Saturday, September 22, 2018

Old Valentine

You must know something
You’re scratching your heads
If I didn’t know you better
I’d say you looked dead
Mother dead father
They said you was a nigga
Before they pulled the trigga
Bolting up out of bed
Catapulting down the stairs
Dead father dead mother
I woke up screaming bloody
I was living in a nigga’s body
I could feel you were a trap
Dead mother dead father
So I put you in a rap

Friday, September 21, 2018

Lone Valentine

The way a tree gets stuck
Between a river and a rock
After a flood in the muck
 
The way a tree gets fucked
Into flower by a gang
Of sunny days
 
The way it recovers
The one arm left
Sprouting suckers
 
The way it marries
Its trauma to its leaves
Settling into a new cleft
 
There in the middle of the river
Anchorite of a rock
The lone survivor

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Be Beautiful and Grow Until You Glow Valentine

Morning thinks we can find
Our moods transfixed in nature
But the afternoon dump-truck disputes it
 
Of course it’s different for everyone
Which itself is amazing
Even if unconsciously
 
But it’s in the meeting of seasons
Where we come upon something
Really like us
 
When the trees are born or die
We find out what
A summer-winter our life is
 
Even in the city we can’t
Hide from it completely
A gear is turned

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Returning Valentine

I overlooked everything first
And then came back
To read it all again
 
I was so ashamed
But it was raining here
So I went to get the big bucket
 
And soon so much resignation
Filled it to overflowing
I wanted to read it all again
 
All those accumulating epiphanies
And the symphonic mood
Of rising death
 
Like meringue or the foam
On a lover’s
Or beggar’s mouth

Complete Valentine

I don’t need to
Because I’m ready to roll
I have no idea what it wants
 
I don’t mean to be
A complete melancholic
But it is raining and we must go out
 
We remember the time it never stopped
There were hardly enough
Boats for us all
 
But today it’s falling gently
Like all the kisses
You missed and didn’t
 
A sweet rain and mist
With the occasional downpour
Every plot has its twist

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I’s Valentine

I grow increasingly ungrounded
Then at midnight I cross over
Into the dreamed I
 
I find myself at a conference
Of all the I’s in some
Submerged cathedral
 
The debate will decide the dissolution
As far as I can tell
Of the very notion of an I
 
Versus some further development
In which the I becomes
Both father and everyone else
 
The hammered articles of a hope
That behind all its reflections
One real I must stand

Monday, September 17, 2018

Unblessed Valentine

We who are not yet blessed
Stay loyal to our hard brother
And our tender sister
 
Fearful of our own singularity
We retreat to blood-lines
And to clans and to no one
 
In particular like the idea
There isn’t room enough
For all of us on this planet
 
Like the five thousand
Sitting down at evening hungry
And weary for some bread
 
How those fishes must have tasted
And the long sleep afterwards
In the company of love

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Beaded Valentine

In little baskets of beads
The truth comes out
These shiny things strung along
 
Which hold the light
From so far away
We want to go there
 
Bracelets of fiery creatures
Necklaces of those
Who immolated themselves
 
Entering annihilation
Their golden earrings jingling
As long as love was with them

Leaving us with this vague
Longing to follow them
Into merciful flame

Saturday, September 15, 2018

When Valentine

Memory the mediator
Our stern editor
Of clouds
 
The art of subtitles
Where misspellings
Are allowed
 
A tiny book of short stories
With a long glossary
Of stars
 
Five stout archangels
And three tall girls
Deciding what we keep
 
What centuries to excise
When to fall down laughing
When to weep

Friday, September 14, 2018

Clandestine Valentine

Who wouldn’t like to call up
One of their former lives and arrange
A clandestine meeting
 
Even in one of those all-night places
Over coffee and guiltless cigarettes
Tell me why do we do these things
 
How can we name this relationship
So distant and so intimate I wonder
Where you will sleep tonight
 
But I know you’ll just sit there my sister
And stare at what you’ve become
As I choke you with endless questions
 
Just tell me if I took us forward
One step from your perspective
Or have I lost the thread

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Pursuant Valentine

I find I live one day behind
Only tomorrow does today
Clarify its passage
 
I sit on the edge of my seat
And wait for its little package
Of odors and echoes and tastes
 
Nothing’s forgotten but
Some things stand out
As surprises and defeats
 
Every day I try to see
How yesterday was stolen
Replaced by new clues
 
How the through-line faltered
How those mysterious deaths led me on
In hot and cold pursuit

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Overheard Valentine

So you’re fucking me
That I’m your fault
That I should have

Practiced you more
As if you were a sin
That I forgot to baptize
 
By fire and kisses that
I failed to cross the incline
Between in-kind and kin
 
That I am either deranged
Or incompetent in love
As I was starting to say
 
Right there on aisle three
So everyone could hear
You’ve got to be fucking me

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Fabulous Valentine

Now I see time was the tortoise
And I was the hare in a country
Of cool goblins and rabid mice
 
