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Lives of the imagination
Loves as well
Are grieved more often
With similar despair
And greater melancholy
Than those of the world

As far as I can tell
There's closure in a coffin
It's to compare
That is folly
Those thoughts should be hurled
Or invite damnation
Let's all go
to Damnation Island.
Let's all go to
the lunatic's ball.
We'll  have
amusements, and
dancing, and the
magic lantern.
The stupefaction
is for us all.

The poor will
be there,
hungry
and tired.
The poor will
be there,
dresses in rags.
We'll all have fun
on  Damnation Island.
The degradation is
for us all.

The criminals
are on
Damnation Island.
They're dancing and
killing at the
lunatic's ball.
The criminals love
Damnation Island.
The mortification is
for us all.

If you go to
Damnation Island,
if you dance at
the lunatics ball,
you might stay on
Damnation Island,
there's a good chance
you'll sell
your soul
there was once a boy
who needed affection
thus he found one
by the ends of damnation.
thank you sm for reading! < 3
Elena Mustafa Sep 2020
There stands before
A window stands
An old woman
In a walker
She is dying
And is sent to the hell
Fire
And she know it
As she stares into space
She deeply thinks
And meditate
On the sins she
Has so viciously
Committed
She feels the burning in her
Feet as if in hell
All ready
A tear rolls from her
Eye
As she knew she
Hurt the people she loved
Olivia Catherine Aug 2020
A tavern built on misdeeds and insurrection,
House of rascals, whisky and imperfection
A hideaway for rebels and racketeers,
Where drinks are served to outlaws and mutineers,
Where the pianist plays for pirates and privateers,
Where the wicked and the wayward can be served,
And are respected however undeserved.

It’s a rag-tag bunch of outlaws and anarchists,
A cavalcade of rough revolutionists,
So come on in my dear insurrectionist,
Welcome to our lawless little band,
Welcome to the Tavern of the ******.

Come and join our banished battalion,
Join our cause, oh revered rapscallion,
So calling out to nature’s abominations,
We’ve got bourbon, bombshells and indignation,
Come and wait for imminent and sure damnation,
No matter what your deviance may be,
Come and join the drunken reverie.

It’s a monument to lost souls and deviants,
A shrine to every small disobedience,
A riotous, cathartic experience,
Where radicals are safe from reprimand,
Welcome to the Tavern of the ******.

Welcome back, my worshipped renegade,
To the place where freedom’s sweet as lemonade,
Where skanks and outlaws, sing so intoxicated,
The anthem of the unkempt and agitated,
The mantra of the evil and of the hated,
Laughing as they sing their merry tune,
Unified by their impending doom.

It’s a testament to chaos and anarchy,
A haven for the worst of humanity,
A house of lawlessness and profanity,
Welcome to our lawless little band,
Welcome to the Tavern of the ******.
Syd Aug 2020
He revels in festivity.
He loves evil and creativity.

The pleasure of eternal damnation.
To live life with condemnation.

The acceptance of one's own nature .
To take life for a misadventure.
Kat Schaefer May 2020
Like many
I am seeking enlightenment
An explanation for life and the here after
Yet there is silence from our savior
Which I have deemed
‘The immaculate absence’

Nevertheless I am fearful
Of a future in oblivion
Of being escorted
To the chamber of deviants
Of fire and brimstone
Next to Stalin and Dahmer

My clock continues to tick
Each second grows more unnerving
In Jesus’ holy name I pray
Help me
Michael R Burch May 2020
When I Was Small, I Grew
by Michael R. Burch

When I was small,
God held me in thrall:
Yes, He was my All
but my spirit was crushed.

As I grew older
my passions grew bolder
even as Christ grew colder.
My distraught mother blushed:

what was I thinking,
with feral lust stinking?
If I saw a girl winking
my face, heated, flushed.

“Go see the pastor!”
Mom screamed. A disaster.
I whacked away faster,
hellbound, yet nonplused.

Whips! Chains! *******!
Sweet, sweet, my Elation!
With each new sensation,
blue blood groinward rushed.

Did God disapprove?
Was Christ not behooved?
At least I was moved
by my hellish lust.

Does God judge human beings for the ****** desires he presumably gave them? Is the purpose of religion called Christianity to torture us for being human with human lust, passion, and desire? At puberty do the gates of hell and damnation swing wide open for us? Keywords/Tags: God, religion, Christ, Christianity, lust, passion, desire, hell, damnation, puberty, mrbigrew mrbgrew



Bible Libel
by Michael R. Burch

If God
is good,
half the Bible
is libel.

