Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ancestral Valentine

How much easier
Now I’m older
To honor my mother
And my father
We both were wrong
And perfect in our way
For one another
But that they were willing
To pick me up stranded
On some asteroid far away
And live with me until
I could find my feet
And their mothers and
Fathers some of whom
I got to meet famine
Refugees from overseas
Who lived in the country
And took naps in the afternoon
While I was free to wander
Through fields and clouds
To a forgotten cemetery
Or a clearing in the woods

Stone’s Valentine

And with our hearts inspire
And with our minds construct
A will to love the world
The hidden dream of our desire
And to live into every weather
Continually shaping and re-shaping us
The way sleep works on leaves
Drawing life up from the depths
Into the limbs of flowers
Like a remembrance of the future
Seen at the outset and then forgotten
In a few days many days
Darkness measuring the distances
Practiced every day
Until the seed pounces

Monday, February 27, 2017

Waiting Valentine

While waiting for the rain
The air already glowing with it
The swaying umbrella leaves
Of the nasturtiums already
Lifted to catch their one drop each
Like eager girls their diamond
If they can keep it until the sun returns
While the light holds its breath
Plunging into the depths of the pond
The body of a god sinking down
Pulling the rain in after it
What sun and cold have made
Out of their sympathies and rage
Now fill this page

Ash Monday Valentine

Every day I come out
The new leaves get newer
On the metaphysical tree
Today they burst
Burnt sienna objectively
Like the stain
Of the earth rising
But being pushed
Back by pale green
Sun-lines laid down
Like a pregnancy
Boding a hard labor

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Time’s Valentine

The more I feel the dead
Living in my feelings and
Their desires in my deeds
The more I remember
Our connections however
Fleeting or profound
And can look at them
Looking at me from
Several different faces
They outside of
Me inside of time
A line in the sand
Where we can stand
Encourage and remind

Friday, February 24, 2017

Not Yet Valentine

If caring is the universal food
Of the soul how many
Are starving and dying
We need a new magna charta
Of the heart not fighting over spoils
But a remembrance of the sacredness
Of every body and soul
And laws based on the most
Loving justice not pride or power
To get beyond clans and fear
And the burning of cities
But that’s not what
We’ve come to do
Apparently not yet

Thinking’s Valentine

When thinking enters
Its native land it is
Greeted by official reason
At the border and beyond
There are parades with floats
Of peace that take it
All is ceremony here
To a great concert
Going on just down the street
Distinctions to be overcome
If thinking is to make it
Into the pure land
Where the dream of feelings
Meets the ground of will
Which living pictures fill

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Colorful Valentine

Thank you so much sweetheart
For the beautiful pictures
Of the wet stones you gathered
In a spiral on a plate
With beach glass and
A few unbroken shells
You prove we were meant
To be artists in our souls
Always searching for the forms
Our longing might take
The right color in the right place
They look so happy
To have been chosen
And to have found
Another temporary home

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Excuse Valentine

Punctuation feels like
Getting dressed up
To go somewhere special
Or not turns out
You don’t have to be
That formal that self-
Limiting speech is
Essentially about forgiveness
So you can slow down
Or speed up at will
Like driving alone in the desert
Full moon lights off
Or tobogganing
A steep hill
Did you ever toboggan

Streaming Valentine

The birds assert
We put words
In their mouths
To try to normalize
Their ‘wicked’ music
When it’s obviously
Miraculous and
They feel the injustice
Against their species
But go on singing
Streaming the air
Of an unstoppable
Joy which breathes them
Unseen but full

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Cleft’s Valentine

Let’s say twelve pentagons
Get together to make
One gleaming dodecahedron
The shape of the original
Human heart as the gods
Perhaps first envisioned it
Before the cleft was driven
And the mechanism of the blood
Spiraled it into the rhythms
Of time the bodies of time
Which we have come to occupy
How smoothly it’s been sanded
Self-contained as a shining shell
Or a heart-shaped stone
Found on a beach and taken home
That the will that made it
Be used to serve to save it

