Saturday, December 31, 2011

Resolutions Valentine

To bring into
my sleep
the whole tree
of knowledge
like a rabbit
from a hat
and to bring back
into here now
a new love
for small things
small movements
of perception in
the corners
of your mouth
when you do
what you do

Friday, December 30, 2011

Certain Valentine

At a certain angle
of love the sun’s
rays penetrate
to the deepest
part of the cave
and gather
themselves into
a luminous
pool of white
that can shatter
at least once
the darkness of
this place before
it moves on

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Struggling Valentine

Morality can be a play
for coping with fear
the melodrama of matter
and of mattering
knowing for sure
you will be killed
since nobody dies
willingly or to have
seen the littleness
of our nature in its most
grandiose schemes
and to maintain
a mountain range
of equilibrium and poise
a warm breeze when
cooler hearts freeze

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

In the Museum Alley Valentine

The trail depends on
whoever walks it
the way the water-walkers
reflect the contrails above
this year’s Jesus
was a laughing
baby on YouTube
who made us
laugh and laugh
it's mind-wrenching
and heart-wrenching
what we’ve become
since Dickens
Christ the ghost
the ingot
come little lambs

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Museum of the Innocents Valentine

Natural to the mortal mind
is a noble heart that doubts
not merely the love it generates
but all its other parts as well
when love is absent or forgone
beings who learned their logic
listening to their parents quarrel
tend not to discover what is noble
kind alert fearsome quiet
except in libraries or alleys
in open fields of snow
watching the sun move
from the woman’s face
to the angel’s face to
the man’s with only
a drop of it falling
on the child below

Monday, December 26, 2011

St. Stephen's Valentine

Suddenly a pomegranate
crashes on the bricks
so loudly I come to
check it out and find
the sorry brain
a nest of rubies and
a brown stain on
the inside walls like
creases on the cheeks
of saints and all the while
in the back a manic
mockingbird’s grinding
industry of song
troubling but untroubled
keeps on keeping on

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Valentine

The enduring versus
the endearing
though not from eros
do we learn
to go on living
the seed of love
is buried in the head
packed tight as
a pomegranate’s
blood seed
thoughts dripping
on the snow
an end therein
of all we know
and sing

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Orange Valentine

I’d look like I just got off
the boat an expression
of my mother’s wearing
those shoes ah
the slurs of yesteryear
where have you gone
how July’s warm gesture
gets refused by November’s
brusque turning and
walking away
in December I wait
for you to call
watching the oranges ripen
to their juiciest point
the colder it gets

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Between Nazareth and Bethlehem Valentine

All lives are solitary
all lives are salutary
all lives aren’t set
among quietly falling leaves
on sunny empty streets
all lives are cautionary tales
all cautionary tales are alike
but not all lives are alike
after busily fallen leaves
now I see that plastic owl
is still sitting on the roof
all this time I forgot OMG
to take him down

Solstice Valentine

A consciousness
can only be built up
on correspondences
if we can agree
in the final picture
that there can only be
states of consciousness
in the universe
starting with logic
as it exacts its
rough penance
first as foretaste
of real suffering
unconsciously self-imposed
and then as the true
realities of the world
assume their places
the sun but not his surrogates
who appear to be real
but distinguish themselves
as clear illusions
in the fields of light

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beauty's Valentine

When young
I was told

my long earlobes
meant I would
live to a ripe
pear’s age small
splotches and hairs
would bloom
out of them
into that field
but when the flower
arrives it means
the plant is dying
which we mistake
for beauty artfulness
or the evolution of
color as the secret
element behind
all creation
not the flag of
surrender and the
lifting out of matter
as it waves farewell

Monday, December 19, 2011

Simple Valentine

Was he a man of war
or a man of peace
or someone undecided
I mean did he carry
a hatchet or a book
in his left breast pocket
a book of prayers
or a book of poems
it’s a simple question
with an answer that can
only be another simple question
only a narcissist cares
about his own opinions
ours is to ask the questions
and having woken up to
the emotions they unfold
draw out their implications
as our youth foretold

