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Channel South.
The Mississippi fold
Whipped midnight dust
From the quiet cages
Of homeless graves.

The dead awake
To low night music
As yellow electric light
Mirrors the slow flow
Of gorgeous life
That loves to shine.

So speak to the fine eyes
As if you found them
In a great Khan’s garden,
Elegant and wild
femininefiction Dec 2020
In twenty days I will be back in Georgia

and I will feel the cold air pierce through my lungs as I stroll through the streets of downtown Atlanta

I will hear the sound of thick, southern drawls singing country songs by a diminished campfire, releasing the smell of burning leaves and Tennessee whiskey

I will see my grandmamas gaze as she welcomes me home with a *** of steaming Jambalaya and White Diamonds perfume

And my sweet souls will smile at me with their crooked teeth that look like mine
They will approach me with their fast paced walks that move like mine
They will laugh at me with innocence, light, and love

Their simple love  
their pure, loyal love
The kind of love that liberates
The kind of love that frees me
from the solitude I hold
So deeply within myself

And I will return to my little apartment
on the eastside of the city

with a memory of enlightenment
With a memory of gratitude
With a memory of grace

To shower you in
To nurture you with
To guide you to
The clear light of day
John-Chris Ward Dec 2020
Do not invite yourself into my inter monologue.
That space in-between my rib cage is no longer in use,
No thanks to you.
What else would you expect me to do?
Lick your face and wipe your eyes?
Boo-hoo cry if you’d like.
If you wanna fight
We can strap up behind it...
But spare empathy?
I have none to share.
When you cold-cocked those lies betwixt my eyes;
Where was your sympathy then?
A calculated crime you didn’t have to commit,
But ya did.
Now I must search for forgiveness?
Crawling through sand, just to watch you lie in it.
The least you can do is apologize,
Because I’ve grown accustomed to your lies.
Never once pegged you as the murdering kind,
But murderers rarely look like murderers
Upon first sight.
Just like a thief in the night
You robbed me hope, my peace;
my everything.
Confession #4
Home is where the heart sings, not where it whispers.

John-Chris Ward Dec 2020
When will you feel the need to apologize without filling the need to be forgiven?
I have decided, that just like trust, there is no need for peace.
What use is that for me?
What good are flowers to a dead man’s grave,
But a gentle reminder that, yet and still, he simply cannot breathe.
Are we truly living or just waiting to grieve?
Confession #2
I am totally at peace with letting people go, because the truth of the matter is; you deserved the right to let go of anything not contributing to your growth.
John-Chris Ward Dec 2020
I cut my hair because you loved it, and I hated everything that reminded me of you.
Confession #1
manlin Oct 2020
content warning: sexism, racism, homophobia, ableist slurs, ****** assault, alt-right political commentary, abuse, prostitution

The okra stalks
now wilted
bend beneath
the winds of America’s plains.

As I’ve occupied myself with
a Yankee college’s schoolwork,
my means of feeding myself diminish
as I don’t have the time or energy to

**** the bad bugs,
retie the plants to their rightful stalks,
and finally clean myself off.

Although my family qualifies for “government handouts”
as my momma calls them,
she sends it back every time.
The price?

Hunger gnawing at my stomach,
basic needs left unmet,
my “liberal” professors failing to grasp
what their own students face.

But women don’t deserve an actual education,
because in America’s Bible Belt
the woman’s future is confined
to a Southern home full of sweat and pregnancies.

I can always tell when my momma
runs a deficit on bills.
I can hear it,
although I try not to—

“Thank you for the tip, honey.”
She drawls,
and I know her bedroom door
is locked.

Before I knew what she was doing
when I was too young to know—
I caught glimpses of the different men
as they’d leave.

I don’t know why,
but I hated them all.
One would smoke cigarettes on the porch,
and later I’d kick around the used butts.

Now that she’s older,
she has resulted to
pimping me and my little sister out
against our will—

whether she intended for it to happen or not.
I’ve come to understand that
at least in America’s South,
virginity doesn’t exist.

A woman’s only purity
lies within having the right skin color;
some STDs can be overlooked
as long as they can still populate the Southern landscapes.

For the first time I had seen my momma
in over two weeks,
I greet her with a happy smile while washing dishes.
Her look of disgust remains unchanged.

“You need to register to vote!”
She says, yet I don’t have my driver’s license.
I remain silent.
I can hear the political commentary over the radio:

“String ‘em up,
shoot ‘em down!
Stop being so autistic,
and abide by the Party doctrine!”

Being in the South,
I know what the Southern gentleman meant
over the radio,
yet I still find its charged language alarming.