I came up with this epigram after reading the Bible from cover to cover at age eleven.



who, US?
by michael r. burch

jesus was born
a palestinian child
where there's no Room
for the meek and the mild

... and in bethlehem still
to this day, lambs are born
to cries of "no Room! "
and Puritanical scorn...

under Herod, Trump, Bibi
their fates are the same —
the slouching Beast mauls them
and WE have no shame...

"who's to blame? "

In the poem "US" means both the United States and "us" the people of the world, wherever we live. The name "jesus" is uncapitalized while "Room" is capitalized because it seems many evangelical Christians are more concerned about land and not sharing it with the less fortunate, than the teachings of Jesus Christ. Also, Jesus and his parents were refugees for whom there was "no Room" to be found. What would Jesus think of Christian scorn for the less fortunate, one wonders? What would Jesus think of people adopting his name for their religion, then voting for someone like Trump, as four out of five evangelical Christians did, according to exit polls? Keywords/Tags: Jesus Christ, children, abuse, hypocrisy, Christian, Christianity, religion, USA, racism



A Child's Christmas Prayer of Despair for a Hindu Saint
by Michael R. Burch

Santa Claus,
for Christmas, please,
don't bring me toys, or games, or candy...
just... Santa, please...
I'm on my knees! ...
please don't let Jesus torture Gandhi!



What Would Santa Claus Say
by Michael R. Burch

What would Santa Claus say,
I wonder,
about Jesus returning
to **** and Plunder?

For he'll likely return
on Christmas Day
to blow the bad
little boys away!

When He flashes like lightning
across the skies
and many a homosexual
dies,

when the harlots and heretics
are ripped asunder,
what will the Easter Bunny think,
I wonder?



***** Nilly

for the Demiurge, aka Yahweh/Jehovah

Isn't it silly, ***** Nilly?
You made the stallion,
you made the filly,
and now they sleep
in the dark earth, stilly.
Isn't it silly, ***** Nilly?

Isn't it silly, ***** Nilly?
You forced them to run
all their days uphilly.
They ran till they dropped—
life's a pickle, dilly.
Isn't it silly, ***** Nilly?

Isn't it silly, ***** Nilly?
They say I should worship you!
Oh, really!
They say I should pray
so you'll not act illy.
Isn't it silly, ***** Nilly?



no foothold
by michael r. burch

there is no hope;
therefore i became invulnerable to love.
now even god cannot move me:
nothing to push or shove,
no foothold.

so let me live out my remaining days in clarity,
mine being the only nativity,
my death the final crucifixion
and apocalypse,

as far as the i can see...



pretty pickle
by michael r. burch

u'd blaspheme if u could
because ur God's no good,
but of course u cant:
ur just a lowly ant
(or so u were told by a Hierophant) .



In His Kingdom of Corpses
by Michael R. Burch

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many enraged discourses,
high, high from some mountain peak
where He's lectured man on compassion
while the sparrows around Him fell,
and babes, for His meager ration
of rain, died and went to hell,
unbaptized, for that's His fashion.

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to vent
in many obscure discourses
on the need for man to repent,
to admit that he's a sinner;
give up ***, and riches, and fame;
be disciplined at his dinner
though always he dies the same,
whether fatter or thinner.

In his kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many absurd discourses
of man's Ego, precipitous Peak! ,
while demanding praise and worship,
and the bending of every knee.
And though He sounds like the Devil,
all religious men now agree
He loves them indubitably.

Originally published by The Chimaera and Lucid Rhythms



I've got Jesus's face on a wallet insert
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

I've got Jesus's face on a wallet insert
and "Hell is for Queers" on the back of my shirt.
And I uphold the Law,
for Grace has a Flaw:
the Church must have someone to drag through the dirt.

I've got ten thousand reasons why Hell must exist,
and you're at the top of my fast-swelling list!
You're nothing like me,
so God must agree
and slam down the Hammer with His Loving Fist!

For what are the chances that God has a plan
to save everyone: even Boy George and Wham! ?
Eternal fell torture
in Hell's pressure scorcher
will separate **** from Man.

