Monday, August 31, 2015

I’m Starting Fall Early Without You Valentine

What higher fate can life bestow
than that something divine shine through us
as it generally does in bits and pieces
to the degree that we allow
ourselves to be useful to someone
the separation of all things
was only meant to assist our freedom
and though the gods refuse to patronize
they feel hurt when we turn away
cold mornings can act like a bad
conscience long walks absolve
though my own angel mourns the one-
sidedness of our conversations
I hardly let him get a word in
edgewise and yet he never
(thankfully) shuts up

Dead's Valentine

How much the dead could teach us
if we would only let them in
if we could only get over the fear
of the oddness at first getting used
to a different location of sight
and hearing under a clearer light
like flicking on and off the light
in a room full of hungry strangers
we walk past stepping over the threshold
proving the unreality of death
boogieman death the devil’s coldest
most decisive trick and cleverest
half-truth for the body does die
but the spirit is lifted up

Bern’s Valentine

It’s just a job it’s just a life
it’s just a pair of shoes it’s just one night
it’s just difficult it’s just miraculous
it’s hardly noticeable it’s barely heard
it’s just I don’t really understand
it’s just not my first choice
it’s just I love being absorbed
it’s just I live to be absorbed
it’s just so different from what I imagined
it’s just I prefer my imagination
it’s just my imagination vs. the world
it’s just a law of love it’s just inevitable
it’s just a skirmish it’s just a gun
it’s just a job it’s just another done

Saturday, August 29, 2015

September Valentine

A time will come
in its own good time
when human words will be
not merely productive
but reproductive and we
will have learned to birth ourselves
and the ears with which we heard
all ears the secret words
and listening were brought to life
will disappear no longer needed
when we who were once spoken
out of the cosmic void
will speak the word we are
into the mouth of God

Friday, August 28, 2015

Sinful Valentine

Our sins come back to bless us
in our last years like dear friends
when they think we’re weak
but actually we’re stronger
no longer intimidated
by their flesh and blood
versions of events
our sins come back to visit
sometimes too late to find
the spirit has forgiven
if not forgotten
to congratulate us
to slap us on the back
for giving them a home
for teaching us a lesson
for not leaving us alone

Smallest Valentine

A breeze empties the trees
of yesterday’s saved raindrops
hidden in the crevices of the leaves
sprinkles torn loose here and there
scraping the morning light as they fall
as if the trees stood and shook themselves
and sat back down so deftly
you could only sense some movement
but not the drops themselves
at that moment perhaps
the smallest things in the world
this side of the atomic structure
but full of light as happy children
who somehow have survived the rain
and finally fallen to the earth

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Consolation’s Valentine

Suddenly and cheerfully
I started breathing again
I learned how van Gogh liked
Dickens sick as he was
he could feel the healthiness
of sentiment and the humor behind
painful fashions and human foibles
in his English contemporary
beauty must be the consolation
prize for goodness I thought
and one had only to learn
not to lie to anyone or oneself
how far back this line
and color of encouragement runs
I had no way of knowing
I woke again suspended
hope my rope

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Unfashionable Valentine

Eventually we forgot about the gods
gradually moving further and further away
like someone who leaves home
and wonders years later they must all
be dead by now and in any event
there’s nothing left to return to
and yet all this time we struggle
with our ideas about this
and our conception of that
never pausing to notice
these are what the gods became
the sources of our thoughts
and the thoughts themselves
close by and as they always were
so that even our fashion for atheism
was inspired by some clever gnomes
elementals who live in the earth
and make their homes with worms

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Return’s Valentine

Once I saw the soul is endless
and that its work is endless
I could relax for a few minutes
this was in high school but
no one noticed when the proof
for this went up on the board
peering out from behind the equations
that the soul exists in time
the way the body exists in space
but time goes on after the body’s gone
therefore the soul as well lives on
in time even if unseen
into its hidden season
its return unknown

Boding Valentine

Everything depends on what we love
on what angers us to see it hurt
even if death is a materialist lie
there’s still so much suffering
pain and indifference to endure
as the ants are circling around us
and the maggots wake up in our hearts
until suddenly we remember the future
which was the whole point of the story
to be able to see it coming
like four after two and two
to see what must happen next
unless something different intervenes
and stands up for a change

