Monday, December 31, 2012

Lang Syne Valentine

Had to have them
didn’t know
I didn’t need them
had to need them
to know I didn’t
have to have them
I just didn’t know
I had to need
and need them
and not know
not really know
as deep as need
to know them I
already knew

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Listening Valentine

But then they tell me
their secrets sometimes
where they go to die
what causes it for them
which sounds like weeping
I’m too young to understand
though no child could be
as pathetically patient as
I am sitting there listening
for hours and sometimes
I put seeds out for them
each one bearing the name
of a different song I remember
some going back to the Vikings
war whoops and the coming
of the ends of things
so sparrows can sing
the fading notes of terror
only spring can bring

Friday, December 28, 2012

Massacre of the Innocents Valentine

Sailing out to the periphery
was lusty summer’s goal
but now the hollow center
swallows all and all
the warmth and light
that let us forget ourselves
chills us to the bone
coming home to winter’s grave
our names in cursive snow
writ large for all to see
then quietly erased
all covered over lost
our memories like flakes
by flakes replaced 

Friday, December 21, 2012

12/21/12 Valentine

Every so often
like a hand reaching down
a leaf falls
brushing the cheek
of the hill or the hill
of the cheek
it blurs and unblurs
the world is always
glittering or trying to
even if with tears
the sun is you

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Heart Sutra For Newtown Valentine

Originally the world
was just a single heart
floating in the middle
of nowhere safely on
the outskirts of space
and time the size of
a whale’s heart or a
raptor’s but to us a
relatively infinitesimal
speck in the vast dark
yet it was from that
original heart-shaped
object the earth as
we know it now was
gradually built up
layer upon layer even
unto the ninth layer
the raging fires of
its first refusal locked
there at the center
always threatening
to break loose and
destroy us all

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

After Vivid Dreams Valentine

For a few seconds after waking up
I had no idea who I was or
where I was and I watched
feeling comfortable not knowing
and not feeling any fear about it
but then I remembered
the whole story up to now
so that later when
I found a worm drowning
in a rain-flooded flower pot
after watching it writhe
and wondering if eventually
it would swim to the side
of the saucer and climb
up on its own I had to
rescue it and put it
back up on dry land
to burrow into
and to live again

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Feathery Valentine

Beating pleasure from the body
scraping pain from the brain
the delays and uncertainties
which keep us from this moment
the toll that takes the bell
the earth as grave
from which we risen
send our living thoughts
and this was only Tuesday
(what exactly is a Tues and
where precisely are they found)
water on Mars is news
and later this fool
caught himself trying
to pick up a tiny feather
of light from the ground

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Valentine

We’re not unsubtle thick
we see the child approaching
if only in the maya of history
the history of maya in myths
even considered from that angle
how else could it happen
did you expect angels
to drop out of the sky
and there’s an end to it
one night and one day
unless we were those angels once
those children approaching
one child leaping into your arms
one not leaping
but turning away

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Traveling to Bethlehem Valentine

The world is like someone sleeping
whose dreams make trees
oceans clouds nightmares cities
towns that do not waken
the world is someone sleeping
on the northbound bus
or the eastbound train
or the transatlantic plane
the way the sleepers
become the world
as if there was
only one sleep
and nothing could
waken the world

Friday, December 14, 2012

Seed Valentine

Only when the Chaste tree
naked as a god
has finally dropped
all his leaves for me
on the cold gray lawn
to rake and carry
to the compost
only then do I hang
my Chinese pagoda
birdfeeder full
of future songs
on one of his stronger
arms and wait
and stay up late
for the new year to bring
its one more seed

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

In the Museum of My Embarrassments Valentine

Hopefully we’re not
that stupid
we can’t discern
our own stupidities
from time to time
in meditation
come close enough
to our humiliations
not to be overwhelmed
by them but to admire
the brushwork and
unique coloration
after the fact standing
back a safe distance
of love and time
neither enough

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

I Don't Have Enough Middle Fingers Valentine

No I don’t have enough
middle fingers
for slavers
aren’t we all
no I mean
the secret ones
and I don’t have enough
middle fingers
for scammers
aren’t we all
no I mean 
the professional ones
and I don’t have enough
middle fingers
for minions
aren’t we all
no I mean the ones
who don’t have enough
middle fingers
for those who don’t
have enough
middle fingers

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ex Nihilo Valentine

A poem is also something
created out of nothing
you would never imagine
resembles a football game
or electrical wiring where
the sun disassembles itself
decaying into images
of you and me while
the world flashes on
and off and we
who were once sun
and will be sun again
can only salute you
O poem O sun

Blue Car Wash Valentine

Oh dude you have
no idea how dead
the aspidistra looked
when I returned
we each to a different
hell had been assigned
who rapped that
to the dudes washing
cars on Sunday
mornings remembering
the horses holding
and stroking them
buzz-saws in the
background chewing
up the scenery
and I could still feel
your body sleeping
next to me

