Thursday, July 30, 2015

Morning Valentine

Or maybe all these dreamt years
the poem has been chasing me
trying to offer me a form
for my life’s iamb and trochee
a comprehensive theme or music
that begins when I appear onscreen
captured by the performance
of reality waiting in the background
revealing itself a day or two later
in memory’s reconstructed text
some words crossed out but not deleted
others added in an unknown hand
no cat to be seen

Midnight Valentine

The cat and I sit out
in the evening breeze
until it peters out
over the lake of darkness
he rests his chin
on my bare toes and tries
to sleep while I try
not to move so he gets
some peace but just
as we start to doze
he spots a lizard
bolts off after it
faithlessly like me
all these years
chasing the poem the
poem the poem

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

One Evening After Childhood Valentine

Remember our first forts
how we staked out the plains
of the eastern frontiers
and the kingdoms of the future
before the days of our slavery
ours was an abandoned milk-wagon
the horse-drawn kind
parked out back with a door
that slid back and forth
and real glass windows
remember how childhood progresses
on the basis of what’s left behind
everyone we knew had been molested
though no one knew it at the time
it all came out years later
it was the first war we had to fight
only to have our bodies betray us
and feel the snuffing of our light

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Pauline Valentine

The thing is lord
I do have a clue
I do know what to do
now that I own
the reason to discern
what I must learn
I balk and turn away
though somehow I’ve shown
the courage to risk my soul
for a few pleasures
of the heart and mind
the right temper
I still can’t find
to love you with my will
and give up mine

Tourmaline Valentine

A single car driving through the desert
an ant setting out across the yard
a jet humming through dark clouds
a white dog running to the gate
a dust cloud rising from the road
a small girl scribbling down notes
a stone slowly turning into a flower
a fear suddenly entering the blood
a yellow blossom living for today
a clearing emerging from tall trees
a soul ascending through souls descending
a body hung up for all to see
an ending made to go on
finally everything alters me

Monday, July 27, 2015

Parzival's Valentine

There’s a red garnet stone
that sits on a golden ring
near the center of this story
catching your eye as you pass
the only remaining proof
a death happened here
a murder perhaps but it’s
all that remains of the body
of the first impulsive god
who got it all moving and flowing
until the music could manage
inventing itself on its own
slowly the blood built a heart
capable of love this red

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hymn to Valentine

You have this wonderful gift
for rubbing my back
which as the song says
I myself lack and for which
there are only poor replacements
we need to love something
or we can’t survive
the only difference being
those who do and those
who don’t just notice how
this whole abstraction
of roots and endless leaves
and sumptuous flowers
was just to push out
these pipsqueak seeds
on which the whole
wheelbarrow depends

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Political Valentine

When we finally decide
that greed is not only a sin
but a crime I know I go off
about this but I’m speaking
now to the future human beings
who will excavate these
exotic backyards for artifacts
of our dim age not dark
but shadowy and will find
this torn paper wrapped
in etheric light at the bottom
of a well this greeting from
a distant age of fearful
greed and sorry glory

Friday, July 24, 2015

Gnostic Valentine

Is there a treasury of darkness
the way there’s a treasury of light
or is granary a better word
a granary of darkness whose seeds
are saved for planting everywhere
while the treasury of light
which is of course the sun
works on every day in a diligent way
to raise those seeds to flowers
and colored shadows of the light
strained gem-like through the night
into moody plants and people
in the most painterly way

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ineffable Valentine

If the myth of the gods is the truth
if in every age the gods
just put on new costumes
and dance attendance on our ignorance
if our science is laughable
if aliens came and no one noticed
them entering our nervous system
if they have already long
been operative in our choices
if all the stars are filled
with great unseen cultures
if we thought we were alone
when really we’re just
the rocky bottom layers
of ineffable worlds

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Descending Valentine

Take the light inside
the empty birdcage
feed the multitudes on that
curled and sleeping in the corner
swaying above the shore
flight still dreaming of itself
in the birthplace of wings
the sea’s lift pawing at your feet
the sky’s blue filling out your arms
until a dove descends and settles
on the waste of stones and gray
did you really think the holy ghost
would crumble did you really
think the spirit could decay

