Monday, September 30, 2013

Myself In Me Valentine

We have our skin
so we can be separate
we have our lips
to speak and kiss
as when each word
becomes a kiss
heard or spoken
as when in sentences
words are connected
whose touch is fragrant
or a stink of stuff
as in a kiss love
starts or ends
in our words lives all
that love portends

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Country Valentine

Old furniture old faces
lined and polished
auction in the yard
valuables for nothing
like those crisp apple mornings
a child watching at the window
brambles grow in my ears
as mother nature suggested
buried over there
you were just a papoose
addicted to junk shops
the invention of smiling
then suddenly we had opinions
about everything and could quote
the great minds of our time
what good they did you
were the better part for me
the text the lock the key

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Enough Valentine

Like three white orchids seem
the old nuns in the picture
across the room reading
not psalms but today’s news
how can I be both the one
who says I’ve had enough
go on without me and the one
who can’t wait to move on
I will to waver and to waste
I admit to dawdling with space
listening for a resonance a tone
that comes and goes but
must be there as thought
of what here densifies
and darkens and must
at last collapse in upon itself
as we must eat the earth
and by the earth be eaten

Monday, September 23, 2013

Last Valentine

In the last days
all our missed
perceptions head
south on individual
tracks like monarchs
they are gathered
and dispersed over
the Andes and the
Straits of Magellan
leaving our thoughts
standing alone empty
streets empty trees
as if this were the
throffer all along
to turn flesh into traitor
or go on alone

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Equal Valentine

The tree is rent diagonally
half in darkness half
in moonlight by the roof
itself sliced down the middle
by moonlight on the east
darkness on the west
like a woman sliced in half
in a magic show she’s black
and spectral gray she’s an ear
that’s always listening
in the night and in the day
an old woman’s ear worn off
by her daughter’s amazing talk

Nostalgic Valentine

A prime number
scampered right past me
in the seventh grade
and never looked back
our only real emergency
is love I suspect
bumper to bumper we went
after picking flowers in hell
all wet morning and all
sweaty afternoon
we looked forward to our
Sunday blues in bed
the long walk to the bridge
and back sometimes
the Chinese food

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Song's Valentine

It was already old
when I was young
which is how and why
I remember it what
happened to the crooners
happened to us who
listened and recorded
them in our subconscious
Moffo said it was like
doing a duet every night
with the Mississippi River
the great flowing-on of song
the way once started
in some hidden trickle
it grows and grows
and never stops

Equinoctial Valentine

I carried you closer
to the light my love
than you had ever been before
right up against the glass window
where sick or well the morning
would pass by and later
the leftover light of summer
could wash over your
blue leaves my love
and you would see the kind
of tenderness it will take
to bring the darkness
round again

Singing Halyards Valentine

We think only on the verges
of things we earth creatures
and know little of the layers
of various forces around what
must be its churning core
on which the rest is hoisted
outward by accretion and resistance
until the distant lights come on
along the harbor of a golden sky
and the wind sweeps through us
and we can see the molten sea
at the center of our planet
through which our souls must pass
after death has done her damnedest

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Male and Female Valentine

Control is already sexual
and mainly exists
as the armed forces of desire
like self-control
that I must desire myself
as a sexual object
before you can
but what if there were
no gender no sexual need
each our own fruit and seed
and we all just dropped the masks
of male and female for a while
what would the day look like
what would we do at night
why are you removing my clothes

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Squalid Valentine

It seems to be getting harder
and harder to be you no matter
how much I love you it’s hard
to imagine being someone else
I mean could you be the diabetic
trapped in a scorpion-infested trailer
with your talented adult son
a full-time sign-swinger
yet the refusal to be anyone else
but ourselves is holding us back
the way suicide is annoying
and that we let our families live
like this in squalor no matter
how much we love them

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Dreamt Valentine

I was looking in the frig
for my lost childhood
all childhoods are lost I know
but I was thinking it was passing
for a dozen eggs and half a quart of milk
but there wasn’t a single morning left
maybe someone we know
casually stood here munching
the leftovers late last night
half asleep and starving while
I was dreaming in the other room
about almost running over three
skinny girls just trying to cross the street
because I could barely see them in the dark

