Friday, April 28, 2017

Last Moments Valentine

When I woke up this morning
Gasping for air and covered in sweat
I felt like someone swept up
Onto a deserted island beach
Shipwrecked by a sudden storm
Apparently the only survivor
So quiet listening to the waves
Lapping in disbelief and loss
Of the whole world laying there
In the wet sand trying to remember
What those last moments were
Before heaven rejected me
Threw me out the door
Said I would have to suffer more

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Just So Valentine

Every day I go out to watch
The thin caterpillars fatten
Into Wall St. bankers
Feasting on the vine’s green leaves
Where the butterfly placed
Her pin-prick eggs one at a time
Now an army of ruin and devastation
Flaying even the stems
And killing their own source
Sweeps over them all
Just so they can curl up in their shrouds
Doze off behind their gauzy curtains
While some magic happens
And they wake as butterflies again

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Prepared Valentine

If as a child I had not dreamed
Of the goddess of goodness
If I had not been crazed
By sea stories and mysteries
And not been allowed to fester
Like a boil on my adolescent ass
All summer long
If I had not been woken up
By sight of you as if
Childhood had resumed
In the heart this time
Of an aging frame
Then I would not be here

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Some Valentine

Some flowers long to be birds
Some birds long to be thoughts
Some thoughts long to be held
By words that long to be forgotten
Some trees long to be wind
Some winds long to be sun
Some longings long to be done
With fickle days
And ignorant nights
And settle into satisfied
And gratified by rights
With whatever is
But I’m not one

Monday, April 24, 2017

Traveling Valentine

Space is negotiable
Time is fixed
Whether you’re a travel agent
Or an astrophysicist
Space is eternal
Time like a net
Stretched across it
Some get through
Some get caught
Space the gentlest lover
Time the better dancer
Space is love
Time is freedom
At least in the human kingdom

The Myth of the Chaste Tree and the Passion Vine Valentine

As love happens
They stood across
From one another
One planted
One imported
It was as though
A dove entered
Its branches singing
A smudged laudate
Could be made of it
But the vine was already
Covered with caterpillars
Eating her away
And the dove flew off
Pursued by her mate
But in the epilogue
The tree blooms blue
Is it shame or glory

And the vine
Fills with butterflies
Orange and dusky brown

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Or Not Valentine

The demands of each day
On the postures of prayer
Always seem smaller
Than we imagined them
Or what inspired them
As in the four nations
Of the seasons we observe
Individual destinies
Of color and form
Characteristic of each mood
Within a whole colony of leaves
But each season is just one more person
Who steps forward to be evaluated
And found worthy to carry the future
Across the finish line or not

Plant’s Valentine

A plant is like a painting because
It can only look out at you
But you can see in the eyes
Of the woman in this painting
That she knows something menacing
Is looming up behind her
And her eyes are pleading
With you a total stranger
Just out to see the paintings
To see that this is you
Your sister as the painting
Of a plant and you
Yourself behind her

Friday, April 21, 2017

Green Valentine

Father Death
And Brother Sun
I see together
What you have done
Making out of evil’s
Good and True
Better and Truer
Life rescued
And revived
By chosen love
And effort’s need
To find in all
You’re doing the one
Necessary deed

Here’s Valentine

Only here in this world
In a body in this world
Are we free to know
Our own thoughts
But only if we’re willing
To struggle through
To whatever they are
The things we chose
To think about here on earth
Because over there after death
Our thoughts will be handed to us
Out of the purest necessity
Our own will be taken away
The simplest logic will reign
Only here do we have the choice
When offered freedom to refrain

Thursday, April 20, 2017

U R Poetry Valentine

If poetry is making
Nothing happen that’s
Exactly where I want to be
If it just lies there on the page
Like a nude painting having
A now-forbidden cigarette
Waiting for the artist-hero to arrive
That’s just one version
The world has of me
But if poetry is a longing
To become the world
In some singular way
Using words like
Children jump on beds
Reckless and joyful
Then yes I would say

Ruling Valentine

If thinking is the youngest part of us
The baby of the family
Those years of initiation into barbarism
And self-sufficiency remember
While our feelings ran years ahead
Of their time and yet going back
Centuries were like a tall
Proud older sister who’s been
Watching us ‘f’ up for years
Trying to con or bully her
Though she keeps her hopes up for us
But up where when it’s all
Downhill from here
To the feet of the will
Who rules and rules
The will that must will to will

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Anatomy of a Pineapple Valentine

