Thursday, March 31, 2016

Semi-Retired Valentine

Bullied by sparrows from my own yard
which is really their intimate sphere
and I the squatter carpetbagger
whose first act upon arrival
was to expel the pigeons
shitting history from the rafters
of time above the patio
and to set out woven chairs
with cushions and small tables
as if this was not a struggle
between life and death
as it obviously is for the sparrows
actually for all us birds these days
now we’ve agreed there
are only two realities
the real one and the one
we keep making up

I Forgot To Remind You Valentine

These bodies that are built to last
wholly out of past kindnesses
which being alive live on
into the armature of a curve
or the hollow of a neck
but to what use put
one body building another
a hut to camp in
before returning to the stars
with our specimens of nymphs
and sylphs and salamanders
children of a cosmic dream
who drove cars and had jobs
who beat rugs and slept poorly
who kept forgetting their home

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Floating Valentine

An accommodation is made
an adjustment for death the father
like a wheelchair ramp
or a donkey to carry you
to where you could float
above the center of the world
as proof death is the surest way
to resurrection and then on
to the ascension and to joy
in the evolution of each day
and night an exception
is made a pause between
the beach and the breath
now when you run out of body
not a moment is lost before
someone says you’re welcome

Suffering Valentine

Now I see I could have done
any number of things with my love
is there anything more flexible
than the human being
yet so slow to reverse course
when heading toward an abyss
think how many close calls
there are in a single day
you’d think we’d get used
to anxiety and desperation
but that love keeps coming back
what does it want love
to be tied to a post and whipped
yet what beautiful thing
has not come from great suffering

Happy Deathday Valentine (Easter 2016)

In the end we laughed at the idea
that a god could come to earth
and where exactly does he come from
or what difference has it made
that one dwelt amongst us
first as a child reared in antiquity
then as a man transitioning
to a god baptized by a God
he called his Father his Beloved
all of which grows more
mythopoetic every year

to us confirmed materialists
who keep trying to commodify
the truth and love and freedom

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Partial Lunar Despair Valentine

How long do you think
that unit will last you ask
it’s like your old jalopy
or either of us I say
who knows if it
won’t soldier on
for another thirty years
just replacing parts
and patching leaks
is this how the soul works
slowly running down
always under repair
or does the spirit
finally rescue it
from endless despair

Michael’s Valentine

The iron made him
more patient than he
had ever been before
you could see in his face
how suffering instructed him
harshly at times
but to take on the pain
of others was that necessary
apparently so because
everything was included
in the offer he made
not what the world does
but what cannot be excluded
by the dragon he slayed

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Unlived Valentine

In every life there’s
more life unlived
than is actually lived
there just isn’t enough
time in one life
for all the life
that could be lived
yes one could think
about living the lives
of everyone around
but that still wouldn’t
be enough to know
where the unlived lives go
do they get handed down
to those who come after
like a talent for tears
or a genius for laughter

Flower Held Aloft Valentine

When the nixies who live
in the yellow hibiscus flower
see their work is done
eagerly they hand things
over to the south wind
to take the scent aloft
and drive the worker bees
crazy with delight
all this must happen
in a single day but so far
not a single bee has come
the wind has betrayed him
and fallen to the ground
but he persists in blooming alone
he persists in holding out his arms

Monday, March 21, 2016

Architectural Valentine

Continually at the mercy
of our bodies a separate
private life goes on in there
we cannot completely control
but must live in service to
as in a marriage or parentage
does the body in this life
mirror the soul in the last
which could only build it
from the materials at hand
struggling every night and day
to decipher the faded blueprints
and broken scribbled tablets
our old selves leave behind

The Eternal Feminine Valentine

This world is not the chemistry project
of some soon to flunk out goddess
unnerving in her insistence
we replicate her science
(if you shrink from a god
you shrink from the godly)
we are all place-holders
our phones are flames for her
waving over the living
and the dead in songs
in selfies offered up
to the great god time
and if you look around
to her darkness from which
all things unwind

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Old Man’s Valentine in Spring

