Sunday, September 27, 2009

Birthday Valentine

As when I can’t
remember your
name or a word
the lawn let go
invasive flowers

purple and gold
involucre of greens
what I meant
to say neater than
grass cut alone

a purer sense I’m
replicating now
I’m older the
original backyard
I was born.

Fall Night Valentine

A week after you were
gone I started eating
all your vitamins and
minerals all your
abandoned remedies
enzymes pollen
so now right now it’s
a fall night forty falls
later I’ve barely done
the English let alone
the math I want you
to know how powerful
I felt missing you
and though I’ve grown
a lot I can still see clearly
how it was all my fault.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Hare Totem Valentine

The last secret
the one extracted
from out of the
darkness may be
a guileless hare
living by its wits
intuitive messages
already traveled
rainy nights
to persevere
what you came for
always looking to the
left and to the right
casting mockery adrift
bringer of ruin.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Valentine for the Dead

I will speak
to the dead
in their own
tongue the pure
lives of sounds
never at rest always
shaping sculpting
themselves and
being sculpted let
me start with the
empty echo of a
heart sucking
the universe in
spitting it out
and sucking
it in again.

Black and Blue Valentine

How we get ourselves
into these things
is often as strange
as how we get
ourselves in deeper
if I write with blue
ink I lose all
memory of black
though blue speaks
of black in darkness
as morning somehow
one color presupposing
the next though they all
seem to have hardly yet
begun to realize
their true potential.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mairi's (Sorry) Valentine

For what certain work
in this uncertain world
would you pay a poet
to bring those drivers
those hammers of
human dreaming
to build a few spiritual
chairs out of
all character is pictorial
I want to know what
supplement to take
so thinking starts or
stops at least the door
where you take off
your clothes singing
in a tunnel of flames.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Goodbye Valentine

Nothing is empty
not even the light’s goodbye
with its one movement
sweeping the table clean
throwing itself away

the rows of mottled stares
and untenanted conclusions
the present fills with
were you ever sitting

backwards on a train
at night through open country
or were you living here by then
a prisoner of your own
insolvent thinking?

Mairi's Valentine

Unpleasant as paradox
can be what evades
abhors definition may
submit to characterization
as the human being of
poetry accompanies the same
position as night does
appearing in the middle
of the day for a moment when
a messenger passes a note right
under your nose or at the end
of the night you wake dreaming
inside a glimpse and
grasp a picture of
the real ahead.

Ruskin's Valentine

How what is poetic is not poetry
Ruskin is not a poet he is actually
a scientist of the aesthetic
a perfectly assiduous one
but poetry is what hardly ever shows up even in good poems like a just
beating of the shubbery
until long-eared poetry leaps out munching on the nonchalant mind
of course as a figment or a pigment
it refused to eat its concepts
so now it has a longing for
violet that sphere of the nameless
demanding something of us
in which it turns and leaves.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Swept Valentine

Now the cool
night air cuddles
up against the
thyme the bricks
get wet down
once a week
swept water
rinses off
the underworld
again and again
her mother goes
to the door
to look for her
she is in love
with quiet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Equinoctial Valentine Elaine

The sensualist-pastoralist
or the naturalist-moralist
narrative-generalist lists
of names it will take
the corporatist-avantgardist
to flip to traveler-ceramicist
who can only live as long
as the story stays larger
and then falls down
it’s only now the form
that truly matters
not the skillful
through it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Roman Valentine

Every morning I try
to break out of my limited self
and it cracks occasionally
for longer and longer times
until I can’t hold on

to cold air any more
driven back to earth
get in the car now
I try to tell myself
only to find I listen

like a Roman army
with that Roman will
who built a temple
in the mind of man
to the beautiful.

Glyph's Valentine

I can hear him sweeping
the ocean in my brain
at first but then
it’s the neighbor dancing
the dust around perhaps
he would not have put it
that way rather makes
a mound of dusty pain
a little beach by eight
the dogs wake up the
prayers pour in for our
glorification there in
the glyph I saw
what looked like
my baby crying.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jim's Valentine

Poetry is the last place
to try to be alone in
but I put Jim Carroll
on YouTube reading
and left the room

he wanted to be alone
in a poem you have to
respect the poet’s wishes
the yank on the leash
or sleeve at least

actually poetry is the last place
you’d want to be alone in
an island or debris floating
a little debris
holding you up.

