Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Rejected Valentine

The thing that happened is
I didn’t meet just one person
To be with for my life
There were several each one
The right one for that time
But the first time someone loved me
Is the one I regret the most
Because I rejected it even
Though I had the same feelings
And for the most specious
And cowardly reasons
I turned away from him
In fear and self-disgust
The only one I would go back to
As every day I must 

Sung Valentine

When suddenly I break out singing
Rogers & Hart or Thomas Tallis
In the great opera house of my mind
When my foolish hope
Steps out between the curtains
Of my heart and bows
To the assembled silence
Let me sing a wordless song
About the middle of the ocean
Or the middle of the earth
Before and after
The middle of love
Before and after
The middle of youth
Till you are moved

Human Valentine

Suppose we’re all disappointments
Even God but there’s still no
Need to be offensive
Not to let fear bully us
But to stand up not even
So much for ourselves
As for what’s fair
Everyone included
For the Greeks the gods
Dwelt over yonder
While we lived here below
But things have changed
Now the gods live stifled
In human flesh and bones 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Meanwhile Valentine

I am visited by doves
And one black swallowtail
And an ache in my entrails
For all that moves and loves
Me gently this afternoon
But when they see me
They all fly off
Leaving me to moan alone
But I don’t moan
I know they will return
On their rounds
Later on today
Meanwhile I have the leaves
And listening to what they say

When We Were Slaves Valentine

Here in America
I am sitting on
The original prairie
Grass of our dreams
Even then we could
Feel the electricity
Running in the ground
To the north to the south
When we sat here
Smoking a peace-pipe
With our long-lost cousins
Or when we were slaves
And still there are so many
Who know what it’s like to be owned

Monday, August 29, 2016

Hopi Valentine

Sitting in the garden at night
Waiting for the sprinklers to come on
Exiting on time or not some nights
Caught napping with the plants
Or straining to hear
The whispering stars
Above the electric insect blare
Of air conditioners and distant
Trains heading for snow country
Once we drove up to Third Mesa
To hear the stars from Hopi Land
One of the quietest places on earth
Lit only by scrub-wood fires
Like the ones that signaled
Troy was dead

Workers Valentine

A hot breeze blows
Across the twilit patio
I can hear the hum
Of bees caught in traffic
Not far away the workers
Of the world united each
In his own purring world
Bringing home the pollen
But some don’t return
Sensing death they
Find a quiet corner
To rest refusing
Either burial
Or honor

Leaning Valentine

Everything leans a little
In my small house or is about to
I pull it upright when it snags
On something but it sags
A little more the next
Quicksand time
All the houses looking back
I’ve lived in matched where
I was at in mood and years
Time becomes space as Wagner
Said it does after space
Abandons time after Persephone
Climbs the last hill to elude
Her lover after Parsifal
Enters the dark wood

Truck’s Valentine

When the roaring elephant
Garbage truck politician
Comes crashing down the street
Kitty-girl retreats to the garage
To the mockery of birds and shadows
Which she loves in ways
They don’t yet understand
It’s hard to educate a world
Though history keeps trying
Between the garbage and the cat
Escaping to you-know-where
A child is screaming
In the street for joy
At the massive truck
A cat is crouching in the dark

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Moth’s Valentine

When I stood up I saw
I had been sitting
On a tiny moth
Pale flat yellow
I picked it up
And put it gingerly
On the table
It looked like
A postage stamp
From an extinct country
And though clearly
Long dead and eager
To fall completely apart
I swear I had felt it fly
Up through my heart

Homeless Valentine

We are all such confused heaps
Of oddments hoarded strings
Of sorrows plastic bags of horrors
On the one hand and
Pure geniuses on the other
We have it all figured out
In one particular way
Among numberless particular ways
We wrap our forks around it
Or we don’t we won’t
Starve or we will for want
Of our soul’s life
To live on or not be able
To bring something with us
Useful to the whole table

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Paul to the Patagonians Valentine