Monday, August 24, 2015

WCW’s Valentine

Prose began as simple commentary
on the pre-existing conditions
in which the soul could speak
to the dead the trees the waves
all it had itself called forth
while day after day the old sages
wrote down the praise-songs
that came to them hurriedly
because the gods would soon be gone
leaving behind their forests of art
their old settlements and failing farms
poetry began as all we could remember
of the long talks of their last nights
about the kind of imaginations we would need
to perceive the new poetry when it returned

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Anger is a Warning Bell You Turn Off To Deal with the Problem Valentine

Who remembers now
the true cause of the first war
since all the wars after that
have only to look over their shoulders
for another reaction to persist
but the very first one
from what smallest slight
it must have grown wart-like
nurtured in warm damp
resentment’s ground
like the corpse of love
for this the god of anger came
to waken the dead
with a single sound

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Barthes Valentine

Maybe only poetry can tell us
if it’s trying to escape language
for a better way of life on its own
which is the philosophy
side of it all and that such
questions can only be broached
in broken lines perhaps
but think of a word at the moment
it slides from invisible spirit
into writing which is just returning
to its desk after lovemaking
and to put down yourself
in order to pick up the world
like a star in your tweezers
another experience of love for
those who survive the disjunctions

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rosy Valentine

Every day the man above
on the roof of heaven
peers down at me
in my underwear
at 8 am watering
my lilies that never bloom
year after year though they
still make a fine clump
of sinewy leaves
when do you want
to patch this roof
and ascend he wants
to know and if he
can pick one of my
rosy pomegranates
they’re not ripe yet
I say but if you wrap
them in newspaper
they ripen fast he says
I’ve never heard of that
I say but I’ll give it a try
I usually wait too late
to pick them until they’re
full of cancer inside let’s
do the roof in the spring

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Country Valentine

Life is to overcome our nostalgia
for a dream no longer preventable
which is true of all dreaming
whose task is to reach past the possible
morning into the improbable afternoon
and the inconclusive evening breezes
because we are hostages of time
as certainly as trees creeks stones
with as short and tight a leash
as our own taste for freedom
will allow us to roam after all
the pastures of the past
hungry intellectual animals
who will barely leave a trace
in any future fossil record

Written Valentine

In the wikipedia of my mind
one entry describes how
I wasn’t writing for the archivist
or some time when metaphors
go out of style I wrote it says
for the bottle with the note inside
turning and turning on the waves
in an ocean now so full of waste
it may never reach the child
playing alone on some beach
the creator of the world
who could still read the note –
please come soon they have turned
words into money and worship
it and dance around it

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Undo Valentine

Because everything in the world is broken
the world is all about brokenness
especially our dreams so it’s only
a question of what you want
to work on at what particular point
in its evolution you want to intervene
with your priceless self or if you’re
still trying to make a deal with fate
when all the other you’s get taken –
some say if love were coming
to rescue us it would already be here
others that love did show
but so emptied itself
it promised to return

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

All Islands Are Haunted Valentine

Greece broke my heart
the way Harlem still does
but worst are the Carib isles
where Paradise was last seen
being plundered and raped
by slavery’s stain never to be erased
everywhere we go
there’s blood on the ground
bodies leavening the earth
children laughing in the cemetery
taking a short-cut back
to the first days
waiting on the shore
for the ship of return

Monday, August 17, 2015

Unspoken Valentine

Doesn’t every language
hone its own bite and pitch
and strange discoloration
each one like a poor translation
of uncertain derivation
of that original tongue
shaped as it was by terrible
landscapes earthquakes volcanos
speech that began with trembling
and returns to trembling
and here and there a kiss
the only word left from the other side
that remains immutable and fine
and in every language the same

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Time to Move On Valentine

Tenderness is only possible
to someone with a sense of humor
which it turns out is really only
a sense for life a feeling
that makes all the other feelings
comprehensible in light of the fact
we have always been on the earth
from the very beginning and
keep getting our feelings hurt
by the lack of respect with which
the rest of the universe regards us
too fearful to own we’ve been left behind
and are still bringing up the rear

