Sunday, July 31, 2016

Valentine to Myself

You still think you can play
With the gods give them some
Of their own medicine don’t you
Laughter and gladness of lungs
Filling them with the chuckles
As if you tickled their toes
With your coy pretensions
And sentimental ploys
They still want you to keep
Up the search for the lost ways
To the holy places of the heart
The old meeting places
On the lakes of the stars
Or even in some bars
Familiar forlorn

Young Valentine

How can it be that one-
Half of our existence
Knows so little about
The other half or
Even denies it exists

Or that we ourselves
Close the door to the great
Secrets of life out of fear
Pride and willed ignorance
All of which wears a tragic sheen
Unless there’s some wisdom at work
That knows we would be shattered
By too much radiance at once
So it feeds us in tiny morsels
Like the hummingbird her young

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Recovered Valentine

One night in their restless dreams
all the animals decided to assemble
a human being from their various
strengths and weaknesses
representative parts that connecting
electrified one another
into an upright speaking thinking
creature set walking on the earth
they could not have done this
without the fervent help of the stars
who immediately lifted them up
into the first circus of light
the human being finally noticed
long after forgetting how it was made

Breathless Valentine

Between being breathed
And breathing oneself
Between being the radiance
And sitting alone with oneself
Between beholding the multiplicity of beings
And feeling the unity of oneself
Between standing in beauty
And enjoying the semblance of beauty
Between fleeing the earth
And becoming its prisoner
Between the rose’s climb
And the dung’s descent
Between the time that goes forward
And the time that goes backward
Between the kiss of death
And the kiss of a new birth

Remembered Valentine

I am watching you
And you are watching
Something over there
In a tree I can’t see
Or along the ground
To the path that leads
To the cool woods
Still dripping from last
Night’s rain still trembling
From the ripping lightening
And the crumbling thunder
Moving from a dream
Into a dreamy morning
And suddenly you get up
And go and lay down
In the wet grass
Rolling in it
And rejoicing

Friday, July 29, 2016

On The Road Valentine

Fortunately or unfortunately for us
the road to love leads to a narrow cross-
ing where what we hold most dear
becomes a total loss
and just because love and death
are locked in a dire embrace
closer than an oyster and its pearl
or a root-hair in the soil
only a special kind of freedom
will free them from themselves
but luckily or unluckily for us
the road to death disturbs us
with its amazing zigzags
up to the mountain top
where there is no body left
to see love doesn’t stop

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Strange Valentine

Though thoughts aren’t real
What they point to
Partakes of the real
Like messengers who run
Out of breath before
They can cross the
Never-finish line
Which angels breathe
And sometimes feast on
I know you don’t believe
In angels anymore
As actually present beings
But the strange thing is
Now you believe the world
Is real instead

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Earth’s Childhood Valentine

When the earth began
To think that it was
Dying it was about
Nine years old in
Human-time and of
Course potty-trained
Had learned to walk
And talk with inner
Speaking to itself
Had draped a mood
Of lostness over it all
Then the first knowing fell
Whatever I am
I am alone as well

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rest Valentine

Rest heart in the light
Of the child born wise
Which is every child
Living how to learn
Who if truly seen one
Must bow down inside
Beholding at last
Our only failure
Which is to forsake
The child our children
As we may feel forsaken
And to forgive the child
For coming and for crying
Through the night
For love to waken

Christmas in July Valentine (for Frank O’Hara)

It’s Christmas in July Frank
the Christmas trees are burning
the child is dying of thirst under
one of them the embarrassed
kings are bringing burning coals
the white star crushes down
like the angry gods of New York
or Paris or Rio glittering Rio
where the message is like the sun
to get angry also and in anger rise up
in flames for a better tomorrow
a tomorrow that is always tomorrow
just little tomorrow that strange one
you sometimes see playing in the street
whose mother is always calling him home

Monday, July 25, 2016

Apart Valentine

Apart from all religion and science
Buddha will always be
an accessible example
and Jesus will always be
not just the simple Nazarene
but a prepared  vessel
and the old Attic gods
will always be our brothers
though we mock them with our myths
and Yahweh is always laughing
and Allah is always weeping
that we think we can put them
into our little boxes of religion
and capture them in
our little boxes of science

