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Carlo C Gomez Feb 2022

time free
to sight see


in a garden
of angels
with pine cones
at the border of
void and Vaud

of meltwater cirque
les petites Fauconnières
the inner basin
of my outer reaches

I am
I am

for snow
and polar cap
where things
are still run by the natural elements
instrumental dreamer
not by algorithms
not by advancement
Xella Sep 2021
To wish for a wish,
To break bread with you.
Maybe one day I can be,
What flies in your dreams.
At night I think and wonder
Why can't I be. What I am.
I'm always down trodden.

You always know
Where you're going,
What you are doing,
why you are moving
Around like you do.

So hopeful, so bleak.
I hope there is space for me
In that confidence.
I pray for nothing,
Im doing a thing...writing poetry in like 5 mins and under. + No editing....ill come back to it one day with true fresh eyes. Hopefully something better will arrive from that.
sarah Aug 2021
we could go to Paris,
or just stay at hoᴍe
would be ᴀ dream to travel
the world, but if i'm with you,
i've ꜱeen enᴏugh

because ɴo place i could
ever visit would be better
than being with you
but one day we'll be sipping coffee
in a French cafe, and i won't
have to choose
Carlo C Gomez Aug 2021
The Umbrellas
of Cherbourg,
around the room,
blocking all of the exits,
in Doppler shifts
it all turns and returns,
indeed there's daggers
in a woman's smile,
from a grain of sand
to mushrooms in the sky,
say it in a letter—
a hostage crisis,
and catlike,
load the cartridges
and let them fly,
(flutter of wings),
face the sun and
bargain with flowers,
(flutter of lashes),
grow as clingstone and
follow my warlight home,
(flutter of heartbeat),
just close your eyes
and make believe,
it all turns and returns,
I will wait for you,
la petite amie,
I will wait for you,
anywhere you wander,
anywhere you go.

Maria Shabalin May 2021
Distant shores of France,
Toward you I advance,
Looking for your water.
The sun seems to beam down,
Oppressing the nearby town,
Where I sit talking to a doctor's daughter.
Her clothing looks so chic,
I dare the boy next to me to speak,
Enchanting him with my eyes.
Dare I say this is my place,
I run around the forest with haste,
Expecting a strange man to become wise.
I feel safe at the stump of a tree,
Imagining a family of three
Beautiful birds chirping in the sunlight.
What will happen to me when I get gray and old?
Will I remember the stories I once told,
The ones that brought me joy and fright?
I guess we will just have to see,
Go along with the processes that be,
Dreaming of our youth when it has gone.
I will always admire the country,
Looking upon the sea and its bounty,
Alongside the doctor's daughter until dawn.
I really want to visit France.
Thomas W Case Mar 2021
I dreamed I was at some sort
Of carnival/expo with my
sister and my ex.
Somehow I got separated
from them
I met a young French woman.
She was beautiful, and she
Liked me a lot.
There was a lot
of passion and an instant
I had cuts all over my
face for some reason.
She liked me anyway.
In fact, she didn't even
mention the cuts.
The attraction was strong.
There was a heat I
could smell.
We started making out,
and we were just
getting ready to do it,
when we noticed a
large crowd behind us.
We laughed, and she wrote
her information on my
Later, I was playing
with a bear, and some other
strange animal.
I fell in a river, and her
phone number and address
were washed off my hand.
I never did find my
sister and the ex.
I woke up, and felt
Sick to my stomach.
Why are all the
good ones in dreams?
I need to visit France.
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Renee Vivien Translations

by Renée Vivien
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When the moon weeps,
illuminating flowers on the graves of the faithful,
my memories creep
back to you, wrapped in flightless wings.

It's getting late; soon we will sleep
(your eyes already half closed)
in the shimmering air.

O, the agony of burning roses:
your forehead discloses
a heavy despondency,
though your hair floats lightly ...

In the night sky the stars burn whitely
as the Goddess nightly
resurrects flowers that fear the sun
and die before dawn ...

by Renée Vivien
loose translation/interpretation by Kim Cherub (an alias of Michael R. Burch)

Your laughter startles, your caresses rake.
Your cold kisses love the evil they do.
Your eyes―blue lotuses drifting on a lake.