Did you begin as a poor cactus
And learn to be this succulent
Under a threatening demeanor
Perfect such confident sweetness
In which your seeds are embedded now
Like many-breasted Artemis
I remember from textbooks
As the Greeks sculpted her
She looked like she was wearing
Necklaces of pineapples
Rows and rows of them
With which she clearly meant
To save the world
If it would let her

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Tuesday Valentine

If you hold every material thing
However beautiful however tragic
As the outcome of some considerable
Artistic labor on the part
Of skilled geometricians
Who are also surgical gardeners
Having invented water for healing
The gods go back that far
Finally you get to the will’s
Pure electric pulsing
Thoughtful as a cold spring
Or a cabbage in a field
You get to the bottom of your fate
And not a moment too late

Holy Saturday Valentine

The sun is aiming high
For where I’m sitting
It touches my forehead first
Seeping down over the right
Top corner of my face so
I can feel the tenderness
Under its awesome power
Coming up behind me
To create and to destroy
Which apparently now
It shares with us
Our sun of thinking
In the darkness of the brain
Struggling to retain
Some forgotten hillside
In some lost terrain

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Pond Valentine (for Kim)

Maybe the only setback
Is thinking there are setbacks
After all everything’s moving forward
Into another world even if
We have to circle back sometimes
Not wanting to leave
Anything important behind
And often having to relinquish unfound
The safety we were searching for
But the pattern moves us on
And we hurry to catch up
I think of ducklings I think
We are all ugly ducklings to the gods
I think they invented ponds
If we follow along

Holy Thursday Valentine

Probably undocumented workers
Laying concrete driveways where
The temporary and the permanent
Coalesce as they smooth the cement
To a woman’s softness left glittering
In the sun of another hot day
Though it’s all on the other side of a wall
And I can only hear it blindly
But I’ve watched it all before
The mixer truck sighs like a whale
After it’s all poured out
The workers laugh and whistle
As it almost topples over on them
The whoosh of the sea-like cement
As it rains down the trough
A prayer and a cry
Eternity passing by

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Meeting’s Valentine

My meeting with the reversal
Of all I was meaning
To do and become
Arrived when I looked
Into the full moon mirror
And could see what lay behind me
And what lies ahead
But whose corpse is the moon
Buried then exhumed
Over and over
Stalking the earth
One-eyed death
Always peering down
Vigilant over the hurrying herd

Monday, April 10, 2017

Overcoming Valentine

Night leaves its naked exclamation
Point leaning against the sky
Light floods the dream
Washing away towns and forests
To build underwater civilizations
So the rest can go on
But one time I remembered there
Something that could only have come
From this side of the mountain
Where we are even more asleep
Caught in the senses’ thrall
More fairy-tale than fact
Something that overcame the dream
For a few moments of clarity
So I could see the world
It came from gushing life
After which nothing
Was ever the same

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Passover Valentine

When the body went into the bread
Like a grave or a seed
Alone in the darkness without ceremony
First it found its way to the bodies
Of babies and children in mass graves
All over the world
Where it became that green wave
Coming to meet them
Weeds growing freely in schoolyards
And vast empty places
Only then could it go on
To enter the rest
Of the earth around it
To root itself and sprout

Palm Valentine

Stored or pending and then
Total final rejection
Is what this week’s about
Which often seems to be
Preceded by some jubilation
Though the signs say retrograde
And imbalance somehow
Always catching up
Always falling behind
Make up your mind
The feast is on the table
But then the table turns
Death eats its fill
What’s awful is his silence
Suffering the joy
Of his beautiful will

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hundred Years Valentine

You and I and we
Write our history
Our X or foolish flourish
As the gods intend
Eternity is round after all
Not what the flat-earthers taught
You would fall off
Into nothingness Gehenna
And live no more
Even if it takes a hundred years
For one moment to appear
Of true sight you and I and we
Saw it weaves and dances
For pure delight

Friday, April 7, 2017

Arriving Valentine

A few days after the first
Bloom opened the first
Gulf Fritillary arrived
Identified itself all up
And down the passion vine
As if conveying reassurance
Of rescue then it was gone
To alert the searching clan
Here is nesting ground
The place marked now
On the map of their shared mind
The vine could only wait
For its emancipation
But then don’t we all

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Day's Valentine

I had wanted to hold you more
But now you’re slipping away
Drawn on as always by the dark
Demons you pursue
Around the world’s track
It’s not true there will be
More like you how many
People-lives does it take
To make you this one day
So peaceful I could feel
Movement in the light
Around me a rushing sound
For just a few moments
Lifting me off the ground

