Saturday, April 30, 2016

Adrift Valentine

The pain churns on
under the drugged sleep
of matter devouring matter
while the spirit holds
your hand your head
is this the raft you lashed
together the patchwork
sails are starting to unravel
into the ocean of pain
gently rocked
you’re sinking
hold on to the sun
let its swaying
guide you down

Friday, April 29, 2016

Comic Valentine

Who is that funny guy
the one with no neck
you catch on TV
what’s his name
he said he wasn’t
coming back next week
having been a comedian
all his life he was prepared
to be found dead
of an accidental
overdose he said
he had despaired
of any sense
ever entering
the human head

Verdin's Valentine

The Verdin’s in
the hollyhocks again
an essay on chirping
and the possession of
life the joyfulness
of song which can be
turned into a defense
didn’t nature change
the gods who made it
but you have overcome
the world and now we
must overcome the gods
of both worlds for love
for pity of a Verdin

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Vertical (Exiting) Valentine

A frantic Verdin
chirping so loudly for
one so small
flying from branch
to branch landing
vertically once
on the opposite wall
running up and
down the tall holly-
hocks inspecting each
unopened flower bud
loud chirping throughout
setting off a large
wheelbarrow  of sparrows
like a window
slamming shut
followed by louder
screaming and

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Sudden Valentine

Loudly I
and the cat
at my feet
jumped up
and bit
my ankle
he just wrapped
his two
front paws
around my
ankle and
bit it lightly
and ran off
he’s still
over there
as far away
from me
as he can get
and not
leave home

Hard Work on the Self Valentine

I was a teenage asshole once
in the robes of a gnostic monk
I had a parcel of pencils
up my ass and a smile
to go to as my go-to pile
of shit accumulated
I too had had enough
before there was ever enough
I tried hard not to be
so hard on myself
but I didn’t want to
work that hard
so I settled for the sun
some stars your arms 

Seaward Valentine

Bodies come in colors because
humanity is really only
one huge rainbow though
ages ago the green and blue
passed over into the ether flow
our blue ice body in the sky
and then our warm green
plant-like consciousness
where each color dominates
for a certain time every day
for which the body is an anchor
the one holding the string
while high above the kite
of the soul breaks free
noticed aloft hours later
by a tiny girl in Kansas
tiny if you’re looking from above
heading toward the sea

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Rolling Valentine

I rinse my wrinkled feet
in the stream of morning dew
and dry them with the first
rays of the sun immediate
childhood memories are involved
running and getting caught
so it’s a good thing I’m alone
unobserved in my own backyard
wandering through the new grass
remembering being pursued
by my mother laughing and her
falling down my sister crying
thinking she was hurt
the three of us like me now
rolling with laughter in the grass

Monday, April 25, 2016

Yes Valentine

I think the moon is really a prism
a rainbow in slow motion
moving each month
into a different color ocean
like a warning light
in a distant harbor
the last before the abyss
flashing on and off
but hope is a hummingbird
flying out to the abyss
and back with yes yes
it’s still there but you’ll
need wings quicker
than mine to cross

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Symphonic Valentine

In his final symphony
he explained how a tiny helicopter
would land in the string section
against a background of French
and English horns oboes flutes
but in the distance like water colors
echoes of Mahler and Miles
while a tiny conductor would emerge
from the whirling thing
ascend the podium
with the score of Appalachian Spring
tucked under his arm instead of a baton
beginning to lift now to another
midnight chorus another
four and five in the morning
another night ending in song

Lost Poets Valentine

His first great unpublished work
was Cross-Contamination:
Selected Everyday Poems
followed shortly thereafter
by Alphabet of Graves – A Ghazal
of Greece and Brooklyn
but no one remembers him at all
how in his youth he led
a joyful dissolute life by night
fleeing from city to city
while by day he labored steadily
as a scientist of the imagination
now who knows where his collection
of small stones from around
the world has come to rest
or the notes that hold the plan
for how to assemble them
into a new and livable hut

Friday, April 22, 2016

Haunted Valentine

After the strange robbery
the house felt haunted
every room like someone
had just been there
before I walked in
a crazy feeling at times
of being watched when alone
inside my own home
I was living with
an invisible thief
I was living
under surveillance
I kept thinking
eventually  he’ll have to
show up again and get
caught ghosts always
want to get caught