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Assumption Valentine

I love that change happens
either very suddenly
or very slowly for me
that there are long periods
in which it seems
it will never come
and then it still doesn’t
in which I try not to react
but to walk a little further
each day until one day
I don’t get home till midnight
and still no change waits
in the mailbox no
handwritten letter
from a stranger saying
‘I love your stubbornness
hold out for more’

Friday, August 14, 2015

Kim’s Valentine

                        “Life is about having fun.” 
                                                         -Kim Kardashian
Why would one constantly want
to be calling attention to oneself
but when you take another selfie
you still can’t believe it yourself
let’s run this backwards Kim
what if the great valentine of your ass
had never been seen by the world
but one day a hundred years
after we’re all dead some shy archivist
some sad collector of antique cell phones
stumbles on your body naked in a window
in the background of some tourist’s snap
of an empty Paris street in winter
and from this one picture enlarged
and viralled all over the www
you become the Mona Lisa of that time
the smile of a beautiful woman
about whom nothing else is known
now wouldn’t that be better
don’t explain

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Aspen’s Valentine

Early in love we reached a height
from which we are falling still
a height we only realize we won
by such continuous falling from
love let us climb it never felt like
an incline to find it waiting up ahead
it led us in among the aspen
to the spring where it was born
we saw it was always freshly forlorn
weeping with laughter always torn
it was the first of several signs
but on we climbed to a flowering field
where love returned us to ourselves
lacking the full capacity to yield
at once began our long decline

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Biographical Valentine

First I had to scratch my toes
then I had to pull a hair
from my nose then I started
sneezing and bleeding
like a scene from a Pollack painting
white walls delicately spattered
with blood and snot
after all the vagaries of art
edited with soap and water
we stood together in the shower
I just wanted to hold and hold you
but lovemaking got in the way
always lovemaking got in the way

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Drought’s Valentine

The hero rain just offstage
you can hear him
rehearsing his lines
all the drains start to salivate
the roads steady themselves
lightening spot-lights
an empty pause in heaven
what can I tell you
the thunder moans
the rain army rushes in
old school spears and swords
an endless volley of arrows
thirst sinks its teeth
in lovely flesh of earth
we live until tomorrow

Monday, August 10, 2015

White Sky Valentine

To everything I say that’s me
experimentally centripetally
no limits to love no qualifiers
what it must be like to have
that particular body and sense
or to have been born in the camps
or to have felt ashamed
of yourself all your life
a potpourri of suffering
everywhere I sample
until they have all become my own
more than theoretically
and we are not alone

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Brand’s Valentine

Yes what’s inside is just a lie
if it’s based on what’s outside
but the truth’s not somewhere
at any time in the middle
how can what’s inside
know itself to be a lie
if some part of it isn’t
wanting to tell the truth
what you see on the outside
is the outcome of the truth
that has come before it
on the hard ride to judgment
and yes the everlasting
lasts but a moment
if you’re ready to go

Meditative Valentine

If I watch my thoughts like life-rafts
slowly floating away down river
and I keep wanting to leap out
onto one of them even though
I know where it’s going
I realize I create my own
construction and can then
completely let it go
and because the gods also abhor
a vacuum they rush into that empty
space even my relinquishment vacates
not to stop thinking
what does that make better
but to learn to think past thinking
and then further past further
building and building
and not to go under

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Phoenix Valentine

Tonight at sunset
the great cloud-bird
appeared again
covering the sky
wanting to eat the world
with its head of
sculpted pink fire
and arched wings
of gun metal gray
carrying our rain
away north of here
I know you’ll say no
those were just clouds
coincidentally bird-like
but don ‘t our own lives
form and disappear
as brightly on
borrowed light

Friday, August 7, 2015

Beloved’s Valentine

Suddenly in the quiet darkness
lightening split the room
thunder rippled the walls
I woke for a few seconds
long enough to identify these things
then drifted off again from my body
into the upside down world of dreams
though I could still feel the rain
pushing me gently away above
until I easily reached the museum
of new ideas and the crystal
cities of science fiction fame
all the way out to the cosmic dump
way out there where you
my beloved nothing wait