Saturday, May 31, 2014

Where I Left Things Valentine

Where I left things with myself
not there when I returned
but then I looked again
and there they were transformed
or should I say melted into nothing
momentarily dissolved and then
re-shaped into a resemblance
in a further face
a future cuneiform
on a red clay tile
the scribe had written
where I left things
leave them

Friday, May 30, 2014

Calling Valentine

I feel the call they say
I am the one who is called they say
or is it I am the one who is called out
but I would want to know who’s
calling and what do they want
I don’t want to answer the phone
and cover my ears when they
talk of Twitter why would anyone
want to be known to millions
I still feel the shock people feel
you’re stealing their souls
when you take their picture
and even though early photography
did deepen the meditative impulse
of 19th century Zen that’s still
no valid reason for heeding
every flashing text or sext

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ascension Valentine

Now I am alone
after so many years
I was just waiting
for whatever would open
and I would meet you
phantom self long eluded
at the store or on the street
or waking late on a rainy morning
after long histories together and apart
hear you entering the house
slipping into bed beside me
absent love the one who never showed
a lover’s investment in a friendship’s cost
the animal world walked slowly past
love is so strange
even when you let it go
it holds you fast

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fly's Valentine

A fly is more obvious
than a mosquito or an I
who sneaks up
under your thigh
and leaves his itch
behind unless you
slap him hard
across the face
drawing blood
a creature like
a leech just
boneless meat
yet they locate
and eat the world’s
most precious
liquid gold
love’s hoard

Monday, May 26, 2014

The World Is Not About Suffering Valentine

I had trouble believing the ones
who said they loved me
and some of the ones I wanted
to say it never did
from one perspective
we’re told to fill our minds
while from another tower
we’re called to empty them
but the world is not about suffering
it’s about reintegrating
all we had to in another
time abandon with all we’ve
in the meantime learned
where are the larger outlines
of the human project
if not stirring among the stars

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Memorial Valentine

Now I live in a small
beautiful house alone
at the bottom of the ocean
in the middle of the desert
ancient ocean current desert
surrounded by green
and shade looks in
on the living-room afternoons
of my life followed by
a long and drawn-out
burning at the stake
an airing of every wound
before I wake with you again
a simple human life
was all I ever wanted

Incomplete Valentine

At least I’ve learned I’m good
at starting things from nothing
rebellions fires relationships
just not perfect at continuing
or bringing them to conclusion
(and here we enter the medieval
castle of St. Steadfastnesses the absent
abbot of a small retail cheese business)
I’d rather the psychotic
than the boring when I look
back I seldom seem outside some
unconscious state posing awake
there are no thoughts in the past
not outmaneuvered by memory’s
various rehearsals wasn't the body
only meant to be a scaffold
to some amazing door or vessel

Friday, May 23, 2014

Mistaken Valentine

For a long time feeling sure
I blamed the wrong trespasser
the one with the hooked beak
and abrupt behavior
who’d show up late in the afternoon
demanding an elegant supper
pointing one eye at me
then the other when all along
it was the mockingbird I live with
who daily raped the flower beds
scattering dirt and leaving graves
where the worm was jerked
(my friend) whenever I turned
my head or left for work

Ungiven Valentine

Like myself I gave all this
to you to use not to keep
not to take away with you
to some other lover’s place
but it was yours as long
as you were with me
doesn’t love begin with greed
with thirst and desolation
before it overcomes the need
for power and inflation
and surrenders to the wise
committee of the heart
which cannot give to one
but gives to all its part

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ascending Valentine

Perhaps you can’t feel it yet
he says but everything’s ascending
even if it feels like everything’s descending
or there could be a momentary retrograde
still everything’s trending upward
slowly the old bones of the earth
having for so long held death inside
are getting ready to find a way
into and around it to evolve
past death through the recovery
of an ancient hidden knowledge
of a passageway dug through thinking’s
solitary confinement cell to the free
and open sunshine of pity for all things
he says where you and I are loved

