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Nigdaw Mar 2020
the time has come
when walking home
with two loaves of bread
and a pack of gammon rashers
makes you really feel
like you're bringing home
the bacon
I have seen sights
that are from the movies
I am Legend comes to mind
the whole world become
greedy grasping zombies
out for their own personal gain
we have turned our backs
on community compassion
left with a void
once filled with toilet roll
and pasta
queues outside supermarkets
marshalled by police
people stockpiling petrol
***
we're supposed to be on lock down
where the hell are you going
the old and vulnerable
pushed to the kerb of life
thrown from the safety of a pavement
now reserved for the big enough
to elbow everyone else
out of the way
but today I have bacon
and bread
today I can have a sandwich
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Salat Days
by Michael R. Burch

(dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, Paul Ray Burch, Sr.)

I remember how my grandfather used to pick poke salat ...
though first, usually, he’d stretch back in the front porch swing,
dangling his long thin legs, watching the sweat bees drone,
talking about poke salat—
how easy it was to find if you knew where to seek it ...
standing in dew-damp clumps by the side of a road, shockingly green,
straddling fence posts, overflowing small ditches,
crowding out the less-hardy nettles.

“Nobody knows that it’s there, lad, or that it’s fit tuh eat
with some bacon drippin’s or lard.”

“Don’t eat the berries. You see—the berry’s no good.
And you’d hav’ta wash the leaves a good long time.”

“I’d boil it twice, less’n I wus in a hurry.
Lawd, it’s tough to eat, chile, if you boil it jest wonst.”

He seldom was hurried; I can see him still ...
silently mowing his yard at eighty-eight,
stooped, but with a tall man’s angular gray grace.

Sometimes he’d pause to watch me running across the yard,
trampling his beans,
dislodging the shoots of his tomato plants.

He never grew flowers; I never laughed at his jokes about The Depression.

Years later I found the proper name—“pokeweed”—while perusing a dictionary.
Surprised, I asked why anyone would eat a ****.
I still can hear his laconic reply ...

“Well, chile, s’m’times them times wus hard.”

Published by Lonzie’s Fried Chicken, Grassroots Poetry, Poet’s Forum Magazine, Harp-Strings Poetry Journal, A Flasher’s Dozen (prose version), Poetry Life & Times, Centrifugal Eye, Better Than Starbucks. Keywords/Tags: Great Depression, South, father, grandfather, son, grandson, memory, memories, flowers, nettles, ****, weeds, pokeweed, poke salad, poke salat, bacon, lard, front porch swing, sweat bees, green,  greens, beans, forage, foraging



Playthings
by Michael R. Burch

a sequel to “Playmates”

There was a time, as though a long-forgotten dream remembered,
when you and I were playmates and the days were long;
then we were pirates stealing plaits of daisies
from trembling maidens fearing men so strong . . .

Our world was like an unplucked Rose unfolding,
and you and I were busy, then, as bees;
the nectar that we drank, it made us giddy;
each petal within reach seemed ours to seize . . .

But you were more the doer, I the dreamer,
so I wrote poems and dreamed a noble cause;
while you were linking logs, I met old Merlin
and took a dizzy ride to faery Oz . . .

Then it came to pass you had no time for playthings,
for with strong hands you built, with bricks and stone,
tall buildings, then a life, and then you married.
Now my fantasies, again, are all my own.

This is a companion poem to “Playmates,” the second poem I remember writing, around age 13 or 14. However, I believe “Playthings” was written several years later, in my late teens, around 1977. According to my notes, I revised the poem in 1991, then again in 2020.



Abide
by Michael R. Burch

after Philip Larkin's "Aubade"

It is hard to understand or accept mortality—
such an alien concept: not to be.
Perhaps unsettling enough to spawn religion,
or to scare mutant fish out of a primordial sea

boiling like goopy green tea in a kettle.
Perhaps a man should exhibit more mettle
than to admit such fear, denying Nirvana exists
simply because we are stuck here in such a fine fettle.

And so we abide . . .
even in life, staring out across that dark brink.
And if the thought of death makes your questioning heart sink,
it is best not to drink
(or, drinking, certainly not to think).

