Friday, March 23, 2018

Even Valentine

It so happens
It happens so
So it happens
I don’t know where you’re going
Angel mine
But I know you can get me there
Even when I’m lying in the sun
Out behind the agave
Waiting for the vultures to arrive
Wondering if they
Can hear the sirens and the clouds
Slip by providing random cover
Even when I try to talk you
Into some new escapade
I know your mind is made

Equinoctial Valentine

What my dreams teach me
That my consciousness
Is a moveable feast
And shifts every season
According to some inner calendar
Pursuing its own rhythm and signs
That it turns like a little sun
Casting its furtive light
On hidden scenes
Of another life I’m almost living
Or once lived forgive me
My contradictory sins
Some mornings I wake up dead
Amazed by the sheer force
Of resurrection

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Valentine’s Gender

What is your gender
Asked some woman on voicemail
Not trying to sell me anything
But with a sharp Gestapo tone
Filling out the application forms
For my eventual arrest
We will keep leaving messages like this
We already know you will delete
Until you inevitably call us back
With your admissions and complaints
Your rage and sniveling
Quelled into submission
Until you identify yourself
Your age and gender and time of death
So we know you’re not lying

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Retrograde Valentine

A back-door connection
To hell and heaven
A human mind
A secret passageway
That opens at the threshold
Of a deja-vu down the street
Pursued by a friendly fury
What’s so confusing
How clear it all has been
Looking back to find
No one’s been following you
But someone who looks like you
Escape from heaven
And you were only going out
For milk and bread

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Early Valentine

Still too early
For the passion flowers
A bee comes knocking
After their long journeys
To the center of the earth
The trees are pushed back up
In their communion clothes
Green and pink
As a new religion
A parade to the sky temple
For the pedestrians below
Who hardly feel the knife go
Through them as they’re pruned
And fashioned to the fence
And forced to swoon

Monday, March 19, 2018

Stray Valentine

A stray cat came
And ate all her food
While we sat and listened
He was evidently hungry
We just sat and listened
Until the bowl was empty
And he slowly waltzed away
Barely noticing us
Or maybe night had come
When we were barely listening
And you who hear everything
Had fallen asleep and I
Who had wanted to write something

Between Valentine

To feel our breath
Will be determinative
Of a new world
That what’s signed on the air
Our throats are forming
Into a new language
More immediate and affective
With a refined sense
For subtle gradations
Of timbre and moral
A more angelic tone
In which the meaning is caught
In the sound of the breathing
In the first breath
Or in all the others in between

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Last Valentine

Children playing late
One last daylily
Joins the chorus
Last refuge
Of the dying
A haiku put to work
At last I stood
On the sonnet of my life
One line too many
The first who were made last
Even they
Won’t be left behind

Called in
As if it wasn't home

When Valentine

When everyone walked everywhere
Except for those who were carried
In arms or by human wheels
Or were married to chariots
Or dragged along after them
When thieves were crucified
Either to the right or wrong
When women were stoned for adultery
As if they had done it alone
When the virgins of Delphi
Still sang in riddles
The thoughts of the gods
When time was still harnessed
To the wagons of fate
And the sun went down

Doves Valentine

Two gray doves
Sunning in the grass
One stretches out its wing for more
Only Sherlock Holmes or Lt. Colombo
Would notice the one clean book
I slipped back on its dusty shelf
But what has that to do
With the afternoon’s homicide
Or the gray doves sunning
The one about two odd men
Who keep running into one another
In the oddest place their whole lives
Their long train ride back
From the cities of the future
Buried in the stories of the past

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Web’s Valentine

The spider-web you left
To find your way out
To the infinitely distant
The knots of what you caught
Scattered bundles of supplies
For the far journey
How you were strung along
The strait paths of memory
That turned up empty
Not to recall
How you were rescued
Dragged back into your boat of threads
Become unglued
Little parachute
Of hope

Friday, March 16, 2018

Page’s Valentine

The page waits
So patiently
The ink is so eager
A grand and spacious hall
Till stumbles in
A tiny figure
Soon then a surging crowd
Restless to see the great works
Of art and science and linger
Over mysterious jewels and crowns
The naked statues and the staring bones
A child is crying
Which starts up all
The other babies in the place
Till the paintings start climbing off the wall

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Omnium Valentine

A rainbow creases
The Buddha’s forehead
Gilding the lily
Candlelight eases
The Crucified’s breathing
Forming a rose
A shivering crowd
Breaks moonlight
On Shiva’s robes

Bare Isis
comes to our picnic
On Stygian shores
All the gods nap in the sun
Not even Cupid
Can wake them

Sun’s Valentine

The west is too open
The east is too closed
The middle is broken
The head is too cold
The heart is too silly
The limbs are missing
Fall stumbles then falls
Where your hands would be
Stranded by summer
Winter and spring
Get married and then divorced
After a spectacular wedding
I have risked everything
I have risked nothing
On you O sun

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Peering Valentine

A man in a yard
Looking up at a helicopter
Bringing safety or bombs
A man living in safety
A man living in bombs
One peering at the other
As if peering through the earth itself
Its density and murmurs
The tintype of what emerges
Of the yards they stand in
As the helicopter circles
Bringing safety or bombs
But I can see you
Can you see me 

