Friday, November 21, 2014

Enough Valentine

Every minute has a lifetime guarantee
a history a family a consequence
most of it secret exciting implausible
and yet it happens to all of us
when people die we can speak
as if they weren’t listening
or could still learn to feel
no one honest expects a rose
to issue from this thorny mess
a bush is a mess is a rose
I think not therefore I am not
but this is what happens every day
in my changing mind of stuff
the poem is never enough

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saying Goodnight Valentine

That stray cat buggers off for the night
about to leap the wall but stops
and turns looking back at me
as if he’s forgotten something
and changing his mind he
totters back to nuzzle my foot
purring and flicking his tail
but five minutes later he’s gone
when I’m not looking just then
so much happens unobserved
but when I turn back to look
it all seems exactly the same
I went inside and made a tea
of tree bark licorice and scotch

Clouds and Columns Valentine

Well I’m not asking you
to have hope the situation remains
pretty much hopeless enough
you either push that rock
uphill or lie under it
so what’s all this emotional
pandering about if not
to wonder what’s behind it all
what it’s a picture of if you
were to draw a picture of it
using clouds and columns
of sun and other lights to amass
the furthest paradigm of you
that’s what I drew

Actor's Valentine

The mark of a good person
is that terrible things happen to them
often they are subject to insane
producers and bad scripts not even
off-off-reality would mount
what you could overhear in
their dressing-room celebrations
where the worst scenes are played
and they can get trapped in those
theatres of violence that never close
though they may gauge their greatness
by the beatings they received like athletes
called upon to defeat suffering
over and over again

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Resume This Virtual Machine Valentine

Personally I defer to sparrows
you are listening to the world
re-written as a Mexican opera
you can pull the plug on all
these sad commercials for
the four seasons the real ones
not just the hotel I realized you
had no comprehension for what
I was about to tell you finally
by the way you went on talking
as the domino silences fell
it wasn’t just the fault-line
exposed it was the way your eyes
crossed when I spoke about our future
somewhere under prairie skies

Castaway's Valentine

I thought I heard a plane overhead
but it was just my stomach rumbling

Armed Valentine

Motions on!  Emotions off!
you’re all over the map today
emotionally speaking and we
don’t have time for transference
but must hasten on to the core
issue of the earth for which
the eight other layers
are mere accretions cast-offs
the lustrous inner walls
of the shell the exoskeleton
of love and love-making
but see even as I was plunging
toward it I got caught
in the extraneous along the way

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Nature's Valentine

They come like customers
not at all or all at once
a crush of reddish-brownish
finches storms the smiling
birdbath but suddenly the proud
mockingbird steps forth
to claim this puddle his
by right of the municipality
of song and ancient orange trees
what has a finch to offer
in complaint they wait
while his nibs sips and drips
nature’s a monarchy but they
have democratic leanings
and chatter among themselves

After School Valentine

Ambergris and amethyst
sit in the sunny window
one the perfume of the other
after their slow sea journey
from dawn’s ear to day’s mouth
the myths of the laceration
of nations and the roaring flames
they watched approach and fade
over a red cascade of names
the tide continually gets wrong
and must like a punished child
write over and over an endless
number of times on the board
of the shore I promise not to forget
I promise not to regret

Monday, November 17, 2014

Thoughtful Valentine

When I think of my mother
I think of death when I think
of my sister I think
of childhood when I think
of my brother I think of sorrow
but when I think of you
I think of tomorrow
even though you won’t
be there in the old
flesh and blood kind of way
in the old way of touching
which does not belong
in heaven

Chilly Valentine

A few cold days in the desert
is a wonderful thing if you
have to put a sweater on
to work outside listening
to the traffic and the voices
of children on their way to
school others off to work
while you’re practicing
the religion of sweeping
off a patio and the art
of dead-heading yesterday’s
magnificent glories
now no more

Heart's Valentine

Yes the gods are always awake
to supply whatever’s needed
but often they feel restless
about withholding the grace
they need to bestow or suffer
the waves of human hatred
which soon follow the waves
of fear at not getting what
we wanted the need
for which we ourselves
created the requirement
for lack of readiness
for lack of a pure heart
for which the gods must pay

Sun's Valentine

In the summer everything is shaded
but in the winter sunlight floods 
the inside of the house even as
the sun steps away as if it would
run shouting down the alley
but instead it calmly returns
growing more obstreperous and
in-your-face every day until everything
has to be shut and covered up again
back and forth it paces in a year
and we poor drifters are subject
to its moods and ruins its feline
accomplishments and doggerel tunes
deciding what to do with us

Yonder's Valentine

That other earth in the air
from which a fine dust
is always falling carried far
from harvested fields and barren
abandoned places and particles
of thoughts blown off course
parachuting down unseen
into the dreaming heads of lovers
into the lying mouths of politicians
the wind that wraps itself
around the world weeping
like a returning warrior
the Holy Ghost of the blue spaces
the earth a tear in his eye

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Want Only What I Need Valentine (for J.)

