Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Careful Valentine

Carefully he selects
a teabag from a large
variety of options
finding one for sore throats
then standing for a few minutes
at the cupboard choosing
a cup from a lifetime of cups
finding one in the back
hidden a dark blue
I forget where I picked
you up he mutters forgiveness
is the simple fruit
of self-knowledge the water
just boiling he pours and waits
letting it steep and steam
every second healthier
every second your name

Monday, January 30, 2012

Giacomo's Valentine

While contrails play
X marks the spot
above the ruined city
I sit in dappled shade
reading Leopardi
like a prince on holiday
with the good sense to enjoy
this gem-like day
the abandoned hillside
of this night perched
above the sea
in the silent distance
until I neither think nor feel
my heart skips a little
at the storms ahead
who remember eternity
so much clearer
and the foundering
than we do

Valentine for Pierre Reverdy and Max Jacob

Often in our youth
when we felt an anachronism
creep near
soon a god would step
out from behind the stony
curtain of the bodies
we loved through
in those days
now I feel had he said
by my own perceptions
which the past is full of
hundreds of years later
had and humbled
by our own youthful courage
which could only
carry us so far

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Gemini Valentine

I have never been more
exasperated with myself
and strangely never
more compassionate
with the exasperation
I feel coming toward me
and through me
but how many chances
to kiss and make up
do I give myself
before my compassion
peters out and
my eternal exasperation
gives up on itself

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Empty Valentine

I grew these from seed:
two wonderful arms
two wonderful legs

and wonderful how two
proved the basis for
everything I grew

and killed and grew
imagine traveling miles
for a particular color

an idea with childhood
written all over it
as if it weren’t

a red and purple
sea hustling
a predatory people

but an eggshell you
gave me to care for
a spear of celery

and a cold sunny
afternoon’s three wasted
wishes we will build

new bird houses and
they will come back
three days they cried

circling the emptiness
where their hedge had stood
where they had nested for years

and that was just one group

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hazy Moon Valentine

A landscape of quiet dust
under the glass dining table
as the sun passes by
creating and destroying spaces
we have only accumulated
into matter for a while
as a barrier against sadness
is built or a dam against some
flood bound to rearrange us
but not to be carried away
or get enchanted by
material freshly emerging
from the stitching of millions
of tiny invisible elements
under uncertain conditions
we misrepresent as ours
our river our time
but to get intelligently lost
and sleep in a strange bed
and wake among stars

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Gracious Valentine

Hey cadastre
hither line by line I’ve
set this least easement
in higher indifference
in the metes of love
and bounds where they
kept their original t
the forerunner of more
modest languages
unmarked by monuments
as how you say eagerly
similar and specious
in our anytime going
from grace to grace

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Risen Valentine

Especially beautiful tonight
is the sleepwalking wind
through alleys through creeks
a cold psalmist in cloaks
of living silk
a cellular succulence
in the density
of the god of darkness
driving the moon
out of sight singing
I have something to say
but I have no one
to say it to

Friday, January 20, 2012

Choleric Valentine

Even there at the level
of bacteria
a signal to stop
swimming and
lodge in the walls
of the small
intestine a terrific
readiness to respond
to radically changing
chemical environments
to return to prior
conditions and impulses
no longer relevant colonies
angrily driving out
all moisture and life

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ear's Valentine

You were sitting
in the sun I was
sitting in the shade
the hearing in my
left ear is going
going where I said
don’t you remember
you didn’t hear me
it was always your
insouciance I loved
most about you I
heard you clearly say
the sun was warming
you the shade was
cooling me off
can a heart have
tinnitus mine was
ringing off the hook
don’t you remember
you didn’t hear me

Monday, January 16, 2012

Whisperer's Valentine

If our better angels
are as far above us
as we are above the
animal kingdoms
the composite flower
each so intricately is
I try to imagine their
profound frustration
infinite patience as
our trainer-teachers
whispering and
herding us through
our lives toward some
harvest like how
today my angel
told me to inspect
my hands every day
and ask myself if I
remember how I
made them and why