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Angels' Valentine

How much joy
can the world contain
how much sadder
would we like it to rain
that the universe shrink
to this soft mass
of heart and brain
brings pain unless
we let them pass us
out to the peripheral
stars and back again
and let them return
let them consume us
for whatever nutritive
value we may possess
and let them think us
all the way out
to the end of shame

Christopher's Valentine

Regardless of your name
I must insist on the story itself
its inherent originality
and literary value its
touching verisimilitude
as proof of authorship
by some intelligence or nous
arranged in layers ply
on ply of metaphors
until the question itself
becomes a religion
but the point is not religion
it’s about the metaphors
one thing being carried across
and laid into another thing
the non-material world
populated with its own
calm and isolate beings
three candles gold
and green and blue
set before a throne

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Performed Valentine

From our safe seats
way up in the gallery
we can watch the end
of thinking unfold
way down there on
its miniature stage
as if we were the czars
for whose pleasure it
was all being staged
or outcasts sneaking in
after it’s dark and started
it’s all such a performance
most of which flies by
or over our heads
how the concept
comes home to the thing
and the thing
returns to the concept
a whole new thing 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cloudy Valentine

You must chose
to be a person
of some constancy
or a cloud-
person the effect
of other forces
that can flip
you pancake
sweet person
that you are
in any event
the clever idea
to be good to
one another
doesn’t mean
there is a god
or words are clouds
and I am not
a falling leaf

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advent Valentine

A red bird rests
in the evergreen crotch
of the Christmas tree
I mean no meanness
to speak of birth
how it happens
once a year
on earth but what
did it mean to the gods
to have one sent
to betray the mystery
of death by dying
as a man in whom
a god still lived?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Beak's Valentine

The day the hummingbird
broke his golden beak
falling on the floor
I was not about to freak
I’d already surveyed the worst
the money plant was dying
one leaf at a time
from some unknown disease
the sun was illuminating
our hearts more and more
powerfully every day
where was it all leading
what would happen next
would we be pounded
the harder into the earth
or borne away helpless
into heaven’s airless lair
we woke to trembling
the bomb of our life
having just gone off
which somehow we
survived to build again

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Petitionary Valentine

Help me angel mine
find the karmically correct
way of meeting
these fears which undermine
my sense of self-respect
this ravenous child inside
who will remind him
of his innate good sense
in the time before the
separation and the rape
let's see what happens
with the idea of freedom
they said does the slave
select the master does the
stone become the bread

Child's Valentine

Let the sun
sit down
in the pail
full of rain water
a charming
three year old
splashing child
under corduroy
clouds not
the heart of
the king
it means
but the king's
way a street
in every heart

Monday, December 12, 2011

Questionnaire Valentine

Haven’t we had to fight all our lives
against the disapproval of others

but who cannot say that

is it really our plan
to dispose of one another

don’t we all belong
to several civilizations at once
however contradictory

are our lives still a secret
we keep from ourselves

isn’t every life about failure
as a sibling of success

I refused to let my parents raise me
don’t blame them now for my excess

December Valentine

Something happened
to our love after
we had lived together
for several years
I could feel
someone seeing
through me I could
sense someone thinking
my thoughts as one
of their ways of touching
or perceiving through me
we seemed to be able
to give this someone
back and forth to one
another and as long as
he was with us
we were safe
and home

Cold Valentine

Let the cold reassess
the crudities of young men
he saw his throbbing
sorrow was not the word
joy was not the feeling
though the world was reeling

ripe oranges reach over
into the dark recesses of the
pomegranate trees
in my Granada mind
but their spirits come down
only as far as the rain
picture our thoughts
completely woken up
as if regaining the original
ground we call magic but
don’t believe in anymore
except as flesh and blood

