Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Now We Get To Practice Our Fives Valentine

To be safe and be respected
was all we ever wanted
as creatures of the earth
not to be influenced by death
if life could not be truly lived
‘I can’t take it anymore’ scrawled
in ruby lipstick on the mirror
how go on in blindness illness
depending your whole life
on a certain sense of self-control
no longer to be counted on to show up
at the corner of thought and feeling
at midnight in the village
of conscience and couth

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Mysterious Valentine

If you give yourself up
easier said than done
you will receive everything else
this can be a gradual process
or happen overnight
but still hardly anyone
is willing to take the deal
it feels like buying a bridge
for a few colored beads
above all no one wants
to be taken for a fool
to be laughed at and made
to feel small enough to be
in him as he is in us all

Monday, December 29, 2014

God Is the Most Imperfect of All Valentine

To survive in this world
I was telling myself
you have to act like someone
or something is out to kill you
as I jerked the old mower
around my postage stamp lawn
but suddenly I remembered
a God would have had to think
through every one of these kinds
of thoughts before even qualifying
he would have had to fail
every human being in existence
just to get into the finals
he would have imagined all the details
of his arrival and his departure
and then he would just have to do it

Auld Lang Syne Valentine

Wasn’t Frankenstein’s glittering
condominium on 5th Street
in the 70’s before he
moved back to Pennsylvania
and became that assemblyman
who wrote a book called
‘The Book of the Dead’
which was simply an endless
list of numbers of the dead
in different categories
in small print for thousands
of pages the numbers alone
were astonishing and tiring
the only book everyone had read
but no one seems to have finished

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Feast of the Holy Innocents Valentine

The Christmas after the house
got broken into I went looking
for that clay nativity scene
I bought in Mexico years ago
and realized it was one of the things
they took among several
odd things to steal some early
color polaroids of us one of
our toilet seats and three
cheap and useless watches
maybe they were aliens
seeking souvenirs of things
one only finds on earth

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Winter Is Its Own Army Valentine

At 8:32 a brilliant
trapezoid of sunlight
enters the dining-room
sits down at the head
of the table a fork
in one hand a knife
in the other waiting
to be served of course
our bodies will do
fever-warmed and
topped with a dollop
of unsalted sleep
our master our slave
our teacher we save

Friday, December 26, 2014

St. Stephen’s Valentine

What you don’t think about enough
the 45 million people in the air above you
or the 90 million under your feet
that could be a question of blood flow
at any given hour
everyone blames the ocean
but it was the fault-line’s fault
my car has lost its stealth
I was home for Christmas
but Christmas was not home for me
my home is in the stars
to each one his own star
what was true once
preserved in relevant texts
is true again for one night only
even otters hold hands
rowing against the dark

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Prospective Valentine

A hole appears
where there was once
an attachment

it’s called a belly-
button untethered
window to a former
wall a massive gap
in the demolition
of the future
cables in the concrete
how will we support
the doors left open
to the stars
how plant here
a new plan

Bhagavad Valentine

As we well know no one
is in anyone else’s exact same
position in space and time
this is how he would talk to me
mild-tempered as a summer annual
and we would sit through centuries
how can you live with just
an afternoon as your friend
I would lob that back at him
I say him but I mean layers
and layers of identical faces
like skulls or ranks of angels
each glowing like a son of a gun
and coming straight at me

Friday, December 19, 2014

Days of 2014 Valentine

The secrets are all washed and dried now
some need pressing the rest are
ready-to-wear I had no idea
they could be cleaned up so well
I remember wringer washing machines
hanging the heavy secrets out on the line
in winter stiff as boards freeze-dried
I can’t believe I’m telling you this
it must be the power of secrets
to camouflage themselves as memories
when the only real secret is that
there are no secrets at all
everything is right out there in the open
but most of it passes for crisp white linens
or underwear hanging on a line

Thursday, December 18, 2014

St. Samuel’s Valentine

The one star visible
above the city tonight
thinks it’s the only one
who doesn’t go far enough
like Samuel Beckett
who stood with one foot
in the Old Testament the Torah
and the other in warmed-over
Protestantism ‘harshing
his mellow’ as the smokers
put it to us what’s wrong
with pleasure is that we take it
at others’ expense and think
we can get into heaven without
ever getting stoned ourselves