On the back of one letter
I write another
They carry one another
Into time and space to you
Space is soft or hard
Time is short or long
In this short hard space
I’ve spent a long soft time
The world is all the variations
With us baked in
Our only dilemma is
If we’ll know our karma
When it comes waltzing in
Or pass the blame
Forget your name

Spider Landing on a Preposition Valentine

We are creators of worlds
Said the spider casting his line
It was Saturday and the traffic
Of breezes was heavy all around
It was a long and glistening
Thread stretching into next week
To catch and be caught up
In the purl two knit one
Of an invisible morning always
Going on always just exiting
The sun rushes into the yard
Then slams back out again
But it’s the clouds pulling rank
It’s always morning on the sun
Where the spiders cast from

Friday, August 26, 2016

Writing’s Valentine

Finally it’s the sheer heaviness
Of the earth that drags you down
The rumbling father in the depths
But breathing won’t let you go
Buoys you up into the light
JMJ I used to write
At the top of my page
Every day as a boy
Words were a toy
A magic-box an orchestra
Conjured with waving arms
And stamping feet
Up from the mouth of the Pythian
The mysterious words would flow
One thing to write them down
Another to grasp and know

Homage Valentine

Without the shimmer it’s
Just bullshit’s nothing
You haiku’d
Suddenly there appear other planets
We could possibly live on
If you stop saying dude
We keep forgetting equality
Is the only thing that will work
As a practical solution
With economic implications
Pound and Eliot were politicians
Of the spirit who thought
Ultimately past the gibberish
Who taught me to love the soul
The body and the All

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Late Whitsun Valentine

Larkin looks more like a Hugh
To me not Mauberley but Cronyn
The religion has been taken down
From his uncomprehending windows
While eternity retains the blue
Glare it always was
Nothing is as nothing does
Here in the age of shocks and bottoms
But tell me sanely melancholy Philip
What you are writing now in heaven
Now that nature cannot stir you
Into leaping quatrains
Nor loneliness unhinge your brain
As it must all of us in time
As window-ward we climb

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Stranger’s Valentine

We know how far we’ve come
And how far we have to go
To wit was added imagination
But the soul still struggles
Some say this struggling is the problem
And yet it seems inevitable even chosen
Technology threatens to replace us
But we keep pounding on the earth
And those who warn us are dismissed
As traitors or as fools
But the spirit still rules
The way an old woman
Is pulled from the rubble
Staggering into the arms
Of some morning stranger

Hollow Valentine

How can we return our bodies
To the condition in which
They were given to us
If our souls won’t help
The only way back is knowledge
And thinking that can enter
The narrow stalk hollow
Like the dandelion on which
So many gold and airborne
Seedlings await their calling
But right now they’re only
At the beginning thinking
Has only begun to think
About itself to set its roots

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Refused Valentine

Some spirit lives in matter
Some spirit doesn’t need to
But there is never matter without
Spirit it is never left alone
Unaccompanied unconjoined
How can this be made much clearer
And yet this is what is refused everywhere
In its practical implications
Obfuscated by religions
Or made to seem remote unthinkable
What would happen if we were
To see it is the only real thing
And ourselves as essentially
Spiritual beings working in the world
Bringing matter back to the gods

Except Valentine

I have made a mess of it Lord
And yet you have given me a daughter
Who came from the sea I believe it
And whose picture’s in the Prado
Among the ancient beauties somewhere
At least that’s how I remember
It when I was a boy
How frightening and wonderful
Everything seemed
What real what dreamed
And then to wake up in this world
How everything looked beaten down
Or puffed up except when beauty
Stalked me and I knew that I was loved

Monday, August 22, 2016

To Emily In Summer Valentine

Even when her father died
She remained afraid of him
Staying in her upstairs bedroom
With the door slightly ajar
While his body lay below
Visited by family and friends
Her best friends were flowers
And she knew all their names
Into her body she came down
Only as far as flowers do
A day or two before they start
To wither while in the humdrum
She was planting more seeds
so there were always more flowers
more and more flowers to come

