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NOTE: The Natchez Trace is the Nashville bar where I met my future wife Beth. We invented a game called "twister pool" which involved billiards, drinking and a fair bit of physical contortion ...


At the Natchez Trace
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

I.
Solitude surrounds me
though nearby laughter sounds;
around me mingle men who think
to drink their demons down,
in rounds.

Beside me stands a woman,
a stanza in the song
that plays so low and fluting
and bids me sing along.

Beside me stands a woman
whose eyes reveal her soul,
whose cheeks are soft as eiderdown,
whose hips and ******* are full.

Beside me stands a woman
who scarcely knows my name;
but I would have her know my heart
if only I knew where to start.

II.
Not every man is as he seems;
not all are prone to poems and dreams.
Not every man would take the time
to meter out his heart in rhyme.
But I am not as other menβ€”
my heart is sentenced to this pen.

III.
Men speak of their "ambition"
but they only know its name . . .
I never say the word aloud,
but I have felt the Flame.

IV.
Now, standing here, I do not dare
to let her know that I might care;
I never learned the lines to use;
I never worked the wolves' bold ruse.
But if she looks my way again,
perhaps I will, if only then.

V.
How can a man have come so far
in searching after every star,
and yet today,
though years away,
look back upon the winding way,
and see himself as he was then,
a child of eight or nine or ten,
and not know more?

VI.
My life is not empty; I have my desire . . .
I write in a moment that few man can know,
when my nerves are on fire
and my heart does not tire
though it pounds at my breastβ€”
wrenching blow after blow.

VII.
And in all I attempted, I also succeeded;
few men have more talent to do what I do.
But in one respect, I stand now defeated;
In love I could never make magic come true.

VIII.
If I had been born to be handsome and charming,
then love might have come to me easily as well.
But if had that been, then would I have written?
If not, I'd remain; **** that demon to hell!

IX.
Beside me stands a woman,
but others look her way
and in their eyes are eagerness . . .
for passion and a wild caress?
But who am I to say?

Beside me stands a woman;
she conjures up the night
and wraps itself around her
till others flit about her
like moths drawn to firelight.

X.
And I, myself, am just as they,
wondering when the light might fade,
yet knowing should it not dim soon
that I might fall and be consumed.

XI.
I write from despair
in the silence of morning
for want of a prayer
and the need of the mourning.
And loneliness grips my heart like a vise;
my anguish is harsher and colder than ice.
But poetry can bring my heart healing
and deaden the pain, or lessen the feeling.
And so I must write till at last sleep has called me
and hope at that moment my pen has not failed me.

XII.
Beside me stands a woman,
a mystery to me.
I long to hold her in my arms;
I also long to flee.

Beside me stands a woman;
how many has she known
more handsome, charming,
chic, alarming?
I hope I never know.

Beside me stands a woman;
how many has she known
who ever wrote her such a poem?
I know not even one.

Keywords/Tags: Natchez, Trace, love, relationship, relationships, pool, billiards, rhyme, hope, pain, painful, solitude, drink, drinking, enigma, angel, stranger, ambiguity, woman
chang cosido Sep 27
πšπš˜πš—πš 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πš”πš—πš˜πš ?
πš’πšŸπšŽ πšπš›πšŠπšŒπšŽπš πš–πšŠπš™πšœ
πš˜πš— πš’πš˜πšžπš› πšœπš”πš’πš—
𝚜𝚘 πš–πš’ πšπš’πš—πšπšŽπš›πšπš’πš™πšœ πš”πš—πš˜πš 
πš πš‘ich πš™πšŠπš›πšπšœ 𝚘𝚏 𝚒𝚘𝚞 πš‘πšžπš›πš
πšŠπš—πš πš πš‘ich πš™πšŠπš›πšπšœ πšπš˜πš—'𝚝.
πš’πšŸπšŽ πš–πšŽπš–πš˜πš›πš’πš£πšŽπš
πšŠπš•πš• πšπš‘πšŽ πš›πš’πšŸπšŽπš›πšœ
πš’πš— πš’πš˜πšžπš› πšŸπšŽπš’πš—πšœ
πšŠπš—πš πš’ πš”πš—πš˜πš 
πš πš‘πšŽπš›πšŽ πš’πš πšŠπš•πš• πšŽπš—πšπšœ.
πš’πšŸπšŽ πšπš›πšŠπšŒπšŽπš πš–πšŠπš™πšœ
πš˜πš— πš’πš˜πšžπš› πšœπš”πš’πš—
𝚜𝚘 πš πš‘πšŽπš— πš–πš’ πšπš’πš—πšπšŽπš›πšœ
πšŠπš›πšŽ πš—πš˜ πš•πš˜πš—πšπšŽπš› πšπš‘πšŽπš›πšŽ
𝚝𝚘 πšπš›πšŠπšŒπšŽ πš’πš,
πš’πš πš πš’πš•πš• πš”πš—πš˜πš  πš‘πš˜πš 
𝚝𝚘 πšŠπšŒπš‘πšŽ πšπš˜πš› πš–πšŽ.
Nolan Willett Sep 26
You say you hate the human race
I say you have a lovely face
You think you’ll never reach the place
I think that you would miss the chase
So I unlace
And you embrace
And with the world we keep pace
β€˜Til the day we disappear
And leave without a trace
Air has no religion
Water no creed
Food breaks the fast
Whatever the caste
Humanity remain steadfast!
Fire burns everyone
Whatever the race
Floods can wipe out anyone
Leaving no trace
Humanity remain steadfast!
So we live with grace!
Safana Aug 4
You can
Lock me down
and,
You will never
Locked my
Heart up,
Because,
I'm infected
To love and trace,
That light
Striking the lines
of horizon,
Covering earth
Circumference.
Really,
You can
Lock me down
But,
You will never
And ever
Lock my faith
Down
a man
has shoot
and sell
his desire
where tires
embark to
Ilium but
a nobleman
farm his
wit with
hell and
back truck
in a
parade of
fire yet
amble in
Market Square
I wasn't scared to fight, I was scared to lose.
I wasn't scared to shout, I was scared to be misunderstood.
I didn't move out to put an end,
I moved out to give you some space.
But you want what I didn't, so in your life now there is none of my trace.
Erian Rose May 4
She was
footprints traced in sandy waters
sunflower fields
bloomed in thorns
thunderstorms swept
in salty air
Her spirit twinkled
of northern lights
flirting with a million acres
of honeydew blossoms
She was
the magic
that he adored
gliding and sliding  
between two sheets of slippery translucent paper
no friction, no traction, no adhesions
no trace or footprint
closing behind you as you pass
you can live a whole life
striving and trying but
it's as if you were never there
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