The Sky In Dreams Valentine

Who sees how to love
Who sees it’s the only
Conceivable reason for all
This sun and earth
This cosmic rigmarole
Whose obfuscation
Composes history
Have you noticed
The sky in dreams
There’s no sun there
Just the remembered sun
Of other dreams dark
With promise as if
The sun were shining
Through the earth
A leaf seen through
And you could see
Love’s worth

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Frank’s Valentine

Frank O’Hara thought
The task of art
Was to free the will
Of humanity everywhere
I love his ‘To The Harbormaster’
The archetypal O’Hara poem
To me because it bridges
An old way of speaking
About will and freedom
With a new profligacy
Of ordinary and
Extraordinary things
Everyone around him
Wanted to be him
What does that tell you Billy

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Searching Valentine

Today I found an eight-sepaled
Pomegranate seed which is like
Finding the grail or a four-leaf clover
In the pomegranate kingdom
Just imagine a bumblebee
Building his home in one of your arms
And every day he flies off small as love
In search of just this perfect
Eight-membered treasure
Newly fallen where I found it
Which means it had died
Gone in search of another world
When life was already the prize

Monday, April 3, 2017

Future Valentine

When the future finds itself
Standing still in the wind
Of the present moment
The past rushes in to meet it
The holy trinity of time
Extending in the mind
Whose sole purpose is to pass away
In endless waking
More and more waking
Which the wind embodies
Half temperature half air
Restless with enlightenment
And turmoil half an answer
Half a dare

Waking Valentine

I often feel on waking
That I’ve been saved
From some disaster
Fallen on you instead
That I am being fed
While you are being
Starved somewhere
The artist too sacrifices itself
Trying to marry the girl and the boy
Adding something improbable
But revealing in its way
When gazing is not enough
One bird calling to another
Your turn will come
When only a god can say

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Glimpsed Valentine

When we'll have to remember
Everything we’ve said
When we'll have to go
Back over it all
Editing and correcting
Adjusting and perfecting
Sooner or later we’ll
Have to get back to that day
No further than that
To those few blazing moments
When I caught a glimpse
Of a great being
Standing behind you
From which your little life
was growing and had grown

Rose’s Valentine

Not even quite enough light
In my narrow yard
To grow a rose past
A single season
But somehow the light there is
Makes a rose of a garden
With its requisite share of thorns
Because the rose is a desert flower
First constructed by layers
Of fire and raving light
Cooked to a boil and risen
To a froth through long nights
As if some alchemist once said
If you would see love
Look at this I made

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Father’s Valentine

Please take me to your country father
I am just a boy and the armies of death
Pursue me with their dreams
Of wealth and lands
My days are full
Of my own littleness
To which I try to surrender
And dissolve I remember your kiss
On my forehead and hands
I remember when you sent me out
When it was really me rejecting you
I am just a boy your son
Please take me to your country father
Or I am done

Friday, March 31, 2017

Old Valentine

The cognitive awareness of the soul
Pushing its life though the muscles
And senses trying to make them work
Their way into words and deeds
Every day the body battles
Not to have to be
And every night the soul
Takes it lovingly into its arms
They quarrel and laugh like old friends
So by morning everything is settled
Until the body waking
Begins to die again
Spring hardly makes a dent
The soul left wondering
What it meant

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Love’s Fault Valentine

In zero virtual nothingness
I have camped without a tent
While stars picked through my brain
Searching for the roots of my intent
In coming to this garden of despair
The way of all lost ways
And now he wants to climb up on a cross
Vinegar for his thirst the loss
Of every dignity the assault
Of every curse
And so much worse
He says for me
For all of us
It was all love’s fault
He says I’ll see

Love’s Synchronicity Valentine

What if spring couldn’t come
Not a green thing rise
Until he had died
Whatever day it is this year
What heart could prepare
For such an explosion
As when stars are born
And yet everything
Going on the same
Except that winter one day
Saw the world in bloom the next
Incomprehensible and yet
The one new fact
That changes everything
Each spring enacts

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Mayfly’s Valentine

More than forty years ago today
A mayfly landed on my knee
Greenish opalescent fluttering heart
Of some passing thought stopped
To stare at me
I waited and watched
The quiet momentous thing
And now he’s returned
To see who’s changed
Who’s maintained
His sense of balance
All these years still ready
To mate and die in a day
Some call it a lifetime
But this time he doesn’t
Stop to stay

