Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Against Knowledge Valentine

How much is aimed
Against knowledge
Who really wants
To know what’s
Really going on
And when years later
Another layer of truth
Emerges we’re astonished
And disgusted and think
It’s somebody else’s story
But what if we’ve constructed
A world where knowledge
Survives as a refugee
an illegal immigrant
Some fleeing soul
Kicked down so far
He’ll never come back

Enough Valentine

Pulled up out of darkness
But not enough to be light
Drawn up out of ugliness
But not enough to be beauty
Dragged up out of loneliness
But not enough to love
Shying away from evil
But not enough to be good
Risen up out of ice-fields
But not enough to be warmth
Curious enough to seek existence
But not enough to wake up
Weighed down by stupidity
But not enough to be brilliant
Painful enough to be recognized
But not skillful enough to be found

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

World’s Valentine

So hard to bring me
Into we to bring you
Into me but impossible
Not to if I stop to look
At you thinking so much
Of yourself as a reflection
Of this time and place
So this getting past oneself
Becomes an evolutionary bridge
Spanning the abyss of selfishness
And the rule of love in the world
Becomes our only practical alternative
Not just to preserve its body
But that its soul continue to live

Monday, November 28, 2016

When Valentine

When the most effective remedies
Are pushed aside as too audacious
Too radical too remote
When the capacity to rouse
The courage of others is squandered
On fine public speeches dramatically
Bemoaning what they passively condone
When the intelligence of empathy
Is converted into formal lies
And fundamental fairness is ignored
When judgment and critical reaction
Are preferred to honest discernment
Chastened by uncomfortable facts
When the smartest most likeable
Among us proves unworthy
Of the task an Uncle Tom

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Winter Garden Valentine

How much love
I’ve planted
In this garden
Love of labor
And early light
On new leaves
Never before seen
Except by me
As one has
With a lover
Days when not
A word passes
Between us
Just darkness
And light

Old Love’s Valentine

O wait for a second
I forgot I was dying
For a moment there
I forgot to die
As if dying noticed
But went on anyway
I caught up later
With him who is
Always waiting for me
To remember him
As if he was important
To me anymore
Because I loved
Him once

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The Third Beast Is Doubt

To the extent the world is largely
An exercise in not forgetting
What just happened it’s vital
You remember your point
In the whole conflagration
Scents carry we say they carry
The soul’s burning aspirations
Past the sweetness and sweat
Caught in clothes or odd places
To its specific yearning as a leaf
To rise to the heights of power
To undergo disintegration
As a conscious process
And return amazed
Amazing as a flower

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Second Beast Is Hate Valentine

Which someone said
Is not the opposite
Of love though it
Feels like that a lot
They sang it’s taught
And went on teaching
The opposite of hate
Is kindness which hate
Kicks in the teeth
On a regular basis
Until kindness becomes
Courage strategy endurance
To put hate in its place
A distraction and shameful
Waste of energy and space

The First Beast Is Fear Valentine

If there were no thoughts
In the world we could
Live like whales or egrets
And keep our great rituals
Of coming and going
But what are these ideas
No brain owns or even
Originates moving in
And around us if not seal
Of some superordinate
Non-material order
Which somehow doesn’t
Exist if we just don’t
Look over there

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Old Age Must Be Re-invented Valentine

I think as we get
Older we should be
More willing to give
Things away not less
We should dispossess
Ourselves and grow
More loving especially
Of the young wherever
We find them hidden
Even in our own veins
And acts of attention
As much as anywhere
If not full of wisdom
Then of mischief or grit
Of mystery or shit

Friday, November 18, 2016

Homeless in Heaven Valentine

Homeless in heaven
I wander the back
Streets and alleyways
Where the poor in spirit
Can deepen their virtue
But even there they
Stare and ask me
Why don’t you go back
To your own country
And chase me
From the precincts
Of their holy garbage
Which I was content
To feast on praising God

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Naïve Valentine

At five years I stood
Face to the cyclone fence
Watching the older kids
Playing at recess and
Then somehow enduring
The infinite sadness
Of the empty schoolyard
After they returned to class
My first memory of exile
And morbid envy but what
Did I know about true misery
At five I had only recently
Detached from the cosmos
One among millions of eggs
Great fish mother lay that year

Later Valentine

Alone on the remote island of death
The idea of rescue as distant as God
A cat playing with the wind
Leaping about and stopping abruptly
Her radar ears perking sharply
But you always wanted to live
By the sea even if you couldn’t
Pay the rent now you don’t have to
A life without a Friday cat
Or any other days or faces
The life of the wind in the yard
A conversational wind pausing
Like the breath of a passing god
And you are lifted across

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Your Gathering Presence Valentine

We work and we dream
But where is all this leading
The clues must be all around us
Collectively individually
Just as we were about to
Grow up at a certain
Peak of physical beauty
To relinquish our presence
On the earth in a foolish
Excess of arrogance
Drive humanity into a wall
And who left to tell the story
No one would believe except
As fairy tale or fable

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Our Father’s Valentine

Whenever we say that prayer
We know he is saying it with us
That we are repeating his words
In which he is living always
Whenever they are spoken
His voice remains in the words
As we remain in their speaking
Conscious there can be
No grander reminder
To remain watchful and grateful
Beside your brother and sister
Here on the precipice of evil
And remember our fathers and mothers
Their voices now visions
In the bread we eat

Monday, November 14, 2016

Time To Valentine

Time to turn the trees around
To get behind the clouds
To resume shivering in the sun
To be carried away by crowds
Cheering in the dark stadium
Of the heart forgetting how to love
Time to sleep alone
In the highest room
Of a house on a high hill
While the blizzard roars around you
Time to vomit up your heart
And cut it into pieces
You can swallow
If love you would follow

