Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween Valentine

Every seven years
We build a new body
Every three hundred
We build a new soul
Every thousand years
Our spirit graduates
Having mastered time
In and out of space
Having been crushed by it
Made to feel its tool and fool
But having stuck by the holy ones
And their words to the wise
Death cannot come
Until the poem is done
The poem is never done

Wry Valentine

If I break open the beautifully-muscled
Bodies of the pomegranates
And spread their almost-ripe
Seeds pink on the pink bricks
In a quiet corner of the patio
So the finches can come and feast
Will I just satisfy the wry strategies
Of the cat who lies in wait
Behind the asparagus fern
Which has finally gotten fuller
This year and so provides
Just the right amount of cover
How like the heart he hovers
When in the darkness it hides

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Equal Valentine

We who are broken
In different places
And to varying degrees
All we want is to rest
Our heads on the breast
Of our beloved
And sleep until morning
All we want is to go
To the beach finally
To watch the surfers
Ride the palomino waves
Pleasure almost heals us
But we keep longing
To see the other side
Of each and every thing


All the Discernible Pain Valentine

The thing is to go back
To all the places you felt
Rejected pushed away
By what you needed most
To receive you even if it’s
Your first picture of yourself
Alien and unacceptable
For no discernible reason
But this is what freedom means
To be on one’s own alone
To be spit out of the mouth
Of God to see how long
You’d make it if you’d last
Each year a little north of south
Each day a little east of west

Friday, October 28, 2016

Reminder Valentine

It’s helpful to remember
There is no formal life
In which something wrong
Is not intermingled
With something perfect
Though both may remain
Invisible for long periods of time
Hidden even to one another
Think of that future world when
We will be considered Neanderthals
Climbing in and out of our bodies
The best we could grow them
Seed to one yet the flower
To another lost world
Who will be perfect for an hour

Living Out of the Body Valentine

Stop beating yourself up
Stop beating others up
In your head I mean
Stop living with those dead
Thoughts between your ears
Unless it’s about arranging
An appropriate resurrection
We only need to be afraid
Of death if we forget the gods
Of summer and the goddesses
Of this fall’s passions and victories
Maybe we should mourn our birthdays
And only celebrate when someone dies
If we loved them because we know
We will continue to know and love
Them in their new life and forever

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Oceanic Valentine

Let’s call what is always fading
Into the distance innocence
And what is always looming
On the horizon desire
Then when we’re swimming in the ocean
Of our own sweat and blood
We’ll know from what direction
The light will want to catch us
The darkness will want to confront us
Even if the question remains
Do you even want to be rescued
Forgive me getting personal
I guess the answer lies
In how much shit
You feel we’re in

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Retrograde Valentine

In the end it all seems
Clear and workable
What in the beginning
Seemed strange and improbable
How my grumpiness connects
With the things I don’t want to do
And yet must tackle first
If I’m to get anything else done
According to the stars I get
To work with today anyway
But that these stars might also read
Something into our irregular orbits
That spells for each of them
Another day in hell
Who thinks of that

Friday, October 21, 2016

Reincarnated Valentine

You want to get away with it don’t you
You think if this or that could happen
You really could get away with it
And no one would ever notice
Or need to know as if
It never happened at all
And would therefore have no effect
Everything else would stay the same
And continue as usual as before
It never happened and after
But then what’s the point
If nothing changes what’s
It worth to hammer the earth
And kill ourselves in the process
When we’ll still have to come back
To clean up the mess
And start all over

Vain Valentine

Steel tools ringing on cement
Garage floor early morning mechanic
But who remembers that sound anymore
What morphine do we take
To blot out the pain of others
Where are you going with this
Brief seizure of proof
Only to have it melt away again
My Friday to-do list of don’ts
Like an objective test with four
Possible but only one correct answer
All of the above because it’s all
So much below me in a way
That makes me both proud and vain
Proud to be among you
Vain to think we’re sane

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Forgotten Valentine

Has the outside completely forgotten
Where it comes from
How it got here this far
In the first place
How it was nothing
In the beginning
How it didn’t even know
It wasn’t a thing
Like the watch and the old jeweler
And the one who thinks
About the two of them
Observing the first movements
Of that idea which must
Precede all experience
of love and existence
But the outside likes to pretend
It alone is real or in any event
Enough and beyond which
One needn’t bother or expect
And still the spirit rules

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

South of France Valentine

The health we crave
Respects pleasure
As a mutual enterprise
Enjoyed or foregone
Without guilt or shame
With or without champagne
Taken the terrace
In the south of France
Like the one Vincent painted
What other force binds us
So artistically to the earth
And makes us feel alive
As flesh and bones
Than the love of another
Like water over stones

