Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Written Valentine

The impression left on one side
of the paper by something written
on the other is like braille
little bumps and ridges
of a language in reverse
a dialect in decline
irregular verbs that fail
to out-Pollack the snail
the way the earth is like
the shadow cast
by some great creature
its residue drifting downward
into matter while above
high up strides love

Monday, September 29, 2014

Michaelmas Valentine

How much of our
much-vaunted physics
is just shit made up
by scientists with the imaginations
of disappointed poets
how much of our medicine
is just a shill to commerce
and tecnhology how much
do we still fear sharing
the earth as if we would lose
our separate identities
all the way to the coast
I drove hearing your words
how the world emerges only in the space
where darkness touches light

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Poet's Valentine (for Bill)

In the next century
all the best poetry will be anonymous
the lower ego will have all
been finally driven out of it
so it can stand by itself again
as the chatty accomplice
of the starry worlds and nature
as soon as the rain’s been gulped
all the way into the placid ground
then more rain comes forcing
the snails to run up the walls all night
but by morning only a blind poet
can read the cosmic script they leave
a rambling rejection letter I believe

Michaelmas Valentine

Swaying as at the bottom
of the sea or lake as the case
may be having descended through
a musical decapitation of days
to plant these hollyhock seeds
in an empty corner of the garden
and surprised to find in that black patch
morning glories sprouting
leftovers from spring I threw there
with no hopes for next to the compost
now I scatter these hollyhocks among them
may one climb up
as far as the other aspires
no man goes home without his brothers

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Birthday Valentine

Perhaps it was better
than I could have hoped for
perhaps it was worse
than I could have imagined
perhaps I never
imagined myself at all
perhaps I imagined myself
all too clearly
perhaps nothing can be
known completely
that would require every
other thing to stop and look
in the mirror discretely
the I and the not-I
curled together neatly

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Purposes of Plenty Valentine

To take beauty down
to use its gold crown
to beat it about its head
to see where love has led
to wars and bloody floors
we were still dancing on
a permanent earth having
relinquished a temporary heaven
this is the return to the before
green relapsing to yellow and blue
where all the content empties out
into the estuaries of autumn
into the dim panoramas of pity
where everything is made

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Collaborative Valentine

My muse my angel my double
are not afraid of human trouble
we sit and talk about despair
to be the air and not the one
breathing the air
my muse my angel my double
three non-material constructions
real and yet invisible unless
I peer into my own darkness
watch the faces that appear
of doubt and hate and fear
which will not ever disappear
if fought with their own spear
only love will wipe them clear

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Halting Words Valentine

All my words are halting
at the cross-walk of love
all my words have fallen
rain-like from above
soaked and naked as the universe
through which inside my heart
is vaulting-leaping
trying not to make it worse
by calmly creeping
toward the universal peace
here in a pool of sunlight
where a leaf’s dominion floats
as long as the dirt
can hold it in its arms

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Green Valentine

An exact nonchalance
in the blue shadows of leaves
where darker leaves gather
a kind of natural parenting or
sheltering of the new sprouts
every plant is like a resurrection
something living rises out of
something dead while we animals
struggle to apprehend how it’s done
we who take our life
from something already living
but who must die in the end
uncertain how to rise again
how to master death and winter
with a little blade of green

Monday, September 22, 2014

Chaconne Valentine

I could die listening
to Bach’s Chaconne
in the Leon Fleisher
piano version over and over
I do die listening to it a bit
but not before exulting
triumphing sobbing arguing
each time shaken by the authority
of it and stood back up again
in the silence left behind
a whole love fleshed out
in eighteen minutes an inner
and outer life pronounced equal
to our entire musical future

Air Like Gems Valentine

Fall takes us back
after all our branches
(don’t make me make
that betrayal face again)
back to our mineral reactions
when we were sand and silica
which we still are but we
lose place of track and time
meanders like a mountain
downhill to the gravel-pit we
regret our groveling beginnings
which fall takes us back to
under the scenery of memory
granite dolomite and schist
through which we climbed
after our brief lives as clouds