I'm glad I'm redeemed, ecstatic you're not.
Did Christ die for sinners? Perish the thought!
The "good news" is this:
soon my Vengeance is His! ,
for you're not the lost sheep He sought.



jesus hates me, this i know
by michael r. burch

jesus hates me, this I know,
for Church libel tells me so:
"little ones to him belong"
but if they use their dongs, so long!
yes, jesus hates me!
yes, jesus baits me!
yes, he berates me!
Church libel tells me so!

jesus fleeces us, i know,
for Religion scams us so:
little ones are brainwashed to
believe god saves the Chosen Few!
yes, jesus fleeces!
yes, he deceases
the bunny and the rhesus
because he's mad at you!

jesus hates me—christ who died
so i might be crucified:
'cause if i use my **** or brain,
that will drive the "lord" insane!
yes, jesus hates me!
yes, jesus baits me!
yes, he berates me!
Church libel tells me so!

jesus hates me, this I know,
for Church libel tells me so:
first Priests tell me "look above, "
that christ's the lamb and god's the dove,
but then They sentence me to Hell
for using my big brain too well
and understanding half the Bible
(if god is love) is clearly libel.
yes, jesus hates me!
yes, jesus baits me!
yes, he berates me!
Church libel tells me so!



lust
by michael r. burch

i was only a child
in a world dark and wild
seeking affection
in eyes mild

and in all my bright dreams
sweet love shimmered, beguiled...

but the black-robed Priest
who called me the least
of all god's creation
then spoke for the Beast:

he called my great passion a thing base, defiled!

He condemned me to hell,
the foul Ne'er-Do-Well,
for the sake of the copper
His Pig-Snout could smell
in the purse of my mother,
"the ***** jezebel."

my sweet passions condemned
by ungenerous men?
and she so devout
she exclaimed, "yay, aye-men! "...

together we learned why Religion is hell.



Tillage
by Michael R. Burch

What stirs within me
is no great welling
straining to flood forth,
but an emptiness
waiting to be filled.

I am not an orchard
ready to be harvested,
but a field
rough and barren
waiting to be tilled.



Altared Spots
by Michael R. Burch

The mother leopard buries her cub,
then cries three nights for his bones to rise
clad in new flesh, to celebrate the sunrise.

Good mother leopard, pensive thought
and fiercest love’s wild insurrection
yield no certainty of a resurrection.

Man’s tried them both, has added tears,
chants, dances, drugs, séances, tombs’
white alabaster prayer-rooms, wombs

where dead men’s frozen genes convene ...
there is no answer—death is death.
So bury your son, and save your breath.

Or emulate earth’s “highest species”—
write a few strange poems and odd treatises.



Listen
by Immanuel A. Michael (an alias of Michael R. Burch)

1.
Listen to me now
and heed my voice;
I am a madman, alone,
screaming in the wilderness,
but listen now.

Listen to me now, and if I say
that black is black
and white is white
and in between lies gray,
I have no choice.

A madman does not choose his words;
they come to him:
the moon's illuminations,
intimations of the wind,
and he must speak.

But listen to me now,
and if you hear
the tolling of the judgment bell,
and if its tone is clear,
then do not tarry,
but listen,
or cut off your ears,
for I Am weary.

I desire mercy, not sacrifice.



Love is her Belief and her Commandment
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Love is her belief and her commandment;
in restless dreams at night, she dreams of Love;
and Love is her desire and her purpose;
and everywhere she goes, she sings of Love.

There is a tomb in Palestine: for others
the chance to stake their claims (the Chosen Ones),
but in her eyes, it’s Love’s most hallowed chancel
where Love was resurrected, where one comes
in wondering awe to dream of resurrection
to blissful realms, where Love reigns over all
with tenderness, with infinite affection.

While some may mock her faith, still others wonder
because they see the rare state of her soul,
and there are rumors: when she prays the heavens
illume more brightly, as if saints concur
who keep a constant vigil over her.

And once she prayed beside a dying woman:
the heavens opened and the angels came
in the form of long-departed friends and loved ones,
to comfort and encourage. I believe
not in her God, but always in her Love.



You Never Listened
by Michael R. Burch

You never listened,
though each night the rain
wove its patterns again
and trembled and glistened . . .

You were not watching,
though each night the stars
shone, brightening the tears
in her eyes palely fetching . . .

You paid love no notice,
though she lay in my arms
as the stars rose in swarms
like a legion of poets,

as the lightning recited
its opus before us,
and the hills boomed the chorus,
all strangely delighted . . .



