Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leaping Valentine

The sun reaching
my desk over there
means it’s nine of
a morning late in
the second month
under the fishes again
really the hands and feet
of macro-man
who thinks of us all
as cells in his body
and blood a creature
left entirely to your
free imagination
beginning now to
sense himself in you

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Coded Valentine

A poem made
out of words
that rhyme with
the right words
in the listener’s
reader’s mind
a poem in code
the way love
uses the world
to write your
life so precisely
down you wake
up amazed
it’s still here

Monday, February 27, 2012

Early Spring Valentine

The wind keeps opening
the door and running in
so we can see the fir trees
fake-wrestling on the far hill
against the murky blue
from nearing dust storms
rattling the birds their tail-
feathers bent back like
fingers being broken almost
but then they pivot
dropping down to dart
out and back so close
their joy we shiver

Monday's Valentine

It’s always somebody’s Monday
early morning being dragged
from sleep to face a firing squad
of uncertainties quietly aimed
at any residual zest for
living you might still harbor
but which bubbles up anyway
out of the warm womb of morning
sunny side up with only a few
seconds to turn her over
so the head crowns
memory is such an infant
a gaze so penetrating
you can tell she looks
at God alone through you

Sunday, February 26, 2012

John's Valentine

The luxury of not
having to make sense
placed up against
the poverty of having to
as happens every day
being caught in a job
or a style or a skin
but not to eat
your own poems
for lunch everyday
and still expect
to survive on
wits long gone
on love alone

Bruno's Valentine

A spike through the tongue
of the other great renaissance
writer after Shakespeare
who proved most people
are fanatics bullies followers
whether catholics or protestants
but that they might still be
united again in the Eucharist
they both believed in
it would calm everyone down
this was the 1500s after all
and he thought they could
sit together for the holy supper
of the bread and wine now
only four hundred years ago and
then they burned him at the stake

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Anecdotal Valentine

In the school of the sun
I attended when young
I would fall asleep in classes
and sing off-key in choir
until the cantor told me
not to sing anymore
to just mouth the words
I could not imagine
how it killed my vocation
I meditated on it night and day
but the perception of one’s
motives is a moral perception
and just in knowing that
I grew as an internal singer
and amateur musicologist
I speak in tongues today
in a way I never could
imagine singing then

Friday, February 24, 2012

Stupid Valentine

Now we have unleashed
all the stupid people
in this country  
they’ll never be put back
into the bottle
but really they were here
all along or we would
never have broken in
killed them all
women and children
then sat down after
dinner and written
all these great books
about them

Child's Valentine

The sea is fear
the sun is love
a breeze is life
the dunes are death
a child is a beach
in love with the air
the sea doesn't care
the sun is still there

Only Valentine

My spirit abashed appalled
my body a tyrannical child
between this warring pair
I carefully set my soul
the one I can barely imagine
the other I can barely control
myself a ladder of ascending
and descending streams
eddies and perturbations
lightening flashes in mobs
so I can only know myself
as you the world the wind
this I which wills to write
its own erasure into him

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wandering Valentine

Already in the blue sky
or in the night sky
or in the mind itself
we sense something
supersensible but exactly
how this endless stream
of humiliations and
exhilarations here is
actually connected to
some timeless place there
that’s where we lose the
story lose the thread
the soul wanders off
to find a toilet or a drink
what does this picture want
a mere sign in one world
but a reality in the next

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Singing Valentine

The day grandma died she
wasn’t singing Summertime
like forty years ago
putting you to sleep
she was breathing with the moon
the whole day to inhale
the whole night to let it go
it’s slow at first becoming
a figment of our imaginations
beginning to live inside
someone else’s organelles and eyes
or else it’s sudden and in a flash
you see the true reality of things
the cruel illusion of the world
so devastating and amazing
it echoes in your next several lives

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Incarnate Valentine

The sun on a pair of finches bled
is happiness the loss of suffering
liberation from the pain
of this existence
as Buddha said to begin
with the knowledge of sorrow
sparrows on a fallen bough
and how not to return
to this illusory world
of the body and the senses
or is it more like practice
carried over from lifetime
to lifetime the tortoise good
finally catching up with
the hares of wisdom
and nothing that ever happened
wasted or worthless
in the end

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Fortune Cookie Valentine

Books put together
by color of cover
see the sex get lost
in the new theologies
sooner or later you
have to turn yourself in
to an inner tranquility
not to be too clinging-dependent
on your mortal body
think of the spirit
as a child and the body
as too strict a parent
or think of it the other
way around

Friday, February 17, 2012

Practical Valentine

Stand with your back
to the sun and bend
forward a little slowly
lowering your expectations
to half-mast not to ring
too tautological a theme
but the parts of your body
only a lover can kiss
slowly remove leaving them
on the uncut grass
to feel the warmth
on your back and let
the source of all love
do its work 

Speechless Valentine

Quiet as a breeze
sneaking up on the sea
all these years
I just realized
my heart has stood
mute as a tree
listening to my body
and my mind
tell it what to do
letting the lightening
instruct its leaves
the ground threaten it
with spasms
o heart’s quiet tree
planted in eternity
waiting for me

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Equality Valentine

I am married now
to one orange tree and
one pomegranate tree
who love me and
take care of me
though I’m unfaithful
grandiose obscene
they go on remembering
how to be productive
sweet and sane though one
is never naked and the other
is balding and gnarled
their beauty is my life
though I still have no idea
even after so many years
how they turn light into
life-giving liquid though
I lie with them every night

