Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Stoney Valentine

Three stones convene
On a sunny table
When a thought walks into the room
The stones converse like corpses
Or buried treasure silence
Holding their wrists
They were only children
When they had to start out
Not knowing where they were going
Burning lifeboats and nights
Under icy stars
Like shepherds without a sheep
All for the Bethlehem of America
Or to pay their taxes
To some greedy king

Monday, December 17, 2018

Unwritten Valentine

Lines in the sky
Lines in the sand
Lines in the face
Some faded away
Some were double-crossed
Some multiplied
I can’t tell for sure
If they’re underlining something
Or crossing something out
But now it’s gone and gone
Whatever was written there
Probably the final instructions
For enlightenment how to see
The rainbow from the other side
As the chalice of the world

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Saved Valentine

If I look down I see
A lined blind page
If I look up I see
Leaves rustle a bird
But there’s this tree between us
And I’m not getting up
I’m lifting one arm up to the light
While the other one
Writes this down
Sometimes it’s a wave
Sometimes a salute
Or a sign of the saved
A bird makes
Flexing one wing
Then the other

Saturday, December 15, 2018

First Valentine

As the leaves build the bulb
So the bulb builds the flower
The original marriage
The ephemeral flower
Just another way

Of bringing color to life
But what is this color
Broken light
In its death throes
Slowly taking up
A new kind of light
Of things from within
Can you feel it
I mean it’s just the first
Stirring of life

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Desert Roses Valentine

This one keeps its leaves in the cold
But has few red flowers in the summer
This one sheds its leaves
Shivering at the first breeze
But is loaded with pale pink flowers
Spring through summer
Different sensitivities and positions
To the sun though they share
The same extinct mother
Disappeared into her two
Bulbous daughters
Her divided mind
Multiplying her kind
She loves me
She loves me not

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Berruguete’s Valentine

Three days I stared at Pedro Berruguete’s
Almost surreal painting c.1505
‘The Annunciation’
It was as good as I could find
To staunch the flow of the world
As good as I could want
On the second day I finally noticed
The white blur of the dove
Up in the left corner and the single
Gold thread spinning from Gabriel’s head
I could feel the enormous respect
They both have for one another
But it’s what is there between them
And the central object of the painting
The 3-D effect of the light that caught me
Falling through the far window
Into the empty room behind them
Like the sun into her womb

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Sacrilegious Valentine

She gasped at the altar
Dropping the F-bomb
To her own chagrin
Immediately she threw a kiss
At the picture of the Savior
Furious with her sin
To bring the dirt of the world
Into this holy place
Defile the peace
Brought anguish
Wrinkled up her face
She would have knelt
But that would only make it worse
But did the Savior wink
Or was that look a curse

Monday, December 10, 2018

Half Valentine

Your body’s only half
Of what I love about you
The insistence of our senses
Of what we share in seeing
Speech and touch
In this dark world
The beauty of what’s left behind
Always arriving right on time
Memory is so porous
But some things rise to the surface
Once your other half
Appeared to me
And I could see
What I love in you
Gleaming eternal purpose

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Immaculate Valentine

When they could see
That your resolve was sealed
That you were really leaving them
When they gathered around the gate
And watched you enter
That fragile body
When the lights were dimmed
In all their houses
And the dogs asleep
When a dark chill fell
From heaven when the earth
Took up its will
To go on living I recall
How much depended
On a loving girl

Friday, December 7, 2018

Rosy Valentine

If my enthusiasm snags
On sorrow’s thorn
And my salvaged flesh
Seems all I own
The abyss of being nothing
I must cross
To where the rose is weaving
In the roots
A whole new rose
Seems far from here
In the darkness
Of the glistening earth
Not dead but buried
Cooked and eaten
By some passing god

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Imagined Valentine

If still an amateur of the imagination
If not his only lover
If not for him as he appeared to me
In his human costume
We soon disrobed
We accepted the perfection
Of the body we could tell
Our souls weren’t nearly ready yet
For the advancing resurrection
But we could see how it was
Being made up slowly composed
Sketch after sketch
Our bodies one
More stretch
Of the imagination

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Moon’s Valentine

The last will and testament of the moon
Is being torn up again
To be carefully rewritten
But not carefully enough apparently
The dog who cried wolf
The perfectionist of distress
Let me take the world
From this angle let me
Make your mind the aperture
And your heart the little click
Speaks the camera of the moon
The print I leave behind is you
But still you pull on me
And blame me for the tides
You ride when I am full

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

For Ages Valentine

Cold coffee on a cold day
An Atlantean light
Pervades the bay I dream
Is resting on your eyes
A world of every luster of gray
The calm despair of a few boats
Abandoned on the wavering shore
The sky indistinguishable
From the sea
Yet that’s where we met
In the fog of heaven
And must meet again
Watching the sun dissolve
Behind the clouded earth
For all it’s worth

