Monday, February 29, 2016

Late Movies of 1937 Valentine

What makes a man go crazy
too much tap-dancing
she made me promise
but I just can’t do it
I keep looking
for the war coming
or the war going
in the background
or propped right there
in the foreground
SS cufflinks
or were those
just his initials
accompanied by
the latest wave
of singers and dancers

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leaping Valentine

One of those creatures
that looks like
a tiny bus came
scuttling across
my Sunday heading
straight toward
some ancient school
buried all along
right there under
our big blue pot
of yellow mums
just coming into bloom
the treasure of an extra
day to love you in
you elegy of spring

Thursday, February 25, 2016

This All/All This Valentine

Each alone
with our sin
in the cell
of our soul
facing the loss
of all this
this all
we love
and know
and freely go
into another land
each alone
with our love
this all
all this

This My Shadow Valentine

I finished the amputation
of the last large limb
with inappropriate satisfaction
what had I made of him
a tree where a shrub had been
an evolving metaphor and theme
for what I hoped
my own slow growth might seem
pruned each fall anew
of summer’s lovely dream
his zigzag trunk like antlers
lifting the last four directions
heading out for all of them at once
lonely pioneer of silence
making his escape from time and space

Wry Valentine

Love simply means you see
something divine in what or who
you love that changes you that’s all
like you notice a small detail
that betrays genius or a spirit
of wryness or forgiveness
that momentarily encompasses
all prior considerations affections
conclusions it is what follows
confusion and indecision
often what appear the stupidest things
in the eyes of wise and powerful kings
against which love has always fought
love the only fighter for freedom
love from slavery bought

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Stations of the Heart Valentine

After it died
I took my friend
to the wall where
he waited of the building
where we first slept together
though no one slept at all
but he barely remembered
the place so I took him
to several forests and towns
the hills above the sea
but he fell asleep on the way
after it died
I did not go on without it but
kept on and one day he came
to me and said you are my life

Heliocentric Valentine

I still wear my old jacket
when I lift my arms to the sun
who is all the god we need
and still think we can thwart
today the wind reminds us
of his muscle and his singing
melodious but often off-key
how can such music be
of planets clanging and
the distant sleigh-bells
of hastening constellations
stars for snow for dust
and there is only one earth
to which we return for brief visits
but our true home is the sun

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Night’s Valentine

I wait for the poem
like a lover who is not
coming home
I wait for our star
our bridge our stream
I feel it’s not far
to go to love
it’s in the air
like words or light
invisible but near
and the poem
is just the last
thing I think of
as I enter
the night

Monday, February 22, 2016

Passing Valentine

There must come a moment
in the poem when the moon grows
completely full of itself
a pretend period where the usual
comma would be or nothing at all
when the moon passes are you watching
from moon to soul because
the light of the sun finally
without obstacle beholds itself
in the mirror of the moon
but what can the mirror claim
of the power of that light
its icy surface having
already felt the flame

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Returning Valentine

Guided by immeasurable stars
we come back to morning
to the bodies we left behind
their woodenness and blood
and these leaves like memories
forming at the corners of our mouths
and with some comic muddled story
as if the tape had been
intentionally scrambled
of the heart-shaping events
we witnessed and underwent
on the other side of the night
from which only a few crumbs
are salvageable and a strange feeling
of having been chastened and rent

Friday, February 19, 2016

Trading Valentine

What if in our next life
we return as the oppressors
of those who oppressed
us in this one daily
and nightly living
to survive the next fear
what if we keep on
trading places that way
in one life a slave
in the next a slaver
will it have to be until
all of us have experienced
every possible degradation
before we get it
before we figure it out

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Iceman’s Valentine

First I let the sunlight
filter through the paper
the pure paper soon
to be stained with words
scrawled and crossed-out
tattoo-like screeching
on the lovely body
of the page like lines
on a prison wall
to count the days
how many times already
has the iceman returned
how did the ones who found
his numbered body know
somehow exactly where to look
if he himself wasn’t among them

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Responsible Valentine

I am not responsible for Palestine
I am not responsible for Israel
I am not responsible for Uijeongbu
I am not responsible for Tibet
I am not responsible for Hadrian’s Wall
I am not responsible for Wall Street
I am not responsible for the Street of Dreams
I am not responsible for fracking
I am not responsible for cooking shows
I am not responsible for material girls and boys
I am responsible for overwatering the fig tree
of which these yellow leaves are the outcome
and I am responsible for every smile
a smile of mine has drawn from your face
and thus like you like all of us
I am responsible for the whole world

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

God's Valentine

In honor of a hummingbird
who is god and red-throated
here and gone checking in on
each and every thing in the world
the cat and I sit and watch you
yes we know who you really are
despite your iridescent disguise
and almost insignificant size
coming at twilight to sip
the towering aloe vera flowers
when all the time it’s you
watching flitting about helplessly
while the disaster continues below
all you can do is whisper to us:
look all you have to do is kiss
the world and fly like me

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Valentine’s Valentine

First death kills me
then I kill death
or at least that’s the plan
each for the other enemy
yet in the end best friends
but who could imagine an organ
that could endure this back and forth
that could be torn out to become
four directions and twelve winds
that could pretend to be a pump
when all along its strength survives
only by giving itself away
to all these questions
death has nothing to say
so the heart goes on its way 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ash Wednesday Valentine

