Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
i have held with
fascination, when i was young,
  all of my toys.

a parallel universe of
  marvels. imperial is the mood
of these ecstasies!

i remember my cheap svelte revolver
  back in 1998 bought from
  the festive bazaar in the marketplace at the dreary heart of Bocaue when i was
consumed by the thought of brutal force and how swiftly, in the hands of men meant for twisting open
   the doors, welcome death
or the metallurgy of it.

i used to run off into the sunset
  toting my gun high with pride
   shunning the Sun, and the
reprise of my carousals is my mother
    soldering in her white hands
a "walis tambo" and summoning me
     homeward with a churlish grin
on my face, triumphantly ecstatic
   over my rendezvous.

now my gun has withstood the
   tatterdemalion of dog days
and in one corner i felt its
  brokenness as it yearns to
  be retired early in the peak
    of my youth. happiness wears down like a chip on the old linoleumed floor and i tinker with
  it to unsheathe the grime
  of the unspoken stucco concrete.

  i placed it in a box, my black revolver, together with the toys
   that i once laughed with
when only bliss is as simple as a juvenile love, or the easy picking
    of a santan over the fields
      where i ran off into
the viridian laughing with the verdure of the world that i once knew as something so beautiful
   and intricate.

i heard my black revolver went
   somewhere behind the macadamized wall where i dreamt of having a basketball ring nailed to.
   only i knew how to play
my revolver, and now that i am
   caught within the heaviness
  of all things that mean greater
  than all other joys,
   no other days could ever
surpass how
  i made
    a hero in myself
mighty with the tales
     that i keep.

good ole black revolver, 1998.
A poem I wrote as a tribute to the simpler forms of happiness and how unmistakably I have made a hero within myself when I was young.
Martin Narrod Apr 2014
12 Monkeys
17 Girls
127 Hours
2 Days in New York 2012
2 Days in Paris 2010
2001 A Space Odyssey
360
A Beautiful Mind
A Bridge Too Far
A Few Good Men
A Single Man
A Perfect Getaway
A Serbian Film
A Very Long Engagement
A.I.
Absolute Power
Adaptation
Airborne
Air Force One
Airplane 1
Airplane 2
Albert Nobbs
Alex Cross
Alpha Dog
American Beauty
American Gangster
Amorres Perros
Amour
Anchorman
Andy Warhol's Bad 1977
Andy Warhol's ******* 1964
Andy Warhol's Eat 1964
Animal Kingdom
Annie Hall
Anti-Christ
Apocalypse Now Redux
Apollo 13
Arachnophobia
Apt Pupil
Armageddon
Babel
Backdraft
Bad Company
Bad Education
Badlands 1973
Barton Fink
Basquiat
Before Night Falls
Being Flynn
Beneath Hill 60
Beyond the Black Rainbow
Billy Madison
Biutiful - Spanish
Blade 1
Blade 2
Blade 3
Blade Runner Final Cut
Blades of Glory
Blood Work
Blue Valentine
Breach
Broken Arrow
Born on the Fourth of July
Boyz in the Hood
Bullet
Bulworth
Brothers
Caddyshack 1 & 2
Career Opportunities
Carlos The Jackal The Movie
Carne by Gaspar Noe - French
Cashback
CB4
Charlie Wilson's War
Chelsea Girls 1966
Cherry
Chinatown
Ciao Manhattan ft. Edie Sedgewick 1972
Cinema Paradiso
City of God
Clear and Present Danger
Closely Watched Trains - Czech
Contact
Corpse Bride
Courage Under Fire
Crazy Stupid Love
Dark Shadows
Dave 1993
Daybreakers
Days of Heaven
Dazed and Confused
Dead Presidents
Defiance
Desperately Seeking Susan
Despicable Me
Detachment
Die Hard Quadrilogy
**** Tracy
***** Harry
Django Unchained
Dogtooth - Greek
Dogville
Doubt
Dracula, Bram Stoker's
Dragonheart
Dream House
Drive
Drop Zone
Dumbo
Dune Extended Edition
Ears Open, Eyeballs Click
Easier With Practice
Easy Rider 1969
Edward Scissorhands
Empire of the Sun
Encino Man
Enter the Void by Gaspar Noe
Eraser 1999
Eyes Wide Shut 1999
Face Off 1997
Fallen
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Fast Times at Ridgemont High
Fight Club
Fill the Void
Fish Tank
Fitzcarraldo
Five Minutes in Heaven
Flickan 2009 - Swedish
Flubber 1997
Folks!
Forbidden Planet 1956
Fracture
Friday 1995
Friday After Next 2002
Frost Nixon
******* Amal - Swedish
Full Metal Jacket
Funny Farm 1988
Funny Games
Fur- An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus
G.I. Jane
G.I. Joe Retaliation
Gangs of New York
Gangster Squad
Garden State
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Ghostbusters 1
Girlfriend
Girl, Interrupted
Glengarry Glen Ross
Gomorra - Italian
Great Expectations 1998
Greenberg
Grindhouse Death Proof
Grindhouse Planet Terror
Groundhog Day 1993
Grumpy Old Men
Grumpier Old Men
Gummo
Gus Van Sant's Last Days
Half Nelson
Hannibal
Havoc
Haywire
Heartbreak Ridge
Heat
Hell on the Pacific 1986
Hesher
Hitchcock
Holy Rollers
Hook
Honey I Shrunk the Kids
Hyde Park on Hudson
I Am Curious Blue
I Am Curious Yellow
I Heart Huckabees
I Stand Alone by Gaspar Noe - French
If Looks Could **** 1991
I'm Not There
In Bruges
In The Line of Fire
Inglorious Basterds
Inland Empire
Innerspace 1987
Innocence
Interview With the Vampire
Jacob's Ladder
James Bond - Diamonds Are Forever 1971
James Bond - From Russia With Love 1963
James Bond - Goldfinger 1964
James Bond - Never Say Never Again 1983
James Bond - On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1969
James Bond - Thunderball 1965
James Bon - You Only Live Twice 1967
Jane Eyre
Jeremiah Johnson 1972
JFK
Joe Versus the Volcano
Johnny English 2
Julien Donkey-Boy
Juno
Just Cause
Kapringen aka A Hijacking - Icelandic
Ken Park
Killing Season
Killing Them Softly
Kindergarten Cop
Kingpin
Koyaanisqatsi
Krippendorf's Tribe
Kiss the Girls
La Vie En Rose
Last Night
Last of the Dogmen
Leon: The Professional
Leonard Pt. 6
Les Miserables
Lie With Me
Life of Pi
Lincoln
Lions For Lambs
Little Children
Lord of the Rings Trilogy BR Extended
Lord of War
Lost Highway
Love and Other Drugs
Love in the Time of Cholera
Love Liza
Lovers of the Arctic Circle
Mad Max 1979
Mad Max 2 1981
Mad Max 3 1985
Major Payne
Malcolm X
Man on Fire
Manhunter
Maverick 1994
Meet Joe Black
Melancholia
Menace II Society DIrector's Cut 1993
Mesrine 1 Killer Instinct - French
Mesrine 2 Public Enemy - French
Milk
Minority Report
Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol
Mister Lonely
Money Train
Moonrise Kingdom
Moulin Rouge
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
****** By Numbers
Munich
My Sassy Girl 2008
Naqoyqatsi Life As War
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
National Treasure Book of Secrets
Never Cry Wolf
Never Let Me Go
New Jack City
New York I Love You
Night on Earth 1991 - Italian
Nixon
Not Fade Away
Notes on a Scandal
O Brother, Where Art Thou
October Sky
Olympus Has Fallen
Ondskan - Swedish
One False Move
Out of Africa
Outbreak
Palmetto
Paris Texas Criterion 1984
Passenger 57
Paths of Glory 1957
Perfect Sense
Peter Pan
Philadelphia 1993
Pinocchio
Pirate Radio
Platoon 1986
Pleasantville
*******
Project X 1987
Proof
Quiz Show
Rabbits
Revolver
Robocop Trilogy
Robot and Frank
Rolling Stone's Gimme Shelter
Romance and Cigarettes
Romeo and Juliet 1996
Sahara
Saving Private Ryan
Schindler's List
Searching For Bobby Fischer
Secretary, The
Seven Years in Tibet
Sgt. Bilko
Shame 2011
Shine
Shooter
Shopgirl
Sid and Nancy
Sin City
Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow
Skyfall
Slackers
Sleepers
Sleeping Beauty 1959
Sleeping Beauty 2011
Sleepy Hollow
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Somewhere
South Central
Sphere
Spread
Spy Game
Stand Up Guys
Stay
Summer Hours - French
Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Synecdoche, NY
Syriana
Talk To Her - Habla Con Ella
Taken 1 & 2
Takers
****
Taxidermia
Tetro
Thank You For Smoking
That Thing You Do!
The Adjustment Bureau
The Age of Innocence by Martin Scorcese 1993
The Bad Lieutenant - Port of Call New Orleans 2009
The Basketball Diaries
The Beach 2000
The Believer
The Beverly Hillbillies
The Black Dahlia
The Blue Lagoon 1980
The Book of Eli
The Boxer
The Constant Gardner
The Conversation
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
The Darjeeling Limited
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises
The Day of the Jackal
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Fifth Element
The Flock
The Flowers of War
The Fountain
The Getaway
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo 2011
The Golden Compass
The Good Shepherd
The Good The Bad and The Ugly
The Goonies
The Green Mile
The Grey
The Help
The Hudsucker Proxy
The Hurricane
The Hurt Locker
The Ice Storm
The Ides of March
The Illusionist
The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
The Impossible
The Informers
The Invasion
The Iron Lady
The Island of Dr. Moreau
The Jackal
The ****
The Killer Inside Me
The Kingdom
The Legend of Bagger Vance
The Lost Boys
The Lost Boys The Tribe
The Lost Boys Thirst
The Machinist
The Mask
The Man Who Fell to Earth 1976
The Master
The Mechanic
The Money Pit
The Naked Gun 1
The Naked Gun 2
The Naked Gun 3
The New World
The Pelican Brief
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Prestige
The Queen
The Raven
The Reader
The Red Balloon
The Right Stuff
The Road
The Rock
The Rocketeer
The Rules of Attraction
The *** Diary
The Saint
The Shawshank Redemption
The Silence of the Lambs
The Skin I Live In - Mexican
The Soloist
The Talented Mr. Ripley
The Thin Red Line
The Town
Transformers Trilogy
The Tree of Life
Tron Legacy 2010
The United States of Leland
The Usual Suspects
The Way Back
There Will Be Blood
There's Something About Mary
Three Days of the Condor
Three Kings
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
To the Wonder
To Rome With Love

