Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Valentine for the First Day

I wonder what kind of birthday
Death has planned for me
And yet why blame death
He’s just the messenger
One of the kings who came
To Bethlehem and stole
Away the next night
Was it cowardice or precaution
But death knew
He did not belong in this picture
Of peace on earth
That his turn would come later
When he knew
He would die

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Post-Deluvian Valentine

From memory we have pictures
Short stories and plays
From the present the many-
Volume semi-autobiographical
Novel and from the future
The poem whose audience
Is always dwindling a ghost crowd
This time a white moth
Pursued by a black cat
Playful but heraldic
As the poem sweeps over the yard
The dove in the flood
No place yet to light

Monday, May 22, 2017

Shorn Valentine

One stalk missed the blade
And a few huddled over there
Perfection includes imperfection
The way kindness includes insults
Until the exception becomes the rule
What interests me
Threatens me
With misapprehension
Of my self-projection
Over the whole field

Of shorn sunlight
I cannot see myself
Anywhere until
I find myself in you

Saturday, May 20, 2017

One Valentine

Come and stand with me
Under the Chaste tree
When it’s loaded with sky-blue
Blooms and above us
A million bees
Gorging on its nectar
Like the head of an infant
Sucking contentedly
What’s their business
What’s their hurry
That wings are speech
And everyone can talk at once
And not miss a word
There being only one

Friday, May 19, 2017

Sleepless Valentine

I’m always instructing myself
I approach myself pedagogically
As a somewhat recalcitrant
Somnambulist now you’re going
To do this now you’re going to do that
But we try to have fun with it
Both of us feel how we’re building
A human thing between us
Which is where the heart bursts in
Like someone who’s been dancing
All night in love with the music
Dazed with joy and passion
While we’ve been working
Sleepless on a new equation

Pebble’s Valentine

The noise of butterflies
Not to let one’s inferiority
Overwhelm one completely
When the irony of the world
Is that we can be so hard
On ourselves about matter
Forgetting the mineral
Is the residue of the gods
The peep-hole of a mind
Living in unity with all things
And not to let that overwhelm
One either picking one’s way
On both sides of one central pebble
We know must be there

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Same Valentine

If we could have a true feeling
And a worthy knowing
Of how completely
Surrounded we are
By love we would
Already have let it in
To the black holes we are
Simply the way the sun rises
From the bed of its lover night
After their long adventures
We would grasp time like a brother
Or a sister not seen
For sixty so-called years
Strangers yet our childhood’s
Were the same

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Warning Valentine

The sparrow’s warning
But the cat’s asleep
Here at my feet
The dog across the street
Barks at nothing authoritatively
The hummingbird loves
The hibiscus but comes
To the empty feeder
Stares at me and flees
The morning can barely resist us
I think of moving the trees
That one over there
Would look better here
And the sky too would alter

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Always With Us Valentine

By whose authority
Is the shadow cast
But by the light itself
Working on us long hours
As any laborer must
The stern faces of the poor
The fleshy faces of the rich
We must think our way
Out of this
Hoeing the long rows of slavery
That look like lettuce or strawberries
Or piles of money
But by whose authority
Who says it’s so

Monday, May 15, 2017

E. D.’s Death Day Valentine

Right behind the gate
The path bricks had to be
Taken up but were laid
Back down badly to prune
The orange tree’s
Protruding roots
So everyone who enters
Stumbles slightly there
But on leaving
Just where the kiss is given
And received
The feet remember
What the heart forgets

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Home Valentine

If death is the only real
Thing on the earth
And love his deft companion
Such a beautiful woman once
You get to know her
It’s just a few feet
To stand in her sunlight
But the darkness is cooler
Or to stand behind the light
And let it lead you like a plant
Into its intimate weaving
You can see what the sparrow
Is thinking with that bug
In its beak waiting on the roof-edge
How will I ever make it home

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Epic Valentine

The epics of our lives
If we’re sticking to the texts
Grow awry to great wrecks
This world is so strange dear lord
And I know you saw that coming
And planned ahead
Because ultimately it’s all
Impossible to imagine without you
I refer to the young man
Who changed his name to Justify
Both on and off his rocker
I refer to this black bird
Chasing a hawk nipping his tail
Feathers right now high above me
The two making crazy circles
And lemniscates in the blue
I refer to me and you

Friday, May 12, 2017

Time’s Valentine

Does time eat us
The way we eat time
With a dash of bitters
And a good red wine
Time is a carnivore
Have another slice
To dip in the blood
But how joy visits the body
Alone in some room
Of that time knows nothing
Nor does he-she-it
Value enough or comprehend
Only later what’s going on
Time tries to turn the body
Into a theme park of diseases
And we must not let it

Pleading Valentine

The young man with no muffler
On his red sports car likes attention
He can’t get enough
Every morning at six o’clock
He explodes our sleepy street
Just to tell us he’s alive
Still alive but not sure
What for yet so yes we pay
Attention as if spell-bound
Sitting up in our beds
Pleading with him
What do you want youth
We’ve not already given you
The world and all is yours
Take it and let us sleep
Till your return

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Known Valentine

All my sources
End in you
All my endings too
I have known you
Since you were a hayseed
Snagged in the hem
Of a goddess’s dress
Since you were blind to love
And thought it was a curse
To be put upon this earth
A penance you must pay
And all the time
You were teaching me
Never missing a day

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Paper Valentine

What has been made
Of me and what
I have made of myself
These two like the glue
And the stamp
On the envelope
Of the letter hidden inside
But what if there’s nothing
Written there a blank
Piece of paper
Folded twice
Once for what has been
Made of me and once
For what I made of myself