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Late Quartet Valentine

In the plant quartet I planned
One blank musician stands
With the others close at hand
In articulate silence forever
Fingers at the ready
Always about to begin
Or as if the music has just ended
And they freeze in place
The last note enveloping them still
As if what they play enchants them
And whatever the music wants
They have decided to become
That cello of white going yellow
Advancing some theme at the edges
Its leit-motif of green

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Blessed Valentine

In his last great work
‘The Hummingbird Wars’
The story of his early years
Which he wrote in blindness
Transcribing only what he heard
From the birds flying in his head
Philo the final tragedian
Often speaks of his mother
A bride and widow on the same day
But already pregnant with him
By a strange incident in the temple
And always resourceful and dignified
Even as a young girl
Sensed the importance of his words
And knew she was blessed

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Our Valentine

Stand up my soul I say
Every morning my waking prayer
I walk to speak
Come to me you lights
And animate my dare
To live another day
Fill me with your doubleness
My heart in unison
As my mind on earth
Give me your thoughts
Worth driving further
And forget not to put
Out the sign that says
I will return
By dawn

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Not Valentine

After the sibilant yes of the day
The droning no of the night
The world can’t make up its mind
I love me I love me not
I love you I love you not
The truth circles them both
And working against our own nature
We aspire to a life of our own
As if the unreality of it all
Was just something to be endured
Like rain on a long walk
We insisted on taking
Just to be free to walk
Toward love or not
Or love is not

Strangest Valentine

My favorite caller again
‘Name Unavailable’
But I was peering at its pistil
Green and reminiscent
Of a broken praying mantis
Stuck in the middle of a pinwheel
The strangest flower in the world
My climbing passion-
Vine the animality of it
A lust so pure it proves
There is another life
Of five green sepals
And five pink petals
Though when you stand back
The overall effect is lavender and purple

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Still Time Valentine

I found a grub in the house
Who was more startled
When I picked it up
Velvety soft and placed it
On a paper napkin
Curled like a fetus
Out we went to find
Where it could possibly have come from
Which twig it might hang from yet
If there was still time
To weave around itself
Some transforming night
A leaf or a cloud
O take me with you
Pale filaments of flight

Visitation Valentine

I snap back quickly
Like a watered plant
When you arrive
I thrive on the air
You breathe back to me
On a tossed word
Unfolding you
The motion is so slow
While my leaves plump up wildly
Like conifers quiet in the fog
After a morning storm
There in the forest of you
Where I suddenly
Find my way

Monday, November 26, 2018

Nearby Valentine

The six-long-legged creature
Walked right into the lake
Of the puddle and stood in the middle
Of it drinking in I suppose or caressing
His image in the water
After his ablutions
Every hair in place
As he puts off shaving
For another day
The long beard of his shadow
Tethered to the shore
So still he remembers my feeling
Of floating alone in the sea
At three in the afternoon
An empty beach nearby

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Highway 74 Valentine (for Dee)

I guess you’ll know when you get there
But it won’t look anything like
The place you just left behind
A hair-raising roller-coaster ride
Over a browned mountain
Through woods ready for fire
Near the summit I saw a beggar
With the fallen face of an angel
Whose sign said Give it up/for love 
I wanted to stop and chat
But the snarling dog he barely restrained
Entirely changed my mind
Down I sped to a pearly lake
Pale little houses sprinkled round
So foggy and pretty it all looked fake

Monday, November 19, 2018

True Valentine

I spy with my little I
My true I who never comes down
To this troubled earth
But glimmering and shy
Watches and waits
In the midnight sky
Like a whispering star
In the vast of space
So near and yet so far
And even when I cannot see its light
I feel its presence pull me
Closer and close to itself
Out of the darkest night
O I who would I be
Except you glow in me

Saturday, November 17, 2018

So Far Valentine

The soul acting on its own
Can only get so far
Pursuing the larger questions
Even examining its own body
How easily it gets stumped
Trying to follow the blood in the veins
Back to its original idea
As a bolt of lightening
Held and moving in the flesh
Charging the soul with a light
That’s clearly other-worldly
Over and over with every breath
Until the soul reels and dances
Sensing something in its sorrow
And joy that cannot be grasped

Friday, November 16, 2018

Sojourning Valentine

Because you lived long in the other world
When the time came to settle in again
After many years of shopping around
Trying on the current eye and skin shades
Just to have a sense of what was going on
In the different possible locales
The big commitments had already been made
All the preparatory arrangements done
Leaving you a little time to look around
You could see how much had changed
Not much you couldn’t feel
Some clear compassion for
And now you’re leaving again so soon
For another long sabbatical
Your backpack full of love and questions

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Walked Valentine

If I don’t speak to them
They won’t speak to me
The ladies of the morning
And the dark children who run
Around my yard before dawn
From whom I hide my dreams
Will return to being leaves
When the ladies walk their dogs
Around the pond so perky
Even the sun pulls on its leash
That leads me finally to greet
These ladies of the light
Who pass from each to each
Across the pond bright speech
Out of the murky night

