Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dedicated Valentine (for David)

I want the whole world
to dedicate just one
day a year or maybe
even just one hour
to gentleness to tenderness
that nothing but calm
and sitting down quietly
happen as a universal gesture
for a given period of time
between faiths and dispositions
just a small signal
or red flag as they say
that we have not forgotten
our original unsinful purpose
when we left our home so long ago

Courage Valentine

Like the blank bedroom
of an abused child
all the toys broken
the earth stands there
bracing for the next blow
the stinging necessary to it
the requisite pain of learning
to despise your own body
and having no one believe you
and having to spend your life
trying to decide between hate
and fear and love
having been taken at the gate
having been ruined from above
having to fight for your life

Wanting Valentine

We only want out of a poem
what we want out of a person
some wit a structure a good heart
like a tall stack of war books
trying to relax perched on
the rocking-chair we want love
to topple into our arms
even as we add more books
and gape out the window
at two new blooms a silky yellow
and an apricot orgasm
quietly expiring in the yard
for which I would willingly
exchange my soul

Be Not Bored Valentine (for Joseph)

After a long rain I love
to walk out
among our green friends
they look
so serene  and satisfied
and their patience
still astonishes me when I notice
how they keep
waiting  and waiting  for us to shut up
because here
for a few hours you can really
feel how matter
works back into spirit land
for a little
while the door is left open
between them
and you can pause on the threshold
loving both
as everything evaporates

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Minimum Daily Requirement Valentine

“I’m forever blowing bubbles”
is a song that is almost one hundred
years old recorded by almost every
artist even up to the era of punk rock
which is interesting because
we’ve all ended up in our own
bubbles and that’s just the mickey
of it we face going forward
in this new century which doesn’t
have to be a mirror image of
the last war’s proof of
the futility of all wars
which even when they’re won
are guaranteed to come undone
every day the amount of love
in the world somehow must
succeed in being just enough
to hold it all together

Vacation Valentine

What is true of all
must be true of each one
and yet what is true of one
is not true for all
even though there are only
a certain number of moods
and a fixed number of perspectives
which have to be married together
slept with for your life a night with
an attitude at least as conscious as a gun
and then each will graduate
through all the schools of emotion
and the long summers of reflection
without being troubled even once
by the illusion of loss or death

Monday, June 27, 2016

Muse’s Valentine

Always after writing
I want to say thank you
to be polite and honest
about it I am in receipt
of your feast  and I am
aware of how much
you want suffering
to mean something
worthy of its effort
how either it does or
doesn’t involve rising
from the dead body
of oneself into the
next possible option but
may I please have another

Breakthrough Valentine

The waves are the wind’s footprints
the spirit is always walking on the water
I could feel that in the underground
whirling through the tunnels
we are so fond and proud of
you Egypt may have your pyramids
and you Rome your Greek imitations
but we take the subterranean route
though you may also have noticed
those planes flying out over the harbor
to join the spirit who is always
walking on the water
he is coming out of an immense
longing which looks like a fogbank
but you can smell the land
and the warmth of a million bodies
carried out like treasure
over the sparkling water

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Random Valentine

To the extent that one can imagine
a coherent spiritual world interwoven
with this temporal physical one
in which an equal and opposite
attraction is being worked out
one recognizes nothing is random
there are no loose threads
when suddenly there’s a man
in the sky sorry to sneak
up on you from the opposite roof
at first I thought he was flying
or falling but he just hung there
to show he could be what seemed
neither of heaven nor of earth

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Love and Memory Valentine

Between love and memory
I chose love because memory
is mostly about me and what’s past
while love is so about you
and the future which is timeless
but that’s like saying I prefer
the inhalation to the exhalation
or the air to the breathe
I remember I love you
I love to remember this
finally I can breath
I can bring the love in gently
and hold it for a moment
then breath it out
let it go and be myself again

Summer Gods Valentine

The great upper gods
the gods of summer who seek
to carry us up with the sun over
the wide beaches and rivers
into the starry realms
of bodhisattvas and saints
to receive our attentive thoughts
and heartfelt gratitude there
welcome every year fewer
and fewer student-devotees
there is a silence in heaven
when the sun rises to acknowledge
the empty thoughts of half of humankind
while the other half is still fast asleep

