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Nickols Oct 2012
My love is like a stone,
strong & sturdy,
and like the rock it is,
It will always find away to sink;
disappearing to bottom of the depths of the waters.

My heart is the water,
Free flowing & nurturing,
but love, (the stone)
strong & sturdy,
in its own way.
Will always
find away to descend--
The decent, into the abyssal.

The abyssal is my longing,
cold & wanting.
And this stone will always-
find away to the bottom of my cavern.

The cavern is where my stone is lodge.
Forever alone with the water washing the hurt away.
Down into the abyssal of longing.
Forever caught within the deepest of cavern.
Who would've know rocks can sink... >.< lol

© Victoria
ethyreal Feb 2014
There's a certain uncertainty
About the abyssal night;
Wrapped in sheets of cold sweat,
Head propped up by ghosts.

When the whites of your eyes set
Like a full moon in the ebon sky,
And streetlights take you by the hands
Rushing you through ****-stained alleys,
You won't remember a thing.
You won't remember a thing.

For what it is
The night strips you,
Public and unashamed.
Takes your inhibitions and
Puts them in a safe place.
"You won't be needing these tonight."

That's why I wait for the
Uncertainty of the abyssal night.
To get my kicks with no baggage
And no certain memory of what
I'd left behind.
Kingafroninjaa Sep 2012
In the darkest of the night is where you'll find her waiting for him.
The mere thought of his electrifying touch sends shivers down her spine.
Her flame of loneliness will drown in his sea of exotic eccentricity.
She craves for his presence so she can reach the peak of her insanity.
She gave her soul to earn the entrance into their heaven.
She poured herself into his empty shell of darkness so their broken minds can be reunited.
Her favorite addiction that she will never go to rehab for.
Her prized possession that she will never part with.
Her only obsession that fills up her time and space in this dismal dimension.
When the last light shine through, the darkness will be there to engulf her in his passion.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Modern Charon
by Michael R. Burch

I, too, have stood―paralyzed at the helm
watching onrushing, inevitable disaster.
I too have felt sweat (or ecstatic tears) plaster
damp hair to my eyes, as a slug’s dense film
becomes mucous-insulate. Always, thereafter
living in darkness, bright things overwhelm.

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea. I wrote this poem in 2001 after the 911 terrorist attacks.



Davenport Tomorrow
by Michael R. Burch

Davenport tomorrow ...
all the trees stand stark-naked in the sun.

Now it is always summer
and the bees buzz in cesspools,
adapted to a new life.

There are no flowers,
but the weeds, being hardier,
have survived.

The small town has become
a city of millions;
there is no longer a sea,
only a huge sewer,
but the children don't mind.

They still study
rocks and stars,
but biology is a forgotten science ...
after all, what is life?

Davenport tomorrow ...
all the children murmur through vein-streaked gills
whispered wonders of long-ago.



Burn
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

Sunbathe,
ozone baby,
till your parched skin cracks
in the white-hot flash
of radiation.

Incantation
from your pale parched lips
shall not avail;
you made this hell.
Now burn.



Bikini
by Michael R. Burch

Undersea, by the shale and the coral forming,
by the shell’s pale rose and the pearl’s bright eye,
through the sea’s green bed of lank seaweed worming
like tangled hair where cold currents rise ...
something lurks where the riptides sigh,
something old, and odd, and wise.

Something old when the world was forming
now lifts its beak, its snail-blind eye,
and, with tentacles like Medusa's squirming,
it feels the cloud blot out the skies' ...
then shudders, settles with a sigh,
understanding man’s demise.



This poem has over 800,000 Google results for the eleventh line. That's a lot of cutting and pasting!

First They Came for the Muslims
by Michael R. Burch

after Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Muslims
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Muslim.

Then they came for the homosexuals
and I did not speak out
because I was not a homosexual.

Then they came for the feminists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a feminist.

Now when will they come for me
because I was too busy and too apathetic
to defend my sisters and brothers?

Published in Amnesty International’s Words That Burn anthology, and by Borderless Journal (India), The Hindu (India), Matters India, New Age Bangladesh, Convivium Journal, PressReader (India) and Kracktivist (India)

It is indeed an honor to have one of my poems published by an outstanding organization like Amnesty International. A stated goal for the "Words That Burn" anthology is to teach students about human rights through poetry.



Warming Her Pearls
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Warming her pearls, her *******
gleam like constellations.
Her belly is a bit rotund ...
she might have stepped out of a Rubens.



Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts

The sea at night seems
an alembic of dreams—
the moans of the gulls,
the foghorns’ bawlings.

A century late
to be melancholy,
I watch the last shrimp boat as it steams
to safe harbor again.

In the twilight she gleams
with a festive light,
done with her trawlings,
ready to sleep . . .

Deep, deep, in delight
glide the creatures of night,
elusive and bright
as the poet’s dreams.

Published by The Lyric, Grassroots Poetry, Romantics Quarterly, Angle, Poetry Life & Times



Distances
by Michael R. Burch

Moonbeams on water—
the reflected light
of a halcyon star
now drowning in night ...
So your memories are.

Footprints on beaches
now flooding with water;
the small, broken ribcage
of some primitive slaughter ...
So near, yet so far.

Originally published by The Poetry Porch/Sonnet Scroll



Fascination with Light
by Michael R. Burch

Desire glides in on calico wings,
a breath of a moth
seeking a companionable light,

where it hovers, unsure,
sullen, shy or demure,
in the margins of night,

a soft blur.

With a frantic dry rattle
of alien wings,
it rises and thrums one long breathless staccato

and flutters and drifts on in dark aimless flight.

And yet it returns
to the flame, its delight,
as long as it burns.

Originally published by The HyperTexts



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Water and Gold
by Michael R. Burch

You came to me as rain breaks on the desert
when every flower springs to life at once,
but joy's a wan illusion to the expert:
the Bedouin has learned how not to want.

You came to me as riches to a miser
when all is gold, or so his heart believes,
until he dies much thinner and much wiser,
his gleaming bones hauled off by chortling thieves.

You gave your heart too soon, too dear, too vastly;
I could not take it in; it was too much.
I pledged to meet your price, but promised rashly.
I died of thirst, of your bright Midas touch.

I dreamed you gave me water of your lips,
then sealed my tomb with golden hieroglyphs.

Published by The Lyric, Black Medina, The Eclectic Muse, Kritya (India), Shabestaneh (Iran), Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, Captivating Poetry (Anthology), Strange Road, Freshet, Shot Glass Journal, Better Than Starbucks, Famous Poets and Poems, Sonnetto Poesia, Poetry Life & Times



escape!!!
by michael r. burch

for anaïs vionet

to live among the daffodil folk . . .
slip down the rainslickened drainpipe . . .
suddenly pop out
the GARGANTUAN SPOUT . . .
minuscule as alice, shout
yippee-yi-yee!
in wee exultant glee
to be leaving behind the
LARGE
THREE-DENALI GARAGE.



Leave Taking
by Michael R. Burch

Brilliant leaves abandon battered limbs
to waltz upon ecstatic winds
until they die.

But the barren and embittered trees,
lament the frolic of the leaves
and curse the bleak November sky ...

Now, as I watch the leaves' high flight
before the fading autumn light,
I think that, perhaps, at last I may

have learned what it means to say—
goodbye.

This poem started out as a stanza in a much longer poem, "Jessamyn's Song," that dates to around age 14 or 15.



Passionate One
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Love of my life,
light of my morning―
arise, brightly dawning,
for you are my sun.

Give me of heaven
both manna and leaven―
desirous Presence,
Passionate One.



Stay With Me Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

Stay with me tonight;
be gentle with me as the leaves are gentle
falling to the earth.
And whisper, O my love,
how that every bright thing, though scattered afar,
retains yet its worth.

Stay with me tonight;
be as a petal long-awaited blooming in my hand.
Lift your face to mine
and touch me with your lips
till I feel the warm benevolence of your breath’s
heady fragrance like wine.

That which we had
when pale and waning as the dying moon at dawn,
outshone the sun.
And so lead me back tonight
through bright waterfalls of light
to where we shine as one.

Originally published by The Lyric



bachelorhoodwinked
by Michael R. Burch

u
are
charming
& disarming,
but mostly alarming
since all my resolve
dissolved!

u
are
chic
as a sheikh's
harem girl in the sheets
but my castle’s no longer my own
and my kingdom's been overthrown!



chrysalis
by Michael R. Burch

these are the days of doom
u seldom leave ur room
u live in perpetual gloom

yet also the days of hope
how to cope?
u pray and u *****

toward self illumination ...
becoming an angel
(pure love)

and yet You must love Your Self



Self Reflection
by Michael R. Burch

(for anyone struggling with self-image)

She has a comely form
and a smile that brightens her dorm ...
but she's grossly unthin
when seen from within;
soon a griefstricken campus will mourn.

Yet she'd never once criticize
a friend for the size of her thighs.
Do unto others—
sisters and brothers?
Yes, but also ourselves, likewise.



War is Obsolete
by Michael R. Burch

Trump’s war is on children and their mothers.
"An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind." ― Gandhi

War is obsolete;
even the strange machinery of dread
weeps for the child in the street
who cannot lift her head
to reprimand the Man
who failed to countermand
her soft defeat.

But war is obsolete;
even the cold robotic drone
that flies far overhead
has sense enough to moan
and shudder at her plight
(only men bereft of Light
with hearts indurate stone
embrace war’s Siberian night.)

For war is obsolete;
man’s tribal “gods,” long dead,
have fled his awakening sight
while the true Sun, overhead,
has pity on her plight.
O sweet, precipitate Light!―
embrace her, reject the night
that leaves gentle fledglings dead.

For each brute ancestor lies
with his totems and his “gods”
in the slavehold of premature night
that awaited him in his tomb;
while Love, the ancestral womb,
still longs to give birth to the Light.
So which child shall we ****** tonight,
or which Ares condemn to the gloom?

Originally published by The Flea. While campaigning for president in 2016, Donald Trump said that, as commander-in-chief of the American military, he would order American soldiers to track down and ****** women and children as "retribution" for acts of terrorism. When aghast journalists asked Trump if he could possibly have meant what he said, he verified more than once that he did. Keywords/Tags: war, terrorism, retribution, violence, ******, children, Gandhi, Trump, drones



In My House
by Michael R. Burch

When you were in my house
you were not free―
in chains bound.

Manifest Destiny?

I was wrong;
my plantation burned to the ground.
I was wrong.
This is my song,
this is my plea:
I was wrong.

When you are in my house,
now, I am not free.
I feel the song
hurling itself back at me.
We were wrong.
This is my history.

I feel my tongue
stilting accordingly.

We were wrong;
brother, forgive me.

Published by Black Medina



Shock
by Michael R. Burch

It was early in the morning of the forming of my soul,
in the dawning of desire, with passion at first bloom,
with lightning splitting heaven to thunder's blasting roll
and a sense of welling fire and, perhaps, impending doom―
that I cried out through the tumult of the raging storm on high
for shelter from the chaos of the restless, driving rain ...
and the voice I heard replying from a rift of bleeding sky
was mine, I'm sure, and, furthermore, was certainly insane.

I may have been reading too many gothic ghost stories when I wrote this one! I think it shows a good touch with meter for a young poet, since I wrote it in my early teens.



In Praise of Meter
by Michael R. Burch

The earth is full of rhythms so precise
the octave of the crystal can produce
a trillion oscillations, yet not lose
a second's beat. The ear needs no device
to hear the unsprung rhythms of the couch
drown out the mouth's; the lips can be debauched
by kisses, should the heart put back its watch
and find the pulse of love, and sing, devout.
If moons and tides in interlocking dance
obey their numbers, what's been left to chance?
Should poets be more lax―their circumstance
as humble as it is?―or readers wince
to see their ragged numbers thin, to hear
the moans of drones drown out the Chanticleer?

Originally published by The Eclectic Muse, then in The Best of the Eclectic Muse 1989-2003



Completing the Pattern
by Michael R. Burch

Walk with me now, among the transfixed dead
who kept life’s compact and who thus endure
harsh sentence here—among pink-petaled beds
and manicured green lawns. The sky’s azure,
pale blue once like their eyes, will gleam blood-red
at last when sunset staggers to the door
of each white mausoleum, to inquire—
What use, O things of erstwhile loveliness?



The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

There was a moment
without the sound of trumpets or a shining light,
but with only silence and darkness and a cool mist
felt more than seen.
I was eighteen,
my heart pounding wildly within me like a fist.
Expectation hung like a cry in the night,
and your eyes shone like the corona of a comet.