I’ve got some hairs
around my ears he says
would you mind
plucking them out
you know like
beautiful baboons
wrap your legs
around my back
and just start grooming
and I have some stones he says
also on my heart
but those can wait
and anyway I’ll help
you lift and carry them
away some day

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Spinnaker Moon Valentine

The moon and I
are getting brighter every night
we’ve finally figured out
the coastline’s true intentions
we’ve even penetrated the unconscious
motivations of more than a few palm trees
most of whom just want to be sailors
but to be honest we’ve entered
into a deadly contract with one another
stalked as we are by the brightest star
that hurries after us the moon and I
always too late with our life and too far
our promise simpler than we thought
to swell with light together and to fly

Friday, March 18, 2016

Worst Valentine

Worst on the earth
is to lose faith in your father
or your mother or both
because they didn’t care
about you as a child
so you don’t believe in them either
as reliable sources
of encouragement later in life
while under the stone of anger
the dirt of hurt lies buried
not quite successfully
but stirs betimes the monster
it could become and does
become and yet still may

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Prodigal Valentine

Among the varieties
of moral experience
is that atheist Christian
or Buddhist who wants to go back
to some imagined birthplace
or drowned ancient temple
when the only way is forward
if it means anything at all
since he came to stay
the manifestation of each day
and night is what becomes
of his body and his blood
just so we can recognize
an older brother of light
has come to rescue us 

Gethsemane Valentine

I keep finding one more thing
to do in the garden one more
flower to admire one more
weed to retire just so
I can stick around until
the salamanders creep
out of the warmed stone walls
flashing their flame-like heads
and tiny flying insects
swarm over the compost heap
bringing the hummingbird back
while always in the background
two or three mockingbirds
forever practicing their scales
and I can rest in my garden of woes

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

At Goose Island in the 70’s Valentine

A great river is just
a great waterfall
laid on its back
the good doctor said
but still falling
vertically although
it seems horizontal to us
secretly picking up speed
then stretching out again
a great river like this one
is just many little rivers
flowing into one unstoppability
slippery steps descending to the sea
and every night we could still hear
the water all around us rushing past

The One Thing You Love About Someone Is the Only True Thing Valentine

The real reason (I love you)
the hummingbird has to fly
that fast is to catch bugs
snatching them out of the air
like fresh grapes or kisses
hmm you taste so good
swooping in on you today
in only the way years can
oppose the gravity of life
with the levity of love
wasn’t it only to get closer
we invented this idea
of flesh and blood
in the first place

Jupiter’s Valentine

Sooner or later
the sun will win out
will settle the arguments
of the air and the mysteries
of water which filters
into dust but this time
a new dust will gather
a self-generating dust
that thinks and walks
knowingly through thoughts
no longer shadowy outlines
but living flowing streams
of precise objects and caught
silhouettes filled in lovingly
with watercolor feelings

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mere Valentine

The small round grail
of each nasturtium leaf
lifts a tiny crystal ball
of dew in which each leaf
conjures a new world and sky
a new green and blue
and blazing sun
so crowded in the yard
wherever I walk
I topple universes
unleash floods of stars
which merely prompt
the orange and yellow
flowers to peep out

Ides of March Valentine

Suddenly I realized
I was digging my own grave
under the tired guise
of seeding some old flower bed
but it was such a buoyant
early spring day ripe
with curious stirrings
and unaccountable longings
which only made my digging
more exuberant more comprehensive
into this rich loam
mixed with the seeds of many colors
who would not want to lay
the body down and watch it flower

Monday, March 14, 2016

Duplicate Valentine

Like the twin ruts
of an oxcart in mud
the jet’s trail fades
blue returns to blue
yes we finally learned to fly
but in such an awkward way
darkening the sky
like passenger pigeons
whatever we found
we tried to duplicate
in stone and steel
the way we stare
at our phones today
you’d think we just pulled
our hearts out of our chests
to see if they’re still beating

The History of Drama Valentine

Out of the old Greek mysteries
came the new Greek tragedies
leading finally to the 2 ½ acts
of the Golgotha drama
the initiate killed for revealing
himself as the secret of love
all acted out in the open air
with landscapes and cities watching
how could one man change the world
the first fully-functioning human ego
up to which time builds
and then fades away
just to roll back the stone
have dinner with friends
ascend to heaven