Still An Apprentice Valentine

Like the first line of a poem
he rushed into the restaurant
still in his pajamas dreaming
look the sun has come out
from a dark mountainous sky
to warm my back for a moment
I knew you loved me
the things of the world
insert here in the waist
of the poem we’ll need them later
when we have finally
grasped the gleam on the roof
another scrap of the Logos
but also my lover
as he came to the end
of the cross of the poem
and said to me smiling
the risk itself
the lines

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Some Questions and a Hummingbird Valentine

What does the hummingbird see
when it pulls back the blur to observe
how the world is built up
life by life and leaf by leaf
which even if only in decaying
adds something to the earth
the presence of time clocks in
usually involving a weapon
or at least a triggering descent
abandoned by its leaves
the flowers of the desert rose
bloom tall pink-flamed
candles in the cold yard
naked as a newborn

Island Valentine

Is it true thinking stands
at the center of the world
at the center of our reality
is all we have our thoughts
words like kayaks we paddle out on
close to the water like a sports car
let’s row out to that island of thinking
against the tide of the already-thought
the force of the dead waves
that drive hard upon us
so a note of terror is introduced
that we might not make it
that we certainly won’t make it
at which the heart just laughs and rows

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent Valentine

And the lives that depend
on growing grass in the desert
draining the aquifers to keep
golf courses green as it gets
naturally in the east or Midwest
whose future races will look back
in horror at the profligacy
with which we crucified the earth
but sooner or later even the earth
has to die at least the physical part
by which I mean no excuse for
hastening it along unless perhaps
it’s brain-dead already and
in a permanently vegetative state
and we are only turning off the machines

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Dazzled Valentine

You can walk out of a room
and walk right back in later
and immediately know something for sure
like that knowledge had been waiting
for your return knowing
you would return and that
you’d get it all at once surprised
by the certainty of your knowing
and dazzled a little by its
sudden appearance as if it
could lend you some of its brilliance
and deftness in passing
wherever thoughts come from
stones in which stutters a stream

The Etheric Body of the Poem Valentine

I tried to save you
but it didn’t work
did I think you
would save me
and that’s why
it didn’t work
you couldn’t either
you couldn’t say why
you didn’t want
to have to try
easier to let it
die that’s why
how can there
be sorrow
after Christ
and yet I cry

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Last valentine

On the day you left me
I discovered Nicanor Parra
I was torn like a dog
through garbage
one side of me was dying for you
while the other wanted to live
just to be able to read more Parra
and to laugh at each of his poems
while still crying more
and more feeling sorry
for you knowing how much
you will miss me
while I’ll always have Parra
laughter and coffee con leche please

Friday, December 12, 2014

Vine’s Valentine

How undo the vine
of my mistakes
now a tangled mess
woven tightly to the trellis
half-dead with yet new tendrils
reaching out frantically
for some new foothold
long past their flowering
my mistakes stayed green
and thriving though yes
brown now so I can take
each leaf and crumple it
in my hands to dust
which I refuse to do

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Line's Valentine

Like a line of chalk across
a blue board the plane’s
trail like the one the teacher
drew on the first day of school
and can you after fifty years
still draw a straight line
morally speaking that’s
our problem we’re terrified
of making mistakes possible
failure is coming down
the pike with me in mind
but no one will be held accountable
because no one will say ‘I was wrong’
while everyone is most of the time

Unconditional Valentine

I get all worked up
because you won’t
make up your mind
whether to live or die
you keep making
conditions and then
getting tired of the terms
and that unconditional love
you keep talking about
is what you have to
bring to life not what
you can expect life
to bestow on you
just for being here

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bedime Valentine

Now I have lived long enough
and gone through my personal piece
of commonplace and amazing events
I can sit out under the stars alone
and imagine a million different
situations going on at any one time
all over the world I never feel
more alive than when I watch
these random pictures of things
going on in the world in my mind
scenes of totally unnecessary cruelty
next to quiet scenes of ordinary life
like pages turning in a story book
read by a child fighting sleep

