Monday, May 31, 2010

Poetry Month Valentine

How can an epic poem

be more like a lyric poem

one that spits

right in your eye

rather than drags you

through all the shame

last year reached

the deepest part

of pleasure

the heroism of

our soldiers

so outdistancing

the purposes for which

our cowardice

sent them to die.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mockingbird's Valentine





each thing repeated

loses its mind

in order to live

without one

without a baby

without a memory

of every moment

first or last

today we just have glimmerings

what were you wearing

Vivace but then

you were the music

of my spheres.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Disabled Valentine

Often for nights

and long days

I snore on alone

in a small yard


by grass trees

bird thickets

I will never


again or see

losing both

legs and an

arm is what

the water’s

all about

but how can

or can you not

still go and

sit there how

is it possible

to have all

these movements

and still not

wake up?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Monastic Valentine

I am looking for a lake

like the word ‘customer’

each season custom-cut

train bird ambulance

how long does it

take ants to find

the dead sparrow chick

not long

is life mingled

with death before

death figures it out



it won’t say.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Guerilla Valentine (Lo siento)

I wash my hands

before I sit down

at the computer

to click my way

to you into and out

of you cloud or scene

of disembowelment

or someone writing

which must seem

the last thing

anyone would think of

at such a time

knives drawn

and yet

here we are.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Breaking Valentine

We keep coming back

to rejection that sonnet

as the central disturbance

of our time

how one dishes

it out how one

deals with it

a certain group

has gone on ahead

to explore options

currently on the floor

which once resuscitated

may yet stop the gushing

drama of our lives.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gemini Valentine

They harden quickly

into something you

can keep

a pair of balls

ridged and green

the dried

mother skin

still clinging to

one side like

bodies stuck

together at

the moment

of collision

a subterfuge

all along

the inside


the outside

back and forth

each surrendering

to another world.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Clivia's Valentine

Like a sail hoisted

or an umbrella

bursting open

maybe this year

you’ll have the sense

to make a flower

would you yes

I have the bone meal

right here and

the head is crowning

don’t stop pushing

like last year

the corpse flower

yes that’s it

the sun is all

there is.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Pentecostal Valentine

Suddenly it was

overcast and the long

uncertain waiting

stood at attention

not for nothing

life rhymes with rife

rustlings of wind

itself a current

of nerves invisible

gathering round

to watch these

human heads

be set on fire

burn like candles

for the gods.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Shosi Valentine

‘Too much light comes in from outside,

and too much spring.

Close the shosi.’


Her suicide’s her wedding gift

setting him free

last posture of love

and the child in the bargain

but Puccini curses Pinkerton

in the blaring final

faux-Japanese music

where Butterfly’s ancestors

along with her uncle and father

rise up to condemn

the unfaithful the betrayers

and her among them

who thought love might

overwhelm fate.

Fritillary's (Agraulis vanillae) Valentine

Finding someone

who smells like

himself he flits

around the yard

after you or her

his mate her beauty

it’s not the fall

but the moment of

the rejection which

precedes it and

the gradual rescue

which follows

puny because of

how little effort

is given

to saving oneself.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Rand's Valentine

Sometimes accidents happen

indeed they happen

all the time like take

the accident of your birth

but it’s nice to know

who your parents are

don’t you think

and not to invade

anyone’s privacy

but it’s helpful

to know under what

circumstances they

colluded in such

an outcome

how much money

if any was involved

how much love.

Just A Question Valentine

O my dear I don’t know

if I should turn the page

and take off for a new life

revised expanded version

or have another go

at cleaning up the bay

I mean the backyard

how could we not create

a picture of our interior

world a world we’ve

soiled like dogs

who can hardly be

expected to clean

it up these last sad

days of the seas?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Leftover Valentine

The colors of leaves
but the forms of flowers
thick gray cloud cover
every morning
like a baffled stare
a leftover
intermediary type
out of warmth
and moisture
it's not too late
it's only 10:37
here there is only spring
permanent spring
and overhead
the hull of a death ship
we scrunch down under
waiting in silence
for the sun will soon
dismantle us
spill us out
and then again
gather us together.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

California Valentine

It's the water
that's half empty
not the glass
or is your life such
a good movie you'd
like to see it again
and again part
of a trilogy or an
encyclopedia of
uncertainty in
twenty volumes
I hope not one
of those unfunny
comedies viewed
while something else
happens to you
what is it about his
face the eyes too close
together the nostrils
too flared open the
elephantine ears?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Veteran's Valentine

A line is but an exhausted circle

as prose is to poem

one day he said

he loved the smell

of marriage-I-wanna

in the morning

but in the evening

refused to be

a soldier in their salvation

would rather run

into a gallery or

downtown empty bar

than write about

the anger in the world

and almost all of it made up

out of made up things

the slow machinery

of waves and dreams.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Moon Valentine