Saturday, December 8, 2012

American Valentine

First we had a war
against supremacy
then we had a war
against the native people
then we had a war
against slavery
now we have a war
against stupidity
in ourselves and
those around us
which of course was
present throughout
but today reaches
epidemic proportions
and seems to center
on our unwillingness
to look far enough
into the future to see
our own deaths
coming toward us
as an immediate event
which certainly could
wake us up to being
here for one another
like nothing else

Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent Valentine

Now reindeer and snowmobiles
are hurtling toward the cliff
in a game of chicken
where in 983 AD Vikings
could be found all
the way from Istanbul
to Iceland I try
to remember the Ireland
of my youth when
holiness was dying
but would soon become
a business like Delphi
how our tools become
our masters
but my money’s
still on Donner
and Blitzen

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Coral Vine Valentine

But then I finally noticed
how the shoot of the vine
always turns lefty-loosey
attaching to the trellis
in its upward climb
and patiently resists
ignorant efforts
to fasten it with ties
and force it clockwise
it just smiles at me
as if I didn’t know
following the path
the sun takes through
the days the stars
and moon the nights
wasn't the only way to go
out of this world

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Painter's Valentine

Was Frank O’Hara
really the last
New Yorker to use
the words parti pris
in any context
let alone speaking
about painters
or about how
a poem can only
be as narcissistic
as its maker
but I still wonder
if that was Jim
(stomach ache?)
Schuyler (lol)
who phones him
in the middle
of that sleeper

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dee's Valentine

No morning is
entirely wasted
if you get to see
a verdin that small
gray-yellow bird
related to the chickadee
searching the leaves
of shrubs and trees
for bugs or if you get
to look up and catch
the occasional cherubim
speeding across the sky
tearing off their
garments as they go
or if you get to remember
for a few moments
something long forgotten
only you would know

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Historical Valentine

We sit down
and say nothing
it isn’t going
to work
in the dark
but then something
like the main
character rushes
onstage so to
speak foaming
at the top
of his lungs
and everyone
laughs and
applauds and
goes home afterwards
even hungrier

Friday, November 30, 2012

Embarrassed Valentine

Stuck in the crotch
of a dead branch
the black eviscerated
ball of an old pomegranate
wedged passion between
further falling and
the cat glares at me
as if to say
it’s not polite to stare
we resume our
individual tasks
me my scratching
her her hair

Star's Valentine

In a gust of feelings
a star and a hanging
basket of geraniums 
a street in red November
listening to mockingbirds
from such a few damp
clues I could still
reconstruct you
the sneaky way leaves
fall when you’re not looking
or when you are the birds
poop on the flowers
the inescapable strangeness
we are to one another
and to all beings
love has so far claimed

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Evolutionary Valentine

They say Christ had
his first human stage
in a time just before
our big bang and then
on our first earth
became an angel
on second earth
an archangel and then
on the third an Archai
a First Beginning
and now in our time
on this fourth earth
an Exusiai a Former
of Forms entering again
briefly a human stage
for his brother Lucifer’s
sake a rescue operation
with a certain outcome
and limited duration
after which we too
on the fifth earth
will become angels
and continue on like him

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Leftover Valentine

Snails leftover from
another earth
resurface briefly
in desert rains
crunchy underfoot
not that much ice-
grayer than eggshells
but a little wad
of snot tucked
into a unicorn horn
that travels and can
feel the first touch
of spring leaving its
smeared kiss and
cum on everything 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Child's Valentine

Putti genii cherubim
it’s there in their eyes
children beholding death
create a custom size
balance is not mediocrity
faces of the so-called dead
a constant surprise
so mothering is made
curtains opening on clouds
she arrives in haste
unstoppable the terror
to be faced but really
she’s just kneading bread
while her two hungry
toddlers watch carefully
but nothing’s said

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pied Valentine

We pretend not
to notice one another
the pied cat strolling
like the landlord
through my tiny yard
where daily I sit
doggedly writing down
whatever comes along
not that I stare at
every face or ass
or sashaying cat
but I do let a few
crazy things carry
me along it’s true
beauty rules still
even the cat sniffs
the flowers the sun
relaxes on the lawn
only my thoughts
stumble on

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Valentine

Who bears
and burnishes
my attention
my feet in
your sun my
head in some
shady places
so I resemble
the sky have
that permission
to mirror back
and moon
for you

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Retrograde Valentine

So we come back
to reality without us
back to ourselves
after being taken up
by some other reality
after being abandoned
by it we come back
to the logic of death
so what say the stumps
floating decapitated
dreams the last
purple flowers

Friday, November 16, 2012

Piss Valentine

Listening to
my pee hitting
the water
the cadence
and bright
of it all
I can hear
eagerly returning
to nitrogen
and the odor
of asparagus
and roses
with a smile

Betrayal Valentine

The surprising inability
to discern the borderline
from the true princess
of virtue as if
one was disguised
in a beautiful body
and the other disguised
as an overweight ya-ya
what didn’t you get
O warrior of the light
refusing that your youth
be taken from you
once you had the power
to put it right

Light Valentine

That we not
take too lightly
one another love
departs as if you
could depend on
someone else
what that life
would feel like