Tambien Valentine

Mine has always been the laziest
the laziest of minds
to find the treasure
but not carry it home

tambien tambien

The flowers of the alleys
are lantanas and tamales
women waltzing in the morning
to our lady of the laptop

tambien tambien

It really didn’t start out that way
but in the end he came home
complete with an Italian lover
and other Hindu deities in tow

tambien tambien

Group Valentine

Intolerant of all
but kindness
blood in the eyes
one hour one hour more
of daylight

I am a list of things
checked-off I
found it chilly
but it offered

isn’t that a
sign of life
people destroying
people with no idea
it’s happening.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tenant's Valentine

A mockingbird's moved in
to the upstairs apartment
a sublet in an orange tree
with a nearby bath kept
replenished every night
by a marvelous old man
every day he returns
loosening the walls
with crowbars of song
you'd be surprised
how everything collapses
then it's all carefully
rebuilt just a few
notes endlessly
repeated endlessly

Critical Valentine

Prose that keeps
trying to remember
to be poetry
is prose
not poetry
poetry’s sent to get past
these unrhymed
broken lives
while prose
always wants to settle
somewhere here
what makes
that star falter
but a state
of wonder?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Vigil Valentine

If there is an activity
of any kind
without thinking
a thoughtless movement
or if there is a feeling
with no intention of
coming to expression
I might come over
to weep with you
uncontrollably and bring
my recording of the top
ten thunderstorms
or the one of the waves
where the redwing
go berserk at the end.

Ripening Valentine

Right now the pomegranates
on my one old tree
are full-sized but still
yellow-greenish with lots of
peach-blossom blushing
going on while the ones in
the stores now are cherry-wine-red
stuffed deep jewelry boxes
why do we always have to
make it sexual I was surprised
to find he was addressing me
when I turned and woke
I don’t it’s just these
are the only words
we’ve got.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last Green Valentine

This page
intentionally left
blank except
for the words
to say so

as in the fall
all the old poets
crash before Christmas
the young ones
wait unfavorably

for spring to get done
the dogwood flakes
this page left
intentionally out
in the green again.

Colonial Valentine

In the north the flag
iris by stones or packed near
foundations must be dug
up every three to four years
the mother corms discarded
the young put back into
freshly manured beds
best if all one variety
of a deep purple fit for
empires in twilights
after deep snow after
childhood many
many childhoods
fit to wear the god’s
new moustache those
flecks of gold.

Falling Valentine

I need to go and get
or I need to stay and sit
but edited down to a stitch
or more I imagine my story
falling down two flights
of concrete stairs managing
to bounce off the landing
wall to turn that corner
and on down to the ground
bleeding a lot but only three
ribs broken no concussion
he needs to do what he needs to do
came to me only on re-entry
but then the phone started turning
the nouns into verbs
and silence resumed.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

St. Francis Among the Gemstones Valentine

A child’s prize in a holiday cracker
he stands an inch but very much
recognizably himself his right
hand open as if he’d
just dropped the gemstones
scattered at his feet fire
opal tourmaline labradorite
rosy quartz and lapis trillion
resting on a small framed mirror
on my chest of drawers on La Jolla
on earth in one of the corners
of the earth where I go
for him to tell me repeatedly
I do like you I do
but could you try
a little harder?

Valentine to Mine

You know I can’t
do this alone
left to my own
devices angel mine
I would be sitting
at the bottom
of the garden
in the bath
in the summer
the trees belong
to their most
decisive dreams
but in the winter
they come back
to the truth.

Lost Valentine

The sophisticated world the world
of emergencies and deaths flying home
and the strange jobs we go to
crawling down into caves
which narrow as you
scrape through holes but at least
you can see an open space
you’ll come to a loop path 2.6 mi.
don’t take that if you want to live
veer or blear to the left
through trees you’ll hear traffic
huge snails and spiders
but beautiful with water everywhere
and the feeling again
of floating along.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Magenta Valentine

One day we started to notice magenta
the shyest sister on the color wheel
in the first and last sunlight in sudden
cyclamen a few birds those fleeting
silvery threads they paste of blue

we started to have magenta sightings
and feel when it would pass by
or through we could not catch it but
it became the rarest pleasantest thing
to sense its unexpected presence

waiting at the center of gravity
I should have said the grave is a brain
for which magenta carries it
a river of mercy across
the heart and back again.

Membership Valentine

What you can get away with
in poetry is difficult immense
and almost completely surgical
in comparison to poetry’s
true intent

to be a querulous feeling
in everything to the degree
you would never think of
such an odd thing
as poetry

but that’s not what’s going
to show up in this poem
I refuse to be a party to any poem
that would take that
for its member.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Cloud Valentine

To be
I hate
at least
the way it’s
a flower
in a costume
trying to
a cloud
but what
does a cloud
know about
trying to
be you?

Magic Valentine

You play that game
because you can play
that game and now
in the rug I’ve a big white stain
instead of a big black stain

from rubbing you out
I must be in the Mafia
sometimes I remember
places more than faces
how something forgotten

can bust through the back
door while its means of
transport here remain
and thrilling.

Lemurian Valentine

Sailing to Lemuria
a travel guide
caught live on camera
no viruses no caesuras
a security suite of smiles

don’t miss the post-
contemporary apocalypse
made readily navigable
our edgy scouts
have forced the danger

done the work for you
whose body is the world
after all you’ve made it
and if you made it
you can bring it back.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Screaming Valentine

This disease Kindness
slow to spread but once
it enters the lungs and
perforates the spine
it builds its den

up behind the spleen
your body’s not going anywhere
but still can’t remain
once it’s all taken away
it just comes right back

hard to sleep for
fear you’ll miss
even one child
screaming in the dark
for you.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Postcard Valentine

I get how taken you are
with all you have to do
so if you can’t
do this for me
I get that also
but if you could
just read this
and tell me
what’s the first
thing you think of
having written it for me
as much as you
how else could I
have reached you
so far away?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Maybe Valentine

I ate the macaroons
you left for me
or did you
leave them for me
they were light

as marshmallows
but meatier the way
they were left sitting
there on the counter
maybe you just forgot them

on your way out and
cursing yourself now
think of me eating them
all and smiled
and smiling.