There was an instant . . .
without words, but with a deeper communion,
as clothing first, then inhibitions fell;
liquidly our lips met
—feverish, wet—
forgotten, the tales of heaven and hell,
in the immediacy of our fumbling union . . .
when the rest of the world became distant.

Then the only light was the moon on the rise,
and the only sound, the communion of sighs.

Published by Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Webring



The Harvest of Roses
by Michael R. Burch

for Harvey Stanbrough

I have not come for the harvest of roses—
the poets' mad visions,
their railing at rhyme ...
for I have discerned what their writing discloses:
weak words wanting meaning,
beat torsioning time.

Nor have I come for the reaping of gossamer—
images weak,
too forced not to fail;
gathered by poets who worship their luster,
they shimmer, impendent,
resplendently pale.

Originally published by The Raintown Review when Harvey Stanbrough was the editor



White in the Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

White in the shadows
I see your face,
unbidden. Go, tell
Love it is commonplace;

tell Regret it is not so rare.

Our love is not here
though you smile,
full of sedulous grace.
Lost in darkness, I fear
the past is our resting place.

Published by Carnelian, The Chained Muse, Poetry Life & Times, A-Poem-A-Day and in a YouTube video by Aurora G. with the titles “Ghost,” “White Goddess” and “White in the Shadows”



The Octopi Jars
by Michael R. Burch

Long-vacant eyes
now lodged in clear glass,
a-swim with pale arms
as delicate as angels'...

you are beyond all hope
of salvage now...
and yet I would pause,
no fear!,
to once touch
your arcane beaks...

I, more alien than you
to this imprismed world,
notice, most of all,
the scratches on the inside surfaces
of your hermetic cells ...

and I remember documentaries
of albino Houdinis
slipping like wraiths
over the walls of shipboard aquariums,
slipping down decks'
brine-lubricated planks,
spilling jubilantly into the dark sea,
parachuting through clouds of pallid ammonia...

and I know now in life you were unlike me:
your imprisonment was never voluntary.



The Children of Gaza

Nine of my poems have been set to music by the composer Eduard de Boer and have been performed in Europe by the Palestinian soprano Dima Bawab. My poems that became “The Children of Gaza” were written from the perspective of Palestinian children and their mothers. On this page the poems come first, followed by the song lyrics, which have been adapted in places to fit the music …



Epitaph for a Child of Gaza
by Michael R. Burch

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



Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



For a Child of Gaza, 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?



I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

for the children of Gaza and their mothers

I pray tonight
the starry Light
might
surround you.

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

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



Something
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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.



Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza and their children

There never was a fonder smile
than mother’s smile, no softer touch
than mother’s touch. So sleep awhile
and know she loves you more than “much.”

So more than “much,” much more than “all.”
Though tender words, these do not speak
of love at all, nor how we fall
and mother’s there, nor how we reach
from nightmares in the ticking night
and she is there to hold us tight.

There never was a stronger back
than father’s back, that held our weight
and lifted us, when we were small,
and bore us till we reached the gate,

then held our hands that first bright mile
till we could run, and did, and flew.
But, oh, a mother’s tender smile
will leap and follow after you!



Such Tenderness
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza

There was, in your touch, such tenderness―as
only the dove on her mildest day has,
when she shelters downed fledglings beneath a warm wing
and coos to them softly, unable to sing.

What songs long forgotten occur to you now―
a babe at each breast? What terrible vow
ripped from your throat like the thunder that day
can never hold severing lightnings at bay?

Time taught you tenderness―time, oh, and love.
But love in the end is seldom enough ...
and time?―insufficient to life’s brief task.
I can only admire, unable to ask―

what is the source, whence comes the desire
of a woman to love as no God may require?



who, US?
by Michael R. Burch

jesus was born
a palestinian child
where there’s no Room
for the meek and the mild

... and in bethlehem still
to this day, lambs are born
to cries of “no Room!”
and Puritanical scorn ...

under Herod, Trump, Bibi
their fates are the same―
the slouching Beast mauls them
and WE have no shame:

“who’s to blame?”



My nightmare ...

I had a dream of Jesus!
Mama, his eyes were so kind!
But behind him I saw a billion Christians
hissing "You're nothing!," so blind.
―The Child Poets of Gaza (written by Michael R. Burch for the children of Gaza)



I, too, have a dream ...

I, too, have a dream ...
that one day Jews and Christians
will see me as I am:
a small child, lonely and afraid,
staring down the barrels of their big bazookas,
knowing I did nothing
to deserve their enmity.
―The Child Poets of Gaza (written by Michael R. Burch for the children of Gaza)



Suffer the Little Children
by Nakba

I saw the carnage . . . saw girls' dreaming heads
blown to red atoms, and their dreams with them . . .

saw babies liquefied in burning beds
as, horrified, I heard their murderers’ phlegm . . .

I saw my mother stitch my shroud’s black hem,
for in that moment I was one of them . . .

I saw our Father’s eyes grow hard and bleak
to see frail roses severed at the stem . . .

How could I fail to speak?
―Nakba is an alias of Michael R. Burch



Here We Shall Remain
by Tawfiq Zayyad
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Like twenty impossibilities
in Lydda, Ramla and Galilee ...
here we shall remain.

Like brick walls braced against your chests;
lodged in your throats
like shards of glass
or prickly cactus thorns;
clouding your eyes
like sandstorms.

Here we shall remain,
like brick walls obstructing your chests,
washing dishes in your boisterous bars,
serving drinks to our overlords,
scouring your kitchens' filthy floors
in order to ****** morsels for our children
from between your poisonous fangs.

Here we shall remain,
like brick walls deflating your chests
as we face our deprivation clad in rags,
singing our defiant songs,
chanting our rebellious poems,
then swarming out into your unjust streets
to fill dungeons with our dignity.

Like twenty impossibilities
in Lydda, Ramla and Galilee,
here we shall remain,
guarding the shade of the fig and olive trees,
fermenting rebellion in our children
like yeast in dough.

Here we wring the rocks to relieve our thirst;
here we stave off starvation with dust;
but here we remain and shall not depart;
here we spill our expensive blood
and do not hoard it.

For here we have both a past and a future;
here we remain, the Unconquerable;
so strike fast, penetrate deep,
O, my roots!



Labor Pains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight the wind wafts pollen through ruined fields and homes.
The earth shivers with love, with the agony of giving birth,
while the Invader spreads stories of submission and surrender.

O, Arab Aurora!

Tell the Usurper: childbirth’s a force beyond his ken
because a mother’s wracked body reveals a rent that inaugurates life,
a crack through which light dawns in an instant
as the blood’s rose blooms in the wound.



Hamza
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hamza was one of my hometown’s ordinary men
who did manual labor for bread.

When I saw him recently,
the land still wore its mourning dress in the solemn windless silence
and I felt defeated.

But Hamza-the-unextraordinary said:
“Sister, our land’s throbbing heart never ceases to pound,
and it perseveres, enduring the unendurable, keeping the secrets of mounds and wombs.
This land sprouting cactus spikes and palms also births freedom-fighters.
Thus our land, my sister, is our mother!”

Days passed and Hamza was nowhere to be seen,
but I felt the land’s belly heaving in pain.
At sixty-five Hamza’s a heavy burden on her back.

“Burn down his house!”
some commandant screamed,
“and slap his son in a prison cell!”

As our town’s military ruler later explained
this was necessary for law and order,
that is, an act of love, for peace!

Armed soldiers surrounded Hamza’s house;
the coiled serpent completed its circle.

The bang at his door came with an ultimatum:
“Evacuate, **** it!'
So generous with their time, they said:
“You can have an hour, yes!”

Hamza threw open a window.
Face-to-face with the blazing sun, he yelled defiantly:
“Here in this house I and my children will live and die, for Palestine!”
Hamza's voice echoed over the hemorrhaging silence.

An hour later, with impeccable timing, Hanza’s house came crashing down
as its rooms were blown sky-high and its bricks and mortar burst,
till everything settled, burying a lifetime’s memories of labor, tears, and happier times.

Yesterday I saw Hamza
walking down one of our town’s streets ...
Hamza-the-unextraordinary man who remained as he always was:
unshakable in his determination.



Enough for Me
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Enough for me to lie in the earth,
to be buried in her,
to sink meltingly into her fecund soil, to vanish ...
only to spring forth like a flower
brightening the play of my countrymen's children.

Enough for me to remain
in my native soil's embrace,
to be as close as a handful of dirt,
a sprig of grass,
a wildflower.



Palestine
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
April's blushing advances,
the aroma of bread warming at dawn,
a woman haranguing men,
the poetry of Aeschylus,
love's trembling beginnings,
a boulder covered with moss,
mothers who dance to the flute's sighs,
and the invaders' fear of memories.

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
September's rustling end,
a woman leaving forty behind, still full of grace, still blossoming,
an hour of sunlight in prison,
clouds taking the shapes of unusual creatures,
the people's applause for those who mock their assassins,
and the tyrant's fear of songs.

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
Lady Earth, mother of all beginnings and endings!
In the past she was called Palestine
and tomorrow she will still be called Palestine.
My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life!



Distant light
by Walid Khazindar
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bitterly cold,
winter clings to the naked trees.
If only you would free
the bright sparrows
from the tips of your fingers
and release a smile—that shy, tentative smile—
from the imprisoned anguish I see.
Sing! Can we not sing
as if we were warm, hand-in-hand,
shielded by shade from a glaring sun?
Can you not always remain this way,
stoking the fire, more beautiful than necessary, and silent?
Darkness increases; we must remain vigilant
and this distant light is our only consolation—
this imperiled flame, which from the beginning
has been flickering,
in danger of going out.
Come to me, closer and closer.
I don't want to be able to tell my hand from yours.
And let's stay awake, lest the snow smother us.

Walid Khazindar was born in 1950 in Gaza City. He is considered one of the best Palestinian poets; his poetry has been said to be "characterized by metaphoric originality and a novel thematic approach unprecedented in Arabic poetry." He was awarded the first Palestine Prize for Poetry in 1997.



Excerpt from “Speech of the Red Indian”
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let's give the earth sufficient time to recite
the whole truth ...
The whole truth about us.
The whole truth about you.

In tombs you build
the dead lie sleeping.
Over bridges you *****
file the newly slain.

There are spirits who light up the night like fireflies.
There are spirits who come at dawn to sip tea with you,
as peaceful as the day your guns mowed them down.

O, you who are guests in our land,
please leave a few chairs empty
for your hosts to sit and ponder
the conditions for peace
in your treaty with the dead.



Existence
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

In my solitary life, I was a lost question;
in the encompassing darkness,
my answer lay concealed.

You were a bright new star
revealed by fate,
radiating light from the fathomless darkness.

The other stars rotated around you
—once, twice —
until I perceived
your unique radiance.

Then the bleak blackness broke
and in the twin tremors
of our entwined hands
I had found my missing answer.

Oh you! Oh you intimate, yet distant!
Don't you remember the coalescence
Of our spirits in the flames?
Of my universe with yours?
Of the two poets?
Despite our great distance,
Existence unites us.



Nothing Remains
by Fadwa Tuqan
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight, we’re together,
but tomorrow you'll be hidden from me again,
thanks to life’s cruelty.

The seas will separate us ...
Oh!—Oh!—If I could only see you!
But I'll never know ...
where your steps led you,
which routes you took,
or to what unknown destinations
your feet were compelled.

You will depart and the thief of hearts,
the denier of beauty,
will rob us of all that's dear to us,
will steal our happiness,
leaving our hands empty.

Tomorrow at dawn you'll vanish like a phantom,
dissipating into a delicate mist
dissolving quickly in the summer sun.

Your scent—your scent!—contains the essence of life,
filling my heart
as the earth absorbs the lifegiving rain.

I will miss you like the fragrance of trees
when you leave tomorrow,
and nothing remains.

Just as everything beautiful and all that's dear to us
is lost—lost!—when nothing remains.



Identity Card
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Record!
I am an Arab!
And my identity card is number fifty thousand.
I have eight children;
the ninth arrives this autumn.
Will you be furious?

Record!
I am an Arab!
Employed at the quarry,
I have eight children.
I provide them with bread,
clothes and books
from the bare rocks.
I do not supplicate charity at your gates,
nor do I demean myself at your chambers' doors.
Will you be furious?

