Saturday, February 17, 2018

Round Valentine

The lake in the mirror
Is mirrored in the lake
Thank you Georgia O’Keefe
 
The light luxuriates in all three
Designated places
In the hills above are faces
 
Straying down to drink
The light like embraces
Leaving simultaneous traces
 
Thank you Gertrude Stein
And for the waves Virginia Woolf
Licking the shores of truth
 
Thank you ladies of the lake
A lost man found
One morning going round

Friday, February 16, 2018

Dancing Valentine

Reality’s the only thing
We can’t make up
Though we can dance around it
 
Like David for the Lord
The only thing he knew to do
To try to please it
 
Though he could not know it
Except in bits and pieces
Still he clapped his hands
 
And the Lord would appear
Smiling on his favorite son
Or maybe it was just the sun
 
That made him sweat and grind
And dare to dream
Reality was kind

Stone’s Valentine

Does it work best when it’s feral
An unmitigated disaster
To jar the heart
 
When it all falls apart
And the heart stands there
Silly and undressed
 
Or when no one comes for you
Buried under the dark rubble
Listening to faraway cities
 
When death is just a little thing
A favorite stone you kept with you
All this time in your pocket
 
What the stone knew all along
And now just wants
To share with you at last

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Ash Wednesday Valentine

At night the stud cats
Come round to visit
My spayed middle-aged kitty
 
Who isn’t interested in sex
So they leave their little puddles of lust
Like alms under her chair
 
The wild matriarch they homage
Her calm that seems beyond them
Caught in their fear
 
Of death as all animals are
Yet recognizing wisdom
When they see it
 
Poor supplicants
I join them
On my knees

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentinian’s Valentine

The world’s not the only place
Love becomes a blazing argument
Extracting the bravery of being wrong
 
My heart too is such a planet
Madly orbiting its globe of light
The self is such a selfish sun
 
Over and over I read
And speak them to myself
Your complicated texts
 
Sent in distress
Because you were dying
Because love is always dying
 
Trying to calm myself into it
Your presence as terrifying
As your absence

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Least Valentine

A lesser man may teach
Of galaxies and goals
A greater man may reach
 
A lesser man may storm and preach
And stifle out
The greater’s role

One red may deepen down
Into a bright vermilion
Because another fades
 
Lost to us the genius of a million
Because of a tyrant’s parades
Celebrating their graves
 
Yet greater than these may rise
As only from the least
Can come the wise

Monday, February 12, 2018

Deluged Valentine

You promised me a week of rain
Where will the mariposa hide
The little birds aren’t afraid
 
Though they stand there dripping
Or dart between clouds
Intermittent with sunshine
 
You promised me lightning and thunder
Though it’s only first day
You promised me drowning
 
Coming up gasping for air
The long midnights
Of your legs and hands
 
You promised me I wouldn’t survive
The little Noahs of my dreams
Would never land

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Forgotten Valentine

Because you knew
You told me
What love is
 
But I forgot
To remind you
When the time came
 
So we made love
On the bed instead
Of the real thing
 
Which we could not have
Could not understand
Being greedy and afraid
 
Something so final and daunting
Like leaving everything else behind
And running off after it

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Returned Valentine

To put death in its place
In the garden
Among the roses

As the only real flower in the world
That still maintains
Its mythological status
 
To wait for it to bloom
The rose of death
No mere dandelion
 
And to spend the time
In exultation and in pain
Praying for rain
 
Isn’t that what the gardener wanted
To come but not remain
When the roses return

Friday, February 9, 2018

Pictured Valentine

There’s a picture on my wall
I’m always straightening
Of three yellow-red spheres
 
Or they could be apples
Or tomatoes not quite ripe
Or planets of a new order
 
Still bearing their umbilical cords
And a certain tendency
To slip to one side slightly
 
Against a black background
Just enough to get noticed
By my infinitely distant mind
 
Barely an inch in which
New galaxies are forming now
A perfect line

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Evolution of Humankind Valentine

Did she simply fall having lost
Her torch and stumbling on
In that dark cave for days
 
Or maybe she was taken there
By one or more
Disappointed lovers
 
And thrown into the black water
Over a hundred feet down
So she wouldn’t talk
 
But now her bones are back
Telling some of the secrets
Of her shortened life
 
We name her but we still don’t know
If she was pushed or jumped or fell
Only her soul will tell

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Uncertain Valentine

For one dollar
I bought a geranium plant
In perfect health
 
Though it sat alone
On the discard shelf
For some strange reason
 
Maybe because it hadn’t
Bloomed yet so the color
Was uncertain and unsellable
 
At full price though it had
Several plump green flower-buds
Crouched down between the stems
 
Because I had a spot for it
In my garden and knew it
Wouldn’t take long for it to shine

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Nothing Valentine

It snatched that lizard
So quick and gone
I almost couldn’t see
 
What bird it was
But it was the mockingbird
Its splayed wing gave it away
 
The lizard had just emerged
From its crack in the wall
I had just noticed it
 
As it stopped to sniff the breeze
Which had finally returned
What a beautiful day it thought
 
Two butterflies were playing tag
Another sat sunning on a leaf calmly
Refueling as if nothing were new

Old Valentine

In the old story
The executioner is executed
Just as he is going out the door
 
Another comes up behind him
And beheads him
Placing his head in a casket
 
His evil is preserved
And then melted down
The distillation yields a silver urn
 
In which a little boy and girl are born
And fed till fully grown
As if they were his own
 
And then the wizard sleeps
Sailing back from the moon
And wakes in his own room

Monday, February 5, 2018

More Valentine

The more I pray and meditate
The more I find one ends
Where the other begins
 
They both arrive
At the same station
Out of the body
 
If possible one can slip free
Make it across the River Styx
Into the land of the spirits
 
Saving the coin of passage
In your pocket
For your safe return
 
As if our lives here depended on us
Bringing back more and more
Of that warmth and light

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Next Valentine

Stalked by stars
And the deep sun
The earth is still ours
 
The exception that proves the rule
The only place a soul is necessary
And an actual physical brain
 
To get around in a body
On a planet of bodies
Coming and going
 
I was thinking of this
When you arrived
That maybe you
 
Were the reason for the earth
That one day you would come
And sit next to me

Saturday, February 3, 2018

If It Wasn’t For Me Valentine

I did see one red finch once
Eating several of its seeds
But maybe it was having a hard day
 
And these were all it could find
They don’t seem to be a favorite
Among the different birds
 
And there are so many of them
Small round bullets
I have to rake them up
 
So many lifeless things
That yet could kill
By slow accumulation
 
If it wasn’t for me
I leave some to feed the tree
And the birds who need them

Friday, February 2, 2018

Secret Valentine

Yes you can’t go back
You know too much now
The secret’s out
 
It was awkward at first
The secret just stood there
As if it knew it had been waiting for you
 
When all along
It had been struggling
To stay hidden
 
In its tiny room behind the wall
Like a family of Jews
Or a runaway slave
 
Only creeping out at night
To beg the stars
Come get me

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Preparatory Valentine

You’re focusing on what I can do now
I’m focusing on what was done to me
The past is my problem I hold on to
 
We see the problem
In different ways
That’s the problem
 
Which is not a question
Of the validity of the realities we see
But the deeper motivations
 
That are bringing them about
To say what we want to say
There is little ambiguity in good
 
Which we think we can know
And can almost feel
But must do to grow