Illusory Valentine

If you stand facing south
with your arms at your sides
and slowly lift your left arm
like the light coming up
through eight and nine and ten o’clock
until it’s straight up at noon
and then with your right arm up
and the light slowly falling
through two and three and five o’clock
down to midnight at your side
you have followed the path
of the sun around the earth
you have followed the appearance
of things and thereby completely
though it feels good
lost your way

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Green Comes Back Like Longing Valentine

At the Taurus full moon
the Chaste tree blooms
black spikes against the silver light
but by morning purple returns
to the flowers green to the leaves
it is a tree again and not an omen
a guffaw hurled into the night sky
fragrant and full of longing
a sentimentalist like spring
who keeps his day job as a tree
but at night awakens under stars
calling and calling to the far reaches
of space and light to accept
this pure token of esteem
and give him back his dream

A Travesty Has Been Handed Down We Call History Valentine

Like God I doubted myself
the way you would floss your teeth
or get ready to go for a run
I had no indigenous emotions
they arrived by monthly subscriptions
which I’d sometimes forget to renew
but we depended on one another for grace
which can only come from without
I wanted to be all of you
and saw at some point I
already was as you were too
that’s the last significant thing
I recall before the spell set in
and the gods re-introduced
their new concept of alone

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

You'd Think Valentine

You have your assignment
which is to have no assignment
anymore but love freely applied
newly contrived each
confident morning reborn
as nothing but the truth
hardly tolerable reality
our torturer with his tongs
pulling out the beauty and
discarding it while we
are made to watch and age
if we were wise enough to get this far
you’d think we wouldn’t have that far to go

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Monastic Valentine (for JD)

As far as love has brought me
and not a wreckage further
I will rest here with my love
while a brown bird swims the air
leaving ripples like a water-glider
on the pond of air and water
oceans in an ocean of light
we are all but standing on
you’re right I don’t understand
the things I do understand
seem weightless and worthless to me
if the gods could be understood
what kind of gods would they be
the price of growing up forever
is not relinquishing childhood
but retrofitting it to a new hagiography
apparently love is so retarded
because no one can figure it out

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Excuses Valentine

I wanted to write a play
about a playwright who is
also an actor in one of his plays
but as the playwright he would
step out of his role in the play
from time to time to address
the audience directly with
editorial comments about writing
this particular part of a scene
or to share what was happening
in his personal life at that time
sometimes describing excised sections
or filling in colorful gaps in the story
even becoming the director at times
giving instructions to the actors
so that as a result in the second act
we’re given a cleaner tighter more alive
completely revised version of the first act
without the playwright’s interruptions
except just at the end the playwright
appears to announce he can’t go on
and is abandoning the play altogether
then in the third and final act
the playwright appears alone
as an older man and tries
to explain to the audience
that the young man in act one was him
but because he killed himself
he couldn’t finish the play
now he is sending his angel
in the form of this old man
he could have become
to tell them he was sorry
though he knew no one
would ever believe him

Friday, May 16, 2014

St. John's Valentine

I caught the shadow
on the sunny ground
of a butterfly above me
but when I looked around
it was gone what’s strange
is just at that exact
moment I was thinking
of the dove that flew
above the naked figure
standing in the Jordan
after so much preparation
to take his place
as he had promised
his father and his friends
there in the river of time
to reverse the current
of evolution toward love
just as a monarch flew by

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Anniversary Valentine

Every moment has its anniversary
its deft reverse its recapitulation
so the lemon slices lurking among
the ice cubes here in my glass reflect
a bitterness crossing the street
thirty years ago and finally
coming to rest on this table
all things mirror one another
as if there was nothing we could
know for certain with this bland
moon consciousness of ours
sleeping through the sunlit days
as if we would fail to notice
bourn in the crescent’s silver bowl
the sun’s dark spirit’s face

Model Valentine

For some unknown reasons
I arranged and re-arranged
a bowl of fruit – two avocados
two green pears two lemons
and one somewhat withered
but still edible small orange
as if I wanted to be a painter
and these my morning models
black yellow orange and green
but how to master the mastery
of it how to mistress the mystery
of it when it’s so easy to get lost
in the senses and not notice
you yourself are being thought