Waking Valentine

Drifting in and out
Of the sunlight
The morning gods and goddesses
The sounds of life
Natural and mechanical
History behind the drapes
Love in the darkness
And then in the light
Carrying jumbled pictures
Of yesterday called dreams
You return lord of consciousness
Compassionate king of what is
Cruel queen of what seems

Lover’s Valentine

Inside ourselves
Where time appears
Imponderable and yet immediate
We take up hardly any room
Being ourselves while
Out here on the outside
It’s all about how much
Space one can occupy
And still call it one’s own
We keep trying to bring
Space indoors to give it
A home as if it just needed
Something to hold onto
Someone to love
But time lives alone

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Perdoname Valentine

I missed a spot
When I was sweeping
When I was shaving
When I was painting
When I was loving
I missed a spot
It was only later
That I saw it
How obvious
Could it get
I’d have to go back
Sooner or later
To the spot I missed
Or did it matter 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Blurred Valentine

A cloud forms
Into the shape
Of a huge pair
Of open lips
Through which
A small plane
Slowly flies
Have you ever had
A bug fly right
Into your mouth
But if you look
Closely you can see
The tiny banner
It pulls behind
If not what it says
About this morning’s
Blurred enlightenment
Down your throat

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Summer Cities Valentine

Under the full moon of fiery October
The Spanish trumpet player practices
The whistling siren accompanying
The distant motorcycle chorus
While the stadium empties out
Onto the promenade and alleys
And the bars fill up with laughter
And loud music washing up
On the beaches’ moonlit splendor
Excessive and humbling
And ultimately inescapable
The last night of the season
Tomorrow love will leave
Everything shuttered up against
Winter’s storms and icy silences

Three Thousandth Valentine

Ever since Plato
Had it in for the poets
And artists who were his best
Listeners and lovers
There has been this war
In heaven about the indignity
Of singing and dancing
Before the divine imagelessness
At first it’s shocking
To feel one’s reverence
Deepen into joy and then
Movement and sound
Are you losing your mind
Yes you say
I’m giving it up to the lord

Friday, October 14, 2016

Poet’s Valentine

And then it all comes down
To a few memorable lines
Twilight’s unintended frown
Sliding over the water
Like a swan or dawn
Backwards bowing out
The way it came in
And these fragments
Are stitched into the frame
Of the evening as you
Walk out continuing
To breathe among the buildings
Because they’re in the air
Now those words are part
Of the air we share

Language Valentine

Birds use only verbs
To communicate look wait go
While other animals know
Nouns and can recognize them
In their proper context
As terms of endearment or not
But only a human being
Would pronounce something
As shaky as an adverb or
As unreliable as an adjective
Just to pad out the picture
With all kinds of qualifiers
And conditional clauses
When the only word I ever wanted
Was a simple yes or no

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Noble Valentine

Bob Dylan’s voice these days
Now he has the privilege
Of being in his seventies
Reminds me of the voice of the young
Yoko Ono in the sixties yes I was there
Or some fine old single-stringed
Instrument with only the right notes
Left to play what is it about music
That finally makes us human
Touching something
Beyond ourselves inside
That makes us laugh or cry
It may be sweet or dissonant
But it knows if we live or die

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

To The Underworld Valentine

The downward inward spiral of the fall
Branches off into sunlit sections here
And there but its true goal is still
The purest darkness it can dare
The darkness of nothingness
The darkness of despair
The downward inward spiral
To the underworld the failure
Of the starlight anymore
To penetrate our skulls
The dead sleep of seeds
Who must consider themselves
Totally abandoned and rejected
Washed-up and done
Until the light cracks them open
At the rebirth of the sun

Searching Valentine

Not knowing what life is
We live our lives searching
For it believing we have either
Found it or will never
Be able to claim it
So we either trust it
Too much until it dupes us
Often leaving us disappointed
Or we try to bend it
To fit our will
Good luck with that
Lifetimes leaving one doom
And entering another still
Forgetting what we came for

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Patmos Valentine

I went to the beach
No one was there
It was like a body
Curled into a cove
Soft shoulders sleeping
Gently breathing body
I lay down beside you
Afraid to wake you
After what great wrecks
Do you rest after what
Great civilizations
Do you restore some peace
And quiet little beach
Cast aside by wars

Monday, October 10, 2016

Grotto’s Valentine

Pools of quiet hide
In the mountains of mental noise
Grouped around our eardrums
Which can easily be ignored
The world’s off-switch leading
To the mind’s blue grotto
Where we can float in awe
In the silence we become
Poised between two worlds
Two continents slowly separated
By an ocean originally this silvery
We were all once these shades
Of turquoise cobalt thalo teal
Some went on and deepened
Others lightened up to bone

