Thursday, November 30, 2017

Idea’s Valentine

When the Buddha thought of love
He thought of bliss
When the Christ thought of love
He thought of food
Food as bliss
And hell in our time
Though the gourmand still steals
From the starving
As in their day
But to think of love as food
For your body of bliss
Is a new idea
Which is still percolating down
To the upper classes
From the lower masses

Further Valentine

The seven stages after death
As most of the old ones knew
Are the seven stages of initiation here
Further and further into the other world
First unconsciously then quietly
We find our way back to remembering
Only in order to go on talking
About the wonders we have seen
But no longer believe in
The newly-dead follow us around at first
Listening carefully to our explanations
Until they decide to get on with their lives
Leaving their books and luggage behind
Now they know their purpose
Which they always take with them

Fiery Valentine

After two cups of coffee
I hear snow falling somewhere
Rain turning to snow
Snow that is loud and clattering
So you go inside a little afraid
And chastened turning to ice
Thinking of Venus borne
Under the heavy body of earth
Into the cold darkness of space
Carrying a child not hers
A man and half a man
The curse of birth
Which comes upon her
In a whirl of stars fallen
In the fiery resting snow

Shaken Valentine

The evaporative ability of love
How it leaves only the distillate
In the petri dish of the day
A bluish egg from which
A wet bird stumbles
Shaking its blackish wings
You marvel that it only wants
To eat us pecking away
At our ears and eyes
So we have to tie a leash
Around its neck
And feed it with our blood
And put a fire under it
Until it glows and softens
And falls out with a thud

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Picture’s Valentine

There were always two gods
The one and the one he immediately made
Is adoration above god
But of course two is an uneven
Number of legs for the one chair
Of being while three is perfect
It’s a picture that applies everywhere
And randomly in all fields
To be used like a tool
A tool of the gods
Who hammer away at us
And argue in our sleep
Just the three of them
Like a children’s chorus
Singing our hearts out

Advent Valentine

The Aloe Vera blooms in Advent here
Which used to be a kind of Lent
When the little one kicks in the womb
Turning toward the entrance
To the world jostled
On the back of an ass
When will we ever get there
To find nothing welcoming
But Aloe blooming on the roadsides
An empty stomach and an emptier
Heart waiting to be filled
All the other infants killed
And Aloe flowers red and yellow
As if spotted with blood
Sunlight falling on the mud

Coded Valentine

Long short long short short
And then after a little while
One last long cloud in which
The sun is struggling
Like a tiny fish on the black hook
Of the horizon
Or a word the mouth remembers
But the mind forgot
Slowly coming back
Clouds whose names we don’t recall
But whose faces we’d
Remember anywhere
The code of the dead
Is to shout and shout
But we hardly hear a thing

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Later In November Valentine

I meant to say justice
Hides behind everything
Waiting to pounce
Taking no mind of time
It steps right past
The angry nettle on both sides
To signal its arrest
Of the future it strides
Like someone who’s forgotten
Something in the field
And goes back out
To drag the darkness in
And lay it on a plate
For his beloved but how much
Justice can you eat

Paired Valentine

The hummingbird dropped a bomb
On me I mean a balm
Shattering the peace of my affliction
I tell myself pick this up
Or put this down
But I don’t follow my instructions
Something in me looks the other way
Like the humming perching on the air
Surveying the perilous earth
I know what you mean
When you think we are different creatures
Though we breathe the same air and light
Until we can rejoin them
The same pair of wings
The same flight

Monday, November 27, 2017

Late November Valentine

Picking pomegranates
And sweeping pomegranate leaves
Which is not what I’m doing
Which I will do later
And then forget to
And have to do it early
Sunday morning before
The wind returns
Leaving me to do it again
Until every yellow leaf
Is wanly swept and placed
On the compost heap with ceremony
The corruption of the body
Of a year takes just three months
While the juice of the soul ascends

Meuller’s Valentine

You have to irrigate
The eyes of the plants
So they can see the sun
Not as an object glittering
Way out there
But as love itself
Moving toward them
Absorbing them
What is above nature
Its other half the other one
Who accompanies the witnesses
And the whole courtroom of
Some kind of justice
We sense must be there
Behind so many crimes

Voice’s Valentine

The cat chases the finches
From the chaste tree swiftly
I say this faster and faster

A gray-haired dark-skinned lady
Is rescuing plastic and aluminum cans
From the recycle bins
I wish I had time to read Ursula le Guin
And Tolstoy again two
Perfectly fine thinkers
But these three lines
Are like the wall around Mexico
That will never be built
They wander off and get
From your voice