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Remembering Sophia Valentine

When we all stood so still
Because we were trees
Children planted in a circle
Little Jesus was sitting on his knees
And little Buddha and little Allah
The three boys from next door
With their baby sister Sophia
Who was so fat she rolled
Around the floor to the boys’ guffaws
Years later at the high school reunion
They all dragged back their everafters
And wept together like sad failures
Until Sophia showed up to all smiles
Still sporting that shining diadem
Her father had given her as a girl

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Dead Valentine

You brought me an old paperweight
With a glass rose enclosed
Coiled round by a sleeping serpent
You said start from here
And carefully remove the rose
Without smashing the glass
Or waking the snake
Draw it out by degrees
Only using your eyes
Letting the roots of the rose
Slowly devour the tightening
Body and blood of the snake
As it rises up through the glass
Weightless and red
A gift to the dead

Monday, November 12, 2018

Ballast Valentine

Nightly blessed with the knowledge
Of you and the daily conviction
Of your presence somehow
Still I’m not sure what to do
When I get up every morning
And find you gone somehow
Back to the prison of your heaven
Where I can only visit you
And sometimes I’m refused
Permission at the entrance
And sit here in the sun
You’ve left behind
As a mere token of your love
With its little ballast of light
Against all gloom

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Daisy’s Valentine

Crazy Daisy is a sweet dog
Of a girl I would see I said
You so remind me of someone
Who lived on our street
When I was a dog in Toronto
Homeless on Sunnyside Beach
Actually I had run away
Overwhelmed by the confusion
Of the dog they wanted me to be
When really I loved only beaches
And luckily there was one nearby
Even if I was only three
But tall for my age I crossed
Several busy streets to get there
Unobserved and happy as a dog

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Animal Life Valentine

I let my kitty train me
To come when called
And explain this mistake
She says I’ve made a mess of it
But what else is new
She’d rather chew her biscuit
Little hard animal shapes
She bites and snaps
While I devour my cereal
The music of the morning
Which we often eat outdoors
Awaiting that marauding neighbor’s cat
Who comes to steal the leftovers
While the drama of another day
Spreads out in the sun before us

Friday, November 9, 2018

Perennial Valentine

In the old plant nursery at Baseline
Where the newborns are all balled up
In their little plastic cribs
Bawling their beauty away
I mean the magenta petunias
Are completely out of control
While the camellias go on snoring
I don’t think they ever really
Wake up to their potential
But way in the back you encounter
All the ones that didn’t sell
Like good ideas no one wanted
Like last year there was a run
On roses while the magenta
Petunias went right on by

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Breathing Valentine

In the democracy of the heart
Matter is all that keeps us apart
But in a good way that insists
On each one being itself somehow
The thing you are becoming
In the evolution of the heart
Which moves down into the matter
Of the body hurrying ahead
Of the still-forming brain
In the physiology of the heart
Where the divisions occur
The recapitulation of a flower

Arrangement and the gasp
That sets it breathing
In the heaven of the heart

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

False Valentine

There’s a false distinction
Between the world and me
I’ve noticed time breaks down
But the spun construction
Of my life keeps weaving it back up again
Clever as a spider web
One day goes into another like a fly
And the nights of course fly by
One wakes from one’s cocoon
Into the knowledge of being caught
Bundled for being eaten later
By ravenous time
But with one thin thread the spider
Hurls toward the sun
All the distinctions come undone

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Clicking Valentine

In the dictionary of your difficult days
Which you can always add to
On the computer or delete
Which you are teaching me though
I have always wanted to be the subject
Not the object of your ways
Of clicking on something
And making it appear
So simple as you did me
So we could complete our programs
And know how to open or close
Which for me as a gardener
I analogize to leaves
And all the things that were
Flashing around us

Monday, November 5, 2018

Your Valentine

I wake to the sound of you peeing
So my dream includes a fountain by a church
When I fall back into it
By which point you are gone
Into the other worlds you occupy
I think often very bravely
I think we can only imagine one another
Here in this tunnel of mirrors
The real seeing comes later
But I get up anyway
Confident of something
Though I’m not sure what
I write this on the day I’m sowing
The winter grass so you would
Remember me when it leaps

Stopping Valentine

When I remember to stop
Con permisso inside you
And see the hundred views
Of your vast cities and country-sides
Or without your permission I spot you
When you are most yourself
Sitting on the beach at twilight
Preparing to be a fish again
Or another morning sky
A blush of a tremble
And then the magnificent
Trumpets of light
Which sweep across your face
Now mine when I remember
Com permisso to stop inside you

Sunday, November 4, 2018

New Moon Valentine

It’s a Manichean morning
In the time before color
Seeps into the world
When the white gold of the moon
From its little saucer
Pours eternity down
On the trembling infant
Of the world such a shy seed
The only one of its kind
Sometimes it wakes me up
And I go out to see it rising
Pouring and rising
And even if I’ve let things go too far already
I still intend to pull them back
I still want to see them through