Sunday, August 31, 2014

Prisoner's Valentine

Better until you yourself
have become enlightened
to obey the masters strictly
to be trapped by God
or a passing bodhisattva
on the road to Target
not Emmaus not this year
the Jerusalem of my lover’s neck
you who cannot be left
alone with your thoughts
for more than five minutes
without going off the deep end
and swimming deftly
to the bottom of the sky

Cobbled Valentine

Is the world a bomb
or the body of Christ
which has membered itself
in the fuse as in the explosion
which will not explain itself
nor can it be expressed
but a gun is a mechanized act
of cruelty designed for mayhem
there’s no way around it
though technology itself
must be gotten around

something we need later in life
we jettisoned when young –
now we have to re-create it
why be greedy
with our gratitude
the first youth is given
the second earned
I think his last name means
‘Proud Son’ or ‘Son of Pride’
not a designation but a diagnosis
as with all tombstones

Friday, August 29, 2014

Green Is Always In Between Valentine

Overcoming the gravity
of perennial self-interest
one can levitate higher
in self-esteem dangerously
close to the tipping point
for which the seesaw
was invented exhilaration
of ascent and dropping
but caught before
impact and bounced
back finally finding
the resting point
that victory somehow
of spirit over matter

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nostalgic Valentine

He tells us the stars
are the dead bodies
of the gods their old
homelands for which
they still long assiduously
and unfortunately
never to return to but
forced to live out life
after life in the body
of a man or a woman
here on this earth

neither human nor
quite an angel yet
the evil geniuses
who keep crashing
the world we make
and then re-make

Holderlin's Valentine

In my head the game-show
‘So You Think You Can Write’
with Hughes up against HD
in the semi-finals I’d voted
for Holderlin (we were up
to the H’s obviously) but
he washed out early on
the last late bloom
of the minnesingers I thought
switching the channel
to another Italian journey
where weary travelers return
to their burgled home
all they own scattered
and violated in every room

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Days of August Valentine

How much light is behind the darkness
and how much darkness is behind
the light colors everything we do
that it has such presence
in my forgetful living room
with all the old furniture of intimacy
gathering dust and luster
like the tragic view of life
which for you is second nature
while in me the genius of the gods
inspires such confidence
I grow lazier and lazier
though it’s really the patience
of plant-life I sense inside
perpetually pregnant with bloom

Spider's Valentine

A spider among the certitudes
I am content to crawl and braid
a web less tangible than a sentence
I will catch the Christ the Buddha
of the afternoon I will dine on God
with the instruments he gave me
a tooth of poison-love a kiss
I give to all my prey before
we sleep dreaming of swallowtails
precisely floppy above us yellowy
at the center of creation
waits the freedom to destroy it
but only if you forget
you must start it all again

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Meanwhile Valentine

Our thoughts never stop
we just stop listening
letting them go on without us
for a while we sink so
gratefully into a nothingness
a silent blankness
not even a dream drops in
not so much trusting the world
to carry us through
as just not caring for a while
barely able to bear it
this unbearable earth
we weave out of sleep
into a new birth

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Returning Valentine

I call her Evening’s Wing
more a flower’s street name
than a small bird’s return
every twilight to the same
thick vines not to settle in
for the night but to flit
and leap around inside
that cage of sun-emblazoned leaves
is there some last snack to be had
hopping from stem to stem it seems
more dance-like than functional
and then it flies off after a few
minutes of this but why always
at the same time each day
as if turning off the light
as if responsible for night

Direct Valentine

Punctuation is white
a little too polite for me
a certain ceremony
attends his way
of placing his timing
on the table so to say
living dying dead
don’t get tripped
between the words
into stumbling along
for dramatic effect
how you speak
to the mirror
is how God speaks
to you the only
God you got

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

‘Forever is Deciduous’ Valentine

The birthdays and
letting go of leaves
we felt something
plant-like descending
on us which strangely
we were rising to meet
what did happen
a little above the earth
but then faded away
another rainbow bridge
people crossing both ways
a few you recognize
but cannot stop to greet
not even old selves those eyes 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hastening Valentine

Right under the nose of destiny
I walked by I saw what a corpse
it could shape out of grieving debris
into a feast of steaming knowledge
like intelligent colors sweeping
over a secret beach
we lay there on the sand
right under the throat of destiny
the old guttural phlegm-filled sea
the grandma of our reverie
once a bright young thing
who knew what we were in for
with her children as our parents
and hastened to prepare us

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Natural Valentine

It’s true death still can’t be killed
though it can be neutered/neutralized
I almost said naturalized
as if a legal resident of life
though never a true born citizen
for that tiny dot we call an ego
reflects the place of our birth
stamped with a use-by date
on the envelope with the instructions
for assembly and systems integration
which we either lose along the way
or can barely read the hieroglyphics
the old gods insist on using
when writing out their songs

Friday, August 15, 2014

This Earth's Valentine

Yes our feelings fluctuate
and will change if we wait
but there can be fluctuations
even in hell ups and downs
within the overall landscape
of afflictions the interrupted
frissons of fear or shame
the Scylla and Charybdis
of our time to overcome
if the soul is not to perish
from this earth
we sail through
the only Ithaca
to come back to

Assumption Valentine

Anachronistic as an arrow
a valentine is less like a bullet
more bulletin or amuse bouche
or the few minutes in an elevator
standing as close as necessary
or alone in an embrace finally
ascending into a first kiss
a valentine is what you hope
you never have to receive
if it means you have to let
go of it your frayed heart
wrenched out of your body
flying around the room
free as love at last