Record!
I am an Arab!
I have a name without a title.
I am patient in a country
where people are easily enraged.
My roots
were established long before the onset of time,
before the unfolding of the flora and fauna,
before the pines and the olive trees,
before the first grass grew.
My father descended from plowmen,
not from the privileged classes.
My grandfather was a lowly farmer
neither well-bred, nor well-born!
Still, they taught me the pride of the sun
before teaching me how to read;
now my house is a watchman's hut
made of branches and cane.
Are you satisfied with my status?
I have a name, but no title!

Record!
I am an Arab!
You have stolen my ancestors' orchards
and the land I cultivated
along with my children.
You left us nothing
but these bare rocks.
Now will the State claim them
as it has been declared?

Therefore!
Record on the first page:
I do not hate people
nor do I encroach,
but if I become hungry
I will feast on the usurper's flesh!
Beware!
Beware my hunger
and my anger!

NOTE: Darwish was married twice, but had no children. In the poem above, he is apparently speaking for his people, not for himself personally.



Passport
by Mahmoud Darwish
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

They left me unrecognizable in the shadows
that bled all colors from this passport.
To them, my wounds were novelties—
curious photos for tourists to collect.
They failed to recognize me. No, don't leave
the palm of my hand bereft of sun
when all the trees recognize me
and every song of the rain honors me.
Don't set a wan moon over me!

All the birds that flocked to my welcoming wave
as far as the distant airport gates,
all the wheatfields,
all the prisons,
all the albescent tombstones,
all the barbwired boundaries,
all the fluttering handkerchiefs,
all the eyes—
they all accompanied me.
But they were stricken from my passport
shredding my identity!

How was I stripped of my name and identity
on soil I tended with my own hands?
Today, Job's lamentations
re-filled the heavens:
Don't make an example of me, not again!
Prophets! Gentlemen!—
Don't require the trees to name themselves!
Don't ask the valleys who mothered them!
My forehead glistens with lancing light.
From my hand the riverwater springs.
My identity can be found in my people's hearts,
so invalidate this passport!



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

It's not that every leaf must finally fall,
it's just that we can never catch them all.



Piercing the Shell

for the mothers and children of Gaza

If we strip away all the accouterments of war,
perhaps we'll discover what the heart is for.



gimME that ol’ time religion!
by michael r. burch

fiddle-dee-dum, fiddle-dee-dee,
jesus loves and understands ME!
safe in his grace, I’LL **** them to hell—
the strumpet, the harlot, the wild jezebel,
the alky, the druggie, all queers short and tall!
let them drink ashes and wormwood and gall,
’cause fiddle-dee-DUMB, fiddle-dee-WEEEEEEEEEee ...
jesus loves and understands
ME!



To the boy Elis
by Georg Trakl
translation by Michael R. Burch

Elis, when the blackbird cries from the black forest,
it announces your downfall.
Your lips sip the rock-spring's blue coolness.

Your brow sweats blood
recalling ancient myths
and dark interpretations of birds' flight.

Yet you enter the night with soft footfalls;
the ripe purple grapes hang suspended
as you wave your arms more beautifully in the blueness.

A thornbush crackles;
where now are your moonlike eyes?
How long, oh Elis, have you been dead?

A monk dips waxed fingers
into your body's hyacinth;
Our silence is a black abyss

from which sometimes a docile animal emerges
slowly lowering its heavy lids.
A black dew drips from your temples:

the lost gold of vanished stars.

TRANSLATOR'S NOTE: I believe that in the second stanza the blood on Elis's forehead may be a reference to the apprehensive ****** sweat of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. If my interpretation is correct, Elis hears the blackbird's cries, anticipates the danger represented by a harbinger of death, but elects to continue rather than turn back. From what I have been able to gather, the color blue had a special significance for Georg Trakl: it symbolized longing and perhaps a longing for death. The colors blue, purple and black may represent a progression toward death in the poem.



Habeas Corpus
by Michael R. Burch

from “Songs of the Antinatalist”

I have the results of your DNA analysis.
If you want to have children, this may induce paralysis.
I wish I had good news, but how can I lie?
Any offspring you have are guaranteed to die.
It wouldn’t be fair—I’m sure you’ll agree—
to sentence kids to death, so I’ll waive my fee.



Bittersight
by Michael R. Burch

for Abu al-Ala Al-Ma'arri, an ancient antinatalist poet

To be plagued with sight
in the Land of the Blind,
—to know birth is death
and that Death is kind—
is to be flogged like Eve
(stripped, sentenced and fined)
because evil is “good”
as some “god” has defined.



In His Kingdom of Corpses
by Michael R. Burch

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many enraged discourses,
high, high from some mountain peak
where He’s lectured man on compassion
while the sparrows around Him fell,
and babes, for His meager ration
of rain, died and went to hell,
unbaptized, for that’s His fashion.

In His kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to vent
in many obscure discourses
on the need for man to repent,
to admit that he’s a sinner;
give up ***, and riches, and fame;
be disciplined at his dinner
though always he dies the same,
whether fatter or thinner.

In his kingdom of corpses,
God has been heard to speak
in many absurd discourses
of man’s Ego, precipitous Peak!,
while demanding praise and worship,
and the bending of every knee.
And though He sounds like the Devil,
all religious men now agree
He loves them indubitably.



Uyghur Poetry Translations

With my translations I am trying to build awareness of the plight of Uyghur poets and their people, who are being sent in large numbers to Chinese "reeducation" concentration camps.

Perhat Tursun (1969-????) is one of the foremost living Uyghur language poets, if he is still alive. Unfortunately, Tursun was "disappeared" into a Chinese "reeducation" concentration camp where extreme psychological torture is the norm. According to a disturbing report he was later "hospitalized." Apparently no one knows his present whereabouts or condition, if he has one. According to John Bolton, when Donald Trump learned of these "reeducation" concentration camps, he told Chinese President Xi Jinping it was "exactly the right thing to do." Trump’s excuse? "Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal."

Elegy
by Perhat Tursun
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

"Your soul is the entire world."
―Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

Asylum seekers, will you recognize me among the mountain passes' frozen corpses?
Can you identify me here among our Exodus's exiled brothers?
We begged for shelter but they lashed us bare; consider our naked corpses.
When they compel us to accept their massacres, do you know that I am with you?

Three centuries later they resurrect, not recognizing each other,
Their former greatness forgotten.
I happily ingested poison, like a fine wine.
When they search the streets and cannot locate our corpses, do you know that I am with you?

In that tower constructed of skulls you will find my dome as well:
They removed my head to more accurately test their swords' temper.
When before their swords our relationship flees like a flighty lover,
Do you know that I am with you?

When men in fur hats are used for target practice in the marketplace
Where a dying man's face expresses his agony as a bullet cleaves his brain
While the executioner's eyes fail to comprehend why his victim vanishes, ...
Seeing my form reflected in that bullet-pierced brain's erratic thoughts,
Do you know that I am with you?

In those days when drinking wine was considered worse than drinking blood,
did you taste the flour ground out in that blood-turned churning mill?
Now, when you sip the wine Ali-Shir Nava'i imagined to be my blood
In that mystical tavern's dark abyssal chambers,
Do you know that I am with you?

TRANSLATOR NOTES: This is my interpretation (not necessarily correct) of the poem's frozen corpses left 300 years in the past. For the Uyghur people the Mongol period ended around 1760 when the Qing dynasty invaded their homeland, then called Dzungaria. Around a million people were slaughtered during the Qing takeover, and the Dzungaria territory was renamed Xinjiang. I imagine many Uyghurs fleeing the slaughters would have attempted to navigate treacherous mountain passes. Many of them may have died from starvation and/or exposure, while others may have been caught and murdered by their pursuers. If anyone has a better explanation, they are welcome to email me at mikerburch@gmail.com (there is an "r" between my first and last names).



The Fog and the Shadows
adapted from a novel by Perhat Tursun
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

“I began to realize the fog was similar to the shadows.”

I began to realize that, just as the exact shape of darkness is a shadow,
even so the exact shape of fog is disappearance
and the exact shape of a human being is also disappearance.
At this moment it seemed my body was vanishing into the human form’s final state.

After I arrived here,
it was as if the danger of getting lost
and the desire to lose myself
were merging strangely inside me.

While everything in that distant, gargantuan city where I spent my five college years felt strange to me; and even though the skyscrapers, highways, ditches and canals were built according to a single standard and shape, so that it wasn’t easy to differentiate them, still I never had the feeling of being lost. Everyone there felt like one person and they were all folded into each other. It was as if their faces, voices and figures had been gathered together like a shaman’s jumbled-up hair.

Even the men and women seemed identical.
You could only tell them apart by stripping off their clothes and examining them.
The men’s faces were beardless like women’s and their skin was very delicate and unadorned.
I was always surprised that they could tell each other apart.
Later I realized it wasn’t just me: many others were also confused.

For instance, when we went to watch the campus’s only TV in a corridor of a building where the seniors stayed when they came to improve their knowledge. Those elderly Uyghurs always argued about whether someone who had done something unusual in an earlier episode was the same person they were seeing now. They would argue from the beginning of the show to the end. Other people, who couldn’t stand such endless nonsense, would leave the TV to us and stalk off.

Then, when the classes began, we couldn’t tell the teachers apart.
Gradually we became able to tell the men from the women
and eventually we able to recognize individuals.
But other people remained identical for us.

The most surprising thing for me was that the natives couldn’t differentiate us either.
For instance, two police came looking for someone who had broken windows during a fight at a restaurant and had then run away.
They ordered us line up, then asked the restaurant owner to identify the culprit.
He couldn’t tell us apart even though he inspected us very carefully.
He said we all looked so much alike that it was impossible to tell us apart.
Sighing heavily, he left.



The Encounter
by Abdurehim Otkur
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I asked her, why aren’t you afraid? She said her God.
I asked her, anything else? She said her People.
I asked her, anything more? She said her Soul.
I asked her if she was content? She said, I am Not.



The Distance
by Tahir Hamut
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We can’t exclude the cicadas’ serenades.
Behind the convex glass of the distant hospital building
the nurses watch our outlandish party
with their absurdly distorted faces.

Drinking watered-down liquor,
half-****, descanting through the open window,
we speak sneeringly of life, love, girls.
The cicadas’ serenades keep breaking in,
wrecking critical parts of our dissertations.

The others dream up excuses to ditch me
and I’m left here alone.

The cosmopolitan pyramid
of drained bottles
makes me feel
like I’m in a Turkish bath.

I lock the door:
Time to get back to work!

I feel like doing cartwheels.
I feel like self-annihilation.



Refuge of a Refugee
by Ablet Abdurishit Berqi aka Tarim
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I lack a passport,
so I can’t leave legally.
All that’s left is for me to smuggle myself to safety,
but I’m afraid I’ll be beaten black and blue at the border
and I can’t afford the trafficker.

I’m a smuggler of love,
though love has no national identity.
Poetry is my refuge,
where a refugee is most free.

The following excerpts, translated by Anne Henochowicz, come from an essay written by Tang Danhong about her final meeting with Dr. Ablet Abdurishit Berqi, aka Tarim. Tarim is a reference to the Tarim Basin and its Uyghur inhabitants...

I’m convinced that the poet Tarim Ablet Berqi the associate professor at the Xinjiang Education Institute, has been sent to a “concentration camp for educational transformation.” This scholar of Uyghur literature who conducted postdoctoral research at Israel’s top university, what kind of “educational transformation” is he being put through?

Chen Quanguo, the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang, has said it’s “like the instruction at school, the order of the military, and the security of prison. We have to break their blood relations, their networks, and their roots.”

On a scorching summer day, Tarim came to Tel Aviv from Haifa. In a few days he would go back to Urumqi. I invited him to come say goodbye and once again prepared Sichuan cold noodles for him. He had already unfriended me on Facebook. He said he couldn’t eat, he was busy, and had to hurry back to Haifa. He didn’t even stay for twenty minutes. I can’t even remember, did he sit down? Did he have a glass of water? Yet this farewell shook me to my bones.

He said, “Maybe when I get off the plane, before I enter the airport, they’ll take me to a separate room and beat me up, and I’ll disappear.”

Looking at my shocked face, he then said, “And maybe nothing will happen …”

His expression was sincere. To be honest, the Tarim I saw rarely smiled. Still, layer upon layer blocked my powers of comprehension: he’s a poet, a writer, and a scholar. He’s an associate professor at the Xinjiang Education Institute. He can get a passport and come to Israel for advanced studies. When he goes back he’ll have an offer from Sichuan University to be a professor of literature … I asked, “Beat you up at the airport? Disappear? On what grounds?”