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hell’s Valentine

Not many terrible things
Happened to me I was one
Of the saved and blessed
Not thrown out of a window
Or hung in a lonely field
But given a small life
On the periphery of the peninsula
Of a Greek courtyard
Sticking out of history
I was given every father’s dream
A child who is a good person
And I was saved by every woman
I ever met I see that now
And every man I fell in love with
Pulled me safely from hell

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Returned Valentine

While I was gone
Neither stupid nor wise
The grass seed I planted
Ascended flushed
With the green I wanted
To lie down in
So restful to the eyes
After long travel
Long travail
And the flowers revived
In my absence
As if they didn’t need me anymore

But could take it from here
And go on blooming
Over the door

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Feathery Valentine

My wild cat
Likes to claw my chest
And curl and purr
Together we watch
A white feather drift down
To the newly-seeded ground
And notice the air is full
Of tiny feathery things
Sailing in and out of the sun
She will only let me pet her head
And only with my left hand
She doesn’t want her wildness cured
She forces me to sit still
And give up everything for her
To watch the feathers fall

Friday, November 17, 2017

Mystery Valentine

His home is dead
The mockingbird man
His orange tree is dead
He still doesn’t know
What killed it
A mystery in his head
Over and over
He reviews the clues
The same old songs
And still a few green fruit
May ripen but what’s the use
On the last living branch
Soon he too will be gone
The mystery of song
When love is done 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Easter Is an Island In the Mind Valentine

We brought great stones back from the beach
To plant in our desert garden
Our own Easter Island
Once covered by tall forests
We now have to settle for sand
And the leftover augur shells
Still rising from a long-dead ocean
We keep moving around the earth
From the same reticulated past
With so much to remember
We have to pick what lasts
If we could only make up our minds
One stone is a shapely fish-head
With a tiny white shell for an eye
Aimed toward the sunset sky

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Eyes Valentine

Eye to eye
With a butterfly
Orange on a green leaf
He rests in the sun
I in the shade
The day has made
He’s teaching me to flutter
To hold my wings open
And just sip the light
I’m teaching him to mutter
Just under his breath
The universe of night

He speaks of return
Of all that’s flowing
I speak of going

Remembered Valentine

The twig trembles
When the bird pushes off
Free of the load
It tried to hold
The weightlessness
Free of all attachments
What seemed just another leaf
Slipping off
Trusting the wind
With its own motives
If no clear destination
Following its nose
Leaving the breeze
To shake the twig
As if it remembered something

Waves Valentine

There are living oceans
And there are dead oceans
Where the fish swim through you
And the waves have been distilled
To the warm air you breathe
With only the beaches left
And the walking for miles
Toward the dissolving mountains
Where water can be found
Or else you row out
To where a certain plant
Can be pulled up from the depths
Tenderness in the morning
You can hold
In your hands

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Crying Out To The Elements Valentine

I know I don’t listen
Very well to you lamely
Try to follow your directions
Received mostly unconsciously
Like instant messages
From your stores of wisdom
I know you think
We’re just the stupidest
Things on earth
It’s all about learning to think
Isn’t it into the feelings
You draw up from the earth
The logic of leaves
Hoisted piecemeal
To the roaring stars

Monday, November 13, 2017

Bruised Valentine

The worst things must be
Our finest teachers
We are that obstinate
A sort in the world
But we come to this knowledge
Long before we can implement it
The good get better
When the evils get worse
Having to disentangle themselves
But this morning I found
A bruised rainbow
Hiding behind the bureau
Knowing how it got there
Relieves none of the pain
Of having to nurse it back again

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Promised Valentine

Come to my heart strength
Come to my will love
Come to my thoughts life
This was the prayer
He wrote down
And walked off
We had just met
Yet he was someone
I loved right away
What’s strange is I can’t
Remember where we were
Or even exactly when

But I mark it
As the beginning
Of a promise to meet again

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran’s Valentine

I am where I am
And you are with me
Spirits of the earth

Bach’s Valentine

I would have my Bach stripped
Of his fine frocks
Down to the naked melody
Now frills are less in fashion
With him you have the feeling
The music could go on and on
You could come back next Tuesday
And he would still be teasing out
All the possible permutations
But the clothes never come off
Not completely
Only a further nakedness
Is ever revealed

Friday, November 10, 2017

Returned Valentine

Is a great vice the price
Of a great talent
Or is it just the talent’s
Not yet strong enough
To overcome the vice
Never totally vanquished
How to apply its powers
To itself the imagination
That makes self-mockery possible
Humility is never lacking
In the truly talented
A sense of gratitude and service
So the talent is lifted up
And given back
To the gods

