Thursday, February 28, 2013

Survival Valentine

Do we love the one
we want to be like
or be like the one
we want to love
my own first flush
was a kind of suffocation
a survival mechanism
if I could only turn and run
but why would I ever want
to do that unnatural a thing
and yet I did I thought
not so much that love
would kill me as it did
but never thought
I would survive

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

House Valentine

The year after they broke up
the house stood empty
and cold all winter but
in the spring their yard
exploded with wildflowers
he had sown as a surprise
the fall before the living
proof of love seeped out
into the ground somehow
hard gem-like seeds of
mountain-colored flowers
love’s dazzling display
when love is gone

Tortured Valentine

Whatever I was thinking
became the wild card
the secret I was keeping
like the captive tied
to the chair complies
and then defies his torturer
I spilled my hairy guts
in such confusing costumes
dynasties of disinformation
were swept screaming out to sea
still my secret sleeps with me
was I not myself and free
I would not say the mystery
of my love I held
whatever I was thinking

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Seine Valentine

You could say at one time
there were two green vines
neck-and-neck along a trellis
or you could look and see
two lovers long past thirty
necking on a terrace
or you could look away
and feel that I was
fucking you in Paris
at one time you couldn’t
even say that in a poem
even if we were never
in fucking Paris fucking
or weren’t we ever
weren’t we

Monday, February 25, 2013

Renunciation Valentine

No no renounce it all
be like the mineral
to the plant the plant
to the animal neither
laughing nor weeping
the libraries of your love
take up so much room
there’s nothing left for you
yes yes make the great
renunciation the complete
surrender loving someone
for his own sake as required
by the ancient mysteries
or childhood’s secret cults
be like the vacated shell
of a clinging mollusk
clinging no more

Saturday, February 23, 2013

On the Deepening Inhalation of Evening Valentine

When did the voice of a god
become the voice of a pedestrian
hollering in the street while
retaining its divine right
to human relevance and rigor
what a long and largely forgotten
series of barely ransomed events
ensue when you’re just standing
or walking around some cities
but if what you make of poetry
is a career like science and religion
you destroy the very essence of its
original impulse to bring to this world
from some better if not clearer place
what only a heart can say

Friday, February 22, 2013

Aborted Haiku Valentine

A bowl of brown leaves
a breeze’s breakfast
at the end of the yard
no need for legs
just flap your arms
the sun’s in my lap
but my back is freezing
twice a day whether
I notice or not I’m
re-born for a minute
a music starts up
that’s my cue
then fades away
one more word
gets forgotten
sleeps waiting
to be recalled

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Auden's Valentine

If it all goes to the same place
Wystan was wrong about suffering
in the sense that death
is also only transitional
in a world of appearances
like plowing a field or
tightening the rigging
in the sails of our ships
snapping in the harbor
we project our indifference
on the world in order to reject it
but why should death impress us
when all the tenderness of life
is in the moment moving on

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jasper's Valentine

You bring me word sleepless
of some medieval disputation
lumbering self-important uninsightful
not you the dispute
don’t confuse with punctuation
the penetration when you take
something and do something to it
out of all the obstacles
to love in the world
and then do something else to it
set up an opposite attraction
then the resolution of lances
coming over the wall won’t seem
like shy bullets after all

Monday, February 18, 2013

Unforgiven Valentine

Writing to you is my way
of facing death which
otherwise would have to
climb in through the window
like some unscheduled
chance encounter thirty-
eight light years later
just doing its regular thing
though I still do think of you
though I’ve forgotten your name
your last name I mean though not
the nameless nights and whole
days we successfully resisted
our relentless attraction
to one another which
I still cannot forgive

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Presidential Valentine

To be honest it was the colors
of the neckties the President
the Vice President and the Speaker
were wearing that struck me most
about the SOTU speech last night
lavender medium blue and peach
respectively which if you watched
in living color lent it all a kind of
Disneyesque Easter-like allure
to the point that it interfered with
following what the President
was actually saying what that
lonely man was hoping for now

Physical Valentine

What’s creepy about poetry
besides a certain affable viscosity
(or hyperthyroidal pomposity)
that makes you turn your head
to the left and cough and now
to the right and cough again
all because of some intense friendship
between words borrowed from
an over civilization taken by the throat
that makes you want to harken
to its mawkish calls for closer introspection
slipping you the mickey as my father
another distant druid might have said
or mumbled to himself slipping back
to sleep under his broken cromlech

Friday, February 15, 2013

Unensorcelled Valentine

Yes out of dead matter
the seed is unensorcelled
but what does that translate to
for my old neighbor who runs
an auto repair out of his garage
unless you mean the pot
he raises in his basement
Guantanamos of the mind
great seeds like Weil and Woolf
crushed by their temperaments
struggling not to make
of the spirit an iron fist
or of the body another fake
who's never been kissed