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Equinoctial Valentine

I hide things from myself
that’s not hiding that’s forgetting
that’s obsessing with oblivion
tampering with nothingness
to which one must be called
the way time accelerates you
once it enters your system
speeding toward blast-off
gathering thrust to lift
you into the afterlife or else
you die a child at eighty
a genius of compromise
living a forgettable life
in unforgettable times

Saturday, September 20, 2014

How I Know It’s Fall Valentine

When I sit listening to the thud
of rotten pomegranates
hitting the ground I know
I should get out more
or suddenly realize
these days are metaphors
not leafy similes in disguise
or when I sit listening to the wind
with its summery regrets
one hundred kinds of apples
and not one worth paradise
(though they’re working on it
as we speak) a life with crunch
and juice and taste of rain
in spring and the earth’s ache

Friday, September 19, 2014

Parenthetical Valentine (for Lee)

We are only given a few
people to love maybe
just one or two at a time
which is really all
we have room for
they seem so huge
and wonderfully adapted
to us because we are all
so paranoid and refuse
to talk about the past
to which already a whole season
was dedicated while the other
three movements are to love
which is always about the future
and what you just said

Allegorical Valentine

Doubt occupies the whole
middle portion of the landscape
after a brief streak of ignorance
always a delicate thing
despair alternating with joy
crushed or in expectation
of being crushed
torn or in expectation
of being torn
just watch how the moon
is drawn out of the heart
of the earth and set there
like a stone around its neck
or like a pebble thrown
and skipping brightly
then all of a sudden sunk

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Birthday Valentine

My goal is to be born
and live every day
until I can say today’s
my birthday every day
all 365 lives it will take
to overcome one day of death
it’s like the person we create
pursues his own decay
so a rescuer is sent out after him
then another after him and so on
forcing time to expand
to accommodate the losses
I was going to say crevasses
my goal is to die
every birthday
and be born
the next day

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Guardian's Valentine

Today it will rain a lot
but be sunny later
cold tonight but
warming by morning
I notice only a few
things about these
passing meditations
when a helicopter and
a dove fly over me
in close formation
exposing the shame
I feel for my diseased
pomegranate tree
whose fruit splits open
when it hits the bricks
a black mold ascends
from leaking pus
and white infant seeds
strangled in their
perfect beds spill
out on the ground
I fear the tree is me
I fear it will never heal
and you will see

Monday, September 15, 2014

So Be It Valentine

So be it to all things
I say so be it
to the man who destroys
his father’s garden
so be it to the couple
fucking in the backseat
of a Buick parked on
Main Street in the middle
of the afternoon so
be it that we still use
war and disease to cull
the herd so be it finally
whatever it takes
to prove the absurd
existence of the soul

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Revelation Valentine

Now I see the petals
symbolize the youth
and the seeds old age
in the dream drama
of the garden wild
beasts do devour
us but because
we loved once and
must still do
unstoppably the beasts
grow radiant with
the light we grow on
from within their
darkest hearts

Alzheimer's Valentine

Please don’t vent at me
if I forget to close
the front door I’m old
now and dispensable
details of earthly life
don’t interest me
as much anymore
I’ve set my sights
on darker prospects
but curiously only dark
if seen from this more
mysterious side of life
where we first learn
that love is the opposite
of death what death

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Island Valentine

How many lives on earth
have we backed into
resisting re-immersion
in a mineral body
a stone that in itself
symbolizes millennia
of lives laid down to this
curious twist of coral
let’s swim to the other island
we think but nobody says it
that island out there
where the lost are gathering
where the sun is building
a whole new body
for a whole new earth

Friday, September 12, 2014

Life's Valentine

When it’s time to hand in
the essay on your choice
of life’s contraindications
and you still haven’t found a pen
though you already feel stricken
by this morning’s eager light
prostrate on the floor before you
how can the most powerful
thing be the most humble
gentle and enfolding thing
but even before we got here
the gods were divided
into two camps engaged
in a never-ending campaign
in which we my love
are what’s lost or gained

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Unbearable Valentine

How are ants and antelopes able
to go about their lives following
their immediate feelings first
strenuously obeying seasonal whims
with no personal stake in the matter
while we outfox ourselves if we can
with knowledge we cannot bear
which crushes the body
and will not let it go
this body which would live forever
if only the soul wouldn’t lie
if only the soul would get out
of the way nothing would die

