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

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Loitering Valentine

A sharp breeze
Bringing a nasty rain
They fight like marrieds
In the narrow drain
A door left open
For the wind
A window shut
Against the wet
One of those nights
Sleep loiters in the yard
And won’t come in
Old war stories
With the wind
Old romances
With the rain

Careful Valentine

Fear is a cognitive failure
Expressing as hate in the heart
And doubt of any good future
The garbage truck terrifies
The cat the way bullets
Break out at any moment
But that’s just sudden fear
A physiological reaction
A shock to the system
Yet who is not afraid
Of hurting what he loves
Is not sane or reasonable
What abolishes fear
Must be thought that’s capable
Of honesty and care

Equinoctial Valentine

Maybe in our time on earth
We will force ourselves to admit
To settle it once and for all
The universal fact
The eternal recurring rumor
That no one of us can survive
Here alone no one of us
Can completely take care of himself
We are all everywhere dependent now
On everyone else everything else
In every conceivable way
A government true to this time
Can only be the understanding
Of the implications of this fact

Monday, March 20, 2017

Distant Valentine

A good meditation tries
To mirror the original
As if it were the original
And the other was the image
It takes several brush-strokes
Not to be confused as a copy
Of the living god in his dominion
Painted on this crumbling wall
Yet here he is resplendent
Preserved in fragmentary blue
And white as if condensing
Out of the clouds as promised
But for now often alone
He’s living in a tiny chapel
In a hidden valley far away
Still meditating night and day
Still listening for the phone

David’s Valentine

One cannot anticipate its arrival
Nor control its departure’
And yet it’s everywhere
The source of all the life around us
No wonder we let it into our bodies first
Our own and someone else’s
But it refuses to stay there
Nothing if not free
As you make clear
Now you must love the world
As love so loved
It could forget itself
Remembering you

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Trace Valentine

Science wants to know
How many times Christ
Used the word love
It wants to measure his feet
For the lakes around here
It wants to find out why
The water he blessed
Tasted like new wine
When the groom was already drunk
And our religions have become
Political organizations
And our politics has become
The worst kind of religion
Only in art can we find a trace
Of him that’s still believable
What happened on that hill

Missing Valentine

I always miss some places
So I have to go back
Over them with my clippers
Like trimming faces
Buried in the bearded
Weeds ladies in their curlers
But the sun keeps moving
Combing over the grass
So the more I eliminate
The more appear
First Spartacus with his million
Summarily dispatched
Then the savior dandelion
Whose sun has not been matched

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Left in the Street Valentine

If you find this note
Know that I am a prisoner
Of a deeply psychotic cat
With borderline features
Somewhere in this neighborhood
But if I told you the address
You might try to rescue me
And that would only make things worse
Because she's the kind of jealous lover
That won’t let you out of her sight
Bites your ankles if you leave
Her alone too long at night
But in the morning in my lap
She curls all’s reconciled
Even lets me sip my coffee
If I’m quick and don’t drip
And let her have her nap

Farewell Valentine

Down a long tunnel
You will come to the dark earth
Some people will recognize you
And take you home with them
After that there are various
Possible childhoods planned
But only one that is yours
It won’t take long to forget
Everything you’ve learned
To be entirely on your own
But try to remember one thing
When you get there
What can never die
Was never born

Exact Valentine

The world is always exactly
What we have in mind conveyed
For ourselves collectively thinking
Up to this point in the recording
We’ve memorized the music so
All that matters is how it’s played
Whether by mouth or hand
Serving the purposes of a certain note
Long awaited long pursued
Lest when it rushes through you
When it grabs you by the throat
Having come to the final pause
The flutes wavering in the background
You fail to lift your arms into the air
And let them float

Friday, March 17, 2017

Etheric Valentine

What if you could look
Into the three ethers
And in the first you could see
The pure light of your ideas
Coming and going as people
And in the second you could see
The vast turbulent ocean
Of your feelings warming
And freezing you as you sail on
And in the third you could
Barely see if you peered way down
The battling currents of your will
Steering that passionate ocean
Giving rise to those fiery thoughts