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Ashen Valentine

Once a day
I try to say
in a written but
informal way
what the pond
also rises to say
or the trees see
in the fires of
winter we are
of one mind
on this
accumulation of ash
love's residue
as me as you

Friday, December 9, 2011

Transparent Valentine

The way blue senses
red backing it up
in all its endeavors
which the old stained-
glass windows achieved
those first paintings
using transparent light
as its medium
outside of rainbows
if you’ve stood in one
or the flight of a thousand
Amazonian parrots
casting an orange glow
on those below
amazing as you 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Will's Valentine

We must not
worship furniture
and yet we do
the furniture of your
bones as they accompany
your softer parts I do
of overlapping weather
systems arranged as
organs of pleasure
and perception I do
try to build a daily
temple to and feel
that enormous will
passing through
as breeze as you

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Praise Valentine

Life is a page-burner barn-turner
film-noir thriller
starring Rita Hayworth-like
heroes and complications
you think of as friends
I want to be left alone
in a completely different movie
sometimes one of the floors
mutters to an end-table
but notice the humble hyphen
neither letter nor punctuation
emulate the hyphen
yea in the morning praise it
our words holding hands
sometimes their only connection

Reading Valentine

Books about the end
of the world
you know
in a los Algodones
dentist's office
where you were
cleaned and
with a too-white
porcelain one
taken back
for yellowing
to match
the sawdust
of our days

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Service Valentine

All these complements
that make a life
my hand-made love
I can’t carry
the one you across
without the other me
coming along
at seven I was a real saint
which was fine for a year
but as a career
it left something
to be desired
and a long hangover
pretending is what
we’re still sending
so terrified to be you
I must continually
construe and cling
to this me

o practice me
god of imperfection

Friday, December 2, 2011

Moment's Valentine

Poetry is the moment
of recognition in you
that occurs in
the act of hearing it
which is reading it
the spiral action
of its unfolding
its unwinding
as if you swallowed
some new drink
tasting it on your
lips as it rushed
past you into you
hurrying to find
some new truth
like unto itself
in your depths

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Teal and Amethyst Valentine

Two faces press
against the sides
of your body
so it carries the outline
of lips smiling
another face
rolls your head
in its mouth
until you dissolve
in tears or laughter
and finally a fourth face
marries your feet
to back and front
from underneath
until you’re surrounded
by faces not in
bodies anymore
suddenly you see
how love gave us the right
to punish one another
because we promised
we would never
use it anymore

Eventual Valentine

I think a clear thinker 
today is someone who
hasn’t entirely gone over
to materialism yet
but whose ideals
still make him lazy
with respect to the
pragmatic principles
upon which this nation
was founded lest
everything become
merely a business deal
but militaristic
religions don’t think
that way democracy
is not some cult
of freedom
but a caring
of each for all
and yes a sharing
in all by each
or else it’s just
the same old slave
master thing

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Indigo Valentine

The oboes are over
like a man
without a distance
it was not as if
the secret returned
to be told another way
‘secrete us in reality’
(Wallace Stevens, p. 310)
a convulsion of evenings
one of whose sparrows flies
over the house dressed
as the moon the white stain
of our sin since we were
still children
an invagination of sparrows
you friends who wait for me
to slip out of my body
into yours as the oboes
approach and start
munching and reality
secretes us

Feathery Valentine

How a feather is made up
the top button done up
so that when they die
gathering together in one
place each year’s worth
they release into the
universe a call to all
they’ve left behind
to follow them here
into a hidden woods
lifting every particle
of memory back
to its secret nook
and cranny
in them air
is taken back
to light
then slowly
very slowly
light is taken
back to love

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pigeon Valentine

I know how Virgil felt
standing alone between
Homer and Dante
his two prized goats
whose horns made
small incisions in the air
on market day
I know how responsibility
felt standing naked
between free will
and biology its fate
I know how the drink
felt between the bottle
and the mouth
and the bullet
between the chamber
and the revolution
until a pigeon flew down
and shat on my sophia
in a country of pigeons
I know how it felt

