Monday, October 31, 2011

All Hallows' Eve Valentine

In the days when asking
was still in its dormancy
lightening bolts in the blood
offered perhaps the first
question marks to be developed
by the gods as conscience
but Odysseus only went home
when he had no where else to go
the unfaithful half of his soul
presented itself
as usual in disguise
afraid of getting hurt
(maybe that’s what all
these wars are really about)
and then years later
Parsifal finally
forms the question
of what do you suffer
which spawned
all the rest

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Still Life Valentine

A painted Mexican bowl
holding one Asian pear
a red American apple and
a pomegranate of so distant
an origin it had never had
a nationality unless you mean
Paradise pre-Big Bang
aka ‘the spiritual world’
but at first I didn’t notice
the different nationalities
at first it was the explosion
of color in a dark corner
of the room as their forms
and names returned to them
with justified pride and sadness
from prior civilizations
prior creations
when I could stare at them forever
as I did

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Human Valentine

A man is a vine
covered by time
leading the only life
that could endure it
that could distinguish
it from leaf and day
having to die having
to be the only thing
to have to die
so talented with dying
every thing else returns
leaf and day and sky
to their immortal places
without his human I

Traveling Valentine

Are lingonberries too
trivial to mention
every region has
its bittersweet berry
its folk-spirit omens and
cures for its particular
space-extended family
and abiding therein a
palace may be even more
of a tent than a tent
but how strange that
in every country there are
only the very same people
one meets the species
as a whole still at almost
the sixth grade level
social-emotionally speaking
even if intellectually
off the charts

Friday, October 28, 2011

Creek Valentine

Even this little creek
is a part of a great network
of resignation and simple
total acceptance which
water as a whole reflects
and which can also land
with crushing force
on the objects it resigns from
abandons turning aside
all that it calls back
to itself to be dissolved
to be absolved
all that it refuses from
within itself to build
another earth

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Ariel Valentine

To cast one’s soul adrift
into a particular physical
configuration flawed
blueprint of a body
with that nobility
only twilight fathoms
those eyebrows and
perfect feet it almost
becomes mortal again
for a certain number of years
in a certain number of places
as one might pursue a lover
across continents lifetimes ruins
how little credit I gave you
when you were there all the time

New Valentine

Because only human beings can die
death becomes our central feature
though we love what is immortal
all around us and struggle daily
to reclaim it for ourselves
by setting our lives in close proximity
to animals and minerals and plants
but to have your love rejected
even if with no unkindness
forces all that love inside
to abide as longing and
the knowledge one is alone
and still dying despite love
actually existing in the world
actually having created the world
for to live apart from love
and make a life in opposition to it
turning bread to stones
out of boredom and the need
for something new 
is the true evil

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pruning Valentine

We’ve all got to cut back
I murmur to the bodhi tree
pruning carefully myself
myself I have so carelessly
involved in my own leavings
and aspirations I too
got suckered into narrow
summer postures mocking
winter gestures
must I not feel myself
as my own spring
or go back to being you
sweet murmuring of leaves
the next best thing? 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ridden Valentine

With what will we replace
these wounds a wild and
mournful cry the sky
of rubble over the isle
cultivating the fields
we started to think
and of ourselves as
separate crucifixions
on different domes
rose different suns
how freely the earth
under us between
our legs we rode
as far from home
as we could hope

Monday, October 24, 2011

Praying Valentine

Sit the fuck down
and shut the fuck up
the garden turtle barked
at me this morning
now we all talk like the TV
and the toad that brownish
lumbering piece of shit
could only smile quietly
we three praying for rain
in this garden I have given
every sin its space and
hearing every volunteer
an earnest welcome
every refugee a home
this is the only world we get

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hip Hop Valentine

It’s a terrible feeling
to feel one is just
going through motions
like a robot or a puppet
wasting life but isn’t that
a lot of what life demands
of itself who would ask
for a meaningless life
if one had a choice
I’m out with existence
on the left bank of resistance
made my peace with persistence
but tell me when
did we ever really
have a chance

Scorpio Valentine

A rod comes down
across the town
the chastening begins
stripes of frost
the sun can’t reach
at the far end of the lawn

and if the world takes it all back
and begs to be forgiven
and throws around itself
masses of huddled ice
wishes of muffled snow
to walk out on

like a mystic on a lake
through which a line sinks down
to the depths where certainty
is found eating its own frown
then this is also love methinks
make no mistake it breaks

