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

Friday, May 1, 2015

Scientific Valentine

I’m waiting for the sun to go down
so I can cut the grass in the cool
cool cool of the evening I’m remembering
some fool who looked like me
looking at you on another evening
we’d just met and stood and stared
the hunched professor wrote a book
to describe the process of finding
something new under the sun
the endless frustrating dead-ends
of which he gave a full account
and then nonchalantly out of the blue
the solution walks in sits down
on the couch and smiles at you
but he couldn’t really explain
where that inspiration comes from
however close he got to the edge
and peered down past the numbers
it left him dumb

May Day Valentine

Under the weight
they sway the bell-
shaped flowers silently
ringing we could eat
them but instead
we let the bees
carry the weight
of beauty into the sweet
geometries of time
taking its tolling
like listening to a fairy-tale
the hive a mind speaking
over and over the honeyed words
receive the gift of taste and tell

Thursday, April 30, 2015

A Line’s Valentine

Contrails and starving clouds
playing x’s and o’s
will nature win
or man the skies
a line is drawn across the blue
let’s have a game
let’s have another game
or is the world a table spread
with the fruits of other lives
which will all be eaten
though we laughed
at the thought of his body
and blood it will all
be eaten in the end

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Smiling Valentine

What good is art
that can only show us
what life looks like now
not who we’ve been
or where we’re going
are we better I mean
at dying or fear because
of Hamlet or Lear
have we learned to love
not as feeling but as deed
because of Juliet or Desdemona
or do we merely
lease a love as need
from that other Lisa Mona

Blue Flower’s Valentine

Every morning two or three
small blue morning glory flowers
appear among the fading seeding
orange and yellow nasturtiums
almost more a pale lilac color
with five purple stripes running
down each corner brilliant yellow
stamens standing in the center
like many others they can endure
only a solitary day on earth
like that immortality-bestowing
plant Gilgamesh dove into the sea
to fetch and bring to the surface
(he would need it to find his friend)
but it was only his for one night
before a serpent ate it while he slept
so his long life passed in a single day
waiting for that blue to come again

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Something’s Valentine

Between the child screaming loudly
across the street and my neighbor
across the alley banging on his car
between the shadow falling vertically
down the wall of a bird flying
horizontally over the house
between the riots on the television
and the riots in my heart
between the parched hollyhock
lifting its first red flowers
and the empty taxi cab
sleeping off its metered hours
there was something about today
I wanted to say that never changes
between you and me

Each Leaf’s Valentine

If each leaf is a little self
each tree is a civilization
undergoing waves of reconstruction
followed by waves of sudden exodus
with an intervening period of
calm and inspiring consolidation
and followed by a period of
mind-numbing leveling snow
but we never see the original leaf
from which all the others
as rainy variations grow
out of its purely musical theme
to know if it’s a symphony of joy
or a march of endless grief

Monday, April 27, 2015

Amazing Valentine

I love strawberries but
I love raspberries more
and blueberries more than
that and lingonberries more
than that and elderberries
more and cranberries more
but my favorite is the grape
which like the tomato and
the pumpkin which I love more
we don’t think of as berries
I suggest we just substitute
the word ‘amazing’ for ‘berries’
how cleverly they plant in us
the seeds embedded in their flesh
that we too be ‘amazing’

Freddy’s Valentine

Freddy is a feral cat
that special breed of cat
who lives alone and loves
to roam freely homelessly
he does not want a home
he emphatically rejects
the whole idea of home
of comfortably abandoning
adventure surrendering
to thinking everything over
trying to weave it all together
his philosophy is no philosophy
he’s sure the earth is too insecure
a place to settle down

Anti-Demonic Valentine

No one should be made to feel
awful about themselves
isn’t that the real demonic
and yet we all do at times
for innumerable reasons
experience nothingness
as a possible option
or pre-existing condition
to which we’ll return in time
but think of the other planets
even grandmother moon
and her ambitious son the sun
as older siblings who run on
ahead of us and yet are waiting
in their amazing bodies of light
for us to catch up to them

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Storm Bird’s Valentine

Birds observe storms I observe
both above them and below
from the distance and the depths
the infant storms just being born
free range dust-devils
practicing their pirouettes
and the gray-bearded tornadoes
that eat sparrows like grain
they all disappear before the rain
into the labyrinths of the hedgerows
or out-fly their threadbare nets
cast languidly over the laggard hills
yet it’s these storms they owe
for carrying the bodies of their songs
out beyond all the stars we know

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Cursive Valentine

My parent’s penmanship
was perfect but now extinct
though sometimes my mother’s
words were just beautiful flowing
letters strung together to look
like words on their last track
and then the shapes would shrink
and blur and slowly fade away
which was what she wanted
my father to do only ASAP
meanwhile his supple cursive
was hardly ever on display
so in the end all he could write
even if not without a fight
was his own name but perfectly