“That’s how Xinjiang is,” he said without any surprise in his voice. “When a Uyghur comes back from being abroad, that can happen.”…



This poem helps us understand the nomadic lifestyle of many Uyghurs, the hardships they endure, and the character it builds...

Iz (“Traces”)
by Abdurehim Otkur
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We were children when we set out on this journey;
Now our grandchildren ride horses.

We were just a few when we set out on this arduous journey;
Now we're a large caravan leaving traces in the desert.

We leave our traces scattered in desert dunes' valleys
Where many of our heroes lie buried in sandy graves.

But don't say they were abandoned: amid the cedars
their resting places are decorated by springtime flowers!

We left the tracks, the station... the crowds recede in the distance;
The wind blows, the sand swirls, but here our indelible trace remains.

The caravan continues, we and our horses become thin,
But our great-grand-children will one day rediscover those traces.



My Feelings
by Dolqun Yasin
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The light sinking through the ice and snow,
The hollyhock blossoms reddening the hills like blood,
The proud peaks revealing their ******* to the stars,
The morning-glories embroidering the earth’s greenery,
Are not light,
Not hollyhocks,
Not peaks,
Not morning-glories;
They are my feelings.

The tears washing the mothers’ wizened faces,
The flower-like smiles suddenly brightening the girls’ visages,
The hair turning white before age thirty,
The night which longs for light despite the sun’s laughter,
Are not tears,
Not smiles,
Not hair,
Not night;
They are my nomadic feelings.

Now turning all my sorrow to passion,
Bequeathing to my people all my griefs and joys,
Scattering my excitement like flowers festooning fields,
I harvest all these, then tenderly glean my poem.

Therefore the world is this poem of mine,
And my poem is the world itself.



To My Brother the Warrior
by Téyipjan Éliyow
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I accompanied you,
the commissioners called me a child.
If only I had been a bit taller
I might have proved myself in battle!

The commission could not have known
my commitment, despite my youth.
If only they had overlooked my age and enlisted me,
I'd have given that enemy rabble hell!

Now, brother, I’m an adult.
Doubtless, I’ll join the service soon.
Soon enough, I’ll be by your side,
battling the enemy: I’ll never surrender!

Keywords/Tags: Uyghur, translation, Uighur, Xinjiang, elegy, Kafka, China, Chinese, reeducation, prison, concentration camp, desert, nomad, nomadic, race, racism, discrimination, Islam, Islamic, Muslim, mrbuyghur



Free Fall to Liftoff
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

I see the longing for departure gleam
in his still-keen eye,
                                 and I understand his desire
to test this last wind, like those late autumn leaves
with nothing left to cling to ...



The One True Poem
by Michael R. Burch

Love was not meaningless ...
nor your embrace, nor your kiss.

And though every god proved a phantom,
still you were divine to your last dying atom ...

So that when you are gone
and, yea, not a word remains of this poem,

even so,
We were One.



The Poem of Poems
by Michael R. Burch

This is my Poem of Poems, for you.
Every word ineluctably true:
I love you.



Peace Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

Be calm.
Be still.
Be silent, content.

Be one with the buffalo cropping the grass to a safer height.

Seek the composure of the great depths, barely moved by exterior storms.

Lift your face to the dawning light; feel how it warms.

And be calm.
Be still.
Be silent, content.



Sometimes the Dead
by Michael R. Burch

Sometimes we catch them out of the corners of our eyes—
the pale dead.
After they have fled
the gourds of their bodies, like escaping fragrances they rise.

Once they have become a cloud’s mist, sometimes like the rain
they descend;
they appear, sometimes silver like laughter,
to gladden the hearts of men.

Sometimes like a pale gray fog, they drift
unencumbered, yet lumbrously,
as if over the sea
there was the lightest vapor even Atlas could not lift.

Sometimes they haunt our dreams like forgotten melodies
only half-remembered.
Though they lie dismembered
in black catacombs, sepulchers and dismal graves; although they have committed felonies,

yet they are us. Someday soon we will meet them in the graveyard dust
blood-engorged, but never sated
since Cain slew Abel.
But until we become them, let us steadfastly forget them, even as we know our children must ...



