Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Line’s Valentine

Contrails and starving clouds
playing x’s and o’s
will nature win
or man the skies
a line is drawn across the blue
let’s have a game
let’s have another game
or is the world a table spread
with the fruits of other lives
which will all be eaten
though we laughed
at the thought of his body
and blood it will all
be eaten in the end

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Smiling Valentine

What good is art
that can only show us
what life looks like now
not who we’ve been
or where we’re going
are we better I mean
at dying or fear because
of Hamlet or Lear
have we learned to love
not as feeling but as deed
because of Juliet or Desdemona
or do we merely
lease a love as need
from that other Lisa Mona

Blue Flower’s Valentine

Every morning two or three
small blue morning glory flowers
appear among the fading seeding
orange and yellow nasturtiums
almost more a pale lilac color
with five purple stripes running
down each corner brilliant yellow
stamens standing in the center
like many others they can endure
only a solitary day on earth
like that immortality-bestowing
plant Gilgamesh dove into the sea
to fetch and bring to the surface
(he would need it to find his friend)
but it was only his for one night
before a serpent ate it while he slept
so his long life passed in a single day
waiting for that blue to come again

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Something’s Valentine

Between the child screaming loudly
across the street and my neighbor
across the alley banging on his car
between the shadow falling vertically
down the wall of a bird flying
horizontally over the house
between the riots on the television
and the riots in my heart
between the parched hollyhock
lifting its first red flowers
and the empty taxi cab
sleeping off its metered hours
there was something about today
I wanted to say that never changes
between you and me

Each Leaf’s Valentine

If each leaf is a little self
each tree is a civilization
undergoing waves of reconstruction
followed by waves of sudden exodus
with an intervening period of
calm and inspiring consolidation
and followed by a period of
mind-numbing leveling snow
but we never see the original leaf
from which all the others
as rainy variations grow
out of its purely musical theme
to know if it’s a symphony of joy
or a march of endless grief

Monday, April 27, 2015

Amazing Valentine

I love strawberries but
I love raspberries more
and blueberries more than
that and lingonberries more
than that and elderberries
more and cranberries more
but my favorite is the grape
which like the tomato and
the pumpkin which I love more
we don’t think of as berries
I suggest we just substitute
the word ‘amazing’ for ‘berries’
how cleverly they plant in us
the seeds embedded in their flesh
that we too be ‘amazing’

Freddy’s Valentine

Freddy is a feral cat
that special breed of cat
who lives alone and loves
to roam freely homelessly
he does not want a home
he emphatically rejects
the whole idea of home
of comfortably abandoning
adventure surrendering
to thinking everything over
trying to weave it all together
his philosophy is no philosophy
he’s sure the earth is too insecure
a place to settle down

Anti-Demonic Valentine

No one should be made to feel
awful about themselves
isn’t that the real demonic
and yet we all do at times
for innumerable reasons
experience nothingness
as a possible option
or pre-existing condition
to which we’ll return in time
but think of the other planets
even grandmother moon
and her ambitious son the sun
as older siblings who run on
ahead of us and yet are waiting
in their amazing bodies of light
for us to catch up to them

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Storm Bird’s Valentine

Birds observe storms I observe
both above them and below
from the distance and the depths
the infant storms just being born
free range dust-devils
practicing their pirouettes
and the gray-bearded tornadoes
that eat sparrows like grain
they all disappear before the rain
into the labyrinths of the hedgerows
or out-fly their threadbare nets
cast languidly over the laggard hills
yet it’s these storms they owe
for carrying the bodies of their songs
out beyond all the stars we know

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cursive Valentine

My parent’s penmanship
was perfect but now extinct
though sometimes my mother’s
words were just beautiful flowing
letters strung together to look
like words on their last track
and then the shapes would shrink
and blur and slowly fade away
which was what she wanted
my father to do only ASAP
meanwhile his supple cursive
was hardly ever on display
so in the end all he could write
even if not without a fight
was his own name but perfectly