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Spiritual Longing Valentine

What spirit doesn’t long
for the earth what goodness
doesn’t finally beg for
something dissolute to do
doesn’t wish to be sent back
to Poughkeepsie or the Peloponnesus
the world is just big enough
to swallow all our shame
I keep trying to remember
when I first fell in love with the world
this Bethlehem before all
the endless constellations
this research project of the gods
so material life can be
safely contained and studied
before it too widely spreads

Autumnal Valentine

Incompleteness fills the world
the yet-to-be-finished
the left undone
never to be solved
the silence never heard yet
despite the endless listening
which creates the kind
of mood the streets are laid in
like gems and glued down
with colorful banners
on agile trees
so obvious it’s still a child
who draws the world
as if on large sheets
of brown butcher paper
taped up around a room

Harvest Moon Valentine #2

The moon is there the way
the past is there -- stoic
rhythmical and glowing
but the sun is always
only about the future
the advancing illuminations
and discoveries yet to
be recovered while the past
remains on ceremonial terms
with us though it calls us
by our first names and knows
and keeps our secrets
it still wants to be young with us
but we cannot love it anymore
we cannot give our hearts
to a cold stone caught in space
merely reflecting the sun’s surface

Monday, September 8, 2014

Harvest Moon Valentine

I can feel the full moon shining
on the upper side of these clouds
raining down on us in torrents
but up there on that dance floor
the yellow moon is swaying
while here below we are
getting soaked and praying
for one house down the street
the lightening broke and entered
the roof collapsed and four
bodies were buried in a second
it looked like judgment
the way the old and sick
are separated from the herd
in this case the most brilliant

Drying Out Valentine

In the sky on the floor
reflected in the grassy
water on the flooded patio
I sit watching the sun begin
to suck it all back up again
but it will take a week of hard
pulling by the orange tree
and the crippled pomegranate
tree and the drowned grass
the endless rain’s intimate life
left in the patterns of debris
long carrying and locating
and so exactly setting down
each of the earth’s lost things

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Marital Valentine

Old man fear
and old lady anxiety
walked out of a bar one day
I heard fear say
mind if I spend the night
sure if the couch is OK
how fear do snore
gives anxiety frights
you just can’t get anything
done with these people
who refuse to love he say
anxiety snuggles closer
fear gets kind of excited but
it’s not love if you force her

September Valentine

This morning Christ
showed me snails
to stare at I must
look them up tiny
flat pin-wheel
bits of mahogany
stately planetary
in their movements
one of which I pulverized
into a black hole’s
accidental crunch
a dissipating dust-storm
while the several others
around it sailed on
across the patio ocean
as if mindful of some
destiny or port

Friday, September 5, 2014

Illusory Valentine

Trapped in the cul-de-sac
of self I would have had
to end myself is that
the emergency I’ve arrested
or who am I living for
pretending death absolves me
from the sin of life alone
when only a further aloneness
waits at the end of alone
my death would be inconclusive
if I’ve not died to myself
not thought through death to see
there is no life alone
no more than death can be

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Innocent Valentine

I had to kill myself
in self-defense
that’s why it wasn’t
murder I was merely
defending myself
against myself
when all I wanted
was surrender
not defeat but
room made to
hold something
new to sunder
and complete

The Future Hovers in the Air Above Us Valentine

The ancient mysteries
were all about the future
the skeletons of the virgins
they knew they’d find there
no tumulus left unturned
as if we dug up the bones
of our own former lives
blunt force trauma
every creature
needs a body
a vessel a tool
to animate
even God had to
become a parent
to prove he existed
to love his son

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hart's Valentine

If in despair of outer life
hopeless into the helpless sea
one leaps one night
will a drop be missed
if the soul forgets it too exists
startled to find flesh and bones
merely a fashionable garment
discarded on the shore next day
useless to try to get away
and yes death is the problem
but more death is not the way
how we are killing one another
and ourselves because we make
a religion of the body believing
it’s all over when it ends