Profile of Valentine - St. John's Day

The heart of any art is the heart simply
even science was born there
though he long ago moved to the city
but if you have a heart
you have an art you are an artist
and since everyone has a pen
and a piece of paper
but not everyone
has a trombone
or canvas and oils
poems proliferate
while sonatas for the
trombone and galleries
of masterpieces languish
but the poem dwells
in the possibility of surprise
in the land of everyone
known now as heart
discarded heart
writing itself down
as if on stone

Thursday, June 23, 2016

What If Valentine

The way she creeps back
to her lover and the ways
she finds to wrap herself
around his feet are ways
this stray cat and I share
to succumb to love
without losing effect
what if instead of love
we said color I color you
and you color me
or we said instead of hate
I take my color back
I erase from you my color
you have uncolored me

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Dangerous Valentine

Who wants to be an echo
of someone else that chair
is taken sit on your own
foundations that much is clear
and yet to forget
even for a few seconds
how outmastered you are
by everything around you
brings you into the greatest danger
any soul can face
that it too can die
and follow the body
back to the cave of beginning
and not go on
and never learn to fly 

Spirit Valentine

The pearl city is on the other side
but we must re-make the connection
how have we lost the connection
becomes the surviving question
obviously we have and haven’t
argued for it among flowers
and an artificial creek
where do you locate the spirit
in the 21st century if not
where it has always been
present if unaccounted for
roaming the streets of the world
observing and nudging
harvesting with its great heart
all that tears us apart

Medicinal Valentine

I drink to the full moon
my spoonful
of medicine
he too is terminal
opalescent tumor
rising and falling
how you rock
within me moon-death
as if I was carrying
another life inside me
to be carved and molded
each yearning appendage
given its dosage of touch
its taste for the bitter truth
but not too much

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lost Valentine

With all my love
I lost everything
which was nothing
compared to losing you
would that it could
sustain you my loss
not just include you
in the list of household items
there was a moment
as there is always a moment
when it could all
have been contained
like a little fire in a forest
abandoned to its flames
by morning nothing remained

Recapitulation Valentine

It’s so hot I think I must be
reprising a few lifetimes ago
my years as a stone hermit
out behind a pyramid
in the mirages of some desert
I do remember and appreciate
many lives spent as slave labor
which has only changed its name
and moved to a different neighborhood
but must we all not recapitulate
every prior learning in order
to step rightly into the future
and working over and over again
on the same materials and forms
finally be able to begin

Immigration Valentine

On the return journey
from the land of the gods
and good ideas he
the beautiful swimmer
brought back hidden
in his one pocket
a few small stones
he had secretly
stashed there
arguing quietly to
himself it can’t
be a crime to steal
from heaven
as if they didn’t know
and let him pass

Monday, June 20, 2016

Wailing Valentine

Any bird with a brain
has already blown this burg
when it get to triple digits
but I sit here and resist it
just to watch the hollyhock expire
in a denouement of poses
like someone on fire
actually five stalks like roses
who stare at me kindly
like martyrs on a pyre
I too am fire
and repeat myself
each flame a flower
and send forth my wail
in the burning hour

Solstice Valentine

Often very deftly the good
thing is brought forward
despite the tyrannical out-pourings
though it looks like death
blood dripping from his head
OK someone says I’ll die for that
and promptly shows us how
the world’s a traveling coliseum
with its vast underground chambers
its silent mechanisms lifting the lions
and the saints at opposite ends
of a beautiful Saturday afternoon
how many times have I died already
just trying to reassure you yes
in the end the evil one dies

Sunday, June 19, 2016

That Sky’s Valentine

Until you get to the sky
it’s all edges flat or sharp
but that’s only if it’s a clear
and spotless deep blue day
such as hardly occurs anymore
we long ago lost the night stars
twinkling down to a few shards
but I do remember though I may be
the last to blurt it out when the blue
of the sky was so blinding
so aquamarine so intelligent
and calming so Greco-Roman
we could only lie speechless
on roaring phosphorescent beaches
while behind us ancient cities whirled

How Valentine

How after falling into deep shit
can you still not understand
God or the gods or your Aunt Tillie
or after falling in love
I did not say ‘comprehend’
but more like passionate
compassion for the position
all lives aspire to cautionary status
even if only to teach us a lesson
for example a leaf hopped just now
from a branch to the ground a flight
I thought was a bird’s and felt
how it made me feel
then seeing it was really a leaf
and dead and heard
not mine its laugh

