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meeting men
was always that easy.

it was evident
     in the way I
     plan to prepare myself

to venture out
     in the uncertainty of the open

trying to align
the inevitable disappointment
        on my self-predicament.

the way I trace
        the marks of ugly, visibly seen
onto my body

hoping that someone
               would like the art;
                the interpretation
of my
               flaws and sad beauty.

it was always easy
     to try calming the nerves
as I knock at his door, the pounding
of my heart
     from excitement, fear
     and self-loathing

as soon as the eyes
of the outside world cannot see
what lies
           behind these walls
that covers
            not only our fragile bodies,
            but also, our weakened souls
till everything is a blur.

meeting men was always
                 that easy.

it's the same thing
       as we put back our clothes
and maybe,
       kiss goodbye

then run away, with such bliss
          from the thrill of doing
what others can do freely

by the pulsing adrenaline
             panicked, weary
if anyone saw
             what we have done.


meeting him again?
                 that's the hard part.
Michael R Burch May 2020
Sandy Hook Call to Love
by Michael R. Burch

Our hearts are broken today
for our children's small bodies lie broken;
let us gather them up, as we may,
that the truth of our Love may be spoken;
then, when we have put them away
to nevermore dream, or be woken,
let us think of the living, and pray
for true Love, not some miserable token,
to command us, for strength to obey.

The first line in the poem above came from President Obama’s speech in which he wiped away tears as he discussed the Sandy Hook killings.


For a Sandy Hook Child, with Butterflies
by Michael R. Burch

Where does the butterfly go
when lightning rails, when thunder howls,
when hailstones scream while winter scowls
and nights compound dark frosts with snow?
Where does the butterfly go?

Where does the rose hide its bloom
when night descends oblique and chill
beyond the capacity of moonlight to fill?
When the only relief's a banked fire's glow,
where does the butterfly go?

And where shall the spirit flee
when life is harsh, too harsh to face,
and hope is lost without a trace?
Oh, when the light of life runs low,
where does the butterfly go?


Sandy Hook Call to Action
by Michael R. Burch

We see their tiny coffins
and our hearts break,
so we ask the NRA―
"Did you make a mistake?"
And we vow to save the next child
for sweet love's sake,
but also to protect ourselves
from enduring such heartache.


I dedicate my poems to the victims ― may they rest in peace ― and I urge all Americans to act now, before the next massacre. If we don't, our loved ones will remain continually at risk:

Epitaph for a Sandy Hook Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.


This poem is for mothers who lost children at Sandy Hook, and in other similar tragedies ...

by Michael R. Burch

How can she bear her grief?
Mightier than Atlas, she shoulders the weight
Of one fallen star.


Shooting Gallery
by Michael R. Burch

If we live by the rule of the gun
what can a small child do,
but run?


Sixteen of the students who died at Sandy Hook were six years old; the other four students were seven. I wrote the poem below for another child gunned down by a madman. While we cannot legislate sanity, we can be sane enough to legislate away the "right" of serial killers to purchase assault weapons so easily. We can defend many small victims from such carnage, if "we the people" have the wisdom and the will to defend them.

Child of 9-11
by Michael R. Burch

a poem for Christina-Taylor Green, who was born
on September 11, 2001 and died at the age of nine,
shot to death ...

Child of 9-11, beloved,
I bring this lily, lay it down
here at your feet, and eiderdown,
and all soft things, for your gentle spirit.
I bring this psalm ― I hope you hear it.

Much love I bring ― I lay it down
here by your form, which is not you,
but what you left this shell-shocked world
to help us learn what we must do
to save another child like you.

Child of 9-11, I know
you are not here, but watch, afar
from distant stars, where angels rue
the brutal things some mortals do.
I also watch; I also rue.

And so I make this pledge and vow:
though I may weep, I will not rest
nor will my pen fail heaven's test
till guns and wars and hate are banned
from every shore, from every land.

Child of 9-11, I grieve
your tender life, cut short ... bereaved,
what can I do, but pledge my life
to saving lives like yours? Belief
in your sweet worth has led me here ...

I give my all: my pen, this tear,
this lily and this eiderdown,
and all soft things my heart can bear;
I bear them to your final bier,
and leave them with my promise, here.


