Sunday, March 29, 2015

Palm Sunday Valentine

On Balaam’s sweet white donkey
her skinny foal panting behind
he rode with loud crowds cheering
into the grim little town
for Francis it was Brother Ass
the body the whole material trance
which only balks if you would force it
but for him would dance
but today Balaam himself
must carry the man of light
even though death knows it can’t win
and he who can’t persuade us
not to take his greed for a sin
must be his noble steed instead
and bring us our wine and bread

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Desert Beach Valentine

Painted on the stucco wall
an ocean busting through the wall
a wave of the purest blue
stopped in its tracks
as if paralyzed
with amazement at itself
having just broken through
in art we get to touch
pretending to stop time
trying to hold on to something
a palm tree or a dance
with three bald monkeys
just as the wave enters the wall
its blue distracting you from you

Seed Valentine

Until when we can look back
with unlimited divine consciousness
on these ant-like lives we led here
and feel the kind of kindness
and fiery love only a god can send
like a thunder-bolt into the heart
of a planet teetering on the edge
of a new life will we really sense
how exhausted all the metaphors
of spring still tumble toward
some new death nature conceives
sprouting with all we must rise to
a new magic worked on matter
this time from the inside
a light certain as a flower

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lifetime Valentine

I know the way the cat
using my foot as a pillow
falls into a deep dreamy sleep
that he’s been working hard all night
with nothing to show for it
but a sunny morning porch
in an old poorer neighborhood
in the first sad years
of another century on earth
incarnation after incarnation
and it’s come to this last marriage
between his head and my foot
the affection of a lifetime
in which the world was moot

Thursday, March 26, 2015

My Friend Death Valentine

When we were young together
death and I would play forever
neither knowing who the other was
nor caring we were best of friends
sometimes with a taste for more
we could never close that door
till finally we slept together
death and I did naked lie
and every place we touched
let out a soft eternal cry
one of us full of laughter while
the other would weep and moan
now I am old and lonely
and death has flown

Ferocious Valentine

My influences are everyone
inclusive but not deep
I love the work often
more than the person
once as gods we could speak
the words and real things would
actually happen actually change
now we live with
our wifely will-to-live
with the ferocity of a divine
afternoon watching others die
screen after screen proving
happiness has nothing to do
with what’s happening outside
nor even with what’s inside

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Reverdy's Valentine

Is it strange your great poems
leave me feeling ashamed
and exhilarated at the same time
ashamed that I am not yet perfect
exhilarated that I enclose that perfection
the way my body encloses
the husk of my heart
calmly enclosing all things
but ashamed in one chamber
or maybe two where the dark blood
of my misery comes home to brood
while the bright blood of my joy
rushes out to meet you
and the world

Cat’s Gift Valentine

The headless carcass
of the lizard left for me
still has some tenderness
lingering in it I can see
that I am innocent look
death leaves in passing
through matter capturing
nothing in the end its tail
is also missing breaking
down somewhere into its
elemental parts that whisper
you may not be here
but I will be here
just waiting for life
to use me again

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mirroring Valentine

We say ‘reflecting’
to mean ‘thinking back’
but memory is a dark mirror
all we can see are ghost-
pictures of ourselves unless
for a moment the mirror goes blank
at once we feel we have returned
to some awful or lovely place
not so much reflecting on it
as beholding it with our own eyes
stretched wide with amazement
and a kind of knowledge comes
that whatever we behold with love
or fear we become

Vernal Valentine

Darkness pierces the light
as much as the light
penetrates the darkness
for two nights going
in opposite directions
things level out neither
goodness nor evil is winning
like a butterfly wavering
the coppery blur of the present
one enemy pushes us toward another
and off we go again
falling or rising
right now rising
and the blur is on

Sunday, March 22, 2015

One Moon Node Away From the Camps Valentine

Rainbows at night or painting
landscapes in the dark
or carving a huge M
in the middle of the lawn
I mean in full moon light
so every time you see it
your lips kiss one another
and you think of spring
the original idea for a season
which having gone too far
must finally come round again
or maybe it mustn’t maybe
there really is an end of spring
maybe eternity is just a second
maybe you could fuck yourself forever

