Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Valentine

Right now go out
fertilize your roses
scatter some grass seed
over the faces of  your friends

that they become meadows
or maybe just small patches
of green in the otherwise
driftless valleys of your life

as you drive through hillsides
of naked trees even before
the old leaves had fallen
the new ones those betrayers

were already formed
and the ruined cottage by the sea
is just now being born

Monday, December 30, 2013

Blissless Valentine

I admit all along
it was the bliss
I wanted though
that’s not the whole
story but it’s because
if you’re old you
should be praying
for everyone else
now you know
what they’re in for
this was not
the first world I felt
but which soul
did not share
my existence

Wardrobe Valentine

If it survives the next
one hundred years
it will appear on some
televised antique show

with the original finish
of gloom on its French
oak wave-like grain
formed after all by slow

absorption of nameless
streams and eddies
so we can see what life
was like in those days

when the wonderful events
of today were only dreamt of
and gave them hope

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Etheric Valentine

Lifting up out of my body
I drift over the endless city
over the highways and houses
strange how no one notices me
but then there are a lot of us
aloft today some dead peering through
and the usual sleepers and children
like kites trying to escape
I come here often to keep
the paths clear between the worlds
you’d be surprised how many
line up here to be recycled
or to be rekindled
torched again
with that vagrant fire
that makes life possible below

Follower's Valentine

Look at these seeds
what an amazing idea
how did we forget it
I soaked them till the shells
swelled and broke
a tiny penis emerged
from each the stems
of everything to follow
they were following the light
seed leading to seed
but why this round and
round why not straight
on to glory as in last
night’s dream where
my angel said to me
why don’t we go in
to business together
become partners
it wasn’t until later
in the day suddenly
I remembered this dream
further from me now
than my angel

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Innocents' Valentine

If you think of the farthest realms
beyond Saturn and the animal circle
and how they go on and on
filled with the greatest beings
and then you think of the earth
here in its little blue puddle
every day its mother the sun
bringing in the dead light
for it to eat having to leave
it alone unprotected for hours
at a time it makes me think
of any little town no one
would ever have heard of
except the youngest son
was born there the one
who turned the light around
aiming it back out into the dark
depths of love no one before
had comprehended

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Valentine

Having murdered the messiah
now we move on to
murdering the earth itself
seizing only today
we have forgotten the gods
and their great thoughts
now they stand aside and watch us
go about its certain unraveling
not cherishing how the whole
is seamless together and falls
apart when carelessly
the threads are cut
now we've given up on time
and want to live only for things
filling the empty spaces with things
as if the child could be born
without the mother
or the world survive
without a father

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Valentine

Where's dad
out talking to
the pine trees
where's mom
out back smoking
a cigarette
where's sonny
out fighting
a useless war
where's baby
out singing in
the local bar
every year
Christmas gets
smaller pretty
soon they'll
be back in the
cave with the cow
and the donkey
few spaces left
for the choiring

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Heroic Valentine

Maybe the wolves in the middle
of chasing the buffalo herd to take
the calves from their mothers
heard the death words of the old one
who had gone off by itself to die
because as soon as they heard
or felt something they raced off
in that direction abandoning the herd
to where it was still standing
inside a small copse of aspen
wavering and about to collapse
the wolves held back waiting
like a tree for it to fall before
they started tearing it apart
here I am dying anyway take me
thereby letting the herd escape

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Family Valentine

The humiliation of poverty
is what the rich fear most
and what the poor are
struggling to survive
no more could Louis XVI
hear his own thoughts
in that roar approaching
the guillotine than could
my father when my mother
kicked him out because
revolution is family life writ large
but what happens when the sons
are worse than the fathers
and the daughters worse
than the sons of bitches

Friday, December 20, 2013

Just Asking Valentine

Isn’t it the experience
of the mind itself
that proves the existence
of a spirit world
where consciousness can
continue without a body
and isn’t it the mind itself
that proves the indivisibility
of the body and the mind
as a bridge where the spirit
shows up now and then
to inspire or cajole his creature
and isn’t it the mind itself
that must be thought out
all the way to those high beings
for we are not the source
through which we come

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Moral Valentine

It’s often not possible
to make things better
but it’s always possible
to make things worse
it’s often not possible
to make things worse
but it’s always possible
to make things better
it’s better if it’s worse now
so it can be better later
it’s worse if it’s better now
so it can be worse later
for better or for worse
as if there was another hearse

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Twin's Valentine

My burial was quiet
and quick as a leaf’s
or a chrysanthemum
petal’s thinner               
and thinner the
air between us
till we are breathing
with the same pump
they call it
time is usually
more specific
I stay my distance
I hear the buzz-saw
I see how close
you can come