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hue’s Valentine

Most of the natives
are grouped in a sunny corner
while the imported plants
roam the yard more freely
in horticulture we replicate
our various moods and then there
are those flown in on the breeze
and having sold all their jewels
were forced to settle here
in the implacable desert
and in the middle of the hottest days
reveal the palest purple hue
in the form of a small flower
to the applause of all

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Heavenly Valentine

One day a cockroach
turned up in heaven
of course no one
believed it at first
and even though
the poor thing
lay helplessly on
his back having
at last learned
vulnerability exposing
his pink underbelly
even if flailing his feet
he knew the burden
of his ugliness
had earned him
the highest seat
next to beauty

Sapphic Valentine

I suppose if I was practicing
the lyre you could understand
why I wake up every day
beginning again at childhood
and working my way back
to yesterday and with only
a few seconds left finally
to today right now as I am
strumming these strings of words
together into a single chord
over and over again
a music I am
and young in my education
O that my song is heard

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Capricorn Valentine

The moon is mainly
a musical instrument
a slowly-illuminated gong hung
there which hums when it’s full
not unlike a roulette wheel’s
hurrying skipping thrall
we watch the tiny ball
determine everything to follow
and depending where it lands
from one of twelve possible falls
a certain tone is struck
by those who live in the moon
as if in answer to our calls
please hear and help us all

Monday, July 18, 2016

Moneyism Valentine

Capitalism is simply money
bullying everything else
it does not protect and
serve but brutalizes every-
one nourishing greed it’s
slavery in thin disguise
an attempt to despiritualize
the earth to turn it
into a commodity a product
a spectator sport whereby
everyone falling in step
millions follow their cell
phones off a cliff and are
videoed as they leap

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Kierkegaardian Valentine

Fire ants assailing
my exposed toes
leeches crawling
up my crotch
a heart that pauses
at random I swear
torture’s all over
the world except
when it’s a boy
carried on his
father’s shoulders
or a little girl
licking an ice cream
cone at the beach
on her birthday

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Wishful Valentine

I wish people would stop
saying we’re born alone
and we’ll die alone when
really we’re never alone
unless we ourselves
impose the condition
and even then it’s merely
a pretense and pouting
we don’t need cell phones
to speak with our so-called dead
loved ones working all around us
who aren’t captivated by selfies
and aren’t worried about money
who have given up the superstition
that the body alone is real

Friday, July 15, 2016

Beauty’s Valentine

Does Venus really need a body
in order to be beautiful when
inner beauty is real goodness
and inner goodness truth
thus was the world made
to oppose heaven for the sake
of something further
its first mistake
but you were beautiful
that spring and I still
had the winter to grow up
love had invaded my mind
like a Klezmer band
at a funeral and I
was curious to find
what else was real

Advisory Valentine

When you move
to a new place
take the time
to get to know
the local gods
and spirts who
have managed
to survive around
the older vegetation
and nearby waterways
of that scene
but if you are
lucky enough to
live near the ocean
go sit there
often it will
tell you what
to do and feel

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Winking Valentine

No body in sight
but the head of a lizard
appeared on the patio
this morning upside
down with its pearly
underjaw giving it
the look of a small
oval stone when I first
noticed it and wondered
how it got there went
to pick it up or tried but
it was stuck to the cement
so I grab the spade and
carried it to the compost
for a proper burial
but on the way I swear
the sun glinting in its eye
it winked at me
knowing I’d soon be there

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Difficult Valentine

Something mournful in the eyes
of all animals and yet
they are such sober creatures
who unlike the plants that apply
one single virtue at a time
they try to express
a willingness to go beyond
mere sleep into the dream-time
of the earth which leaves them
restless and hypervigilant
and in their sinless state
so ready to sacrifice themselves
I think they mourn for us
who claim to be awake
for our more difficult fate

Monastic Valentine

When I left home at eighteen
to enter a remote monastery
I burnt all my poems
and gave away all my books
my clothes my history
I would take another name
and if I wrote another poem
I would sign it as anonymous
and add it to the flames
piety would fracture pride
I’d sing the psalms as if they were my own
in solitude my sins could hope
but I snored too much and sang off-key
and talked back to the pope
and so they sent me home

But I didn’t go there
at least not then
but cashed in
the plane ticket
they gave me
and found a job
filling orders in
a book distribution
warehouse to complete
my education stealing
the classics until
poetry returned
like a lost lover
and we settled down
alone in a blue house
on the edge of town