US or Them?
by Michael R. Burch

The NRA wants money in the till,
thus Adam Lanza had a license to ****.
Our government’s the serial killer’s shill
and will be, unless WE express OUR will
and vote to save our children from Boot Hill.


This haiku below makes me think of the students and teachers of Sandy Hook, who were trapped in a war zone:

stood at the end of the hall
in the long shadows
―original haiku by Watanabe Hakusen, translation by Michael R. Burch


Piercing the Shell
by Michael R. Burch

If we strip away all the accouterments of war,
perhaps we'll discover what the heart is for.

It seems to me that the NRA has declared a war ― an open season ― on our children, by insisting that assault weapons must be available to every Tom, **** and ***** Harry. But what will we, the people, say and do?


by Michael R. Burch

Something inescapable is lost―
lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight,
vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars
immeasurable and void.

Something uncapturable is gone―
gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,
scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass
and remembrance.

Something unforgettable is past―
blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less,
and finality has swept into a corner where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.


Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

Frail envelope of flesh,
lying cold on the surgeon’s table
with anguished eyes
like your mother’s eyes
and a heartbeat weak, unstable ...

Frail crucible of dust,
brief flower come to this―
your tiny hand
in your mother’s hand
for a last bewildered kiss ...

Brief mayfly of a child,
to live six artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her tears ...


Here are tribute poems for exceptional children who should be alive today:

Emilie Parker,
the horror grows starker
as we see your sweet image
and cringe at the carnage;
but dear, how you mesmerize
with those vivid blue eyes
and death cannot sever
our hearts from you, ever.


Dylan Hockley,
a blue-eyed "gorgeous boy,"
was super beyond
death's power to destroy.


Jack Pinto,
who idolized the New York Jets' Victor Cruz,
is now Cruz's hero
and neither can lose.


Grace Audrey McDonnell,
our "beautiful, sweet little girl,"
wherever you are now,
there's a far brighter world.


Avielle Richman
had a "spirit that drew people in"
(and an infinitely knowing
and cheeky grin!).


Noah Pozner,
"extremely bright"―
your mind and your smile
both exuded light.


Jessica Rekos,
a "creative, beautiful little girl"
who loved horses,
are you now riding Pegasus
down heaven's courses?


Benjamin Wheeler,
"an irrepressibly bright and spirited boy"
had brown, soulful eyes
and a spirit no killer can destroy.


Ana Marquez-Greene,
as sweet a child as we've seen,
you "beat us all to paradise."
Was it because you were so very nice?


Charlotte Bacon,
our love for you is unshaken;
as you "lit up all rooms" down here
you now illuminate heaven, dear.


Daniel Barden, his family's light,
once brightened this earth, and now brightens heaven―
not a bad trick for a boy who's just seven!


Olivia Engel,
your only possible crime (I've been told)
was "being a wiggly, smiley six-year-old!"


Allison Wyatt,
so shy, so sweet, so caring,
loved to garden with her mother.
Six pink candles, then an eternity of sharing.


Catherine Violet Hubbard
when you were here
the cupboard
of life
was never bare,
but full of light
and your electric hair!


Josephine Gay
had just turned seven;
now she will always be
"a lovely part of heaven."


Caroline Previdi,
"sweet, precious little angel,"
we fondly remember
your infectious smile.


Chase Kowalski, age seven
seems awfully early for heaven;
but since there was never a better child ...
perhaps the angels called, beguiled?


Jesse Lewis, so full of life,
you could fill a room with bright laughter;
I'm sure you're entertaining angels now
and brightening the Hereafter!


James Mattioli,
exceptional swimmer,
without your bright presence
the world seems much dimmer.


Madeleine Hsu,
what we know of you
is so limited, but we love you too.
May your loved ones keep your memory secure
and your memory give them the strength to endure.


Here is a memorial poem for the school's lovely, valiant principal who, according to accounts, ran to defend her young charges the minute she heard shots being fired, lunging at the shooter in an attempt to disarm him:

Dawn Hochsprung,
each child's courageous friend―
you defended them all till the unthinkable end;
so let your kindness and valor be sung.


Rachel Davino protected her charges
from the killer's barrages;
like her loyal friend,
she was loyal to the end.