If you take off

twenty minutes

from your life

every day and

put it in a jar

for the starving

children of


when it bears

down on them

the thought

of an ascension

strangely would

likely occur.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Oily Valentine

Slowly being comforted by leaves

the shot silk shirt of patience

left hanging on the line overnight

looks dry enough to wear again

even if now pitted with ash

and bone shards from the rain

when he who left it here returns

I’d like to ask him if

this current oil spillage couldn’t

be like the furious bull whale

that sunk the Essex in 1820

nature retaliating

sending a message

with still some time to turn away

from the cannibalism

we know will follow.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Baja Valentine

You can’t sit

under a boojum tree

you can only stand

beside it or

lie down next to it

no matter

who you’re with

no shade it casts

except the dark

tower of itself

spinning around

and you sitting

there beside it

watching contrails

smelling those

honey flowers.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Berries Valentine

Flicking bird droppings

from the hair of the bust

of Mercury Hermes Maurice

protector of boars and travelers

with a toothpick I found

I see the sparrows ate

the berries I threw out

on the compost what a heap

yesterdays make if you

layer your waste

if you distinguish it

from your past after

some critical condition

crossed your path

here’s your receipt

you saved $150. today

which is three times

what you spent

exclusively on things

that will kill you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Nap Time Valentine

Sometimes when you’re gone

I nap in your bed but

at night I always end up

sleeping in my own

your room is cooler

in the afternoons

than mine and I like

the light dreaming in

from the window

onto your blue Rothko

print with my head

in the east facing south

rather than the opposite

sensation for a change

and yes because it makes me

feel I’m holding you

and can therefore let go

of everything else.

Hannah and Martin's Valentine

What are we to believe in

or to have hope for about love

if these two were lovers

before he became a Nazi

and before she a Jew took

him back afterwards forgave

him everything as if for some

exaggerated indiscretion

and this from the king

and queen of the secret

kingdom of thinking

working together

what turns out to be

more of that blind

kind of passion?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Nameless Valentine

At twilight I steal

into other people’s heads

look around for a while

sometimes they know me

know I’m there and can

remember me after

I leave like the dead

who are friendly and

relieved not to have to

hide the truth anymore

others who live among roots

molds and broken stones

who carry water all day

nameless and short-lived

churls trolls louts and oafs

who push the stems up into

the light they themselves

are forbidden to enter.

Henri's Valentine

I can freeze into sculpture

if I see two wrens approach shyly

for I too am shy and see

they just want the water

left in the ditch next

to me for I too am

next to me and

so I can watch as he

leads the way

hoping he won’t see

me as he drifts up

into the crotch of

of a red-bud tree she

hopping close behind

the scene is so still

I suddenly realize

I’ve never been happier

in my whole life except

the real epiphany

came later as usual

in the anti-climax

of sleep and love.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Last Days of Valentine

We are like the people

waiting at the gates

for an hallucination

that never arrives

barbarians R us

how can anyone

alive on the earth

be considered illegal

or alien in any way

they mock the mothers

of us all who postulate

such villainy and soil themselves

no one owns the atmosphere

the waterfall the earth

yet anyone can blow it all up

so now how does that work

out for you O horizons of hell

which by another oil-spill

out of control we find you

suddenly broadened

as the fortune cookie said.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

So If Valentine

So if in old age our animal

face breaks through

so if only in youth a new

spirit birth but if in

even a fly swims my I

so what is the essential

falsehood our time

and place must face

about itself we

the particulate

people and we who

are not the people

must unravel even as

we re-enact it

that falsehood which

must next be offered?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Matador's Valentine

The alphabet as elephant

in the elegant living room of want

those spaces we eliminated

from the poem so time

like someone who jumps

into the sea can stand

alone as our creation

to have just noticed

your jaw’s been clenched

for nine years so it

hurts to relax some

have started to think it’s

a disaster of form

from which all sense

of imminence has been

thoroughly wrung

so only the body remains

like in bullfighting

when the noble bull

is dragged from the arena

and the matador is bowing.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Regressive Valentine

Postponing the revolution again

temporizing and living in denial

like a good regressive

the other side never leaving

their motorcades

I wanted to send you

what’s out my window

in the beach-light twilight

looked at from one angle

there’s a gaping hole the

wind is tearing in the sky

but look again it’s just

an empty trellis downwind

dead leaves a few gods

winking at us their usual

guttural noises turning

and turning the wheels

throwing something down

whispering let’s try

that fool again.

Language Valentine

I like the Frenchness

of the present tense

English is all about

the past we felt

but what exactly was

the language of the future

the spring bulbs I forgot

to order if I were Japanese

or that kind of Spanish

garden lunatic who

wanders off to find

a bench and pray

for May to come?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Nervous Valentine

For a long time I was

confusing Giordano Bruno

with Brunetto Latini

Ingeborg Bachman with

Ingmar Bergman in

my final years of school

I was just starting over

on the study of nerves

thinking of different parts

of your body how they

differ to touch but each

a miracle ending in

a horse’s tail of sensations

our lungs more connected

to earth than to air

our nerves more to

memory than sense.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Civilized Valentine

To mark the prepuce

as belonging to the god

to tattoo a number

on your thigh so you

have to be stripped naked

to read it after centuries

to have still not grasped

we can’t let a small

group of people control

all the wealth and still

call it civilized or equal

that dream apparently

sunstruck on its way

somewhere downriver.