Tombstone
Total Recall 1990
Trainspotting
Trash Humpers
True Lies
Two Lovers
Two Weeks in September(Brigette Bardot) 1967
Tyrannosaur
Unbreakable
Uncle Buck
Unforgiven
Unleashed
Unstoppable
V for Vendetta
Varsity Blues
Vertigo
Vicky Christina Barcelona
Videodrome
Virtuosity
Wag the Dog
Wake Up Ron Burgundy The Lost Movie
Walkabout
Wall Street 1987
Wall Street 2010
Wanderlust
Water World
Wayne's World 1 & 2
We Are The Night
War Witch
We Need to Talk About Kevin
Weekend by Jean-Luc Godard - French
Weekend 2011
West of Memphis
What Doesn't **** You
What's Eating Gilbert Grape
When Harry Met Sally
Where the Wild Things Are
White House Down
White Material Criterion 2009
White Oleander
Who is Harry Nilsson?
Wolf 1992
Womb
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger
Zardoz 1974


Documentaries & Music Videos


BBC - Life in Cold Blood
BBC - Planet Earth
BBC - Rolling Stones Crossfire Hurricane
BBC - Great Bear Steakout
BBC - Ice Age Giants
BBC - Insect Worlds
BBC - Life on Earth 1979
BBC - Lost Cities of the Ancients
BBC - Operation Snow Tiger
BBC - Penguins: Spy in the Huddle
BBC - Polar Bear: Spy on the Ice
BBC - Richard Hammond's Miracles of Nature
BBC - The Life of Birds
BBC - Wonders of Life
David Blaine Collection
**** Proenke Collection - Alone and Solitude, The Frozen North
Encounters at the End of the World 2007
Nanook of the North
National Geographic Wild Kingdom of the Oceans Giants of the Deep: Whales
Shine A Light - The Rolling Stones
Vladimir Horowitz - Der Ietzte Romantiker
Vladimir Horowitz - Live in Vienna 1987
Vladimir Horowitz - The 1968 TV Concert
Whale Adventure with Nigel Marvin
Butch Decatoria Nov 2018
(For Black History Month 1998)


i have a wish
to be profound...
   to be proud and stronger
   and carry myself like the **** poets on Def Jam
voices of Kenya and kings, emblazoned
with wisdom, respected / permanence
tanned in words of Malcolm & Martin's reign...
   to have passions of Nubian queens
   wear a crown to herald my approach
head held high
   without raising a calloused hand,
   copper polished hearts
A presence that only demands simplistic
of silences in the awe, the inspired
unchallenged in my reverence--an African / American ability
   choreography / invention
   the first to dance, when others fear to
to keep it real and say it loud
my human wishes, strong, profound, proud...
sometimes
   gentille...

i wanna be black...
like King Cobra, a hood to umbrella fright
with venom from just my stereotypical sight
   immobilize and paint caucasians whiter
   to be well endowed yet humbly
complicated,
angry but with proven reasons unrequited,
to be singled out by mere appearance
alone, a Halley Berry poster, child - dealing drugs,
   respected yet in the poetry of chains
   creative even in these multi-colored pains
from a thousand lands of strife
music is sister, artistic is brother life
become ingenious
   saxophones in the moody blues,
   athlete of hurtles, jazz / boxing fights / sang...
gold medals, worthy for full frontal
news...

do i amuse you, with these longings?
think do you - it's a cursed delight?
   but life only
   excels with each challenge: our battles
against ignorance / shame defines
the worth we're given
our lot mostly restricted, our lions tamed
perseveres - tho' weep the dust of our ancients names,
and bleeds these,
our cotton soft truths some mistakes
   and Dolby stereotypes revealed
   re-assigned
now worn like brand new:
a garden painted stronger
roots - and robes of shackles' / thorns
sharp with unlocked prejudices
   brown can do no more (for you sir)
   criminal confidences find the unmoving wave of faith
a prominent jaw-line, obelisk-lips
kiss and smack / wet with loving lengths
it is ... no hurt in these earthen eyes
   evident
   stoic, strength, serenity
mine to dance and sing my apathy instead...
about the history, i wish to dis
yes, re-avow
empty empathies before,
   experience my thousands, marching
   Melato’s at the founding fathers' doors, will show
you how to open house
these ghettos of / our violent villages / of tar & soot
shadow our poor ever the more
our stars shine on
   broadway be our stage / Stomps / in the heart, hopes,
   styles rap / songs to battle racial profiles
racial cops in devil blue,
beating brothas, home video tell our news,
while our rich forget the rest
******* **** in their cribs
re-pimped, yes, ******* new money & *****
   of course, they are the talented ...
   almost gods on Apollo / knock on wood...
the music is still
the song still is
the foot is stampeding
the noise will be loud,

i will be proud
i will be profound
   in this time of redefinition,
i will be strong
(i wanna be black) like Etta James
at last...
Dorothy A Dec 2011
A rose in the middle of December is what I saw outside. Instantly, I connected this odd occurrence with my life. The thought hit my thoughts like a ton of bricks. That is what I am, I had thought to myself. That describes me.

As I looked out my living room window on a sunny, but freezing, Saturday afternoon, I was surprised to see this solitary rose that had bloomed on my mini rose plant.  Providing me with a few salmon colored roses each season of its bloom, without fail this plant regrows again and again in my garden. I first planted it there since forever ago, or so it seems.

Usually, such a flowering occurrence should be no big deal, nothing major or out of the ordinary. Certainly, I would not find this as something really noteworthy to write about. Rose plants do that kind of thing all the time.

But it was frigid cold outside, and the middle of December.

What a strange, yet amazing thing to behold! Maybe there is a proper explanation for it, but I don’t care. The petals were just as colorful as ever when really they should have wilted awy from the cold. All the other flowering plants in my garden surely did! It didn’t really make sense, but its presence was pretty awesome.

I eagerly went to find my camera to take a picture of my sweet, little rose. The grass was dotted with tiny patches of snow to show that-yes indeed-winter is really only days away from its official entrance. Plant activity and growth really should be over. Isn’t that right? I know we have had some warmer days during the previous month, but the icy cold seemed to have come to stay for a while. It surely defies logic to think of blooming flowers on such days.

I often look for “God moments”, as I call them, in which God gives me something to hold onto that reveals His love to me. Not looking for anything earth shattering, I see often see God in the little things, in the details of life. And I don’t even always look for such things, for sometimes I doubt God really cares or really is that effective in my life. You see, that is not uncommon for someone who deals with chronic depression. I learned early on in life that nobody is there for you, not really. I know Christians aren’t supposed to feel this way, but if I can be bold to be honest, I am. Often, I just think I’ll get by on my own. If I can’t get by on my own, I often try to put up with it instead of turning to God for help.  But lately I was feeling desperate.

Suffering with depression all of my life, and with managable anxiety, the thought of the approaching Christmas had been especially difficult for me. I know that people are “supposed to” feel uplifted with the holiday, but I was not. To reveal this is a source of shame to me, and I have learned to mask such uneasy feelings, trying to fake it for the sake of showing the world that I really am OK inside. It is like I expect everyone to look at me and say, “What’s the matter with you, loser!”

I knew I could find two things that would appeal to me—Christmas music and lights. Yet the music that I often love could not do it for me. The lovely Christmas lights, shining in the dark of night, didn’t matter either. I was feeling dejected, and I was growing weary with life—again. When not obligated to go anywhere, I felt like hiding from the world, feeling safer from anxious thoughts by myself. And as safe as I tried to feel in my comfort zone, this was frightening to me. This did not feel like living to me.

Is this how I am going to live out the rest of my pitiful life? This was one of my kinder thoughts.

I usually get through Christmas OK, making the best of it, but my losses often feel bigger than my blessings. In 1998, I lost an estranged brother to suicide. In 2005, I lost a father to Alzheimer’s, a few weeks after Christmas. In 2007, my mother had to spend Christmas in a nursing home recovering from major surgery. That year, I struggled through that season with very hopeless feelings, for my mother was in jeopardy of never walking again. She spent almost half a year in that place—a woman with sever scoliosis, and chronic back pain, who cannot stand for very long. In my hopelessness, I seem to forget the miracles in my life, for my mom’s return home seems like one to me.

I also see my father’s experience and death from Alzheimer’s as something far more than a tragedy. For many years, I avoided my father, wanting really nothing to do with him. Grudges surely seem larger than life over time, and although I wanted to forgive my father and seek reconciliation, fear often stood in the way. Even though my dad grew remorseful for how he raised his children, it took my brother’s suicide for me to find forgiveness for a man I thought never supported me or believed in me. For over two years, while my dad was ill and dying, the bond between us grew into something special. I know from personal experience that even in the difficult times, there are larger purposes involved.
  
No doubt, I have been provided with some huge challenges in life. Thankfully, I always pulled through when I surely felt that I would crumble into pieces. I clung to my faith in God, even when that faith felt like dying embers in a fire, for it seemed to be all that I had. Nothing else worked. Nothing else satisfied for very long. And when it did last, I wanted more and more, like a drug addict looking for his next fix.  

I have often been plagued with self doubt. What is my purpose in this life? Why am I here? I knew I was not alone in this thinking, reminding myself that I am not the most unique person in my suffering. So I searched the internet, a convenient source to turn to when you can’t seem to face people, and the world.  

