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Anais Vionet Apr 25
Sunrise was just a red line in the inky void, as Lisa and I reached the harbor decking stairs,
but at once, the brazen slash began widening, like a silent, slow motion explosion,  
thin, smoky wisps of cloud, like flammable tissue, prismed the stage light ignition.

bee-de-deep my phone chirped. It was Peter (my bf).
“Hey you,” I pronounced, as Lisa took off her left sneaker and shook it, upside-down.  
“How’s the harbor?” Peter asked. I glanced at my watch, it was 5:32 am in New Haven.
Peter must be at lunch (in Geneva) and tracking our morning run with the ‘Find My’ app.
“Beautiful,” I pronounced, “they’re really putting on a show.”
Of course, I meant the universe, the sun, the turns who were already at work, and Long Island Sound.
The gulls, perched on whatever, and grousing at each other, obviously haven’t had their coffee.
I read that AI had decoded bird talk and on a wire, they chittered, “Move over, you’re in my space.”

“Just wanted to say good morning,” Peter confessed, “Good Morning.”
“Good morning,” I wished back, “gotta go,” I replied, Lisa had finished de-pebbling her shoe.
“Yep,” Peter agreed, “Seee ya,” he quipped. “See ya,” I chuckled, smiling.
My watch asked, in my Air Podded ears, “Have you finished your workout?” because I was motionless.
I pressed the crown of my watch and slid the phone back in my pocket, our jogg’s only half done.

We began our harbor exodus, by turning our backs to the haven. It was already beginning to busy with boats.
We slipped on our hats and protective, polarized sunglasses as we began to run directly into the blazing sun.
Songs for this:
Sail on Sailor by the Beach Boys
Dancing in the moonlight by Toploader
Cold Heart - PNAU Remix by Elton John, Dua Lipa, PNAU
BLT Merriam Webster word of the day challenge: Exodus: a departure or in the bible, a mass emigration situation.
Anais Vionet Feb 5
(Inspired by 'Indigo Night' by Thomas W Case)

A thousand thousand stars pierce the indigo night,
but no moon mars the canvas, or lightens velvet strokes.

Half-hearted waves slap at shoreline rocks, like tepid applause.
If the sky is darkest blue, the ocean is a still-darker green.

The harbor suggests a freedom, outside the breakwater
as if the choppy ocean were a highway to the sky.

Tomorrow's deadlines fade, in the face of infinities.
The harbor is quiet, like a restless animal that's sleeping.

No skiffs tack for the harbor's mouth, no fishermen juggle lines.
The sea is a jagged, broken and twinkling mirror for the stars.

A thousand thousand dreams will be launched, this deep indigo tonight,
some will store, in memory's hold, others will be lost, like shipwrecks.

No line divides where sky and water fold, where endless deeps meet.
Time's arrow seems stilled by the cold and the gentle darkness.

But dawn will come, soon enough, and with that blush, cares ignite,
duties' call, and the stars will hide their light in greater glares.

For now, we'll walk the shore-line, our small voices like seagull calls,
enjoying celestial light, and the indigo night, out beyond all earthly cares.
Inspired by 'Indigo Night' by Thomas W Case
Anais Vionet Nov 2023
It was 29° (f) degrees this morning with a waning gibbous (¾) moon. Still, as we started our run, it was dark enough that the world was rendered in black and white. Lisa was a sepia print of herself while Charles was a large, quiet shadow, a dark visual noise pattern.

We usually jog from our dorm, down to and along New Haven Harbor and back. Lisa and I love the ocean. The wind was in our faces this morning and there were no sparkling moon refractions in our direction, which made the water musou and colorless.

I’ve gotten my outfit down to a science, leggings under shorts, four long sleeve, dry-wicking spandex tops (layering is important), a power-wool-earflap-beanie, thermal neck gaiter and quantum, icebreaker gloves (with touch-screen compatibility) - you gotta dress warmly but be able to shed layers as needed.

I listen to audiobooks while we run. Right now I’m on book 5 of the ‘The Expanse’ series. I don’t have time to read anything fun these days, so I listen to science-fiction/fantasy while I workout. I love the new AirPod Pro feature that automatically turns the sound down if anyone talks.

I wear a fitbit charge around my right ankle and my Apple watch as well - they both track my run - the fitbit is more accurate but my watch sends my workout stats to my siblings - we’re uhh, sort of competitive.