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Summer Valentine

In the airport of words
where crowds of words
never otherwise seen or
heard together are rushing
to their gates strolling to their exits
perched on the door-mouths
the vowel-forms disentangling
awkward roars of words lifting
off heavily or landing lightly
along the runway tongues
in the cities of words
trailing off to the mute outskirts
to the empty forests and lakes
where words are falling
deafly on other words

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

High Desert Valentine

Finally alone I can see
how hard I fought
to get to where
I would be left alone
to listen to the quiet
voices on dead beaches
of ancient oceans
and dust-devils unwinding
like baby hurricanes
practicing for the big day
on prickly-pear and quail
in the high desert of my sins
where I’m not waiting for anyone
where I’m going on alone

The Comfortable Burden of Love Valentine

In  the soggy valleys between
nothing and experience
we have spent almost
our whole evolution
between two grand
mountain ranges of ideas
and the red stains
on the kitchen floor
sadness is always plural
multiple derivative
but happiness is one
united original
having been there
but never done

Monday, May 12, 2014

Measuring Valentine

I woke up picturing
a white and yellow-striped
boa constrictor stretched
out beside me in the bed
something I had read
falling asleep last night
resumed at once on waking
taking the measure of me
the ouroboros snake
who swallows his tail
who eats his shadow
who returns to the beginning
having dreamed all of himself

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sweet Home Valentine

You always have a home
in my heart just maybe
not in my actual house OK
taking pictures of the garden
when it’s all dressed up reminds me
of my mother taking pictures
of me as child all dressed up
I enjoy trying to write a poem
more than anything else in the world
even when I’m sobbing
that’s how far my enjoyment goes
the thing about nature as an artist
is that it’s incorporated the idea
of change right into its paintings

Einstein Means One Stone Valentine

Thinking’s the last guest
to arrive and often comes
late and sober to the party
a weight on all our dancing
and feeling is usually pissed-off
and feeling neglected pushed aside
comes bullying through the crowd
pretending to be so glad to see you
now the party can really begin
a natural selfishness such as
one sees in nature itself as if
it merely mirrored back our morals
the clear sky of conscience
filling and emptying its desire

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Winged Valentine

Two carved owls
the size of a large thumb
one black one white
take one for a talisman
she said why is it
so hard to choose
I can name three triggers
one is a dove
who comes every morning
to a certain empty part
of the yard to peck and mourn
one is a loud grackle
with a hooked yellow beck
like a back-hoe tossing dirt
and one is a shiny black crow
dripping with dire warnings
who finding nothing to satisfy
or even interest him
flies off flicking his wing-tips
as if the air itself was sin

Friday, May 9, 2014

Birthday Valentine (for D)

Remember the bush I pruned
into a tree now it’s 15 feet tall
and almost as wide filled with
purple panicles like lilacs today
and when you walk under it
you can hear battalions
of bees harvesting the bounty
above you so you feel yourself
as if inside a brilliant brain at work
going about its daily business
of careful rumination
sometimes tossing frantically about
as if contemplating walking off
but deciding not

Thursday, May 8, 2014

His Valentine

Do you think the stars
are cynical about the day
do you feel examined
by every glance the famine
in every eye do you want
to be devoured or are
you just blissful unforgivably
blissful but in a loving way
do you sense we will never meet
having always known one another
do you often wake up
as some completely different person
who slowly fades back into you
with a warm and wicked grin
not yet not yet don’t turn me into him

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Courage to Love Valentine

Went to bed happy
woke up sad
went to bed sad
woke up happy
it’s a mistake
to be swayed
by your heart
but a mortal sin
to be ruled
by your head
stray deeper
to the gut
the throne
of all fear and
ask if it is
fair to speak
or stay silent
on the subject

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Scent of a Valentine

The next day that
same black and white cat
came toward me ran
her nose along my van
but cantered off immediately
to where that fat grackle
had been making such
a ruckus the day before
when she pretended to be
asleep and now she’s closely
inspecting every stem there
with her wide pink nostrils
what can she sense in
that circle of half-dying
half-living lawn if not
the presence of a fading
fragrance the cologne
of some unknown
who's flown