Not wanting to live or value your own life is a horrible state of mind that I would not wish on anybody. I have relied on a depression medication since my brother died, and still do, but there had to be something more to help me. Deep down inside, I did not want to die, but I didn’t know how to live either. The heart of the matter was that in my worst bouts of depression, I was just so broken inside. I survived enough to go through the motions, but I felt like I was losing the battle—and really did not want to win the war anyhow.

I still remember the “God moment” I had when I was in London, England in August of 2011. At that time, life felt like an adventure as I went on my very first overseas trip to Europe. I have yearned to go to Europe since childhood. It was a Sunday morning in London, and a religious program was on. From what one man was saying on TV about his experiences, my ears perked up and I hurriedly scribbled some things down on a pad of my hotel paper before I forget some of his statements that stood out to me.

During my short stay in London, I was experiencing a cold. I wanted to feel Gods presence as I felt the swallowed up feeling of being a stranger in a faraway place. As intruiged as I was,  in the huge, bustling metropolis, I admit I was feeling a bit overwhelmed. I find big cities as places in which people pass others with no concern other than to go about their way. London was fascinating, but I am a suburbanite, for sure!

The things this man was saying on TV really impacted me at the time, and I now carry that scrap of paper around with me in my wallet. Little did I know that a few months later that these statements would help to pull me through from reaching into despair. That despair began a few months after that trip when I was quite sick with the flu, twice in a row, and feeling very isolated and weary.

Sometimes, we have to get into that place where all there is is God.

It is not that I did not believe in God. I did not think God believed in me.

Sometimes, we grow best in hard times.  

All my crooked crutches and phony props, as I call them, weren’t working. If the computer wasn’t taking up much of my free time, television was numbing my senses from the stark reality that life felt empty for me. Where was God? Logically, I knew I had no reason to be bitter, for I knew the answer. I felt so far away from Him, helpless and hopeless—yet I clung to this hope—God never moved at all. I was the one who walked away, but like the prodigal son in the Bible, God would be waiting there for me with a joyful expectation. I truly believe that even though I often wonder how God puts up with me.

It has been a long time—if ever—that I fully trusted in God alone. Yes, I believed in Him, and trusted in Jesus as my savior, but I often held back. I was still so angry and hurt about the past. Why didn’t God rescue me from such a horrible childhood? Why was I bullied in school? Why didn’t I have a better family? Why did loneliness and insecurity plague me as it did? Why wasn’t I beautiful? Why didn’t I have a better life? Why this and why that. Even though I logically knew better, in my hurt and wounded soul, life felt like a big, horrible mistake. God must have not cared about me. I may not have consciously acknowledged it, but my actions proved otherwise.

We live in a world where you got to be stronger, you got to be better; you got to be tougher; you got to be faster; you got to be more successful. The media pounds this into our brains all the time in many different forms. How many of us feel like we can never measure up? I am sure I am not alone in feeling the inadequacy. Yet I could not concentrate on anyone else’s pain when I was so wrapped up in my own.

A rose in the middle of December—I put it all into proper perspective. What a fragile looking thing, but an enduring one! It symbolizes to me the invincible, indelible human soul in the midst of an often perplexing world. When all around seems bleak, when life takes a toll on you, that remains unscathed, untouched by the trails we often have to face.  When we die, I wholeheartedly believe, it will be the only true thing that remains of us. When our bodies decay into dust, our souls will be like that rose, brilliant and beautiful.    

Besides myself, there are two groups of people, near and dear to my heart, which I could compare to that symbolic rose in my garden. My current job is working with special needs students, usually with autistic children and young adults. I worked 19 years in a bland office job, and could not ignore the constant nagging feeling to get the courage and desire up to do something more fulfilling with my life. With fearful, but bold determination I thought: It’s now or never.  Maybe it was not the wisest thing, but it felt so freeing to say to my boss, “I think I quit”, without another job to back me up. I basked in the encouraging applause of many co-workers who wished they had the guts to do the same, but soon the panic set in.

What do I do now? What can I do now?

Never working with children before, I felt a call to work with them, and I absolutely have a greater sense of purpose. Many of these children cannot talk. Many of them cannot walk. Many of them accept people just as they are, for I believe they want the same in return. Their lives teach me what really is important in life—and that is compassion.

Other than children, I also love the elderly, sensing their desperate need for love and compassion. Forcing myself to get my mind off my own troubles, I heeded my pastor’s call to not simply “go to church” but to “be the church”. I knew I had talents. I knew could open my mouth and carry a tune. From what I went through in my life, I knew I had the compassion. After all, I dealt with my dying father in a nursing home. With a nursing home ministry in my church, and a nursing home right across the street, it was obvious—there are others out there that need hope and they need love. So what was my excuse?

In this world that expects you to be stronger, better, tougher, faster or more successful, there are those that live in the world that they don’t fit any of these categories. But yet they are here. They exist. Can they be ignored? The answer is surely, yes, and they often are.  Perhaps, the world is uncomfortable with them, does not know what to do with them. They don’t fit into the false demands for perfection. They don’t fit into push and shove to get ahead of everyone else, but they remind us, sometimes to the point of discomfort, how fragile the human condition often is.  

Lately, I have had such a hunger that food cannot satisfy. I yearned for a peace, one that only God can provide me with. I found two uplifting stories on the internet of people who struggle on and whose lives defy the idea of a perfect world. One of them was about an Australian man, Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs. He was picked on at school because he was perceived as a freak, as someone who did not seem to have any real chance at living a normal life. And he was angry that he did not look like, or function like, most everyone else. At about the age of eight he wanted to end it all, thinking he had no purpose in life. He eventually gave his life to Christ, and now lives a full life, reaching out to others with his incredible story of hope and perseverance.

Another woman, Joni Eareckson Tada, continues to amaze me. She is a quadriplegic from a diving accident gone horribly wrong. Her story touches many people with her hopeful attitude and her amazing faith in Christ. She, too, wanted to die when she thought her life had no more meaning. Recently, she has even fought breast cancer and chronic pain that has added to her decades of struggles with immobility.  She touches so many lives with her honesty about her suffering, giving people hope in times that seem hopeless.            

I wanted what these two people had. No, I did not want their afflictions, but I wanted to be able to reach out to others and touch their hearts, as well.  I wanted that faith, desperately, a faith that will not back down in the face of fear, in serious doubts, deep sadness, and pain. These people had little choice but to turn to God. The alternative was utter bleakness, a lack of purpose, and a slow death. But they defied the odds and etched a life out of faith, helping countless others to endure their struggles and to find meaning in life. There were plenty of times when I did not pray to reach out to a God that I gave my heart to many years ago. I bought into the belief that God was as inadequate and ineffective as I was feeling.    

Sometimes, we have to get into that place where all there is is God.

It is not that I did not believe in God. I did not think God believed in me.

Sometimes, we grow best in hard times.  

With plenty of tears, I cried out to God. It was a gut wrenching cry of someone with nothing to give but a broken heart. I wanted that kind of faith, and I meant that with every fiber of my being. Deep inside, my faith wasn’t gone. It never really left me, but only God had the ability to grow it, to prosper it, and to produce “life” back into my life. The battles might have felt overwhelming, at times, but I have always been a survivor. In spite of heartaches, and from what they actually teach me, I can be an encourager to others. Instead of just wanting to make everything go away, I can look forward to new chapters in my life.  

I know there will still be times when I will struggle to want to face another day, yet with my faith in God, I can.

So a rose growing outside may be not a big deal. Writers and poets have seemingly exhausted the topic, hailing it the most precious of flowers, the most perplex, with such lovely fragility, yet sheltered by stinging thorns. My inspiration to write on the same subject may not be unique, but as a rose blooms, and its glorious petals unfold, so does my story. I admit I hesitated to finish writing this, not sure I wanted to expose these things about my life. It takes a lot of guts to admit how imperfect you are in a world that seems to shun or poke fun at such things. But if I can encourage even one person, who has similar struggles, I will gladly try to be an encouragement.    

For almost a week now, existing in a stark contrast of its surroundings, that little rose remains, cold winter weather and all. Every day since, for about a week now, I continue look for it outside and find it going against the grain.  All the other flowers in my dormant garden are long gone. It will be gone eventually, but I am still enjoying my “God
Michael R Burch Nov 2020
Poems about Icarus

These are poems about Icarus, flying and flights of fancy...



Southern Icarus
by Michael R. Burch

Windborne, lover of heights,
unspooled from the truck’s wildly lurching embrace,
you climb, skittish kite...

What do you know of the world’s despair,
gliding in vast... solitariness... there,
so that all that remains is to
fall?

Only a little longer the wind invests its sighs;
you
stall,
spread-eagled, as the canvas snaps

and *****
its white rebellious wings,
and all

the houses watch with baffled eyes.



Flight 93
by Michael R. Burch

I held the switch in trembling fingers, asked
why existence felt so small, so purposeless,
like a minnow wriggling feebly in my grasp...

vibrations of huge engines thrummed my arms
as, glistening with sweat, I nudged the switch
to OFF... I heard the klaxon's shrill alarms

like vultures’ shriekings... earthward, in a stall...
we floated... earthward... wings outstretched, aghast
like Icarus... as through the void we fell...

till nothing was so beautiful, so blue...
so vivid as that moment... and I held
an image of your face, and dreamed I flew

into your arms. The earth rushed up. I knew
such comfort, in that moment, loving you.



I AM!
by Michael R. Burch

I am not one of ten billion―I―
sunblackened Icarus, chary fly,
staring at God with a quizzical eye.

I am not one of ten billion, I.

I am not one life has left unsquashed―
scarred as Ulysses, goddess-debauched,
pale glowworm agleam with a tale of panache.

I am not one life has left unsquashed.

I am not one without spots of disease,
laugh lines and tan lines and thick-callused knees
from begging and praying and girls sighing "Please!"

I am not one without spots of disease.

I am not one of ten billion―I―
scion of Daedalus, blackwinged fly
staring at God with a sedulous eye.

I am not one of ten billion, I
AM!



