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by Michael R. Burch

This poem is dedicated to Harvey Stanbrough, an ex-marine who has written eloquently about the horror and absurdity of war in "Lessons for a Barren Population."

No, I will never know
what you saw or what you felt,
****** into the maw of Eternity,

watching the mortars nightly
greedily making their rounds,
hearing the soft damp hiss

of men’s souls like helium escaping
their collapsing torn bodies,
or lying alone, feeling the great roar

of your own heart.
But I know:
there is a bitter knowledge

of death I have not achieved,
and in thankful ignorance,
and especially for my son

and for all who benefit so easily
at so unthinkable a price,
I thank you.

Published by Romantics Quarterly, Poetic Reflections and Poetry SuperHighway. Keywords/Tags: Vietnam War, maw, mortars, rounds, souls, escaping, bodies, corpses, death, heart, roar, bitter, knowledge, thanks, thank you, service, honor, duty, courage, bravery, heroism, patriotism
Completing the Pattern
by Michael R. Burch

Walk with me now, among the transfixed dead
who kept life’s compact and who thus endure
harsh sentence here—among pink-petaled beds
and manicured green lawns. The sky’s azure,
pale blue once like their eyes, will gleam blood-red
at last when sunset staggers to the door
of each white mausoleum, to inquire—
"What use, O things of erstwhile loveliness?"

Keywords/Tags: death, sentence, dead, cemetery, graveyard, mausoleum, corpses, manicured, lawn, flowers, pink, petals, blue, sky, red, sunset
Anastasia Jun 2019
in an old
old house
there are corpses in the cradles
and an old
delusional woman.
it's reeks of flesh
and baby powder
piled with blood-stained clothes
a "husband" lies
cold in bed
with parts
from "almost-perfect" men
the floor sags
and the stairs creek
the walls echo
with the cooing
cracking
voice
of an old
delusional
woman.
Jose Valle Jun 2019
I sit on the couch staring at my window
Like a camera lens set at a very low aperture
The neighbor’s house across looks blurred
There on the rails of the aluminum frame
I find spiderwebs that I once thought of cleaning
And a few corpses of dead flies in the process of turning into dust
I am told they will resurrect too someday

Above this rail I see a mosquito net panel
Each square centimeter holds a thin layer of dirt
Not the pride of my living room
But to the photographer in me
A collection of micro art now

As a car enters my driveway
I put away the duster from my hand
And open the door for my old man

I forget once again
To clean those spiderwebs and corpses.

-Jose Valle
gracie Feb 2018
a million years ago
my mom told me
there’s a light at the end of every tunnel
but I don't hold my breath
as we drive through them.

it's always cold
when I come home
'cause I'm the dark one
in my household.

the silent halls howl
with aching echoes
as my heels
clickety clack
  across the linoleum tiles.

beside my bed
sits a vase of withered roses
floating like corpses
in milky water.

I hate them.
every petal, every thorn
but I can't bring myself
to let them go.

is a beast still bad
if she cries in her sleep?
‘cause she’s broken and numb
but the world still turns.

she doesn't try
to be evil
she just forgets
to achieve perfection.
anotherken Nov 2018
The chants of the birds,
Singing their wonderful elegy.
The calm wind that drowns me.

The insects that indulge and conquer,
As they saw my body.
As the soul and mind leaves me.

I wonder what I felt,
Before this final sleep, before I became free.
At last, I am filled with mortifying glee.

Away from my enemies.
Away from my friends.
Away from my family.

They will cry and laugh, of course.
Of course, I know. I know they'll do that.
But I realize that's just life as it is.

When the merchants pass by
And pray for my corpse.
When the Samaritans come by
And follow this stench that I call home.
When they see me as I am,
They'll ask for justice.

But I don't need no man to be held upon the masses.
I don't need time, nor space,
I don't need your medals and trophies.
Because I realize the void will consume everything.
Because it will comfort you and me, with blood-like tears.
Because I realize that's just life as it is.

I don't care anymore.
About these words that I have said past.
I want to say what I want.
Yet I am mute.
Yet I am deaf.
Yet I am blind.
But somehow, I'm happy.
I'm content with my life.
I never regretted any second of it.

I love you, mom. I love you, my brothers and sisters.
I love you, my friends, my enemies.
I hope heaven exists.
I hope it does for you.
Amanda Oct 2018
I placed myself second
Because I placed you first
Unconditional lasting love for you
My beautiful perpetual curse

I do not like who I was with you
Used to believe each lie you told
Put up with **** near anything
Long as I had your hand to hold

Staying by your side through Heaven and Hell
We struggled with your disease
Swear my pain was even greater than your own
Begged you to stop down on my knees

I asked how I could help you up
Held me and said "I don't know"
Promised with my hand on your chest
To never give up or let go

I won't let you know how deep it cut
To break the vow I strained to keep
How could I stay and watch us **** ourselves?
When I woke up and you were still asleep?

Sacrificed so much for you
Begging one time you'd realize
I CHOSE to walk behind your shapeless shadow
Knowing destination was destined to be my demise

I wish I had not of trusted you
The one that was not supposed to harm
Wish I could trap naivete
Before you held my foolish dreams in your arms

I long for joy I felt when we were new
As our corpses deteriorate
I am now aware of the hazard loving is
Your heart hangs on my happiness, a very heavy weight
I know you have a heavy heart, I can feel it when we kiss.
Savannah Oct 2018
On her face she wore a smile,
Battered heart out of sight.
Masks hid her from society,
The watched her fall from her heights.

Upon her head a crown of barbed wire,
Never was there someone with eyes so mean.
On dead roses and corpses she sits,
A throne for a cardboard queen.
our classic tales of war and victory
tell stories of substantial gains
in land, human resources, treasures,
from Homer, Cesar, Charles the Great,
to Ghengis Khan, Napoleon,
the Spanish, then the British empires, etc.

today, dictators are delighted over victories
whose gains are endless miles of rubble
      shown on television
devastated cities bombed into oblivion
     that will take decades to rebuild
     and populate again
hundreds of thousands people killed
     mostly women, children, and the elderly
     who could not flee in time

how can one who has been the source
of so much suffering and devastation
     harvesting bombed-out cities
     laced with corpses
claim victory?!
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