Originally published by Light Quarterly



Observance
by Michael R. Burch

Here the hills are old and rolling
casually in their old age;
on the horizon youthful mountains
bathe themselves in windblown fountains . . .

By dying leaves and falling raindrops,
I have traced time's starts and stops,
and I have known the years to pass
almost unnoticed, whispering through treetops . . .

For here the valleys fill with sunlight
to the brim, then empty again,
and it seems that only I notice
how the years flood out, and in . . .

This is an early poem that made me feel like a “real poet.” I remember writing it in the break room of the McDonald's where I worked as a high school student. I believe that was at age 17. "Observance" was originally published by Nebo as "Reckoning." It was later published by Tucumcari Literary Review, Piedmont Literary Review, Verses, Romantics Quarterly, Setu (India), Better Than Starburcks, The Chained Muse, Formal Verse, the anthology There is Something in the Autumn and Poetry Life & Times. That’s not too shabby for a teen poet!



Ivy
by Michael R. Burch

“Van trepando en mi viejo dolor como las yedras.” — Pablo Neruda
“They climb on my old suffering like ivy.”

Ivy winds around these sagging structures
from the flagstones
to the eave heights,
and, clinging, holds intact
what cannot be saved of their loose entrails.

Through long, blustery nights of dripping condensation,
cured in the humidors of innumerable forgotten summers,
waxy, unguent,
palely, indifferently fragrant, it climbs,
pausing at last to see
the alien sparkle of dew
beading delicate sparrowgrass.

Coarse saw grass, thin skunk grass, clumped mildewed yellow gorse
grow all around, and here remorse, things past,
watch ivy climb and bend,
and, in the end, we ask
if grief is worth the gaps it leaps to mend.



The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

There was a moment
without the sound of trumpets or a shining light,
but with only silence and darkness and a cool mist
felt more than seen.
I was eighteen,
my heart pounding wildly within me like a fist.
Expectation hung like a cry in the night,
and your eyes shone like the corona of a comet.

There was an instant . . .
without words, but with a deeper communion,
as clothing first, then inhibitions fell;
liquidly our lips met
—feverish, wet—
forgotten, the tales of heaven and hell,
in the immediacy of our fumbling union . . .
when the rest of the world became distant.

Then the only light was the moon on the rise,
and the only sound, the communion of sighs.

This is one of my early poems but I can’t remember exactly when I wrote it. Due to the romantic style, I believe it was probably written during my first two years in college, making me 18 or 19 at the time.



Moments
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

There were moments full of promise,
like the petal-scented rainfall of early spring,
when to hold you in my arms and to kiss your willing lips
seemed everything.

There are moments strangely empty
full of pale unearthly twilight—how the cold stars stare!—
when to be without you is a dark enchantment
the night and I share.

Published by Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly, Grassroots Poetry, The Chained Muse, in a Soundcloud reading by Vex Darkly, in a YouTube reading by Jasper Sole, and in a Romanian translation by Petru Dimofte



Lucifer, to the Enola Gay
by Michael R. Burch

Go then,
and give them my meaning
so that their teeming
streets
become my city.

Bring back a pretty
flower—
a chrysanthemum,
perhaps, to bloom
if but an hour,
within a certain room
of mine
where
the sun does not rise or fall,
and the moon,
although it is content to shine,
helps nothing at all.

There,
if I hear the wistful call
of their voices
regretting choices
made
or perhaps not made
in time,
I can look back upon it and recall,
in all
its pale forms sublime,
still
Death will never be holy again.

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



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.



Retro
by Michael R. Burch

Now, once again,
love’s a redundant pleasure,
as we laugh
at my childish fumblings
through the acres of your dress,
past your wily-wired brassiere,
through your *******’ pink billows
of thrill-piqued frills ...

Till I lay once again—panting redfaced
at your gayest lack of resistance,
and, later, at your milktongued
mewlings in the dark ...

When you were virginal,
sweet as eucalyptus,
we did not understand
the miracle of repentance,
and I took for granted
your obsessive distance ...

But now I am happily unbuttoning
that chaste dress,
unhitching that firm-latched bra,
tugging at those parachute-like *******—
the ones you would have gladly forgotten
had I not bought them in this year’s size.