Monday, February 20, 2017

Mattering Valentine

Nature was the first religion
The gods loved what they’d done
In the beginning no one knows
But to move forward into words
And signs as the light densifies
Into the life of matter
The love of matter
Someone had to comprehend
The darkness to show
How it was done
From father death
A living light
Must come

Liminal Valentine

His big ears
Get cold first
While his big feet
Rest in the sun
A figure of light
And dark matter
As on a mountain
Or walking on a shore
He feels he matters
In the light in the part
Where it’s pleasant
But in the night dreams
All bets are off
He cannot lie anymore
His cold ears fly off to glory
His warm feet plod the shore

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Abandoned Valentine

History is not the same theme
Happening over and over
But variations on a mood
Within a certain time frame
Leading to a new theme
Already foreshadowed
Already old and familiar
Like the double childhood
In America of slavery
And whiteness
What to do with it
Now we are all
Woven together into
One contentious family
Still brother against brother
Eve and Helen abandoned alone

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Thrasher’s Valentine

The California Thrasher
Is singing in the rain
At the top of the orange tree
The wind is rising and
The temperature’s falling fast
Every so often he flies up briefly
To shake off the rain
Then lands and resumes his singing
What does he have
That I don’t have enough of
Joy in being
A summer heart for a winter song
A home among the things
He takes for granted
Exuberant as sun or rain

Golden Valentine

Aren’t flowers the true gold
Of the world having hammered
Mineral gold and gemstones
Into the casual gestures of the sun
They feed us and illuminate
The heart’s dark journey
From innocence to fruitfulness
Stopping here briefly
Beauty that always runs the risk
Of seeming trivial and defenseless
But won’t be gotten rid of
Everywhere we go flowers
Follow or precede us asking
What are you waiting for

Yet Valentine

How few thoughts and feelings
Are actually our own
And not inherited
Or borrowed outfits
No one person can perhaps
Really be said to think yet
Nor is feeling yet a felt thing
And our actions follow a different path
Where is the person present
Who shows up in our thoughts
As mostly elaborated feelings
We think thinking is hard

While all the time someone
Else is doing it for us

Friday, February 17, 2017

Music’s Valentine

It may be a grave misfortune
Not to say a character flaw
Not to love music
All kinds of music
And the consciousness of music
Underpinning everything
The meme and context of the world
Carried in a heart-beat
Through time and space
Whatever they may be
Breaking loose from the blood’s
Long ropes of bondage and fate
That joy not be constrained
Nor sorrow go unrequited

My Mother Lives Inside Me Valentine

When I get back from a trip
It takes the cat hours to trust
Me again I mean she’s honest
Enough to admit it’s not
Like nothing happened
You abandoned me
Don’t you remember
Waiting hours for your mother
Who never showed up
Don’t you remember how it felt
Until finally she just forgets all about it
Curling and purring in my lap
And yes I can feel and understand it now
Even if it took me years I whisper

Language Valentine

I would like to learn
The stern idiom of the crows
How to break grammar into number
Timing and volume with
A sizeable amount of scorn
Laughter and alarm thrown in
How out of just one word
They wring a whole language
Sufficient to their simple need
For greetings and farewells
Leaving to prettier birds
The singing and the chatter
Speaking Caw-Caw-Caw
What else could matter

Laguna Valentine

Forgive me if I fly away
For a few nights and days
To visit the black crows
Of Laguna Niguel who call
To me flapping above a certain
Balcony in the sycamore trees
Where I can sit like a pasha
Surrounded by plants and flowers
Catching the sea breeze
And talk with my sweetie
You know who you are
For whom I feel so grateful
She’s my lucky star
And the beach isn’t that far