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Religious Valentine

In the evolution of our feeble
understanding of the Christ Buddha
Yahweh Tao we can see written
large as braille humanity’s
morally imaginative growth
and inner development perhaps
Satan cancer fascism as well
so now all forward movement
is deeper and deeper
into a spiritual world as a
practical matter if we are
to resolve our issues
with physical reality
overcome fear and shame
and be home for breakfast
with our eternal friends

Constant Valentine

Undeniable inevitability
of certain themes
the activity of certain
forces and combinations
and one by one the pomegranates
are hollowed out by the finches
those sopranos like a man
holding two severed heads
by the hair and smiling
at us down the quiet
hallways of history
whispering I’m back
when actually that impulse
has never left us even in dreams
or in movies that suck

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lavender Is a Color Only Found In Flowers Valentine

Several large
shrubs fill
my summer
yard this
year I keep
their strange names
but the hummingbirds
don’t neglect them
and everywhere
the latest armadas
of their seedlings
sail out into the
grass more lavender
than naval
but if I let them loose
I think they could
empurple the earth
in time

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Objective Valentine (for Robin Williams)

I always wanted to get back
to sinning and winning
to getting away with
murder we called it
back to the necessary
narcissism of my youth
but my heart just
isn’t into it anymore
there’s always something
about life like someone’s
playing a joke on you
a very elaborate and very
convincing piece
of theatre you are
the last to laugh at

Monday, August 11, 2014

Roofer's Valentine

If Christ be whole and Christ
then how long will it take
for the darkness not
to comprehend it
so we can get on
with perfecting perfection
with breathing the summer air
more deeply into our childhood lungs
Ariel did not love her master
nor did Caliban fear him enough
but that was another stage or summer
and today God is an older Mexican man
standing on the roof next door
early in the morning
calling down to me
standing here in my underwear
on my own weedy patch of earth
asking me permission to get to work

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Arthurian Valentine

The first songs were always of war
and still they’re sung
but then came the Grail
which couldn’t be won
by fighting but waiting
faithfully and gradually
it would appear to reveal
itself no metaphor but a real
emerald to which a dove descends
placing a small white host upon it
despite our wonderful words
we’ve had to return to pictures
that no longer speak to us
to find the outlines the forms
of something new that will

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Unanswerable Valentine

Often questions assume answers
but maybe some answers
don’t want to be taken for granted
just because they’re getting old
and have trouble walking far
or maybe some questions
just want to refuse every answer
now and then cast one vote
for mystery no closure no epiphany
just to go on stubbornly being
a question inconsolably insoluble
as a two year old taking
on the world refusing everything
until you tell her why 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Perfect Valentine

A private walled space
snug as a head or a heart
where I can walk and sit
thinking on my ass or feet
safe from the noise and sun
except for the sirens and children
where I have known some plants
better than some persons
where I have planted accidie
and scorn and watched
new colors being born
one eternal morn
and went on breathing
went on wanting more

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Blinked Valentine

The statue blinked once
but you missed it
the laws of thinking
allow only one
since this is a statue
of thought itself
actually just a head
with wings on its sides
and a face absorbed
by the thought behind it
which it carries
solemnly the way
a lover his heart
lays at your feet

A Taste of Two Jacks Valentine

Spirits bend low
over their heads
to insert lines of
thought we inhale
are these your thoughts
or theirs how can we
best identify the latest
lie you say wait
five minutes and if
the opposite is true
then you know you’ve
done it right for once
that at least love
humbled you with
its sweetness
and took your life

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Drinking Late with Walt Whitman Valentine

I light the voices in my head
like fires along a beach
each fire lighting the next
along a twisting line to Greece
or some other significant piece
of emotional legislation I sail
through it and salute you
as Walt would have us do
tough beloved camerados
I love how he talks
a whole country could be
usefully devoted to its language
the machinery of its motivation
adding to the conversations
between evolutions

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Hymn to Life Valentine

Spring comes early –
your boots
by my door
Like rain in the distance
I never know if you’ll arrive
but just not touch the ground
Or else like a flood
carrying off cars and refrigerators
you roll through my bed I dream
we are drawn to maelstroms
and addicted to catastrophes
in order to prove life can’t be stopped
maybe only when we’ve killed
or poisoned everything on earth
and life returns will we believe it 

Monday, August 4, 2014

No One's Valentine

Apparently those two annoying
grackles have found a better gig –
my empty yard
Let’s stop all this drama
about death
shouts the first crocus

Does it matter it’s on a calendar
if the photostream of days
sends us another selfie
Once we’ve made a few
connections between things
we think we know something new
I am aware that last stanza
has no concrete image
unless you count things
Yes I’m always talking to you
imperial no one
love of my life

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Love Beach Bahamas Valentine (for Jess)

I am level with the sea
though the sea is not level with me
but wraps me in her womb
kangaroo-like with my head
still level with the sea
though sometimes under
dear mother sea I do not
completely trust you
yet you’re the only one I trust
who is more tender more
competent than the stars
who circle like vultures
and warn us of wars
while you settle for turquoise
and pale pinks and blues
more alive than the future
when the sun starts to lose

Mani's Valentine

For seven days
I lay flayed
the top layer
of skin peeled
away to reveal
a deepening
tenderness with
an infant skin’s
smoothness and
fragrance which
seemed to please
my flayers
who stopped
to admire their
work and sharpen
their blades

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Days of August 2014 Valentine

Our violence is a picture of how
the gods still quarrel over us
just like our parents            
Be to my stray cat
the Grail –
water in a bowl
Even if we can stop killing
our brothers and sisters
there’s still so far to go
Like after the rain
a jazz combo
caught in the drain
Now I know
why I love you
your heart is a leaf