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