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The Shape of Mourning
by Michael R. Burch

The shape of mourning
is an oiled creel
shining with unuse,

the bolt of cold steel
on a locker
shielding memory,

the monthly penance
of flowers,
the annual wake,

the face in the photograph
no longer dissolving under scrutiny,
becoming a keepsake,

the useless mower
lying forgotten
in weeds,

rings and crosses and
all the paraphernalia
the soul no longer needs.

Keywords/Tags: shape, mourning, bolt, steel, locker, memory, memories, penance, wake, keepsake, memento, rings, crosses, paraphernalia
Duchess Lady
Pay your penance
Break your crown
Pawn your necklace
Jewels a-jingle as you shiver
Chains of Incan gold & silver

Please, Your Lordship
Don't forget it
Your riches have
Availed you nothing
Go downtown & look around
At the joy that should abound
Sneha Aug 2019
i’ve dedicated my life
to doing penance
for sins i did not commit.
whose ledger is it
that i am trying to wipe clean?
i toil with desperation, as if on trial,
fruitlessly trying to prove myself
to judge, jury, executioner
that not even i know.
which laws did i break
in the checkered past only i see?
the glass shows a liar and a cheat
an adulterer, a glutton
a sloth, a jealous beast
they all stare back at me
as i try to exonerate them.
they all look like her
and she calls out to me but i cannot hear
she is muffled beneath their cries of innocence.
i shackle myself in their stead
and pay the debts of demons i never knew.
Anthony Mayfield Jun 2018
At the crossroads, I panicked.
I lost my mind.
Torn between fruitful and guile.
The desert before me,
Oasis behind me...

How can awake feel so tired?

Then the man came to me,
Said he’s been here before,
Now he just helps the lost souls.

The desert,
The oasis,
They’re both just a status of mind,
And must be let go.

I told the man he’s mistaken,
I’m not lost at all.
A way home is all I desire.
The desert’s my penance,
Oasis inheritance,
After my time on the pyre.

The man laughed at me.
Said this brings him back,
Reminds him of younger days.
The desert,
The oasis,
They’re both just creations,
Distractions from true-hearted stakes.

I know it’s hard.
And I know...

I know it’s not as it could be,
Living prerequisite destiny.
So shake your chains down,
And dust them off.

On your own sacred ground, be found,
And be lost no more.
Let it go and let it out.

Let it out.
Don't take the path of punishment just because it's easier.
Aa Harvey Jun 2018
A kiss goodbye


Death is creeping, while I am sleeping.
My final year, my final tear, my final verse, there is no more.
Death is here, I am full of fear.
I have no money to pay Death’s toll, for,
I am a mere mortal mind,
Who is lost in space and lost in time.
All I possess is an endless black sigh;
A half-hearted plea for a love-life without the lie.


Fix me once more, or permanently close the door,
For I am not yet ready to venture forth, into that long goodnight;
But forward I will march into the doom,
If I have to meet another version of the truth.
With all my might, I continue.
Let me pay what they say is due.
The work is not yet finished,
So before I am diminished,
And banished from this spherical giant we wander upon;
Let me see one more sun, let me raise a son,
Let me say all my final goodbyes,
Before all is said and done.


To any truth-sayer, please say “Have a nice day.”
I need the sentiment, more than the reality,
So at least before I meet my maker today,
I can say I broke the mold,
With every intention that lived inside of me.


(C)2018 Aa Harvey. All Rights Reserved.
Ryan Holden May 2017
Arising to your fascinating persona,
Sleeping to your colossal heart,
Gasping frantically, to reach the surface,
Trapped underneath the coldest ice, in the widest river,
Shivers down my spine,
Pins and needles through my heart,
Consuming me with fear,
Scared of the rapture,
Inner interrogation of mind,
Acquainting myself of new horizons,
But remaining lonesome and fearful,
Crumbling when in your presence,
Listen to my penance,
Would you be attuned,
To my vulnerable aching heart?
Scared to love again.
Matthew Harlovic Aug 2016
i found penance
in a pen and
transcendence
in a sentence,
i've forgiven
myself for
my past
transgressions.
i live in
the present
and accept
all there is,
ever was,
ever will be,
and all i forgive.

© Matthew Harlovic
JSL Aug 2016
There's a way in which I break for beauties like you. It's a performance piece, not of the egoistic sort, but rather a birthed love-child of servility and altruism. Here's my recipe, if you ever wanted to scrutinise my path to death.

First, i stare. And marvel in awe at the carved beauty of you and wonder how many cities you've inspired.

Second is initiation. A delicate dance to either be executed from a carnal desire or a romantic want. I choose one or another, seldom do I pick both; tho they end the same way.  

Third is the burning period. I will saturate myself with unwarranted loyalty at this point. I morph to their warmth and this is where it gets sick.        

Fourth: obsession. If you look into my eyes you will see a longing to drown and to go back to the ocean that is you. It's potent enough to drive me insane. Consuming.

Fifth, i surrender. I'd ask you to take off that fire. I want you to still exist but to go burn somewhere else. To be a forest-fire that inspires rather than to maim me insolently.

Sixth is penance dressed masochistically. I torture myself for reasons he wouldn't understand or is justified, but I somehow think it's salubrious.

Seventh concerns with the cycle of death. I die for you, over and over again. I choose to do this.

Eighth is where my pain becomes stagnant and transition into ghosts with names.

Ninth better itself to be the point of moving on and building graves on reverence for even having a taste of perfection.

Tenth, I repeat this whole process.
Dedicated to myself. For once.
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