Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Roses Valentine

A sonnet is like a rose
it just has that form
it can’t help itself and
really doesn’t want to
not to be an exact precise
softness with only a
certain number of petals
like a pirouette or any
daft accomplishment
for no particular purpose
like you were to start
singing on the street
beautiful voice
fragrant lyrics

On the Run Valentine

Death thinks like a brick wall
that dissolves on impact
you watch you have been
running toward your whole body
as if the task had been to dissolve
the world first before you get there
so in the end it’s just like stepping out
from behind a curtain or slipping
into a wide lake late in the evening
the last swim of summer
even this death thought of
as something nice he knew
you would like but never
think of for yourself

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Valentine Sans Guitar

At midnight out front pruning
my thorny Palo Verde tree
the streetlamp’s enough to see
the air has finally chilled
and the dying moon is coming
to rescue us swathed in scarves
to hide her lover’s beatings
and only the snip of my pruners
biting through another branch
as the cat comes out and lies down
safely in the middle of the road
we are that abandoned that alone

 until a thorn catches my thumb
the blood dripping out black in
in this still light I had to write it
all down for you to come


As If Valentine

A poem is like a knife
stabbing the brain and heart
only more exaggerated
each poem is like a stab
but some fall short
and hit the eye instead
or pierce the tongue
one I love entered the ear
and was the ear it said
one turned the cheek
and lost the cheek
one fled and now is dead
a poem is what comes home
to cut the bread
to fill the bed

Absent in Both Worlds Valentine

I didn’t hear the wind howling
I slept through the micro-burst
I hung out in the spiritual world
on some back street that looked
like Palmyra in the 7th century BC
I had forgotten all the languages I spoke
and yet I couldn’t help alternately
laughing and crying at certain reminders
perhaps the storm outside reflected
the long war I witnessed within
I wandered through crowds searching
for something or someone I kept turning
hearing a gate open behind me
but when I stopped and looked
only a gardener was there

Monday, August 31, 2015

I’m Starting Fall Early Without You Valentine

What higher fate can life bestow
than that something divine shine through us
as it generally does in bits and pieces
to the degree that we allow
ourselves to be useful to someone
the separation of all things
was only meant to assist our freedom
and though the gods refuse to patronize
they feel hurt when we turn away
cold mornings can act like a bad
conscience long walks absolve
though my own angel mourns the one-
sidedness of our conversations
I hardly let him get a word in
edgewise and yet he never
(thankfully) shuts up

Dead's Valentine

How much the dead could teach us
if we would only let them in
if we could only get over the fear
of the oddness at first getting used
to a different location of sight
and hearing under a clearer light
like flicking on and off the light
in a room full of hungry strangers
we walk past stepping over the threshold
proving the unreality of death
boogieman death the devil’s coldest
most decisive trick and cleverest
half-truth for the body does die
but the spirit is lifted up

Bern’s Valentine

It’s just a job it’s just a life
it’s just a pair of shoes it’s just one night
it’s just difficult it’s just miraculous
it’s hardly noticeable it’s barely heard
it’s just I don’t really understand
it’s just not my first choice
it’s just I love being absorbed
it’s just I live to be absorbed
it’s just so different from what I imagined
it’s just I prefer my imagination
it’s just my imagination vs. the world
it’s just a law of love it’s just inevitable
it’s just a skirmish it’s just a gun
it’s just a job it’s just another done

Saturday, August 29, 2015

September Valentine

A time will come
in its own good time
when human words will be
not merely productive
but reproductive and we
will have learned to birth ourselves
and the ears with which we heard
all ears the secret words
and listening were brought to life
will disappear no longer needed
when we who were once spoken
out of the cosmic void
will speak the word we are
into the mouth of God

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sinful Valentine

Our sins come back to bless us
in our last years like dear friends
when they think we’re weak
but actually we’re stronger
no longer intimidated
by their flesh and blood
versions of events
our sins come back to visit
sometimes too late to find
the spirit has forgiven
if not forgotten
to congratulate us
to slap us on the back
for giving them a home
for teaching us a lesson
for not leaving us alone

Smallest Valentine

A breeze empties the trees
of yesterday’s saved raindrops
hidden in the crevices of the leaves
sprinkles torn loose here and there
scraping the morning light as they fall
as if the trees stood and shook themselves
and sat back down so deftly
you could only sense some movement
but not the drops themselves
at that moment perhaps
the smallest things in the world
this side of the atomic structure
but full of light as happy children
who somehow have survived the rain
and finally fallen to the earth