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Martin's Valentine

We do what we love
and we love to do it
we love evil and we do evil
thinking because we love it
it must be good
or we love to do
whatever and call it
good because all these
preliminary questions
must get discussed
among our incipient selves
but then the audience
goes blind and silent
the curtain opens on a castle
an old man is knocking
at the gate

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Not My Parents Valentine

A very old couple at Fry’s
staring at the heartburn
remedies display
their effortless calm
in the face of
the diaper aisle
how they hold still
as the cosmetics section
passes them by trembling
I meet them again
heading for the exit
him holding a clutch
of yellow freesias
her hugging a fifth
of scotch

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mani's Valentine

Today I turned to Mani for help
he of the Manicheans
whose name means the jewel
who was flayed alive
by those who came to believe
killing someone ends their life
forgetting their home with the gods
just an idea among ideas
among streets and bridges
how can we still not speak
to one another as light
to light still not know
ourselves as children
of the sun and moon

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Your Valentine

From the gleams
in gems to the colors
in flowers and wings
to the fires in eyes to
the light in minds
to the seeing past
bodies past brains
to pictures in the past
from the beginning of
memory to the sense
of a future self the true
long-prepared-for one
but for what for
whom if not you

Monday, January 9, 2012

Misunderstood Valentine

On second thought
there is the other cheek
half-empty twin
the double and
the object subject to
which is not merely
a misunderstanding
or a compensation for
the one who loses you
half-way through
the conversation
but the one who finds you
in his eyes

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Alone Valentine

The sunlight through
their tail-wings when
they’re at the feeder
in the morning is
lovely and ferocious
but do you really think
writing in crumbling
columns is a way of
imprisoning their songs
it seems I have
encouraged a war
that can only lead
to their destruction
then my own
the afternoons
are calmer when
the feeder’s empty
I’m alone

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lily's Epiphany Valentine

Maybe you have
just one more
day inside you
have to shed
before conclusively
without pretense
you’re dead
and start to
stink as dying
process calls out
to dying process
along the stem
your five arms
into ashes shrivel
what was petal
what was flame

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Twelfth Night Valentine

Losing warmth
to gain precision
as soon as there
are two there are
edges gathered together
in our names
bird seed for the birds
gone to war for
isn’t that itself the canary
I know how you’re stalking
me no not you clear reader
of the secret script
a forest of nasturtiums
the trees of paradise
in our ant days

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sleeping Valentine

Is it still hard
in heaven
to get used to
the decontamination
of love from
rage when we
really see how
narrow how nervous
we were on earth
what is reasonable
treatment when you
glimpse driving an
old man sleeping
on the side of the road
our sorry stories
even in heaven
still hard to hear

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Overheard Valentine

That first night
orange trees blooming
one huge silent bell ringing
how it shakes
what is greener
twenty years later
a few drops of water
dribbled on the tongue
all we could swallow
of one another
I was dying of you
in the next bed
it was something you said
cut me dead

Monday, January 2, 2012

Neighbor's Valentine

I saw death
pass through
my yard on his way
to my neighbor’s
last night I
dreamed death
comes to each
of us in the form
of a tiny spider
three days before
our actual death
which we brush
off quickly with
perhaps a shiver
a thing so insignificant
no one remembers
getting tagged

Habitual Valentine

As long as
you make a habit
of living you
have to break
it however tomorrow
distantly pain
takes up the refusal
to change why
else are you
dancing to gather
lift and contrail
mouse-tracks in
the snow up to
a certain hush
of wings

Sunday, January 1, 2012

First Day Valentine

The fortune
left on the table
but the cookie gone
I keep moving
around the room
until the sunlight
fills it the guest
has arrived then
I lie down and let
his warmth roll
over me the tips
of the trees are
illuminated first
then my toes
he holds me
to the fire of
his love I had
to say it or
have we not all
come to be
on this earth
not air to breath
but light