More Valentine

I’m always looking for something
More to the story more to the life
I’m reading or writing a fact
Without presuppositions or
Complaints about inadequate
Pollination however understandable
Or bleak the harvest looms
Each year it grows greater
And nearer the goal of lift-off
In the fall when the seeds
Lose themselves in the mayhem
And the earth abandons us
dwindling down to the one light
left on in a hallway at night

Face’s Valentine

Put the book down
Let’s do this right
The book and the knife
Sur la table tonight
In our minds we are always dying
It’s what dares us into life
If we have it in us
If we’ve kept life alive
If we’ve taken the mask
From the face of life
And seen how much it loves us
With its darkness and its light
And its silly death
O life

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Summer Night’s Valentine

I try to write to you at night
The nights are cooler quieter
I can stop thinking in the old way
I can look at the stars
Instead of the impossible sun
Which is like the golden goose
Of the universe sitting on her last egg
But then she too takes her place
Under the stars one among many
Deepening the silence
Which makes me want to speak
To you but I would have too much
To write things you already know
And the nights are too fine to last
And love has so far to go

Merciful Valentine

Whatever they said
I wrote it down
In petroglyphs in cuneiform
In snow and in sand
Then they promoted me
To ink and paper and said
Try to get it right this time
I felt like Isaiah and Peanuts
But I said yes OK
I’m your man
But don’t leave me here
With no ears to hear
Your one word repeated
And repeated I promise
To write it down this time

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Confessional Valentine

I have lived a life
Of self-denial
Of which there is no good kind
I have made do
With whatever the stars
Have sent me or tried to
For my own good
The stars are not always kind
But I always tried
To thank them
Not at first successfully
But with the help of time
Our greatest ally
I could see some thoughtfulness
At work behind their pictures
In which I found myself

Friday, August 19, 2016

Minor Valentine

I try to make minor
Changes to the earth
Move a few leaves from
The walkway to
Underneath a tree
Once in a pile of dirt
I transplanted the small
Body of an orange tree
From here to its permanent
Resting place it made me
See the earth as a cemetery
Whose only green
And burgeoning growth
Is the grass and us
And the dying flowers
We bring and place

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Syrian Boy’s Valentine

The strategy of the feather
Was surprising in that it lay flat
Against the ground so the wind
Rolled over it without catching
While a bleeding child was carried
To safety but there was none
He didn’t know whether to watch
The child or the feather to see
Which one would fly off first
When the only bird he had seen
Around was a mockingbird
Which didn’t seem to belong
Somehow with the child playing
In the street but by the time it dropped
This feather the child was already gone

Children’s Valentine

When we review the biographies
Of all nations don’t we clearly see
A too quick willingness
To bury their best possibilities
In a belief in blood over
What is true in all of us
We’re all fighting for some courage
As we imagine it
But from opposite evils
Taking sides against ourselves
Ignoring our common origin
And end that your children
Are my children unless
I abandon them refuse
To recognize myself in them

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Forgetful Valentine

It seems I’m always forgetting
And then suddenly remembering
Your face your look
Do your work
But I fidget with infinitudes
Lazy to admit it
Ignoring your presence
Or rushing to join it
The hummingbird who is not
Anyone’s confidante
Takes just eight sips
Of your pale nectar
And flies off
How could that be
Enough for him for me

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Soon Valentine

You don’t have to seize the day
Just introduce yourself and have a seat
The day has more to do than you
Were you expected or was it more
Something you were expecting
There was a reservation
But someone called to cancel
No it wasn’t you but
We expect some openings soon
The day is so magnificent
It sold out quickly
Many abandoning their jobs
Just to get a place outside
Write your name down here
The day will call you soon

Empathetic Valentine

Do the gods allow their feelings
Floating overhead helpless as clouds
To be superseded by our wills
Their outcomes and their outgrowths
Some days it must be hard for them
Having every good thing refused
And sometimes even our dead friends
And family watching anxiously
From the sidelines as when
We were first learning to swim
Again on this side of things
Or walk or talk as children
When we still knew everything
This strange world wanted from us
And brought it all to give