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Maples Valentine

A little incoherence
does not go far enough
but it must encounter
a little luminescence
in the damp nights
over the riverbed and between
the two maples’ concupiscence
where new words coalesce
out of sidewalk blood stains
washed away by poison rains
which multiply and spread
until living becomes the new dead
and yet and still you work on
letting the slow tissue of love
stitch up the wound of a new dawn

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ancestral Valentine

What if the bones we excavate
and the mummies we unravel
are really us that day and night
on the river remember the colors
and yet we return to a pile
of stones clever as a pyramid
once bordering the Nile
now just a desecrated tomb
smelling of human excrement
we want to dig them up
so we can lock them in cabinets
put them on display to say
how far we’ve come
we hardly recognize you
barely know how far
from your great heights
we’ve slipped away

Hymn to Valentine

What the moon does
is act as a kind of shield
or collector or shell
or cup whose idea
is to hold certain thoughts
sacred in the overall
algorithm of your face
which does not so much compute
as aggregate in the substance
of beauty untried untested
what we see in the moon
is our own ripe innocence
one silver drop at a time
like a leaking faucet
falling into the oceans
of the sun selah

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cottage Valentine

I will have to get
down on my hands and knees
to reach all the dust
under the old wardrobe
I will have to get
up on a ladder
to scrape the grime
from the high windows
I will have to get
help to rebuild
the northwest corner
of the crumbling foundation
of the dim cottage of memory
out there on the abandoned road
lilacs coming up through the floor

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Death As A Choice As Well As A Valentine

In a few seconds
we will die and
in a few more seconds
we will be born again
at least it will seem
that way pre-consciously
at two an alligator
will drag our body
back to its lair
at nine leukemia
at fifteen drowning
at twenty-one drunk driving
at thirty-five suicide
at forty-eight illuminations
followed by death by insomnia
it only takes nineteen days
we have carefully designed
an evolution of suffering
cruelty and fear
so in a few more seconds
hypothetically speaking
we could reverse it all

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Summer Floats By Valentine

Now the ruddy face of the old woman
who lives in the pomegranate tree
appears every day sun permitting
at exactly 3:48 in the afternoon
she looks like she’s dreaming
but when you take her picture
she slides in among the shadows
of branches on the opposite wall
where a window opens by itself
both to receive and to release
her now-floating face intently
building this year’s pomegranates
which right now look more like
green as Granny Smith baseballs
but maybe when we’ve grown
and lost as many lives as she has
we’ll know how to float like her
how to conjure from a stone a seed

Orlando Valentine

It breaks all our minds
and hearts the terrible
suffering in the world
and I think most of life
is spent trying to keep
that awareness at bay
but not to be instructed
by it and to waste
every drop of blood
in regret and remorse
seems infinitely worse
we are only what we intend to do now
not what we have or have not done
in memory we see where we’ve come
useful if you know where you’re going
or not if not

Monday, June 13, 2016

Favorites Valentine

Why is Frank always exuberant
and Wallace always triumphant
and Willie always exultant
and Walt always protuberant
the mood delineates the personality
but why is Sylvia always chthonic
and Marianne always pre-colonic
and Elizabeth always architectonic
and Emily always a cosmic tonic
the mood transcends the personality
but why is Cal always intellectual
and Ashes always ineffectual
and Wystan always unconventional
and Jimmy always supersensible
but William is perpetual

Fateful Valentine

Pursued by cognitive arrows
I mean hungry sparrows
darts thrown at the target
of the heart of the day
but missing somehow
endlessly thrown
and relentlessly missing
but then one gets through
right through the heart of the day
sparkles can a sparrow
be said to sparkle
the day was speechless
and apparently
and not without sorrow
I was the only witness

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Lazarus Valentine

Impertinent inequities of the seigneur
ravished out behind the plaintive dumpster
stink like Martha said Lazarus would
though you have hurried restless star
almost all the way a mere two miles
to find him wrapped in swaddling
clothes for his re-birth among smiles
and tears of his sisters clinging
but there’s another mystery here
that breaks my heart whenever I read
you wept hearing he was dead
why would you weep knowing his death
was something you could easily end
except you loved him and knew in dying
how alone and frightened he had been

Friday, June 10, 2016

Descent of Color Valentine

Here for us
sadly everything
is damped down
by what rises
from below
working on
what falls
from above
one is trying
to overcome
the other
and we result
wherever it
persists not
as opposition
but as trust