String ‘em up: Hang the Yankee professors who help me
Shoot ‘em down: Put down the “rioters” and “looters”
Autism refers to following rules of governance,
and the Party…

When my little sister registered
as a lesbian liberal,
momma never raised that much Hell.
She went off with a man for a few days to cool off.

I remember crying,
kneeling before my nativity set and the cross in my room,
hands clasped in prayer,
begging God to inform me on what to do.

I’ve tried to be a good Southern girl my whole life,
despite not being white,
being born into a single parent household,
and living in poverty.

I tried to be educated as a means of providing for my family.
However, my grandma tells me that’s unnatural.
My momma tells me to stop being stuck in my books
and to get some fresh Southern air.

I am left to ask, pleading for God to tell me
as humanity itself has failed to help me:
How can I be redeemed
from the sin of being born?
Rex Verum Regem Sep 2020
In cake the light  

A southern star
Rough Yet bright
Twinkles of dreams yet untold
What an unexpected sight like a full blood moon calling to something deeper more primal such vigueur
Such tenacity
An allure creature
you bring to life uncertainty with mystery in an unusual fashion
In should I am mesmerised
Left in awe

Steer deep and gaze brazenly into eyes of Gold
Skin soft to the touch
Pressures pearl
            Such Clarity
        Such Ope..
    Such Lo..
Such ..
I felt you in a space that no one else can find,
Expressed things that weigh beautifully upon my mind,
Touched by your thoughts I can barely comprehend,
I find myself exposed to a brand new kind of friend,
My mind silenced by the sound of my heart beginning to beat,
I felt lost and yet found while attempting to find my feet,
And as you revived the parts of me I never knew,
Or maybe even forgotten waiting on something true,
How can I express what I've never known,
Or begin in what I've never been shown?
Without question the answers sought never to be found,
Without words you gave me something more profound,
Wonderfully written upon my heart I find them everyday,
Yet still I search for the right words to say,
Now I reflect in the wonder of how I could be so small,
Realizing you showed me how I need not words at all,
Without question... One day I opened my eyes and began to see,
Your heart was beautiful enough to finally find me.....  
  For the love of my life ... Feb. 2 2017
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Southern Icarus
by Michael R. Burch

Windborne, lover of heights,
unspooled from the truck’s wildly lurching embrace
you climb, skittish kite ...

What do you know of the world’s despair,
gliding in vast solitariness there
so that all that remains is to

Only a little longer the wind invests its sighs;
you stall
spread-eagled as the canvas snaps

and ***** its white rebellious wings,
and all
the houses watch with baffled eyes.

Originally published by Poetry Porch. Keywords/Tags: Icarus, flight, flying, hang-gliding, kite, glider, wind, canvas, South, southern, truck, unspooled

Note: The following poem unites Icarus with Tom O'Bedlam in a final, magical quest ...

Finally to Burn
(the Fall and Resurrection of Icarus)
by Michael R. Burch

Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand

and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands

where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting

and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting

and all I remember
—upon awaking—

is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking

one’s Being—to glide
heroically beyond thought,

forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.

O, finally to Burn,
gravity beyond escaping!

To plummet is Bliss
when the blisters breaking

rain down red scabs
on the earth’s mudpuddle...

Feathers and wax
and the watchers huddle...

Flocculent sheep,
O, and innocent lambs!

I will rock me to sleep
on the waves’ iambs.

To Sleep, that is Bliss
in Love’s recursive Dream,

for the Night has Wings
pallid as moonbeams—

they will flit me to Life,
like a huge-eyed Phoenix

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.


throw out the Welcome Mat.

Quixotic, I seek Love
amid the tarnished

rusted-out steel
when to live is varnish.

To Dream—that’s the thing!
Aye, that Genie I’ll rub,

soak by the candle,
aflame in the tub.


throw out the Welcome Mat.

Somewhither, somewhither
aglitter and strange,

we must moult off all knowledge
or perish caged.

I am reconciled to Life
somewhere beyond thought—

I’ll Live in the There,
I’ll Dream of the Naught.

Methinks it no journey;
to tarry’s a waste,

so fatten the oxen;
make a nice baste.

I’m coming, Fool Tom,
we have Somewhere to Go,

though we injure noone,
ourselves wildaglow.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Not Elves, Exactly
by Michael R. Burch

(after Robert Frost's "Mending Wall")

Something there is that likes a wall,
that likes it spiked and likes it tall,

that likes its pikes’ sharp rows of teeth
and doesn’t mind its victims’ grief

(wherever they come from, far or wide)
as long as they fall on the other side.

Keywords/Tags: Robert Frost, mending, wall, fences, good, neighbors, southern, border, spikes, pikes, barbed, wire, electrical
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