Cat’s Karma Valentine

My stray cat brings me
headless lizards lays
Them at my feet
How must God feel
Except grateful very
Grateful for everything he gets
In the way of carrying
Out his wisdom his idea
Not working out exactly as planned
But that’s the genius of it
Including everything that goes wrong
So he can come even as a lizard
Not to save the world
But to know it
And have children

Monday, August 15, 2016

Assumption Valentine

Of course we’re all waiting
For something to happen
Something we want to happen
Or not happen but often
Nothing happens and
We’re left waiting
Keeping busy meanwhile
Not always productively
Unless you consider progress
Doing nothing flat out nothing
But we keep wanting to do something
With our endless thoughts
To penetrate the waiting
And finally bring
Something home

Sunday, August 14, 2016

How Long Valentine

The things for which we have
Only ourselves to thank
Look amazingly like
The things for which we have
Only ourselves to blame
Whose direct effects go on
I barely know how long
Let alone their indirect repercussions
For our irreversible earth
Who is listening now
To what anyone else is saying
To get behind the words and feelings
To the enormous miracle
Of each individual being
And show some reverence some respect

Guardian’s Valentine

What a time you’ve had with me
Third angel to the left
Leading me through this life
When you already know all
We’ve been through
All that’s still to come
The dusty road into the hills
The deep lakes you visited
In your own youth
You can’t wait to show me
But I’m not so sure
I’ll make it there on time
There’s still so much packing
Left to do why don’t you
Go on ahead tomorrow
I’ll follow in the spring

Elegiac Valentine

Love is all love
All the kinds of love
But can a mockingbird
And a hummingbird
Share the same small tree
That’s the real question
We should all
be asking ourselves
I always come back
To the last moment
But then it just goes on
The fierce mockingbird
Leaps to the roof-top
The clever hummingbird
Is gone

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Georgian Valentine

Each of us has
Our own genius to fear
Our own angel
To listen to and hear
Words can only carry
Us so far
Like to the end
Of the dock then
We must swim
The rest of the way
Once I swam
In Georgian Bay
As good as any day
To be hoisted away
But I wasn’t

Near Love Valentine

Someone may have freed the slaves
But now the free must free themselves
Who are of all different shades and features
Liberation through the laws
Of love against our own brutal natures
Must be the second civil war
Fought out in the common mind
By uncommon reason and a blind
Angry desire not knowing
Which weapon to apply
To defend against self-rejection
And all that comes of self-reflection
How many are drowned by shame
And even those who escape
Are subsequently seized by fear
Unless love is near

Stupid’s Valentine

Revenge is the stupid
Kind of justice but
One must recognize
The instinct to defend
Oneself or what
Does justice mean
Hardest to believe
Nothing is gotten
Away with though
Everything is forgiven
Because we’re all
So very stupid
And think we’re
All alone

Lostness Valentine

We (names here) are the stubborn type
Rebellious impertinent impolite
We love to and we do not love to fight
Some of Irish-German stock like me
With somehow a middle-eastern
Liaison thrown in don't ask me
My guess is during the Crusades
Lending to a slightly olive skin
Under an otherwise ruddy glow
We love the jigs and reels
And suckers for the slow waltzes
We love to wake and dream
And seek what true and false is
Until we feel how lostness feels

Friday, August 12, 2016

Amethyst Heart Sutra Valentine

Just as there is an inescapable
Sadness at evening so there must be
An unavoidable joy at dawn
What out there is weathered light
And darkness every blessed thing
Striving for equilibrium and grace
Reappears in us as too little
Or too much health or illness
Seeking rest seeking peace
But always veering off course
And having to circle back
The long way round again
Every night two steps backward
For every one forward day
No shortcut through the pain

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Snubbed Valentine

When you were feeling
What it’s like to be snubbed
By someone you loved deeply
The cold earthquake that goes
Through and goes home with you
I was feeling kicked in the gut
Just a few days later
Having presumed the things
And people I loved would
Always remain nearby
And yet now they’ve
All gone into another room
Or down the street while I’m
Off to find a better doom
A love complete