Monday, November 28, 2011

Language Valentine

If all that’s left to read
in your own language
is an amateur fragment
of a poem an address
to an unnamed lover
full of startling obscenities
and broken narratives
of cruelty and love-making
meant to remind us
of who we really are
of course you would
read it over and over
you would memorize it
you would write it down
on your skin if those were
the only words you had left
in your own language

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Leafless Valentine

Red-faced ranunculus
you are part
of the amorousness
of the earth
whereas I am only
some person who plays me
so far beyond metaphor
as to have established
a residence in reticence
as when I say I
and yet you would
come to me so
much sooner than
I would totally giving
yourself up to me
and to our poor
rented afternoons
again and again
until starving finches
had eaten alive
every pomegranate
their empty shells
left hanging
on the leafless tree
outside our room

Money's Valentine

What happens
in a heart
is what happens
in a home
or happened
in that first home
though there isn’t
just that one home
that’s a lie
whose adolescence
returns under
an assumed
name Money
who wants to run
for its own sake
not as a tool
in the transaction
but the master
of the outcome
you its slave
rich or poor
bitch or whore

Friday, November 25, 2011

Retrograde Valentine

Slowly I turn
letting the sun
my body
its warmth
spinning me
like a child
like a flame
like the lines
on this page
once a fence
holding in
the spaces
now in the park
we come on
large flocks
of mourning
doves grazing
on the hillside
with smaller
flocks of
trying together
to spell what
looked like
we don’t love
you anymore
as we sailed past

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Valentine

If thought
is the father
of feeling
who’s the mother
if not desire
holy desire
herself who
made us
which is why
poetry isn’t
about you
or me but
something or
someone we still
long to become
an approximation
of divinity
an open field
after rain

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Walking Valentine

I grew a tree
just to watch
its shadow on
the facing wall
naked or clothed
climb up over the
neighbor’s roof
I taught it to walk
right down the
street it taught
me to speak
and when
not to speak
so now without
it to mirror me
or without me
to mirror it
neither of us
would long exist
or persist
in this world

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Song's Valentine

Didn’t I dream I was
speaking to a large group
when suddenly a bird
burst into song right
outside the window
like a knife
though our ears
and I asked
what bird is
that a mockingbird
mocking me
mocking my petty
ecstasies and gross
but afterwards I learned
it was my friend’s
cell phone going off
we laughed in wonder
how many would know
that’s what truly sang

Monday, November 21, 2011

Human Valentine

Once because of
unclear wording
in the message
of instructions
two speeding trains
head-on collided
once because of
fuzzy thinking
by a few men
in the highest places
two civilizations
were destroyed
these connect us
these world wars
we start to see
humanity not
just ourselves
to stand up for

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stolen Valentine

Holding with all things
the same identical intensity
as my love for Lucifer
my love-hate for Lucifer
my beautiful bullying older brother
because he makes me look
my cowardice in the eye
when his friends come round
who are wolves scavengers
so well shoed and scarfed
they pass me round
like a broken doll
no not my body anymore
my soul fighting harder
to take back what he stole 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vacillating Valentine

Usually I’m moving
in two directions
at the same time
going back
and forth constantly
in consideration
of an intensely private
inner world of plumbing
and experimental
philosophy mixed in
with certain socially
unacceptable tastes
and smells
and an outer space
in which I perform
myself as monomanically
if not majestically
as I can on a regular
daily diet of bliss  
as a being living
in this world today
who would like to be
a poem in his next life

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Predatory Valentine

Capitalism is predatory both
by nature and by inclination
why won’t we finally admit it
the simple fact that in a system
where money rules bodies
things power more money
how can that be good
for anyone yet obviously
everyone seems willing
to be killed under such
terms of sale as long as
they don’t have to share –
in this we have not yet
gone further than wolves
or lions nor as far even
as penguins who apparently
would never put their
own people on the street