Erin Valentine

It was long enough ago
To be still remembered
A few scraps of something holy
Salvaged from the past
For those who wear the cross
But don’t believe in heaven
The boy with the snakes
Turning them into the green
Of spring before the Norsemen came
As if Ireland were the childhood
Of the world as we know it
Its birthday moment
Its point of departure
With its giants and little people
Its dancing into the future

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Etruscan Valentine

To fashion an image of reality
Is our unrelenting task
You were just getting out of the shower
And a week went past
I used to think of Emerson and Poe
Visiting the cemetery together
But now they don’t have to
When they got off the train
After a long lunch together
Their loved ones for whom they lived
Rushed to meet them I’m sure
You meanwhile looked like an Etruscan
I once knew but then it passed

Caught Valentine

And you my dear dead ones
Whose lives continue on the inside
While we are caught here
On the outside I’m sure
You hold the secrets to both
If we would only listen
You wield the spring light
The way we pick up a pen
And out of your murmurings
The brief memories of leaves
And flowers form and breath
Each thing once only for us
But for you they’re just down the road
Where they remain
In their eternal weaving

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

M’s Valentine

To have someone love you
More than you love yourself
Which is considerable almost intolerable
And to love them back
More than they love themselves
Which is considerable almost intolerable
This is the triple grand trine
As far as we’ve come
But often I think we love
Someone who doesn’t feel
The same sooner or later
Which is a shame
Given how much
We love ourselves

Shosta’s Valentine

To come upon the beauty
Of the 2nd movement
Of Shostakovich’s 2nd
Piano Concerto in the middle
Of a confounding day
Searching for something else
And then playing it over
And over how he places the notes
Fragmentary but tenderly
As if speaking to a child
Falling asleep as if here
In this quiet-restless music
He exhumed the old Slavic soul
For a few astonishing moments
Before it was taken
Underground again

Weeding Valentine

An old man weeding
Doesn’t need a life
If he has a garden
If he’s given up
On vegetables
And grows only
Flowers and weeds
An old man weeding
Is secretly re-seeding
His love for spring
In the winter of his soul
He sows his all
Try your best snow and ice
He will not answer twice

First Truth Valentine

We can be distracted
Easily why so easily
From the first truth but
It doesn’t go away
Our attention shifts
As if there might be
An alternate truth
To be laid
Beside the immovable one
Who does not die
Though death comes
In his footsteps
As if the truth
Had first to be buried
In order to spring again

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Seven Valentines

Remember when you were seven
And you wanted the Virgin Mary
To appear to you but instead
Someone slipped his hand
Down your pants while you
Your body betraying you
Said seven Hail Mary’s
And seven Glory Be’s
I cannot say what if for what is
Ripped from a pure world
Into the forbidden garden
Where the goblins get you
Sometimes I would see him
On the street our eyes
Would meet

Promised Valentine

I who have tempted
The Lord my God
Am coming to meet you
At Castle and Second Street
At noon as we agreed
But how will you recognize me
Once childhood friends
Now two old sods
I always knew you were a thief
Just come I will recognize you
I will be the one
Standing alone one-eyed
I will have the gold
They promised you

Monday, March 13, 2017

Virginal Valentine

The dissipating forces of the moon
Can be seen dazzling us tonight
Carried in the arms of a virginal girl
Who having damped love down
To human terms and sums
Offers us the host of death
But not before the spring has come
The lifting of her veil
To the cadence of the sun
The long march north
With its frequent interruptions
Detours and delays
The virgin always just ahead

Pesky Valentine

Overnight it’s summer again
No I mean overnight
We go from the 70’s to the 90’s
At the gym I overhear
A muscular middle-aged man
Shout to his friend over the lockers
How overcome he is every year
By the scent of the citrus flowers
How he would like to sleep out
Under his seven blossoming trees
4 orange 2 lemon 1 tangerine
He can’t describe it
It would be like paradise
If it weren’t for those
He says pesky mosquitoes