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

In the Land of the Living Who Die Valentine

You knew you were dead
when you saw the first vulture
but when the second and third
noisily arrived you began to stir
as after a deep sleep
during which you had
awakened many times
to eat something quickly
or relieve yourself or stare
out the window right
into the serious face
of a young fox you somehow
have befriended who also seems
to be considering your corpse
even more now it’s standing up
and walking toward him
full of jealous admiration
for his bravery even more
than his beautiful sheen

Monday, July 20, 2015

The Woman Clothed With the Sun Valentine

Some of our children are machines
through which we are slowly losing
our taste for the real like the helicopter
poised above the hibiscus flower
we seem to be losing awareness even
of the extreme vulnerability
of this whole physical contraption
including our own blood and bones
but that’s just what’s happening today
as it was when slaves
were still called slaves
and such a thing as freedom
could actually exist
the hibiscus is that new yellow-orange
the helicopter a perfect hummingbird blue

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Baptismal Valentine

That strangest day when I could see
what’s going on under the surface
even if I could catch it only for a glimmer
was proof enough to know there’s
no going back that strange day I
dedicated myself completely
to the unseen world to the things
hidden inside things
and to the holy falsity
of all outward show

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The Poem Is Just a Moment Valentine

I get my coffee
and go outside
to wait for the storm
and though the sky
is really clear I’ve never
seen a storm that wasn’t
just around the corner
bells are going off everywhere
as the wind comes on
rolling the heat before it
and down the street
the bells of the ice cream truck
(what is that silly song)
follow the first fat drops
hitting the dust and pounding home
no lover was more perfect rain

Friday, July 17, 2015

For the Day Valentine

Sometimes the suspense
as the body winds down
can be killing but meanwhile
in the backyard and in sleep
the soul scrubs and caulks the hull
of the small fishing skiff
it will sail into the sea of stars
it sews closed the mainsail’s holes
and stows the frayed spinnaker
of the heart in its place under the bow
for the day the light will carry it
out to the dark harbors of the moon
to meet with old teachers and friends
to rest and get ready for the right night
to strike its final passage to the sun

Thursday, July 16, 2015

At Todo Santos Valentine

From this hill at the end of the world
you can see the beautiful coastline of death
slowly being eaten away by the bright white waves
and the unrelenting wind of some new kind of love
which just won’t give up
beating into sea-spray against the rocks
so children laugh and the whorled
faces of the native old women
are cinched in even tighter
by their smiles because they know
love makes you stand still
so it can rain down on you
its judgment its concern:
no no love more

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tightrope Days Valentine

Now that time’s wide berth
has narrowed to these tightrope days
I lean out over to peer down into the abyss
where any night might see the end
of the movie and I’ll still be sitting
here remarking on the rudeness
of so sudden strange and unresolved
a mystery posing as a documentary
a frequently misguided ruse
the contemporary cinematographer
misapplies to lived experience
but then I could only laugh at
several dragon-garbled captions
in the first black and white reels
and only now am I remembering
how I found myself running
to meet my mother who
turned out to be a streetcar
heading toward the sun

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Woven Valentine

Over the hill is death
I am over the hill       
so I am death or I am the blood
beating in the heart of the fox
living on the other side of the hill
these words too were once living things
roaming the world like blood or foxes
before they were taken up over the hill
pulled from the river by the cemetery
which broke into halves on either side
and started climbing the hill
even the heart is a kind of hill
up one side and down the other
so you can see how it’s all been woven
out of the words of a wiser will

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Threesome Valentine

The truth is beauty
rather stupefies us
so we confuse it
with goodness and we
confuse the truth
with goodness also
when so much more
than half of it is the ugly
shit we have to go through
but the real beauty of it
is that the truth is always
there while goodness comes
and goes in fact to be honest
goodness lies and cheats
which is so confusing
and why we’ve given up
on beauty and goodness
and are quite happy to live
with the naked truth

Discarded Valentine

On cleaning day
throw everything away
that needs throwing
sweep scrub polish
though the soul bears its gouges
let it keep its original sheen
remember the dust under the wardrobe
longing to go outside
stay on your knees
down the dark hallway
wiping and rinsing
the beautiful day away
like the day we moved in
to the old farm house
and cleared it all out
we knew only slowly
would the old man who died there
be encouraged to leave