The Ones Valentine

We are the ones who always
Want something new
Even if it means risking
The greatest losses
Never freer than in our refusals
To sit still and just go along
We keep coming back
To the point of no return
Not recognizing our home
Still perched there on the shore
Of the impossible weaving
And dreaming of each day
The ones who don’t really believe
In death who know death
Is only real on earth

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Ones Valentine

We are the ones who always
Want something new
Even if it means risking
The greatest losses
Never freer than in our refusals
To sit still and just go along
We keep coming back
To the point of no return
Not recognizing our home
Still perched there on the shore
Of the impossible weaving
And dreaming of each day
The ones who don’t really believe
In death who know death
Is only real on earth

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Even If I Wanted To Valentine

Sometimes I get so disgusted
With myself tired and fed up
But then I remember it’s you
You’re the one I’m really upset with
Until you pass the blame back to me
For thinking I could trust you
And for letting you trust me
For example I’m not brilliant
But I let you think so
Or is it I couldn’t stop you
Even if I wanted to
That’s how much I love you
Always in the middle
Stands the word love
Alone and waiting
Between do and be
Between you and me

Friday, November 11, 2016

The Politics of Resentment Valentine

In the politics of resentment
Democracy cannot prevail
It still comes to royals and peasants
We’ve worked a little on not
Letting those in need fall too low
But not enough on making sure
An upper limit is enforced
To place a check on the greed
And delusional thinking
By which a few hold sway
Under the guise of protecting
The many maybe it’s not just
How little we value our teachers
But how little they taught

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Aspen Valentine

One of those mournful moments
When the stone rolls
Right back down the hill
Just as it reaches the top
But at least we can take
Our time staggering back down
To the bottom to retrieve
What must be picked up
Saved and what discarded
Of whatever we were carrying
Of self-respect or self-knowledge
Clearly now in pieces
The trouble is what starts
As just a pebble at the base
Gathers to such a mountain
By the time you reach the top
You have to let it drop

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Left Behind Valentine

Now the butt of the brute
Regains the throne of the world
The young made martyrs
To the old gods of power
The slick pig’s hour
Of paybacks and corruption
Of a less self-conscious strain
Always the ones left behind
Extract a violent revenge
Until someone says Enough
Of this human longing
This self-inflicted suffering
Can we not just eat together
Share a laugh a life

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Sacrificial Valentine

Whatever their difficult circumstances
However agonizing or not the decision
We can admit the gods rejected us
Long before we stopped admitting
Them into polite discussion
In abandoning the cosmic
We fled to the infinitesimal
To find something not illusory
When only death can be real
In a world of bodies
Only here on earth
Can the great sacrifice
Be offered again can love
Be freely returned

Monday, November 7, 2016

Crow’s Valentine (for Dave)

Out here at the poetry factory of love
Out here among the smashed windows
Of crumbling structures the weeds
And trees coming up through the floors
Where the great poems are not made
Anymore in the thousands as
They once were so every family
Could have a few lost
In some drawer or quoted
On a ring before the price
Of rhetoric went through the roof
And the last days of penmanship
Had yet to caw their way
Into our poemless future

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Who Is God Valentine

God is just a fountain of great ideas
And it’s the job of thousands and thousands
Of archangels and angels
To sort and distribute these
Strokes of genius and
Bolts of inspiration
Down through the ranks
Of need and exasperation
Which even great beings
Continue to experience
I know this must sound
Like a childish simplification
Until it reaches us
But I’ve done the calculation
And it keeps one looking up

What If Democracy Collapses Valentine

What if the American experiment collapses
What if its democracy is maimed
What would this mean
In the evolution of the human
Spirit on this present earth
Would it be like murdering our children
Or would it be like them murdering us
A Greek tragedy on a cosmic scale
It would be a big step back
To slavery days for humankind
When dogs with human faces
Torn tender human bodies apart
Now so individualized the rage
We can’t see we’re the same
Person anymore yelling
To be listened to
All evil all good to God

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bleeding Valentine

This world is all
That bleeds through
From that other world
All that floats up
Onto the pre-existing beaches
Of the mind it senses
Must have its tidal reasons
So sure of rescue or a raft
Of its own construction
But now why sail
To another empty island
That other world must be a wound
Only this one staunches briefly

Mirror Valentine

You always wanted to be
The wise one in the group
The one who wasn’t fooled
Who would not be taken in
Having invented a few
Sure ruses of your own
You could read eyes and faces by
Then but weren’t you
Just a little surprised
A little shocked to find
You weren’t the first to fall
For this spinning world
You with all your kind ways
Grown up now hard as wisdom
In the earning if not
In the dispensing

Friday, November 4, 2016

Hypomochlion’s Valentine

Hushed and hunched
In my little hut
I thought I could hear
The music of at least
One sphere very clear
I thought my death was near
But strange flashing
Lights and the clanging
Of garbage trucks
Beclouded the atmosphere
In the first half of life
Everything grows on its own
But in the concluding half
It all comes home
All growth is work
We must do alone

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Helpless Valentine

First go and sweep the dead
Who have fallen in the night
And lie now along the hollows
And hillsides of the story
Into piles to be set aflame
Summer did her best
Swimming through every victory
Until the last dead crash
Came faster than youth she
Was beaten by the wind chill factor
On which beauty has no effect
No strength to defend herself except
Underground to go on raging working
Against all that is hard and hateful
And cannot help itself

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Whatever Valentine

In whatever is subject
To the illness of time
In whatever is torn
From flesh in passing
In whatever is lost
In what is lasting
There is still one garden
I would like to walk in
One ocean I would like to swim in
One ceremony I would like to see
The sun lifting again
From the altar of the horizon
And you coming toward me
Like Lazarus at Bethany
To coax me from the dead