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Morning Valentine

Opportunists of the sun
like me a chair or choir
among the grasses who
would also rather walk away
but do become filled
receptacles of light finally
as if one were to keep
the out-takes and discard
the masterpiece morning is
inspiring how many cities
that still must spread
and die if all
we need is leaves
to climb the sky

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Private Religion Valentine

On the day Jack
Gilbert died which
was just yesterday
and will always seem
like just yesterday
I finally get around
in my dotage it
happens to reading
the visionary poems
of Bunny Lang
on the high say-so
of Frank O’Hara
that first great
negro poet among
the black poets
of Martinique
who still smoked
and drank heavily
and Bunny laughed
when she caught
Jack walking over
the water toward her
all three born within
a year or two of one
another and within
a few brief marvelous
miles now gone

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Late and Slow Valentine

When will we
simply accept
that until hunger
is satisfied and
a warm safe home
is provided
for everyone
and reasonably
good mental
and physical
health is assured
for everyone
only if these
three are present
can we begin
to speak of human
beings acting in
a human way
until then it’s
about money
not women or men

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sung Valentine

Here temperature is speed
as in all the other worlds
we remember occupying
how in the stone the
flower replays its flowing
all color being molten
when in the streets and
fields we hear ourselves
come from darkness
to break our words on
one another’s shoulders
plowing on circumspectly
toward that dawn
we glimpse as you

Friday, November 9, 2012

First Vintage Valentine

This cup is
the thinking
that goes on
after awareness
brings it
puts it down
on the table
but the drink
itself is eager
to be tasted
after its long journey
from the sun
so deftly suffused
with light and
calm it can leave
and enter time
at will while we
fused to bodies
await our death
as the end of all

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Electoral Valentine

How many more naïve
realists are left
spiritual materialists
church-going slave-holders
self-flattering sociopaths
for one morning
to get through
only small minds
want small government
let’s have big government
big self-government
big enough to include
and take care of us all

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Scene of the Valentine

Undertaker ants
with infinitesimal care
yet hurriedly after me
file across the mesa
of the stepping-stone
toward the crushed
body of the snail
whose shell looks
like a totaled car
the silvery insides
which it spilled
dried to crusty
diamonds in the
sun and all
the ants can do
is chase their
tiny shadows
back and forth
unable to lift it
or to leave

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Returning Valentine

It can be as
precise as this
Admiral butterfly’s
admirably careful
momentary landings
waverings but
during the night
that dream named
hurricane devastated
me and now disloyally
in morning light
joy to see
even pieces of me

Friday, November 2, 2012

Numerological Valentine

If we count one year
for every hundred
the world just turned
20 years old since
the light came into it
which goes a long way
toward illuminating
our situation mindful
what one knew at 20
and the damage done
but now the black and
white cat steps daintily
through the wet grass
and our whole future
as they say lays spread
out gingerly before us

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Silent Valentine

After the garbage
truck raging
minotaur barges
through the alley
and the dust
settles on the dew-
glittery grass
the trees turn over
grayer wiser
back to sleep
and no one now
not silent
will ever be as
silent as a canoe
of clouds
just arriving
out of the blue
this desert
once a shore
this body
once a boy’s

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Samhain Valentine

When we work our way
back from this world
first we go through
twilight with its fiery
pitfalls then through
personalities hiding
in morning skies
like a wiser kind of
desire disembodied
but still seeking us
and then back still
further through clouds
of feeling stitched back
into all things
the silence behind
which finally we find
as we suspected
the original crime
was love all along

Monday, October 29, 2012

Taurus Valentine

The full moon
the white bull
carries on his
horny shoulders
however saturnine
or terrible
the voices
of its storms
reflected once
our promissory
hearts undergoing
love’s surgeries
its scissors tracking
sinew cutting
toward the bone
that sun
that wound
its home 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Exile Valentine

To bare Patmos
he brought son mere
the man ripe
with spent fury
the wild man
of grief they
called him
after the cave
voices started
talking to him
once every week
he and she would
eat together
she would show
him her garden
he would tell her
about his visions
they both loved
the same man
how could they
not revere the
other’s love
as well?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Tryst Valentine

At 9:50
the wind
licks me
my neck
and cheeks
why then
why here
I notice
we are all
geese and trees
again I
notice you
but now
from a place
the wind

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wednesday's Valentine

It’s Wednesday
but I thought
it was Friday
to run ahead
of time is what
dreaming does
to the nerves
when we return
to rigid space
always rearranging
the props but
when the patio
is swept we sit
and dream at ease
two iced coffees

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Futile Valentine

I’m nursing
some new
grass along
under a new
moon not all
deep matter is
dark matter
take my manure
thinly laid
as cloisonné
over thick gold
even the sun
has gathered in
a hoard against
my army of
green spears
raised swords  

Monday, October 22, 2012

American Valentine

Hardly ever
shutting up
about God
while only
really believing
in matter
in money
hardly ever
quiet about
freedom while
keeping slaves
for three
hundred years
and still today
hardly ever
able to discern
the charming
phony from
the honest face
of friend will
be our end