Wednesday, May 20, 2015

More Minding Valentine

Do you mind walking out on me
do you mind causing my death
do you mind running everything
do you mind being my mirror
do you mind having your own star
do you mind never working really
do you mind holding your applause
do you mind coming back later
do you mind ruining the century
do you mind telling your first lie again
do you mind leaving this womb
do you mind me asking your age
do you mind living on the beach of your mind
do you mind surf for brains

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

More Minding Valentine

Do you mind getting picked up
do you mind going to pieces
do you mind having one testicle left
do you mind having no eggs
do you mind giving me your last dime
do you mind holding my breath for me
the way you do I’ll be right back
do you mind not touching yourself
do you mind being taken into custody
do you mind being locked up for love
do you mind not having a mind
do you mind giving it up for safekeeping
do you mind passing me your nights
do you mind being

Ascension Valentine

Everyone will have to be a Jew
everyone will have to be a Palestinian
everyone will have to be a German
everyone will have to be a Frenchman
everyone will have to be a Vietnamese
everyone will have to be an American
everyone will have to be black
everyone will have to be white
everyone will have to be evil
everyone will have to be good
everyone will have to be insane
everyone will have to be a genius
everyone will have to fall in love
everyone will have to die

Minding Valentine

Do you mind being left behind
do you mind being sent on ahead
do you mind being forgotten
do you mind being on everyone’s lips
do you mind being too late for sleep
do you mind being too early for waking
do you mind being eaten by death
do you mind being stupid brilliant
do you mind being loved into existence
do you mind being a thin black seed
do you mind being talked to this way
do you mind being everything for a change
do you mind being mine

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Blessing Valentine

With rose and frankincense ashes
I sweeten the compost pile
I send my dead thoughts
into the dry leaves and dung
and tell them to flourish there
to take what nourishment they can
from all that’s left over and rots
digest it into useful chaos
the residue of prayers
not yet pure enough
here on earth only
is it possible to waste
in the after birth 
death has no place

No Fear Valentine

Death is the biggest lie we tell ourselves
since the one I won’t get into anymore
smug you to be the one who says
see I told you time did not exist
O look we made it all up the sense
world we turned it into nonsense
by thinking away thinking itself
did we really feel we were up to
the conceit of the 21st century
not to think it through that birth
comes out of death the two halves
of life rather reduces the drama
that even if not welcoming it
not to be afraid of it anymore

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Soaked Valentine

Having fallen straight through the night
the rain stands up even straighter now
inside the trees and plants so everything
looks plumper prouder flecked
with splashes of morning light
even the harbor ponders deeper
considering how deeply the rain entered
turning the bodies of the clouds
into the clouds of our bodies
drifting by in boats and sails
like a longing satisfied
even though we know
it will all be taken back from us
drop by bloody drop

Friday, May 15, 2015

Unreal Valentine

We still don’t get it do we lord
that you spoke as a true economist
of the spirit when you warned us
not to take for real what passes
but to check the foundations
and underlying implications
of the soul of things
knowing full well having
stored yourself there
we would find you waiting
the one real thing
from which alone
could the unreal proceed
as flesh and bone
as talent and need

Useful Valentine

A smallish bird trying to land
on the top of a tallish tree
in a brisk headwind
dancing up to a standstill
blown back then beating
upwind past the tree then
letting the breeze carry it
back onto the branch
it was trying to reach
in the first place
so elegantly it made
me think of evil
how to use it against itself
so at the last moment
to turns to good
 

Hearing of Franz Wright's Death Valentine

Like the rain I waited
for you to fall I drifted out
over the low hills of expectation
the narrow ridges of disappointment
just offstage while you sang and sang
your heart out in that year’s competition
so much life is just about to happen
and then doesn’t or does too weakly
to resemble Heckle and Jeckle
the original odd couple
to make us laugh at ourselves
we go for a healthy walk
then cash in the calories burned
on an ice cream cone
on the way home