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hunted Valentine

What if the hunters
went out into the woods
without their guns
to sit quietly on stumps
and wait for the deer
or the doves or the elk
to pass by or come near
and not even to take
their picture but just
to see them there
and what if the poem
was a deer would you
still hunt it and kill it
and eat it after all
we have to live
and the deer offer
themselves to us
the way the fields
and the woods are theirs

Monday, December 16, 2013

Glass Valentine

Out washing my windows
in the morning sunlight
you can clearly see
the evil encroaching gray
scum from all we’ve done
built up on the glass
like a cataract
or a defense mechanism
that darkens into
a disease whose seed
in childhood disappointments
unresolved takes root
and slowly spreads
its wilt of soot

Birthday Valentine

Getting to 70
means you don’t
entirely hate
yourself or life
in fact you’ve
been given more
than your fair
share as if you
had some mercy
on yourself and
even though one
still feels watched
at all times now
and then one feels
it was a blessing
to have known
and loved even
if often wrongly
and alone

Sunday, December 15, 2013

December Valentine

I insist the last
three dried-up
pomegranate skulls
come tumbling down
I miss you that much
and I have even less
patience for the leaves
falling down my open
shirt in the process
of dislodging them
as if they could be
your hands
feeling their way
along my face
a thousand kisses
falling on me
not a thousand

Brave Valentine

Death ages one
up till then we’re
all too young
the years
it takes to get
past beauty
it uses almost
all the faults
one’s saved
for just such
the right occasion
to get you through
to be brave
in moonlight near
an open grave

Friday, December 13, 2013

Brother Louis's Valentine

Emily’s envelopes remind
me I once knew a monk
the monastery’s cook
who’d tear the labels from
bean and tomato cans
to pencil on the backs of
his jokes and visions
he’d tack to the kitchen wall
with scraps of prayers
it is his doing it I recall
more than what he wrote
out of the silence
of his vow not to waste
and not to want

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Body's Valentine

If you had a cloud
for a body or a mind
like a cloud like mine
and could drift and merge
with other cloud bodies
and run through
the catalogues of forms
and faces gesturing
helplessly to the figures
below on the earth
never staying still
always on the march
to the next body of water
or the next feeding ground
keeping out of the way
of the white bear
and curling up at night
next to the warm
bodies of our brothers

Your Names Valentine

The workmanship of love
The hardiness of tremors
The injustice of irony
The foolishness of fruit trees
The mechanisms of mercy
The sophistication of ignorance
The absolution of disaster
The melancholy of ochre
The sacredness of kissing
The selfie of self-pity
The exhaustion of terror
The glamor of both hands
The moon of morning
The sun of the midnight hour

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Worker's Valentine

I found a worker bee
drowning upside down
thrashing in a birdbath
was I to believe this
was important I gave
him my finger to crawl
up onto the rim
dripping and turning
in circles dazed shaking
the water from his shame
his indignity at
having fallen in
so I went on sweeping
trying not to notice
thinking whatever bee
by this time hasn’t
found a home will not
ever in December
thinking that was no fall
that was a suicide attempt
but by the time I got there
he had already flown

Reaching Valentine

Years later I
discovered I
had been living
in a crouched
marsupial position
but that all changed
in a single day
in a single look
and no one could
my former life
or hold it against me
I was free of all that
in reach of you

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Earth's Valentine

Not seeing
a soul in
someone else
is the root
of all the creepiness
on the earth
not to have fought
one’s way to feeling
past oneself
is behind all
that would end us
if we would be ended
and our earth’s
great quest
to become a sun
with its very own
complicated planetary
system and everything
go down Satan’s
black hole of boredom
and disdain

Monday, December 9, 2013

Holderlin's Valentine

Always the world is near
but the gods evade us
have already been here
and moved on
and their woods have moved on
the varieties of longing
the trees stood for gone
the caves and temples
of stone the talents
of their earliest years
lost if not carried
through one can’t
go back to one’s
first surrender
if after all
it was everything

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Unsolved Valentine

Still the fathers bring death
to kill the sons
but the sons overcome
them in the end
with new life
and one star sails
through a hole
in the clouds
to renew our hopes
in the nothingness
through which
still unsolved
we come and go

Ferryman's Valentine

What suffering love
has in store for us
as part of its plan
for self-science
and the alonenesses
at the heart of
being specifically
you through which
everything else
is poured the
drunkenness of it
as opposed to the
sobriety of friendship
in which need is
transmuted into
the gold coins I take
if you would cross over

Friday, December 6, 2013

'I Lived For Art' Valentine

I can’t say
if I’m a poet
that would be
it would be
like calling
myself a hero
or a curandero
why would I want to
I would have to
be delusional
in delightful
or arresting
ways and what
I cannot tell you
I would be
compelled to
blurt out finally
in the most
inexplicable words
every day what
I dreamt for
every night

