Thursday, July 28, 2016

Strange Valentine

Though thoughts aren’t real
What they point to
Partakes of the real
Like messengers who run
Out of breath before
They can cross the
Never-finish line
Which angels breathe
And sometimes feast on
I know you don’t believe
In angels anymore
As actually present beings
But the strange thing is
Now you believe the world
Is real instead

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Earth’s Childhood Valentine

When the earth began
To think that it was
Dying it was about
Nine years old in
Human-time and of
Course potty-trained
Had learned to walk
And talk with inner
Speaking to itself
Had draped a mood
Of lostness over it all
Then the first knowing fell
Whatever I am
I am alone as well

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rest Valentine

Rest heart in the light
Of the child born in wisdom
Which is every child
Living how to learn
Which if truly seen
One must bow down inside
Beholding at last
Our only failure
Which is to forsake
The child our children
As we may feel forsaken
And to forgive the child
For coming for crying
Through the night
For love to waken

Christmas in July Valentine (for Frank O’Hara)

It’s Christmas in July Frank
the Christmas trees are burning
the child is dying of thirst under
one of them the embarrassed
kings are bringing burning coals
the white star crushes down
like the angry gods of New York
or Paris or Rio glittering Rio
where the message is like the sun
to get angry also and in anger rise up
in flames for a better tomorrow
a tomorrow that is always tomorrow
just little tomorrow that strange one
you sometimes see playing in the street
whose mother is always calling him home

Monday, July 25, 2016

Apart Valentine

Apart from all religion and science
Buddha will always be
an accessible example
and Jesus will always be
not just the simple Nazarene
but a prepared  vessel
and the old Attic gods
will always be our brothers
though we mock them with our myths
and Yahweh is always laughing
and Allah is always weeping
that we think we can put them
into our little boxes of religion
and capture them in
our little boxes of science

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hue’s Valentine

Most of the natives
are grouped in a sunny corner
while the imported plants
roam the yard more freely
in horticulture we replicate
our various moods and then there
are those flown in on the breeze
and having sold all their jewels
were forced to settle here
in the implacable desert
and in the middle of the hottest days
reveal the palest purple hue
in the form of a small flower
to the applause of all

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Heavenly Valentine

One day a cockroach
turned up in heaven
of course no one
believed it at first
and even though
the poor thing
lay helplessly on
his back having
at last learned
vulnerability exposing
his pink underbelly
even if flailing his feet
he knew the burden
of his ugliness
had earned him
the highest seat
next to beauty

Sapphic Valentine

I suppose if I was practicing
the lyre you could understand
why I wake up every day
beginning again at childhood
and working my way back
to yesterday and with only
a few seconds left finally
to today right now as I am
strumming these strings of words
together into a single chord
over and over again
a music I am
and young in my education
O that my song is heard

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Capricorn Valentine

The moon is mainly
a musical instrument
a slowly-illuminated gong hung
there which hums when it’s full
not unlike a roulette wheel’s
hurrying skipping thrall
we watch the tiny ball
determine everything to follow
and depending where it lands
from one of twelve possible falls
a certain tone is struck
by those who live in the moon
as if in answer to our calls
please hear and help us all

Monday, July 18, 2016

Moneyism Valentine

Capitalism is simply money
bullying everything else
it does not protect and
serve but brutalizes every-
one nourishing greed it’s
slavery in thin disguise
an attempt to despiritualize
the earth to turn it
into a commodity a product
a spectator sport whereby
everyone falling in step
millions follow their cell
phones off a cliff and are
videoed as they leap

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Kierkegaardian Valentine

Fire ants assailing
my exposed toes
leeches crawling
up my crotch
a heart that pauses
at random I swear
torture’s all over
the world except
when it’s a boy
carried on his
father’s shoulders
or a little girl
licking an ice cream
cone at the beach
on her birthday

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Wishful Valentine

I wish people would stop
saying we’re born alone
and we’ll die alone when
really we’re never alone
unless we ourselves
impose the condition
and even then it’s merely
a pretense and pouting
we don’t need cell phones
to speak with our so-called dead
loved ones working all around us
who aren’t captivated by selfies
and aren’t worried about money
who have given up the superstition
that the body alone is real

Friday, July 15, 2016

Beauty’s Valentine

Does Venus really need a body
in order to be beautiful when
inner beauty is real goodness
and inner goodness truth
thus was the world made
to oppose heaven for the sake
of something further
its first mistake
but you were beautiful
that spring and I still
had the winter to grow up
love had invaded my mind
like a Klezmer band
at a funeral and I
was curious to find
what else was real

Advisory Valentine

When you move
to a new place
take the time
to get to know
the local gods
and spirts who
have managed
to survive around
the older vegetation
and nearby waterways
of that scene
but if you are
lucky enough to
live near the ocean
go sit there
often it will
tell you what
to do and feel

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Winking Valentine

No body in sight
but the head of a lizard
appeared on the patio
this morning upside
down with its pearly
underjaw giving it
the look of a small
oval stone when I first
noticed it and wondered
how it got there went
to pick it up or tried but
it was stuck to the cement
so I grab the spade and
carried it to the compost
for a proper burial
but on the way I swear
the sun glinting in its eye
it winked at me
knowing I’d soon be there

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Difficult Valentine

Something mournful in the eyes
of all animals and yet
they are such sober creatures
who unlike the plants that apply
one single virtue at a time
they try to express
a willingness to go beyond
mere sleep into the dream-time
of the earth which leaves them
restless and hypervigilant
and in their sinless state
so ready to sacrifice themselves
I think they mourn for us
who claim to be awake
for our more difficult fate

Monastic Valentine

When I left home at eighteen
to enter a remote monastery
I burnt all my poems
and gave away all my books
my clothes my history
I would take another name
and if I wrote another poem
I would sign it as anonymous
and add it to the flames
piety would fracture pride
I’d sing the psalms as if they were my own
in solitude my sins could hope
but I snored too much and sang off-key
and talked back to the pope
and so they sent me home

But I didn’t go there
at least not then
but cashed in
the plane ticket
they gave me
and found a job
filling orders in
a book distribution
warehouse to complete
my education stealing
the classics until
poetry returned
like a lost lover
and we settled down
alone in a blue house
on the edge of town

Early Valentine

I come back
to the light
it’s all we have
and to the night
it’s all we don’t
yet will love
back into dawn
each of us with
our own little dawn
tucked under our arms
light pouring through
our fingers and toes
laboring through darkness
a child walking to school
a man coming home

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Prayerful Valentine

Are words only smoke
or true spirit forms
as in the old mysteries
prayers were breathed
into the smoke of resin
etherized upon an altar
the contours of the vowels
and consonants imprinted
in the smoke as it entered
spirit land dissolving
like bread in the mouths
of angels who like salmon
swim upstream against all evil
bearing our praise and supplication
toward an unknown heaven

Historical Valentine

After poetry came Europe
laundry and hunting
the fine arts of travel
the remotest places to stay
the service industry of a vast
romantic conspiracy grew up
as if love itself could not be
the surprise sufficient
to its survival but must
overcompensate with fields
of grains and hills of flowers
still winter will come either
abusive or feeble
and like a watercolor all
the seasons will flow together
into one uncomfortable summer