Hymn for Fallen Soldiers
by Michael R. Burch

Sound the awesome cannons.
Pin medals to each breast.
Attention, honor guard!
Give them a hero’s rest.

Recite their names to the heavens
Till the stars acknowledge their kin.
Then let the land they defended
Gather them in again.

When I learned there’s an American military organization, the DPAA (Defense/POW/MIA Accounting Agency) that is still finding and bringing home the bodies of soldiers who died serving their country in World War II, after blubbering like a baby, I managed to eke out this poem.



don’t forget ...
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

don’t forget to remember
that Space is curved
(like your Heart)
and that even Light is bent
by your Gravity.

I dedicated this poem to the love of my life, but you are welcome to dedicate it to the love of yours, if you like it. The opening lines were inspired by a famous love poem by e. e. cummings. I went through a "cummings phase" around age 15 and wrote a number of poems "under the influence."



The One and Only
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

If anyone ever loved me,
It was you.

If anyone ever cared
beyond mere things declared;
if anyone ever knew ...
My darling, it was you.

If anyone ever touched
my beating heart as it flew,
it was you,
and only you.



Of Civilization and Disenchantment
by Michael R. Burch

for Anaïs Vionet

Suddenly uncomfortable
to stay at my grandfather’s house—
actually his third new wife’s,
in her daughter’s bedroom
—one interminable summer
with nothing to do,
all the meals served cold,
even beans and peas ...

Lacking the words to describe
ah!, those pearl-luminous estuaries—
strange omens, incoherent nights.

Seeing the flares of the river barges
illuminating Memphis,
city of bluffs and dying splendors.

Drifting toward Alexandria,
Pharos, Rhakotis, Djoser’s fertile delta,
lands at the beginning of a new time and “civilization.”

Leaving behind sixty miles of unbroken cemetery,
Alexander’s corpse floating seaward,
bobbing, milkwhite, in a jar of honey.

"Memphis shall be waste and desolate,
without an inhabitant."
Or so the people dreamed, in chains.



Fascination with Light
by Michael R. Burch

for Anaïs Vionet

Desire glides in on calico wings,
a breath of a moth
seeking a companionable light,
where it hovers, unsure,
sullen, shy or demure,
in the margins of night,
a soft blur.

With a frantic dry rattle
of alien wings,
it rises and thrums one long breathless staccato
and flutters and drifts on in dark aimless flight.
And yet it returns
to the flame, its delight,
as long as it burns.



Playmates
by Michael R. Burch

WHEN you were my playmate and I was yours,
we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and the sorrows and cares of our indentured days
were uncomprehended . . . far, far away . . .
for the temptations and trials we had yet to face
were lost in the shadows of an unventured maze.

Then simple pleasures were easy to find
and if they cost us a little, we didn't mind;
for even a penny in a pocket back then
was one penny too many, a penny to spend.

Then feelings were feelings and love was just love,
not a strange, complex mystery to be understood;
while "sin" and "damnation" meant little to us,
since forbidden cookies were our only lusts!

Then we never worried about what we had,
and we were both sure—what was good, what was bad.
And we sometimes quarreled, but we didn't hate;
we seldom gave thought to the uncertainties of fate.

Hell, we seldom thought about the next day,
when tomorrow seemed hidden—adventures away.
Though sometimes we dreamed of adventures past,
and wondered, at times, why things couldn't last.

Still, we never worried about getting by,
and we didn't know that we were to die . . .
when we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and I was your playmate, and we were boys.

This is probably the poem that "made" me, because my high school English teacher called it "beautiful" and I took that to mean I was surely the Second Coming of Percy Bysshe Shelley! "Playmates" is the second poem I remember writing; I believe I was around 13 or 14 at the time. It was originally published by The Lyric.



****** Analysis
by Michael R. Burch

This is not what I need . . .
analysis,
paralysis,
as though I were a seed
to be planted,
supported
with a stick and some string
until I emerge.
Your words
are not water. I need something
more nourishing,
like cherishing,
something essential, like love
so that when I climb
out of the lime
and the mulch. When I shove
myself up
from the muck . . .
we can ****.



Impotent
by Michael R. Burch

Tonight my pen
is barren
of passion, spent of poetry.

I hear your name
upon the rain
and yet it cannot comfort me.