Prayerful Valentine

1.   For the Morning
Thank you morning light
for having the courage to return
I look forward to you afternoon
whenever you decide to show up
I can barely imagine you this evening
and have no idea how the magic works
2.   For the Afternoon
Thank you morning witness
for having the courage to return
and look at you cavernous afternoon
some things can hardly be said to exist
I can but imagine you this evening
and have no idea how the magic works
3.  For the Evening
Thank you morning light
for persevering through
the perseverating afternoon
I had my doubts but the magic
depends on some darkness to work
hey presto each night a new earth

Monday, September 16, 2013

He Brings Me Donuts Valentine

One forgets the pettiness hidden
behind the poem’s peculiar purpose
which is not to hide the violins
the commonness but in its own
particular ways often hidden as well
invoke that ancient friendship
from which all verses flow
the ode the palindrome the sonnet
old furniture lugged from stanza
to villa to tent to town old loves
which now at last are done
from here on let words be sung
words as merely metaphors for love

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mideast Valentine

The Adenium
I bought at
Home Depot
is blooming now
in this extreme
heat three or
more large pink
in clusters
about to blare
I just start
writing it down
I’m so impressed
yet depressed
I confess my
outright sorrow
for all who must sing
in their flames

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Valentine At Sea

On the blank wall opposite
the three large windows
only a few feet away
he wanted to paint the ocean
under a blue sky as if
seeing it from a large ship at sea
a few dolphin leaping along
the whole scene framed by a trellis
of real morning glories
but instead every afternoon
some sunset would lower
from the top of the wall
its peach-colored banner
of beautiful defeat above
the trellis still waiting
for the ocean to be painted in
and for him to begin to feel it
swaying and carrying him along
and not that bloody pennant
going under once again

Saturday Valentine

Slippery devil
sweaty water bottle
my life running at my feet
dehydrated but
my toes swept clean
the grass is smiling
the yard is so full of fire-ants
there’s a palpable silence
whenever a siren goes by
talk about walking on coals
the way the mind says not to
who’s fooling who
yes I too wouldn’t drive
with someone
who drives like me
but look at today baby
another ambiguous hero
how else will we get there 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Vestigial Valentine

How many mistakes a day
do we spend in fear of
something we want being
jeopardized or broken
from us though we keep
our hypervigilance as sharp
as cactus needles never more
clearly than in pleasure’s
clasp and tear we seek
a vestige of our former powers
to be in search of what we
find and found of someone
even more mysterious and fine
than we alone could be or find

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Almost Autumn Sonnet Valentine

Satiated by summer’s lust
in a purgatorial mood
building up my treasury
of colors and buried angles
I feel the lure of boredom
and the laziness of despair
now the sun’s returning to his lair
beyond the western ruins
and everything around is dying
everything I touch pulls back
and cries we get to die
but you must live on alone
you with a fire in your blood
and eyes of ruby stone

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Fall Valentine

The filling-in of all the blanks
in the earth’s sentences
was summer’s task
and why the oceans
had to be included
as one of the mystery’s clues
overlooked by the solution
the only possible one
that the novel (of summer)
is done and I may not
read it again I may have
skipped over a certain
few chapters is all we get
now that the poem (of fall)
has unregrettably arrived
and one prepares
as best one can
to leave the earth again 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Old Romance Valentine

Stupido stupido
how I love you stupido
the moon to the earth
take me back
don’t let me float out here
ass in the wind
I can’t you know that
and even if I wanted to
you would not stay
little by little I worm
my way back and then
you push me away again
how long can we do this
running to embrace
running to erase

Abstract Valentine

That I could creep you out
or cheer you up
love gives away the farm
where we used to live
with the harmony of a painting
‘Nostalgia Marries Irony’
those were their actual names
the models drawn from life
in a modern abstract style
already dated at the time
while steadily whatever
artist draws us drew on
until there we were at last
sketched in fading colors
on the canvas of the past