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Chinoiserie Valentine

In one of my Chinoiserie moods
I drop the tea set on the floor
And sail off for Europe
Anxious to share the latest
Techniques of sand-painting
And the new meditative postures
In the beer-halls of Berlin
And through the small towns
Where Holderlin walked back
To his silent asylum
Of unspeakable joy
Unspeakable horror
Then on to the Americas
Which don’t exist yet
But I can wait

Monday, March 12, 2018

Taking a Personal Day Valentine

Last leaves -
Whenever you’re good
And ready
But how did the limitless decide
To become so ephemeral
Sunlight so personal
Where a break-up had been
A red leaf had come to rest
Abandoned nest
Always more to do
Including a day
To do nothing
How many balls
Can you keep in the air
Besides your own

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Unrescued Valentine

The staring cat and I
Enjoying two small birds
Slowly building a nest
A rather large one
At the very end of a branch
What are they thinking
In the tree I planted
Just a few feet away
Which will soon be full of bees
Don’t I have a duty to warn them
Say I can’t save them
Even from my friends
Two small green birds
Flying back and forth
Rescuing the earth one twig at a time

Hollow As a Flower Valentine

Is a hurricane more merciful
On a whole town
Than time on a body
Though looking back they both happen
In a few minutes it seems
A body spinning its cocoon
But if it shrivels and glows
It must be a cocoon
It all turns to mush inside
With the sheen of a flower
Not reached until
The dying to follow
This sailless ship
Who said that youth
Was hollow

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Full Of It Valentine

When did politics become the opposite of love
I thought it was chaos
Our affection opposed
What we got together for
Including our indifferences
Our hidden genius
For being ourselves
Important and alone
As we say we are
Only when we’re naked
And enjoy in the mirror
The full derision of ourselves
Only then to comprehend the nudists
Even if they’re taken it too far
Past all metaphor

Lawn’s Valentine

Life is a lawn
I stand as one
With the dandelions
On their short stems
From so much mowing
They are not cowed
They go on gold
And glowing
Even under clouds
Even cut off at the ground
You have to get them by the root
But already their seeds are flowing
Those little balloons of progress
And regret
Gray as soot

Friday, March 9, 2018

Warmth Valentine

A part of me resembles you
The part that warms me
When I think of you
The warmth of life itself
Of which thinking and feeling
Are incapable by themselves
And yet it stirs them
Giving them movement
And direction 
Down it comes
And up it flows
Your heart my sun
What is it but the will to grow
And keep on growing
Into something wonderful

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Quiet Valentine

Quiet as the sun can be
I heard it roar and tremble
Its gong stuck me
Count them
The hibiscus has five stigmas
Like the eyes of insects
Peering out
From the tightly-wound
Petals fading
Every year it’s forced to remember
How the bombs fell
While the world was partying
What we call spring
Every year
Still its struggle

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

On the Birthday of My Mother’s Death Valentine

The hair taken from one head
To pull down vanity is given
To another to restore it
The belief our bodies are not beautiful
But oppressive
And need perfecting
But not in the way it’s taken
Do we assemble
A new body
A blending of all the bodies
So we all face the same beauty
In one another
This one’s eyes
And this one’s hands
What the soul has made

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Georgia's Valentine

The five petals that cooperate
To shape its cup
Are just leaves changed color
The point is the pistil
Itself a separated leaf
With a new-found purpose
It charges toward the days
With infant leaps
In a haze of self-assertion
Sensing something more than sun
Is out there so it stops
To listen and to question
The idea of a seed
The very idea of a seed’s
Brilliant construction

Monday, March 5, 2018

Just Another Day Valentine

So let’s start this Monday
With its generalities of clouds
And the sun breaking through sense
This sun is so specific
I was startled to find
A rainbow on my pillow
A remnant yes but not
Of a dream yet which
Is the realer thing
I lay very still
Watching its slow dying
Returning to its native world
And deeper in my bed I curled
Reassured but uncertain of what
Had just occurred

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Too Much Valentine

You italicize reality too much
Or maybe not enough
I can’t decide
This isn’t meant as constructive
Rambling criticism so much as
Patronizing compliment and praise
When it comes to love
Try to remain
A little uninvolved
Learn to differentiate
Whether it’s body love
Or soul love or both
Before you engage
Before your marry
For life

Book Left in the Sun Valentine

Too many buds to count
On the pale hibiscus
The cat strolls over to check
Purring on my lap
While the sparrows feasted
Called in late
You burst out the door
The cat and I leap together
You shake the world by the throat
But our little yard drifts back
Into its quickened place
Ever so carefully
Effortlessly because
You have willed it so

Friday, March 2, 2018

Necessary Valentine

But what if all the thinking in the world
Was actually alive
Not dying or contrived
And a bird could land in a tree
Like a lost conception
Coming home to its perception
A simple drawing could be made
Of a scene and it would be enough
To understand a whole life
And thinking could turn and look
Back upon itself
As the instrument of a god
Finally taken up
Flowing and necessary
As a single bird

Thursday, March 1, 2018

First Valentine

The first poets had a bowl to beat
Walking through the streets
Singing the names of saints
So the people would know
They had lives to live for
And not forget their great work
That anyone who cherished beauty
Would not be thrown to the side
That the gods had already returned
To put the right words on their lips
Their bowls clanging
Their bare feet kicking up dust
I wish I could call them back
Here I’d say
Fill my empty mouth