What the Poet Sees
by Michael R. Burch

What the poet sees,
he sees as a swimmer
~~~underwater~~~
watching the shoreline blur
sees through his breath’s weightless bubbles ...
Both worlds grow obscure.

Published by ByLine, Mandrake Poetry Review, Poetically Speaking, E Mobius Pi, Underground Poets, Little Brown Poetry, Little Brown Poetry, Triplopia, Poetic Ponderings, Poem Kingdom, PW Review, Neovictorian/Cochlea, Muse Apprentice Guild, Mindful of Poetry, Poetry on Demand, Poet’s Haven, Famous Poets and Poems, and Bewildering Stories



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's sweet relief
from Love’s exhausting Dream,

for the Night has Wings
gentler than moonbeams―

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

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
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.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
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 the Elsewhere,
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.

Published by The Lyric and The Ekphrastic Review



Chit Chat: In the Poetry Chat Room
by Michael R. Burch

WHY SHULD I LERN TO SPELL?
HELL,
NO ONE REEDS WHAT I SAY
ANYWAY!!! :(

Sing for the cool night,
whispers of constellations.
Sing for the supple grass,
the tall grass, gently whispering.
Sing of infinities, multitudes,
of all that lies beyond us now,
whispers begetting whispers.
And i am glad to also whisper . . .

I WUS HURT IN LUV I’M DYIN’
FER TH’ TEARS I BEEN A-CRYIN’!!!

i abide beyond serenities
and realms of grace,
above love’s misdirected earth,
i lift my face.
i am beyond finding now . . .

I WAS IN, LOVE, AND HE ******* ME!!!
THE ****!!! TOTALLY!!!

i loved her once, before, when i
was mortal too, and sometimes i
would listen and distinctly hear
her laughter from the juniper,
but did not go . . .

I JUST DON’T GET POETRY, SOMETIMES.
IT’S OKAY, I GUESS.
I REALLY DON’T READ THAT MUCH AT ALL,
I MUST CONFESS!!! ;-)

Travail, inherent to all flesh,
i do not know, nor how to feel.
Although i sing them nighttimes still:
the bitter woes, that do not heal . . .

POETRY IS BORING.
SEE, IT *****!!!, I’M SNORING!!! ZZZZZZZ!!!

The words like breath, i find them here,
among the fragrant juniper,
and conifers amid the snow,
old loves imagined long ago . . .

WHY DON’T YOU LIKE MY PERFICKT WORDS
YOU USELESS UN-AMERIC’N TURDS?!!!

What use is love, to me, or Thou?
O Words, my awe, to fly so smooth
above the anguished hearts of men
to heights unknown, Thy bare remove . . .



Each Color a Scar
by Michael R. Burch

What she left here,
upon my cheek,
is a tear.

She did not speak,
but her intention
was clear,

and I was meek,
far too meek, and, I fear,
too sincere.

What she can never take
from my heart
is its ache;

for now we, apart,
are like leaves
without weight,

scattered afar
by love, or by hate,
each color a scar.



Ultimate Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

he now faces the Ultimate Sunset,
his body like the leaves that fray as they dry,
shedding their vital fluids (who knows why?)
till they’ve become even lighter than the covering sky,
ready to fly ...



Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

I see the longing for departure gleaming
in his still-keen eye,
and I understand his desire
to test this last wind, like those late autumn leaves
with nothing left to cling to ...



Sanctuary at Dawn
by Michael R. Burch

I have walked these thirteen miles
just to stand outside your door.
The rain has dogged my footsteps
for thirteen miles, for thirty years,
through the monsoon seasons . . .
and now my tears
have all been washed away.

Through thirteen miles of rain I slogged,
I stumbled and I climbed
rainslickened slopes
that led me home
to the hope that I might find
a life I lived before.

The door is wet; my cheeks are wet,
but not with rain or tears . . .
as I knock I sweat
and the raining seems
the rhythm of the years.

Now you stand outlined in the doorway
―a man as large as I left―
and with bated breath
I take a step
into the accusing light.

Your eyes are grayer
than I remembered;
your hair is grayer, too.
As the red rust runs
down the dripping drains,
our voices exclaim―

"My father!"
"My son!"

NOTE: “Sanctuary at Dawn” was written either in high school or during my first two years of college.



All Things Galore
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandfathers George Edwin Hurt Sr. and Paul Ray Burch Sr.

Grandfather,
now in your gray presence
you are

somehow more near

and remind me that,
once, upon a star,
you taught me

wish

that ululate soft phrase,
that hopeful phrase!

and everywhere above, each hopeful star

gleamed down

and seemed to speak of times before
when you clasped my small glad hand
in your wise paw

and taught me heaven, omen, meteor . . .



Attend Upon Them Still
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandparents George and Ena Hurt

With gentleness and fine and tender will,
attend upon them still;
thou art the grass.

Nor let men’s feet here muddy as they pass
thy subtle undulations, nor depress
for long the comforts of thy lovingness,

nor let the fuse
of time wink out amid the violets.
They have their use―

to wave, to grow, to gleam, to lighten their paths,
to shine sweet, transient glories at their feet.
Thou art the grass;

make them complete.



The Composition of Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

for poets who write late at night

We breathe and so we write; the night
hums softly its accompaniment.
Pale phosphors burn; the page we turn
leads onward, and we smile, content.

And what we mean we write to learn:
the vowels of love, the consonants’
strange golden weight, each plosive’s shape—
curved like the heart. Here, resonant,

sounds’ shadows mass beneath bright glass
like singing voles curled in a maze
of blank white space. We touch a face—
long-frozen words trapped in a glaze

that insulates our hearts. Nowhere
can love be found. Just shrieking air.

Published by The Lyric, Contemporary Rhyme, Candelabrum, Iambs & Trochees (Poem of the Week), Triplopia, Romantics Quarterly, Hidden Treasures (Selected Poem), ImageNation (United Kingdom), Yellow Bat Review, Poetry Life & Times, Vallance Review, Poetica Victorian



First Steps
by Michael R. Burch

for Caitlin Shea Murphy

To her a year is like infinity,
each day—an adventure never-ending.
She has no concept of time,
but already has begun the climb—
from childhood to womanhood recklessly ascending.

I would caution her, "No! Wait!
There will be time enough another day ...
time to learn the Truth
and to slowly shed your youth,
but for now, sweet child, go carefully on your way! ..."

But her time is not a time for cautious words,
nor a time for measured, careful understanding.
She is just certain
that, by grabbing the curtain,
in a moment she will finally be standing!

Little does she know that her first few steps
will hurtle her on her way
through childhood to adolescence,
and then, finally, pubescence . . .
while, just as swiftly, I’ll be going gray!



brrExit
by Michael R. Burch

what would u give
to simply not exist—
for a painless exit?
he asked himself, uncertain.

then from behind
the hospital room curtain
a patient screamed—
"my life!"



Vacuum
by Michael R. Burch

Over hushed quadrants
forever landlocked in snow,
time’s senseless winds blow ...

leaving odd relics of lives half-revealed,
if still mostly concealed ...
such are the things we are unable to know

that once intrigued us so.

Come then, let us quickly repent
of whatever truths we’d once determined to learn:
for whatever is left, we are unable to discern.

There’s nothing left of us; it’s time to go.



Spring
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Young lovers,
greeting the spring
fling themselves downhill,
making cobblestones ring
with their wild leaps and arcs,
like ecstatic sparks
struck from coal.

What is their brazen goal?

They grab at whatever passes,
so we can only hazard guesses.
But they rear like prancing steeds
raked by brilliant spurs of need,
Young lovers.



Oft in My Thought
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

So often in my busy mind I sought,
Around the advent of the fledgling year,
For something pretty that I really ought
To give my lady dear;
But that sweet thought's been wrested from me, clear,
Since death, alas, has sealed her under clay
And robbed the world of all that's precious here―
God keep her soul, I can no better say.

For me to keep my manner and my thought
Acceptable, as suits my age's hour?
While proving that I never once forgot
Her worth? It tests my power!
I serve her now with masses and with prayer;
For it would be a shame for me to stray
Far from my faith, when my time's drawing near—
God keep her soul, I can no better say.

Now earthly profits fail, since all is lost
And the cost of everything became so dear;
Therefore, O Lord, who rules the higher host,
Take my good deeds, as many as there are,
And crown her, Lord, above in your bright sphere,
As heaven's truest maid! And may I say:
Most good, most fair, most likely to bring cheer—
God keep her soul, I can no better say.

When I praise her, or hear her praises raised,
I recall how recently she brought me pleasure;
Then my heart floods like an overflowing bay
And makes me wish to dress for my own bier—
God keep her soul, I can no better say.



Confession of a Stolen Kiss
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My ghostly father, I confess,
First to God and then to you,
That at a window (you know how)
I stole a kiss of great sweetness,
Which was done out of avidness—
But it is done, not undone, now.

My ghostly father, I confess,
First to God and then to you.

But I shall restore it, doubtless,
Again, if it may be that I know how;
And thus to God I make a vow,
And always I ask forgiveness.

My ghostly father, I confess,
First to God and then to you.

Translator note: By "ghostly father" I take Charles d'Orleans to be confessing to a priest. If so, it's ironic that the kiss was "stolen" at a window and the confession is being made at the window of a confession booth. But it also seems possible that Charles could be confessing to his human father, murdered in his youth and now a ghost. There is wicked humor in the poem, as Charles is apparently vowing to keep asking for forgiveness because he intends to keep stealing kisses at every opportunity!



Charles d'Orleans translations of Rondels/Roundels/Rondeaux

Note: While there is some confusion about the names and definitions of poetic forms such as the rondel, roundel, rondelle and rondeau, these are all rhyming poems with refrains.

Rondel: Your Smiling Mouth
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms' twin chains,
Your hands so smooth, each finger straight and plain,
Your little feet—please, what more can I say?

It is my fetish when you're far away
To muse on these and thus to soothe my pain—
Your smiling mouth and laughing eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms' twin chains.

So would I beg you, if I only may,
To see such sights as I before have seen,
Because my fetish pleases me. Obscene?

I'll be obsessed until my dying day
By your sweet smiling mouth and eyes, bright gray,
Your ample ******* and slender arms' twin chains!



The season has cast its coat aside
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The season has cast its coat aside
of wind and cold and rain,
to dress in embroidered light again:
bright sunlight, fit for a bride!

There isn't a bird or beast astride
that fails to sing this sweet refrain:
"The season has cast its coat aside! "

Now rivers, fountains, springs and tides
dressed in their summer best
with silver beads impressed
in a fine display now glide:
the season has cast its coat aside!



The year lays down his mantle cold
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The year lays down his mantle cold
of wind, chill rain and bitter air,
and now goes clad in clothes of gold
of smiling suns and seasons fair,
while birds and beasts of wood and fold
now with each cry and song declare:
"The year lays down his mantle cold! "
All brooks, springs, rivers, seaward rolled,
now pleasant summer livery wear
with silver beads embroidered where
the world puts off its raiment old.
The year lays down his mantle cold.



Winter has cast his cloak away
by Charles d'Orleans (c.1394-1465)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Winter has cast his cloak away
of wind and cold and chilling rain
to dress in embroidered light again:
the light of day—bright, festive, gay!
Each bird and beast, without delay,
in its own tongue, sings this refrain:
"Winter has cast his cloak away! "
Brooks, fountains, rivers, streams at play,
wear, with their summer livery,
bright beads of silver jewelry.
All the Earth has a new and fresh display:
Winter has cast his cloak away!

Note: This rondeau was set to music by Debussy in his "Trois chansons de France."



Caedmon's Hymn (circa 658-680 AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Humbly now we honour heaven-kingdom's Guardian,
the Measurer's might and his mind-plans,
the goals of the Glory-Father. First he, the Everlasting Lord,
established earth's fearful foundations.
Then he, the First Scop, hoisted heaven as a roof
for the sons of men: Holy Creator,
mankind's great Maker! Then he, the Ever-Living Lord,
afterwards made men middle-earth: Master Almighty!



Les Bijoux (The Jewels)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My lover **** and knowing my heart's whims
Wore nothing more than a few bright-flashing gems;
Her art was saving men despite their sins—
She ruled like harem girls crowned with diadems!

She danced for me with a gay but mocking air,
My world of stone and metal sparking bright;
I discovered in her the rapture of everything fair—
Nay, an excess of joy where the spirit and flesh unite!

Naked she lay and offered herself to me,
Parting her legs and smiling receptively,
As gentle and yet profound as the rising sea—
Till her surging tide encountered my cliff, abruptly.

A tigress tamed, her eyes met mine, intent ...
Intent on lust, content to purr and please!
Her breath, both languid and lascivious, lent
An odd charm to her metamorphoses.

Her limbs, her *****, her abdomen, her thighs,
Oiled alabaster, sinuous as a swan,
Writhed pale before my calm clairvoyant eyes;
Like clustered grapes her ******* and belly shone.

Skilled in more spells than evil imps can muster,
To break the peace which had possessed my heart,
She flashed her crystal rocks’ hypnotic luster
Till my quietude was shattered, blown apart.

Her waist awrithe, her ******* enormously
Out-******, and yet ... and yet, somehow, still coy ...
As if stout haunches of Antiope
Had been grafted to a boy ...

The room grew dark, the lamp had flickered out.
Mute firelight, alone, lit each glowing stud;
Each time the fire sighed, as if in doubt,
It steeped her pale, rouged flesh in pools of blood.



Duellem (The Duel)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Two combatants charged! Their fearsome swords
brightened the air with fiery sparks and blood.
Their clashing blades clinked odd serenades,
reminding us: youth's inspired by overloud love.

But now their blades lie broken, like our hearts!
Still, our savage teeth and talon-like fingernails
can do more damage than the deadliest sword
when lovers lash about with such natural flails.

In a deep ravine haunted by lynxes and panthers,
our heroes roll around in a cozy embrace,
leaving their blood to redden the colorless branches.
This abyss is pure hell; our friends occupy the place.

Come, let us roll here too, cruel Amazon;
let our hatred’s ardor never be over and done!



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 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!



Il pleure dans mon coeur (“It rains in my heart”)
by Paul Verlaine
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It rains in my heart
As it rains on the town;
Heavy languor and dark
Drenches my heart.

Oh, the sweet-sounding rain
Cleansing pavements and roofs!
For my listless heart's pain
The pure song of the rain!

Still it rains without reason
In my overcast heart.
Can it be there's no treason?
That this grief's without reason?

As my heart floods with pain,
Lacking hatred, or love,
I've no way to explain
Such bewildering pain!



Spleen
by Paul Verlaine
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The roses were so very red;
The ivy, impossibly black.
Dear, with a mere a turn of your head,
My despair’s flooded back!

The sky was too gentle, too blue;
The sea, far too windswept and green.
Yet I always imagined―or knew―
I’d again feel your spleen.