Monday, September 9, 2013

Haiku Hankering Valentine

A hard surface
so important to writing
no one thinks about that
these are word-angels
because I don’t
do pickles
that thalo blue sea
with its viridian hem
I envy him
finally after three or five
leaves he reaches seven
he climbs to heaven
forgive that last line
and the ones above it
I too don’t love it

Natural Valentine

A weak song
a sleep song
the dampness proves
how easily influenced
I am by singing
if I come to think
of my body as a flame
in a cupped hand
is it not because
of lightning and thunder
we have our national parks system
every wo/man is a museum
wherein the instinct for preservation
is restored among the artifacts

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Possessive Valentine

Faith’s bottom’s
dollar’s thumb’s
weight’s holler’s
guttural’s desire’s
meandering’s day’s
geriatric’s program’s
privileging’s prose’s
failure’s disavowal’s
child’s contrivance’s
and relief’s joy’s
gathering’s us

Biographical Valentine

Sincerity becomes
authenticity becomes
generosity becomes
empathy becomes
industrialization becomes
romanticism becomes
clairvoyance becomes
decriminalization becomes
Christmas (so-called) becomes
Easter (so-called) becomes
an island becomes
an ocean becomes
a continent (island) becomes
the sea

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Perishable Valentine

The perishable morning
went uneaten
into the imperishable afternoon
one was a living thing
the other an undying note
stretched far out over
the serge lake which
fortunately twilight
caught at last chewed
and swallowed whole
spitting out the pit
dropping off the shit
spiffing up his moon-soul
see how he’s wrapped
a tourniquet of stars
around his pie-hole

Friday, September 6, 2013

'As If' Valentine

Outside of its own nature
gravity cannot be understood
it requires something standing
outside itself some levity
which the heaviness of matter
the heaviness of the spirit
can comprehend
the drama as the opposite
of the fiction of a struggle
to be fought as if the outcome
was in doubt as if in warm
September the apples
wouldn’t fall from the trees
and I would not love you
nor you forever me

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Pink (and Red) Valentine

New moon in
my oldest house
the house remembers
I light a candle
sip a glass of wine
listen to the air conditioner hum
one pink cloud
floats in the birdbath
one pink cloud
floats over my head
a few moments before
darkness descends
the twilit stage
fills with dancers
floating in place

Desperate Valentine

Being in a body
is like being at the bottom
of a mineshaft or a well
where you can just see
the circle the stars
and the sun carve
down past bedrock
imagine how important
we must be to be sent
on such a desperate mission
I say to the dark fire
at the center of myself
the original buried injury
for which the healing
is this earth

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Take-away Valentine

Even if it’s heaven
I don’t want to go there
without you
this is the voluntary
foundation of the
entire love system
not that you relinquish
your will but that you
illuminate it I can’t
tell you the difference
between sweet and sour
if you can’t think it
through for yourself
here have another

Found Valentine

After you left
after I ejected you
from my body
I began to feel
my own awareness
return to fill the
space where you had
been and now were
not and I could see
how very far I’d gotten
but now not lost
because now not
in need of finding

Ko Un's Valentine

The delicacy of Japanese poetry
is not the delicacy of Frank O’Hara
though there’s the same queer
geese flapping overhead
the same atrocities around
but we have had our coke
and smoked our last Gauloise
and still not understood the pond
the frog of course we caught
and fried immediately his
lusty sorrow’s horn blaring
right before he slipped
soundlessly under
the rippleless surface

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Zarathustra’s Valentine

Chiding me
always chiding me
ego left behind
but it would be
my ruin to forget you
beloved experiences and plans
some like tree stumps
taking years to rot away
some like new leaves
at first we could get
all the way through the sun
later we could only see the light
how it all worked
the coils turning but now
we must carry it inside