Old Valentine

How the young man’s wisdom
segues into the old man’s foolishness
for those young men who live
to see it land in their own backyards
Icarus flapping his wings for years
till flight did happen
who couldn’t wait to grow old
but embraced death easily
as the genius part of the earth
the overcoming of the fear of
felt to be the point and
purpose of the flight
otherwise confined
to dreams and fancy
but now set free
by day and night

Friday, April 24, 2015

Storm’s Valentine

The storm is coming
we were often told of course
but it never came
once a few drops fell
and we said yes alright
let it rip but that was all
so we quit listening
until one morning again
a few small drops fell
then equally a few more
picking up speed and volume now
you could smell the trees sighing
under the lashing that ensued
pounding down louder and louder
you could feel the scary weight of it
four freight trains falling from the sky
I thought my house would break
and float away and then it did
roaring and crashing a river
swept us to the end of the world
it looked like Babylon we wept

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Scent of a Valentine

From time to time I take a nap
in the bed you left behind
when worn down by the world’s crap
your body comes to mind
and I just want to lay with it
(the pillow still keeps your scent)
as if nothing had come between
and fall again with you
into love’s mortal dream
capricious clouds and wind
but all out there beyond
the trembling window pane
and life can wait and the gods
for a change while we love again

I Only Want Valentine

I only want to be a poet
when I’m writing  you a poem
I only want to be a lover
when I’m in your arms
I only want to have a hair-line
when I’m combing my dome
I only want to be a gardener
when I’m kneeling on the ground
I only want to be a sky-line
when the city’s in my bones
I only want to see the future
when I’m living there alone
I only want to know you’re well
when I’m sleeping like a stone

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Proverbial Valentine

You don’t have to overindulge
if you give up holding a grudge
you don’t have to scheme and lie
if you give up pie-in-the-sky
you don’t have to move a mountain
if you just add a fountain
the mountain will walk
around the damn fountain
you don’t have to be beautiful or wise
if there’s some goodness in your eyes
you don’t have to love me or not
if you give up feeling caught
you don’t have to lose your mind
but the heart is different you’ll find

Unfollowed Valentine

Nothing is as sober as a flower
not even a stone can match it for an hour
that depth of radiant concentration
which denatures time
without falling into stupor
or self-congratulatory bliss
it’s almost more than one could hope for
a fully-realized wish
taking on bits of color and form
to better serve its secret work
all the while plotting to escape
promising and promising to return
but I came for you to follow me
not linger here alone

Basics Valentine

We still seem to be
working on the basics
is all life sacred yet
how can we not bully
the earth out of existence
must we destroy physical life
to prove the soul exists
when I was small I thought
cats were the girls and dogs
were the boys in the animal
kingdom which it turns out
is exactly right and the fact is
we’re the heroes who keep
building onto the labyrinth
we’re caught in half-asleep

If We Have to Have an Earth Day We're Already in Trouble Valentine

In my last blue dream
angelic fire trucks and ambulances
came rushing toward me
having mistaken me for spring
who was really having a heart attack
which turned into a panic attack
poor spring just sat there like a homeless
man on the curb black but lucky
the cops were busy elsewhere
we lifted him to a bench in shade
we said we’d run for help and food
but spring just glared and drooled
and by the time we rushed back
he was gone into the pale green
trees hoisted like a sail or flag
or body hung and slack

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Nasturtiums for Cynthia Valentine

These flowers make two seeds
or three but what can a seed
give back to the sun
its little saucer leaves
stretching their eager veins
look like the hands of children
having fun will soon be done
even the brilliant flowers prove
fair weather friends
but the seed is like the sun
bearing worlds of leaves inside
sleeping in the dark earth
every night a need
every flowering a dawn

Monday, April 20, 2015

Flashing Valentine

When even the resident moths
have gone to sleep in the trees
or maybe it’s the breeze tonight
frisky as a new foal
leaping around the place
that’s keeping them away
from this bright moonlight
waltzing toward us over the bay
so sometimes there’s a sudden
gust of light and sea-spray
a piece torn from the surface
of appearances the sky of waves
and for a moment we can see
the luminous beings behind it all
holding everything together
creatures of a serious ecstasy
recalled from before the fall

Folded Valentine

As foretold the lost map
of memory and reason
was found in the breast pocket
of the last survivor’s jacket
folded and smudged
with his blood he said
throughout the ordeal
he had stared steadily at
an ascending hollyhock
the wide unfurled grandmother
leaves at the base the sense
of determination in the stalk
leaving its daughter-leaves behind
like little bursts of pain
and when he climbed to the top
a door opened by itself
but no one was there
just the waiting air