Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Arrival’s Valentine

The pain of penetration
is the proof of the power
of submission to the gods
and to love’s price point
one is willing to suffer
for right of entrance
to its further requirements
and languorous penances
well beyond our range and age
flashing between billboards
broken pieces of the god-like morning
carefully feathering itself all afternoon
into the black swan of midnight
adrift on the lake of love

Heaven Restaurant Valentine

If there’s a menu
in heaven I’d like
to order a courage
sandwich to go
on that marvelous
bread you called
faith with a side
of that red potato
salad to spread
around it sometimes
I run short at home
nothing to offer you
when you come round

Genius Valentine

Simply by not letting
their minds wander off course too far
the good gods hold the cosmos
in amazing working order
think of all the risks not taken
their thoughts alone supplying
enough power to make it all happen
in the most harmonious way possible
given the opposition which remains
resolute in its blind self-interest
and unbending refusal
of any merciful short-cut or
the admission of a single mistake

Monday, June 29, 2015

World’s Valentine

So it turns out
all I wanted
all along was
just to rest
my heavy head
on your chest
dear lord
and have you
promise me
again the world
itself a reject
of love
itself  love’s
whole concern

Sunday, June 28, 2015

My Gospel Valentine

I have nothing to say
which is why I chose
to say it this way
my task is to say nothing
just get out of the way
which is easier to say
than to do who knew
but yes that’s also true
I knew nothing except
the consciousness of loss
of something missing
as if here on earth
we’re always waiting
for the other shoe to drop
or wondering
if we missed it

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Normal Valentine

Look this isn‘t normal
the earth is not normal
do you see another
like it which
perceives itself
as human where
materiality assumes
what sentience consumes
the beauty of the body
equal to the spirit
when you look into
the mirror of the moon
where will you find
another like it

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fiery Valentine

It’s like every summer
tries to soar higher
than the one before
what else are these fires for
but to see us leap
as children who dare
total extinguishment
with ash and joy to spare
as if we were made to leap
higher and higher
fluttering legs and arms
singed and scarred
by the raging fire’s veils
drawn back to uncharm
for a moment the glowing
face of the real

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Promissory Valentine

Isn’t this what summer promises
that we can all be lifted up
into distant lofty places
deep blue and silvery spaces
where great intelligences reach
if we would only lie down on a beach
somewhere and let the gold of the sun
flow through us into the sand
and feel our bones root down
into the lines and forms of the earth
as when our mothers held us
and our fathers gave us birth
one who just wanted us to live
and one who knew we would die
but how can those who bring life out of life
birth one who brings life out of death
except the earthly be taken up
and heaven come down to die 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Parts Valentine

Not only do we not want to love
or accept others as they are
but we don’t want to love
or accept ourselves either
I love you but I don’t like you
I tell myself almost every day
I don’t have to like you
I just have to respect you I say
we use our judgmental consonants
instead of our grateful vowels
we still think I’m better
if you’re worse we still forget
all our lives are made up
of interchangeable parts
more or less courageous

Not I but Words (St. John’s Day) Valentine

When I was in grammar school
my favorite teacher said aloud
to me so everyone could hear
you have a flair for words
I was embarrassed for her cliché
but her proud words marked
and mocked and stalked me
my whole life with their lie
because it was words who had me
not the other way around
I loved letting language use me
and run through me whenever
I could get out of its way
just to hear what it had to say

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Free Valentine

The perception of an idea
like Niagara Falls is freedom
perhaps the only freedom there is
though of course we still live with the dead
who go on needing our love and response
as we theirs their dead ideas remain behind
lodged in the great repositories of thought
but when you think of a thing like singing
you know what it’s like to burst
into an opera of thought the plot
of a thinker thinking his own
free thoughts all the parts
sung by the same brilliant actor
beaming in the audience of the heart

Monday, June 22, 2015

Solstice from the Other Side Valentine

Think of the year as a fairy-tale
when you come to the dead of summer
gathered together in a great field
all the dead of all the summers
they must be the reason for so much
light and warmth the endless afternoons
until you realize how intently
you’ve been laying there and listening
for someone or something to step
out of the blazing pool of silence
for the stillness itself to speak
until you sense they’re waiting
for you to tell them not to rest
not to lose their souls for death
not to give up on you

