Friday, October 31, 2014

Graveyard Valentine

In that place
where poems were once found
even those never written down
on earth in books
or carried by windy voices
across temporary landscapes
you first tried to dig them up
to get them to grow
around your house
but slowly they withered
missing their native ground
or never made it past winter
all but for this one
fall crocus you carry
in your throat

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pre-Existing Valentine

Eventually after time
you catch up to evolution
and realize it was only another
wayside on the road you drive
past not wanting to stop
seeing the progress made
was only the result of repeating
every major mistake
several times in each era
from the beginning
painstakingly perfecting
our bodies the world which
continue forever once set
in motion out of the germ
of either serving the purposes
of bad ideas or slowly waking up

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Waking Valentine

How can a bed
make me laugh
or a chair pick
a quarrel with
me or a wall
tell me off
and all this
before I even
leave the bedroom
but still I come
dragging the dregs
of my dreams
behind me
into this magical
nightmare world

Postal Valentine

My new mailperson
is a tall black woman
all the dogs bark
at her as she makes
her swift way
down one street
and up another
it’s embarrassing
to see her treated
thus after so
many centuries
especially since
she sometimes brings
something long
waited for or word
you’re still
in this world

Monday, October 27, 2014

Hibiscus Valentine

What if your name was Sunny Wind
and mine was San Diego Red
and we grew up together
our backs against the same
pale pink stucco of the house
next door blooming continuously
except in winter but through
the hell of summer even
so it would be a kind of coupling
to grow closer over the years
our roots almost touching
our flowers red and yellow
opening and overlapping
often I would think

By Now Valentine

The spectral appearance
of a conscience in our mind’s play
proves we are animals
who know better about the slow
re-divinization of all things
what we call evolution that
having gotten to the bottom of the hill
to propose new towns based on
the architecture of ascent
a carting out of fear and hate
to the dump of homeless history
to stop pretending we don’t know
one another and haven’t been
in love at one time or another
with everyone in the world

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Familial Valentine

Strange being related
to the same strange people
and everyone else
is a stranger
how could we be
in the same family
though we look like
the old faces
in the old pictures
we let our looks
deceive us into thinking
we’re different on
the inside and that
we’re not related
to the same
strange beings

Saturday, October 25, 2014

All Parents Are Selfish Valentine

Sometimes we must become parents
to correct our parents’ mistakes
to show them what we really needed
by giving it to our own child
because what else do we know to give
even if it’s not what our own
particular child may need
isn’t it a required part of childhood
not to get something important
you needed until the question becomes
what are you going to do about it
now that you’re in charge that is
if you think about your life in halves
the first half you have no experience
and therefore no defenses
which you must slowly mount
but in the second half
you try to turn all that around
if you’ve understood anything at all
and give your life away

In Autumn Time Becomes Spacey Valentine

Certainly death is the past
what we see all around us
but the past is not dead
it is half-living
in the present
and through memory
since the true present
is divided about that
half-forgetful and
beginning to lean into new
knowledge clusters
for example my abstract
heart that can only
love you from its future

Friday, October 24, 2014

Body’s Valentine

Amazing at seventy to recognize
myself in everything around me
all the direct result of thoughts
I had forty years ago
and forty years before that
when I was planning my birthday
to fall at the height of the war
my descending soul pushed
past those ascending hordes
from the battle-fields and prisons
in everything there’s a point
where you turn and look back
not with yearning or regret
like at birth or at death
but with a heart past harm
in the body of the earth

My Wish Came True Valentine

It is the simple otherness of others
which dazzles us that there could be
endless divagations on the theme
of one original note itself
a friendly nudge from
an even older otherness
I sweep up the day
before the day sweeps me
a fly right now sleeps
on the corner of my book
steady as I write this
and four trees down
a mockingbird explains
enthusiasm over and over
it’s October my favorite
mornings start showing up
either sobbing or chuckling
who unbuckle me
and leave me other

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Body Is Always The Victim Valentine

At 3:33 in the afternoon
the neighbor’s chainsaw went off
when I just happened to look up
at the clock as I always do
at that time hearing the screams
and then the blocks of wood
getting stacked under the lean-to
the old people had to travel south
the best way to beat the winter
they founded no great cities
but preferred hiking and camping
and who can blame them now
we can see who loves the land
knows it can’t be raped

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sophoclean Valentine

He imagined the gods
must feel as frustrated
as we do with our
low morale and
failure to commit
to our lives we’re
like the actor who
can’t surrender
to the character he
plays or the parent
who rejects the child
who rejects this life
too big to fail but
does its failing for it

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Wishful Valentine

Sometimes I wish
I still had access
to your body but
as only you have
access to it always
freely and objectively
holding it from within
as a life of breathing air
but not always perceiving
thoughts as precepts
outside sensation
as one column of proud skin
and bones with flesh
arranged without sin
command me access
once again

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mid-October Valentine

I suppose these leaves seemed real enough
back in the spring just starting out
enthused as any human failure
or maybe it was just the greenness
that made them seem so brave
and eager to succeed but now they all
go over to the merely beautiful
and fall though the wind works them
wonderfully to some further flight
one I closely followed to the corner so
aerodynamically correctly it was formed
until it snagged in the naked thorns
of a bridal wreath beside a dead garage
all dying is beautiful and money to be made
carting city folks out to watch the blood
flow and the gold and yellow that is
a style of glory sailing out for miles
into the Sunday air with peace its prize