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Table’s Valentine

Awaiting execution as we all are
Having let’s face it in some way chosen
The riddle of our death
Do we still have time to refuse it altogether
To put things in their places
We have come I hope
To set the table of life
Always there is a little of spring
Just before the crossing
Where you can look over
Straddling the two worlds
A solstice of oneself
I sing awaiting

Friday, March 10, 2017

Desert Valentine

Here in the desert
The heat twists the light
Into the most stripped-down forms
Of that life which is always present
But unimaginable in the earth
Until all that’s left
Is the bare idea of the plant
The earliest known sketches
Of limbs but with the most
Extravagant spring flowers
Which a little rain can afford
To weave from a whole
New theory of colors
That glow in its soil

The Mystery of the Mind Valentine

The mind is still the true
Mystery of the world
That it was always there and
That there could be one buried
Next to such a naked heart
Blundering itself apart
Expert at happiness and hurt
Having learned to self-inflict it
The mind of this morning for example
In the movement of Morning
The whole species of light
And air lifting the breath
Of the earth upward and outward
Passing through and around us
Carrying its suffering and grace

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Mystery of Evil Valentine

The incarnation of the lie
The embodiment of mendacity
It too has its long goals
Behind its strategies of chaos
The ownership of souls
Which slavery enacted
And almost entirely achieved
It won’t repair the damage
Take back the blow received
It stands upon its principle
Of loss and seeks revenge
And all we have is whatever
Respect we have left
For the difficult truth
At the bottom of it all

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blooming Dogwood Valentine

I remember one night
At fifteen hearing Charles
Olson read in Toronto
I liked that he strived
For a dark grandeur though
I didn’t understand a word
It was the fifties and I
Was still a fugitive of love
Which I confused with art
At each stage of life we’re
Completely different people
And if one of us gets to live
Long enough we can all gather
In one room and talk it out

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

The Gods’ Valentine

For the old Greeks the gods survived
In their sculpture and their architecture
But for us today it’s in our technology
Where they may be safely worshipped
Without having to reveal themselves
As more than inorganic infrastructure
For the Greeks the statues spoke
Words that changed their lives
Erasing the fear of death
Restoring sight to their eyes
But for us we have our phones
The little god of pictures and texts
Our cars where Pegasus
Is bolted to the floor
Our jets where Jupiter
Is made to roar

Forgotten Mother’s Valentine

What have you done
For humanity today my mother
Once asked me this
Was in an imaginary
Conversation when mothers
Were the first rulers
Of the world
Which the men loyal sons
Accepted as the source of life
And the most precious thing
To be valued and protected
That it have its sway
In the end mothers
Ruling anyway

Monday, March 6, 2017

Child’s Valentine

The soul is like a single parent
Of a thriving dying child
Who must be fed and changed
Educated and not spoiled
All on a limited amount
Of love and resources
Because the soul too must search
For its lost teachers and friends
In the bewildering world
Of feelings and mistakes it seems
Already arranged for itself
Just to come home every night
Eat supper and sing
The child to sleep

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Lenten Valentine

Christ is tempted
When he feels hungry
For the first time after
Forty days of fasting
First he is tempted
To use his magic power
To overcome matter
Then he is tempted
With suicide and finally
With megalomania all this
And he still hasn’t eaten anything
But don’t forget he sat
Always at the table of his Father

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Kitty’s Valentine

She likes to sleep in her own room
She likes to cuddle first and then
Go to sleep in her own bed
She believes her dreams
Are sacred communications
And though she never writes them down
She wonders about them
On and off all day
She thinks they are a truer version
Of the previous day’s emotional events
But replayed in reverse and unrehearsed
In which her real self appears
As it rarely does in the waking world
More beast than beauty
More beauty than beast

Holding Valentine

You escaped you flew
Out of your body back
To what’s invisible to the body
But which the mind perceives
At first foggily the dream
Of the body yours and mine
We could see the whole earth
As just another country
As the epochs galloped by
Way out on the periphery
Then home come quietly
Chastened and content
Holding our great secret