Ringing Valentine

Like a huge bell
thrown into the Grand
Canyon and bouncing
around hundreds of
times before it completely
shatters and comes to
several kinds of rest
it’s crisp outside
but if you’re in the sun
it’s perfectly hot and
cold in different places
on your body
that bell

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Somehow 90's Valentine

To use my phone
early tomorrow morning
you stay overnight
but sleep in and miss
the time window and
so you have to stay over
that night too
but sleep in again
and every day thereafter
you manage to stay
we laugh and eat and
walk around the lake
or go for coffee
argue and read
as if this was the life
I wanted as we did

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Fabulous Valentine

Today’s real knowledge
is tomorrow’s fairytale
so I must tell you quickly
about today before
it is no more
it’s no fable though
permeated with magic
as you already know
what happens inside
the pomegranate tree
and the orange tree
what the clouds are saying
to me as they slow
the magic down
to intolerable levels
this lovely day
how the sun runs through
my veins and down
the street searching
to tell you about it still

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The Comforting Chilliness of the Night Valentine

An orange before its time
is yellow and before that
green as a lime
how did they go on
growing past the lemon stage
the first ones who had
the crazy idea to be sweet

Advent Valentine

Everything’s more formal
as darkness descends
the diplomacy of disinterest
must also take its place
while everyone stands and waits
until he’s seated
slowly into his throne
thoughts go off like birds
into the west
but the feelings stay behind
unborn on the shore
they are all
that keep us on the earth 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Conversational Valentine

You never listen to me
I listen to no one else
otherwise quiet morning
the rain barrel is full
clear all the way to the bottom
where the muck is sleeping
I can’t believe this tree
makes so many forests
but nobody wants them
and to think the birds regard us
as finished objects
their lives are so brief
I need a new nose-warmer
now that you’re gone
ants come for the crushed snails
you left in your wake

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Pyrrhic Valentine

I admire the courage
of those who accept death
as the end of life and believe
we’re finally never seen again
but it seems a Pyrrhic courage
or wasteful Stoicism to me
if they’re mistaken
and yet in a way maybe
it’s right to be brave
in the face of extinction
along with everything else
for that too exists
after which nothing
is the same

Its Valentine

Echoing but not beginning
hanging in the air
yesterday’s dead
morning is for mourning
I finally figured it out
but it kept on weeping
apparently I was what
it wept about
sparrows for commas
the it paper-thin
on which the I was scribbling
leaving no impression
slowly the storm retreated
like Genghis Khan from Vienna
when a saint showed up
think how often
everything’s over
yet it never ends

Friday, November 22, 2013

Hangover Valentine

After a long night’s rain
snails climb the walls
to eat the paint or what
pulling their unicorn horns
along behind them
spiraling back inside
when touched and
dropping to the ground
and the cowbird with
his hooked beak flings
the gravel everywhere
digging for grubs or
worms while the barrel
cactus drowns in his own
saucer full of rain where
the lawn chairs lie plastered
with yellow leaves and
the limestone angel’s head’s
really looking green this time

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Aubade Valentine

Fluttering classical sleeve
invisible arm
geese waving goodbye
do you remember the three
drops of blood on  the snow
pesky sparrows ate them
a goose in an epic
is like the three in magic
the end of the tragic
a bag of morning glory seeds
is burning a hole
in my rocket 

I intend to climb one
and bring you back
the swoon

Earth's Valentine

That you can still fly
on one wing
old leaf
brown sparrows
brown fruit hanging
slight differences
the earth my lover
all these years
except for that one affair
I ruined you it us
vengeful confession
but you’re a saint
you keep forgiving me
taking me back and back

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Everything's Valentine

O mama throw me
from this plane of consciousness
everything asks
some more unconscious
than others of a sense
of the inflection as coarse
in the speech of things
we go in all liquid impulse
but when we’re cooked
a breeze smooths our petals
or leaves ruffle our breath
mostly we want to know
how there’s so little tenderness
after so much time

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Conscious Valentine

It’s clear the trees
have always been asleep
and the plants it’s
their nature to dream
and the animals they’re
awake but lost in a trance
of instinct and smells
and we human beings
learned to think though
mainly about ourselves
but those who’ve gone on
to the place without bodies
wake up inside the dream
of all of this every day and night
(the plants and animals and us)
and put on their dancing shoes
if they’ve remembered to bring them
and can't wait for us to join them 

