Sunday, June 30, 2013

Christian Valentine

Jesus Christ did not tell
that woman at the well
to go get an ultrasound
he said go keep trying
to do what you think best
I know how hard it can be
especially since I’ve started
living in this human body
what you’re up against
especially as a woman
if I had come to earth
to conquer death
in the body of a woman
no one would have taken me
seriously at all
such is the comprehension
of the current crop of men

Baptismal Valentine

Do the dead provide
cover for the living
like last year’s leaves
hiding the first green sprouts
we like to believe we’re the living
but maybe it’s the other way round
aren’t we the ones entering time and space
and immediately beginning to disintegrate
while it’s the so-called dead who become
immortal in the land of ideas
even if no one remembers them
out of what they leave behind
out of what they relinquish of desire
they build our brief lives

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Felony Valentine

How often my tongue
troubles me I know I know
let it rest on your tongue
or somewhere closer
let it lie on your throat
and try to hear what
I might have said
in and around what
I actually said
taking more judicious measures
to remember certain pleasures
before I box them in
and shoot them full of holes
with my felonious smiles

Friday, June 28, 2013

Hovering Valentine

Haiku is to poetry
what bonsai is to gardening
what Hiroshima is to the planet
aren’t we still crouching
under our school desks
aren’t we still waiting
for the effects of Fukushima
walking the roads of Basho
picturing what’s left
when the sensitivity leaves
when the ghosts are filmed back
into our dream worlds and
our mothers and fathers return
to scold us one more time

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Marital Valentine

That I can spin
inertia out of myself
barely dressed or all
dressed up in words
and you can turn
smiling or scowling
back at me it’s me
who still performs you
though I can’t sing
a note and when
to marry you did
lift your throat
even to the blade
of love I broke


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Surviving Valentine

Surely the gods must have
more in store for us
than the easy way out
of this world by death
must have thought each
reproduction through
to its emotional inclusion
past its billions of pieces
of information by which
we are all misinformed
yet working strenuously
at times ingeniously
to survive on the basis
of our own unique
misinterpretations of
whatever’s going on
but surely the gods must
have more in store for us 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Strange Valentine

Another strange case
of being talked to
by an Adenium
I’ll bet you’ve never
even heard of one right
but how many times
do we have to hear
something before
we master it
or it does us
a magically flowering
plant from Bangkok
the desert rose
though roses grow
here brilliantly
in the desert
but what he said
to me was wait
I’m coming
just wait and see 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Moon and I Valentine

The moon and I
will have to go
when the earth
and the sun re-unite
they are the couple
with the power today
the king and the queen
while the moon and I
are retrograde and reprobate
out at all hours of the night
until the sun and the earth
take over their kingdom again
and the moon and I go under
sloughing our borrowed light
flouting our darkness skin

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fat Moon Valentine

That you would love me
only proves your insufficiency
that I would love you only proves
I haven’t thought it through
I love my inconsistency and yours
too has an endearing forehead
who said that I think sometimes
my head is the tower of Salem
at dawn or the power of Satan
at evening or the flowers of summer
blooming along Second Street
pushing up through intense heat
their replicas of stars
who said that
I love you

Friday, June 21, 2013

Homage to Mahler, Stravinsky and Ravel Valentine

I always hear horses
when I listen to Mahler
he comes at the end of that time
but with Stravinsky it’s more
like geometry he was close
friends with Ravel they even
shared a bed one rainy night
(how awkward-sublime was that)
Ravel died slowly as a result
of dementia long after Mahler
caught some fatal bacterial disease
though they both loved his work
in later years they grew apart
it was near Lake Maggiore
they couldn’t find separate rooms
on an impromptu visit to Varese
(Stravinsky and Ravel I mean)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

After O'Hara Valentine

You can't take poetry seriously
and get your emotions involved
and start forgetting that you
can’t be serious about it
I mean how can a life depend
upon a sonnet or an ode except
if we were being honest about it
yes maybe in a poem it could
still want for the words to circulate
around you pelting you
in their rain-like way
or it could purr at your feet
or stare at you oracular and grim
and leap upon you like your death

