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Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Winter Thoughts of Ann Rutledge

Ann Rutledge was apparently Abraham Lincoln’s first love interest. Unfortunately, she was engaged to another man when they met, then died with typhoid fever at age 22. According to a friend, Isaac Cogdal, when asked if he had loved her, Lincoln replied: “It is true―true indeed, I did. I loved the woman dearly and soundly: She was a handsome girl―would have made a good, loving wife … I did honestly and truly love the girl and think often, often of her now.”

Winter Thoughts of Ann Rutledge
by Michael R. Burch

Winter was not easy,
nor would the spring return.
I knew you by your absence,
as men are wont to burn
with strange indwelling fire―
such longings you inspire!

But winter was not easy,
nor would the sun relent
from sculpting ****** images
and how could I repent?
I left quaint offerings in the snow,
more maiden than I care to know.



Ann Rutledge’s Irregular Quilt
by Michael R. Burch

based on “Lincoln the Unknown” by Dale Carnegie

I.
Her fingers “plied the needle” with “unusual swiftness and art”
till Abe knelt down beside her: then her demoralized heart
set Eros’s dart a-quiver; thus a crazy quilt emerged:
strange stitches all a-kilter, all patterns lost. (Her host
kept her vicarious laughter barely submerged.)

II.
Years later she’d show off the quilt with its uncertain stitches
as evidence love undermines men’s plans and unevens women’s strictures
(and a plethora of scriptures.)

III.
But O the sacred tenderness Ann’s reckless stitch contains
and all the world’s felicities: rich cloth, for love’s fine gains,
for sweethearts’ tremulous fingers and their bright, uncertain vows
and all love’s blithe, erratic hopes (like now’s).

IV.
Years later on a pilgrimage, by tenderness obsessed,
Dale Carnegie, drawn to her grave, found weeds in her place of rest
and mowed them back, revealing the spot of Lincoln’s joy and grief
(and his hope and his disbelief).

V.
Yes, such is the tenderness of love, and such are its disappointments.
Love is a book of rhapsodic poems. Love is an grab bag of ointments.
Love is the finger poised, the smile, the Question ― perhaps ― and the Answer?

Love is the pain of betrayal, the two left feet of the dancer.

VI.
There were ladies of ill repute in his past. Or so he thought. Was it true?
And yet he loved them, Ann (sweet Ann!), as tenderly as he loved you.

Keywords/Tags: Abraham Lincoln, Ann Rutledge, history, president, love, lover, mistress, paramour, romance, romantic, quilt, Dale Carnegie
s y kalindara Oct 2020
My heart is an addict of fiction.

Awakening your pages with every drum,
it beats to remind me
that you're my very own
perennial paramour
and I'm so sick of its pounding propaganda.


Copyright © 2020 by S. Y. Kalindara. All rights reserved.
Why does my heart keep insisting that you're the love of my life?
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Le Balcon (“The Balcony”)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Paramour of memory, ultimate mistress,
source of all pleasure, my only desire;
how can I forget your ecstatic caresses,
the warmth of your ******* by the roaring fire,
paramour of memory, ultimate mistress?

Each night illumined by the burning coals
we lay together where the rose-fragrance clings—
how soft your *******, how tender your soul!
Ah, and we said imperishable things,
each night illumined by the burning coals.

How beautiful the sunsets these sultry days,
deep space so profound, beyond life’s brief floods ...
then, when I kissed you, my queen, in a daze,
I thought I breathed the bright bouquet of  your blood
as beautiful as sunsets these sultry days.

Night thickens around us like a wall;
in the deepening darkness our irises meet.
I drink your breath, ah! poisonous yet sweet!,
as with fraternal hands I massage your feet
while night thickens around us like a wall.

I have mastered the sweet but difficult art
of happiness here, with my head in your lap,
finding pure joy in your body, your heart;
because you’re the queen of my present and past
I have mastered love’s sweet but difficult art.

O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!
Can these be reborn from a gulf we can’t sound
as suns reappear, as if heaven misses
their light when they sink into seas dark, profound?
O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!



The Perfect Courtesan
by Michael R. Burch

after Baudelaire, for the courtesans

She received me into her cavities,
indulging my darkest depravities
with such trembling longing, I felt her need ...

Such was the dalliance to which we agreed—
she, my high rider;
I, her wild steed.

She surrendered her all and revealed to me—
the willing handmaiden, delighted to please,
the Perfect Courtesan of Ecstasy.

Keywords/Tags: Baudelaire, translation, French, balcony, paramour, memory, mistress, desire, caresses, fire, coals, rose, *******, night, breath, feet, lap, body, heart, vows, perfumes, kisses, gulf, suns, heaven, light, seas
Bansi Adroja Aug 2018
Do you ever think about me
during Sunday lunches or at piano rectials
of holding hands in the dark
our bodies against each other

Do you ever feel like you're missing out
while you're pretending
to be who are you out there  

Do you ever look at the ring
on your left hand and wonder
what if it had been us
A Poem a Day : Seventeen
Nora Mar 2017
Darling, dearest,
Come out of the dark,
And into my heart
The sun has set,
The crowds are gone,
No longer I ought to pretend
That you’re only just a friend
Sienna Luna Mar 2017
It's like my heart can't contain you.

It's like I've let go of what was needed to let go of

to let you in.

And it's beyond my expectations
like slipping my feet into the beach

and finding my toes
underneath soft, warm sand
warmed by the sun.

And for so long I've denied myself
happiness.

And for so long I've forced this picture that what I want

is better than what I truly need.

And I'm trying to understand why I had to give up one failed romantic relationship

in order to find another that is a hundred times better.

I realized that I had fallen

in love with my own poetry

I'd fallen in love with myself again and again and again

never truly allowing myself to fall
in love with anyone in reality
because my fantasies were so much better.

And then I met you

the beach, the sand, the cold lip of water lapping against my ankles
the submersion of water, salt, seaweed, and foam

your warm hand in my own
fingers latching

the beautiful sunrise
softly, strongly touching
a horizon stretching so many miles away but in one swift look

I saw balance. I saw joy. I saw the colors I've always loved and hoped to see one day.

It's like my heart can't contain you.

And the ocean is calling me home.

That giant expanse of glistening water reflecting the sun's willful welcome as a new day begins

so daunting so beautiful so overwhelming in its stark grandness

so familiar this feeling.

It's like I've known you for a very long time.

It's like I've found myself smiling with the waves now pressing against my gut

white sea foam dissolving quickly
tickling my torso
making me laugh
loud belly laughs
mouth stretched wide and daring
teeth showing
eyes crinkling
body shaking
legs trembling

The ocean of your love

is calling me home.

Am I ready to dive deeper?
Am I ready to submerge not just my torso but my head as well?
What if I can't breathe underwater?
What if I can't open my eyelids?

It's like my heart can't contain you.

But then I touch my neck

and find gills.

But then I touch my eyes

and find goggles.

And then I know

that I'm ready to dive.
Every hotel room
makes me remember you,  dear,
lonely paramour.
Hotel Tropical, Ermita, Manila
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