Police Report Valentine

A small glass jar
filled with change
thirty to forty dollars
was taken from
my night table
sometime during
the past few days
though both doors
are always locked
even when I’m here
it appears to be
the only thing taken
I had no visitors
except my friend
who would never
do such a thing
unless he’s trying
to drive me crazy
very unlikely when
he knows I have
forty more ink cartridges
to use up before I die

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Green Moon Valentine

Matter is sadness mixed
with a deep longing and
a dry talent for dooms-
day formulations
a heaviness in the room
the sensation of being
weighted down like a balloon
or like a baboon in a zoo
then a full green moon arose
I must say majestically
robed in her usual attire
of mixed choiring clouds
and the white heat of the sun’s fire
that the moon can still move us
after all we’ve been through together
and all we have still to inspire

The Way's Valentine

You can see these plants
are loved the way
an animal is loved
the way anyone
would want to be
loved even when
we try to make it
about something else
the graves in the starlight
the waves in the sunlight
did you have any idea
how much you were loved
and how old when you realized
nothing at all could exist
that had not first been kissed 

Mountain’s Valentine

I used to sneak out behind
the dark trees and the boulders
to have a smoke and watch
the sun begin his long
haul up the mountain
it sweetens the poison
to get away with it
but I was young and stupid then
now I am old and a half-
note less so but when
I think how far love
still has to go to penetrate
down into the earth
and up into the crowded
assemblages of the dead
with their accompanying angels
I tremble for the mountain
when the sun turns it red

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Waiting Valentine

While we’re waiting to die
why not try to get something done
I mean we have the afternoon
and a few days after you return
a lot of which won’t be fun
but now that death is stripped of its egotism
even the sadness of physical absence dissolves
and we can function in both worlds comfortably
and recognize the earth as a factory of the gods
safely tucked away on the outskirts
of a post-industrialist heaven
and why shouldn’t we
haven’t we worked hard enough
through science and myth
through religion and art
to face the truth of the truth

Noir Valentine

He likes to wrap himself
around my ankles
to prevent me
from getting up out of bed
he curls and whispers
it really isn’t worth it
no one will mind your
inexplicable absence
lie back here and hold me
tell me what you were dreaming
with such a smile on your face
I can’t sleep for the pleasure
of watching you sleep
I feel like a spy
on the subway of love
stalked by a private eye 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Credo Valentine

That the earth has always been a virgin
we ourselves leaving innocence behind
constant hunter-gatherers of happiness
that the earth has always been radiant
favorite of the sun doted on by the moon
that the earth’s grandfather was courage
and her grandmother the tiniest thing
that before the earth was this earth
it was just a ruddy flower
at the edge of a precarious whim
that after the earth is this earth
it will all turn inside out
the light will be everywhere
so nothing will be hidden
it will happen all of a sudden

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Still Valentine

In the monastery of old age
where one is cloistered hard
by blindness and stiff rage
in the monastery of the mind
where one remains celibate
to all but one idea
in the monastery of embrace
where one returns to the medieval
sources of harmony and order
in the garden of the monkish mind
locked away as we are in the skull
of each individual cell
even after all the dark woods
we’ve been through there’s still
something inviolate about humankind

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Twilight Valentine

Years ago a mayfly fluttered
lighting on my knee
emerald green wings holding
a tiny green person prisoner
between them staring at me
I remained immobile silent
as it began to sing strangely
a kind of hip-hop symphony
avant le lettre I swear
I had no idea what it meant
and told no one for years
who would believe it anyway
that to me a white man in a monastery
with absolutely no musical talent
the spirit of rap appeared in 1963

Friday, April 15, 2016

Night Garden Valentine

In the night garden
voices grow long
shadow flowers
the wind won’t
let stay in one
place tossed
about the dark
yard carried along
in the night garden
I gathered a harvest
of light years still
smelling like carrots
just pulled from the ground
remember when you dangled
a bunch of them between my legs
just as the picture was snapped