Saturday, February 11, 2017

Starry Valentine

Jupiter the wise king
Is riding backwards
Through his lands and plans
To see how things are going now
From the other side
All this will affect the spring this year
With a retrospective brooding
An ongoing eclipse of clouds
Alternating floods and sunshine
An altogether emotional time
Of remembrance and chagrin
With a blazing summer in the offing
But have no fear
The daffodil will still appear
The fall will be brief but bloody

Love of Knowledge Valentine

That all our ideas
Are in our heads
Doesn’t seem to
Impress us enough
Thinking backwards
Our very first desire
Was to know something
How the trick
Was done we
Who started out
Believing lies
Promises of greatness
Come to bleakness

Friday, February 10, 2017

Urchin’s Valentine

Yearning for the ocean
Just to see it
Lifts me into another world
The way the sky finally
Answers us both as equals
Offering a whole new prospect
The promise of forgotten beaches
The cemetery and the birth places
We pick our way among
The rocks and human debris
Thrown up by the tide
Searching for the urchin’s pool
Like a little womb
The still unbroken spell

Grecian Valentine

The old Greeks had their gods
The way we have the old Greeks
Who look like adolescent gods to us
Like goat-footed Socrates who killed himself
Knowing you can’t kill yourself
Not really your genius survives
Isn’t that what a young god would do
Make a demonstration of his power
Like Krishna to trembling Arjuna
Or Enkidu to Gilgamesh after him
Always it was about courage in those days
Until the old gods retreated
Their temples buried or bombed
But still when you stare
At the Parthenon today
Who cannot believe a goddess
Once lived there

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Faith’s Valentine

If you have no faith
In the outcome
Why start out
From the porch
Why not leap
From the window
When meaning
Rules us but
To break from
It we must
As you know
Intelligence alone
Is a poor emotion
Take up your rightful place
In the cosmic puzzle
A picture of chaos restored
By love’s promotion

Piece Valentine

The little piece of consciousness
We carry on our heads
Balanced in our bodies
Like women who bear
Tall ewers of water
Or great baskets of laundry
Over the tightrope of their lives
How is this possible
And yet we do it every day
Is it because someone
We love is waiting for that water
Our feet can carry us
Our little piece of consciousness
Having come this far

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Soaked Valentine

So I went to the gym at two
O’clock to have a hot soak
Which is when the old crocks
And hippopotami assemble
Speechless and remote
Settling in and under
The steaming water
How long we’ve traveled
Into these hard and wrinkled bodies
To melt them back to youth
In this magic swirling pool
Our heads emerge occasionally to wonder
Let the miracle be revealed
I have a soul to launder

Novalis Valentine

Have we given up the hope
That art can truly heal us
Is poetry the canary in the shaft
Argue it out among yourselves
Does science keep coming to a dead end
Downshifting into technology and numbers
Or is it just the way you hold the cup
And lift it to your mouth
And carry it into your feeling
Can words hold us to them
Even as they let us go
Into their origins and factories
As if one word could solve it all
If it be lyrical and meek
If we would let it speak

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Blank Valentine

One day I left a page blank
Saying I would come back to you
And write here what the other pages
Left out couldn’t know or say
It wasn’t just your plainness
Waiting for the future
That made me look back
As we passed
But your blue lines basking
In their silence
Like far waves
Come to rest

Ceremonial Valentine

The preparations for the blessing
Of my aging spring garden
Pre-planned remain undone
But we must go ahead
With the procession of clouds
The rained-on incense-bearers
And the man with the brass gong
Everyone must get wet
And you must sit and hold
Your seedlings in your hands
Until the bride arrives
All we have left
Of the ancient wedding of the sun
To her dark cousin in the earth

Little Valentine

You don’t have to call me
You don’t have to say goodbye
You don’t even have to love me
Or tell me why
And I don’t have to cry
Be lonely or worry
As if hung out to dry
Let’s have little of that
As if love never grew up
Into a lucid thing
A superabundant
Ever-present and
Indestructible thing