Where I sit
she sits at my feet
in spring who is not king
how many deaths is it now
and still it keeps losing
still death brings spring
a shape carried in its teeth
limp and bloody and spent
lays it down on the threshold
death is always walking away
like someone who interrupts
with nothing to say
just that blank stare
while spring waits respectfully
a moment and then goes on

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Song’s Valentine

There was a song
but when I stopped
to listen it was gone
missing it became
another song I could
not listen to for long
between sadness and longing
a sense of belonging
a song does not exaggerate so much
as struggle to express itself
which is what brings the branches back
filled with birds late at night
which is when they hear that song
but by morning they all get it wrong 

Jude’s Valentine

Do thrashers sing
do singers thrash
I ask this in the name
of a certain February
morning and a doorway
where we sat embracing
because we were young
and had been drinking
you wanted someone to seduce
as you had been seduced I guessed
or maybe we just liked one another
and didn’t know what else to do with it
you were the embodiment of feelings
and saw how the world was wrong
and smiling stepped aside to let it pass

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Garden Valentine

I took my hoe
and pounded on the ground
row after row
building up a mound
where I could sow
some seeds I found
from ages ago
some were round
and floated dead
the rest I planted
in my furrowed head
I mean my bed
how could I know
into all around me
I would grow

Monday, February 8, 2016

New Moon Valentine

New moon tonight
time to send out those
little paper boats
we call our hearts
onto the waves again
into the open bay
of this month's imagination
and thence into the sea
of this year's destiny
where they will drown
of course having rounded
the cape of lost hope
and clinging to the coast
appear again on the horizon
like the lifting of the host

On the Bus Valentine

The languages on the bus
go round and round
every seat taken up
by a different dialect
and the standing crowded in
holding onto their accents
how could we have come
to so many kinds of saying
the same things over and over
except maybe we didn't
really want to understand
one another we didn't
really want to listen
or mean it really
when we said I love

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Berning Revolutionary Valentine

Let us remember our so-called
democracy was conceived and born
from deeply immoral parents
who were also good people great people
but just beginning to wake up from
established animal instincts
gradually thinking was happening
there were only two people
who thought they could do what they want
the bully and the free person
but look around today
the kings and queens are the ones
with all the paper while we the people
are still begging for things
that are ours for the taking

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Nostalgic Valentine

I remember the spruce grouse
and the blue spruce cathedral
in the yard I remember
it was a mottled brown
with a low-pitched hooting
over darkening fields
and those weighted boughs
whirling like foaming surf
snow is such a religious experience
we forgot how evil it could be
once inside the nave of branches
I remember the spreading ajuga
its blue racemes in the spring
bringing bees from several counties
to chant their bright orisons

Theatrical Valentine

We rape our bodies
like we rape the earth
perhaps one is just
a reflection of the other
and we are still afraid of time
and act impulsively with space
but when  I watch
“Marriage Boot Camp: Reality Stars”
I really worry about the species
the earth confronts
its traumatic past
but in tonight’s episode
the role of reality
will have to be played
by its understudy love

Friday, February 5, 2016

Held Valentine

I know I’m old
while you are always
getting younger
but still I would like
to lie down with you
to have you hold me
and for us to fall
asleep and dream
of our many lives
together and apart
what could be more
moving and amusing
and we get to revisit
all those galleries and fields

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lenten Valentine

The crooked crucifixion
of the shadow of the tree
laid to rest but sprouting green
has come again among a sea
of cloudy faces and a sun
rising inside unseen
except the eyes two dawns
reveal and reverence
all they see outside
the broken tree
the perfect shadow
the field green and pure
as the body of Christ laid
in the tomb of the mind

Last Jaguar Valentine

Ghost jaguar
at a critical juncture
in your dramatic
wanderings having
failed to convince
the two-leggeds
you can never
be captured or
conserved being
wild and passing
easily between
the two worlds
following the stream
-bed your bright
shadow fled

Wolfram’s Valentine

There’s a magical fairy-tale quality
to his Parzival  behind which
we can find historical analogues
but Wolfram is giving us the soul’s
story not the physical history
in which evil is merely ignorance
of the soul’s origins in divinity
part of the suffering of the hero
entails having to fit himself into
patterns he himself had allowed
for others he had to lower himself
without falling into the kind of pact
with the devil others had struck
as the price of their freedom
since evil is the way we pay
for our freedom inasmuch as
real freedom must include it
and only thereby can love
come into the world it being the only
thing wise and powerful enough
to bring evil freely back to good

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Karmic Valentine

What happens is always
with precision and aplomb
partly to prevent something else
that could have happened
bringing even worse to come
doesn’t this seem even truer
when something terrible happens
to us and we see more clearly
how close to disaster we do get
except for a few lucky breaks
for which our angels get no credit
of course there are accidents
and things that happen for no reason
without which there would be no mystery
but all these things are baked in

Secret Valentine

In the sun-filled air
I can see you are
just a feather like me
animated by unrests
currents of will we call wind
in all its wild meanderings
and vague in-your-windows
(I couldn’t help myself)
which is the part you played
keeping me cosmic in orientation
with no clear nationality
no recognizable race
retaining our nomadic roots
disguised as motes in sunlight
so no one will notice
our transmutations

Monday, February 1, 2016

Cold and Clearing Valentine

Low 34 in February
in the desert who will
remember this when we
drive into Sioux Falls
foggy and snowing
which only glorifies the ugliness
of why people still
have so little
it casts a crystalline sheen
over the laziness of humanity
as a whole and this
after great men and great women
have come and gone
like snowfall after snowfall
and still spring won’t dawn