Saturday, November 18, 2017

Feathery Valentine

My wild cat
Likes to claw my chest
And curl and purr
 
Together we watch
A white feather drift down
To the new-seeded ground
 
And notice the air is full
Of tiny feathery things
Sailing in and out of the sun
 
She will only let me pet her head
And only with my left hand
She doesn’t want her wildness cured
 
She forces me to sit still
And give up everything for her
To watch the feathers fall

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mystery Valentine

His home is dead
The mockingbird man
His orange tree is dead
 
He still doesn’t know
What killed it
A mystery in his head
 
Over and over
He reviews the clues
The same old songs
 
And still a few green fruit
May ripen but what’s the use
On the last living branch
 
Soon he too will be gone
The mystery of song
When love is done 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Easter Is an Island In the Mind Valentine

We brought great stones back from the beach
To plant in our desert garden
Our own Easter Island
 
Once covered by tall forests
We now have to settle for sand
And the leftover augur shells
 
Still rising from a long-dead ocean
We keep moving around the earth
From the same reticulated past
 
With so much to remember
We have to pick what lasts
If we could only make up our minds
 
One stone is a shapely fish-head
With a tiny white shell for an eye
Aimed toward the sunset sky

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Eyes Valentine

Eye to eye
With a butterfly
Orange on a green leaf
 
He rests in the sun
I in the shade
The day has made
 
He’s teaching me to flutter
To hold my wings open
And just sip the light
 
I’m teaching him to mutter
Just under his breath
The universe of night

He speaks of return
Of all that’s flowing
I speak of going

Remembered Valentine

The twig trembles
When the bird pushes off
Free of the load
 
It tried to hold
The weightlessness
Free of all attachments
 
What seemed just another leaf
Slipping off
Trusting the wind
 
With its own motives
If no clear destination
Following its nose
 
Leaving the breeze
To shake the twig
As if it remembered something

Waves Valentine

There are living oceans
And there are dead oceans
Where the fish swim through you
 
And the waves have been distilled
To the warm air you breathe
With only the beaches left
 
And the walking for miles
Toward the dissolving mountains
Where water can be found
 
Or else you row out
To where a certain plant
Can be pulled up from the depths
 
Tenderness in the morning
You can hold
In your hands

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Crying Out To The Elements Valentine

I know I don’t listen
Very well to you lamely
Try to follow your directions
 
Received mostly unconsciously
Like instant messages
From your stores of wisdom
 
I know you think
We’re just the stupidest
Things on earth
 
It’s all about learning to think
Isn’t it into the feelings
You draw up from the earth
 
The logic of leaves
Hoisted piecemeal
To the roaring stars

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bruised Valentine

The worst things must be
Our finest teachers
We are that obstinate
 
A sort in the world
But we come to this knowledge
Long before we can implement it
 
The good get better
When the evils get worse
Having to disentangle themselves
 
But this morning I found
A bruised rainbow
Hiding behind the bureau
 
Knowing how it got there
Relieves none of the pain
Of having to nurse it back again

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Promised Valentine

Come to my heart strength
Come to my will love
Come to my thoughts life
 
This was the prayer
He wrote down
And walked off
 
We had just met
Yet he was someone
I loved right away
 
What’s strange is I can’t
Remember where we were
Or even exactly when

But I mark it
As the beginning
Of a promise to meet again

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran’s Valentine

I am where I am
And you are with me
Spirits of the earth

Bach’s Valentine

I would have my Bach stripped
Of his fine frocks
Down to the naked melody
 
Now frills are less in fashion
With him you have the feeling
The music could go on and on
 
You could come back next Tuesday
And he would still be teasing out
All the possible permutations
 
But the clothes never come off
Not completely
Only a further nakedness
 
Is ever revealed

Friday, November 10, 2017

Returned Valentine

Is a great vice the price
Of a great talent
Or is it just the talent’s
 
Not yet strong enough
To overcome the vice
Never totally vanquished
 
How to apply its powers
To itself the imagination
That makes self-mockery possible
 
Humility is never lacking
In the truly talented
A sense of gratitude and service
 
So the talent is lifted up
And given back
To the gods

Familiar Valentine

The familiar presence
Of eternity wears on me
And cheers me up

Originally I had no idea
There could be forever
The tides of endless time

That I could sleep with it
As a continuation
Of conscious dreaming
 
And wake back up
In a body so grounding
And individual
 
And yet so doubtful
Love will ever make it
To the end

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Original Valentine

Cacti always look
Like they’re starving
Compared to other trees
 
Which of course they are
Having cut back to the bone
In the prisons of the sun
 
But if you take one in
And feed and water it
It will fill out again
 
Into something resembling a man
Or a neglected child recovering
The use of her limbs
 
These spines were always her leaves
But look she has kept
The original idea of the flower

More Valentine

How many names do we have for sunlight
In the dark gardens of the mind
And then you show up
 
A vivid picture that appears
In one world and then fades
Into another more permanent
 
And to think this is the only world
In which we can get something done
It’s overwhelming
 
And that I haven’t even
Had a coffee yet
Or kissed you almost
 
As you’re going out the door
Always leaving love
And entering more

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Many Valentines

The gods aren’t smoking cigarettes
Leisurely in heaven
Watching the earth go by
 
In the time before logic
They loved to waft in the incense
After a long day’s hard work
 
But now they hardly ever get home
To sleep for a few hours
Before there’s another fire
 
On Venus or Mars
And of course the earth
It’s like having another baby
 
Having so many babies
Half of them die
For lack of their holding

Preparatory Valentine

Preparatory to its little dose of sunlight
It’s always standing
Quietly at attention
 
Perhaps fifteen minutes
Of total illumination
And complete clarity
 
Before the shade returns
To its shining nest
And settles in
 
The sad sun
That it must touch
And need us so much
 
Even the tiny buds
We cling to
And try to save
 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Another Way Valentine

The plants and animals
The oceans and mountains
Already being there
 
Go to heaven when they die
But the two-leggeds
Have invented another way out
 
Of this world
To bring heaven down
To human size
 
And to incorporate the light
Of sun and stars
Into the darkness of forgetting
 
Where they come from
Like some poor girl who goes out for bread
And winds up getting married
 
And moving to a foreign country
Where she’s happy at times
But wakes up every morning in tears

Jade Pot’s Valentine

The world’s arranged
So when you come
Around the corner
 
The first thing you see
Are the two great blues
With an emerging flower
 
Standing between them
What would you do
If you had the time
 
And then you do
The pale blue of morning
The midnight blue of midnight
 
What can you do
But hold your face
Right up to them

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Last Valentine

You could say the earth
Is an excrescence of heaven
In the process of assimilating God
 
Or whatever you want to call it
Everything simultaneously that’s
Inside and all around us
 
How far back the idea
Stretches itself to the rattle
Of garbage in the alley even
 
And still so much to throw away
The great mountains and oceans
The living and dying of worlds
 
And who will win the prize
Of seeing the last rose
Or the last pelican I saw

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hymn to the Depths Valentine

What to them are the depths
To us are the heights
They don’t fool around
 
With space and time
The way we tend to
The armor of God
 
Is an oxymoron
Yet demonstrably true as stars
And these clouds and lightening
 
Are no aftermath for them
But what happens to words
When they come from great distances
 
To land in our mouths
Which spit them out
And sing them back again