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Scientific Valentine

At the Institute for Emotional
Control and Difficult Personalities
you get your diligence stretched
until it fits your theory of the brain
is there a spirit in the pia mater
or merely uncooperative substances
undergoing violent eruptions
going back to the original pain
when tools applied to coping
had implications for dysfunction
an axe cuts either way
we rush to help and to insert
what’s missing but the receptors
are suffering so we revert
to dietary or prayerful acts

Light Bulb Valentine

When 51% of the people
living on the earth like me
come to the clear decision
that we must stop fighting
for personal reasons and countries
and start feeding the children
and women and start taking care
of all of us valuable all of us beautiful
as one human species still evolving
who have been here before
and will return on a later date
so it not remain dark as in the days
before Euclid spoke and pointed
or in the centuries spent longing
for the Messiah when we could
have been salvaging ourselves

Monday, July 6, 2015

Grecian Valentine

God you’re gorgeous
and yet we must move on
and cherish little breezes
on still hot nights
where do they come from
on the way to sleep
the 18 million viewers
of the soccer match tonight
who celebrate and weep
as they have always done
or are there soon to be
new sons new daughters
who don’t have to drown
to pay their father’s debts
but who see at last the rich
are only rich because they’ve
taken everyone else’s money
and that won’t work for them

Fox's Valentine (for Erin)

Those great flocks of passenger pigeons
still darken the sky but now invisibly
and those huge herds of so-called
extinct animals and birds of all kinds
still graze ethereal fields and forests
and even those new creatures
not yet bodied in the world
roam with them and the one fox
you saw first in a hunting mode
and then later in the mode of death
both of them are mirrored there
in the mind’s all-inclusive panorama
which still somehow feels so feeble
poorly-lit and bare compared
to this stone bridge and these
heavy feet strolling home over it

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Vacation Valentine

Our descent into chaos
like our repeatedly aborted
ascent out of chaos
short-lived leap-frog progress
such as we have made
all under the watchful
collaborative eyes of the dead
who see so clearly
the divine steeplechase
we’re up against lest we forget
we actually only came to earth
for a kind of summery holiday
from hell for a couple of weeks
but like so many weary travelers
got caught up here and stayed

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Gone Fishing Valentine

A man compared to a fishing pole
would find his ego in the hook
often bated with nothing but hunger
the body’s kind of desire
but sometimes with a real worm
the soul’s model of desire
like the one in the bottle
with which to draw its subjects
into opening their mouths
and swallowing the hook
so it can set and he can reel
his life in from the depths
or else a rattling kettle
or a birdcage or one time
a wooden ladder to heaven
with only one rung to climb

Pain Is Also a Flag Valentine

This black and white
stray cat apparently
a character in my karma
bites the hand that feeds him
in this case my big toe
when everything was moving along
smoothly him curled
around my feet and me
quietly reading the astronomy
textbooks for the classes
I never took now out of date
like a star just out of reach
the pain of his hostility
woke me momentarily to my own
how soon I fall asleep again

Friday, July 3, 2015

Troubled Valentine

If the truth depended
on our fool’s telling
we’d really be in trouble
(as it too would be)
but gradually the truth
with its quiet face
and child’s grace
depends on no one
having been an orphan
from shortly after birth
then raised by wolves
bullied by long winters
finally honed to an edge so fine

you never feel the blade
hand you your heart

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Paroled Valentine

In French it means words
or a formal promise
while in current English
it means released
but on a short leash
like my love is on parole
would be a good example
except it has nothing to do
with the criminal justice
system that I know of
except that after 40 we’re all
on parole to the illusion
time’s running out
as only time can

Bordered Valentine

We are something rising up
out of nothing out of nowhere
which meets something falling down
out of everything out of everywhere
how else does matter
become understanding
thus we are bordered
by above and below
by east and west
by front and back
we are 7 cubits by 7 cubits by 7
we are the holy of holies
carried through the desert cities
we are the seeds of the worlds

Whelps Valentine

When the full moon climbs up
over the tiled roof next door
I’m going to get up out of this chair
and bow to our ancient neighbor
cursed and driven out of the temple
by his/her more worldly brothers
by his/her more worthy sisters
everyone gets a turn at scapegoat
everyone is pregnant and on drugs
in high school what else is it for
but with our dear cousin the moon
this is a permanent condition
of building up and wasting away
every day birthing another whelp
another world another day
a day like any other day
pink and blue and gray