Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spring Valentine

Old man still hungry
for the flesh –
red pomegranate buds
what is it about spring
makes you feel homesick
at home in your own skin
the world itself your first
impressionist painting –
until the gnats return
‘I’m through with love’
playing on the box – distant
sirens and orange blossoms
strewn on the sidewalk
as if you were getting married
to the world or yourself

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Day Before Valentine

The day before the attack
was a lovely sunny day
though we could hear the storm
not far away somehow we forgot
about it the sun seemed lovelier
by the hour we were lost in our work
or power or playing with the bodies
of others but the storm was growing
huger by the hour a small flock
of mourning doves nesting in the tower
took off there were signs and wonders
but the night was even lovelier than the day
the storm seemed even further away

Spring Baptism Valentine

Among plants the flower
represents the soul
that blissful place between
despair and vegetation
so thoughts are seen as green
on this side of the explanation
and each plant is just a thought
but can a thought exist alone
can it rise above itself
can it float over Europe
China and the Americas
can it get behind blue’s
calm and consolation
to where its love inspires
the sun’s compensation

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Arguing Valentine

Two old cats
rolling in the grass
one feline one human
licking the dew
from you
pink tongues
our ideas have ruined us
says the black and white one
yeah like that one
our ideas have saved us
says the other black and white one
yeah like this one
together all this time
just to get through
to you

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Refilled Valentine

Chewing its way again
around the world
the snail moon
the tree’s shadow
says it’s three of a lawn
where was I supposed to be
the last few hours of sunlight
burnish the breasts
of resting finches
slowly the larger birds
notice the commotion
refilled feeder
still waiting their turn
the tree is full of birds
the day has flown

When Valentine

When the birds are all gone
when you can still smell the orange blossoms
who will carry our songs
when the first green comes on
like the first wet dreams returning
to the scene of the crime
when the only crime is
the idea of a crime
(then there are only crimes)
when you can hear the trees
breathing their last breaths
holding on to their dead leaves
for dear life only then when
it’s too late to learn

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Novalis's Valentine

'The truly moral person is a poet’
but not every poet is a truly
moral person perhaps he speaks
of a higher poetry whose lines
are human work and actual
words that rhyme with reality
whatever that’s imagined to be
implying true morality is artful
free and open to the mystery
of the unknown unknowability
that may yet speak to us
from some remote location
deep within the text
where truth and time are one
in words’ annihilation

Monday, February 23, 2015

Feline Valentine

The mockingbird glares
down at the dozing cat
spring enters cautiously
our ancient migrant life
sleeping under the star-roof
too bright to sleep
the cat knows I’m
no match for her
it starts to rain
she takes advantage
of the rain to lick
the sunlight clean
in animals we see
what we could have been
if we quit being everything else

Haiku Sonnet Valentine

Too few breaks
in the clouds to be
completely happy
tailwinds going
headwinds coming back
stay home today
if you look
or even if you don’t look
there’s a haiku in everything
at seventy I see
everything lives for
just one day
if the sparrows return
to the hole above my door
there’s still hope for me

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Credo Valentine

My God is a chuckling God
a weeping God a passionate
God who goes about his business
which is certainly not only us
earth-creatures buried deep
in his tympanum like an ache
often lately I catch him coming
and going from the pomegranate tree
where he’s chewed out a hole
in the trunk for a nest or cave
even if we were to become every man
woman child plant and animal
on this planet and to succeed
it would still not be enough
then would the real work begin
that’s how harsh he is –
I did it now it’s your turn
but because I did it
you can see how it’s done

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Happiness Valentine

Where would we be
without our anxiety
who else reminds me
of my vulnerability
my insufficiency
happiness is a drug
best taken infrequently
unhappy happiness
hanging on just a few words
or a few breaths
so huge the world
cannot hold it long
but it comes and goes
like summer

Friday, February 20, 2015

Warming Valentine

Give the seals
a home they
can rely on
they are social
running out
once a habitat
of cash
melting like sea ice
let’s make sure
that happens
that horizon

Designer Terror Valentine

Luxury watches
us but time
serves anyone
secondary or tertiary
lives of glamorous
poverty unseen
style is us
you can see it
in the way we kill
if the carpet isn’t red
before we come
it is when we go

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Morning Diction Valentine

It’s no coincidence hair cut day
is yard trimming day
I and my garden are one
indivisible overgrown mess
but this morning I tried to imagine
our relationship after my
consignment to the compost heap
would it go on with the same arguments
between chrysanthemums and hollyhocks
or settle down with an occasional tomato
a friend has weeds
growing in his liver
that will overthrow his plot
I bring him a sprig
of orange blossoms
to inhale as he goes out

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

On the Fourth Day Valentine

Your brilliant red tulips
already you sense some sadness
flowers can be very emotional
opened as usual into cups
but could go no further
slowly they turned blue
losing none of their jauntiness
or uprightness you notice
as they entered my painting
where they knew death
would never completely find them
the only problem being
holding their redness against
that blue bruising almost
overtaking them

Ashen Valentine

Real life is coming out from hiding from yourself
but how much can be revealed of anyone
no one could quite contain it all
doesn’t it take the same amount of courage
to oppose reason as it does to express it
something further distinguishes
one (Ash) Wednesday from another
you still walk home with the mark of Cain
on your forehead wrecking your anonymity
you still feel like your life is like
being on probation for life
like you just destroyed your perfect
reputation with yourself
indulged your weakness for attention
felt the moment life entered you
and your death running to meet it 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Love Beach Valentine (for Jess)