Birds grow like flowers here
and then are seen no more
right now it’s a cloud of towhees
who sweep through the mind of air
searching for this morning
landing in my yard until
they catch me sitting there
in the cornered shade
and pause and stare at me
and I can see they’re on the verge
of recognizing me but instinct
barges in and off they fly
with often a trill trailing
a series of musical chips
that take me into their sky 

Monday, November 10, 2014

David's Valentine

The worst thing we can think
about evil is that it doesn’t
really mean what it says
that it isn’t really serious and thoughtful
staying up late growing its plan
because it thinks it knows
what it’s up against
the fight of its life upon which
everything in the future depends
if the reins can slip finally
into its hands even if all
that’s left is a cosmic cemetery
a zodiacal wasteland it’s prepared
to go that far out there
like Goliath with no clue

Friday, November 7, 2014

Remembrance Valentine

Waiting for the moon
to come up over the house
next door so it can
fill out the spectral corners
of the yard with the black roses
that only bloom in the full
moonlight of this one cold
November night here
at the bottom of the world
the faces of the dead
bloom again to ask did there
really have to be a Hitler
a Stalin a Pol Pot
did we still believe in death
back then still think
our thoughts meant nothing
we actually had to do

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ferdinand’s Valentine

Sitting in the full moonlight
I realize it has always been
a question of which gods
I will follow and which gods
I must leave behind
if I am ever going
to get home or anywhere
and realize I am the one
who is making all this up
out of the creative power
of my own ideas good
and bad and can when I
get willing and ready become
a real human being

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Meeting Valentine

Cold days I’ve always loved
to sit outside in the sun
letting the sun lie down
across me like the dead
body of my sweet friend
and marvel how it still
warms me his garment
of pale light laid over me
which is his body now
he has grown intangible
but clearer and seeps
into me and fills me
like the earth I am
nothing without my light

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Provisional Valentine

Drifting off with the clouds at night
I notice the moon has the same round ass
she had that night thirty years ago
when such things mattered
how long it takes to figure out
the body is just an artifact
of time and sex can become
a kind of recreational activity
passionately tying us to the earth
we fall in love with the painting
and experience nothing of the painter
how she or he lives with blind
devotion to the light and just content
to be making painting after painting

All Saints Valentine

That idea that we
are really spiritual beings
who go in and out of
physical bodies over long
periods of time has finally
taken hold among certain
species of alligators and
western barracuda
who’ve grown tired
of the revolving door
and have recently applied
to become human
in the next go-round
forgiveness permitting

Friday, October 31, 2014

Graveyard Valentine

In that place
where poems were once found
even those never written down
on earth in books
or carried by windy voices
across temporary landscapes
you first tried to dig them up
to get them to grow
around your house
but slowly they withered
missing their native ground
or never made it past winter
all but for this one
fall crocus you carry
in your throat

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Pre-Existing Valentine

Eventually after time
you catch up to evolution
and realize it was only another
wayside on the road you drive
past not wanting to stop
seeing the progress made
was only the result of repeating
every major mistake
several times in each era
from the beginning
painstakingly perfecting
our bodies the world which
continue forever once set
in motion out of the germ
of either serving the purposes
of bad ideas or slowly waking up

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Waking Valentine

How can a bed
make me laugh
or a chair pick
a quarrel with
me or a wall
tell me off
and all this
before I even
leave the bedroom
but still I come
dragging the dregs
of my dreams
behind me
into this magical
nightmare world

Postal Valentine

My new mailperson
is a tall black woman
all the dogs bark
at her as she makes
her swift way
down one street
and up another
it’s embarrassing
to see her treated
thus after so
many centuries
especially since
she sometimes brings
something long
waited for or word
you’re still
in this world