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hasui's Valentine

In one way the leaves
are only pointing and
turning back to the water
from which they swam
and yet they have something
of hands and feet about them
begging to be set free and are
loosed at night among the stars
and in the still moonlight
you can clearly see the faces
of future animals and gods

Monday, June 17, 2013

Not Knowing Valentine

Don't forget it all comes down to this not knowing how to love which is true for everyone so the question isn’t only how this manifests for each chronically and individually but what if anything we care to do about it in a temporary here and now what risks we must insist on so love continues to evade us or we manage to elude it for one more day

Archeological Valentine

Can you really find yourself
if you’re secretly stalking
someone else a whole life
close following other people
getting lost then finding someone
else to purse a scholarly study of
the hidden years the clues
returning to and re-imagining
the same new places
abandoned oases could you
care for and then you turned
and walked all the way back
from Egypt all the way home
from bum-fuck Egypt

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Turkish Father's Day

Under the shady tents of summer
we lounged and read and argued
while they loaded the tear gas
masks and stun guns these fathers
still trying to beat obedience
into their children when it’s been
clearly shown for ages to be both
ineffective and mutually destructive
when will these stubborn fathers learn
to sit down and listen to the future
a place their children actually will
occupy when they’re long gone

Somehow Valentine

Somehow every day I seem
happier and yet more serious
but about what I’ve no clue
I'm just jonesin' for the future
something rude but sublime
at the same time
like when making love
you can’t help yourself
all over you if you would
let me advance my forces
and already tomorrow
makes me laugh and cry

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fighting Valentine

Don’t forget you were given
your own hunting park and garden
stocked with wild lizards
who graze freely despite a stray
cat and screeching starling
lease-mates on this five cent
postage stamp of dirt
which flowery memory tightly
wraps and sends off
to the north pole of time
finally the mind gets tired
of the body it’s called sleep
or death this side of which
we fight with love

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Quarrel With Rumi Valentine

A man bursting into flames
screams in the cross-fire Look, ma!
The fiery twig with its cleavage
broken whines the same
The sun following along clarifying
the right way may be into the darkness
and cold and lost really to be lost
The sky abusing the ocean
stitching tattoos all over its harbor
planting its salty tongue in your mouth
The rose the petals of whose touch
expose the thorn and then thrust
The shadows who acquire fame
and spout the desirable lines
Everything trembles like a stone
when you walk toward us only one
over the plains of light

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Novalis's Valentine

Don’t forget water is love’s signature its first liquidity its voluptuous beginning and yet proof that total self-surrender was once possible on earth though now we can only put light and darkness together to make a day to stand in and a night to dream in that’s about all we can do anymore is put a night and a day together and stand there between them uniting them and yet separating them in us hopefully usefully

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Akashic Valentine

Everything is recorded
everything is captured
even our thoughts
our slightest sensations
our crossed-off lists and
furtive rememberings
if the path of return
is not the voyage out
as any mirror knows
no one comes back
who has not gone
all the way round
the bend sinister
of life the question
isn’t consciousness
after death whose
proof is flowers
but how here
to live as there

Monday, June 10, 2013

Torturer's Valentine

In the court of man
the torturer is acquitted
thus we build debt
on both sides until
we come to the place
where we can distinguish
politics from religion
(the long range plan)
there can be no democracy
without accountability
here on earth it’s called
religion but if you can ‘t
believe a scientist
who can you believe
the dawn

We Live Always About To Leave Valentine

Because he is proud
he turns his head away
when I leave as if
it didn’t matter so
I’m the one who looks
back to see he’s not
looking back but already
started raking leaves
or reading his screen
and not as if nobly
bearing the loss of me
by letting me seem more
important than himself
I don’t look back too
long either knowing
I won’t be that long