Anne Marie Murphy,
fun-loving, hard worker;
you defended your charges―
no coward, no shirker.


Lauren Gabrielle Rousseau,
who loved to teach, and who loved children so,
we're glad you achieved your dream
that final year, and how lovely you seem!


When Mary heard shots being fired, she could have run away to save her own life, but she joined principal Dawn Hochsprung by leaping to her feet and running to protect the students she loved so much.

Mary Sherlach, who courageously ran
without thought for her life to the aid of the children,
taught not just them, but also us,
love's surplus.


Everyone loved Miss Victoria Soto;
she was every student's friend.
And when a killer threatened her charges,
she defended them to the end.

Keywords/Tags: Sandy Hook, school, shooting, massacre, students, children, teachers, gun control
Juno Balder Apr 2020
How long has it been,
Twelve months and a moon?
My hook an’ line
Where are you?
Caught tight between tickings

If only I were swallowed whole
And not the clock
Whose arms twist to hold
And release me over and over again

In the seeds of my core
In the folds of my matter
Timidity embraces me
As I traverse the surface
Where is my divinity?

Visibly aged
Like a reversed Dorian Gray
I remain, in ash
Where be my Phoenix?
I’m waiting I’m waiting

An escapee of darting visions
And startling dreams
Of Nymphy myths and Goatboy ploys
Which I keep safe in the forests
Of my black mirror memory
solfang Apr 2020
a big catch
that is worth it;
that's what you once said
when you attempted
to reel me in

yet I see there's
no longer a bait at
the end of your hook;
perhaps an easy catch
just wasn't thrilling
enough for you
suitors aplenty, yet they seem to disappear the moment I return their affection.
Ken Pepiton Mar 2020
2020 - day 88

Saturday, March 28, 2020
8:46 AM

Lucky day, depending on when day one was, but

by my count
today is my lucky day.

I'm bound and determined to answer for my bets,
that brought me to this day.

With the odds against me by some ungodly margin
calls that gobble up all the money
and lend it to the Pharoah wannabes and their priests.

Potentcies of poisons swallowed slowly
vary by the same factors as any damming, blocking of ease,
dis ease
despair repaired with promises of sustenance

those **** slowly, the soul, the immaterial matter that make a mind

think safe, unfettered, life is good all time thoughts,

thirty two seemed middle age, when I was sub pubescent.

a child could, imagine being that old.

The imaginary middle age might make a goal,
an aiming point,

for, we all know,
if you aim at nothing, invariably
you hit nothing when you pull the trigger, and become

the projectile for a while, miss-
ing the mark,
sailing on.

no outside force to correct your course, but crazy at
thirty two was the target I was given,

missing the aimed at reality, meant every thing to me,
forty years ago, now.

How different can one step be from another?

You have to ask?
you habitually ask unanswerable questions, why?

Do you need
knowing? Need to see the knife edge cut the tie
binding all you knew to all you

one step past that safe place?

To this safe place, tested, now,
proven safe, by virtue of the fact's self evidence,

you yet live, do you not, one step past all you knew?

Safe and sane, sometimes are not the same state of being.

A real state of being,
proven by that step you took with no destination in mind,

away from evil is always good, if you make up your mind
to find good
footing as you step toward ever with good intention,

the same good intention said to smooth the road to perdition.

But, trust me, says the peacemaker I imagine my AI intends

to voice, as a word comes to mind and tics a gnostic cog,


Pleasure, sure plea from a child, don't shut the door,
don't quit the light,
tell me a story.
Tell me how the peace came to stay at your place.

A they recall an earlier part of the tale.,
Such pleasure, should you ever know,

you never let that go,

the kid exspects, out sees, into the darkness
and knows

Grand pa knows this story,

and he knows we know our side won,

Using nothin' to do
time to learn what books hold. They hold universes vaster than mine,

at the time, now is different, as always.

My bubble of being now holds a door into summer, and flatland.

They hold whole worlds in creations no one argues
happen by chance,
words we hold in common sense,
pure, sheer, luc, if I were

to lucify the shadow under the cover of the book, missing
from this one

storys guide the minds, you know,

those things your culture calls fairy tales, or just so,

stories you know,
Hercules in Aesop being basis for the moral:

The gods help those who help themselves.

