Monday, March 31, 2014

Durant's Valentine

I would like to borrow
a cup of sugar from the grave
historian but he has
only hunger for the masses
driven to the depths by dark
religious forces who claim
salvation for the upper classes
which includes themselves of course
undermining the moral order
they ostensibly espouse
until the intellect exposes them
as frauds dispensing with their gods
but meanwhile back at reality
the oppressed the broken the uncouth
go on building a new myth of the truth 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Tragic Valentine

The tragedy is easy it’s
the comedy that’s hard
but both happen regularly
here in my small backyard
I speak figuratively
as a writer should always try
to dress his dirt with flowers
and lay bare the sky
with long passionate hours
gazing at the sun and moon
why don’t we get a room
I ask you stranger
when is love not in danger
what is more imminent than doom

Friday, March 28, 2014

Parzival Valentine

In words first worked out aloud
before they were ever written down
by an illiterate but wise
singer of tragic love songs
comes the story of Parzival
an eager young boy with little
gratitude or good sense
both cursed and blessed
who wandered middle Europe
middle-aged in the Middle Ages
looking for a magic castle
he had spent one night in
and the strange things he saw there
now he was older and full of questions

Transitional Valentine

It was a time between
when the imagination
was slowly being disappeared
and all that remained was
the crumbing residue of matter
behind which some could still see
the three altars set up
the three fires burning there
as the doors were gradually closing
so first we built pyramids and temples
then we built roads and cathedrals
then we built ships and skyscrapers
all of these pictures of ourselves
made as museums for the gods
until only our own flesh was left

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Soul's Valentine

Provisioned with nectar
and pollen each cell
is sealed with a disklike door
cemented in place as if
they were being buried and
like Pharaohs would awaken
fully furnished for the long
journey on the other side
but actually their heaven
is this earth in summer when
the doors fall off their tombs
and in single file
they amble to the exit
imagine how it must be
suddenly a blue vacancy
and then one is lifting away 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Magic Potion Valentine

The wheat of what animal
the liver of what rose
one tenth of what disaster
the leaping of what pose
in forms movements die
in pictures they come back to life
but when does the receiver
(taking taking)
become the giver
(giving giving)
abandon power absolutely
fall again
this time awake
into the arms
of whatever you love

Furies Valentine

Slowly a lonely cat
winds around my ankles
what does she want
in the scheme of things
another form of the spiral
one leaf nudging the next
all of us moved along
pursued by something viral
like that one hot July afternoon
we wandered the streets of Samos
deserted as in a dream
no one to ask the way
as if returning after a long absence
as if philosophy still lived there
as if the stones had something to say

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Command Performance Valentine

The branches scraping
the eaves need trimmed
a dozen bees are milking
the pomegranate blossoms
the torturers are on the news
it’s good to see so many bees
one comes right up to my nose
a clever bundle up close
I forgot to turn the TV off
the torturers voices follow us
out to my graveyard garden
the bees are in the background now
an orchestra of torturers
a humming chorus of bees
welcome to our new world symphony

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Objects Demand Valentine

The objects demand
we handle them
and the bodies demand it too
especially the bodies
which divides our lives
between touching and
not touching other bodies
those are the two chapters
at first it’s all about
handling and being handled
touching and being touched
but gradually we become untouchable
and people excuse themselves
for bumping into you
not knowing they’re saving your life

Early Spring Valentine

In the dead language of flowers
these were called ‘mature elegance’
these ‘I share your sentiments’
these ‘Thy frown will kill me’
what grew in your yard
exposed you as philosopher
or poser or benevolent potato
but now it’s the language of dead flowers
proliferates in local dialects and lanes
brought down from lofty porches
to the silent loam of love
whose thoughts are not his own
but rise and speak like flowers
whose grammar is their colors
a brilliance come and gone

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Dogs Valentine

Snow melt reveals
the next big trends
in early morning raids
most in critical condition
to conduct cyber warfare
the full report could take
months to get a grisly
and tragic sight right
something like ‘the tip
of the iceberg’ with no
cause for the crash or
stun grenades assault
by the press beaten
by attackers who said
they needed more time
to count how many
the cold had killed