Familiar Valentine

The familiar presence
Of eternity wears on me
And cheers me up

Originally I had no idea
There could be forever
The tides of endless time

That I could sleep with it
As a continuation
Of conscious dreaming
And wake back up
In a body so grounding
And individual
And yet so doubtful
Love will ever make it
To the end

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Original Valentine

Cacti always look
Like they’re starving
Compared to other trees
Which of course they are
Having cut back to the bone
In the prisons of the sun
But if you take one in
And feed and water it
It will fill out again
Into something resembling a man
Or a neglected child recovering
The use of her limbs
These spines were always her leaves
But look she has kept
The original idea of the flower

More Valentine

How many names do we have for sunlight
In the dark gardens of the mind
And then you show up
A vivid picture that appears
In one world and then fades
Into another more permanent
And to think this is the only world
In which we can get something done
It’s overwhelming
And that I haven’t even
Had a coffee yet
Or kissed you almost
As you’re going out the door
Always leaving love
And entering more

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Many Valentines

The gods aren’t smoking cigarettes
Leisurely in heaven
Watching the earth go by
In the time before logic
They loved to waft in the incense
After a long day’s hard work
But now they hardly ever get home
To sleep for a few hours
Before there’s another fire
On Venus or Mars
And of course the earth
It’s like having another baby
Having so many babies
Half of them die
For lack of their holding

Preparatory Valentine

Preparatory to its little dose of sunlight
It’s always standing
Quietly at attention
Perhaps fifteen minutes
Of total illumination
And complete clarity
Before the shade returns
To its shining nest
And settles in
The sad sun
That it must touch
And need us so much
Even the tiny buds
We cling to
And try to save

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Another Way Valentine

The plants and animals
The oceans and mountains
Already being there
Go to heaven when they die
But the two-leggeds
Have invented another way out
Of this world
To bring heaven down
To human size
And to incorporate the light
Of sun and stars
Into the darkness of forgetting
Where they come from
Like some poor girl who goes out for bread
And winds up getting married
And moving to a foreign country
Where she’s happy at times
But wakes up every morning in tears

Jade Pot’s Valentine

The world’s arranged
So when you come
Around the corner
The first thing you see
Are the two great blues
With an emerging flower
Standing between them
What would you do
If you had the time
And then you do
The pale blue of morning
The midnight blue of midnight
What can you do
But hold your face
Right up to them

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Last Valentine

You could say the earth
Is an excrescence of heaven
In the process of assimilating God
Or whatever you want to call it
Everything simultaneously that’s
Inside and all around us
How far back the idea
Stretches itself to the rattle
Of garbage in the alley even
And still so much to throw away
The great mountains and oceans
The living and dying of worlds
And who will win the prize
Of seeing the last rose
Or the last pelican I saw

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Hymn to the Depths Valentine

What to them are the depths
To us are the heights
They don’t fool around
With space and time
The way we tend to
The armor of God
Is an oxymoron
Yet demonstrably true as stars
And these clouds and lightening
Are no aftermath for them
But what happens to words
When they come from great distances
To land in our mouths
Which spit them out
And sing them back again

Friday, November 3, 2017

One Color Valentine

Under my dying orange tree
I planted myrtle
With its purple-blue flowers
Saturn’s color
As a gardener
Year after year
If you could have
Just one color
Light and shadow
Falling through
Disrobing branches
Let it be myrtle
Once the crown of kings
It sends out runners
That soon cover the ground

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Vinca’s Valentine

I commit my sin
I receive the medicine
O lucky sin
While the Vinca grows a cross
Of leaves each cross
Lifted upon another
Until a five-petaled flower
Emerges from their quarrel
With a blood-red stain
At the center of such whiteness
It must be its sin
Hidden in the green
While the sun fell upon it
And I watched it
Grow up for me

That Room’s Valentine

That room is always warm
With a cold edge to it
So close we have to whisper
A conscious garden
In an interior world
That breathes us until
We fall asleep and dream
Each other’s dream
Equally amazing versions
Of the sun and the sea
An empty shoreline where
We are always walking
Toward one another
And wake up
In an embrace

Third’s Valentine

Even though we’re all involved
Only a third get caught
And crucified
We like to make an example
Of ourselves
Acting like animals
When all of us are overwhelmed
By our desires
To live out
The length of our bodies
Until they grow tired of us
Brief as flowers
Dumb as seeds
To which we aspired
In our garden days and forgot

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Fall Valentine

They take a long time
To break down
But when they dissolve
It’s not in tears but with
A life-bestowing power
In a liquid form
A food made from piles
Of seeds that went nowhere
Having fallen to the ground
The mystery of those sent down
Trying to claw their way
Back into the soil
Until all that energy
Of lives not lived
Becomes the fervent earth