Now I'm tired of the glossy waxed holly,
Of the shimmering boxwood too,
Of the meadowland’s endless folly,
When all things, alas, lead to you!



In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch

for George King

In the whispering night, when the stars bend low
till the hills ignite to a shining flame,
when a shower of meteors streaks the sky
while the lilies sigh in their beds, for shame,
we must steal our souls, as they once were stolen,
and gather our vigor, and all our intent.
We must heave our bodies to some famished ocean
and laugh as they vanish, and never repent.
We must dance in the darkness as stars dance before us,
soar, Soar! through the night on a butterfly's breeze ...
blown high, upward-yearning, twin spirits returning
to the heights of awareness from which we were seized.



Dispensing Keys
by Hafiz aka Hafez
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The imbecile
constructs cages
for everyone he knows,
while the sage
(who has to duck his head
whenever the moon glows)
keeps dispensing keys
all night long
to the beautiful, rowdy,
prison gang.



Infectious!
by Hafiz aka Hafez
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I became infected with happiness tonight
as I wandered idly, singing in the starlight.
Now I'm wonderfully contagious ...
so kiss me!



The Tally
by Hafiz aka Hafez
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lovers
don't reveal
all
their Secrets;
under the covers
they
may
count each other's Moles
(that reside
and hide
in the shy regions
by forbidden holes),
then keep the final tally
strictly
from Aunt Sally!

This is admittedly a VERY loose translation of the original Hafiz poem!



Mirror
by Kajal Ahmad, a Kurdish poet
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My era's obscuring mirror
shattered
because it magnified the small
and made the great seem insignificant.
Dictators and monsters filled its contours.
Now when I breathe
its jagged shards pierce my heart
and instead of sweat
I exude glass.



The Lonely Earth
by Kajal Ahmad
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The pale celestial bodies
never bid her “Good morning!”
nor do the creative stars
kiss her.
Earth, where so many tender persuasions and roses lie interred,
might expire for the lack of a glance, or an odor.
She’s a lonely dusty orb,
so very lonely!, as she observes the moon's patchwork attire
knowing the sun's an imposter
who sears with rays he has stolen for himself
and who looks down on the moon and earth like lodgers.



Kurds are Birds
by Kajal Ahmad
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Per the latest scientific classification, Kurds
now belong to a species of bird!
This is why,
traveling across the torn, fraying pages of history,
they are nomads recognized by their caravans.
Yes, Kurds are birds! And,
even worse, when
there’s nowhere left to nest, no refuge from their pain,
they turn to the illusion of traveling again
between the warm and arctic sectors of their homeland.
So I don’t think it strange Kurds can fly but not land.
They wander from region to region
never realizing their dreams
of settling,
of forming a colony, of nesting.
No, they never settle down long enough
to visit Rumi and inquire about his health,
or to bow down deeply in the gust-
stirred dust,
like Nali.



Birdsong
by Rumi
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Birdsong relieves
my deepest griefs:
now I'm just as ecstatic as they,
but with nothing to say!
Please universe,
rehearse
your poetry
through me!



After the Deluge
by Michael R. Burch

She was kinder than light
to an up-reaching flower
and sweeter than rain
to the bees in their bower
where anemones blush
at the affections they shower,
and love’s shocking power.

She shocked me to life,
but soon left me to wither.
I was listless without her,
nor could I be with her.
I fell under the spell
of her absence’s power.
in that calamitous hour.

Like blithe showers that fled
repealing spring’s sweetness;
like suns’ warming rays sped
away, with such fleetness ...
she has taken my heart—
alas, our completeness!
I now wilt in pale beams
of her occult remembrance.



grave request
by michael r. burch

come to ur doom
in Tombstone;

the stars stark and chill
over Boot Hill

care nothing for ur desire;

still,

imagine they wish u no ill,
that u burn with the same antique fire;

for there’s nothing to life but the thrill
of living until u expire;

so come, spend ur last hardearned bill
on Tombstone.



Defenses
by Michael R. Burch

Beyond the silhouettes of trees
stark, naked and defenseless
there stand long rows of sentinels:
these pert white picket fences.

Now whom they guard and how they guard,
the good Lord only knows;
but savages would have to laugh
observing the tidy rows.



Pool's Prince Charming
by Michael R. Burch

(this is my tribute poem, written on the behalf of his fellow pool sharks, for the legendary Saint Louie Louie Roberts)

Louie, Louie, Prince of Pool,
making all the ladies drool ...
Take the “nuts”? I'd be a fool!
Louie, Louie, Prince of Pool.

Louie, Louie, pretty as Elvis,
owner of (ahem) a similar pelvis ...
Compared to you, the books will shelve us.
Louie, Louie, pretty as Elvis.

Louie, Louie, fearless gambler,
ladies' man and constant rambler,
but such a sweet, loquacious ambler!
Louie, Louie, fearless gambler.

Louie, Louie, angelic, chthonic,
pool's charming hero, but tragic, Byronic,
winning the Open drinking gin and tonic?
Louie, Louie, angelic, chthonic.



The Aery Faery Princess
by Michael R. Burch

for Keira

There once was a princess lighter than fluff
made of such gossamer stuff—
the down of a thistle, butterflies’ wings,
the faintest high note the hummingbird sings,
moonbeams on garlands, strands of bright hair ...
I think she’s just you when you’re floating on air!



pretty pickle
by Michael R. Burch

u’d blaspheme if u could
because ur God’s no good,
but of course u cant:
ur just a lowly ant
(or so u were told by a Hierophant).



and then i was made whole
by Michael R. Burch

... and then i was made whole,
but not a thing entire,
glued to a perch
in a gilded church,
strung through with a silver wire ...

singing a little of this and of that,
warbling higher and higher:
a thing wholly dead
till I lifted my head
and spat at the Lord and his choir.



Album
by Michael R. Burch

I caress them—trapped in brittle cellophane—
and I see how young they were, and how unwise;
and I remember their first flight—an old prop plane,
their blissful arc through alien blue skies ...

And I touch them here through leaves which—tattered, frayed—
are also wings, but wings that never flew:
like insects’ wings—pinned, held. Here, time delayed,
their features never changed, remaining two ...

And Grief, which lurked unseen beyond the lens
or in shadows where It crept on feral claws
as It scratched Its way into their hearts, depends
on sorrows such as theirs, and works Its jaws ...

and slavers for Its meat—those young, unwise,
who naively dare to dream, yet fail to see
how, lumbering sunward, Hope, ungainly, flies,
clutching to Her ruffled breast what must not be.



Because You Came to Me
by Michael R. Burch

Because you came to me with sweet compassion
and kissed my furrowed brow and smoothed my hair,
I do not love you after any fashion,
but wildly, in despair.

Because you came to me in my black torment
and kissed me fiercely, blazing like the sun
upon parched desert dunes, till in dawn’s foment
they melt, I am undone.

Because I am undone, you have remade me
as suns bring life, as brilliant rains endow
the earth below with leaves, where you now shade me
and bower me, somehow.



Beckoning
by Michael R. Burch

Yesterday the wind whispered my name
while the blazing locks
of her rampant mane
lay heavy on mine.

And yesterday
I saw the way
the wind caressed tall pines
in forests laced by glinting streams
and thick with tangled vines.

And though she reached
for me in her sleep,
the touch I felt was Time's.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem around age 18, wasn't happy with it, put it aside, then revised it six years later.



Besieged
by Michael R. Burch

Life—the disintegration of the flesh
before the fitful elevation of the soul
upon improbable wings?

Life—is this all we know,
the travail one bright season brings? ...

Now the fruit hangs,
impendent, pregnant with death,
as the hurricane builds and flings
its white columns and banners of snow

and the rout begins.



****** or Heroine?
by Michael R. Burch

(for mothers battling addiction)

serve the Addiction;
worship the Beast;
feed the foul Pythons
your flesh, their fair feast ...

or rise up, resist
the huge many-headed hydra;
for the sake of your Loved Ones
decapitate medusa.



Loose Knit
by Michael R. Burch

She blesses the needle,
fetches fine red stitches,
criss-crossing, embroidering dreams
in the delicate fabric.

And if her hand jerks and twitches in puppet-like fits,
she tells herself
reality is not as threadbare as it seems ...
that a little more darning may gather loose seams.

She weaves an unraveling tapestry
of fatigue and remorse and pain; ...
only the nervously pecking needle
****** her to motion, again and again.



I Have Labored Sore
anonymous medieval lyric (circa the fifteenth century)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I have labored sore / and suffered death,
so now I rest / and catch my breath.
But I shall come / and call right soon
heaven and earth / and hell to doom.
Then all shall know / both devil and man
just who I was / and what I am.

NOTE: This poem has a pronounced caesura (pause) in the middle of each line: a hallmark of Old English poetry. While this poem is closer to Middle English, it preserves the older tradition. I have represented the caesura with a slash.



A Lyke-Wake Dirge
anonymous medieval lyric (circa the sixteenth century)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The Lie-Awake Dirge is "the night watch kept over a corpse."

This one night, this one night,
every night and all;
fire and sleet and candlelight,
and Christ receive thy soul.

When from this earthly life you pass
every night and all,
to confront your past you must come at last,
and Christ receive thy soul.

If you ever donated socks and shoes,
every night and all,
sit right down and put pull yours on,
and Christ receive thy soul.

But if you never helped your brother,
every night and all,
walk barefoot through the flames of hell,
and Christ receive thy soul.

If ever you shared your food and drink,
every night and all,
the fire will never make you shrink,
and Christ receive thy soul.

But if you never helped your brother,
every night and all,
walk starving through the black abyss,
and Christ receive thy soul.

This one night, this one night,
every night and all;
fire and sleet and candlelight,
and Christ receive thy soul.



This World's Joy
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa early 14th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Winter awakens all my care
as leafless trees grow bare.
For now my sighs are fraught
whenever it enters my thought:
regarding this world's joy,
how everything comes to naught.



How Long the Night
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa early 13th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It is pleasant, indeed, while the summer lasts
with the mild pheasants' song...
but now I feel the northern wind's blast:
its severe weather strong.
Alas! Alas! This night seems so long!
And I, because of my momentous wrong
now grieve, mourn and fast.



Adam Lay Ybounden
(anonymous Medieval English lyric, circa early 15th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Adam lay bound, bound in a bond;
Four thousand winters, he thought, were not too long.
And all was for an apple, an apple that he took,
As clerics now find written in their book.
But had the apple not been taken, or had it never been,
We'd never have had our Lady, heaven's queen and matron.
So blesséd be the time the apple was taken thus;
Therefore we sing, "God is gracious! "

The poem has also been rendered as "Adam lay i-bounden" and "Adam lay i-bowndyn."



Excerpt from "Ubi Sunt Qui Ante Nos Fuerunt? "
anonymous Middle English poem, circa 1275
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Where are the men who came before us,
who led hounds and hawks to the hunt,
who commanded fields and woods?
Where are the elegant ladies in their boudoirs
who braided gold through their hair
and had such fair complexions?

Once eating and drinking made their hearts glad;
they enjoyed their games;
men bowed before them;
they bore themselves loftily...
But then, in an eye's twinkling,
their hearts were forlorn.

Where are their laughter and their songs,
the trains of their dresses,
the arrogance of their entrances and exits,
their hawks and their hounds?
All their joy is departed;
their "well" has come to "oh, well"
and to many dark days...



Westron Wynde
(anonymous Middle English lyric, found in a partbook circa 1530 AD, but perhaps written much earlier)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Western wind, when will you blow,
bringing the drizzling rain?
Christ, that my love were in my arms,
and I in my bed again!

NOTE: The original poem has "the smalle rayne down can rayne" which suggests a drizzle or mist, either of which would suggest a dismal day.



Pity Mary
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa early 13th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Now the sun passes under the wood:
I rue, Mary, thy face: fair, good.
Now the sun passes under the tree:
I rue, Mary, thy son and thee.

In the poem above, note how "wood" and "tree" invoke the cross while "sun" and "son" seem to invoke each other. Sun-day is also Son-day, to Christians. The anonymous poet who wrote the poem above may have been been punning the words "sun" and "son." The poem is also known as "Now Goeth Sun Under Wood" and "Now Go'th Sun Under Wood."



Fowles in the Frith
(anonymous Middle English lyric, circa 13th-14th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The fowls in the forest,
the fishes in the flood
and I must go mad:
such sorrow I've had
for beasts of bone and blood!

Sounds like an early animal rights activist! The use of "and" is intriguing... is the poet saying that his walks in the wood drive him mad because he is also a "beast of bone and blood, " facing a similar fate?



I am of Ireland
(anonymous Medieval Irish lyric, circa 13th-14th century AD)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am of Ireland,
and of the holy realm of Ireland.
Gentlefolk, I pray thee:
for the sake of saintly charity,
come dance with me
in Ireland!



If I am Syrian, what of it?
Stranger, we all dwell in one world, not its portals.
The same original Chaos gave birth to all mortals.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love, how can I call on you:
does Desire dwell with the dead?
Cupid, that bold boy, never bowed his head
to wail.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cupid, I swear,
your quiver holds only empty air:
for all your winged arrows, set free,
are now lodged in me.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cupid, if you incinerate my soul, touché!
For she too has wings and can fly away!
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Cupid, the cuddly baby
safe in his mother's lap,
chucking the dice one day,
gambled my heart away.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I lie defeated. Set your foot on my neck. Checkmate.
I recognize you by your weight;
yes, and by the gods, you’re a load to bear.
I am also well aware
of your fiery darts.
But if you seek to ignite human hearts,
******* with your tinders;
mine’s already in cinders.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I see Theron everything’s revealed.
When he’s gone all’s concealed.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I see Theron everything’s defined;
When he’s gone I’m blind.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When I see Theron my eyes bug out;
When he’s gone even sight is in doubt.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Mother-Earth, to all men dear,
Aesigenes was never a burden to you,
so please rest lightly on him here.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Meleager dedicates this lamp to you, dear Cypris, as a plaything,
since it has been initiated into the mysteries of your nocturnal ceremonies.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I know you lied, because these ringlets
still dripping scented essences
betray your wantonness.
These also betray you—
your eyes sagging with the lack of sleep,
stray tendrils of your unchaste hair escaping its garlands,