Devils Valentine

How to turn one devil
against another must be
our common goal right now
if we would survive the earthly
collapse that’s coming
the one who rants on hysterically
about God but knows nothing
and the calm one who interrupts
him with what sounds like
just plain common sense
based solely on the material world
where we’ve all accepted
like madmen that money rules us
with absolute savagery and sway
what by itself is of no value

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Universal Valentine

The experience of the thing
and then the memory
of the experience of the thing
are essentially the same thing
different only in the form
of their appearance
like the child screaming
the universal of the thing
which remains in the soul
after contact with the object
could be some animal trapped
in the soul screaming
actually present in the object
even before the child
comes into view

Friday, March 21, 2014

The 1% Valentine

 I am only
the pomegranate tree’s
third assistant
left to pick up the leaves
and the red petals
the wind and the sun
discard having been
so devoted to them
sometimes mixed in
with the white petals
of the orange tree
she who stands above us both
the archangel of the patio
where the king holds court
our lord the mockingbird

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Passiontide Valentine

Dead a few decades
I’ll bet we won’t even
remember the world
but vaguely like childhood
when one has grown older
a few memories float
to the surface mysterious
amphibians at odd times 
the way one dreams
of getting caught in a net
and pulled under almost
smothered by the covers
then suddenly awake
gasping for air but safe
in the real world again

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Nocturnal Valentine

When I remember somehow
the millions of years
it took to reach
remembering and then
for it to turn and stretch
out its narrow hands
into the undivided
country of the future
so we can see ourselves
arriving past hypocrisy
and childhood past disdain
for every living thing
but then you woke me
with a dirty shove
unintentional but full of love

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Daily Valentine

To separate the useless
from the useful worries
is morning’s work
so the afternoon is full
of enthusiastic wool-gathering
like a slave in cotton fields
I play the overseer too
that was our holocaust
which remains alive
and thriving in human hearts
the internal continuation
of history and fate
which takes up half
the evening and then
mumbles through the night

Monday, March 17, 2014

Buddhist Valentine

Aren’t we always paying
attention to something
often most when most
we don’t seem to be
 paying attention to something
as a way of not paying
attention to something else
attention as distraction
 like right now the authentic
present is losing its credentials
while you’ve been letting me
distract you by paying
me attention and for that
I want to thank us both
for you are my distraction

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Eucharistic Valentine

Evil (corruptibility) along
with good (the imponderable)
are inherent (embodied)
in matter and in us
(i.e., the spirit of good
and the spirit of evil
have both incarnated
as matter) this is obvious
that’s what gives it its earnest
piquancy and heartfelt
urgency that good and
evil co-exist in the same
flesh and blood in which
we also eventually appear
at their leisure at their pleasure

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Pagan Valentine

I found a folded leaf
completely eaten out
with only its veins left
their deft weaving intact
of spun gold threads
strung from its spine
like a filigree broach
or shred of a nylon stocking
Persephone’s underwear
they would have known
in the old days before
science invented itself
and ruined the wonder
of the world as much
as original sin did later

Windy Valentine

What if your lovely life
was just swooping all day
coasting and then banking
against abrupt headwinds
but even without wings
we’re caught in the arguments
cold air and warm light
are always having together
like a story getting stranger
with each new translation
or like the cannibals turned
Christians who don’t want
to talk about the old days
when every supper was the last
and every life in danger

Friday, March 14, 2014

Hell's Valentine

The smell of garbage
and orange blossoms
someone whistling
what’s for lunch
dry bread and pull it
my mother would say
tiny red flamenco dancers
all over the pomegranate tree
the garden will never look better
unless you rip out everything
and bring in just one
purple lilac tree in bloom
but it would never survive
here in hell
that heavenly scent

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Earth's Valentine

Can a garden be moving
can nature be more
than nostalgia anymore
now that the earth is dying
but the garden is moving
up from seeds thought dead
green spears were waiting
now that the earth is dying
or is it the sun that’s moving
and us just following along
newborn into the invisible world
our hooves still gleaming
but our hearts not moving
then moving again
seeing the earth is dying

Heaven's Valentine

How explain it to you
when the will to grasp
the explanation
has been lost
no that’s not it
to grasp which
there must be already
some of the same in it
to recognize there are two
or three truths
for every one deception
every least reflection
that on earth only continues
what in heaven we imagined
and said we would do