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Solstice Valentine

After that last great battle in heaven
while the dust was still settling
which at length became the earth
and stray cherubs still played
with pieces of leftover lightening
placing them here and there
as the first lakes and rivers
forcing mountains to assert themselves
one finally lifting off as the moon
rejected source of all hidden desires
polished pearl of clammy nights
calmly then did the good gods assemble
to assess the cosmic damage and survey
the dilemma they had set for themselves
now how to magic back the lonely soul
of each individual thing they had made
how repair each wrong so carefully committed

Saturday, June 20, 2015

History of Art Valentine

Full frontal abstract thinking
enters painting with Kandinsky
but still when I look at my naked foot
I can’t help thinking of da Vinci’s
exemplary drawing of a man’s appendage
made for scientific purposes
only secondarily artistic
but can’t it work the other way
where something wholly imaginary
also carries a practical heft
when the things we make replace us
only in this world are our thoughts
divorced from what we do
in the next they get married again

Friday, June 19, 2015

Apocalyptic Valentine

We see the earth will get sick and die
like any other human being or creature
as with everything on earth
it must be born and die
and that we must figure principally
in its slow and then sudden demise
one morning everything will take
a turn for the worse but how could it
be different from the lord that we
must be the ones to kill it
so that we can raise it up in time
lift it free of both birth and death
into a new planet of light
coming now from a sun inside
how could the earth be
different from the lord
who entered it as seed
and died and rose

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Adjusted Valentine

That pin those angels
are dancing on
could be my head
at any given point
in these proceedings
I often wanted to be a ballroom
where everyone was dancing
or sitting it out at little tables
sipping beers or seven-and-sevens
but that never was my scene
I always felt the train
I wanted to be on just left
the station so now
everything will need
to be adjusted accordingly
thus I survived until you came

Passing Valentine

I pass for much younger than I am
I could pass for Chaucer’s clerk
look it up yourself or don't
once I passed for a royal jerk
I had to memorize lines
stolen from classical plays
to slip past my audience
it’s really easy to be no one
which is all anyone really is
or should want to be
having been someone
or having known someone
important famous privileged
how it weighs you down
I pass for a free spirit
I practice passing it on

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Death is Not Romantic Valentine (for Erin)

Even on some of the hottest mornings
down here in the low desert
in certain places under certain
cosmic pre-conditions
a dew can happen
in dead grass
you get to see the gestation
of a rainbow so I sat down
to watch a solitary diamond drop
evaporate as our own very eyes
must do one magic day
the day we stand between
the worlds leaving one
entering another
and feel ourselves evaporate
distilled to stillness
invisible as light

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Friend’s Valentine

Sometimes I see you as a character
out of Dickens the way you can
bloviate of course Dickens was
a prodigious bloviator and
spinner of wildly convoluted tales
going back to his Scythian forebears
and like his own Micawber always
just two steps ahead of the naïve
and sentimental police and/or reader
but that’s just how we love someone
when we love them their unique
strangeness and performance of life
the innate peculiar artistry of each
individual human thing about them

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Muse’s Valentine

Among the holes in my poetic education
(think bombed-out London here)
is the history of memory as muse
the ruffled woods running through Provence
when it was really my Provence
and some skinny passing troubadour
left me behind in you
great-grandmother of all singers
eking out a bare subsistence
living off a song a year
until I could arrange a flight
on the earliest bat out of hell
to come to you my dear
communicant my constant company
the only one whose loss I fear


do you mind if evil also thinks it’s doing good
do you mind if I stole your book
do you mind if I actually read it and returned it 
   when you weren’t looking
do you mind if I know you noticed and laughed
do you mind if evil always has the advantage
   of surprise
do you mind if every afternoon at 3 PM a monarch
   butterfly passes majestically through our yard
   on its way back to heaven
do you mind if there are hundreds of evil me’s
   but only one good I
do you mind if everything returns to the spirit
    only to find it never left