your limbs uncoordinated by the wine.
Away, trollop, they summon you—
the reveling lyre and the clattering castanets rattled by lewd fingers!
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Moon and Stars,
lighting the way for lovers,
and Night,
and you, my mournful Mandolin, my ***** companion ...
when will we see her, the little wanton one, lying awake and moaning to her lamp?
Or does she embrace some other companion?
Then let me hang conciliatory garlands on her door,
wilted by my tears,
and let me inscribe thereupon these words:
"For you, Cypris,
the one to whom you revealed the mysteries of your revels,
Meleager,
offers these spoiled tokens of his love."
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Silence!
They must have carried her off!
Who could be so barbaric,
to act with such violence,
to wage war against Love himself?
Quick, prepare the torches!
But wait!
A footfall, Heliodora's!
Get back in my *****, heart!
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tears, the last gifts of my love,
I send drenching down to you, Heliodora.
Here on your puddling tomb I pour them out—
soul-wrenching tears
in memory of affliction and affection.
Piteously, so piteously Meleager mourns you,
you still so precious, so dear to him in death,
paying vain tributes to Acheron.
Alas! Alas! Where is my beautiful one,
my heart's desire?
Death has taken her from me, has robbed me of her,
and the lustrous blossom lies trampled in dust.
But Earth-Mother, nurturer of us all ...
Mother, I beseech you, hold her gently to your *****,
the one we all bewail.
—Meleager, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



You ask me why I've sent you no new verses?
There might be reverses.
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You ask me to recite my poems to you?
I know how you'll "recite" them, if I do.
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: The irascible Martial is suggesting that if he shares his poems, they will be plagiarized.

You ask me why I choose to live elsewhere?
You're not there.
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You ask me why I love the fresh country air?
You're not befouling it there.
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You never wrote a poem,
yet criticize mine?
Stop abusing me or write something fine
of your own!
―Martial, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

He starts everything but finishes nothing;
thus I suspect there's no end to his stuffing.
―Martial, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

NOTE: Martial concluded his epigram with a variation of the f-word; please substitute it if you prefer it.

You alone own prime land, dandy!
Gold, money, the finest porcelain―you alone!
The best wines of the most famous vintages―you alone!
Discrimination and wit―you alone!
You have it all―who can deny that you alone are set for life?
But everyone has had your wife―she is never alone!
―Martial, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

You dine in great magnificence
while offering guests a pittance.
Sextus, did you invite
friends to dinner tonight
to impress us with your enormous appetite?
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

To you, my departed parents, dear mother and father,
I commend my little lost angel, Erotion, love’s daughter.
She fell a mere six days short of outliving her sixth frigid winter.
Protect her now, I pray, should the chilling dark shades appear;
muzzle hell’s three-headed hound, less her heart be dismayed!
Lead her to romp in some sunny Elysian glade,
her devoted patrons. Watch her play childish games
as she excitedly babbles and lisps my name.
Let no hard turf smother her softening bones; and do
rest lightly upon her, earth, she was surely no burden to you!
―Martial, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Alien Nation
by Michael R. Burch

for a Christian poet who believes in “hell”

On a lonely outpost on Mars
the astronaut practices “speech”
as alien to primates below
as mute stars winking high, out of reach.

And his words fall as bright and as chill
as ice crystals on Kilimanjaro —
far colder than Jesus’s words
over the “fortunate” sparrow.

And I understand how gentle Emily
must have felt, when all comfort had flown,
gazing into those inhuman eyes,
feeling zero at the bone.

Oh, how can I grok his arctic thought?
For if he is human, I am not.



Burn, Ovid
by Michael R. Burch

“Burn Ovid”—Austin Clarke

Sunday School,
Faith Free Will Baptist, 1973:
I sat imaging watery folds
of pale silk encircling her waist.
Explicit *** was the day’s “hot” topic
(how breathlessly I imagined hers)
as she taught us the perils of lust
fraught with inhibition.

I found her unaccountably beautiful,
rolling implausible nouns off the edge of her tongue:
adultery, fornication, *******, ******.
Acts made suddenly plausible by the faint blush
of her unrouged cheeks,
by her pale lips
accented only by a slight quiver,
a trepidation.

What did those lustrous folds foretell
of our uncommon desire?
Why did she cross and uncross her legs
lovely and long in their taupe sheaths?
Why did her ******* rise pointedly,
as if indicating a direction?

“Come unto me,
(unto me),”
together, we sang,

cheek to breast,
lips on lips,
devout, afire,

my hands
up her skirt,
her pants at her knees:

all night long,
all night long,
in the heavenly choir.

This poem is set at Faith Christian Academy, which I attended for a year during the ninth grade, in 1972-1973. While the poem definitely had its genesis there, I believe I revised it more than once and didn't finish it till 2001, nearly 28 years later, according to my notes on the poem. Another poem, "*** 101," was also written about my experiences at FCA that year.



*** 101
by Michael R. Burch

That day the late spring heat
steamed through the windows of a Crayola-yellow schoolbus
crawling its way up the backwards slopes
of Nowheresville, North Carolina ...

Where we sat exhausted
from the day’s skulldrudgery
and the unexpected waves of muggy,
summer-like humidity ...

Giggly first graders sat two abreast
behind senior high students
sprouting their first sparse beards,
their implausible bosoms, their stranger affections ...

The most unlikely coupling—

Lambert, 18, the only college prospect
on the varsity basketball team,
the proverbial talldarkhandsome
swashbuckling cocksman, grinning ...

Beside him, Wanda, 13,
bespectacled, in her primproper attire
and pigtails, staring up at him,
fawneyed, disbelieving ...

And as the bus filled with the improbable musk of her,
as she twitched impaled on his finger
like a dead frog jarred to life by electrodes,
I knew ...

that love is a forlorn enterprise,
that I would never understand it.

This companion poem to "Burn, Ovid" is also set at Faith Christian Academy, in 1972-1973.



honeybee
by michael r. burch

love was a little treble thing—
prone to sing
and (sometimes) to sting



honeydew
by michael r. burch

i sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle!



Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
by Michael R. Burch

Kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’
the bees rise
in a dizzy circle of two.
Oh, when I’m with you,
I feel like kissin’ ’n’ buzzin’ too.



Huntress
Michael R. Burch

Lynx-eyed cat-like and cruel you creep
across a crevice dropping deep
into a dark and doomed domain
Your claws are sheathed. You smile, insane
Rain falls upon your path and pain
pours down. Your paws are pierced. You pause
and heed the oft-lamented laws
which bid you not begin again
till night returns. You wail like wind,
the sighing of a soul for sin,
and give up hunting for a heart.
Till sunset falls again, depart,
though hate and hunger urge you—"On!"
Heed, hearts, your hope—the break of dawn.



Ibykos Fragment 286 (III)
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Come spring, the grand
apple trees stand
watered by a gushing river
where the maidens’ uncut flowers shiver
and the blossoming grape vine swells
in the gathering shadows.

Unfortunately
for me
Eros never rests
but like a Thracian tempest
ablaze with lightning
emanates from Aphrodite;

the results are frightening—
black,
bleak,
astonishing,
violently jolting me from my soles
to my soul.

Originally published by The Chained Muse



Ince St. Child
by Michael R. Burch

When she was a child
in a dark forest of fear,
imagination cast its strange light
into secret places,
scattering traces
of illumination so bright,
years later, she could still find them there,
their light undefiled.

When she was young,
the shafted light of her dreams
shone on her uplifted face
as she prayed ...
though she strayed
into a night fallen like woven lace
shrouding the forest of screams,
her faith led her home.

Now she is old
and the light that was flame
is a slow-dying ember ...
what she felt then
she would explain;
she would if she could only remember
that forest of shame,
faith beaten like gold.

This was an unusual poem, and it took me some time to figure out who the old woman was. She was a victim of childhood ******, hence the title I eventually came up with.



Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

Cherubic laugh; sly, impish grin;
Angelic face; wild chimp within.

It does not matter; sleep awhile
As soft mirth tickles forth a smile.

Gray moths will hum a lullaby
Of feathery wings, then you and I

Will wake together, by and by.

Life’s not long; those days are best
Spent snuggled to a loving breast.

The earth will wait; a sun-filled sky
Will bronze lean muscle, by and by.

Soon you will sing, and I will sigh,
But sleep here, now, for you and I

Know nothing but this lullaby.



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Kindred
by Michael R. Burch

Rise, pale disastrous moon!
What is love, but a heightened effect
of time, light and distance?

Did you burn once,
before you became
so remote, so detached,

so coldly, inhumanly lustrous,
before you were able to assume
the very pallor of love itself?

What is the dawn now, to you or to me?

We are as one,
out of favor with the sun.

We would exhume
the white corpse of love
for a last dance,

and yet we will not.
We will let her be,
let her abide,

for she is nothing now,
to you
or to me.



Reflections
by Michael R. Burch

I am her mirror.
I say she is kind,
lovely, breathtaking.
She screams that I’m blind.

I show her her beauty,
her brilliance and compassion.
She refuses to believe me,
for that’s the latest fashion.

She storms and she rages;
she dissolves into tears
while envious Angels
are, by God, her only Peers.



Excerpts from “Travels with Einstein”
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

I went to Berlin to learn wisdom
from Adolph. The wild spittle flew
as he screamed at me, with great conviction:
“Please despise me! I look like a Jew!”

So I flew off to ’Nam to learn wisdom
from tall Yankees who cursed “yellow” foes.
“If we lose this small square,” they informed me,
earth’s nations will fall, dominoes!”

I then sat at Christ’s feet to learn wisdom,
but his Book, from its genesis to close,
said: “Men can enslave their own brothers!”
(I soon noticed he lacked any clothes.)

So I traveled to bright Tel Aviv
where great scholars with lofty IQs
informed me that (since I’m an Arab)
I’m unfit to lick dirt from their shoes.

At last, done with learning, I stumbled
to a well where the waters seemed sweet:
the mirage of American “justice.”
There I wept a real sea, in defeat.

Originally published by Café Dissensus



Remembrance
by Michael R. Burch

Remembrance like a river rises;
the rain of recollection falls;
frail memories, like vines, entangled,
cling to Time's collapsing walls.

The past is like a distant mist,
the future like a far-off haze,
the present half-distinct an hour
before it blurs with unseen days.



Resurrecting Passion
by Michael R. Burch

Last night, while dawn was far away
and rain streaked gray, tumescent skies,
as thunder boomed and lightning railed,
I conjured words, where passion failed ...

But, oh, that you were mine tonight,
sprawled in this bed, held in these arms,
your ******* pale baubles in my hands,
our bodies bent to old demands ...

Such passions we might resurrect,
if only time and distance waned
and brought us back together; now
I pray that this might be, somehow.

But time has left us twisted, torn,
and we are more apart than miles.
How have you come to be so far—
as distant as an unseen star?

So that, while dawn is far away,
my thoughts might not return to you,
I feed your portrait to the flames,
but as they feast, I burn for you.

Published in Songs of Innocence and The Chained Muse.



Currents
by Michael R. Burch

How can I write and not be true
to the rhythm that wells within?
How can the ocean not be blue,
not buck with the clapboard slap of tide,
the clockwork shock of wave on rock,
the motion creation stirs within?

Originally published by The Lyric



Righteous
by Michael R. Burch

Come to me tonight
in the twilight, O, and the full moon rising,
spectral and ancient, will mutter a prayer.

Gather your hair
and pin it up, knowing
that I will release it a moment anon.

We are not one,
nor is there a scripture
to sanctify nights you might spend in my arms,

but the swarms
of bright stars revolving above us
revel tonight, the most ardent of lovers.

Published by Writer’s Gazette, Tucumcari Literary Review and The Chained Muse



R.I.P.
by Michael R. Burch

When I am lain to rest
and my soul is no longer intact,
but dissolving, like a sunset
diminishing to the west ...

and when at last
before His throne my past
is put to test
and the demons and the Beast

await to feast
on any morsel downward cast,
while the vapors of impermanence
cling, smelling of damask ...

then let me go, and do not weep
if I am left to sleep,
to sleep and never dream, or dream, perhaps,
only a little longer and more deep.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



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.



Tillage
by Michael R. Burch

What stirs within me
is no great welling
straining to flood forth,
but an emptiness
waiting to be filled.

I am not an orchard
ready to be harvested,
but a field
rough and barren
waiting to be tilled.



For All That I Remembered
by Michael R. Burch

For all that I remembered, I forgot
her name, her face, the reason that we loved ...
and yet I hold her close within my thought.
I feel the burnished weight of auburn hair
that fell across her face, the apricot
clean scent of her shampoo, the way she glowed
so palely in the moonlight, angel-wan.

The memory of her gathers like a flood
and bears me to that night, that only night,
when she and I were one, and if I could ...
I'd reach to her this time and, smiling, brush
the hair out of her eyes, and hold intact
each feature, each impression. Love is such
a threadbare sort of magic, it is gone
before we recognize it. I would crush
my lips to hers to hold their memory,
if not more tightly, less elusively.

Originally published by The Raintown Review



Hearthside
by Michael R. Burch

“When you are old and grey and full of sleep...” ― W. B. Yeats

For all that we professed of love, we knew
this night would come, that we would bend alone
to tend wan fires’ dimming bars―the moan
of wind cruel as the Trumpet, gelid dew
an eerie presence on encrusted logs
we hoard like jewels, embrittled so ourselves.

The books that line these close, familiar shelves
loom down like dreary chaperones. Wild dogs,
too old for mates, cringe furtive in the park,
as, toothless now, I frame this parchment kiss.

I do not know the words for easy bliss
and so my shriveled fingers clutch this stark,
long-unenamored pen and will it: Move.
I loved you more than words, so let words prove.

This sonnet is written from the perspective of the great Irish poet William Butler Yeats in his loose translation or interpretation of the Pierre de Ronsard sonnet “When You Are Old.” The aging Yeats thinks of his Muse and the love of his life, the fiery Irish revolutionary Maude Gonne. As he seeks to warm himself by a fire conjured from ice-encrusted logs, he imagines her doing the same. Although Yeats had insisted that he wasn’t happy without Gonne, she said otherwise: “Oh yes, you are, because you make beautiful poetry out of what you call your unhappiness and are happy in that. Marriage would be such a dull affair. Poets should never marry. The world should thank me for not marrying you!”



I Know The Truth
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

There's no need for anyone living to struggle!
See? Evening falls, night quickly descends!
So why the useless disputes―generals, poets, lovers?

The wind is calming now; the earth is bathed in dew;
