can set and he can reel
his life in from the depths
or else a rattling kettle
or a birdcage or one time
a wooden ladder to heaven
with only one rung to climb

Pain Is Also a Flag Valentine

This black and white
stray cat apparently
a character in my karma
bites the hand that feeds him
in this case my big toe
when everything was moving along
smoothly him curled
around my feet and me
quietly reading the astronomy
textbooks for the classes
I never took now out of date
like a star just out of reach
the pain of his hostility
woke me momentarily to my own
how soon I fall asleep again

Friday, July 3, 2015

Troubled Valentine

If the truth depended
on our fool’s telling
we’d really be in trouble
(as it too would be)
but gradually the truth
with its quiet face
and child’s grace
depends on no one
having been an orphan
from shortly after birth
then raised by wolves
bullied by long winters
finally honed to an edge so fine

you never feel the blade
hand you your heart

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Paroled Valentine

In French it means words
or a formal promise
while in current English
it means released
but on a short leash
like my love is on parole
would be a good example
except it has nothing to do
with the criminal justice
system that I know of
except that after 40 we’re all
on parole to the illusion
time’s running out
as only time can

Bordered Valentine

We are something rising up
out of nothing out of nowhere
which meets something falling down
out of everything out of everywhere
how else does matter
become understanding
thus we are bordered
by above and below
by east and west
by front and back
we are 7 cubits by 7 cubits by 7
we are the holy of holies
carried through the desert cities
we are the seeds of the worlds

Whelps Valentine

When the full moon climbs up
over the tiled roof next door
I’m going to get up out of this chair
and bow to our ancient neighbor
cursed and driven out of the temple
by his/her more worldly brothers
by his/her more worthy sisters
everyone gets a turn at scapegoat
everyone is pregnant and on drugs
in high school what else is it for
but with our dear cousin the moon
this is a permanent condition
of building up and wasting away
every day birthing another whelp
another world another day
a day like any other day
pink and blue and gray

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

After Valentine

After yesterday’s blizzardy dust storm
the patio looks a proper mess
of leaves and sticks pushed around
and a fine white coating
covers all like a pall
like an old clown
who’s forgotten how
to apply his smile
so for once wears
the haggard truth of days
the tragic mask of loss and ruin
which only a good
sweeping will soon
place in the dust bin on time
for Tuesday’s collection

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Arrival’s Valentine

The pain of penetration
is the proof of the power
of submission to the gods
and to love’s price point
one is willing to suffer
for right of entrance
to its further requirements
and languorous penances
well beyond our range and age
flashing between billboards
broken pieces of the god-like morning
carefully feathering itself all afternoon
into the black swan of midnight
adrift on the lake of love

Heaven Restaurant Valentine

If there’s a menu
in heaven I’d like
to order a courage
sandwich to go
on that marvelous
bread you called
faith with a side
of that red potato
salad to spread
around it sometimes
I run short at home
nothing to offer you
when you come round

Genius Valentine

Simply by not letting
their minds wander off course too far
the good gods hold the cosmos
in amazing working order
think of all the risks not taken
their thoughts alone supplying
enough power to make it all happen
in the most harmonious way possible
given the opposition which remains
resolute in its blind self-interest
and unbending refusal
of any merciful short-cut or
the admission of a single mistake

Monday, June 29, 2015

World’s Valentine

So it turns out
all I wanted
all along was
just to rest
my heavy head
on your chest
dear lord
and have you
promise me
again the world
itself a reject
of love
itself  love’s
whole concern

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Gospel Valentine

I have nothing to say
which is why I chose
to say it this way
my task is to say nothing
just get out of the way
which is easier to say
than to do who knew
but yes that’s also true
I knew nothing except
the consciousness of loss
of something missing
as if here on earth
we’re always waiting
for the other shoe to drop
or wondering
if we missed it

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Normal Valentine

Look this isn‘t normal
the earth is not normal
do you see another
like it which
perceives itself
self-protectively
as human where
materiality assumes
what sentience consumes
the beauty of the body
equal to the spirit
when you look into
the mirror of the moon
where will you find
another like it

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fiery Valentine

It’s like every summer
tries to soar higher
than the one before
what else are these fires for
but to see us leap
as children who dare
total extinguishment
with ash and joy to spare
as if we were made to leap
higher and higher
fluttering legs and arms
singed and scarred
by the raging fire’s veils
drawn back to uncharm
for a moment the glowing
face of the real

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Promissory Valentine

Isn’t this what summer promises
that we can all be lifted up
into distant lofty places
deep blue and silvery spaces
where great intelligences reach
if we would only lie down on a beach
somewhere and let the gold of the sun
flow through us into the sand
and feel our bones root down
into the lines and forms of the earth
as when our mothers held us
and our fathers gave us birth
one who just wanted us to live
and one who knew we would die
but how can those who bring life out of life
birth one who brings life out of death
except the earthly be taken up
and heaven come down to die 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Parts Valentine

Not only do we not want to love
or accept others as they are
but we don’t want to love
or accept ourselves either
I love you but I don’t like you
I tell myself almost every day
I don’t have to like you
I just have to respect you I say
we use our judgmental consonants
instead of our grateful vowels
we still think I’m better
if you’re worse we still forget
all our lives are made up
of interchangeable parts
more or less courageous

Not I but Words (St. John’s Day) Valentine

When I was in grammar school
my favorite teacher said aloud
to me so everyone could hear
you have a flair for words
I was embarrassed for her cliché
but her proud words marked
and mocked and stalked me
my whole life with their lie
because it was words who had me
not the other way around
I loved letting language use me
and run through me whenever
I could get out of its way
just to hear what it had to say