Monday, November 18, 2013

Moon Eclipsed Sestina Valentine

All those who have gone
out into the moonlight looking
have gone off now have become
moon shadows they have
all gone away into moonlight
all those who went out into it
and now they are all gone
though some tried to stay behind
to linger in the moonlight
but now they’ve all gone off
those who went out into it
and still there is so much
moonlight left behind

Brief Valentine

Because each of us is crazy
in our own singular way
beautiful and deformed
out here on our own say-so
and not sweating but struggling
though we can barely scrape
after thirty years together
the surface of one another
if the first million years of love
are spent digging the trenches
hunching in the bunkers
heavy artillery falling and
missing falling and hitting
maybe the second million
will have earned a brief peace
and clarity so long reclusive

Wrong Valentine

Is it finally getting to where
no matter what side
you’re on you’re wrong
yes everybody’s wrong
let’s start from there
instead of pretending
or even trying to be right
and let those who won’t
admit their wrongness
be recognized as the true enemy
of everyone because except
that knowledge arrive first
no good can come for
anyone or the earth


Sunday, November 17, 2013

If I Were God Valentine

Would I be
a careless God
if I were God
would I be
a dispassionate God
would I be willing
to go to the point
of not existing at all
for my creation
if I were God
and even if everyone
has to eat some shit
would I be willing
if I were God
to suffer my children’s
insufferability wouldn’t
I finally have to be
willing to go looking
for a way to prove
myself to them
if I were really God
if I were really
willing to be God

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Heaven's Valentine

any life
and go
you will want to
return to the earth
but then when you
come back next
morning and find the
new vines re-entangled
in their original wrong-
headedness embracing
one another not
the wooden trellis
which also seems
to think it can make it
on its own you’ll start
to have your doubts
about the earth
and fear returning
but too late

Friday, November 15, 2013

Physics Valentine #2

Time is what we leave behind
all we know of it is a river
like the relief we feel
when anything is finished
but the future in fact is breathless
or at least it seeps a kind of
timeless beauty in its willingness
to go anywhere and be anything
rushing forward like a gesture
constantly colliding but
bridgeless and unresolved
like the imagined friend
who unbelievably is still

Physics Valentine

Time is matter
but matter is
not time think
of Luther shitting
like the Pythian
seeress high on
fumes could sniff
the future and
deduce from there
its marred beauty
its unpleasantness
that hurries us on
to higher things

Thursday, November 14, 2013

November Valentine

You can see everything here
only recently reached perfection
by the way it’s all just starting
to fall away like a pose at the
peak for a picture and then the
emptiness the little pause returns
courteous but impatient
and the descent begins
sometimes steep and earnest
sometimes a flashing stream

Dangerous Valentine

We hate the ones
we love because
they do not love
us enough although
we is a dangerous
word best used
sparingly as in
spare me not
the despair of
love it seems
so little a solution
to so mighty
our confusion

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Honeyed Valentine

Honeyed coffee
a big horse fly
the train creeps by
the windows I washed
still look smudgy
in the honest morning light
how is a haiku
not like a shot
it is a lot
a praying mantis
is resting on a star
an iron one
head pointing
down to the ground
we missed our train
he says but I’m praying
for another

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Twilight Valentine

Three male mockingbirds
are fighting over my kingdom
a fairly enviable acquisition
if you’re a bird or a yard
they chase and charge
one another like Lancelot
and Arthur or was that
Guinevere and now there’s four
is this a war or mating
who is ever sure
with those stiletto beaks
I wouldn’t want them
coming at me but just as
twilight starts their musicale
begins their four mouths open
with a chorus for the entrance
of the mocking moon
till only one is left
to preen and swoon

Remembrance Valentine #2

When no one remembers
remembrance day anymore
and nothing is observed
and no one notices
that nothing is observed
and really it’s all dead
and buried like the bird
we dug up in the yard
just bones we re-buried
and forgot again
now that we knew
death’s secret
his dissolving treasure
his fraudulent nature

Remembrance Valentine

It’s not grass
but it’s pretty
joyful and round
small and green
leaves seen from
above look flock-
like northbound
in November
in the story
he hates God
but goes on
searching for
the grail whatever
it is this year
will heal us
all forever 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sentimental Valentine

I guess saving these
few knickknacks a feather
a crocheted hacky-sack a small
bronze minotaur makes me
a sentimentalist a hoarder
of sentiment but they’re
just leftovers of a handful
of indistinct days and nights
that call back the curve
of your shoulder or the
breeze on my face  
as you reached
to turn out the light
the light just got older

Surgical Valentine

Like a nail through
the back of my skull
the sun is drilling
a ray of light straight
through to my right eye
and filling it with a dark
sticky light like twilight
so now I see it was
the sun all along
who soldered our eyes
out of that peculiar
silvery substance
while the moon stood by
with her scalpel