Originally published by Erosha
Laokos Jun 2019
knock, knock, knock*

I open my door
and am immediately
greeted by
three 19 year old elders.

They want to talk to me
about Jesus and
their version of
a sacred text and I want
to talk to them about: God,
Philosophy, Religion,
Art, Music, etc.

but I just put a greasy
pan on med-high
heat to cook some
bacon and it's
filling my apartment
with smoke.

Yet, my curiosity of
these creatures at
my door temporarily
supersedes kitchen
safety protocols,
so I start to oblige
them and even
entertain some light
discourse in the
hallway.

I begin to explain my
perspective when
my attention skips back
to the pan
and the hot metal
smell tickling my nose.

-protocols back in place-
I decline their invitation
to visit their temple, now
or any time in the
future, then shake
their hands.

I accept a pamphlet
from the last one,
"The Plan of Salvation",
after he scribbles a
phone number on
the back.

I wish them luck
and close my door
without locking it,
stride over to the skillet
and take it off
the burner.

Good thing I removed
the batteries from
all the smoke
detectors.
Iz Oct 2018
I just spent the last 30 minuets crying into my boyfriends chest
In the middle of my tear fest I choked out
“can we get Wendy’s?”
I’m a ***** for a good emotional binge
Julie Grenness Jan 2017
Bacon! Bacon! Bacon!
Time to get the breakfast on!
Little Johnny likes to cook,
No, he is no wussy sook,
He is cooking in his apron,
Yes, thirty pieces of bacon!
Johnny decides this is bliss,
As he gives his empty plate a kiss,
But Johnny now has cholesterol, you see,
That was yum, time for tea,
Now he's eating thirty chocolates, prithee,
All gone, Johnny has cholesterol and diabetes!!!!!!
Yes, Little Johnny is heading for obesity!!!!!!
Feedback welcome.
Liam C Calhoun Oct 2016
Tomorrow’s sausage rolled along the road
And just beyond my hasty, tasty want for a drink.

Amidst giggle and sigh, my cohorts,
my companions and others
Muddle the horror, or meal at ends, most likely

Come this little pigs jump from the truck
Leading butcher.

In silence, I admire the –

Entrails on the highway;  jump opposed shank,
Surpassing my seventh mile for a
Seventh heaven,
Leaving me simply seconds prior Shenzhen.

Sure, little piggy’d never made it,
To the market, to the feast of it all,
But he’d met his end, and on his own terms.

He’d met his end and frolicked upon the
Fields lacking pans and bacon grease,
In opposition the role, the role we force, enforce
And devour time and again;

In silence, I admired the escape.
*Note - Moments on the highway to Shenzhen.
Pauline Morris Feb 2016
There once was a girl who loved bacon
The smell of it would start her hands to shaking
It's hard to define
She loved it divine
I once saw her chasing a swine
With fork and knife in hand
She was determined to eat that ham
But it ran to **** fast
I watched as it past
With her giving chase
To her it was just bacon with a face
She wanted that meal
Despite the pigs squeal
That poor pigs plight
Was a sad sorry sight
It was hard to imagine
What next happened
It turned and ate her instead
Now that ***** is dead

                  The End!
Nigel Finn Jan 2016
Sometimes I meet,
With art so sweet,
It almost turns me vegan,
A piece of meat,
Could not compete,
With a painting done by Tegan.

Sometimes it seems,
She paints my dreams,
Or as close as anyone can,
If I had to choose,
Between this or *****,
I'd be a sober man.

I'd feel such grief,
With no relief,
If she chose to give up paintin'
And I'd fill the hole,
Inside my soul,
With whiskey and with bacon.
A wonderful friend of mine, who's also an amazing artist, sent me an amazing painting she created of a purple griffin-winged, ram-horned dragon befriending a mouse. Mice are OK, but I really, REALLY love dragons (don't give me that look - dragons are cool, OK?) and her artwork is truly exceptional.

I'd forgot that I'd even written this until recently when I stumbled back across an old video I made as she was many, many miles away at the time, and I wanted her to know how excited I was about it. I still am quite excited about it to be honest - it's a freakin' DRAGON!!!
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