I feel the pain
of dreams that wane,
of poems that falter, losing force.

I write again
words without end,
but I cannot control their course . . .

Tonight my pen
is sullen
and wants no more of poetry.

I hear your voice
as if a choice,
but how can I respond, or flee?

I feel a flame
I cannot name
that sends me searching for a word,

but there is none
not over-done,
unless it's one I never heard.

I believe this poem was written in my early twenties, around 1980.





Love Has a Southern Flavor
by Michael R. Burch

Love has a Southern flavor: honeydew,
ripe cantaloupe, the honeysuckle's spout
we tilt to basking faces to breathe out
the ordinary, and inhale perfume...

Love's Dixieland-rambunctious: tangled vines,
wild clematis, the gold-brocaded leaves
that will not keep their order in the trees,
unmentionables that peek from dancing lines...

Love cannot be contained, like Southern nights:
the constellations' dying mysteries,
the fireflies that hum to light, each tree's
resplendent autumn cape, a genteel sight...

Love also is as wild, as sprawling-sweet,
as decadent as the wet leaves at our feet.

Published by The Lyric, Contemporary Sonnet, The Eclectic Muse, Better Than Starbucks, The Chained Muse, Setu (India) , Victorian Violet Press, A Long Story Short, Glass Facets of Poetry, Docster, Trinacria, PS: It's Poetry (anthology) , and in a Czech translation by Vaclav ZJ Pinkava



Our English Rose
by Michael R. Burch

for Christine Ena Burch

The rose is—
the ornament of the earth,
the glory of nature,
the archetype of the flowers,
the blush of the meadows,
a lightning flash of beauty.

This is my loose translation/interpretation of a Sappho epigram.



These are my translations of Holocaust poems by Ber Horvitz (also known as Ber Horowitz); his bio follows the poems.

Der Himmel
"The Heavens"
by Ber Horvitz
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These skies
are leaden, heavy, gray ...
I long for a pair
of deep blue eyes.

The birds have fled
far overseas;
"Tomorrow I’ll migrate too,"
I said ...

These gloomy autumn days
it rains and rains.
Woe to the bird
Who remains ...



Doctorn
"Doctors"
by Ber Horvitz
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Early this morning I bandaged
the lilac tree outside my house;
I took thin branches that had broken away
and patched their wounds with clay.

My mother stood there watering
her window-level flower bed;
The morning sun, quite motherly,
kissed us both on our heads!

What a joy, my child, to heal!
Finished doctoring, or not?
The eggs are nicely poached
And the milk's a-boil in the ***.



Broit
“Bread”
by Ber Horvitz
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Night. Exhaustion. Heavy stillness. Why?
On the hard uncomfortable floor the exhausted people lie.

Flung everywhere, scattered over the broken theater floor,
the exhausted people sleep. Night. Late. Too tired to snore.

At midnight a little boy cries wildly into the gloom:
"Mommy, I’m afraid! Let’s go home!”

His mother, reawakened into this frightful place,
presses her frightened child even closer to her breast …

"If you cry, I’ll leave you here, all alone!
A little boy must sleep ... this, now, is our new home.”

Night. Exhaustion. Heavy stillness all around,
exhausted people sleeping on the hard ground.



"My Lament"
by Ber Horvitz
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nothingness enveloped me
as tender green toadstools
lie blanketed by snow
with its thick, heavy prayer shawl …
After that, nothing could hurt me …



Ber Horvitz aka Ber Horowitz (1895-1942): Born to village people in the woods of Maidan in the West Carpathians, Horowitz showed art talent early on. He went to gymnazie in Stanislavov, then served in the Austrian army during WWI, where he was a medic to Italian prisoners of war. He studied medicine in Vienna and was published in many Yiddish newspapers. Fluent in several languages, he translated Polish and Ukrainian to Yiddish. He also wrote poetry in Yiddish. A victim of the Holocaust, he was murdered in 1942 by the Nazis.



Departed
by Michael R. Burch

Christ, how I miss you! ,
though your parting kiss is still warm on my lips.
Now the floor is not strewn with your stockings and slips
and the dishes are all stacked away.
You left me today...
and each word left unspoken now whispers regrets.



Describing You
by Michael R. Burch

How can I describe you?
The fragrance of morning rain
mingled with dew
reminds me of you;
the warmth of sunlight
stealing through a windowpane
brings you back to me again.
This is an early poem of mine, written as a teenager.