Finally to Burn
(the Fall and Resurrection of Icarus)
by Michael R. Burch

Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand

and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands

where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting

and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting

and all I remember
, upon awaking,

is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking

one’s Being―to glide

heroically beyond thought,

forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.



O, finally to Burn,
gravity beyond escaping!

To plummet is Bliss
when the blisters breaking

rain down red scabs
on the earth’s mudpuddle...

Feathers and wax
and the watchers huddle...

Flocculent sheep,
O, and innocent lambs!,

I will rock me to sleep
on the waves’ iambs.



To sleep's sweet relief
from Love’s exhausting Dream,

for the Night has Wings
gentler than Moonbeams―

they will flit me to Life
like a huge-eyed Phoenix

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Quixotic, I seek Love
amid the tarnished

rusted-out steel
when to live is varnish.

To Dream―that’s the thing!

Aye, that Genie I’ll rub,

soak by the candle,
aflame in the tub.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Somewhither, somewhither
aglitter and strange,

we must moult off all knowledge
or perish caged.

*

I am reconciled to Life
somewhere beyond thought―

I’ll Live the Elsewhere,
I’ll Dream of the Naught.

Methinks it no journey;
to tarry’s a waste,

so fatten the oxen;
make a nice baste.

I’m coming, Fool Tom,
we have Somewhere to Go,

though we injure noone,
ourselves wildaglow.

This odd poem invokes and merges with the anonymous medieval poem “Tom O’Bedlam’s Song” and W. H. Auden’s modernist poem “Musee des Beaux Arts,” which in turn refers to Pieter Breughel’s painting “The Fall of Icarus.” In the first stanza Icarus levitates with the help of Athena, the goddess or wisdom, through “strange dreamlands” while Apollo, the sun god, lies sleeping. In the second stanza, Apollo predictably wakes up and Icarus plummets to earth, or back to mundane reality, as in Breughel’s painting and Auden’s poem. In the third stanza the grounded Icarus can still fly, but only in flights of imagination through dreams of love. In the fourth and fifth stanzas Icarus joins Tom Rynosseross of the Bedlam poem in embracing madness by deserting “knowledge” and its cages (ivory towers, etc.). In the final stanza Icarus agrees with Tom that it is “no journey” to wherever they’re going together and also agrees with Tom that they will injure no one along the way, no matter how intensely they glow and radiate. The poem can be taken as a metaphor for the death and rebirth of Poetry, and perhaps as a prophecy that Poetry will rise, radiate and reattain its former glory...



Free Fall (II)
by Michael R. Burch

I have no earthly remembrance of you, as if
we were never of earth, but merely white clouds adrift,
swirling together through Himalayan serene altitudes―
no more man and woman than exhaled breath―unable to fall
back to solid existence, despite the air’s sparseness: all
our being borne up, because of our lightness,
toward the sun’s unendurable brightness...

But since I touched you, fire consumes each wing!

We who are unable to fly, stall
contemplating disaster. Despair like an anchor, like an iron ball,
heavier than ballast, sinks on its thick-looped chain
toward the earth, and soon thereafter there will be sufficient pain
to recall existence, to make the coming darkness everlasting.



Fledglings
by Michael R. Burch

With her small eyes, pale and unforgiving,
she taught me―December is not for those
unweaned of love, the chirping nestlings
who bicker for worms with dramatic throats

still pinkly exposed, who have not yet learned
the first harsh lesson of survival: to devour
their weaker siblings in the high-leafed ferned
fortress and impregnable bower

from which men must fly like improbable dreams
to become poets. They have yet to learn that,
before they can soar starward, like fanciful archaic machines,
they must first assimilate the latest technology, or

lose all in the sudden realization of gravity,
following Icarus’s, sun-unwinged, singed trajectory.



The Higher Atmospheres
by Michael R. Burch

Whatever we became climbed on the thought
of Love itself; we floated on plumed wings
ten thousand miles above the breasted earth
that had vexed us to such Distance; now all things
seem small and pale, a girdle’s handsbreadth girth...

I break upon the rocks; I break; I fling
my human form about; I writhe; I writhe.
Invention is not Mastery, nor wings
Salvation. Here the Vulture cruelly chides
and plunges at my eyes, and coos and sings...

Oh, some will call the sun my doom, but Love
melts callow wax the higher atmospheres
leave brittle. I flew high: not high enough
to melt such frozen resins... thus, Her jeers.



Notes toward an Icarian philosophy of life...
by Michael R. Burch

If the mind’s and the heart’s quests were ever satisfied,
what would remain, as the goals of life?

If there was only light, with no occluding matter,
if there were only sunny mid-afternoons but no mysterious midnights,
what would become of the dreams of men?

What becomes of man’s vision, apart from terrestrial shadows?

And what of man’s character, formed
in the seething crucible of life and death,
hammered out on the anvil of Fate, by Will?

What becomes of man’s aims in the end,
when the hammer’s anthems at last are stilled?

If man should confront his terrible Creator,
capture him, hogtie him, hold his ***** feet to the fire,
roast him on the spit as yet another blasphemous heretic
whose faith is suspect, derelict...
torture a confession from him,
get him to admit, “I did it!...

what then?

Once man has taken revenge
on the Frankenstein who created him
and has justly crucified the One True Monster, the Creator...

what then?

Or, if revenge is not possible,
if the appearance of matter was merely a random accident,
or a group illusion (and thus a conspiracy, perhaps of dunces, us among them),
or if the Creator lies eternally beyond the reach of justice...

what then?

Perhaps there’s nothing left but for man to perfect his character,
to fly as high as his wings will take him toward unreachable suns,
to gamble everything on some unfathomable dream, like Icarus,
then fall to earth, to perish, undone...

or perhaps not, if the mystics are right
about the true nature of darkness and light.

Is there a source of knowledge beyond faith,
a revelation of heaven, of the Triumph of Love?

The Hebrew prophets seemed to think so,
and Paul, although he saw through a glass darkly,
and Julian of Norwich, who heard the voice of God say,
“All shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well...”

Does hope spring eternal in the human breast,
or does it just blindly *****?



Icarus Bickerous
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Like Icarus, waxen wings melting,
white tail-feathers fall, bystanders pelting.

They look up amazed
and seem rather dazed―

was it heaven’s or hell’s furious smelting

that fashioned such vulturish wings?
And why are they singed?―

the higher you “rise,” the more halting?



Earthbound, a Vision of Crazy Horse
by Michael R. Burch

Tashunka Witko, a Lakota Sioux better known as Crazy Horse, had a vision of a red-tailed hawk at Sylvan Lake, South Dakota. In his vision he saw himself riding a spirit horse, flying through a storm, as the hawk flew above him, shrieking. When he awoke, a red-tailed hawk was perched near his horse.

Earthbound,
and yet I now fly
through the clouds that are aimlessly drifting...
so high
that no sound
echoing by
below where the mountains are lifting
the sky
can be heard.

Like a bird,
but not meek,
like a hawk from a distance regarding its prey,
I will shriek,
not a word,
but a screech,
and my terrible clamor will turn them to clay―
the sheep,
the earthbound.

Published by American Indian Pride and Boston Poetry Magazine



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

It is the nature of loveliness to vanish
as butterfly wings, batting against nothingness
seek transcendence...

Originally published by Hibiscus (India)



The Wonder Boys
by Michael R. Burch

(for Leslie Mellichamp, the late editor of The Lyric,
who was a friend and mentor to many poets, and
a fine poet in his own right)

The stars were always there, too-bright cliches:
scintillant truths the jaded world outgrew
as baffled poets winged keyed kites―amazed,
in dream of shocks that suddenly came true...

but came almost as static―background noise,
a song out of the cosmos no one hears,
or cares to hear. The poets, starstruck boys,
lay tuned in to their kite strings, saucer-eared.

They thought to feel the lightning’s brilliant sparks
electrify their nerves, their brains; the smoke
of words poured from their overheated hearts.
The kite string, knotted, made a nifty rope...

You will not find them here; they blew away―
in tumbling flight beyond nights’ stars. They clung
by fingertips to satellites. They strayed
too far to remain mortal. Elfin, young,

their words are with us still. Devout and fey,
they wink at us whenever skies are gray.

Originally published by The Lyric



American Eagle, Grounded
by Michael R. Burch

Her predatory eye,
the single feral iris,
scans.

Her raptor beak,
all jagged sharp-edged ******,
juts.

Her hard talon,
clenched in pinched expectation,
waits.

Her clipped wings,
preened against reality,
tremble.

Published as “Tremble” by The Lyric, Verses Magazine, Romantics Quarterly, Journeys, The Raintown Review, Poetic Ponderings, Poem Kingdom (All-Star Tribute), The Fabric of a Vision, NPAC―Net Poetry and Art Competition, Poet’s Haven, Listening To The Birth Of Crystals(Anthology), Poetry Renewal, Inspirational Stories, Poetry Life & Times, MahMag (Iranian/Farsi), The Eclectic Muse (Canada)



Album
by Michael R. Burch

I caress them―trapped in brittle cellophane―
and I see how young they were, and how unwise;
and I remember their first flight―an old prop plane,
their blissful arc through alien blue skies...

And I touch them here through leaves which―tattered, frayed―
are also wings, but wings that never flew:
like insects’ wings―pinned, held. Here, time delayed,
their features never merged, remaining two...

And Grief, which lurked unseen beyond the lens
or in shadows where It crept on furtive claws
as It scritched Its way into their hearts, depends
on sorrows such as theirs, and works Its jaws...

and slavers for Its meat―those young, unwise,
who naively dare to dream, yet fail to see
how, lumbering sunward, Hope, ungainly, flies,
clutching to Her ruffled breast what must not be.



Springtime Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

They’ll have to grow like crazy,
the springtime baby geese,
if they’re to fly to balmier climes
when autumn dismembers the leaves...

And so I toss them loaves of bread,
then whisper an urgent prayer:
“Watch over these, my Angels,
if there’s anyone kind, up there.”

Originally published by The HyperTexts



Learning to Fly
by Michael R. Burch

We are learning to fly
every day...

learning to fly―
away, away...