A house hidden in a forest
I was furtively walking toward
My heart always running ahead
 
The clarity of evil and light
Chasing the bread crumbs of desire
The three wishes forgetting immortality
 
It all turned up tonight
All the Ah-ha’s of an infancy
I tried to prolong and set right
 
Let the tortoise come home
And the gasping ragged hare
Collapse beside him

Monday, September 10, 2018

Last Valentine

Season of melted butter and mosquitoes
Sweat even pouring from the flowers
A harvest of bites and elderberry wine
 
Drunk on the deck overlooking the sun rise
On unraveling fields and woods
On the farms of our brains
 
Season of rain falling like horses
With a few refrigerators thrown in
The lightening of a threadbare conscience
 
Washed clean as a fallen log
Waiting angrily in the yard
To be coaxed into fires and kindling
 
And that last romance
Of sunlight in the corner of the wall
As if it was the first so brilliant

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Poor Things Valentine

I am not what my animal
Discerns about divinity
In her philosophy of signs
 
To her I’m just a symbolic being
The way we must be
To the angelic orders
 
The etymology of metaphors
They’re still working on
As if flowers weren’t enough
 
When we’re all just pieces of it
Searching for our places
In some shattered painting
 
I would not want to be an animal
Or even an angel poor things
If I could be a woman or a man

Friday, September 7, 2018

Not Exactly Valentine

She trusts me but she turns
Her back on me o no
Not another cat phyric victory
 
I was just trying to digest the world
But I keep throwing up
In my mouth a little
 
It’s not disgust exactly
Because I love this world
It’s just having to eat
 
Such rotten meat
To get to the dessert
Another swallow of wine
 
Another nibble of bread
Standing at some altar
Straining to hear what is said

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Bodies Valentine

If all our illnesses are secrets
Buried in the body of the earth
Awaiting excavation
 
If all our secrets are illnesses
Floating in the ether of the earth
Awaiting confirmation
 
If we have stumbled upon a treasure
Confusing it with a stone
And just walked on
 
If the time has not yet come
For enough bodies
To comprehend incorruption
 
Then the planets will just have to run
Along their allotted lines
And the sun just dawn

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Unlived Valentine

The blank page is a magnet to me
Even if it only catches iron filings
And the dust they carry
 
If our machines can see
The invisible why won’t we
On our own eventually
 
Be able to peer carefully
Into one another’s structures
With a botanist’s reserve
 
Our minds behold our souls
As in a clear mirror
Or scratches on a page
 
To be deciphered later
What must first
Be lived

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

What Must We Do Valentine

My cat and not-my-cat
Loves to sleep when I sit down
Between my planted feet
 
So when a mosquito comes
To stab my thigh I am not moved
To move me such is love
 
She sleeps so peacefully
But I must act or die
When that tiny werewolf flies
 
Slowly I reach down and snatch
The thing and crush it
So deftly she hardly stirs
 
Who knows what dreams
Her fealty unfolds
Who knows what daring ventures
 
Resting here in love unmoved
With my own bright blood
Slowly dying on my fingers

Monday, September 3, 2018

Momentary Valentine

As you said a painting
Distils things down in space
To just one moment

So we are left to imagine it
The moment before
And the moment after

As it is with sculpture
And the photographs
Of our memories

We must make them move
By walking around them
Getting closer and further away

To see the pieces of debris
Hacked out and left
In piles on the floor


Terrible and Fun Valentine

A walk among the quaking aspen
Humming we are not afraid today
Was what we had in mind

Nothing glamorous unless
You're taken by the thrall
Of every leaf a sun

But it rained even more perfect
To shiver and be wet through
The path returned to mud

Or did we just imagine it
Caught in crawling traffic
Wishing we'd stayed home

All I remember is a rainbow
All you remember is a star
We ventured out so far

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Her Valentine

She doesn’t want to be just a good girl
Or a good animal
Or a good stone
 
She wants to be a gem
Or a pelicano
Or an avatar of rain
 
Each time she returns
With this thought in mind
She works on one of the details
 
Many weeks spent
In the torment of joy
Things coming together falling apart
 
But on Saturdays she swims
She comes back to her essential lightheartedness
Diving into the deep sea alone

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Already September Valentine

I know we could talk all night long
But thank God the dog
And our doubles need to be walked
 
Our shadow selves taken out
Into the dying twilight
Where the wide spaces wait
 
The night air is also a Christ
Or a girl going by on a bike
So much homework undone
 
We both know what she would say
Having said it all before
But I can’t wait for the morning
 