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The End of Sex Valentine

You have to come to the end
of sex to see that it has
nothing to do with love
which can only begin
where the sex leaves off
where as much as humanly
possible human desire dies
into something not physical
and not about you
something more important
than you inconceivably
more important than you
but which has come to you
and has given you all of itself

Crusty Valentine

The way we lie in the snow
to make angels is the way

the angels lie in the clouds
to make humans
and float them down
to the streets of the earth
perhaps more obvious
in winter outlined in snow
crusty bundles making
their way back to the place
they were born those blue
fields stretching so far out
with their armies of angels
their armies of men

Monday, December 8, 2014

Gone Valentine

All day I searched
for the poem that
stray cat I did
the dishes while I
waited I danced
to my favorite song
but then I lost it
I forced myself
to stop crying inside
I couldn’t find you
anywhere anyone
and now here you are
poem right under
my nose actually
perched there
like my glasses

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Winter Valentine

Like the roof of the world
falls in and then  it snows
the walls still standing barely
but the windows blown out
so grass will grow indoors
come the green time again
slowly rebuilding the walls
each summer but running out
of money for a new roof by fall
and then it snows on the grass indoors
just like I told you it would
but we need the snow to shut us up
in our houses from which we run
screaming into the fields to hear
if love or spring is near

Abandoned Pile of Leaves Valentine

I tried to explain my death to myself
by going out and raking leaves
but myself just doesn’t get it
you can’t mean this dumb metaphor
of a million lives swept away
and mine just one among them
lives beautiful but never to be known
if all you have is a big yellow pile
of days to be carried to the compost
here’s my contribution to the life
of the future in which I take
my millionth part myself said
I don’t want your pity
I just want to live in New York City
that’s not what I meant
you never listen to me
I said I had to abandon
a pile of leaves half-raked
to write my death for you

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Difference Between Art and Life Is Only Apparent Valentine

If you won’t let the painter
into the painting
how will you get
the painting out of the painter
what paintings would exist
without this essential confusion
merely a trope for the world
inasmuch as painting seeks
a universal audience of one
isn’t it always some lack
that painting speaks to
the lack of you
the luck of you (just say it)
the fuck of you too

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Waiting Valentine

In the stillness after the rain
Christ could come again
or at least the B train
that runs past Mayakovski St.
which is albeit a longer route
past the History of Religion shop
with its finest cheese and wines
it must be the rain
has me driveling again
listening to the stillness
after the rain waiting
for the final drop
of love to fall
stillest of all

Experimental Valentine

As a meditative research project
I’ve decided to grow zinnias indoors
through the winter in my sunniest
window and since they’re
in a movable pot taking
them outside on good days
if the temperature allows
already about twenty have sprouted
from seeds saved for six years
into their third set of (true) leaves
I wonder if they’ll get full size
under these household conditions
coddled and watched against nature
forced to bloom by opposite stars

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Teasing Valentine

While my tea steeps
I write you from the brink
of disaster it’s a quiet
afternoon often I am
falling toward love but
suddenly I’m rescued
who asked you lord
to save me you or your
minions who operate
the levers just teasing God
I love teasing God
I say you’re not all that
I mean it’s not as if we’ve
never had Gods before
never known self-importance

Yoko's Valentine

I think if you look
at the general condition
of women in the world
at any given moment
you can get a true picture
of the moral development
of the human heart
struggling under the boot
of bullying intellect
love gets as far as the door
before it’s pulled back in
another war breaks out
among the men as if
a woman could be owned
as if the earth itself
could be owned and kept

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Universal Valentine

The forks with their legs crossed
cuddling next to their husbands
the knives their larger daughter
spoons matronly with several
smaller studious ones astride
in a drawer in every house
in the world but what animal
does it so well so how
did it happen the very thing
that would heal our hell
is the thing most hated
confused curious thing of all
that the heart is really a knot
tied so tight have you ever
tried to untie such a knot
in the freezing cold
with your bare fingers
as if your life depended on it