This Distance Between Us
by Michael R. Burch

This distance between us,
this vast gulf of remembrance
void of understanding,
sets us apart.

You are so far,
lost child,
weeping for consolation,
so dear to my heart.

Once near to my heart,
though seldom to touch,
now you are foreign,
now you grow faint...

like the wayward light of a vagabond star—
obscure, enigmatic.
Is the reveling gypsy
becoming a saint?

Now loneliness,
a broad expanse
—barren, forbidding—
whispers my name.

I, too, am a traveler
down this dark path,
unsure of the footing,
cursing the rain.

I, too, have felt pain,
pain and the ache of passion unfulfilled,
remorse, grief, and all the terrors
of the night.

And how very black
and how bleak my despair...
O, where are you, where are you
shining tonight?



Confession
by Michael R. Burch

What shall I say to you, to confess,
words? Words that can never express
anything close to what I feel?

For words that seem tangible, real,
when I think them
become vaguely surreal when I put ink to them.

And words that I thought that I knew,
like "love" and "devotion"
never ring true.

While "passion"
sounds strangely like the latest fashion
or a perfume.

NOTE: At the time I wrote this poem, a perfume named Passion was in fashion.



Consequence
by Michael R. Burch

They are fresh-faced,
not innocent, but perhaps not yet jaded,
oblivious to time and death,
of each counted breath
in the pendulum's sway
falling unheeded.

They are bright, undissuaded
by foreign tongues,
by sepulchers empty and waiting,
by sarcophagi of ancient kings,
by proclamations,
by rituals of scalpels and rings.

They are sworn, they are fated
to misadventure and grief;
but they revel in life
till the sun falls, receding
into silent halls
to torrents of inconsequential tears...
... to brief tragedies of tears
when they consider this: No one else sees.
But I know.
We all know.
We all know the consequence
of being so young.



Cycles
by Michael R. Burch

I see his eyes caress my daughter's *******
through her thin cotton dress,
and how an indiscreet strap of her white bra
holds his bald fingers
in fumbling mammalian awe...

And I remember long cycles into the bruised dusk
of a distant park,
hot blushes,
wild, disembodied rushes of blood,
portentous intrusions of lips, tongues and fingers...
and now in him the memory of me lingers
like something thought rancid,
proved rotten.

I see Another again—hard, staring, and silent—
though long-ago forgotten...

And I remember conjectures of ***** lines,
brief flashes of white down bleacher stairs,
coarse patches of hair glimpsed in bathroom mirrors,
all the odd, questioning stares...

Yes, I remember it all now,
and I shoo them away,
willing them not to play too long or too hard
in the back yard—
with a long, ineffectual stare
that years from now, he may suddenly remember.



Dancer
by Michael R. Burch

You will never change;
you range,
investing passion in the night,

waltzing through
a blinding blue,
immaculate and fabled light.

Do not despair
or wonder where
the others of your race have fled.

They left you here
to gin and beer
and won't return till you are bled

of fantasy
and piety,
of brewing passion like champagne,

of storming through
without a clue,
but finding answers fall like rain.

They left.
You laughed,
but now you sigh

for ages,
stages
slipping by.

You pause;
applause
is all you hear.

You dance,
askance,
as drunkards cheer.



Daredevil
by Michael R. Burch

There are days that I believe
(and nights that I deny)
love is not mutilation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There are tightropes leaps bereave—
taut wires strumming high
brief songs, infatuations.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were cannon shots' soirees,
hearts barricaded, wise...
and then... annihilation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were nights our hearts conceived
dawns' indiscriminate sighs.
To dream was our consolation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were acrobatic leaves
that tumbled down to lie
at our feet, bright trepidations.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were hearts carved into trees—
tall stakes where you and I
left childhood's salt libations...

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

Where once you scraped your knees;
love later bruised your thighs.
Death numbs all, our sedation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.



Dark Twin
by Michael R. Burch

You come to me
out of the sun —
my dark twin, unreal...

And you are always near
although I cannot touch you;
although I trample you, you cannot feel...

And we cannot be parted,
nor can we ever meet
except at the feet.



Damp Days
by Michael R. Burch

These are damp days,
and the earth is slick and vile
with the smell of month-old mud.

And yet it seldom rains;
a never-ending drizzle
drenches spring's bright buds
till they droop as though in death.

