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

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cold Snap Valentine

Now the old gnome
sits alone smiling
among vanquished leaves
in his ceramic heaven
staring through me
so I hide behind
the dead asparagus fern
I think I drowned
with too much sun
to lift back up
this collapsed
world you have
to clean and refill
the birdbath on
a regular daily basis
you have to learn
to speak in several
plant dialects at once
you have to have loved
thousands of faces
none of them yours

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Foundation Valentine

Who can think through
every single thought
to its unwavering conclusion
like the thought
of thinking itself
to its earliest beginnings
as radiance from
clouds observed approaching
filled with spears
of lightening hurled
by unseen warriors
and to come to the end
of matter and stand
at the brink of the abyss
who can step across
to truth?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Souls' Valentine

As I am under the spell and
sentence of death as you
I know are also let us
speak out against
the unjust nature
of our confinement
how all the churches
are abusive families
how our worst enemies
are who we love most
but not in a good way
how it’s still basic
sharing stuff or not
or what is the world for?

Virgil's Valentine

Keep the sacrifice fat
but the muse slender
close the clearings
in the woods
set bounds to love
stand the sea
be black be blond
be mad to leave me
keep them for me
all my sentences
that end
with your name
there take it
the reed pipe
why should I
speak of him
from that day?