Saturday, June 13, 2015

In This World of Night and Love Valentine

His mother was his conscience
his father was his anger
it struck him once
I will always be in danger
mainly from myself
of losing my balance
and toppling into the gulf
between the object and my desire
but who hasn’t been on fire
in this world of night and love
fallen asleep on the grave of a love
woken trembling in the morning
clutching at the sleeve of a dream
of lifetime after lifetime forming
around that face always the same

Friday, June 12, 2015

Peonies Valentine

So does the heart have a root
or is it that the root has a heart
I mean you have to bury
the root at its heart
the root has eyes
peering through the dirt
the root refuses the light
goes on eating death
mining deeper into the dark
hauling up the gem-like colors
of the soon-to-have-been flowers
at its root each heart
is its own species of flower
I can only imagine what the root must see
when up above it feels the blooming

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Valentine On the Run

When I look to the damage of my days
said the pipsqueak to the swan
you know those tears of a Thursday
when one feels almost crushed
by all the love in the world
and so little of it human
aren’t we usually trying to escape
from the maximum security
prison of this world always
planning our release
secretly with the guards
mailed back to our murders
not yet ready to confess
not nearly yet ready to forgive

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


do you mind that happiness includes sadness
   but that sadness can’t reciprocate
do you mind that sadness does not play well
   with others
do you mind that sadness is a kind of hate
    the way love is a kind of happiness
do you mind that sadness is celibate
    while happiness can be promiscuous
do you mind that love understands hate
    but that hate cannot comprehend love
do you mind that hate only exists
    because love requires it
do you mind that love can never win
do you mind that hate can only lose
do you mind that we need them both
    so we can chose

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Courage for Life Valentine

As humble as toenails
we should be not be
devastated and smug
moving on the solid earth
great galleons of self-worth
but lead us not into dissolution
with no sense of ourselves to do
what the sad truth inspires
some would say requires
to be useful to the beauty
of the world returning to it
all or nothing of its sureties
its mildnesses and will
it is our empty selves we fill 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Bridge’s Valentine

Like children crossing a bridge
I watch their colors go up and over
to the other side of withering
the land of unremembering
revealing the sagacity behind
the thought behind it but only
if you leave your life behind
do you get to where we stand
on the cliffs of lost prospects
where one of the things life seems
is meaningless distance stretching
into more and more beyond
and we are ravaged by the sight
fearing our enemy will strike tonight

Friday, June 5, 2015


do you mind if you’re an old shirt I wear sometimes

do you mind if I’ve worn you out you’re full of holes

do you mind they’re everywhere and splendid

do you mind a good love and hate story

do you mind if the soul is both closed and open

do you mind if the heart is both whole and broken

do you mind if the spirit is never confused

do you mind if we don’t call it history

do you mind if the soul reflects the spirit the way the body reflects the soul

do you mind if a trinity is in us and we are in a trinity

do you mind if the I keeps showing up

do you mind if the body is a clock but time is not a body

do you mind if I visit you after death

do you mind if a hundred rainbows sweep across the desert hotly pursued by a hundred tornadoes

do you mind if nothing wasn’t first a picture

do you mind if the soul feels compassion for the body the way the spirit brings it for the soul

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Child's Valentine

The spirit of a swallowtail
as big as a house is drifting
through our yard today
an aura of pinks and greens
a black dot fluttering at the center
as if a rainbow touched down
rolled itself together and began
to fly haltingly around the yard
its luminous colors touching
and flowing over everything
and moving on as if the holy
ghost himself had been
out strolling and stopped
to glance across our space
leaving us awed and clean

Monday, June 1, 2015


do you mind if I just stare at your elbows
do you mind ephemera what isn’t who doesn’t
do you mind having limitations but no limit
do you mind thinking of yourself as god-like
do you mind others as greater gods or goods
do you mind how one life orbits another
do you mind taking things further
do you mind coming on stronger
do you mind if nothing’s left over
do you mind if you never recover
do you mind if you’re my last lover
do you mind making more toast
do you mind no I don’t mind if I do
do you mind bringing the jam