Field's Valentine

To taste pennycress
from peppergrass
or shepherd’s purse
alien on waste ground
throughout how
many flower families
are there Roger are
we supposed to know
to gather to eat
oxalis or plantain
for when the soul
overwhelms the body
or when the body
bullies the spirit
losing all sense of
what’s best for it

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

New Valentine

Through and through
to master the purpose
one assigns oneself
to wake up freely
inside the poem
just here at the mid-
point feel it feel itself
assessing the vastness
acknowledging the nothing
not original to you
as it disperses and descends
referring to itself
as ‘through’

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Yesterday's Valentine

How do we invest
in something as transitory
as transparent as a life
in the flesh who can
settle down on this earth
and make a stay no one
can stand it more than
a century and many
of the best are bleakest
spending brilliantly
then quickly moving on
some at least having
left us in pictures
and words a temporary
reason to delay

Valentine's Valentine

When it rains here
the trees and plants
get a day off and can
sleep in even deeper
you can hear the roots
munching cuddling
entering the dream
of the earth warmth
while above they pull
the blankets closer
around their naked bodies
to get in out of the weather
of this man-made world

Sunday, February 12, 2012

King's Valentine

Some leaves turn into faces
before they hit the ground
they believe in future lives
because they have still not
exceeded their true calling
within each of us a genius
struggles under a stupid king
two hills hidden behind
two mountains knock-knock
in one of their past lives
you were a walled garden
and I was a wandering vine
and I went far from any garden
drawn by unseen horses
and you I have not touched you since
the four winds tore you apart
and your face went under

Even's Valentine

A first star is budding
in the Palo Verde tree
is that why you’re barking

even when you can’t see me
and I can’t see you
it’s what we’re thinking

and we’re still blinking
in clusters we the children
of their amazement and chagrin

O to be done with poetry
for it to have made its mark
accomplished its twilight

so we can move on
to the real magic
the purer night

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dying Valentine

Only the dead can
counsel the dying
only those who have
been there themselves
who know the score
but who hasn’t been there
where there’s no there
multiple times before
as encounters from afar
with the serious minds
of our space-in-time attest
this must be doubt
the stage of dullness lost
and blessedness not yet

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rainy Valentine

Since nothing once
experienced or loved
is lost forever we’ve
invented memory
as witness sign and seal
a few tokens saved of doubt-
less velocity which one day
will fit together nicely
proving space
the five thousand pieces
in forty shades of green and blue
we’ve been working on for lifetimes
a mere excrescence of time’s
endless before and after
but fun to work on
when it rains

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Feather Gift Valentine

A tiny feather I watched
from fifty feet away
floating and drifting slowly
suddenly landing at my foot
my left foot I retrieved
it with my right hand
placing it in my left palm
a thing so slight
turned sideways it’s invisible
but looked at more closely
its lineaments are cloud-like
so it’s hard not to remark
even in a scientific way
where it learned its art

Three Years Valentine

I pray for people
who think they know
what poetry isn’t
capable of submitting to
given the appropriate past
to build a dream on
in the three years
from 1798 to 1801
John Keats and Giacomo Leopardi
shared the air Novalis breathed
just as Simonides had
the moral air of nine years old
as can happen on Second Avenue
or near the bridge which
of course is not only a bridge
the bridge of sighs
but too many consonants
mean the language
can’t be trusted

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Future Rose Valentine

I stopped by to prune
the rose bush full
of dead heads and
to give it water the dark
house cold behind me
empty as a dead bird
leaves kicked against
the door and papers
blown in under the false
bird of paradise bush
the rosemary dead too
except for a few sprigs of blue
what we do now or don’t
becomes the natural world
the whole future of the rose

Monday, February 6, 2012

Character's Valentine

Isn’t being in love
a last-gasp effort
to restore one’s childhood’s
level of trust in angels
where want and will
share the same bed
as they still do in German
for all real love is
childlike in character
only children can look
at God or anything directly
before all that fades
and to be free as that
we may still want
but to think we have it
now because we have
the word for it
is a great deceit

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Floating Valentine

What does it matter
if you’re a human being
a plant or a stone
floating above the plain
old entanglements
among his several
misgivings what does
an orangutan pout about
knowing he lives
in the heart of all love
let him push on
into other worlds
standing on the sky
fondled by the stars

Friday, February 3, 2012

Green Valentine

At least once in the spring
may you drive the road
from Firenze to Ravenna
that Giotto goat-path
twisting through just-green
valleys and hillsides
still shepherds still vineyards
and ask what it reminds
you of sliding back in time
from Dante’s eyes to the 5th
century baptistery where Jesus
waist-deep in the Jordan
naked against a golden sky
receives his enlightenment
while a river god hands him
a green mantle to wear
and we step back to gasp

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time's Valentine

One hill slides into another hill
until you reach us from hell
the ninth layer of the earth
the latest ruin and crust
until you can’t hear
the cauldron at its core
anymore like looking
straight into the sun
unbearable wink of Time
out of which we’ve not
so much fallen as were
pushed browsing strolling
into this spatial world
which kidnaps time
and tortures it and makes
it feel cowardly and small
so far from home

Etheric Valentine

From love came
light and air
that much is clear
water came later
and then matter
but what began as man
was to be broken
into kindertoten
lieder blood
made into mud
an Ahriman in
every building plan
a Christ in every
budding sun