At first, as we came up on the harbor, it was impossible to see the intersection of the two dark oceans - the great terrestrial and the greater galactic - but as we turned for home, there was an atmospheric scatter of blue at the edge of the horizon, heralding the sunrise on our retreating backs.

musou = one of the darkest shades of black
When I embarked on my voyage
I got infatuated by your charm
And thought you were my final destination
But slowly, when I came closer to you 
You made me realize that 
You're just another harbor to rest for a while
In this indefinite journey, which has no end..!
Andreas Simic Feb 2022
Passing Through

We are like two sailing ships
Passing through a narrow canal

Veteran captains standing  on our decks
We nod heads to each other

In acknowledgement as if to say
Congratulations on a job well done

The sails of our boats once taut now sag
A sign of the relics we have become

In our hey day
We were the top of our class

The envy of the fleet
Known for speed and cunningness

The scourge of the open seas
Few willing to take us on in a battle of the minds

Feared in competition
Avoided where possible

But alas like all things in life
There is decline and decay awaiting us

When you know the time has come
For navigating into the sunset for safe harbor

All that is left is to idle away time
Sitting on the sandy shore until...

Andreas Simic©
Anais Vionet Jan 2022
I went down to watch the ocean this morning - well, Long Island Sound anyway. My last chance for a while, classes start tomorrow. I wonder sometimes how I can be refreshed by that gray, drizzly, melancholy harbor - locked in winter’s intemperate grip - but I am.

The salty air seems thicker and richer, the sky bigger and wilder. There’s the relaxing sound mix of wave and gull. The ugly brown pelicans bickering like old, married couples, as a lone fisherman, in his yellow macintosh slicker, sorts his boat lines under the watchful, hopeful, hungry eyes of floating black-backed gulls.

Maybe I should become a sailor? Besides, I hear it’s a great way to meet guys.
BLT word of the day challenge: intemperate
Your Harbor

When it all becomes too much,
I can be your safe harbor
Sixteenth part....
Dark n Beautiful Nov 2020
When a poem speak in confidence
That is how I am as I walk the street of Brooklyn

me, a poem of mystery, a bite senility though
in my sensate world:

I know ones pride, can over shadow them
Never ride ones pride.  Especially when the
price of victory is high but so are the rewards.

Did our former leader congratulate the new President?

Maybe I missed his speech,
pride is born in the heart
Ego is born in the mind
today is November 10th 2020:

My job can be so frustrating at times,
during these times of uncertainty

I have to push on daily,
to have a joyful moment,
at the work place
Give thank in all circumstances,
but I will never uttered those words
That is was God work:
it was because of my inner fears.
That led me to stay as long
as I did at the seafront:

The world feels lighter these days,
Satan power is lessening,
Death has lost its sting ( 1 Corinthians 15:55

For the first time in this country
A black female is the vice president of America
And what bring a smile on my face,
She attend the same college as my younger daughter
Howard University.. Thumps up !

When I was a teenager,
I went swimming late one night
In the cold water down the harbor Road,
A poem was created that night, little did I knew
Here I am rehashing those memories…..
A happy mood clouds our judgement
Words, words, images and the truth
Michael might not remember, but I remember,

The city lights and the whispering of the wind:
My shivering slender body was a poem inside and out:
When my poems speak in confidence,  I walk, the walk
In the street of Brooklyn..
Amanda Kay Burke Apr 2020
What I want
To feel happy again
I don't get what I need
Things I harbor hold me back
Beneath skin are wounds that bleed
If I could only let go of this baggage.. then maybe I could be free, and light enough to fly.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts

The sea at night seems
an alembic of dreams—
the moans of the gulls,
the foghorns’ bawlings.

A century late
to be melancholy,
I watch the last shrimp boat as it steams
to safe harbor again.

In the twilight she gleams
with a festive light,
done with her trawlings,
ready to sleep . . .

Deep, deep, in delight
glide the creatures of night,
elusive and bright
as the poet’s dreams.

Published by The Lyric, Grassroots Poetry, Romantics Quarterly, Angle, Poetry Porch, Poetry Life & Times. Keywords/Tags: Kevin Roberts, Kevin N. Roberts, Kevin Nicholas Roberts, Romantic, Poet, Romanticism, safe, harbor, night, dreams, imagination

These are poems I wrote for my friend Kevin Nicholas Roberts, who in addition to being a talented Romantic poet, was the founder and first editor of Romantics Quarterly.

by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts

Ophelia, madness suits you well,
as the ocean sounds in an empty shell,
as the moon shines brightest in a starless sky,
as suns supernova before they die ...

by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts

“What will you conceive in me?”—
I asked her. But she
only smiled.