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Love's Valentine

I like to begin
with some anomaly
from nature for example
a single mourning dove
landing in the leafless
chaste tree I’m not
making this up this hardly
ever happens I know
and yet such ideograms
are now everywhere expanding
apparently scrawled by gods
visible and invisible around us
love itself settling deeper
in us like a sea

Valentine's Valentine

You could take your eye out
with such a sharp heart
you could take your heart out
with such a sharp eye
love is a warning
or should come with one
with the first caution
we get stranded
in some airport lobby
making love for days for nights
but after the second reminder
there is no other
and we realize too late
it’s become the whole world

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

State of the Union Valentine

Today the problem isn’t slavery
it’s the slave wages - it’s not
the ‘illegals’ who are the problem
it’s the greedy employers
but not just the employers
it’s mainly us demanding
cheap fruit and vegetables
wanting our floors and
toilets cleaned for nothing
it’s us pretending we’re
really not taking advantage
of those who come to us now
with the same aching needs
our own great grandparents
carried in their cardboard suitcases
their strange names and
incomprehensible laughter
getting off the boat
from nowhere years ago
it’s mainly us who still support
the pathologies of wealth
and power that’s the problem

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spring Rites Valentine

So fast through slow
rain the hummingbird
stays dry nearly
intermittently in my life
I catch myself expecting
something amazing to happen
that will clarify everything
a Eureka deja-vu moment
where I remember the key
that opens the text but then
something else happens
things move on par example
have you listened to
Dumbarton Oaks lately
what an excellent cabinet-maker
Stravinsky who seemed
frightening to me as a boy 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Winking Valentine

Downloading updates of days
formerly the work of history
the dream of it working
in the world but when
I looked up a small cloud
in the shape of a rampant lion
with the hind-end of a rabbit
winked at me I tell you
on the one hand a dead-pan
belief in the physical world
of the senses and on the other
no reality but in ideas and a
consciousness fit to behold them 

Friday, February 8, 2013

List Valentine

Morning sunlight filters
through the frozen brown leaves
of the twenty year old ficus tree
dappling just enough shade
and light for me to sit behind
stay warm and write to you
my heart my filtered heart
my list of things to bring
with us into the bodiless world
when we return this time
not to be fooled again
not ever to be fooled again
but to see it all quite clearly

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ruby Valentine

Who wouldn’t prefer
a ruby throat
but it’s not that
easy is it glinting
in the sun on the top
branch of your construction
you have your fragrance
destinations the No
yelled in the alley
and always watching
that other one
inside you
trying to turn
everything to shit

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

6 February 1956 Valentine

Today I’ll cut
my hair and
then the grass
and go shopping
we need charcoal
for that
steak you
stole no wait
that was in
the sixties when
you were living
in New York
and I was
a monk singing
in Missouri

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Runaway's Valentine

It may be we are truly pretending
to pay attention to one another
it can be a lot of work to look into
someone else’s life you can only
enter another body as yourself lost
inside them but then what use are we
to anyone without these intimacies
these exaltations struggled through
mostly I feel we spend our lives
running away from our life
as if we thought it would kill us
when it's really the only thing
that keeps us completely in mind
or has any idea where we're going

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ancient Valentine

When you speak the curious names
of ancient cities and peoples to me
Thyatira or Samothrace or Ur
as if I might remember them
as if they might mean something to me
these names gone back to music
when you knowing we cannot
have them still insist upon
their presence in the poem
Syriandus or Scopilius of Tyre
it’s like we’re children playing marbles
with gemstones the eyes of fallen angels
cat’s eyes and the evil eyes of men
all thrown together to be sorted out

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Alive Valentine

In the order of the deaths and births
of verbs and the brief reign of hip-hop
on our street I remember only cars
slamming on cars with its birdsong
background it too evolving and
endearing itself there are such
thumps in nature and a bird
that sounds like a machine
before the inventor was invented
but we can picture him or her
in vivid mental images that provide
a foretaste of that clairvoyance
for which we strive to stay alive

Friday, February 1, 2013

Intergalactic Valentine

Clearly earth’s the prison planet
where the disappointed lovers
are kept like way out in the desert
where there’s no point to escape
where they are entertained daily
with historical films of their lives
acted beautifully by local actors
I woke up dreaming what else
what longish legs the mockingbird
has I never noticed them before
a planet full of such brilliant
disclosures the endless tallying
of which eagerly misses the point
the prison planet where thought’s
the jailer and the lover sans parole