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Beetle’s Valentine

Going over yesterday in my head
I think of a dung beetle at work
it feels like sitting by the bed
of a dying friend and then
I realize it’s the world
how much beauty is locked up
in the hands of a few people
but does it inspire them to goodness
does it work on them at night
as they sleep shaping a new
penetration by the light
or implicate them further
in the darkness of the dream
that anyone can own a thing

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Translated Valentine

Over there where we’re going
hunger and thirst translate
as courage and knowledge
having first been pressed
through the sieve of desire
formerly known as the soul
they become concepts again
thus an arm and a leg
provide the form and outline
for the first sketches of hope
though some believe these
were meant to be wings
in the original design
in the end hope settled
for purely human things

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ascendant Valentine

When I touch my head
it feels like a grain of sand
that has yet to find
its beach its land’s end
it awaits the right
leaf to enter the left
foot to fester the faint
light to undermine
all that holds it
to this earth to float
it merely a grain
to fly in a bird’s throat
above the merely sane

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Nursery Valentine

Absent the birds and flowers
the world would have no colors
because green is not really a color
but a condition of being
over which color triumphs
with its scents of joy and valor
lingering aura of the earth itself
which is why the ancients painted
all their beautiful marble statues
to bring life to the dead stone
while we prefer them naked
at home in the world before shame
persisted into conscience
and compliance
we prefer their ruins
to what would have been their glory
for without them there would be
no us no story

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Poor Nietzsche’s Valentine

And then there was poor Nietzsche
who alone saw the wool being pulled
over everyone’s dazzled eyes
(our still manipulated lives)
himself torn down by his own
chilly inability to love
though he saw the cowardice
at the core of the human soul
he knew it was planted there
by fear and mass deceit
by powerful invisible forces
to which he finally succumbed
forced to sing for the enemy
his fight left to those who can see

Friday, May 8, 2015

Stray Valentine

Am I not to you o lord
as this stray cat to me is
lost and unable to know
how very lost she is
don’t you know me too
as this unstable creature
who cannot read or yield
to your clear presence
apparently in all he sees
but must be fed and loved
allowed to roam freely
the dangerous alleys
and who never seems
to want to come home

Island Valentine

A mile away there’s a fishing boat
that will take you to safety
if only that were true for all of us
but what would that island look like
largely an isolating folklore culture
with its startling pyramids and kids
once a week we’d row to the mainland
to get supplies and pick up the mail
quickly fading from little to none
to feel completely alone in the world
that's my idea of a summer vacation
for which I often return to the city
of my dreams to hear the new music
and walk the small parks and great plazas
where tomorrow’s poems are being planted

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Everything I Learned About Love Valentine

Everything I learned about love
was to learn everything about love
and to love everything about learning
and about everything I loved I learned
to love more about everything
learning everything was love I learned
and love was this everything
that would let itself be learned
or remain love not yet learned
because learning is so long
with so much everything to love
I learned love is never done but
everything that's learned is love

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Cinco de Mayo Valentine

Having narrowly escaped
a three car collision
on his way home
after having narrowly escaped
getting fired for a dumb mistake
from a job he hates
after having narrowly escaped
an unhappy marriage
in another state
after having narrowly escaped
the kind of suicidal rage
that seals one’s fate
he narrowly escaped
his skin with a grin and slept
dreaming of the number five
the number of being alive

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Circular Valentine

Words themselves teach us to think
by being themselves products of a thinking
that has been thought about and
at least originally expressed
as the sound the thing makes
when you hold it on your tongue
and struggle to repeat it
it feels circular I know
that the name precedes the delivery
that one uses it to call the infant out
even if the name is wrong and they
confuse you with someone else
your whole life long

Gift’s Valentine

Anxiety’s wrapped up inside matter
that’s where it’s put it is a gift
we bring to the great mother
like the mouse the cat drops at your feet
she remembers the sacrifice this entails
and sees what you prize most
you gladly surrender to her
love begins with this kind of homage
but kitty I don’t love the mouse
as you do except as  self-knowledge
I would rather you brought me
something I value more than myself
if I could only think of what that was
o yes it’s you and life itself