O, love is not in the ephemeral flight,
but love, Love! is our destination―

graced land of eternal sunrise, radiant beyond night!
Let us bear one another up in our vast migration.



In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch

for George King

In the whispering night, when the stars bend low
till the hills ignite to a shining flame,
when a shower of meteors streaks the sky
while the lilies sigh in their beds, for shame,
we must steal our souls, as they once were stolen,
and gather our vigor, and all our intent.
We must heave our bodies to some famished ocean
and laugh as they vanish, and never repent.
We must dance in the darkness as stars dance before us,
soar, Soar! through the night on a butterfly's breeze...
blown high, upward-yearning, twin spirits returning
to the heights of awareness from which we were seized.

Published by Songs of Innocence, Romantics Quarterly, The Chained Muse and Poetry Life & Times. This is a poem I wrote for my favorite college English teacher, George King, about poetic kinship, brotherhood and romantic flights of fancy.



For a Palestinian Child, with Butterflies
by Michael R. Burch

Where does the butterfly go
when lightning rails,
when thunder howls,
when hailstones scream,
when winter scowls,
when nights compound dark frosts with snow...
Where does the butterfly go?

Where does the rose hide its bloom
when night descends oblique and chill
beyond the capacity of moonlight to fill?
When the only relief's a banked fire's glow,
where does the butterfly go?

And where shall the spirit flee
when life is harsh, too harsh to face,
and hope is lost without a trace?
Oh, when the light of life runs low,
where does the butterfly go?

Published by Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly, Poetry Life & Times, Victorian Violet Press (where it was nominated for a “Best of the Net”), The Contributor (a Nashville homeless newspaper), Siasat (Pakistan), and set to music as a part of the song cycle “The Children of Gaza” which has been performed in various European venues by the Palestinian soprano Dima Bawab



Sioux Vision Quest
by Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux (circa 1840-1877)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A man must pursue his Vision
as the eagle explores
the sky's deepest blues.

Published by Better Than Starbucks, A Hundred Voices



in-flight convergence
by Michael R. Burch

serene, almost angelic,
the lights of the city ―― extend ――
over lumbering behemoths
shrilly screeching displeasure;
they say
that nothing is certain,
that nothing man dreams or ordains
long endures his command

here the streetlights that flicker
and those blazing steadfast
seem one: from a distance;
descend,
they abruptly
part ―――――― ways,

so that nothing is one
which at times does not suddenly blend
into garish insignificance
in the familiar alleyways,
in the white neon flash
and the billboards of Convenience

and man seems the afterthought of his own Brilliance
as we thunder down the enlightened runways.

Originally published by The Aurorean and subsequently nominated for the Pushcart Prize



Squall
by Michael R. Burch

There, in that sunny arbor,
in the aureate light
filtering through the waxy leaves
of a stunted banana tree,

I felt the sudden monsoon of your wrath,
the clattery implosions
and copper-bright bursts
of the bottoms of pots and pans.

I saw your swollen goddess’s belly
wobble and heave
in pregnant indignation,
turned tail, and ran.

Published by Chrysanthemum, Poetry Super Highway, Barbitos and Poetry Life & Times



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

Eagle, raven, blackbird, crow...
What you are I do not know.
Where you go I do not care.
I’m unconcerned whose meal you bear.
But as you mount the sunlit sky,
I only wish that I could fly.
I only wish that I could fly.

Robin, hawk or whippoorwill...
Should men care that you hunger still?
I do not wish to see your home.
I do not wonder where you roam.
But as you scale the sky's bright stairs,
I only wish that I were there.
I only wish that I were there.

Sparrow, lark or chickadee...
Your markings I disdain to see.
Where you fly concerns me not.
I scarcely give your flight a thought.
But as you wheel and arc and dive,
I, too, would feel so much alive.
I, too, would feel so much alive.

This is a poem that I believe I wrote as a high school sophomore. But it could have been written a bit later. I seem to remember the original poem being influenced by William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl."



Flying
by Michael R. Burch

I shall rise
and try the ****** wings of thought
ten thousand times
before I fly...

and then I'll sleep
and waste ten thousand nights
before I dream;
but when at last...

I soar the distant heights of undreamt skies
where never hawks nor eagles dared to go,
as I laugh among the meteors flashing by
somewhere beyond the bluest earth-bound seas...

if I'm not told
I’m just a man,
then I shall know
just what I am.

This is one of my early poems, written around age 16-17. According to my notes, I may have revised the poem later, in 1978, but if so the changes were minor because the poem remains very close to the original.



Stage Craft-y
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a dromedary
who befriended a crafty canary.
Budgie said, "You can’t sing,
but now, here’s the thing―
just think of the tunes you can carry!"



Clyde Lied!
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a mockingbird, Clyde,
who bragged of his prowess, but lied.
To his new wife he sighed,
"When again, gentle bride?"
"Nevermore!" bright-eyed Raven replied.



Less Heroic Couplets: ****** Most Fowl!
by Michael R. Burch

“****** most foul!”
cried the mouse to the owl.

“Friend, I’m no sinner;
you’re merely my dinner!”
the wise owl replied
as the tasty snack died.

Published by Lighten Up Online and in Potcake Chapbook #7

NOTE: In an attempt to demonstrate that not all couplets are heroic, I have created a series of poems called “Less Heroic Couplets.” I believe even poets should abide by truth-in-advertising laws! ― MRB



Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.



Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
by Michael R. Burch

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’ the bees rise
in a dizzy circle of two.
Oh, when I’m with you,
I feel like kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’ too.



Delicacy
by Michael R. Burch

for all good mothers

Your love is as delicate
as a butterfly cleaning its wings,
as soft as the predicate
the hummingbird sings
to itself, gently murmuring―
“Fly! Fly! Fly!”
Your love is the string
soaring kites untie.



Lone Wild Goose
by Du Fu (712-770)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The abandoned goose refuses food and drink;
he cries querulously for his companions.

Who feels kinship for that strange wraith
as he vanishes eerily into the heavens?

You watch it as it disappears;
its plaintive calls cut through you.

The indignant crows ignore you both:
the bickering, bantering multitudes.

Du Fu (712-770) is also known as Tu Fu. The first poem is addressed to the poet's wife, who had fled war with their children. Ch'ang-an is an ironic pun because it means "Long-peace."



The Red Cockatoo
by Po Chu-I (772-846)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A marvelous gift from Annam―
a red cockatoo,
bright as peach blossom,
fluent in men's language.

So they did what they always do
to the erudite and eloquent:
they created a thick-barred cage
and shut it up.

Po Chu-I (772-846) is best known today for his ballads and satirical poems. Po Chu-I believed poetry should be accessible to commoners and is noted for his simple diction and natural style. His name has been rendered various ways in English: Po Chu-I, Po Chü-i, Bo Juyi and Bai Juyi.



The Migrant Songbird
Li Qingzhao aka Li Ching-chao (c. 1084-1155)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The migrant songbird on the nearby yew
brings tears to my eyes with her melodious trills;
this fresh downpour reminds me of similar spills:
another spring gone, and still no word from you...



Lines from Laolao Ting Pavilion
by Li Bai (701-762)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The spring breeze knows partings are bitter;
The willow twig knows it will never be green again.



The Day after the Rain
Lin Huiyin (1904-1955)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love the day after the rain
and the meadow's green expanses!
My heart endlessly rises with wind,
gusts with wind...
away the new-mown grasses and the fallen leaves...
away the clouds like smoke...
vanishing like smoke...



Untitled Translations

Cupid, if you incinerate my soul, touché!
For like you she has wings and can fly away!
―Meleager, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

As autumn deepens,
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Come, butterfly,
it’s late
and we’ve a long way to go!
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ah butterfly,
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
―Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, dreamlike winter butterfly:
a puff of white snow
cresting mountains
―Kakio Tomizawa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Dry leaf flung awry:
bright butterfly,
goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku

Will we remain parted forever?
Here at your grave:
two flowerlike butterflies
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

a soaring kite flits
into the heart of the sun?
Butterfly & Chrysanthemum
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku

The cheerful-chirping cricket
contends gray autumn's gay,
contemptuous of frost
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Whistle on, twilight whippoorwill,
solemn evangelist
of loneliness
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkening,
the voices of the wild ducks:
my mysterious companions!
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Lightning
shatters the darkness―
the night heron's shriek
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This snowy morning:
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hush, cawing crows; what rackets you make!
Heaven's indignant messengers,
you remind me of wordsmiths!
―O no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
this mountain pass.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gull
in his high, lonely circuits, may tell.
―Glaucus, translation by Michael R. Burch

The eagle sees farther
from its greater height―
our ancestors’ wisdom
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Critical Mass
by Michael R. Burch

I have listened to the rain all this morning
and it has a certain gravity,
as if it knows its destination,
perhaps even its particular destiny.
I do not believe mine is to be uplifted,
although I, too, may be flung precipitously
and from a great height.

"Gravity" and "particular destiny" are puns, since rain droplets are seeded by minute particles of dust adrift in the atmosphere and they fall due to gravity when they reach "critical mass." The title is also a pun, since the poem is skeptical about heaven-lauding Masses, etc.



Ultimate Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

he now faces the Ultimate Sunset,
his body like the leaves that fray as they dry,
shedding their vital fluids (who knows why?)
till they’ve become even lighter than the covering sky,
ready to fly...



Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

I see the longing for departure gleam
in his still-keen eye,
and I understand his desire
to test this last wind, like those late autumn leaves
with nothing left to cling to...



Leaf Fall
by Michael R. Burch

Whatever winds encountered soon resolved
to swirling fragments, till chaotic heaps
of leaves lay pulsing by the backyard wall.
In lieu of rakes, our fingers sorted each
dry leaf into its place and built a high,
soft bastion against earth's gravitron―
a patchwork quilt, a trampoline, a bright
impediment to fling ourselves upon.

And nothing in our laughter as we fell
into those leaves was like the autumn's cry
of also falling. Nothing meant to die
could be so bright as we, so colorful―
clad in our plaids, oblivious to pain
we'd feel today, should we leaf-fall again.