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Symphonic Valentine

Sitting outside tonight
right-field of the moon
suddenly one of those spontaneous
city symphonies occurred

incredible French and English horns
great whale underbellies of sound
swelled deep and faraway
from down the street

against a woman’s
almost tender screaming
as if she was being murdered
like a great aria

accompanied by the faint
drilling sound of a thousand
strangled tires in the alley

and then silence
for a few eternal
I don’t want to live with anyone anymore
I heard myself say

sometimes I want to believe that lie
but not today

Friday, October 21, 2011

Channeled Valentines

And while it may be both
too early and too late
to proclaim your perfection

every morning when
I come out the ants
have rebuilt their sand village
on the patio bricks
which every night’s hosing down
washes away

through the whole meeting
she sat
having to pee badly

without laughter no moon

only existence could have
invented existence

and then we lay there
in a swoon

Thursday, October 20, 2011

World Valentine

O world stop being silly
does anyone care
if you are one
self-sustaining world
your market share of you
you live on
you know you need us
just as much
as we need you
world within world
tree within tree
your problems
a huge harvest
waiting in the fields

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Turandot Valentine

How will we tame ourselves
without becoming whipped dogs
Let no one sleep
a ten year old angel
belts it out on TV
to a roomful of wheelchaired
nodding blue heads
if we abandon our children
and set our old ones adrift
I am like two plumeria grown
three feet apart one inside
the other outside the house
how opposite air and light
weave leaves of totally
different green and heft
how I’ve slept
through most of it
catching only the drift
of what’s fading fast

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dragon's Valentine

Today I walked all the way out
to the periphery of my skull
I looked longingly at my toes
who were grinning at the light
when they didn’t think I’d see
but I stood my ground and lay
quietly waiting for you to wake
watching words in the shapes
of plants and words in vestibules
of colors and words in bird-voices
drifting in from the street
a stone dragon’s head
hangs above the gate
every October something
knocks it to the ground
we never hear the sound
we stay in bed late
some days words come to us
in the arms of suns and stars

Sunday, October 16, 2011

October Roses Valentine

And finally October light
lays me on my stomach  
starts massaging my shoulders
as small a thing as that
to let me know I’ve died
but I still have to lift my shirt

to wear the fiery robe
of failure and defeat

again and carry its flames
across the narrow strait

of weedy yard to where
a circle of roses once

reminisced themselves all
the way back to complete

invisibility a scent
that haunts this bare

patch in the garden where
their hearts were spent

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Breakfast Valentine

Raspberry rhubarb butter
on a cinnamon raisin bagel
is sublime at nine
on a chilly morning with a light
vanilla latte sometimes
it is permitted me
on my Carthusian diet
to enter the cloister garden
always gaining heavenly
ground at the cost of
the physical body
but evolution never asks who
or what is moving forward
in those temporary drawings
where the footsteps trail off
into what looks like our own
and the spirit never wavers
asking what can’t I become
see how even now
it’s sketching out a new
configuration for the future
subtly based on you

Friday, October 14, 2011

Arriving Valentine

Every year enlightenment slips in
with its grave autumnal mood
making a little clearing in the wood
if only we had the vigor
to fathom it or him or her
do you have any idea how long
I took to get over you or it or him
they say as they undress
in the dark and chilly cabin
of my over and over heart
enlightenment arrives
at peace with all that dies
in love with all that won't

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Distant Valentine (for Paul)

Illness which is code for suffering
suffering which is code for love
does it help to think of them
as payment of a debt
you no longer recall incurring
what fun we must have had
I remember you once lustily
riding a dying apple tree
in a park near the lake the year
I cast the family adrift
or was it they who drove me
all the way to the thirteenth
century and a monk’s life for
whatever it took to be alone
as it was with our grandfather
leaving the old world behind
knowing he would never return
never be forgiven for going

Annoyed Valentine

If you turn your head
and a mockingbird outside
the window is looking at you
cocking his head first one
way then the other so each
eye in turn can pick you out and
grasp you as you hold his gaze
you sitting on the green couch
him perched in the green trellis
why the hell are you always
writing about birds
annoyed she asked
they carry the world’s thoughts
into the heights when they die
I say and what falls to earth
from that is love or fate

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Separate Valentine

I am sending you
under separate cover
a copy of my soul
the study guide
and favorite suggestions
you will be surprised perhaps
on seeing your first soul
even a little insulted
by the frailness of
the future therein laid
upon its diadem of hope
but touched I trust
by the ring of red feathers
around their throats
these sparrows with epaulettes
still bloody from the wars 

Dream Face Valentine

While we slept last night
the full moon in Libra
was cooking up our livers
and kidneys for breakfast
with onions for eyes
sunburnt and sand-whipped
our souls were being
scoured blinded stained
by a world so much
more alive than this one
free of time and physical bodies
with access to hidden things
where we can fly individually
like Superman or angels
who dream themselves awake
and learn to love
our own true face

Shot Valentine

Precariously perched
above my head
a boulder just where I had
left it years ago
in that dark and narrow
strip of sky between two
roof-lines the fullest moon
a silver bullet chambered
toward the heart
of every human being
who sees it pulls the trigger
lets the boulder go
just one that had ascended
that soft autumn night
but oh the shot was slow