Monday, February 6, 2017

Immaculate Valentine

How could an immaculate conception
Not imagine an immaculate
Yet still human birth
A body into which only light
Could penetrate and be cleansed
Into love and sweet forgiveness
But you can imagine that
Gathering of the gods
Where all of this was decided
As the last and only way
The unimaginable itself
We’ll send into the minds of men
And let them find him on their own

Anymore Valentine

Anymore the only question is
If you are willing to kill
Or you are not willing
After that it doesn’t matter
How you do it really
Legally or illegally
If we stop the killing of babies
Will we stop the killing
Of mothers and fathers too
Will we disguise our politics
As a religious enterprise
Trading reason for dogma anymore
Everyone confessing to a different faith
And some in none anymore

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Rest’s Valentine

Someone’s dying across the way
A terrible coughing I hear
Most of the night and day
Set precipitously against
Birdsong and traffic drone
A slammed door and a child’s
Call to an imaginary friend
It all seems so random
Except for death
Pretending to be
The only real thing
In the world
But even in passing
The rest go on
The song and the drone go on

Grandmother’s Valentine

It’s so obvious we’re just one
Unending family the world
And me I know you feel
It’s true of you and everyone
After a certain point in life
Despite the crazy arguments
Of our insane uncles not even
Comedy can survive
But continues anyway
The pride in war at war
With the young mothers
Of the world the cousins
And aunties the grandmothers
Who stay for long story-telling visits
Even after they’re gone

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Expected Valentine

O many-layered day
I greet thee I entreat thee
If you must sail out into the bay
Like all the others before you
To help establish whole new countries
I’d like you to notice first
This tiny unknown bug
Who has fallen into my coffee
Walking now my toothpick tightrope
Into the light you carefully offered
Somehow I expected you would keep
Both him and me in mind among the great
Things you intended and decreed
You just seemed like that kind of day

Holy Trinity Valentine

My holy trinity of strays
A sweet pea and a periwinkle
And an overshadowing nasturtium
Who voluntarily decided one day
To come up together companionably
As we gardeners of the light might say
In the same small room
Strange how the pea
Used the periwinkle
To reach the trellis
Causing it to bloom
And the pea to unwind
Its tendrils in a swoon
Of sudden gratitude
And rush to climb 

In His Cups Valentine

In a reptilian time
When still so much loveliness
Remains to be accomplished
In his more Etruscan moods
Buried under the debris of his life
Years of drinking and smoking
My father used to say in dying
You start what you can start small
Creation is mostly construction work
Some stones you must reject
If you would find the living ones
Build there upon a solid and
Ecstatic dream brought down
From a real heaven
To an actual home on earth
Little brother of many moons
And then he would fall asleep 

Friday, February 3, 2017

Eulogy Valentine

If in heaven he
Would be idly
Smoking a cigarette
Until the maĆ®tre d’
Told him to put it out
Or leave tout suite
If in hell he would be
Sipping a martini
And dancing to Ella
If in heaven he said
He would order
The bolt of lights
If in hell he said
He would stay
Just a few nights

Mostly Valentine

A territorial dispute
Breaks out in leaves an argument
Of birds for trees
Crashing and rising
In loud pursuit
Or is it merely the sexual
Hirsute side of spring
Nests unsettled in the tall lean grass
Requiring a god for their protection
The peaceful and the fiery birds
Who already live in the spiritual world
Only doing what a god requires
A brief complaint of light
Mostly settled by tonight

Returning Valentine

Once I started thinking
I really got to like it
We got used to one another
Thrown together so much
Getting in one another’s way
Selfish can be very thinking
And I often had to turn
Away from its cruel words
And keep trying to come back
To my heart’s easy rhythm
The grace of a stone
Skipping over water
But you have to practice that
And make your own instrument
If you want the kind of music
Thinking never thinks of

Infant’s Valentine

At first the infant
Can only look out
Amazed or troubled
By what it sees
Something looking back
And then the shyness
Of being seen
Which only touching
Can overcome
And love in its profoundest
Presence must be there
For the infant when
It gives itself to the world
If we would come to any good