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Interminable Valentine

Kitty’s sick and heaving
The music’s stopped
Fooling around the
Interminably beautiful
Natural world
Sweeps past us
Like traffic waiting
For the light to change
Indifferent to all crossings
Meanwhile kitty disappears
Who may or may not return
How many resurrections
I await because
You showed me how

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Religious Valentine

When did religion become
The mother of all wars
And other inhumanities
They all start out so good
But soon end up so crazy
With power and lust
Let each human be her own religion
Worship the self only
After everyone else we love
Endeavoring to love all human
Beings without ruining it
With cruelty or the self-absorption
That precedes it anymore
Can’t we get that much done

Crimes of the Ego Valentine

All our sins are crimes
Of the ego for which the
Soul is merely a tool
And the body merely
A fool in love with
The idea of itself
An accomplice a selfie
How clever to give
The soul a heart
And the body a brain
And encourage them
To fight between themselves
When all along
In the ego’s name
Lies their undoing

Dancing Valentine

Dances with kitty
Through the quiet morning
Her tail beating time
My pen scratching rhyme
While that bird that sounds
Like a telephone ringing
Rings on in the background
And a dog keep asking what-what
Until it sounds like singing
From a great distance
But we are so alone together
Hidden here in this quiet morning
How could we do anything
But dance

Friday, October 7, 2016

Lost Valentine

When I looked up
I could just make out
The face of a man
Suffering in the clouds
His lips slowly contorting
Into a grimace of pain
As he drifted over me
Then into a peaceful grin
Quietly melting away
As much as flesh is cloud-like
Are clouds not flesh to some
Who have lost their way
And try to turn back
Too late to grasp the earth
Too passionate to stay

Early Advent Valentine

From the very sad root
Of a Christmas cactus
One green leaf left
And growing though
Still young and brilliant
First pale emergence
Of the idea of relation
Its force transferred
To a sense of selves
Agreeing and disagreeing
An argument of leaves
On how to make a flower
Time after time a failure 

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Only Valentine

I only need a few
More hours a few more
Weeks a few more years
To start my life anew
Things took so much
Longer than I’d thought
After so many long walks
I was going to say battles
A few fought many deferred
I’m still a child in a yard
Calling for his mother
I only need a few
More bottles a few
More sunny naps

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fall Valentine

I know it’s fall in the desert
When it sounds as crazy outside
As the stock market on TV
All the birds yelling and
Bargaining at once in the trees
When the sun starts down
With their last minute
Requests and counter-claims
They’ve come back
After the dead silences
Of the summer furnaces
The cool nights come back
Bringing the rain and the birds
Flock after cloud after flock
Dragging us all painfully
Joyfully back into life

Memory’s Valentine

I can’t figure out
How exactly half
The vine covering
The old trellis died off
While the other half
Flourishes I mean
Do you pull the
Whole thing out
And start again
With something else
Or keep the remaining
Beauty and hope
It will spread
Cover what’s dead 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

American Valentine

The out-going ones
Go to New York
The anti-social ones
Go to the west coast
Each looks over
The other’s shoulder
Like brothers
Like sisters
Between them
In the center
Of the country
A little girl is dancing
On a reservation
To the greatest hits

Paper Whites Valentine

I try to see if I can
Take them with me
From year to year
If I can carry them
Over the hot summer
Safely asleep dreaming
And call them back
Some spring morning
Shyly with the light
Long green leaves yes
But they won’t bloom again
Once and once only they say
If you missed it
Then you missed it

Minimal Valentine

At a minimum anymore
Some basic allegiance
To honesty is necessary
To matriculate reality
For which increasing
Increments of bravery
Are required nightly
And daily and the kind
Of thinking-dreaming
That leaves the body behind
And steps out onto constellations
To consult with the dead
And the gods the whole secret
Of things revealed to be
Only spirit lives and
The word who is one

Monday, October 3, 2016

Rescued Valentine

When I looked up
I could see he was drowning
A fluttering light
On the newly-rained-on water
I went to him watching
His feet trying to reach the surface
So I offered him my thumb
To climb up on
Which he promptly did
And watched him stretch
And dry off in the sun
The drama of his wingspan
Before moving on
To more spiritual matters

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Reflected Valentine

The weakness which is
In strength and the
Strength which is
In weakness is
Something the rain
Sermonizes this Sunday
Morning service into
Extended showers
Up to the midsection
Of this Noah country
Nature dying
Is us it turns out
Not so much a painting
As a mirror of ourselves

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Catullus' Valentine

I go overboard
Then I get back
To myself later
Like I was waiting
At the next stop
But the train roars
Right through the station
I wave to myself
But myself just
Stares back half-
Smiling like the glass
Half-full glaring up
At the glass half-empty
Floating freely above it
I love it