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October Valentine

One day in the year
the prince of darkness
hangs out with the prince
of light in the streets
like sisters or brothers
stepping for a few moments
around the unforgiveable
history between them still
sizing one another up
while smiling smiling
true admiration between them
and here we are
in the narrow sling of color
between these two goliaths
making love

Crackling Valentine

A tree is for a bird
to land in and a cloud
the rest is decoration
in which the stars at night
play a crucial part
through the millions
of little mirrors in the soil
causing a copulation
of chemicals the sweat
of great beings
intermingles underground
we stand upon
the privileges of a flower
the majesty of Lucifer
we have just an hour

Monday, October 10, 2011

Velvet Valentine

Everything comes wrapped up
in itself and must unfold
or be unfolded
all we know now
was once a worry
hidden in our hearts
for which the lotus has become
the symbol and the testimony
a picture of how it
could be arranged
white against dark blue
velvet water which
seems to be sleeping
dreaming of you

Primitive Valentine

Compassionate objectivity
fleets and fleets of seedlings
primitive organs set out
on waves of self-feeling
the undeveloped shoreline
of a new sense in view
my Columbus soul expands
waiting for a taxi or a plane
can this be the Ithaca
of our destination and
the sailing done
still living the hero
in everyone
but the healing
in none

Sunday, October 9, 2011

99% Valentine

A fresh sprouting
of fall nasturtiums
floating on the grass
a flashing of minnows
the ambulance is coming
but it goes right past us
we the people are always
in an emergency situation
requiring thoughtfully organized
assistance and relief
from those who are able
and from those who are most able
as one family at last

Background Valentine

There’s so much bread on the ground
so much bread thrown out
for the birds though I’m
unfaithful to them though I’ve
forgotten their true function
in the great sand-painting
of Everything I love just
to hear them in the background
basically because I’m always
searching for new songs
in my head if not for some
real reason to sing
even if I couldn’t carry
a note to save my life

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Guilty Valentine (for Franz Kafka)

I’m not accusing
you of anything
so why do you look guilty
I look guilty because
I look guilty
that’s how I look
no you don’t I’ve
seen you smile
yes but it’s a smile
smeared over guilty
a bad varnish
a bad end
there is no other start
awaits us all a
cabinet of horrors
a private Dachau
which we could see
as children under the beds

but no one listened
no one believed us

Occupy Wall Street Valentine

Not enough Obama
to be the Obama
we wanted and still need
but we must supersede
politics for people
and stop pedaling
there’s really even one
real Christian in this sad
country in any sense
Christ himself intended
after fifty years of racist
Randian crap as a rationale
for this year’s aristocracy
(how bedazzled we still are
by bling) it’s back
to the barricades where
an afternoon of fascism
on Brooklyn Bridge
can show up on Broadway
as a new musical or play
by an as yet unknown
poet and martyr the latest
American dreamer
who fed the poor
and sat with the dying
as a free man again

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Pair of Valentines

I never realized
how blue my eyes were
until you told me
I never really appreciated
my best features
even when I had some
I would even rather not
have had to grow a pair
a personality
is so cumbersome
except for you and then
I just had to give it up
for some nobler cause
or never get to use them often
at least not with the one
I love most and then
as they say you die

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Something's Valentine

How hard poetry tries
to make our lives
memorable and important
to assuage us with its
vanities and the warmth
of its enclosures that
there can be only one being
which is not a swarm
but a whole summer’s
heat come to rest
in an empty trellis
that what rots in the head
ferments in the heart
goes rancid in the gut
I’ve made lists of everything
double-checked the details
it all comes out as poetry says
but still something’s missing
something’s still longed for

Monday, October 3, 2011

Everywhere Valentine

Two pots sitting together
form a heart-shaped shadow
honestly a little before ten
this Monday morning you
know the commercial heart
that shows up everywhere
out of children’s art
but dark this time
whatever plants the two
pots grew are gone so
only the rims’ uncluttered
clean and smooth curves meet
hang out and kiss
behind the school
of light now closed

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Desert Valentine

Through my middle years
I hid in a thin wood
along the western side
the darker side
of a gentle slope
among long cold winters
and brief humid summers
during which I hid
waiting for the disaster
or was it my master
to come
of course now
when I look I see
exploded pomegranates
where the finch have fed
outside my desert hut
and you my home

Michaelmas Valentine

In a Michaelmas kind of mood
Issa would see the sea
and his dead mother
always together
O mother he would say
weeping for the sea
for the one with everything
he would feel compassion
as the one with nothing
he would take the time
to form the stubble
on his face or to sit
beside the asters for
an afternoon cold
in the wind you know
the purple ones waiting
by the sides of the roads
bearing the last promptings
of the marching clouds