Old Valentine

How the young man’s wisdom
segues into the old man’s foolishness
for those young men who live
to see it land in their own backyards
Icarus flapping his wings for years
till flight did happen
who couldn’t wait to grow old
but embraced death easily
as the genius part of the earth
the overcoming of the fear of
felt to be the point and
purpose of the flight
otherwise confined
to dreams and fancy
but now set free
by day and night

Friday, April 24, 2015

Storm’s Valentine

The storm is coming
we were often told of course
but it never came
once a few drops fell
and we said yes alright
let it rip but that was all
so we quit listening
until one morning again
a few small drops fell
then equally a few more
picking up speed and volume now
you could smell the trees sighing
under the lashing that ensued
pounding down louder and louder
you could feel the scary weight of it
four freight trains falling from the sky
I thought my house would break
and float away and then it did
roaring and crashing a river
swept us to the end of the world
it looked like Babylon we wept

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Scent of a Valentine

From time to time I take a nap
in the bed you left behind
when worn down by the world’s crap
your body comes to mind
and I just want to lay with it
(the pillow still keeps your scent)
as if nothing had come between
and fall again with you
into love’s mortal dream
capricious clouds and wind
but all out there beyond
the trembling window pane
and life can wait and the gods
for a change while we love again

I Only Want Valentine

I only want to be a poet
when I’m writing  you a poem
I only want to be a lover
when I’m in your arms
I only want to have a hair-line
when I’m combing my dome
I only want to be a gardener
when I’m kneeling on the ground
I only want to be a sky-line
when the city’s in my bones
I only want to see the future
when I’m living there alone
I only want to know you’re well
when I’m sleeping like a stone

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Proverbial Valentine

You don’t have to overindulge
if you give up holding a grudge
you don’t have to scheme and lie
if you give up pie-in-the-sky
you don’t have to move a mountain
if you just add a fountain
the mountain will walk
around the damn fountain
you don’t have to be beautiful or wise
if there’s some goodness in your eyes
you don’t have to love me or not
if you give up feeling caught
you don’t have to lose your mind
but the heart is different you’ll find

Unfollowed Valentine

Nothing is as sober as a flower
not even a stone can match it for an hour
that depth of radiant concentration
which denatures time
without falling into stupor
or self-congratulatory bliss
it’s almost more than one could hope for
a fully-realized wish
taking on bits of color and form
to better serve its secret work
all the while plotting to escape
promising and promising to return
but I came for you to follow me
not linger here alone

Basics Valentine

We still seem to be
working on the basics
is all life sacred yet
how can we not bully
the earth out of existence
must we destroy physical life
to prove the soul exists
when I was small I thought
cats were the girls and dogs
were the boys in the animal
kingdom which it turns out
is exactly right and the fact is
we’re the heroes who keep
building onto the labyrinth
we’re caught in half-asleep

If We Have to Have an Earth Day We're Already in Trouble Valentine

In my last blue dream
angelic fire trucks and ambulances
came rushing toward me
having mistaken me for spring
who was really having a heart attack
which turned into a panic attack
poor spring just sat there like a homeless
man on the curb black but lucky
the cops were busy elsewhere
we lifted him to a bench in shade
we said we’d run for help and food
but spring just glared and drooled
and by the time we rushed back
he was gone into the pale green
trees hoisted like a sail or flag
or body hung and slack

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nasturtiums for Cynthia Valentine

These flowers make two seeds
or three but what can a seed
give back to the sun
its little saucer leaves
stretching their eager veins
look like the hands of children
having fun will soon be done
even the brilliant flowers prove
fair weather friends
but the seed is like the sun
bearing worlds of leaves inside
sleeping in the dark earth
every night a need
every flowering a dawn

Monday, April 20, 2015

Flashing Valentine

When even the resident moths
have gone to sleep in the trees
or maybe it’s the breeze tonight
frisky as a new foal
leaping around the place
that’s keeping them away
from this bright moonlight
waltzing toward us over the bay
so sometimes there’s a sudden
gust of light and sea-spray
a piece torn from the surface
of appearances the sky of waves
and for a moment we can see
the luminous beings behind it all
holding everything together
creatures of a serious ecstasy
recalled from before the fall