Rainbow’s Valentine

As water releases us
So rain turns us into children
Offspring of the air and warmth
So we cuddle at home in bed
Or anyway go for a walk
Not ostensibly looking
For a rainbow but finding
One anyway before the sun
Returns to eat our souls
And to set our feet
Back on the slippery slope
Of our terrestrial lives
Leaving the ethereal to hope
And the adults to cope

Dusty Valentine

Here I am again tearing off
After a wrong turn
And running late
Try not to blame yourself
For everything
I whisper to myself
Because this morning’s mood
Is sweet rain and more rain
And even if it’s full of dust
I know what goodness I have
I owe to my mother
And to my father
My headstrong gait
So let the dust come in with the rain
Let them fall together
And rise again

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Guest Valentine

If conscious memory and love
Can’t be accounted for
By our natural sciences
Then we have to re-admit
The soul the idea
Of the soul that much
Dishonored guest
Back into the confidence
Of the body and work
From there even if
That only complicates things
In a time when the idea of the soul
Like right now how bored are you
Can’t even imagine the spirit

Storm’s Valentine

I got an early seat
To watch the storm arrive
But somehow I could also
See myself one of those
Over there in the far fields
Struggling to get the lightening
Set up and the long rods
For the rain to hang from right
So efficient are those workers
I was asked to go sit down
And try to stay out of range
Don’t you have some work
Of your own to do they said
Removing those hooks from your head
And that little heart like a cyclone
Acting like it’s all alone

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Gethsemane Valentine

Don't we all fear transformation
Is that what it’s trying to say
That we’ve got to get over it
Because fear and bravery
Are part of the mix
Like it or it swoops
Down upon us one
Piece of common sense
Torn apart at a time
Or we clutch onto things
Instead of one another
Who would not have this
Lifted from them
At the last minute
If they could

Monday, August 8, 2016

Child’s Valentine

From the beginning
Thinking always wanted
To go somewhere
Not just sit home
With the curled-up heart
For which it grew legs
And arms while the heart
Went on hunkered
Down in dear life
Why would I say it
Like a fable
If it wasn’t –
So does the wolf survive
Or does grandma
Eat him live

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Brunetto’s Valentine

Following my karma
I found myself alone

In a dark mind
My senses blurred
The figure of a woman
Suddenly appeared
Things had moved
Into an archetypal mood
My fever soared
We sat for a long time
Talking by a lake
She showed me the god
Who keeps his word
When I came to
The renaissance began

Vacation Valentine

Only one week in heaven
Until our virtue ran out
Until we couldn’t laugh anymore
Or feel so at home
And we had to return
But the secret was revealed
About what makes heaven work
The families in the fields
Planting seeds in an ever-
Changing sheen from the sea
And way out on the periphery
Mercy bringing in the meek
Who reappeared as great waves
And delicate wandering wavelets
Washing our eager feet

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Gulping Valentine

A beautiful blue flying insect
Settled in the unmown grass
Magical in the air now
It turned ugly monster
In the sunlit dew
Wandering around taking
Gulps of green and snatching
At the glittering drops
Like they were going
Out of style like rain
And then it rose again
All cerulean and thalo
Arrowhead hovering there
Insignia of the void
Such as soldiers wear

Heated Valentine

I sat down in the hot seat unthinkingly
I mean who would do so willingly
Though one can remember many masters
Whose conviction of another world
Was so real and alive
They could relinquish the body
As easily as a boat slips
Away from the shore
And the current rushes to meet it
But how they could live together
With comprehension of one another
This body and this soul
In suffering and in toil
Was their spirit’s only goal

Friday, August 5, 2016

Intense Valentine

A little evil goes a long way
What’s good is quick and short
In the intense summer heat
All the darkness is drowned out
Whether it approaches from the inside
Or the outside it’s the same light
Coupling of the air and flame
If you can get behind the sun
You can see yourself frying there
As in the cartoon life is always threatening
To become but what kills suffering is
The radiance you must make yourself
That there are great beings is one thing
Another is to stand among them
Still another to hear them sing