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Waiter’s Valentine

I learned too late
all I had to do was wait
but I never was a waiter
though it kept getting later
and harder to learn
how to sit and wait
and even after my wild
and well-polished impatience
I still had to wait some more
what is it I would rehearse
o yeah what can I get you
the sun-caramelized canaries
arrived fresh this morning
and their nutritious songs
are everywhere on the menu

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Breezy Valentine

That small blue sound
reminiscent of a bell
says the breeze is picking up
driving eucalyptus mixed
with citrus flower scent
further into the night sky
later Venus is dropping by
you will probably be asleep by then
how I have waited for this night
without even now knowing why
except to feel more grateful
for the artifice of the world
so much trouble taken
over even the smallest corners
that it remain ephemeral
and fleeting while all the while
seeming so solid and so real 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Faux Haiku Valentine

In a dusty corner
where I parked my ego
I could look out
all I could see is what
has already happened
not the future buried there
let me show you my sketches
of what soon must happen
but then something new arrives
we say if we knew the future
we would make adjustments now
but if we made adjustments now
that wouldn’t be the future right
words are meant to make us dizzy
so we can feel ourselves
wobbling back in place

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Elemental Valentine

We are either emerging
from one spell (free
at last) or falling
under another stronger
wave of enchantment
unless between the two
we stop to enjoy the view
seeking the strange the new
as an act of conscious effort
a consideration of invisible forces
constantly at work to make
the world go on
the little door through which
only the child can enter

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Fiery Valentine

What is happening on the sun today
after yesterday’s total darkness
behind its fiery facade
I imagine a fabulous city
where the fire-beings live and work
out their personal and impersonal
thoughts and feelings as a result
of intently watching our miseries
and learning from our mistakes
until they actually come to love
everything equally
a leaf as much as the light
that brings it into being
the warmth that weaves
in every part of seeing

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Total Eclipse Valentine

While I was gone
the sun sat in my chair
warmth and a certain
scent the sun leaves
herbal on the fingers
and lips like a desire
or a longing abandoned
to its own satisfaction
like the sadness of poetry itself
which uses the abstraction
of words to capture some reality
like on safari and bring it home
to put it in a zoo
and display it behind bars

Monday, March 7, 2016

Mother’s Valentine

Released from the spell of my own life
gradually I could enter other lives
even if only for a few moments
it was a beginning at least
and some mornings busy as sparrows
I could almost sneaking up behind
enter their thought-streams
briefly as a sparrow touches down
surely I was losing my mind
but my thoughts grew stronger
broader deeper than I knew
myself to be and I could
only follow dumbstruck
as they hand-delivered me
through the sunlight of centuries 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

From the Tomb of the Inner Life Valentine

Inside where there is
only one God and me
and the two devils
who follow us constantly
in that solitude
I create around us
gradually I realized
I had murdered him
one day but it was
only my own death
from which he
easily recovered me
the same two devils
waiting by the tomb

Julian’s Valentine

Don’t you believe in resurrection
the principle of resurrection
without resurrection
nothing could exist
there would be an ending
which would finally arrive
but somehow everything’s
being continually replaced
it’s as simple as Christ said
a life both in and out of time
which the Mothers and Plato predicted
thousands of temples to the old gods
great works of art destroyed
without ruin no resurrection

Make and Model Valentine

If shining all along
the earth was God
(damaged in all these ways)
what does that say
about our sciences and
our religions more like
funerals to comfort the living
than to introduce us to the dead
who aren’t even believed in
days after their tearful departures
still we cling to our comfortable
bodies forgetting we are
the ones who make them
in our heavenly factories only
working out here all their kinks
and possible malfunctions

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Hibiscus Valentine

The hibiscus among flowers
must be at the rank of the archangels
among hierarchies the way
it blesses just any virginal stare
to offer you rebirth if you only
have the youth to undertake it
once I thought as a child
now I am a child again
which turns out to be
the long-term plan
not only how long can childhood be
sustained becomes the question
but how will the child
be kept alive and loved
the answer appears in this flower
straight from the earth’s core