Quantum Valentine

Curious how string theorists
while faithful to materialism
do perceive another dimension
even if it turns out to be only
a further elaboration of materialism
but that forces are not material things
the will separate from its activity
they refuse to consider seriously
even though they’re eager
to abandon their own
evidentiary requirements
in this exceptional case
pretending that’s somehow different
from believing in unprovable gods
or God our sciences our religions
still refusing to take the obvious
next step off the cliff
of time and space
past words to seeing

David's Valentine

Don’t you find
yourself grinning
that among
the myriads and
myriads of details
from which life
here on earth
is woven there
should be the
word TEST
pops up on
the screen
whenever your
mother calls?

Drifting Valentine

A tiny loop in the middle
of the thin line
of the dried-up body
of a worm I find
I can’t shake
a tune in mind
from yesterday
in which a piece
of cellophane
is drifting
down a street
often I have
the premonition
someone is killing me
while at the same time
someone else
is saving my life 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Stern Valentine

I need to turn my tree
so it faces my star more
and can look out on the other side
just to remain vertical
feeling the downward pull
as the light ascends
into that infinite gentleness
often mistaken for indifference
where glimpsed through matter darkly
the stern divinity of myself
marooned stares back
bestowing its cosmic disapproval
but smiling still expectant
I may eventually catch up

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forty Year Old Valentine

I think we are all very excited
and critical of ourselves and
struggle to maintain a healthy
amount of self-dismissal
pity which can flare up
painfully as with any story
with a ribcage and a spine
at certain moons you see
yourself the thing cast off
and to be honest must
reject yourself as well
to get us to despair of
ever returning to the sun
our true home furthers
nothing and yet we must
for a time be free to dare

Shanghai Valentine

And then the camera
follows Dietrich
to the Peking train
station where Anna
May Wong is waiting
in her compartment
smoking and sultry
a dog is seized
from an old woman’s
frantic arms All
Aboard then the
phone rang and
into the country
where time and life
have no valley
I mean value
Marlene offers her
hand to the doctor
the chickens scurry
ahead of the engine
into the night of Clive
Brook’s pasty face
I mean smoky

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Lord's Valentine

Like a child
I come to you O Lord
not like a man
I don’t want
to be a man anymore
now I want to be
what you wanted
me to be what
was it you wanted
me to be
not you right
I could not be
like you
I had to be free
I had to be
someone else right
I had to be
your child

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chilled Valentine

Because my mother
would put me out
in my baby carriage
on cold winter afternoons
for a nap all bundled up
now I love to go outside
on cold mornings to walk
or putter around the yard
and stay out until I’m
really chilled and then
come back inside
to warm up again
only in childhood
can we get what
we need most
in our last days

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Existence As Valentine

That we exist at all
as conscious creatures
means that existence
itself exists
existence itself
did not at some time
exist and at some other
time not exist
the math is inescapable
existence did grow lonely
that much is known
about the origin
of a feeling organ
an infancy of longing
starting to mind
what happens
what’s clear
going forward
we were constructed
from the ground up
to a point where we
could either sink
or swim our choice
of the next existence

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Nice Valentine

You’d think we’d all know
by now what ‘nice’ meant
how it derives from a Mongolian
mispronunciation of the much
longer but unfortunately lost
name for a small woodland
gazelle-like creature now extinct
in one version a Dionysius-like
figure tricked out as a wild woman
is brought before his doom
and then rescued by a very nice
person in a gazelle disguise
simple foolish ignorant
up until the 17th c.
pleasant friendly attractive
since the 18th c.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cloudy Valentine

Some gods were lounging
on the clouds when all
of a sudden a 747
droned through
loaded with the opposite
of honey some more of
my relatives from earth
I often think of us clouds
however separated off we
manage to impersonate
one another as all parts
of one body one living
spaceship floating between
the radiance of the gods
and the constant thirstiness
of mankind for more
trying to mollify both