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Don Bouchard Mar 29
You make total sense, Student.
Now, a personal question:
Why do you not speak in class?
You have a strong intellect;
You think and write well.
It's time to open your mouth.
It's time to share your thoughts
With the rest of us....
If I counted the "Students" to which this poem speaks, I might cry. Your voices need to be heard. Here's the invitation to join the dialogue.
Anais Vionet Nov 2023
My last Thursday class is over - my class-week is over.

Looking back at the science building we’d just left,
the hallway looked dark, like the throat of an animal,
the people snaked out like a tongue, the archway
seemed like a mouth - I shivered and looked away.

Lisa laughed, and my senses returned to reality.

The clouds on high, hung like fresh linens on a line
being dried by the sun in its Egyptian-blue heaven.

The air smelled rich, clean and ionized and ever
the inventive stylist, it periodically rearranged my hair.

Leaves rustled, sounding like a buzz of conversation,
as they rushed from place to place, as if late to class.

The breeze was working hard, in jerky flourishes,
like the strokes of an indecisive artist.

The afternoon seemed as bright and brash as a shout    
as if it wanted, no demanded, our emotional attention
and I gave it, smilingly, ready for the weekend.
Michael R Burch Mar 2023
These are poems for the victims and survivors of the Nashville Covenant School shootings.

Nashville Covenant 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.

For a Nashville Covenant 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?

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 nine artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her tears ...

Epitaph for a Nashville Covenant Student
by Michael R. Burch

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

As springs’ budding blossoms emerge
the raptors glide mercilessly.
—Michael R. Burch

I wrote this haiku-like poem on 3-27-2023 after the Nashville Covenant school shooting massacre.

This poem is for mothers who lost children at Nashville Covenant 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.

I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

for the Nashville Covenant survivors

I pray tonight
the starry light
surround you.

I pray
each day
that, come what may,
no dark thing confound you.

I pray ere the morrow
an end to your sorrow.
May angels' white chorales
sing, and astound you.

Nashville Covenant Call to Action
by Michael R. Burch

We see their small 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 such heartache.

The lives, safety and happiness of our children depend on our ability to persuade the NRA and its political lackeys to stop exalting money and political gain above the life, liberty and happiness of innocents. What is the cost of banning assault weapons, compared to the ultimate price innocents pay when they are used by madmen playing Rambo in classrooms and theaters? Ironically, just hours before the Sandy Hook massacre, in a weekly column that I wrote for the Nashville City Paper, I pointed out that right-wing politicians are not just demanding the "right" of citizens to bear loaded handguns into restaurants that serve alcohol and bars — a combustible mix. No, people who call themselves "conservative Christians" in collusion with the NRA and its gun lobby are demanding the right to carry assault weapons everywhere ... which "logically" means into universities, high schools, grade schools, kindergartens, pre-schools, Sunday schools and maternity wards. When I wrote this, I was speaking ironically — I thought — but then a few hours later the NRA and its political minions made me seem like a prophet.

Sandy Hook Shooting Gallery
by Michael R. Burch

If we live by the rule of the gun
what can a 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 age 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.

The Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings left 27 students and educators dead, and question our nation's sanity and resolve to put children's lives above money and politics.

This haiku 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
—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?

Whence Now?
by Michael R. Burch

Grown darkly accustomed to grief,
will we ever turn over a new leaf?

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.

The three students shot and killed in the Nashville Covenant School massacre were all nine-year-olds. They were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, Hallie Scruggs and William Kinney. Three adults were also killed in the shooting: Cynthia Peak, Mike Hill and Katherine Koonce. It is no longer good enough to talk about loving our children and praying for them to be safe. We have to protect them from mass murderers armed with assault weapons. The alleged serial killer, Audrey Hale, was reportedly armed with an AR-style rifle and an AR-style pistol. In more civilized nations citizens cannot legally purchase such military-grade weapons. The Nashville Covenant massacre marked the 19th shooting at an American school or university, so far in the first three months of 2023, according to CNN.