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Consolation’s Valentine

Suddenly and cheerfully
I started breathing again
I learned how van Gogh liked
Dickens sick as he was
he could feel the healthiness
of sentiment and the humor behind
painful fashions and human foibles
in his English contemporary
beauty must be the consolation
prize for goodness I thought
and one had only to learn
not to lie to anyone or oneself
how far back this line
and color of encouragement runs
I had no way of knowing
I woke again suspended
hope my rope

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Unfashionable Valentine

Eventually we forgot about the gods
gradually moving further and further away
like someone who leaves home
and wonders years later they must all
be dead by now and in any event
there’s nothing left to return to
and yet all this time we struggle
with our ideas about this
and our conception of that
never pausing to notice
these are what the gods became
the sources of our thoughts
and the thoughts themselves
close by and as they always were
so that even our fashion for atheism
was inspired by some clever gnomes
elementals who live in the earth
and make their homes with worms

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Return’s Valentine

Once I saw the soul is endless
and that its work is endless
I could relax for a few minutes
this was in high school but
no one noticed when the proof
for this went up on the board
peering out from behind the equations
that the soul exists in time
the way the body exists in space
but time goes on after the body’s gone
therefore the soul as well lives on
in time even if unseen
into its hidden season
its return unknown

Boding Valentine

Everything depends on what we love
on what angers us to see it hurt
even if death is a materialist lie
there’s still so much suffering
pain and indifference to endure
as the ants are circling around us
and the maggots wake up in our hearts
until suddenly we remember the future
which was the whole point of the story
to be able to see it coming
like four after two and two
to see what must happen next
unless something different intervenes
and stands up for a change

Monday, August 24, 2015

WCW’s Valentine

Prose began as simple commentary
on the pre-existing conditions
in which the soul could speak
to the dead the trees the waves
all it had itself called forth
while day after day the old sages
wrote down the praise-songs
that came to them hurriedly
because the gods would soon be gone
leaving behind their forests of art
their old settlements and failing farms
poetry began as all we could remember
of the long talks of their last nights
about the kind of imaginations we would need
to perceive the new poetry when it returned

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Anger is a Warning Bell You Turn Off To Deal with the Problem Valentine

Who remembers now
the true cause of the first war
since all the wars after that
have only to look over their shoulders
for another reaction to persist
but the very first one
from what smallest slight
it must have grown wart-like
nurtured in warm damp
resentment’s ground
like the corpse of love
for this the god of anger came
to waken the dead
with a single sound

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Barthes Valentine

Maybe only poetry can tell us
if it’s trying to escape language
for a better way of life on its own
which is the philosophy
side of it all and that such
questions can only be broached
in broken lines perhaps
but think of a word at the moment
it slides from invisible spirit
into writing which is just returning
to its desk after lovemaking
and to put down yourself
in order to pick up the world
like a star in your tweezers
another experience of love for
those who survive the disjunctions

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rosy Valentine

Every day the man above
on the roof of heaven
peers down at me
in my underwear
at 8 am watering
my lilies that never bloom
year after year though they
still make a fine clump
of sinewy leaves
when do you want
to patch this roof
and ascend he wants
to know and if he
can pick one of my
rosy pomegranates
they’re not ripe yet
I say but if you wrap
them in newspaper
they ripen fast he says
I’ve never heard of that
I say but I’ll give it a try
I usually wait too late
to pick them until they’re
full of cancer inside let’s
do the roof in the spring

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Country Valentine

Life is to overcome our nostalgia
for a dream no longer preventable
which is true of all dreaming
whose task is to reach past the possible
morning into the improbable afternoon
and the inconclusive evening breezes
because we are hostages of time
as certainly as trees creeks stones
with as short and tight a leash
as our own taste for freedom
will allow us to roam after all
the pastures of the past
hungry intellectual animals
who will barely leave a trace
in any future fossil record

Written Valentine

In the wikipedia of my mind
one entry describes how
I wasn’t writing for the archivist
or some time when metaphors
go out of style I wrote it says
for the bottle with the note inside
turning and turning on the waves
in an ocean now so full of waste
it may never reach the child
playing alone on some beach
the creator of the world
who could still read the note –
please come soon they have turned
words into money and worship
it and dance around it

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Undo Valentine

Because everything in the world is broken
the world is all about brokenness
especially our dreams so it’s only
a question of what you want
to work on at what particular point
in its evolution you want to intervene
with your priceless self or if you’re
still trying to make a deal with fate
when all the other you’s get taken –
some say if love were coming
to rescue us it would already be here
others that love did show
but so emptied itself
it promised to return