Early Valentine

I come back
to the light
it’s all we have
and to the night
it’s all we don’t
yet will love
back into dawn
each of us with
our own little dawn
tucked under our arms
light pouring through
our fingers and toes
laboring through darkness
a child walking to school
a man coming home

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Prayerful Valentine

Are words only smoke
or true spirit forms
as in the old mysteries
prayers were breathed
into the smoke of resin
etherized upon an altar
the contours of the vowels
and consonants imprinted
in the smoke as it entered
spirit land dissolving
like bread in the mouths
of angels who like salmon
swim upstream against all evil
bearing our praise and supplication
toward an unknown heaven

Historical Valentine

After poetry came Europe
laundry and hunting
the fine arts of travel
the remotest places to stay
the service industry of a vast
romantic conspiracy grew up
as if love itself could not be
the surprise sufficient
to its survival but must
overcompensate with fields
of grains and hills of flowers
still winter will come either
abusive or feeble
and like a watercolor all
the seasons will flow together
into one uncomfortable summer

Monday, July 4, 2016

Point’s Valentine

I have whittled happiness down
to a fine point
an arrow’s or a sword’s perspective
on the scalp
of sorrow bending it a little
to pry it
loose and let it ring hollow
as it must
I have entered all the numbers and
adding nothing in its favor
I have whittled
happiness down to a fare-thee-well
but it still won’t waver

American Fourth Valentine

We sit waiting
for the fireworks
unsure if they will
start in the kitchen
or in the bedroom
next to our cars
and guns we love
to hear the bombs dropping
apparently and our parents
arguing and drinking too
much and wondering
just what we’d been
liberated from if rockets
still control our nights

Religious Valentine

I will go unto the
altar of my kitchen
my love and return
with a feast so bitchin’
it will have you whistling
I will go unto the
wafer of your face
and whisper there
with lips and tongue
my earnest wishes
I will go unto the
altar of my bedroom
my love and listen
while you save my life
and lose your own
in tears and kissing

Wild Valentine (for Erin)

My wild rose
is a traveling lover
I have found
it even in desert
arroyos and old
books pretending
to be a page of history
when its petals only
have room for a
single kiss and its
scent is given away
to the first comer
freely and

Sunday, July 3, 2016

String Theory Valentine

Gravity is our malady
matter is our moan
until death cuts the cord
and like balloons our souls
redefining alone float up
and out of our hungry sight
we finally really lose ourselves
at one point in the stars it seems
which there is like a ravishing
breeze and a sense of relief
what here looks like catastrophe
or cataclysmic event
but at a certain point
unavoidably the balloon bursts
leaving only a piece of string
to attach to the next thing

Laughing Valentine

Rudely I was late to life
if you think of it
as an important meeting
or just dinner with friends
I’d been detained
by foresight fronting
everything and puzzled
how the future works
theoretically into the present
‘Go, Fish’ hand hanging
by means of the most
delicate spider threads I saw
it is only the laughter
of children that can save us now
our true religion

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Poem’s Valentine

A poem wants to be a prelude
to a post-mortem a foretaste
of a certain imaginary state
just the other side of the curtain
it wants to put a ring on you
but just for the duration
its languages are love and fear
and hate because it knows
your fluency with each is legend
a poem wants to be an antidote
to blindness boredom bastards
it wants to walk you home
forgetting it lives there too
I mean that’s stupid dude
who forgets where they live

Senior’s Valentine

I thought senior
discount day
was the first
Wednesday after
the new moon
but it’s just
the 3rd of the
month civilization
having lost its once
clear channel
to that wise
woman of light
always reaping it
or sowing it again

Friday, July 1, 2016

Al Fresco Valentine

Hardly  a day has gone by
in my life when I didn’t
spend some alone time outside
rain or shine staring into space
or writing something down
at first I thought I was just
taking notes as an aide de memoire
to the confusion I was in
but now I  see I was always missing
a little bit the old nomadic life
the years of wandering and being at home
in all weathers among all peoples
and this was my personal way of keeping
that reality alive for the present time

July 1st 2016 Valentine

Today is an English day
damp and all clouded over
whereas yesterday had
a French afternoon light in it
after a long German morning
but we were longing for something
more Tunisian for our evening
walk out under these endless
Ukrainian stars I had
such Mexican hopes for
a quiet Thai dinner until
that American sky appeared
filled with Chinese lightning
and Norwegian thunder frightening