“Naked, I bore your child
when the wolf wind howled,
when the cold moon scowled . . .
naked, and gladly.”

“What will become of me?”—
I asked her, as she
absently stroked my hand.

Centuries later, I understand:
she whispered—“I Am.”

Published by Romantics Quarterly (the first poem in the first issue), Penny Dreadful, Unlikely Stories, Underground Poets, Poetically Speaking, Poetry Life & Times, Little Brown Poetry. Keywords: Muse, Goddess, Erato, Beloved, poetic, inspiration, lyric, poetry, divinity, Orpheus, Sappho

Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

The sea at night seems
an alembic of dreams—
the moans of the gulls,
the foghorns’ bawlings.

A century late
to be melancholy,
I watch the last shrimp boat as it steams
to safe harbor again.

In the twilight she gleams
with a festive light,
done with her trawlings,
ready to sleep . . .

Deep, deep, in delight
glide the creatures of night,
elusive and bright
as the poet’s dreams.

Published by The Lyric, Grassroots Poetry, Romantics Quarterly, Angle, Poetry Porch, Poetry Life & Times

This poem is a commentary on writing romantic poetry in the 21st century (“a century late to be melancholy”) and the term “safe harbor” is primarily ironic. The shrimp boat, though it seems “festive,” actually represents the unnatural “industry” of modern technical” poetry. By “technical,” I mean poetry that is more of an academic enterprise than an affair of the heart. The “creatures of night” shine with a natural luminescence, like the poet’s dreams and words.

by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

I liked the first passage
of her poem—where it led
(though not nearly enough
to retract what I said.)
Now the book propped up here
flutters, scarcely half read.
    It will keep.
    Before sleep,
let me read yours instead.

There's something of love
in the rhythms of night
—in the throb of streets
where the late workers drone,
in the sounds that attend
each day’s sad, squalid end—
that reminds us: till death
we are never alone.

So we write from the hearts
that will fail us anon,
    words in red
    truly bled
though they cannot reveal
    whence they came,
    who they're for.
And the tap at the door
goes unanswered. We write,
for there is nothing more
    than a verse,
    than a song,
than this chant of the blessed:
    If these words
    be my sins,
let me die unconfessed!
Unconfessed, unrepentant;
I rescind all my vows!
    Write till sleep:
    it’s the leap
only Talent allows.

Too Gentle, Angelic
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

Too gentle, angelic for Nature, child,
too pure of heart for Religion’s vice . . .
Oh, charm us again, let us be beguiled!
With your passionate warmth melt men’s hearts of ice.

This poem was written shortly after the death of the poet Kevin N. Roberts. He died on December 10, 2008 and the poem was written on December 23, 2008, just before Christmas.

by Michael R. Burch

a prayer-poem for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

O, let me be the Beloved
and let the Longing be Yours;
but if You should “love” without Force,
how then shall I love—stone, unmoved?
But let me be the Beloved,
and let the Longing be Yours.

And as for the Saint, my dear friend,
tonight let his suffering end!,
and let him be your Beloved . . .
no longer be stone: Love unmoved!
But light on him now—Love, descend!
Tonight, let his suffering end.

For how can true Love be unmoved?
If he suffers for love, Love reproved,
I will never be your Beloved,
so love him instead, so behooved!
Yes, let him be your Beloved,
or let You be nothing, so proved.

Must this be our one and sole pact—
keep you ***** forever intact?

I wrote this poem a few months before Kevin’s death.

by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

Only the long dolor of dusk delights me now,
     as I await death.
The rain has ruined the unborn corn,
         and the wasting breath
of autumn has cruelly, savagely shorn
               each ear of its radiant health.
As the golden sun dims, so the dying land seems to relinquish its vanishing wealth.

Only a few erratic, trembling stalks still continue to stand,
     half upright,
and even these the winds have continually robbed of their once-plentiful,
          golden birthright.
I think of you and I sigh, forlorn, on edge
               with the rapidly encroaching night.
Ten thousand stillborn lilies lie limp, mixed with roses, unable to ignite.

Whatever became of the magical kernel, golden within
     at the winter solstice?
What of its promised kingdom, Amen!, meant to rise again
          from this balmless poultice,
this strange bottomland where one Scarecrow commands
               dark legions of ravens and mice?
And what of the Giant whose bellows demand our negligible lives, his black vice?