We are creatures of the sun and sea
carried far from our native homes
slaves to our lives and daily dreams
at last to return to this lovely beach
to swim and lie in this angle of sun
not because we think heaven will
in any recognizable way resemble
this escape this respite from the work
of living in this worrisome world
but just to rest in the sand and recall
the fun and terror of younger days
what were they for if we could
forget them here where the blue
is blue again and the green is just
being born and the yellow
forever goes on and on

Monday, February 16, 2015

Conditional Valentine

What piece of furniture
what human body
is still in good condition
after a hundred years
the furniture is just a skeleton
from a once vast forest
the human body is just a skeleton
from a once vast star-field
take this French oak wardrobe
from the early 1800’s I like
to think Pascal traveling to Paris
once noticed the fine tree it was
stripped of its leaves and
shivering in the February sun
now its shelves and three doors
house a big screen television

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Marital Valentine

The really important marriage
no one ever talks about in public
the one between the heart
and the head where divorce
is the real death for both
and yet they’re always arguing
insecure fundamentally often
disrespectful of one another
rather than admitting
neither knows what’s really
going on but I thought
you knew and now what
the hell will we will to do
but learn to live with you

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine’s Valentine

Four birds high up in the blue
going round and round
on the thermals of love
which the earth gives off
on this one day dedicated
to love they are arguing
about which direction
love should take in our time
which if you believe in
the body can only grow
more desperately in love
with itself and the soul
more and more convinced
when you love one person
you love the whole world

Friday, February 13, 2015

Beginning Is the Goal Valentine

I keep trying to get
back to reality somehow
as if I would know
him if I saw him how he’s
changed and actually
gotten younger I saw
that immediately he
was still hurt I had
betrayed him
laughed in his face
time and again
but what was I to do
he just kept coming
and coming at me
in the end I had to
defend myself and only
one of us could win

Monastic Valentine

I know a little
about the inside
he knows a little
about the outside
we are both half-
blind or like the builder
and the one who hands
him the bricks
or like lovers who
recognize the inspiration
of opposition but what
does Mt. Athos want
to look in to the Christ
of the past or outside
to the Christ of the future
only the inside
could ask such a question
only the outside
could answer

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dreamed Valentine

Already now at seventy
it’s finally time to wake up
admit you lied throughout your
childhood to protect yourself
and through your twenties stole
your feelings from people around
you exiling yourself to a small
wooded area for your thirties
still unclear what the body’s for
and the child a victim of love
at last entering the adolescence
of your fifties on the street
of the second wife pissing
the lost-found years of your sixties
recovering and not recovering
even unto your seventieth year
finally finally time to wake up

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Spatial Valentine

If I could go
from this small yard
to that far star
as I can in one
great leap over dis-
belief lifting rocket-
like from the common
ground of sense
into its rays of light
stand in their midst
and look back here
from there would I
see the mechanism
clearer would I hear
the wheels churning
of consciousness

Returning Valentine

In a way you could say
being spiritual wasn’t enough
for us we wanted our freedom too
we wanted to be alone
with our own personal lives
our own peculiarities and
delusional systems inch by inch
feeling our way through
the labyrinth of matter
what if these bodies are just
provisional sketches rough
drafts of fragmentary figures
for a beautiful future return
when we’ve learned to live together
in one body and one mind again

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Schooled Valentine

The day we are born
is cause for mourning school
of ontological oncology      
so lyrically sung by Leopardi
and so ably taken up by
Baudelaire and Poe
Rimbaud and Beckett
that whole splenetic stream
of soaring music’s sorrowing dream
seems to me now such an overreaction
to the simple clarity of Novalis
whose thoughts open like flames
eating away the material world’s
thick overlay of spirit light
I imagine the great thinkers
in conversation with one another
over the centuries in the mystery
schools of intense emotions
but in his sun-lit words I feel
a healing magic at work still

Monday, February 9, 2015

Dark Hours Valentine

By humanizing the gods too much
by dragging them down to our level
we wound up losing faith in them
and eventually in existence itself
since they are the same thing
or nothing in the end and though
we believe in the elegance
of a simple theory for everything
the idea that things seen
originate in things unseen
still seems too easy a thought
to follow far but if we exclude
from the outset half the indications
of light how will we ever get to
some real seeing after all

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Seriously Valentine

What do you want
to do with the time
you have left isn’t that
always the question
I want to pick
a few oranges
and drink their
juice I want to
clear that corner
and plant something
new that climbs
like crazy with
bloom when you
first step out
it amazes everyone
who sees it

Singing Valentine

In the perfect song
there is a ship
with a king and
a queen your
two eyes sitting
at the helm
looking out over
all of time
while the sails
your soul
against God
the bright wind
refusing all harbors
heads out into
the open sea
of the last afternoon
with its cargo
of sorrow
and love

Friday, February 6, 2015

Only 14% of Philosophers Valentine

Aren’t you too really sick and tired
of the confused and silly arguments
between science and religion
over the last one thousand years
when religion isn’t about making
the world better but making
yourself better owning your
own imperfections your own
unwillingness to love
which is why there are no
true religions anymore only
social groups posing as religions
like material science pretending
it has all the answers as if
belief in a method that is
always proving itself wrong
in some important matter
isn’t a religion save me save me
a true religion is scientific
and values knowledge
as much as faith
and a true science stays
open to the numinous
and the imponderable
and the human as humorous
now can I please have an amen