Living Valentine

Sadness and mercy
Can go either way
Weight gain or weight delay
Still working to perfect the body
If not with the spirit then
With matter to mark
Or mock ourselves
To occupy a body
The way one fills
A cramped or
Commodious apartment
With the necessities of life
But who lived in these rooms
Come home to find
A notice on the door

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Arriving Valentine

There’s the wiser side of spring
Which summer brings but first
The screams and reckless infancy
Of green unfolding things
Openly in fields and streets
All the babies to be born this year
Gathering on the outskirts
Waiting their turn
Some to be torn
Buried under buildings
Soon upon arrival
Still wearing their wings
Is it just the passion
Life feels for itself
More seeds cast
Than could ever survive
More surviving
Than could ever last

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sleepless Valentine

My hummingbird is never still
At least the one who lives in my yard
I wonder if he ever sleeps
Unless he crashes on some leaf high up
Finally at four in the morning
Drunk on all that nectar
After reading a lot of Baudelaire
And thinking about the devil-double
We all carry inside
Though he’s no philosopher
He has his pride
And keeps his distance
From dichotomy and me
And only knows the Lord

Spring In My Step Valentine

The older I get the more
I lean forward in my step a bit
To stay balanced and unbewildered
About the future
And there’s that terror
Of falling backwards
Of not keeping up
And finally falling down
But to survive the life-cycles
Of scents marrying the air
Puts a spring in my feet
After winter’s troubling sleep
And slowly lifts me
From the ground
Leaning into every step
For warmth and light and sound

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Homeless Valentine

Christ was not the first homeless man
To be crucified it was already
A well-established pattern
And still it goes on
But he wanted to be the last
And definitive one
To return from the dead
And say so clearly
To an endless crowd
Of incredulous believers
The effort to get around
His story’s real intent
May be largely what informs
Our time or at least it pays the rent

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Annunciation Valentine

If the gods had not invented us
We would not have to invent them
Instead of finally admitting
Their persistent presence
Now we live in everything around us
While their whole lives
Are spent in the interiors
Of things developing themes
And organizing their ideas
So every day they can overcome
The world and every night renew it
But one who stayed proclaimed
To know the inside and the outside
Though no proof of him remained

Friday, March 24, 2017

Leaving Valentine

The animal life of the world
Following the lead of the plants
Panicked or peaceful
Is leaving us beside the ones
We’re killing or watching
Be killed another Noah’s Ark
Another crossing of the sea
Another tree in Galilee
The long sacrifice of the gods
As it was meant to be
Must come to its end
So in their emptiness left behind
A human womb
Their final masterpiece
Might birth a mind divine

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Praying Valentine

In the case of my cat Spats
With whom I can speak as an adult
She was abused in her childhood
We all get our trust broken young
But there are ways and ways
And for what she can’t forgive
She searches for a little mercy
The unforgiveable sins Christ alone
Came to solve she says
I had no idea you were religious
I’m not she glares
But still she joins my prayers
For those who suffer in the world
Which is everyone and us

For the Sake of Its Flowers Valentine

Have I showed you my vine
From Australia the flowers
Are actually a velvety black
With yellow-green interiors
It’s like some burnt-out taper
Leftover from ancient Lemuria
The leaves are large and ominous
And soon consumed the trellis
I could have climbed like Jack
To some antediluvian Bolivia
In the giant clouds for lack
Of anything better some days
If I wasn’t forever hacking it back
Before it devours the iris and zinnia
And leaves the light not a crack

Landing Valentine

At last a storm is coming
It’s about four miles away
And one mile up
I’m on the flight-path
Waving it in
It’s like a zeppelin
With everything possible
Tucked away inside
The wind is whirling the dust
The garden grips the ground
Still I shout you can make it
Signaling with my arms
Gently guiding it in
To my little yard
Running for cover
When it touches down

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Scribe’s Valentine

Lines come out of the air
With a distinct urgency
Like once at the grocery store
I had to write some down
Quickly on a cantaloupe
Or I’d forgotten them
By the time I reached the peas
They’re hard to please
Our masters never ceasing
To pour down on us their
Best efforts of which
I have made I think
Yet still they come
Only this paste and ink

Busted Valentine

As if to say this
All this is mine
The bear-like hairy bee
Circles the flowering
Pomegranate tree
Decisively if not
Quite aerodynamically
He’s like the bumbling cop
Who’s already on to you
For stumbling with your shears
Too close to home
Forgive me I just wanted
To savor your flowers
Standing underneath
Now it's finally arrived
The flesh-colored sky
When I look up through them