Keywords/Tags: Nashville, Nashville Covenant, Nashville Covenant Presbyterian School, school shooting, shootings, massacre, children, kids, students, child abuse, gun control, America, United States, USA, death, deaths, ******, serial ******, massacre, bereavement, class, classes
Strying Nov 2022
drifting through our days
taping eyes open
shaking ourselves awake
all this starvation and deprivation
of today's nation
yearning for another minute of shut-eye
while staying up staring at screens
late at night
a never-ending cycle
Anais Vionet Aug 2022
I’m at an (outdoor) dinner, with Peter, some of his doctoral-student friends, professors and their spouses, to kick-off the Fall semester and Peter’s second year in the doctoral program.

“So, what impressions did you take away from your time at the Large Hadron Collider?”
A 60-ish professor asked Peter. In this setting, as a student pursuing his doctorate, Peter’s comments will probably be noted and there’s a watching anticipation.

Peter is a tall, pale, scraggy, 25-year-old with unruly, deep-cove-blue, almost-black hair. Tonight, he’s dressed in a brown, distressed Italian lambskin leather blazer that I got him in Paris, as a fall semester present and his usual, dark, neutral shades of brown. To break those sleepy colors up I also gave him a soft-caramel-brown tie, inlaid with tiny, yellow, rubber ducks.  

“Two impressions, really,” Peter begins, “First, the Higgs Boson particle was discovered a decade ago - but since then we haven’t seen any notable results - the particles we expected, when we expected them. Of course, “no results” is an important part of the scientific process,” he continued, “and those researchers still deserve their doctorates, but it isn’t ****, and it won’t win any Nobel prizes.” He has the room’s attention.

“Secondly,” he says, looking around for reassuring eye-contact, “experimental particle physics is a very expensive business.” This observation generates nods, toasts and laughter all around.

When the reaction dies down, he gets another question.
“Why do you think we aren’t seeing better results?” another professor asks him.

“I think the problem,” Peter twists his head as he turns serious and begins his reply - and by the way, he looks adorable in the soft light of the dancing Japanese lanterns - “is the lag between the theories and our ability to experiment. It takes so long to build a collider, that theories out-evolve them. The apparatuses we have now - like the Hadron Collider - were designed based on theories from 30 years ago.” Again, there are nods and thoughtful looks before the professors move their questioning to the next student.

Later, we’re in the common room of my dorm suite, huddled together, talking hushedly on an overstuffed loveseat while others watch TV or read. “OH!” I say, still in a whisper voice, like I’ve just remembered something interesting, “You know what I heard - about the doctoral physics program?”

“What?” Peter says, I have his unblinking attention now. After all, I was talking with professors and their wives and shards of information are precious, not unlike atom particles, so he’s openly curious, his head tilted in focus.

“I was told, I say slowly and earnestly, “by a reliable source,” I begin playing with one of his shirt buttons, “that doctoral students,” I pause for maximum effect, to indicate this is important, “have equipment that’s 25 to 30 years OLD - outDATED equipment..”

He’s on to me now, and he starts to lean into me and grin. “that might not be able to get the JOB done!” I finished, busting out laughing as he caught my underarms with tickle fingers. I shrieked with delight at my own joke and his reaction.

“We’ll SEE about THAT!” He says while playing my ribs like accordions, producing newer and louder squeals and mutual giggles.

“Hey!” Anna said, turning as she paused her “Better Call Saul” finale.
“Get a ROOM!” Leong suggested, sarcastically, in mid-popcorn scoop.
Lisa eyed us annoyedly over her Chemistry book.
Sophy rolled her eyes, smiling and blood-thirsty Sunny barked “Get ‘er!”
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Shard: a small piece of something.
Anais Vionet Jul 2022
White is for rice and brides - ready to commit.
White’s for ghosts and clouds or even carnations
but it should never, ever, be used for privilege
or worse yet, as poetic inspiration.

I’ve been waiting for the urge to write
while facing an ugly screen of white.
Waiting for the vowels to fall into place,
for words to congeal and finally displace
the awful, foreboding, blank white space.

Learning is our struggle, our crown of thorns.
The more we study and prepare for fall,
the more excited I get to reenter those halls.
34 days until classes start. For fall weather,
and the bee hum of crowded life in the dorms.