Now Time
drags out His endless hours
as though to bore to tears
His fretting, edgy servants
through the sheer length of His days
and slow passage of His years.

Damp days are His domain.

Irritation
grinds the ravaged nerves
and grips tight the gorging brain
which fills itself, through sense,
with vast seas of soggy clay
while the temples throb in pain
at the thought of more damp days.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem around age 16, or so.



Fairest Diana
by Michael R. Burch

Fairest Diana, princess of dreams,
born to be loved and yet distant and lone,
why did you linger—so solemn, so lovely—
an orchid ablaze in a crevice of stone?

Was not your heart meant for tenderest passions?
Surely your lips―for wild kisses, not vows!
Why then did you languish, though lustrous, becoming
a pearl of enchantment cast before sows?

Fairest Diana, as fragile as lilac,
as willful as rainfall, as true as the rose;
how did a stanza of silver-bright verse
come to be bound in a book of dull prose?



Contraire
by Michael R. Burch

Where there was nothing
but emptiness
and hollow chaos and despair,

I sought Her...

finding only the darkness
and mournful silence
of the wind entangling her hair.

Yet her name was like prayer.

Now she is the vast
starry tinctures of emptiness
flickering everywhere

within me and about me.

Yes, she is the darkness,
and she is the silence
of twilight and the night air.

Yes, she is the chaos
and she is the madness
and they call her Contraire.



Disconcerted
by Michael R. Burch

Meg, my sweet,
fresh as a daisy,
when I'm with you
my heart beats like crazy
& my future gets hazy...



130 Refuted
by Michael R. Burch

My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
— Shakespeare, Sonnet 130

Seas that sparkle in the sun
without its light would have no beauty;
but the light within your eyes
is theirs alone; it owes no duty.
And their flame, not half as bright,
is meant for me, and brings delight.

Coral formed beneath the sea,
though scarlet-tendriled, cannot warm me;
while your lips, not half so red,
just touching mine, at once inflame me.
And the searing flames your lips arouse
fathomless oceans fail to douse.

Bright roses' brief affairs, declared
when winter comes, will wither quickly.
Your cheeks, though paler when compared
with them? —more lasting, never prickly.
And your cheeks, so dear and warm,
far vaster treasures, need no thorns.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly. I wrote this poem as a teenager, after reading Shakespeare's sonnet 130 and having "issues" with it.



In this Ordinary Swoon
by Michael R. Burch

In this ordinary swoon
as I pass from life to death,
I feel no heat from the cold, pale moon;
I feel no sympathy for breath.

Who I am and why I came,
I do not know; nor does it matter.
The end of every man’s the same
and every god’s as mad as a hatter.

I do not fear the letting go;
I only fear the clinging on
to hope when there’s no hope, although
I lift my face to the blazing sun

and feel the greater intensity
of the wilder inferno within me.



Second Sight
by Michael R. Burch

I never touched you—
that was my mistake.

Deep within,
I still feel the ache.

Can an unformed thing
eternally break?

Now, from a great distance,
I see you again

not as you are now,
but as you were then—

eternally present
and Sovereign.



The Leveler
by Michael R. Burch

The nature of Nature
is bitter survival
from Winter’s bleak fury
till Spring’s brief revival.

The weak implore Fate;
bold men ravish, dishevel her . . .
till both are cut down
by mere ticks of the Leveler.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 20, in 1978 or thereabouts. It has since been published in The Lyric, Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly and The Aurorean.



Final Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

Sleep peacefully—for now your suffering’s over.

Sleep peacefully—immune to all distress,
like pebbles unaware of raging waves.

Sleep peacefully—like fields of fragrant clover
unmoved by any motion of the wind.

Sleep peacefully—like clouds untouched by earthquakes.

Sleep peacefully—like stars that never blink
and have no thoughts at all, nor need to think.

Sleep peacefully—in your eternal vault,
immaculate, past perfect, without fault.



Published as the collection "When I Was Small, I Grew"
We stretch out our hands,
Waiting for salvation.

We watch the dripping sands
Of the hourglass with poignant resignation.

Our society demands
Of us to disregard those in isolation.

But the isolation is the only thing that understands
That this life is really nothing but eternal damnation.
This week has been nothing but stressful, and I'm on the edge of losing my ******* mind.
mae Feb 2020
sometimes
I wonder
if the universe
is only keeping
me alive
just to
punish me
for my
past sins.
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