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Paranoiac's Valentine

When I hear a car
pull up sharply out front
and four men jump out
slamming the four doors
at first I’m sure they’ve
finally come for me
and not my neighbor’s uncle
I feel the paranoia of the people
and run out to try
to stop them but
the one they’ve come for
after all is me
and guess what
it was my neighbor
who called them

Wisdom's Valentine

A little house that floats
in the air a bronze pagoda
a library in the yard
the swarming of petals
in the first chrysanthemum
the slow flaying of the invisible
which appears as leaves
and the blood of flowers
next to human blood
but without the corruption
she drew the outlines first
filling them in with time
she was still a young thing then
she was all she knew
before life and knowing split

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Reaching Valentine

We see it in trees
and in lightening
we see it in plants
we see it in veins
and in limbs we see it
in fingers and toes
in rivers and water
running away
we see it in grief
how it spirals
flattens into a plane
spokes from a center
we see how it reaches
for something invisible
no longer there

Monday, March 10, 2014

Angel's Valentine

I took it as a sign
that you woke me
every morning to my life
and called me out
to the yard and said
all this is yours
if you will freely love me
and here’s today to prove it
for you I’ve turned
bones into bread
and back again
for you the beauty
of the world is only
a down payment on my love
a simple pledge or token

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Always There Valentine

A big momma cloud
pushing a bitty cloud
in a stroller rushing across
the blue arc of your life
some clouds carry the dead
some dead are friends
all friends are clouds
but these two are always there
hurrying above the horizon
wherever you are look up
you’ll see them like a tattoo
on a face you’re too close

to see all of
our lady of the landscape
our madonna of the hours

Friday, March 7, 2014

Charged Valentine

From the beginning
of the poem I start
to worry about how
it will end
how I will ever
be able to say
the last goodbye
in the world
I poet
charged with speech
in the middle of the poem
tearing up and laughing
I just wanted to distract you
a little with my love
I just wanted a song to sing

March Morning Valentine (for Mom)

Silvery trails
of the snails
having eaten
too much moonlight
across the patio
the old tarot
of leaves lays out
our fate
we will burn in hell
the one that we create
but not today
today we wait
all this beauty
at the door of spring
or what’s the burning for

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Ukrainian Valentine

I see you are delightfully misinformed
that your confusion could reach
comedic proportions were it not
demonically intended
I see you are my shadow’s apprentice
the one who hands him the wrench
with which he beats the prisoner
while I am sleeping or down the street
I see you are the master of a school
of opposition and despair
without which resisting
we would never become human
beings who are only ever
as free and loved
as everyone else

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Life's Valentine

To start with nothing
and to end with nothing
is life’s gesture life’s
real pleasure and goal
and in between the two nothings
one that would waft us away
and the other that would
hammer us into the ground
to build a something
on its way to becoming
a someone or even
a simple anyone

but one who has seen
the great sea of life
and knows we will never die

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Email with Pix Valentine

Great to hear from you I know you're busy
or sleeping yes we had a terrific downpour
and a small tornado (what?!) not too far
from here in Mesa but we didn't even have
high winds and now it hails in Costa Mesa
anyway here's the first morning glory flower
the plant itself is only an inch and a half high
but it has this huge flower
that’s almost too heavy for it to lift
I didn't expect to see bloom
until it got further up the trellis
but maybe it was the rain
that seduced/induced it
reminding me of you
hugs and kisses dad

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mysterious Valentine

It’s the falsity of the world
we fall in love with first
how it’s willing to offer us
the most fantastic things
so that we who once believed
in Santa and the tooth fairy and God
now believe in the abstractions
of money and material science
with the same religious fervor
that once typified the mysteries
of the ancient worlds but
with none of the real excitement
none of the reverence or terror
the gratitude or joy
that shook the initiate’s core

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Double's Valentine

I think I’ll give up myself
for Lent this year
but then what else do I do
with myself all day
and night but sleep and sing
for all that is still suffering
somewhere to be born
into this world again and again
like when you close your eyes
the colors inside darkness open
the double world which shows
all that refuses to be seen here
staring back at you as from a mirror
seeing the child’s heart
and ancient soul of you