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea



The Folly of Wisdom
by Michael R. Burch

She is wise in the way that children are wise,
looking at me with such knowing, grave eyes
I must bend down to her to understand.
But she only smiles, and takes my hand.

We are walking somewhere that her feet know to go,
so I smile, and I follow...

And the years are dark creatures concealed in bright leaves
that flutter above us, and what she believes―
I can almost remember―goes something like this:
the prince is a horned toad, awaiting her kiss.

She wiggles and giggles, and all will be well
if only we find him! The woodpecker’s knell
as he hammers the coffin of some dying tree
that once was a fortress to someone like me

rings wildly above us. Some things that we know
we are meant to forget. Life is a bloodletting, maple-syrup-slow.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

for Richard Moore

1.
Shrill gulls,
how like my thoughts
you, struggling, rise
to distant bliss―
the weightless blue of skies
that are not blue
in any atmosphere,
but closest here...

2.
You seek an air
so clear,
so rarified
the effort leaves you famished;
earthly tides
soon call you back―
one long, descending glide...

3.
Disgruntledly you ***** dirt shores for orts
you pull like mucous ropes
from shells’ bright forts...
You eye the teeming world
with nervous darts―
this way and that...

Contentious, shrewd, you scan―
the sky, in hope,
the earth, distrusting man.



Songstress
by Michael R. Burch

Within its starkwhite ribcage, how the heart
must flutter wildly, O, and always sing
against the pressing darkness: all it knows
until at last it feels the numbing sting
of death. Then life's brief vision swiftly passes,
imposing night on one who clearly saw.
Death held your bright heart tightly, till its maw―
envenomed, fanged―could swallow, whole, your Awe.
And yet it was not death so much as you
who sealed your doom; you could not help but sing
and not be silenced. Here, behold your tomb's
white alabaster cage: pale, wretched thing!
But you'll not be imprisoned here, wise wren!
Your words soar free; rise, sing, fly, live again.

A poet like Nadia Anjuman can be likened to a caged bird, deprived of flight, who somehow finds it within herself to sing of love and beauty. But when the world finally robs her of both flight and song, what is left for her but to leave the world, thus bereaving the world of herself and her song?



Performing Art
by Michael R. Burch

Who teaches the wren
in its drab existence
to explode into song?

What parodies of irony
does the jay espouse
with its sharp-edged tongue?

What instinctual memories
lend stunning brightness
to the strange dreams

of the dull gray slug
―spinning its chrysalis,
gluing rough seams―

abiding in darkness
its transformation,
till, waving damp wings,

it applauds its performance?
I am done with irony.
Life itself sings.



Lean Harvests
by Michael R. Burch

for T.M.

the trees are shedding their leaves again:
another summer is over.
the Christians are praising their Maker again,
but not the disconsolate plover:
i hear him berate
the fate
of his mate;
he claims God is no body’s lover.

Published by The Rotary Dial and Angle



My Forty-Ninth Year
by Michael R. Burch

My forty-ninth year
and the dew remembers
how brightly it glistened
encrusting September,...
one frozen September
when hawks ruled the sky
and death fell on wings
with a shrill, keening cry.

My forty-ninth year,
and still I recall
the weavings and windings
of childhood, of fall...
of fall enigmatic,
resplendent, yet sere,...
though vibrant the herald
of death drawing near.

My forty-ninth year
and now often I've thought on
the course of a lifetime,
the meaning of autumn,
the cycle of autumn
with winter to come,
of aging and death
and rebirth... on and on.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly as “My Twenty-Ninth Year”



Myth
by Michael R. Burch

Here the recalcitrant wind
sighs with grievance and remorse
over fields of wayward gorse
and thistle-throttled lanes.

And she is the myth of the scythed wheat
hewn and sighing, complete,
waiting, lain in a low sheaf―
full of faith, full of grief.

Here the immaculate dawn
requires belief of the leafed earth
and she is the myth of the mown grain―
golden and humble in all its weary worth.



What Works
by Michael R. Burch

for David Gosselin

What works―
hewn stone;
the blush the iris shows the sun;
the lilac’s pale-remembered bloom.

The frenzied fly: mad-lively, gay,
as seconds tick his time away,
his sentence―one brief day in May,
a period. And then decay.

A frenzied rhyme’s mad tip-toed time,
a ballad’s languid as the sea,
seek, striving―immortality.

When gloss peels off, what works will shine.
When polish fades, what works will gleam.
When intellectual prattle pales,
the dying buzzing in the hive
of tedious incessant bees,
what works will soar and wheel and dive
and milk all honey, leap and thrive,

and teach the pallid poem to seethe.



Desdemona
by Michael R. Burch

Though you possessed the moon and stars,
you are bound to fate and wed to chance.
Your lips deny they crave a kiss;
your feet deny they ache to dance.
Your heart imagines wild romance.

Though you cupped fire in your hands
and molded incandescent forms,
you are barren now, and―spent of flame―
the ashes that remain are borne
toward the sun upon a storm.

You, who demanded more, have less,
your heart within its cells of sighs
held fast by chains of misery,
confined till death for peddling lies―
imprisonment your sense denies.

You, who collected hearts like leaves
and pressed each once within your book,
forgot. None―winsome, bright or rare―
not one was worth a second look.
My heart, as others, you forsook.

But I, though I loved you from afar
through silent dawns, and gathered rue
from gardens where your footsteps left
cold paths among the asters, knew―
each moonless night the nettles grew

and strangled hope, where love dies too.

Published by Penny Dreadful, Carnelian, Romantics Quarterly, Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Life & Times



Transplant
by Michael R. Burch

You float, unearthly angel, clad in flesh
as strange to us who briefly knew your flame
as laughter to disease. And yet you laugh.
Behind your smile, the sun forfeits its claim
to earth, and floats forever now the same―
light captured at its moment of least height.

You laugh here always, welcoming the night,
and, just a photograph, still you can claim
bright rapture: like an angel, not of flesh―
but something more, made less. Your humanness
this moment of release becomes a name
and something else―a radiance, a strange
brief presence near our hearts. How can we stand
and chain you here to this nocturnal land
of burgeoning gray shadows? Fly, begone.
I give you back your soul, forfeit all claim
to radiance, and welcome grief’s dark night
that crushes all the laughter from us. Light
in someone Else’s hand, and sing at ease
some song of brightsome mirth through dawn-lit trees
to welcome morning’s sun. O daughter! these
are eyes too weak for laughter; for love’s sight,
I welcome darkness, overcome with light.



Prodigal
by Michael R. Burch

This poem is dedicated to Kevin Longinotti, who died four days short of graduation from Vanderbilt University, the victim of a tornado that struck Nashville on April 16, 1998.

You have graduated now,
to a higher plane
and your heart’s tenacity
teaches us not to go gently
though death intrudes.

For eighteen days
―jarring interludes
of respite and pain―
with life only faintly clinging,
like a cashmere snow,
testing the capacity
of the blood banks
with the unstaunched flow
of your severed veins,
in the collapsing declivity,
in the sanguine haze
where Death broods,
you struggled defiantly.

A city mourns its adopted son,
flown to the highest ranks
while each heart complains
at the harsh validity
of God’s ways.

On ponderous wings
the white clouds move
with your captured breath,
though just days before
they spawned the maelstrom’s
hellish rift.

Throw off this mortal coil,
this envelope of flesh,
this brief sheath
of inarticulate grief
and transient joy.

Forget the winds
which test belief,
which bear the parchment leaf
down life’s last sun-lit path.

We applaud your spirit, O Prodigal,
O Valiant One,
in its percussive flight into the sun,
winging on the heart’s last madrigal.



Breakings
by Michael R. Burch

I did it out of pity.
I did it out of love.
I did it not to break the heart of a tender, wounded dove.

But gods without compassion
ordained: Frail things must break!
Now what can I do for her shattered psyche’s sake?

I did it not to push.
I did it not to shove.
I did it to assist the flight of indiscriminate Love.

But gods, all mad as hatters,
who legislate in all such matters,
ordained that everything irreplaceable shatters.



An Illusion
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was as hushed as the breath of a bee
and the world was bathed in shades of palest gold
when I awoke.

She came to me with the sound of falling leaves
and the scent of new-mown grass;
I held out my arms to her and she passed

into oblivion...

This is one of my early poems, written around age 16 and published in my high school literary journal, The Lantern.



Lines for My Ascension
by Michael R. Burch

I.

If I should die,
there will come a Doom,
and the sky will darken
to the deepest Gloom.

But if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.

II.

If I should die,
let no mortal say,
“Here was a man,
with feet of clay,

or a timid sparrow
God’s hand let fall.”
But watch the sky darken
to an eerie pall

and know that my Spirit,
unvanquished, broods,
and cares naught for graves,
prayers, coffins, or roods.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.

III.

If I should die,
let no man adore
his incompetent Maker:
Zeus, Jehovah, or Thor.

Think of Me as One
who never died―
the unvanquished Immortal
with the unriven side.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.

IV.

And if I should “die,”
though the clouds grow dark
as fierce lightnings rend
this bleak asteroid, stark...

If you look above,
you will see a bright Sign―
the sun with the moon
in its arms, Divine.

So divine, if you can,
my bright meaning, and know―
my Spirit is mine.
I will go where I go.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.



The Locker
by Michael R. Burch

All the dull hollow clamor has died
and what was contained,
removed,

reproved
adulation or sentiment,
left with the pungent darkness

as remembered as the sudden light.

Originally published by The Raintown Review



Keywords/Tags: Sports, locker, lockerroom, clamor, adulation, acclaim, applause, sentiment, darkness, light, retirement, athlete, team, trophy, award, acclamation


Keywords/Tags: Icarus, Daedalus, flight, fly, flying, wind, wings, sun, height, heights, fall, falling, ascent, descent, imagination, bird, birds, butterfly, butterflies, hawk, eagle, geese, plane, kite, kites, mrbfly, mrbflight, mrbicarus
JDH Jun 2017
Some introductory 'food' for thought...