Penetrative Valentine

In thinking itself we have a bridge
back to the true spiritual world
from which thinking has estranged us
now we can think our own thoughts
once we’ve learned to think
not emotions posing as thoughts
not perceptions or opinions
but a thinking that penetrates
to a full awareness of itself
as an intensely spiritual experience
and conversation with all
that surrounds and contains us
which is always present
and from which we no longer
need to exclude ourselves
if we would be intimate with gods again

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Mephisto’s Valentine

Things I would change
about myself next time
do not include you in fact
you’re the only part of me
I wouldn’t rearrange without
hesitation no I’m thinking more
about not being courageous enough
not calling me on my bluff
we all maintain a certain persona
behind which the real self
beats like a prisoner on the glass
I would change the terms
of my agreement with Mephisto
let him serve here the power of love
and we will serve him forever after

Directionless Valentine

In the west of my mind
I live in fear of forgetting
the most important thing
while in the east I have
compassion for my forgetting
in the south I remember
you have no idea how much
but keep going until the islands
avoiding the north side of my brain
with its penchant for snowy nights
whirling in every direction
thus am I drawn and quartered
to the heights and to the depths
trying to fit this square world
into this soft round head

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Iris Blooming in the Woods Valentine

We headed north to catch
spring  come to the mountains
following the dark hull of a great
thundercloud always just ahead
climbing like a rollercoaster
to get to the high mesas
but when we looked around
by then the sky had cleared
and vast empty forested hills
went on for miles in all directions
we seemed to be going back in time
and yet everything had been replaced
where has the mountain gone meanwhile
the mountain of our memory
how long has the wildness been gone
into the wildness of memory

Crocus Valentine

In my old age
I imagine myself
poking around
the yard searching
for the first crocus
imaginary crocus
here in the desert
while you in the north
prolong your blizzards
here the great man-like cacti
put flowers all over their heads
semaphoring spring to one another
I have traded the endless winters
of my childhood for the long
hot summers of my youth
years of shame and joy

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Theory of Colors Valentine

Things are either black and white
good or bad for some people
they forget about all the colors
in between but isn’t it medieval
not to say adolescent to ignore
where most of us live dreaming
while we’re awake and trying
to wake up in our dreams
for example I dreamt Nietzsche
was the reincarnated Judas Iscariot
because of something deeply similar
in their pain and sense of betrayal
each ushering in a new age
one ready to be the first martyr
the other ready to be the last

Unhealthy Valentine

When thinking becomes unhinged
or has it always been by degrees
what are the signs and symptoms
by which we can mark the disease
in progress in world earth patient
perhaps complicit in its own betrayal
it all depends what meaning’s meant
I have in mind an old portrayal
when virtue was considered moral
what leeches needles little green pill
will pull the crazy notions from the soul
and prove that thinking is our only tool
and that the first healthy thought
must be awareness of our own
crying need for intervention

Monday, April 11, 2016

After Valentine

The method of death
I had chosen
as we all must chose
our poison
remained a mystery
to me until the end
I think I chose life to kill me
or I made certain
arrangements with
unforeseeable events
not to show up as planned
in the end the method
doesn’t really matter
the point is we come here to die
and only learn why after

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Behind the Rain Valentine

Even the dead things
look better rained on
the bare fields richer
the empty streets shinier
catching all the lights
and always that sense of relief
like something being forgiven
a small error or a great sin
depending on the wind
and the vindictiveness of the lightning
that what has risen up to heaven
as a gift has been turned back
creating a certain sorrow
the earth weeps with the rejection
those tears its resurrection

Tree’s Valentine

After it rained this morning
I detected a hummingbird
had built a nest in my head
I meant to say tree
the one they call chaste
while mine decidedly
isn’t up for it anymore
but the lost custody of my eyes
everywhere like rain
means I haven’t lost all desire
nor given up entirely on beauty
which must bleed through
and that I celebrate the idea
of a hummingbird resting
in its nest at the center of my brain
exactly the way I celebrate you

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Only Valentine

Love is the only word
in a sentence that
can remain ambiguous
despite the clarity
all around it the clusters
of simpler word-sounds
that accompany a face
or hand that word
the scientists and scholars
have finally abandoned as
unclassifiable whose thousand
theories only prove
they don’t really grasp it
the closest they’ve come
is ‘joy in life’ or as one
said feebly ‘light’