My roommates and I are like a single, nameless thing
- an emolument that happens to have 6 heads.
We’ve beaten the freshman “imposter syndrome,”
and we’re ready to bring sophomore year home -
together - no muss, no fuss - I love that for us.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Emolument: gifts, or perquisites someone receives due to their position.
Anais Vionet Jul 2022
We’re 6 roommates, on summer vacation before our sophomore year and we take turns planning our nights. Last night was Sunny’s choice so we found ourselves at “Sister Louisa's Church,” one of the fun gay bars in this little college town. We’ve been to 5 LGBTQ bars in the Atlanta area this summer and they’ve all been skittles.

This being a Lesbian bar, we all felt empowered to dress down, dance a few times, and just have some harmless fun. “Hmm.., Sunny said, wrinkling her nose, “I think queer or girly are better terms than lesbian. Lesbian seems to have a mascular take - like we want to be boys - and that’s not it at all.”
“I bow to your superior, informed, cultural finickiness,” Lisa noted.

WE dance a few times but Sunny never stops. One moment Sunny’s there, for a swig of her drink and the next, she’s twiring off with some attractive (30ish?) woman - it keeps happening. “We need to put an apple tracker on her.” Bili said, but when the songs ended she always came back to us.
“That womyn had more than two hands.” Sunny said, gulping on her drink and fixing her hair.

It was time to go, past time actually. We’re on a schedule these days. We spend our mornings playing disc golf or water-skiing and our afternoons studying. We’re trying to re-engage with college work in a gradual, 3 hour a day, low anxiety way.

Sunny (A molecular, cellular, and developmental biology major), Lisa and I (Molecular biophysics and biochemistry majors) are all on the pre-med track. Next year we’ll tackle physics together and we’re already grinding away on examples of the problem-sets we’ll see next semester. So far the shared stress has helped the next-level classes seem easier and more engaging.

I was the watchdog last night, sentenced to preventive sobriety, and tasked with corralling everyone when the time came to leave. “Fair warning!,” I said loudly, between songs, “reality is going to *****-stab you ladies in the back tomorrow morning.”
“I think you mean *****-SLAP,” Leong said, ever the aphorism police.
“Whatever it is, it’s going to hurt.” I amended. I’d been working (whining), stubbornly for half-an-hour to convince them to leave and finally, I said, “I’m texting Charles.”

OH, THEN the girls started gathering their things. “Ok, Yeah.., I see how it is.” I added, holding my phone like a grenade with the pin out.

The following morning Anna’s situationship broke up - by text - as if to add to the pain of her hangover. In situationships, it’s inevitable that one stakeholder will hope for more - but you have to paint it as casual, as no big deal. She’s pretending she doesn't care but anyone can see she’s been crying.

On the other side of the emotional universe - I’m riding-a-high - because Peter, on a facetime call, said he missed me - but it’s not just that - he seems more energetic, interested and actually romantic. I like us together. We’re choral (there’s no definable lead). I’m practically snoopy-dancing around the house.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: ??Finicky: very particular in taste or standards.”

situationship = a casual, friend with benefits, quasi-romantic coupling
skittles = rainbows of fun
womyn = empowered woman
mascular = masculine + muscular

Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry = The study of living organisms.
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology = The study of genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, cancer biology, and neurobiology.
RLee Feb 2022
The hallways are so crowded
With students like a school of fish
The Endless Sea of Knowledge

So easy to get swept away
Far from where you want to be
Your locker, your class, your connection of P.E.
The Endless Sea of Knowledge

The students absorb their studies,
Like a sponge from the sea
The Endless Sea of Knowledge

Knowledge is the key
To life above the sea
Out in the real world
Where we'll eventually be
So use your time wisely
While here in...
The Endless Sea of Knowledge
By Reagan Lee, age 12
Equality isn't to be shown through appearance..
It is to be practiced right from the heart without reluctance..
A recent situation of , students wearing exactly same uniform , regardless the gender , in India
Lalaouna Amina Nov 2021
I could not remain still:
It is unbearable to be Somebody than to be Child in the present day world.
myself in the three past years
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