Sunday, June 9, 2013

To Frank O'Hara In Heaven Valentine

Dear Frank it may seem rude
to intrude on you like this
since we’ve never properly met
though we could have if what
I know about you now
was something I knew then
I would have hiked to New York
to meet you or at least
to stalk you for a few weeks
when I was 17 and you were
only 17 years older and
would soon be gone though
in an earlier life you invented
Italian singing can you say what
you’ve planned for us next

Astronomical Valentine

Don’t forget there is a limit set on the number of galaxies and stars whatever that number is we marvel at it we who love numbers yet
never care about the number of stones here on earth or grains of sand unfathomable but how is looking at the Milky Way that different from looking at a single human body or a hundred billion stars different from a human life let’s say we should start to see ourselves as galaxies the way the beach should see itself as us

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Rae's Valentine

I believe there’s more Marianne
Moore in Rae Armantrout
than Elizabeth Bishop
more HD than Denise Levertov
more Plath than Rich
more Emily than Walt
and that’s because there’s
always something to learn
and one feels hurried along
to the bathroom and back
with a certain reverential calm
that settles over the whole classroom
like an extended metaphor
in an early American novel
that makes you think
of your first great thoughts
somewhere in the vicinity of hers

Amiens Valentine

If the coffee’s not hot enough
the cream cools it too much
so it has to be reheated
if I feel cowardly about being
too conciliatory or weak
about feeling too happy
is yours warm enough
PTSD goes back to before Gilgamesh FCS
there was a girl I met in Amiens
who turned out to be the BVM
it was in a gallery
where they undressed her painting
transparent and inclusive
called the whole history of time
but it turns out
I never saw Amiens

Friday, June 7, 2013

Turkish Valentine

For the flimsiest of material
to hold the weight of right now
the past must be the dress
this moment just takes off
and throws over the sofa
to stand naked for a moment
(as if one would salute the moment)
before the future ushers in
the cover-up the nascent stars
who play us in the prequel
sleepwalking their lines as
classically trained as any despot
the more violent the police
the more frightened the leader
is force fraternal
is hunger equal
is life owned
already you’ve lost it

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Placebo Valentine

Finally I forgot
what this poetry
was about for me
actually I forgot
everything & poetry
was just among them
the many prisoners
taken to the fort
of the past
go right now
& write ‘I’
on something
I the poem we the poem
after the poem
it’s all placebo

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Persephone's Valentine

I think she is not a bright person
or even a beautiful person but she
confirms goodness does not depend
on brilliance or beauty or that it
even has to make sense wedded
as it is to paratactical distortions
and loneliness out of range of
hollering grandly elusive except
in its talent to astonish
by working on subterranean
and upper atmospheric forces
suddenly shoved into our downtown
cemetery of awareness
recalling resurrections of old
gentians dragged up in boggy fields

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Cold War Valentine

Don’t forget sentinels are the senses merely but what do they portend standing there on their parapets guarding something against something the heaviest grains reach the bottom first exposing gravity as time equals matter a formula I remember from fifth grade Miss Adams Atom Bomb we called her I haven’t thought of her in years or you first face I loved sitting in front of me one row over where I could keep my eyes on you while the rest of me could quietly implode

Monday, June 3, 2013

Death's Valentine

Don’t forget the best in us is born
out of what drags us down
if only we could master
what drags us down
out of our own raw rage
rouse and forge ourselves
as we think we breathe
filling the space that fills us
respect for ourselves at last
greater than respect for death

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Waving Valentine

Don’t forget quietly with roses on the table she died while he stayed up all night to watch her sleeping pretending she was sleeping until the darkness started to lift her phantom out of her body which snapped off suddenly a leaf from a twig drifting westward for a while waving at him below falling upwards somehow she was leaving time behind while he sat there as usual lost in space

The Color of Thighs Valentine

Don’t forget there is no world without flowers without fallen rainbows there would be no colors in the world though we have tried to make them banalities and they too have dismissed us somewhat from the world they come from that sun whose light now lies athwart your thigh and right alongside my own