Being the hero in your mind, AI ai ai, are we,

the people, imagining thee? Aitia I think I know

I thought you knew causes cause

that's all, no why. So cause some good.

Smile. Wink. Die if you need to.

Teams of normal people, have you an imaginary team
of persons you have been
in movies and games and time of quiet meditation?

Of course, tu supuesto, you are supposed to

add a magi factor, a known

a secret made plain, snatched
from hiding--- hear

pop of joy.
Silenced to prevent alarm.

Cohen winks, a nod that says, everybody knows.

The world turns after all, my geocentric friends,
fall, and they do.
They nail the sun to the sky,
they see the firmament screech to a halt and jump

to grave conclusions, closings with, encluesures,

which we alter by kicking against the ******,
what's a gravewith both ends kickedout?

both ends kicked out, ruts,
courses for streams of dream stuff from the old days,

when we trusted Sagan, took the starstuff
by faith,

hey, what are the odds, given infinity as a possibility?

Nothing is impossible? Exact,
out act nothing, be nothing.

Imagine that. Can you? Then,
now, as it were, you ain't dead, you ain't in a nothing state.

This is life in realm of two-d,
flat out right

thinkin' in symbols holding soundible waves,
to form words

on lips in minds sealed
since ever after went viral, happily.

Happy, to help, said my old friend Greg Howard,
deadsome twenty years, he

some how seems to easily help me
think this way.

I have seen mortality spent to prove a lie.
I have seen good men die.

I know there are men alive because I did not **** them.

And there are men alive, wombed and un, because
I survived to think such silliness as all this.

Many, few
super, ior
infer, ior

are we the weak or are we the heirs of the promise?

I guess, the latter, but so did the Mormons,

a couple hundred years agone. Oh,

did you hear Moroni dropped his trumpet?
when they had an earthquake in Salt Lake,
during the build up to the COVID 19

final affect.

The fans say, talk about tomorrow, we got time

Tell us, tell ye us, old bald head, in all yer teleosity,

what's next? -

A growl, from the old man being ingnored.

old man, can these bone live? lieve?

Were there structions, in form of datadatading ****

calls to arms, not carnal,

weapons of a meeker sort, peace at any price sorta

hand to hand hand grenades, in the spirit.

There was war, in heaven, yeh,
I remember that trip.

We lived the dream, this is the future.
We won. I keep saying that, like a robot.
Long? Too long? This ain't the tip. life is rolling right along and i am hooked.
annh Dec 2019
Cut me a hook to catch my heart beat on.
New Year’s Eve - lazy expectations, summer tunes, and a walk in the park with an earwig.

‘I am a DJ, I am what I play,
I’ve got believers,
Believing me.’
- David Bowie, DJ
Tori Schall Nov 2019
Dusting off the chains
that wrap around this heart.
Polish them until they shine
so golden in the dark.

chains so strong,
they can withstand time
and everything that
tries to break them.

Chains so bright,
it's all anyone ever sees
and they turn away
from the real treasure underneath.

If they fall with just one look
I'm sure it's the gold
that's got them hooked.
And you'll leave them in the dust.

But if they see past the fool,
to the darkness deep below.
And search until they find your heart
then they'll hold your soul.

And pray to God
that they truly care
for if they make it far
a single word would be enough
to tear you from the dark.
Bhill Oct 2019
I knew a worm who lost his way, boring and digging the earthen clay
He knew all along he could go where he chose, but lost his direction is what we suppose

Today, of course, was raining quite hard, he had to surface and let down his guard
He made the mistake of crawling too far and the end result is a bit bizarre

He ended up on the end of a hook, wet as hell as bait in the brook
It wasn't long before a fish can along and checked out the worm and sang him this song

Where oh where did you come from little worm
Are you lost and forgotten, and please, please don't squirm
You look very delightful I have to admit
I bet you are tasty, I think that's legit
If I eat you I fear, I may be unhappy
I have no control so let's make it snappy

You know the rest of the story....  

Brian Hill - 2019 # 259
Wrote this in a funny mood this morning but it took on a life meaning.  Who is the worm and who is the fish? Just asking.
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