Laborious Valentine

I was listening to my neighbor
explaining to his Mexican friend
how he did his job when one
large pomegranate landed
at my feet splitting open
a tossed jewel box spewing
not quite ready rubies
and the Mexican was asking
lots of specific questions
when a second pomegranate
like a sliced-off breast fell
at my feet on the red bricks
and my neighbor was answering
every question and they were going
on and on while out of that jewel
box and out of that splayed breast
swarmed beetles spiders juice and seeds
exposing a black mold center
in the shape of a heart
I swear dude

Nursing Valentine Home

Watching tennis on cable
I didn’t know you liked tennis
I don’t I like the men
of tennis and their way of
keeping  score including how
love is nothing and give it
back and forth grunting
up to the break point
groaning and talking to
themselves the outstanding
young men of tennis
who find their A game
every summer every fall
on cable for old folks like us

Monday, September 2, 2013

Delicious Valentine

That sandwich you asked me
to make for you to take to
work which you couldn’t make
yourself because you had to go
to bed right now in order
to get up that early
and wouldn’t have time
to make in the morning
was so delicious you
told me later and I want
you to know that I knew
it would be delicious
I stared at it a while
before I wrapped it quickly
and almost wolfed it down
but didn’t as we know –
how could I love you more

Prayerful Valentine

Isn’t the hoarder a lover too
a collector of sorrows and pillows
the forlornness of things
captures him and touches him
so he must take them home
unable to abandon them
as he was thoroughly abandoned
so he prepares like a Pharaoh
all that’s needed for the journey
but when did the pyramid
become a tomb for the initiates’
prayer of perfection:
you can be a perfect stranger
you can be a perfect idiot
but you can’t be a perfect lover
it’s the one thing where
there’s always something more
you could keep 

Dry Valentine

Waiting for rain
in the desert even when
the dark pregnant clouds
in herds run right over
your supine house sometimes
can be frustratingly silly
they just keep going
though I go out into the yard
to plead with them their pride
apparently forbids response
these horses of life and death
flashing their swords
but refusing a drop

Novelist's Valentine

Why should we care
about fictional characters
when we can barely care
about non-fictional ones
like that beautiful Russian
woman who threw herself
in front of a train as against
the real poet’s wife who went
after him to the gulags
or the lusty man who spent
a day wandering around
his sleepy city as against myself
staggering around my tired yard
except the truth was only once
undisguised and simple
and then we had to kill it

Argumentative Valentine

After all these years
a ripe harvest of hairs
in my ears I could
weave rugs or baskets
do something useful
to assuage the horror
of the animal turning
into a person actually
two persons the one
who breaths in and
the one who breaths out
but yoked together
by a common purpose
to bring me into being
between them
to finally settle
their argument
and move on

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Imaginary Valentine

Though we’re still going to die
life does its best to teach us
about the demands of eternal life
running us in and out of bodies
like children playing in the rain
a higher but earlier consciousness
was bestowed on each of us then
to carry us into the shadowy world
where memories deplane as men
where already poetry was starting
to dissolve that universe where
images were real and living things
and one was inside them all
oneself and everything

Who's Valentine

A poet is a natural agoraphobic
stand-up pornographic comic
who sometimes gets a little soggy
but in a good way
a theoretical skate-boarder
twirling in the empty park of his brain
but the soul suffers
with no sauce on it
the theology of pretense
until you figure out which
fo’c’sle is which and can send
out the longboats of your desire
over the holy land
assuring a livelihood
on the backs of others
but then who isn’t
beholden to his brother
not fit to kiss his father’s feet
the sheen of his mother’s fate

First Valentine

Maybe the mountain
didn’t want to be
a mountain at first
to get that far and foggy
with so many difficult
tributaries and ruined
photographs of petroglyphs
with a mind un-mined
of its irregularities those gems
but I like to keep
a little wine around
for cooking and such
what do you cook
myself he said
that was the dramatic
second act of this poem
and some have not returned
from intermission I sense
but let us begin again at the end
the world was once
a speck of dust
on which was laid
circle upon circle
millennia upon millennia
fervently and ambitiously
up to these nine layers
all the way up
this mountain of us