If you get up at five
You can watch Venus dissolve
In yet another sun like love

Friday, August 31, 2018

Evolutionary Valentine

Something not quite real in us
Poses as sex and gender
The way we keep trying on
 
The bodies of other men and women
In alternating lifetimes
According to the rhythms of the moon
 
As if willy-nilly all these bodies
Were working to evolve
Just one perfect one

With scars on her back
From master time
A body-artist who only paints his wife
 
A wife who wipes out all her other lovers
When all along it was only these bodies
Something not quite real in us

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Is Posing As If Valentine

If I die before I sleep
Or sleep before I die
How will I know that it was I
 
Perhaps you’ll be there
To shake me softly
To wake me up in you
 
As I did often once
Inventing dreaming
As a way past dying
 
Several times a day
But still in you
I was usually trying
 
I could be so trying
As you knew
To find a way to you

Body’s Valentine

I understand how the Platonists felt
About the flesh and its compartments
But it’s not the body’s fault
 
No body wants to be sold or bought
Yet every seven years
We receive a new one
 
But what body builds itself
Clearly each is a construction
Using the ruins at hand
 
Blending in the beauty learned
The leaning towers of perfection
From which the soul has fallen
 
Maybe the body is our noblest part
To which the soul and all
Can only aspire or distort

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Its Valentine

It was somewhere in the old tobacco shed
It was somewhere in the woods
Or on the road to town
 
Or out by the smoking dump
Or somewhere around the peony bed
Or inside the rusted truck
 
Or in the pink bedroom’s glow
Sometimes blazing in the stove
Backed by nightfall gone by dawn
 
It was often in the raspberry rows
And the crowns of Queen Anne’s lace
And chicory its favorite blue
 
Slowly it seeped into our bodies
Reappearing years later
As me and you

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Nursing Valentine

I nursed an impulse
Into a desperation
To see you again
 
Until it became a constant
And pervasive mood
Of expectation and excitement
 
A whirl of drunkenness
In which I was never
More sober or clear
 
So much could get settled
At that hundredth meeting
As at that first
 
Now I see you a young mother
Alone with two small babies
And the world at war

Monday, August 27, 2018

For Paul in the Apple Tree Valentine

The moon in the puddle
Isn’t very subtle
All yawns but no sleep
 
It rests right foreground
On the empty wet street
On the left a row of row-houses
 
And on the other side a crush
Of stately skyscrapers
Ominous as always
 
The air is moist and soft
So you can feel the colors
Before you see the shapes
 
Of a rush of children
Still in their pajamas
Come crying down the street

Sunday, August 26, 2018

No One’s Valentine

Whenever a statement begins with I
I have to ask which I is speaking
It could be anyone or no one
 
Sometimes I stops being me
It has that kind of fluidity
And I can speak for no one
 
Not even myself for a while
A peace is with me
A knowing I am no one
 
The wave of I
Pulls back from the shore
Preparing the wave of me to crash
 
But that pause between the two
When I am no one
And yet something more

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Tonight’s Valentine

Somehow bringing beauty
Into the world tonight
The spirit veered off course
 
In one half of the story
The full moon in majesty
In the other lightening and rain
 
Must we choose a sky
When we can stand in the rain
And the light at the same time
 
Or run back and forth like children
Between being a ghost
And a million leaves dripping
 
The beautiful darkness of rain
The unreal shine of the moon
That says the sun is still there

Friday, August 24, 2018

Subterranean Valentine

Deep into the earth
Of my body I don’t find
What naturally occurs
 
But a hall of raving mirrors
Reflecting back the world I’ve made
Leading to a roaring blaze
 
Of some ultimate will
To go on being
I cannot kill
 
At the very tiniest
Center of my body
Must be a molecule sun
 
So distant and so near
Its light just begins
To touch me here

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Delusional Valentine

If I start thinking of myself
As a whole nation
An abstract civilization
 
Or that my body is the world
And that my heart can only live
In one country at a time
 
Of peril and universal complaint
And if all my governments collapse
One day I’m out fishing
 
And the peace comes back
To start it all up again
Toward the eternity of spring
 
As tulips lean
And my mind’s snow melts
In darkened drifts

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Masterpiece Valentine

A new book to crack
A new cartridge of ink
A freshly washed floor
 
To look out over
All the old fields
Of helplessness I possess
 
To scan the doubtful horizon’s
Few quick lines to learn
If it’s still working for us or not
 
It would save so much time
If I could just cooperate
If we both could just
 
And take down some new book
Not this masterpiece
Of gloat and gloom

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Documented Valentine

I send you a voiceless text
You send me a blurry pic
Of permanent loss
 
I send you a pdf of grief
With blind carbon copies
And endless attachments
 
I’d ask you out to the sunlight
But it’s dark where you are
And you’re probably sleeping
 
So let me read the novella
Of your immigrant dreams
Wandering from night to night
 
And when you wake frightened
Let me be there to hold you
Where words cannot reach