Folded Valentine

As foretold the lost map
of memory and reason
was found in the breast pocket
of the last survivor’s jacket
folded and smudged
with his blood he said
throughout the ordeal
he had stared steadily at
an ascending hollyhock
the wide unfurled grandmother
leaves at the base the sense
of determination in the stalk
leaving its daughter-leaves behind
like little bursts of pain
and when he climbed to the top
a door opened by itself
but no one was there
just the waiting air

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Life Is a Camping Trip Valentine

Quietly reality approaches
no it’s already here
it’s you who approaches it
gradually perceiving there
the bright burning first
of its finest points of form
dissolving into grammar
the beautiful distractions
but if reality just warms its hands
on our abstractions how
can it afford such nonchalance
if not after many years of practice
if not after many millions dead
bringing to us all we need

Friday, April 17, 2015

Marked Valentine

I don’t want to get into it
it’s just a swimming pool I said
for crying out loud
I could see his love was dead
and floating underwater where
we met now blue once red
the heart still taking either side
still as ever stitching time
drawing together all its threads
into this knot of arrival
this node of letting go
with a smile of betrayal
with a kiss from long ago
this sea once luminous wine-dark
now blue-viridian aglow
where love left its mark

Invisible Valentine

You feel it before you see it
on the face or hand
a touch of the beyond
you quick brush away
thread of a spider’s hair
delicate tensile fair
floating in the air
in and out of visible
space the sunlight shares
with motes and multiple
human pains and cares
carried outward into stars
where yet a further runner waits
to carry them even further out
and fit them for another fate 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quick Question Valentine

What does the bird see
landing in front of me
then fleeing just as quick
is what it fears what I
too am afraid am sick
I’ll find if I look back
over the dim plains
of my accomplishments
the daisy chains of my endeavors
now under drifts of snow
but it’s the last tear I would flick
of sorrow from the corner of your eye
as on and on we skate
over the thin ice of happiness
until it melts and we can swim
more skillfully and safely drown

James Merrill’s Valentine

His greatest talent was his friends
his artful words returned the favor
the right ones to the right ends
nothing wasted or wanted for
which lent his restless life
internal rhyme and reason
each seed breaking in its season
sang and rose to leaves
and extraordinary flower
loyal to his child’s desire
not to disappoint his mother
now in heaven he’s
become us and another
in a word immortal

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Emerging Valentine

I leave the water running
I leave the fire burning
I leave the radio blasting
the world in ruins for you
I leave the long hallway
of sleep without opening
a single dream-doorway
I leave my fear on the pillow
I leave my face in the fear
I advance toward you
I move my pawn forward
I walk on fallen flowers
I make great progress
in the wrong direction
there is no wrong direction

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Pants Valentine

The waist of time is a 31
the length cut as you want
for easy on and off
the collar of space is a 15 ½
a hole in which the neck sits
if you think of your head as the sun
eventually you learn to leap
into your pants in one bound
the shirt remains unbuttoned
the style was to wear your clothes
at least as ready as they were
to fall off at any moment
think of your body as a garment
your soul throws on running to the door

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dear Friends Valentine

The moon is a rather poor mirror
when you think of the sun
trying to find itself in it
but it’s all it can do
building its light
night after night
until it’s finally full
and starts to spill
itself under the weight
because the light
is not light it turns out
more like a cross or stone

one fights uphill
but cannot hold

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Selah Valentine

I don’t deserve you
I said Lord
and he said
let’s live together
side by side
in the world
we will never
be alone
never be out
of the other’s
conscious presence
as air and light
as stone and star
as the sun at midnight

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Your Voice’s Valentine

I hear your voice
from faraway
in my new heart
still worried about us
and rightfully
mourning doves text often
as though God wasn’t only dying
but going extinct one by one
in each of his species
the world c’est God and isn’t
what don’t we believe
about this religion
everywhere I look
something important is dying
something unimportant is being born

Friday, April 10, 2015

Haiku Sonnet Valentine

Careful as a sparrow
careless as a sparrow
two eggs waiting somewhere
the sky suggests
a chalk board half-erasing
some final solutions
me I mean erasing
or you I mean erasing
whichever one we’re facing
under these tall spires
of hollyhock
an Oxford of ants
an Elysium of sand
where the flowers will land