I find one bright grain here aglitter with rain, full of promise and purpose
     and drive.
Through lightning and hail and nightfalls and pale, cold sunless moons
         it will strive
to rise up from its “place” on a network of lace, to the glory
             of being alive.
Why does it bother, I wonder, my brother? O, am I unwise to believe?
                                    But Jack had his beanstalk
                              and you had your poems
                         and the sun seems intent to ascend
               and so I also must climb
          to the end of my time,
     however the story
may unwind

This poem was written around a month after Kevin’s death.

Storied Lovers
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin and Janice Roberts

In your quest for the Beloved,
my brother, did you make
a near-fatal mistake?

Did you trust in the Enchantress,
La Belle Dame, as they say,
Sans Merci? Shall I pray
more kindly hands to gather you
to warmer *******, and hold
your Spirit there, enfold
your heart in love’s sweet blessedness?

No need! One Angel’s fond caress
was your sweet haven here.
None ever held more dear,
you harbored with your Anchoress
whenever storms drew near.

Whatever storms drew near,
however great the Flood,
she held you, kind and good,
no imperious savage Empress,
but as earthly Angels should.

In your quest for the Beloved
did the road take some strange fork
where ecstatic feys cavort
that led you to her hermitage
and her hearth, safe from that wood.
(Did La Belle Dame’s dark eyes hood?)

I am thankful for the marriage
two tender spirits shared.
When the raging waters glared
and the deadly bugles blared
like cruel Trumps of Doom, below
how strong death’s undertow!

But true spirits never sink.
Though he swam through hell’s fell stink
and a sea of putrid harms,
he swam back to your arms!


Life lived upon the brink
of death, man’s human fate,
can yet such Love create
that the hosts above, spellbound,
fall silent. So confound
the heavens with your Love
and fly, O tender Dove!,
to wherever hearts may rest
once having sweetly blessed
a heart like my dear brother’s
and be both storied lovers.


I wrote this poem on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2009.

You Were the One Who Talked to Angels
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

You were the one who talked to Angels
while I was the one who berated God,
calling him Tyrant, Infidel, Fool,
Killer, Clown, Brute, Sod, Despot, Clod.

But you were the one who talked to Angels—
who, bathed in celestial light,
stood unarmed, except for your pen
and your journal, ecstatic, to write.

How kind their baptisms, how gentle their voices!
Considering their nature the world rejoices,
and you were their gentle, their chosen one . . .
you, my kind friend, now unkindly gone.

But you were the one who talked to Angels,
in empathy, being their kind,
a child of compassion whose tender heart
burst beneath skin’s ruptured rind.

You sought the Beloved with a questing Heart;
once found, the heav’n-quickened Spirit must fly!
You mastered Man’s strange, fatalistic Art—
to live, to love, to laugh, then die.

But living here, Angel, you found the arms
of a human Angel and, living, you knew
the glories of temporal, mortal love
where one and one eclipses two.

And now she mourns you, as we all do.

But you were the one who talked to Angels,
as William Blake did, in his day,
and, childlike, felt their eclectic grace—
sweet warmth, illuminating clay.

Two kinds of Warmth—a Wife’s, and Theirs.
Two kinds of Love—Human, Divine.
Two kinds of Grace—the Angels’, Hers.
Two Planes within one Heart combine.

And so you brought far heaven near,
and so you elevated earth
and Human Love, to where the Cloud
of Witnesses might see man’s worth.


My Christlike brother, who talked to Angels,
where do you soar today, I wonder?
Do you fly on white percussive wings,
far, far beyond earth’s abyssal thunder,
and looking back, regard the earth
and its lightnings and their bellowed hymns
as the sparks and groans of a temporal Forge,
as merely momentary things?

There, looking up, do you see the Host
of those who ascended, of those who see
all things more clearly, having slipped
thin veils of flesh, for Eternity?

And will you, in your Joy, forget
the sufferings of serfs below,
or will you remember, cry “Relent!”
to those with the power to bestow
the gifts of spirit upon the many
rather than just the Chosen Few,
who sell bottled grace for a pretty penny
and break the hearts of doves like you?

Or will you be the Advocate
of those who live—the ***; the *****;
the homeless man; the indigent;
the waif who begs at the kirk’s barred door
and dares not enter, for her “sins”
which the rich-robed mannequins deplore
as they circle her and mind the store?

Will mercy, pity, peace conspire
to hold you in their gravity
so that, still Human, you aspire
to change earth’s dark trajectory?

I wrote this poem the day after Kevin died.

Keywords/Tags: poetry, poems, poet, Kevin Roberts, Kevin N. Roberts, Kevin Nicholas Roberts, romantic, Romantics Quarterly
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