Jade Valentine

Slowly on its own say-so
the jade plant started growing
huge and heart-shaped
branches curving down
from its central pivot
until what used to be
a fist-sized planet
orbiting the sun
divided after the war
into four unequal chambers
as you have it now
waking early before the sun
while it’s still raining
carried out into the yard
but by that point
the house’s already burning.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Practice Valentine

To get something
new started
only to see it
fall apart to
wait for it to

and to practice
its pleasure
finding you
in the dark

just as deletion
the illusion of
deletion arrives
in the trees
barking hard.

Walking Stick Valentine

He called it funk
but then there’s a breeze
of manly basil inside
rampant mint
as if you could find

the flower in a fossil
not the mind
surely got complacent
walking backwards
the painful stick

and what to do
with the bodies of bad
ideas laying everywhere
about before they
come for us?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Pillow-words Valentine

In the 1930’s
turning out
vases what was
that about
it was Monday but
I could still
see beauty
from my yard
it wasn’t the war
machines triggering
machines phones and
saws all going off
in the world
at once it was
your heart.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Co-Dependent Valentine

Almost everything
on the body’s keen
ability to execute
the spirit

for which it
offers the outline
color merely
filling in
the space

or letting loose
yet another new idea
in the land
where thinking’s

Poetry Valentine

What was crossed out
is only what was added later
afterwards I thought
better of itself the truth
including lying

careful deception in all
fifty-seven flavors though
there are only nine kinds
of poems or planets
formulaic as poetry

can be like family
of destination where
you line up with
some crazy mothers
and sisters.

Garden Valentine

Can one plant be a garden
I mean if it’s a zucchini
and you’ve carried it
through torridity and
morbidity to three

still budding penises
ribbed glossy speckled green
in the palm
of your mind where admit it
germination is encouraged

isn’t it nor can one love
be a life I don’t think so
not if you’re imagining
your life as something gone
beyond imagination.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My Dirty Valentine

In the late 70’s
I’d get high
write a poem
jack off
the usual routines

masturbatory prose
pouring out in
long streaks
while the real poem
was in the coming

what secrecy they share
still to this day
like when someone asks
what you write and it’s as if
you said ejaculation.

Thumping Valentine

A laugh betrays
an old man sitting
in a courtyard
far below where
I am imagining all this

when a drive-by video
faster than you can
gangster thumping
pulls out the street its
monumental behind

but how can that old man
still remember me
when all these years
I could barely
imagine him?

Historical Valentine

To begin with
there was nothing evil
in the world
all the gods were good
couldn’t not be good

until some were told
to place obstacles
on the paths of
their followers

to strengthen them
that something greater
more desperate arise
by love.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Hospital Valentine

We didn’t say the word
out loud we talked around
it I’d brought
you something pretty
to distract you

Euphorbia I thought
it said euphoria
the planet farthest
from this movement
pale yellow red

it was disaster coming
and you said well
I guess we’ll do
what we do
I love you.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Call Me Valentine

Light behind the bones
looks yellow
darkness behind
the bones looks blue
the rest lies between

if black is not a
color but all colors
clamoring at once
what is the dream
of color

if you think
of it call me
love isn’t the lovers
it’s the space between them
that’s alive.

Unreachable Valentine

as of a thing
or person or
goodness as sailing right
out of sight of land

unnavigable waves of
goodness hauled close into
the wind’s stern
along with strengthening

our own rudders and those
nearby we're supposed always
to be injecting massive doses
of love right into the hearts
of our enemies.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

9/1/1939 Valentine

The leaves on the trees are yellow
but the leaves on the ground are red
if you stand between them and
beside me in this muted light
we could imitate a tree I bet

or a whole colony of oaks
I think or sugar maples left
somewhere in Poland
we could hear the camera
talking to the clock

and the gun go off
in the picture
in the leaves
the invulnerable
fragility of each.

Outside Valentine

At 120 degrees
there are no butterflies
but the bees go on kindly
worrying in the shade
I’m no longer afraid

in the old ways honey
and look to slowly occupy
a secure position outside
the physical self understood
as fantasy at first

but kindness isn’t blindness
anymore than the sacrifice
can be avoided
the one whose promise
only others can fulfill.

Wildness Valentine

‘I got soul
and I’m super bad’ said Whitman
I write in longhand
and then go back
to that time

in my serious moments
I don’t blame James Brown
(the singer) for everything
but his wildness entered even
penmanship and prose

doubling in death like a sea
Stevens sings of words
what can’t be said
can’t be all sad
in a winter of youth.