Friday, March 20, 2015

Frank Valentine

The snail I hailed
with praise this morning
I nailed this afternoon
it was sad and gory
a crackling sound
and then a pool of snot
how far into the earth we’ve got
it was all pure accident
my presence eliminated his
his presence illuminated mine
I liked his level-headedness
the way he kissed the ground
he told me frankly he might
wait a bit if I was what
being human meant

Riddle Valentine

The moist flesh of a worm
with the shell of an augur
I followed your silver path
into the wet grass like a little
eardrum sliding along
the rough surface of the earth
not afraid to look ridiculous
like maybe what the unicorn
degenerated into one damp morn
little moon creature leftover
from an ancient inland sea
I followed you into the grass
to learn your silent song
how you have managed so long
to live where you don’t belong

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cold River Valentine

On some level I think
we are all a little terrified
of the possible reality
of some kind of spiritual
existence the way we imagine
invaders from outer space
whose higher faculties enslave us
we are so afraid of losing
the few freedoms we’ve won
over how many centuries now
we’re just starting to think
about the nature of thinking itself
the kind of thinking that goes on
outside the brain itself
for which the brain is but
a thimble-cup a prop

Evensong Valentine

The mockingbird sings
delete delete delete
control alt delete
every evening and then
some password of notes
that maximizes the soul
so it opens on emptiness
pausing there forever
while you go make toast
and get another coffee
all crises are identity crises
which the mockingbird
would certainly confirm
you are no mockingbird
and I’m no worm

Light's Valentine

But it’s the constant dying
of the light that enables us
to see at all the light of thought
moving through the gentle night
bearing the weight of all that darkness
all that matter left behind
which if taken for reality
one must rage at specters
and refuse the light of day
but don’t forget eternity needs us
to bring the mercy of time
back to the fields of light
for it to rain in heaven
as it has rained on earth
where we may safely die

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I Think Not Valentine

What does a Buddhist
need with a statue
of Buddha a body
of stone smiling at
remembering his first home
to which he returned
centuries ago so where
is it now the spirit
of Buddha has he moved on
compassionately wisely
to other realms of bliss
forgetting this place earth
this little Sahara of consciousness
stranded on the edges of space
where he was born?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Nocturnal Valentine

Forgetting to fill the birdbath
with fresh water I get up out of bed
and go out to the yard past midnight
and no sooner do I pour the water
into the bowl than the moon jumps in
floating around like any fat frog
and then the sprinklers go off
soaking me as I run for it
but what the hell I go back
and walk among the showers
the water is so cold and exuberant
I had forgotten how to shiver
and then suddenly with a thump
the water stopped startling
me momentarily as I slipped
back into my skin over and over
I could hear the moon leap in

Monday, March 16, 2015

Eclipsed Valentine

Swatting  mosquitos
I think of old loves
in the morning I’ll wake  up
covered with love-bites
scratching myself bloody
or that will be the sun
pawing the red drapes
like my hand the empty place
where love would lie
in the bed beside me
late into the morning we had
only one winter and one spring
and then it was done
what would never be done
finished but never completed

Dogmatic Valentine

Religions are like comedians
some are better than others
in the one case they make us laugh
in the other they make us wonder
in laughing we go out of ourselves
narcissism’s best medicine
in wondering far enough
we find ourselves weeping
at the beauty of each thing
I’m not trying to tell you
what now you must do
shame and fear are geniuses
best friends forever
however long that lasts
is totally up to you

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Mind Valentine

I hope spring
has struck you
in your fields
and woods
and lakes inside
it does happen
in a second
and don’t be
still pretending
your heart is
stronger or your
will or that
you’re not totally
in love with it
and have been now
for years

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dreamed Valentine

What if a beautiful valley
fell in love with an ugly tree
would that be such a travesty
or valor to be on this earth
and live in some regular terror
that’s like the overcoming
of the point of pointlessness
not to blame the language
for the misfortunes it foresees
we are all one ugly tree
alive in the valley of love
and every year we blossom
and the valley just beams
and every year we get uglier
and the beautiful valley just dreams

Signing Valentine

Some poets are holding God’s place
until he returns they’re like chauffeurs
standing in airports with signs
saying ‘Dear God.  Welcome.’
many laugh at them on their way
to get the luggage of their lives
we understand their merriment
people used to dance at executions
but I remember when love was killed
almost everyone stayed home
there was a terrible storm that night
the perfect storm of an excuse
some said love would return
some said the sea would burn