Lilies are less pallid than your face.

You move like water parting.
Your hair falls in rootlike tangles.
Your words like treacherous rapids rise.
Your arms, flexible as reeds, strangle,

Choking me like tubular river reeds.
I shiver in their enlacing embrace.
Drowning without an illuminating moon,
I vanish without a trace,

lost in a nightly swoon.

by Renée Vivien
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch  

the Amazon smiles above the ruins
while the sun, wearied by its struggles, droops to sleep.
******’s aroma swells Her nostrils;
She exults in blood, death’s inscrutable lover.

She loves lovers who intoxicate Her
with their wild agonies and proud demises.
She despises the cloying honey of feminine caresses;
cups empty of horror fail to satisfy Her.

Her desire, falling cruelly on some wan mouth
from which she rips out the unrequited kiss,
awaits ardently lust’s supreme spasm,
more beautiful and more terrible than the spasm of love.

NOTE: The French poem has “coups” and I considered various words – “cuts,” “coups,” “coups counted,” etc. – but I thought because of “intoxicate” and “honey” that “cups” worked best in English.

“Nous nous sommes assises” (“We Sat Down”)
by Renée Vivien
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Darling, we were like two exiles
bearing our desolate souls within us.

Dawn broke more revolting than any illness...

Neither of us knew the native language
As we wandered the streets like strangers.
The morning’s stench, so oppressive!

Yet you shone like the sunrise of hope...


As night fell, we sat down,
Your drab dress grey as any evening,
To feel the friendly freshness of kisses.

No longer alone in the universe,
We exchanged lovely verses with languor.

Darling, we dallied, without quite daring to believe,
And I told you: “The evening is far more beautiful than the dawn.”

You nudged me with your forehead, then gave me your hands,
And I no longer feared uncertain tomorrows.

The sunset sashayed off with its splendid insolence,
But no voice dared disturb our silence...

I forgot the houses and their inhospitality...

The sunset dyed my mourning attire purple.

Then I told you, kissing your half-closed eyelids:
“Violets are more beautiful than roses.”

Darkness overwhelmed the horizon...

Harmonious sobs surrounded us...

A strange languor subdued the strident city.

Thus we savored the enigmatic hour.

Slowly death erased all light and noise,
Then I knew the august face of the night.

You let the last veils slip to your naked feet...
Then your body appeared even nobler to me, dimly lit by the stars.

Finally came the appeasement of rest, of returning to ourselves...
And I told you: “Here is the height of love…”

We who had come carrying our desolate souls within us,
like two exiles, like complete strangers.

Renée Vivien (1877-1909) was a British poet who wrote primarily in French. She was one of the last major poets of Symbolism. Her work included sonnets, hendecasyllabic verse and prose poetry. Born Pauline Mary Tarn in London to a British father and American mother, she grew up in Paris and London. Upon inheriting her father's fortune at age 21, she emigrated permanently to France. In Paris, her dress and lifestyle were as notorious as her verse. She lived lavishly as an open lesbian, sometimes dressing in men's clothes, while harboring a lifelong obsession for her closest childhood friend, Violet Shillito (a relationship that apparently remained unconsummated). Her obsession with violets led to Vivien being called the "Muse of the Violets." But in 1900 Vivien abandoned this chaste love to engage in a public affair with the American writer and heiress Natalie Clifford Barney. The following year Shillito died of typhoid fever, a tragedy from which Vivien never fully recovered. Vivien later had a relationship with a baroness to whom she considered herself to be married, even though the baroness had a husband and children. During her adventurous life, Vivien indulged in alcohol, drugs, fetishes and sadomasochism. But she grew increasingly frail and by the time of her death she weighed only 70 pounds, quite possibly dying from the cumulative effects of anorexia, alcoholism and drug abuse.

Keywords/Tags: Renee Vivien, lesbian, gay, LBGT, love, love and art, French, translation, translations, France, cross-dresser, symbolic, symbolist, symbolism, image, images, imagery, metaphor, metamorphose, metaphysical
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Veronica Franco translations

Veronica Franco (1546-1591) was a Venetian courtesan who wrote literary-quality poetry and prose.