"When people say they prefer organic food, what they often seem to mean is they don't want their food tainted with pesticides and their meat shot full of hormones or antibiotics. Many object to the way a few companies - Monsanto is the most famous of them - control so many of the seeds we grow."
  - Michael Specter

"My grandfather used to say that once in your life you need a doctor, a lawyer, a policeman and a preacher but every day, three times a day, you need a farmer"
  - Brenda Schoepp

"Economically, many folks don't feel they can afford organic. While this may be true in some cases, I think more often than not it's a question of priority. I feel it's one of the most important areas of concern ecologically, because the petrochemical giants - DuPont, Monsanto - make huge money by poisoning us."
  - Woody Harrelson


Who is Monsanto?
Monsanto is a Chemicals/Pharmaceutical/Agriculture company that was established in 1901 in the United States, and over the last century has occupied a particularly interesting and questionable history that has within recent times took to the global scale, growing into a multinational corporation, well nigh on the complete monopolisation of the Agriculture industry whilst having established connections to the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. They are less well known for their creation of Agent Orange, of which they claimed had no harmful effects on the human body, which was utilised very predominantly during the Vietnam War by the U.S. military as a defoliant, however, caused hundreds of thousands of deaths by poisoning, and has now led to an epidemic of birth deformities in the regions of use. Monsanto experienced more involvement in war through their involvement in the Manhattan Project, which resulted in the creation of the first nuclear bombs to be tested on Japanese civilian populations. They also have a background in their production of PCB's (Polychlorinated biphenyls) which once again, had the negative human and environmental effects ignored and misrepresented hitherto 1977 when they were banned, however, was not before many fresh water supplies and the air had been contaminated and was a known carcinogen in humans, along with other health damages. There was then of course their production of DDT's in the post war period that was advertised as a 'wonder-chemical' to be used in agricultural pesticides. However, it was later uncovered that its spraying caused a high percentage of food breakdown in crop and in humans caused breast cancer, male infertility, miscarriage, developmental delay and nervous system/liver damage. They even tested the effects of radioactive Iron on 829 pregnant women in a bizarre experiment. Having no shortage of scandalous and often at times frequenting blatantly corrupt behaviour on their dubious track record, with an abundance of data and study arising in protest of the company's use of dangerous chemicals and genetic modifications in food, it is surely best to question the activity and history of this company.


What chemical poisons are being used?
Some of you are probably aware as to the fact that within many food products today there are various chemicals being used in modification, cultivation and in processing, many of which are harmful, often deadly to the human body and to the ecosystem. So harmful in fact that in cultivation workers are required to wear bio-hazard suits and due to the toxicity of the area in farming these GM crops, are required to ***** signs in the surrounding area warning of the danger.

So one chemical that has been pushed into foods and drink by Monsanto since the early 20th Century is Saccharin, an artificial sweetener made from coal tar which is used predominantly in Soda, Coke and processed foods, and is 700 times sweeter than sugar. In 1907 when Saccharin was first investigated by the USDA it was quoted as,"a coal tar product totally devoid of food value and extremely injurious to health" , and by the 1970's, when the chemical began to garner greater use, the FDA attempted to ban its use in products after discovering it causes cancers (particularly bladder cancer) in animals and humans, however, today is still used as an artificial sweetener, and between 1973-1994 the National Cancer Institute saw a 10% increase in bladder cancers.

Monsanto are also responsible for the pushing of another artificial sweetener onto the market to be consumed by humans, that being Aspartame, even more harmful than Saccharin, and since being used in Coke, particularly Diet Coke, since 1983, the rest of industry followed suit. When melted down at 30°C into its liquid form in use for soft drinks, it become far deadlier than in its powdered state. It was found that it caused tumours and holes in the brains of rats and is more addictive than crack *******. After a multitude of independent scientific studies arose in protest of the use of Aspartame, Monsanto bribed the National Cancer Institute to produce fabricated data. Here are some of the know side effects of Aspartame consumption in humans according to the US Food and Drug Administration:

• mania  
• blindness
• joint-pain
• fatigue
• weight-gain
• chest-pain
• coma
• insomnia
• numbness
• depression
• tinnitus
• weakness
• spasms
• irritability
• nausea
• deafness
• memory-loss
• rashes
• dizziness
• headaches
• seizures
• anxiety
• palpitations
• fainting
• cramps
• diarrhoea
• panic
• burning in the mouth
• diabetes
• MS
• lupus
• epilepsy
• Parkinson’s
• tumours
• miscarriage
• infertility
• fibromyalgia
• infant death
• Alzheimer’s

As is quite evident, Aspartame not only lacks any nutritional value, it also can have grave effects on humans when consumed. In fact, over 80% of complaints made to the FDA concern Aspartame and is now used in over 5000 products, yet facts are still being misrepresented and as primary producers of Aspartame such as Monsanto produce false data to cover their tracks.


How is their monopoly being secured?
Monsanto within recent decades has somewhat become the archetype of corruption and corporatism, devoting many millions to Government lobbying in order to maintain its hegemony over agriculture, its use of harmful chemicals and to maintain restrictions of food labelling of GM products. In fact, the company seems to have a revolving door between itself and Government now, one example being the FDAs Arthur Hull resigning due to controversy and going straight to an employee at Monsanto as a Public Relations representative. This means that the FDA, the central official force against the use and proliferation of harmful products is in bed with Monsanto, the main proliferator.

Another creation Monsanto have pushed into pastoral agriculture is their Synthetic Bovine Growth Hormone which is a genetic modification of the E-coli virus to be used in dairy products and cows. And in order to make sure this product is pushed onto farmers, Monsanto sues any that do not use it with teams of lawyers. They also, in a far more cunning and destructive method, are able to and have destroyed other, natural crop cultivation by the use of their Genetically Modified crops themselves. What they have done is modified their crops in order that they self pollinate, and that bees that come into contact with their crops are killed, causing mass hive collapses, which then means any natural crop in surrounding farms die off due to a lack of bees to pollinate them, forcing them to join the monopoly of Monsanto's GM supply.

Also, before the aerial spraying aluminium and barium into the skies began in 1998, that has seen a rise in the content of aluminium particles per/cm from near 0 to 30,000 in many areas, Monsanto patented crops that are resistant to soil with such high concentrations, meaning they now have legal ownership over crops, whereas the natural produce may be ungrowable in a number of places where the spraying concentration is high. On a side not, the spraying of aluminium into the sky since 1998 has also caused a massive spike in Alzheimer disease and lung cancers, rising from the tens of thousands to the millions of cases per year.

To Conclude, Monsanto has recently made a very big merger deal with the Pharmaceutical company Bayer, the ones who produced Zyklon-B for the **** extermination chambers. Sure sounds like some safe operations.


- an essay by JDH
Agricultural monopoly with a history of extensive corruption...
Two Bulgarian poets entered “The Second Genesis” – Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry – India’2014
Poems of the Bulgarian poets Bozhidar Pangelov and Mira Dushkova are included in the Indian project “The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry”. Bozhidar Pangelov’s poems are: “Time is an Idea” and “…I hear” translated by Vessislava Savova; as for Mira Dushkova’s poems – “Beyond”, “Sozopolis” and “The Girl”, they were translated by Petar Kadiyski.


For the authors:
Bozhidar Pangelov was born in the soft month of October in the city of the chestnut trees, Sofia, Bulgaria, where he lives and works. He likes joking that the only authorship which he acknowledges are his three children and the job-hobby in the sphere of the business services. His first book Four Cycles (2005) written entirely with an unknown author but in a complete synchronous on motifs of the Hellenic legends and mythos. The coauthor (Vanja Konstantinova) is an editor of his next book Delta (2005) and she is the woman whom “The Girl Who…” (2008) is dedicated to. His last (so far) book is “The Man Who…” (2009). In June 2013 a bi lingual poetry book A Feather of Fujiama is being published in Amazon.com as a Kindle edition. Some of his poems are translated in Italian, German, Polish, Russian, Chinese and English languages and are published on poetry sites as well as in anthologies and some periodicals all over the world. Bozhidar Pangelov is on of the German project Europe takes Europa ein Gedicht. “Castrop Rauxel ein Gedicht RUHR 2010” and the project “SPRING POETRY RAIN 2012”, Cyprus.
Mira Dushkova (1974) was born in in Veliko Tarnovo, the medieval capital of Bulgaria. She earned a MA degree from the University of Veliko Tarnovo, and later on a PhD in Modern Bulgarian Literature, from Ruse University Angel Kanchev, in 2010, where she is currently teaching literature courses.
Her writing includes poetry, essays, literary criticism and short stories. She has published several poetry books in Bulgarian: “I Try Histories As Clothes“ (1998), „Exercise On The Scarecrow” (2000), „Scents and Sights“ (2004), literary monograph “Semper Idem : Konstantin Konstantinov. Poetics of the late stories“ (2012, 2013) and the story collection „Invisible Things“ (2014).
Her poems have been published in literary editions in Bulgaria, USA, Sweden, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Turkey and India. Some of her poems and essays have been first prize winners of different Bulgarian contests for literature.
She has attended poetry festivals in Bulgaria, Croatia (Zagreb) and Turkey (Istanbul and Ordu).
She lives in Ruse – Bulgaria.