Some crazy kid has graffiti-ed half the sky
with pinkish streamers out behind
his mother’s crocheted trees and fog
but he has long since come and gone
his father’s milking ghost-cows in the white
dream that used to be a barn
nothing you almost see is real except the pond
shivering quietly between surrender
and three small koi - let this be my postcard
with that red bush a fiery furnace in color
if not in flame one detail in the burning
of the world that happens to be staring
straight at me from far across the hill
I want my mind to be that empty field
it borders shorn to stubble by some lucky
farmer’s last bales stashed in the new barn
he and all his family gone to celebrate in town


In the last field the blueberry bushes
stand naked in the setting sun
I tiptoe past it’s so quiet curious for
the clearing I know must be nearby
it’s hard to be a poet in search of
new words for this loneliness
the little stream chattering  go away
every tree a door slammed in my face
the whole earth a disappointed lover
the sun saying well don’t look at me
yes yes you’re right of course I plead
let me just sit here in the silence
one more time we don’t have to speak
often I try to remember how it happened
as if it was just one particular day
one moment in the night I knew
I could no longer see your face
no matter how much time we have
we can’t go back there can’t revisit
what no longer lives I love you
think about it will you so will I

To Do Valentine

When in doubt
when in fear
when in love
while sinking
yes this will
save the world
but no one
will believe me
but when you reach
the bottom of the earth
it’s a question
how much of it
you’ve got
with you still

Familial Valentine

Even days have families
they go home to once
in a mood stuck in
the past but worth it
for the preservation of a grin
even if only half a tear
gets produced on my Broadway
as a full length tragedy
some days are not like the old Greeks
who lived their sins on stage
and went home cleansed
some days were orphans
who reunited with their parents
late in the sunny afternoon
some nights were happy too

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One Morning After Childhood Valentine

One morning after childhood
the mosquitoes were just gone
and childhood returned and I
could run right outside
without fear of being devoured
by those piranha of the air
it was like the barbarians
and in fact no one was coming
so the sun could stretch out fully
over the cool flesh of the grass
mostly weeds the way flesh
is mostly desire a part of
the will of the world
in which for a few moments
I felt completely secure
ridiculously secure

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Evolutionary Valentine

Maybe our lungs would like
to become our ears someday
and our eyes would like to become
our brains and our brains dream
of having their own souls the way
I dream of becoming you
someone whose heart
has a clarifying effect
on all its objects and worlds
but if our memories
are all we know and are
then pain must be what’s past
and laughter our future

Friday, October 17, 2014

First Valentine

My first valentine taught me
the world presupposes love
as a pre-existing condition
for which the world is merely
a symptom a temporary virus
or fever in the blood
after which the patient
tries to be his own doctor
tries to cure the wound of love
with world after world of war
and worry but it won’t work
it’s a murder story in which
love is the motive and the means
the world just offers the scenes

Eurydice’s Valentine

The theme of the day is OK
but is there actual thinking going on
or is it down the road somewhere
in the clarity of the clean-up
in the happiness of the survival
and yet we are always
following some thought disguised
as a forest or a building’s view
or rain or a body the way
she followed him around
like a puppy though she knew
he would leave her stranded
like a thought in a fog in the end

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Hierarchy of Valentines

More important than the body
is the soul more important than
the soul is the spirit more important
than the spirit is the personality
more important than the personality
is time more important than time
is space more important than space
is warmth more important than
warmth is wisdom more important
than wisdom is mastery more
important than mastery is harmony
more important than harmony
is love more important than love
is courage more important than
courage is suffering more important
than suffering is peace

Midnight Valentine

When at death my thoughts go out
striving to unite with the highest beings
and my will strives to preserve itself
and come to itself free of those beings
until at a corner out of time
each to the other hands his task
surrenders to the other his deepest longing
in preparation for my coming birth

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Starving Valentine

So many places I’d love
to see but I don’t want
to do what you have to do
to get there but then that’s just
bullshit because wherever you
are you’re sitting or waiting
with your life and luggage
in  your hands with those two
the known and the still hiding
waiting to be known beside you
we who are starving for the future
waiting for us the table there
the food getting cold

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Nashville Daybreak Valentine

You may think it’s over
a thing of the past
but I’m coming for your ass
you may have completely forgotten
lost track felt rotten
fell drunken on the grass
but I’m coming for your ass
you may have cruised to town
crawled back with nothing found
you may have thought you drowned
and did until I saved your ass
now you are past
but I’m still coming for your ass

Sudden Fall Valentine

What I want to remember
about memory is how small
everything becomes inside it
in comparison to the universe
outside it was an intimate corner
on the way to a new perspective
only possible well after the fact
the fact of your face against
the evening of memory
when the earth leaves
memory will leave with it
finally Persephone didn’t need
to be taken but ran eagerly
into the arms of Hades

Monday, October 13, 2014

His Love Valentine

He had a long love
at the end of his love
he was the love of the party
he had such love in him
he began love in a small city
but his love was in the country
among his love goals
was to love in Andalusia
love treated him harshly
as it does those it loves
what was it about his love
that attracted more love to him
when the love he led
never included enough travel

Abandoned Orchard at West Fork Valentine

Imagine walking through an orchard
of this year’s thoughts some of course
rotting on the ground ‘the falls’
the real apple-pickers call them or others
like my oranges still green and hard
hanging there without a care in the world
then the old heirloom not-pretty thoughts
which survive for only a few days
before their lilt and piquancy
starts to sour and brown
or have I made too much here
of how fall selects its best
to savor on your tongue
and then stands there quietly
waiting for you to do the same