Capitolo 19: A Courtesan's Love Lyric (I)
by Veronica Franco
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

"I resolved to make a virtue of my desire."

My rewards will be commensurate with your gifts
if only you give me the one that lifts
me laughing...

And though it costs you nothing,
still it is of immense value to me.

Your reward will be
not just to fly
but to soar, so high
that your joys vastly exceed your desires.

And my beauty, to which your heart aspires
and which you never tire of praising,
I will employ for the raising
of your spirits. Then, lying sweetly at your side,
I will shower you with all the delights of a bride,
which I have more expertly learned.

Then you who so fervently burned
will at last rest, fully content,
fallen even more deeply in love, spent
at my comfortable *****.

When I am in bed with a man I blossom,
becoming completely free
with the man who loves and enjoys me.

Here is a second, more formal version of the same poem, translated into rhymed couplets...

Capitolo 19: A Courtesan's Love Lyric (II)
by Veronica Franco
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

"I resolved to make a virtue of my desire."

My rewards will match your gifts
If you give me the one that lifts
Me, laughing. If it comes free,
Still, it is of immense value to me.
Your reward will be—not just to fly,
But to soar—so incredibly high
That your joys eclipse your desires
(As my beauty, to which your heart aspires
And which you never tire of praising,
I employ for your spirit's raising) .
Afterwards, lying docile at your side,
I will grant you all the delights of a bride,
Which I have more expertly learned.
Then you, who so fervently burned,
Will at last rest, fully content,
Fallen even more deeply in love, spent
At my comfortable *****.
When I am in bed with a man I blossom,
Becoming completely free
With the man who freely enjoys me.

Franco published two books: "Terze rime" (a collection of poems) and "Lettere familiari a diversi" (a collection of letters and poems). She also collected the works of other writers into anthologies and founded a charity for courtesans and their children. And she was an early champion of women's rights, one of the first ardent, outspoken feminists that we know by name today. For example...

Capitolo 24
by Veronica Franco
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

(written by Franco to a man who had insulted a woman)

Please try to see with sensible eyes
how grotesque it is for you
to insult and abuse women!
Our unfortunate *** is always subject
to such unjust treatment, because we
are dominated, denied true freedom!
And certainly we are not at fault
because, while not as robust as men,
we have equal hearts, minds and intellects.
Nor does virtue originate in power,
but in the vigor of the heart, mind and soul:
the sources of understanding;
and I am certain that in these regards
women lack nothing,
but, rather, have demonstrated
superiority to men.
If you think us "inferior" to yourself,
perhaps it's because, being wise,
we outdo you in modesty.
And if you want to know the truth,
the wisest person is the most patient;
she squares herself with reason and with virtue;
while the madman thunders insolence.
The stone the wise man withdraws from the well
was flung there by a fool...

Life was not a bed of roses for Venetian courtesans. Although they enjoyed the good graces of their wealthy patrons, religious leaders and commoners saw them as symbols of vice. Once during a plague, Franco was banished from Venice as if her "sins" had helped cause it. When she returned in 1577, she faced the Inquisition and charges of "witchcraft." She defended herself in court and won her freedom, but lost all her material possessions. Eventually, Domenico Venier, her major patron, died in 1582 and left her with no support. Her tax declaration of that same year stated that she was living in a section of the city where many destitute prostitutes ended their lives. She may have died in poverty at the age of forty-five.

Hollywood produced a movie based on her life: "Dangerous Beauty."

When I bed a man
who—I sense—truly loves and enjoys me,
I become so sweet and so delicious
that the pleasure I bring him surpasses all delight,
till the tight
knot of love,
however slight
it may have seemed before,
is raveled to the core.
—Veronica Franco, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We danced a youthful jig through that fair city—
Venice, our paradise, so pompous and pretty.
We lived for love, for primal lust and beauty;
to please ourselves became our only duty.
Floating there in a fog between heaven and earth,
We grew drunk on excesses and wild mirth.
We thought ourselves immortal poets then,
Our glory endorsed by God's illustrious pen.
But paradise, we learned, is fraught with error,
and sooner or later love succumbs to terror.
—Veronica Franco, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In response to a friend urging Veronica Franco to help her daughter become a courtesan, Franco warns her that the profession can be devastating:

"Even if Fortune were only benign and favorable to you in this endeavor, this life is such that in any case it would always be wretched. It is such an unhappy thing, and so contrary to human nature, to subject one's body and activity to such slavery that one is frightened just by the thought of it: to let oneself be prey to many, running the risk of being stripped, robbed, killed, so that one day can take away from you what you have earned with many men in a long time, with so many other dangers of injury and horrible contagious disease: to eat with someone else's mouth, to sleep with someone else's eyes, to move according to someone else's whim, running always toward the inevitable shipwreck of one's faculties and life. Can there be greater misery than this? ... Believe me, among all the misfortunes that can befall a human being in the world, this life is the worst."

I confess I became a courtesan, traded yearning for power, welcomed many rather than be owned by one. I confess I embraced a *****'s freedom over a wife's obedience.—"Dangerous Beauty"

I wish it were not considered a sin
to have liked *******.
Women have yet to realize
the cowardice that presides.
And if they should ever decide
to fight the shallow,
I would be the first, setting an example for them to follow.
—Veronica Franco, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Keywords/Tags: Veronica Franco, France, French, courtesan, translation, poetess, poetic expression, love, virtue, desire, lyric, lyrical, gifts, rewards, cost, costs, value, fly, soar, joy, joys, beauty, heart, spirit, spirits
ghost queen Jul 2020
It was cold, windless as we walked along the Seine towards Ile-de-la-Cite. The city had wound down, as people settled in for the weekend. The sky losing its light, turning navy, almost black, l’heure bleue, what the French called twilight, when one sneaks away to meet their lover.

The snow fell, slow, light, a delicate flurry, as the street lights flickered on, their orange yellow glow barely illuminating the ground below. We walked arm in arm, as she readjusted and tighten her hold so as not to slip. She felt good on my arm, in my arms, right as rain, as if made for each other, like interlocking jigsaw puzzles.

We walked in silence, our looks and smiles saying more than words. She radiated a beauty, a nubility like no other, match only by that of Aphrodites.    

The flurry thicken, as we cross le Petite Pont to Ile-de-la-Cite. I sensed a reluctance and heaviness in Seraphine’s step as we crossed over the slowly flowing waters of the Seine. It was late. She was tired, I assumed, from all the evening’s dancing, and now the walking to her flat at Place Dauphine.  

We walked past the square in front of Notre Dame. It was empty, and covered with a velvet blanket of white snow. It was surreal, the emptiness of the square, the majestic towers of the belfry contrasting against a gray white sky, the falling snow, the yellow of the sodium lights, softly illuminating the scene.

I walked us to the entrance of the square, and sat us down on a bench at the entrance of La Crypte Archéologique. We chatted about the dance, the evening, and how fun it had been. I told her I occasionally worked in the Crypte overseeing and helping the excavation the Lutèce layer, but spent most of my time at Musée Carnavalet doing administrative work or Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève doing historical research.

In silence, we looked in wonder and awe at Notre Dame. Seraphine snuggled tighter against me. I wrapped my arm around her, looking into he eyes. She was preternaturally beautiful, bewitching and lethally seductive. I felt as if I had no power to resist her, like a moth to a flame. I placed my hand on her cheek, and drew her in, kissing her, light and gentle as an 8 pm church bell rang in the distance. We kissed more intensely. Her breath getting harder and heavier. She put her hand behind my neck, pressing me into her, as she ****** my tongue into her mouth, harder and harder, till it hurt. Surprised by her lust, I pulled back, when I heard the 9 pm bell, the last of the evening, ringing.

I was confused, disoriented, as if I’d just woken up. I just heard the 8 pm bell as we started to kiss. Now it was 9. And my tongue, it was sore; my mouth had the metallic taste of blood. She’d gotten carried away and ****** hard, drawing blood. But I felt oddly calm. She said it was late and should get home. I stood up, took her hand and walked towards her flat. Her parent must be rich or noble, as Ile-de-la-Cite is too expensive for the masses.

At the door of the courtyard of Place Dauphine, she told me she had fun, looked deep into my eyes, gave me a light kiss on the lips, entered the code on the number pad, and disappeared into the darkness of the courtyard garden.
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