For the Antology “The Second Genesis”:
In the anthology titled „The Second Genesis“ are published the poems of 150 poets from 57 countries. All poems are in English. The Antology consists of 546 pages. “The Second Genesis” includes authors’ and editors’ biographies and three indexes: of the authors; of the poem titles and an index based on the first verses. It is issued by “A.R.A.W.LII” (Academy of ‘raitɘ(s) And Word Literati) – an academy, which encourages literature and creative writing and realizes cultural connections between India and the other countries. Four times a year ARAWLII publishes in India the international magazine for poetry and creative writing „Prosopisia“. Its Chief Editor and President of A.R.A.W.LII is Prof. Anuraag Sharma. He is also author of Antology’s Introduction.
Participating Countries:
Albania, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Albania, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, India, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Spain, Italy, Jordan, Canada, Cyprus, China, Kosovo, Cuba, Macao, Macedonia, Niger, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, USA, Singapore, Syria, Serbia, Taiwan, Tunis, Turkey, Fiji, Philippines, Finland, France, Holland, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech Republic, Chile, Sweden, Switzerland, Scotland, South Africa, Japan
For the editors:
Anuraag Sharma – editor and president of A.R.A.W.LII
Poet, critic, author of short stories, translator and playwrighter, Anuraag has to his credit the following publications: “Kiske Liye?”, “Punarbhava”, “Audhava”, Dimensions of the Angel: A Study of the poetry of Les Murray’s Poetry “Iswaswillbe” – a collection of short stories, “Setu” (“The Bridges”). He has also co-editor the volume of conference papers: ”Caring Cultures: Sharing Imaginations. Some of his recent publications include: “A Trilogy of plays”, “Mehraab” (“The Arch”) – translations of selected poems of four Canberra Poets, “Papa and Other Poems”, “Sau Baras Ka Sitara Eik” – translation of Andrew Parkin’s “A Star of Hundred Years”, “As if a wooden house I am”- translations of Surendra Chaturverdi, “Satish Verma: The Poet” and “Tere Jaane ke Baad Tere Aane as Pehle”. He is also editor-in-chief of two international journals – “Lemuria” and “Prosopisia”. Currently he is working as a Professor in English at Govt. College “Kekri” Ajmer, India.

Moizur Rehman Khan – co-redactor, project manager, secretary of A.R.A.W.LII
He studied Urdo and Persian Literature in college and later on competed his master degree in English literature from “Dayanand” College, Ajmer, India. He completed his research dissertation under the supervision of Anuraag Sharma on “Major themes in the poetry of Chris Wallas-Crabbe”. He is a creative writer. His poems and articles have been published in various magazines and journals. Currently he is teaching English at DMS, RIE, Ajmer, India.
References for the Antology:
“No middle no end, the poems in The Second Genesis have been speaking to you long before the beginning and will continue without you…don’t worry, its binding has long since unglued, its pages, worn and disheveled, will always be speaking to you, they’ve been compiled this way, to be read out of order, backwards, shelved or scattered in an attic between the coffee and greasy finger stains…The Second Genesis is the history of the Book where you become its words, ink and pulp.”
Craig Czury

“The Second Genesis is at the crossroads of a new poetic becoming. a poetry claiming its second beginning not only for art but the heart pulsating and feeding the entire body. This anthology is a successful fusion of unique, inimitable and polyphonic poetry, a well-organized improvisation with a solid and flexible structure.”

Dalia Staponkute

“The Second Genesis, a compendium of world poetry which is also a poetry of the world, suggests so much a new beginning as it does a recognition of the ongoing creation that continues to animate our collective existence. Our precarious era requires a global affirmation that we are all in this together. Poetry has always said as much, and here it says it again, in the idioms of our time.”
Paul Kane
**
“Visionary and international, The Second Genesis, introduced and edited by Anuraag Sharma, sparkles with poetry of insight, intelligence and feeling and is an indispensable reminder of our human aspirations and experience in the early 21st century. Poets from nearly sixty countries rub shoulders in this ambitious and wide-ranging collection, and their poems resonate and mingle in a multi-layered voice. It is the voice of our humanity.
In his Introduction, Dr. Sharma points to the invaluable importance of poetry in what he calls our destructive Lear era:
Beyond the Lear Century, across the 21st Century lies the island of Prospero and Ariel and Miranda and Ferdinand – the region of faith, hope and innocence, the land of virtue, and all forgiveness sans grievances, sans regrets, sans curses. The doleful shades lead to pastures new.
We must weigh our hopes. The Second Genesis is at hand….”
Diana Sampey
Brad Lambert Mar 2012
October 12th, 1998: This is not an apology.

♐ ♐ ♐

Most days I feel like I’m underwater. It’s like a dream where I’m never dead, just not living. Because the living cannot feel this dead. I whither away into isolation singing sweet melodies of love and peace and hope and **** and loneliness. Most days I just smile.

I am a fake. I am a liar.

I am an incongruent youth; unable to be constrained by the freedom laces of society. Tie me down and watch me run, trickle, run like an avalanche down the face of conservatism. A cheap hotel ******: musk and sweat and suits and scandals. On-the-course-to AIDS infection loose ends who walks the streets in pristine filth. The incongruent youth, or what we in America call sick **** and shameful liars.

I am confused. Standing here on the edge between glamour and reality I scream into the nothingness, the watery void, a stark reality composed of my dark humor and evanescent solitaire: How can thunder roar so loud? Why am I part of this ambient isolation? How can you do this to me; to us? The beautiful few and we are beautiful, trust me, we are in the clouds searching for each other, beguiling and anonymous as we may be waltzing merrily through nighttime New York parks searching for rarities. For others. For God. And into the emptiness I whisper: Why is this park so big? And the trees so thick?

I am waiting for "someday." But this someday, this could be, this will be, would be, won't be for awhile. And this moment, this here, this now just passed. So let's look ahead and hope it gets better, because our lives are 1942 cattle cars riding away from the nows that just passed. Moments of incongruence on a grand scale. One night stands with our own hands and imaginations. Moments we thought we knew.

I am an inconvenience on the path to wholesale liberties. To children wrapped in barren barcodes that read “no real identity” when the red dash of judgement steamrolls their sides. God forbid the glamour mix with reality. Because when you are a somebody, you can never be a nobody. And nobody wants the incongruent youth to keep thinking. Because to think is to love. And nobody wants us to love.

This is an apology. I am sorry if I’m not what you meant for me to be. Terribly sorry if I love the wrong music or words or styles or *** is all I can think about. Sorry, but I can only love the beautiful few. I can only smile knowing I am a real somebody in all this hate.

Knowing I am a fake. I am a liar.

I am a human being. Hardly. I’m nothing but an incongruent youth.
John Stevens Sep 2010
This was written in 1998 by my daughter as a comparative study in her 11th grade English class. Her instructor said it was the best piece she had ever received in the thirty some years of teaching.
-------------------------------------------------------­-----------------------
Beowulf or Christ?

by
Kristen Stevens

Two Standards are raised on the field of battle. The armies rush forward knowing there can be no middle ground, no halfway assault. Each knows only one can leave the battlefield the victor. In the epic tale of Beowulf , good and evil clash in the forms of Beowulf, Grendel, Grendel’s mother and the dragon.

Beowulf journeys to Herot in order to free King Hrothgar’s kingdom from the grip of the monster Grendel. Beowulf is a problem solver and Grendel is the problem. “The monster’s thoughts were as quick as his…claws: He…snatched up thirty men, smashed them…and ran out with their bodies” (119-122) Beowulf portrays Christ. He leaves his home for one purpose; to withstand evil. Christ left Heaven and went out into the wilderness to withstand the devil’s temptation. Beowulf and Christ both wrestle with the dark forces but in different ways. Beowulf used his hands “That mighty protector of men meant to hold the monster til its life leaped out”(791-792). Christ uses scripture to beat back His opponent.

Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word
that comes from the mouth of God (Duet. 8:3).

Do not put the Lord your God to the test (Duet. 6:16).

Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only (Duet. 6:13).



Neither opponent could break free without losing something.

Beowulf and Christ are both more than human. Beowulf has phenomenal strength and Christ is God’s son. Christ “came to save the world” (John 3:18). Beowulf leaves his home of comfort and peace to save his neighbors. “Beowulf…heard how Grendel filled nights with the horror…proclaiming that he’d go to …Hrothgar”(194-200). No man alive could match Beowulf and no man can ever match Christ.

Both of them go through a change. Each is “baptized”. Beowulf is baptized twice: once, when he jumps in the lake and once again by fire. When he comes out of the lake he is a changed man. He initially goes for fame but not the reason anymore when he heads home. “So…proved myself…guarding God’s gracious gift” (2177-2181). He is baptized the second time by fire from the dragon’s mouth. The first baptism is a wash or a cleansing. The second is a purifier. Fire refines. Beowulf is refined into a better man for eternity when he fights his last battle. “Beowulf fell back; its breath flared and he suffered, wrapped around in swirling flames” (2593-2595). Christ was baptized so that He could begin His work on Earth. “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John” (Mat. 3:13). Before Beowulf’s baptism people see him as just a great man, but after people see him as a king. Christ was just a carpenter’s son, until he was baptized and became the King of Kings.

To compare Beowulf and Christ’s last battles, you have to look at what they were fighting. Beowulf fights the dragon. The dragon symbolizes death and our own reluctance to die. “The gold and jewel she had guarded for so long could not bring him pleasure much longer” (2239-2240). Dying means man has to leave behind all his material wealth. Beowulf is old when he fights the dragon. He is coming close to his death and it frightens him. He wants to protect his people. He is willing to lay down his life for them. Just like Christ laid down his life to save us from our dragon. When faced with death, Beowulf and Christ rise above human expectations. Beowulf defeats death - he killed the dragon. Christ overcame death and rose three days later. Both act as an intermediary between danger and their people. Beowulf stands before the dragon. He blocks the path to his people. Christ stands between humans and God. Through Him God sees us as pure. Christ blocks the judgment that mankind deserves.

The last similarity between Beowulf and Christ is what happened after their deaths. After Christ died and rose, God’s chosen people went into a decline. They rejected Him and brought misery upon themselves. For two centuries they were persecuted by Rome. For two millennia they have been shoved aside and animated many times. Beowulf’s people took the treasure and the curse that came with it. “The spell…solemnly laid…was meant to last…Whoever stole their jewels…would be cursed” (3068-3070). Beowulf’s people have misery awaiting them.

As the army retreats, their brave general having fallen, they know they have won. The cost is great, but it had to be paid. Even today the battle rages on and the war will not end until the last enemy falls. Beowulf and Christ, both paid the price for their people’s protection and freedom. The enemy exacted its toll, but it was not enough. The hero and the Savior live on today.

— The End —