the stars' infernos will soon freeze in the heavens.
And soon we'll sleep together, under the earth,
we who never gave each other a moment's rest above it.



I Know The Truth (Alternate Ending)
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

There's no need for anyone living to struggle!
See? Evening falls, night quickly descends!
So why the useless disputes―generals, poets, lovers?

The wind caresses the grasses; the earth gleams, damp with dew;
the stars' infernos will soon freeze in the heavens.
And soon we'll lie together under the earth,
we who were never united above it.



Poems about Moscow
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

5
Above the city Saint Peter once remanded to hell
now rolls the delirious thunder of the bells.

As the thundering high tide eventually reverses,
so, too, the woman who once bore your curses.

To you, O Great Peter, and you, O Great Tsar, I kneel!
And yet the bells above me continually peal.

And while they keep ringing out of the pure blue sky,
Moscow's eminence is something I can't deny ...

though sixteen hundred churches, nearby and afar,
all gaily laugh at the hubris of the Tsars.

8
Moscow, what a vast
uncouth hostel of a home!
In Russia all are homeless
so all to you must come.

A knife stuck in each boot-top,
each back with its shameful brand,
we heard you from far away.
You called us: here we stand.

Because you branded us criminals
for every known kind of ill,
we seek the all-compassionate Saint,
the haloed one who heals.

And there behind that narrow door
where the uncouth rabble pour,
we seek the red-gold radiant heart
of Iver, who loved the poor.

Now, as "Halleluiah" floods
bright fields that blaze to the west,
O sacred Russian soil,
I kneel here to kiss your breast!



Insomnia
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

2
In my enormous city it is night
as from my house I step beyond the light;
some people think I'm daughter, mistress, wife ...
but I am like the blackest thought of night.

July's wind sweeps a way for me to stray
toward soft music faintly blowing, somewhere.
The wind may blow until bright dawn, new day,
but will my heart in its rib-cage really care?

Black poplars brushing windows filled with light ...
strange leaves in hand ... faint music from distant towers ...
retracing my steps, there's nobody lagging behind ...
This shadow called me? There's nobody here to find.

The lights are like golden beads on invisible threads ...
the taste of dark night in my mouth is a bitter leaf ...
O, free me from shackles of being myself by day!
Friends, please understand: I'm only a dreamlike belief.



Poems for Akhmatova
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

4
You outshine everything, even the sun
at its zenith. The stars are yours!
If only I could sweep like the wind
through some unbarred door,
gratefully, to where you are ...

to hesitantly stammer, suddenly shy,
lowering my eyes before you, my lovely mistress,
petulant, chastened, overcome by tears,
as a child sobs to receive forgiveness ...



This gypsy passion of parting!
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This gypsy passion of parting!
We meet, and are ready for flight!
I rest my dazed head in my hands,
and think, staring into the night ...

that no one, perusing our letters,
will ever understand the real depth
of just how sacrilegious we were,
which is to say we had faith,

in ourselves.



The Appointment
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will be late for the appointed meeting.
When I arrive, my hair will be gray,
because I abused spring.
And your expectations were much too high!

I shall feel the effects of the bitter mercury for years.
(Ophelia tasted, but didn't spit out, the rue.)
I will trudge across mountains and deserts,
trampling souls and hands without flinching,

living on, as the earth continues
with blood in every thicket and creek.
But always Ophelia's pallid face will peer out
from between the grasses bordering each stream.

She took a swig of passion, only to fill her mouth
with silt. Like a shaft of light on metal,
I set my sights on you, highly. Much too high
in the sky, where I have appointed my dust its burial.



Rails
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The railway bed's steel-blue parallel tracks
are ruled out, neatly as musical staves.

Over them, people are transported
like possessed Pushkin creatures
whose song has been silenced.
See them: arriving, departing?

And yet they still linger,
the note of their pain remaining ...
always rising higher than love, as the poles freeze
to the embankment, like Lot's wife transformed to salt, forever.

Despair has arranged my fate
as someone arranges a wedding;
then, like a voiceless Sappho
I must weep like a pain-wracked seamstress

with the mute lament of a marsh heron!
Then the departing train
will hoot above the sleepers
as its wheels slice them to ribbons.

In my eye the colors blur
to a glowing but meaningless red.
All young women, at times,
are tempted by such a bed!



Every Poem is a Child of Love
by Marina Tsvetaeva
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Every poem is a child of love,
A destitute ******* chick
A fledgling blown down from the heights above―
Left of its nest? Not a stick.
Each heart has its gulf and its bridge.
Each heart has its blessings and griefs.
Who is the father? A liege?
Maybe a liege, or a thief.



Villanelle: Hangovers
by Michael R. Burch

We forget that, before we were born,
our parents had “lives” of their own,
ran drunk in the streets, or half-******.

Yes, our parents had lives of their own
until we were born; then, undone,
they were buying their parents gravestones

and finding gray hairs of their own
(because we were born lacking some
of their curious habits, but soon

would certainly get them). Half-******,
we watched them dig graves of their own.
Their lives would be over too soon

for their curious habits to bloom
in us (though our children were born
nine months from that night on the town

when, punch-drunk in the streets or half-******,
we first proved we had lives of our own).



Happily Never After (the Second Curse of the ***** Toad)
by Michael R. Burch

He did not think of love of Her at all
frog-plangent nights, as moons engoldened roads
through crumbling stonewalled provinces, where toads
(nee princes) ruled in chinks and grew so small
at last to be invisible. He smiled
(the fables erred so curiously), and thought
bemusedly of being reconciled
to human flesh, because his heart was not
incapable of love, but, being cursed
a second time, could only love a toad’s . . .
and listened as inflated frogs rehearsed
cheekbulging tales of anguish from green moats . . .
and thought of her soft croak, her skin fine-warted,
his anemic flesh, and how true love was thwarted.



Haunted
by Michael R. Burch

Now I am here
and thoughts of my past mistakes are my brethren.
I am withering
and the sweetness of your memory is like a tear.

Go, if you will,
for the ache in my heart is its hollowness
and the flaw in my soul is its shallowness;
there is nothing to fill.

Take what you can;
I have nothing left.
And when you are gone, I will be bereft,
the husk of a man.

Or stay here awhile.
My heart cannot bear the night, or these dreams.
Your face is a ghost, though paler, it seems
when you smile.

Published by Romantics Quarterly



Have I been too long at the fair?
by Michael R. Burch

Have I been too long at the fair?
The summer has faded,
the leaves have turned brown;
the Ferris wheel teeters ...
not up, yet not down.
Have I been too long at the fair?

This is one of my earliest poems, written around age 15 when we were living with my grandfather in his house on Chilton Street, within walking distance of the Nashville fairgrounds. I remember walking to the fairgrounds, stopping at a Dairy Queen along the way, and swimming at a public pool. But I believe the Ferris wheel only operated during the state fair. So my “educated guess” is that this poem was written during the 1973 state fair, or shortly thereafter. I remember watching people hanging suspended in mid-air, waiting for carnies to deposit them safely on terra firma again.



Her Preference
by Michael R. Burch

Not for her the pale incandescence of dreams,
the warm glow of imagination,
the hushed whispers of possibility,
or frail, blossoming hope.

No, she prefers the anguish and screams
of bitter condemnation,
the hissing of hostility,
damnation's rope.



hey pete
by Michael R. Burch

for Pete Rose

hey pete,
it's baseball season
and the sun ascends the sky,
encouraging a schoolboy's dreams
of winter whizzing by;
go out, go out and catch it,
put it in a jar,
set it on a shelf
and then you'll be a Superstar.

When I was a boy, Pete Rose was my favorite baseball player; this poem is not a slam at him, but rather an ironic jab at the term "superstar."



Nevermore!
by Michael R. Burch

Nevermore! O, nevermore
shall the haunts of the sea―
the swollen tide pools
and the dark, deserted shore―
mark her passing again.

And the salivating sea
shall never kiss her lips
nor caress her ******* and hips
as she dreamt it did before,
once, lost within the uproar.

The waves will never **** her,
nor take her at their leisure;
the sea gulls shall not have her,
nor could she give them pleasure ...
She sleeps forevermore.

She sleeps forevermore,
a ****** save to me
and her other lover,
who lurks now, safely covered
by the restless, surging sea.

And, yes, they sleep together,
but never in that way!
For the sea has stripped and shorn
the one I once adored,
and washed her flesh away.

He does not stroke her honey hair,
for she is bald, bald to the bone!
And how it fills my heart with glee
to hear them sometimes cursing me
out of the depths of the demon sea ...

their skeletal love―impossibility!

This is one of my Poe-like creations, written around age 19. I think the poem has an interesting ending, since the male skeleton is missing an important "member."



Mehmet Akif Ersoy: Modern English Translations of Turkish Poems

Mehmet Âkif Ersoy (1873-1936) was a Turkish poet, author, writer, academic, member of parliament, and the composer of the Turkish National Anthem.



Snapshot
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Earth’s least trace of life cannot be erased;
even when you lie underground, it encompasses you.
So, those of you who anticipate the shadows,
how long will the darkness remember you?



Zulmü Alkislayamam
"I Can’t Applaud Tyranny"
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I can't condone cruelty; I will never applaud the oppressor;
Yet I can't renounce the past for the sake of deluded newcomers.
When someone curses my ancestors, I want to strangle them,
Even if you don’t.
But while I harbor my elders,
I refuse to praise their injustices.
Above all, I will never glorify evil, by calling injustice “justice.”
From the day of my birth, I've loved freedom;
The golden tulip never deceived me.
If I am nonviolent, does that make me a docile sheep?
The blade may slice, but my neck resists!
When I see someone else's wound, I suffer a great hardship;
To end it, I'll be whipped, I'll be beaten.
I can't say, “Never mind, just forget it!” I'll mind,
I'll crush, I'll be crushed, I'll uphold justice.
I'm the foe of the oppressor, the friend of the oppressed.
What the hell do you mean, with your backwardness?



Çanakkale Sehitlerine
"For the Çanakkale Martyrs"
by Mehmet Akif Ersoy
loose English translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Was there ever anything like the Bosphorus war?―
The earth’s mightiest armies pressing Marmara,
Forcing entry between her mountain passes
To a triangle of land besieged by countless vessels.
Oh, what dishonorable assemblages!
Who are these Europeans, come as rapists?
Who, these braying hyenas, released from their reeking cages?
Why do the Old World, the New World, and all the nations of men
now storm her beaches? Is it Armageddon? Truly, the whole world rages!
Seven nations marching in unison!
Australia goose-stepping with Canada!
Different faces, languages, skin tones!
Everything so different, but the mindless bludgeons!
Some warriors Hindu, some African, some nameless, unknown!
This disgraceful invasion, baser than the Black Death!
Ah, the 20th century, so noble in its own estimation,
But all its favored ones nothing but a parade of worthless wretches!
For months now Turkish soldiers have been vomited up
Like stomachs’ retched contents regarded with shame.
If the masks had not been torn away, the faces would still be admired,
But the ***** called civilization is far from blameless.
Now the ****** demand the destruction of the doomed
And thus bring destruction down on their own heads.
Lightning severs horizons!
Earthquakes regurgitate the bodies of the dead!
Bombs’ thunderbolts explode brains,
rupture the ******* of brave soldiers.
Underground tunnels writhe like hell
Full of the bodies of burn victims.
The sky rains down death, the earth swallows the living.
A terrible blizzard heaves men violently into the air.
Heads, eyes, torsos, legs, arms, chins, fingers, hands, feet...
Body parts rain down everywhere.
Coward hands encased in armor callously scatter
Floods of thunderbolts, torrents of fire.
Men’s chests gape open,
Beneath the high, circling vulture-like packs of the air.
Cannonballs fly as frequently as bullets
Yet the heroic army laughs at the hail.
Who needs steel fortresses? Who fears the enemy?
How can the shield of faith not prevail?
What power can make religious men bow down to their oppressors
When their stronghold is established by God?
The mountains and the rocks are the bodies of martyrs!...
For the sake of a crescent, oh God, many suns set, undone!
Dear soldier, who fell for the sake of this land,
How great you are, your blood saves the Muslims!
Only the lions of Bedr rival your glory!
Who then can dig the grave wide enough to hold you. and your story?
If we try to consign you to history, you will not fit!
No book can contain the eras you shook!
Only eternities can encompass you!...
Oh martyr, son of the martyr, do not ask me about the grave:
The prophet awaits you now, his arms flung wide open, to save!



W. S. Rendra translations

Willibrordus Surendra Broto Rendra (1935-2009), better known as W. S. Rendra or simply Rendra, was an Indonesian dramatist and poet. He said, “I learned meditation and the disciplines of the traditional Javanese poet from my mother, who was a palace dancer. The idea of the Javanese poet is to be a guardian of the spirit of the nation.” The press gave him the nickname Burung Merak (“The Peacock”) for his flamboyant poetry readings and stage performances.

SONNET
by W. S. Rendra
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Best wishes for an impending deflowering.

Yes, I understand: you will never be mine.
I am resigned to my undeserved fate.
I contemplate
irrational numbers―complex & undefined.

And yet I wish love might ... ameliorate ...
such negative numbers, dark and unsigned.
But at least I can’t be held responsible
for disappointing you. No cause to elate.
Still, I am resigned to my undeserved fate.
The gods have spoken. I can relate.

How can this be, when all it makes no sense?
I was born too soon―such was my fate.
You must choose another, not half of who I AM.
Be happy with him when you consummate.

THE WORLD'S FIRST FACE
by W. S. Rendra
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Illuminated by the pale moonlight
the groom carries his bride
up the hill―
both of them naked,
both consisting of nothing but themselves.

As in all beginnings
the world is naked,
empty, free of deception,
dark with unspoken explanations―
a silence that extends
to the limits of time.

Then comes light,
life, the animals and man.

As in all beginnings
everything is naked,
empty, open.

They're both young,
yet both have already come a long way,
passing through the illusions of brilliant dawns,
of skies illuminated by hope,
of rivers intimating contentment.

They have experienced the sun's warmth,
drenched in each other's sweat.

Here, standing by barren reefs,
they watch evening fall
bringing strange dreams
to a bed arrayed with resplendent coral necklaces.

They lift their heads to view
trillions of stars arrayed in the sky.
The universe is their inheritance:
stars upon stars upon stars,
more than could ever be extinguished.

Illuminated by the pale moonlight
the groom carries his bride
up the hill―
both of them naked,
to recreate the world's first face.

Keywords/Tags: Rendra, Indonesian, Javanese, translation, love, fate, god, gods, goddess, groom, bride, world, time, life, sun, hill, hills, moon, moonlight, stars, life, animals?, international, travel, voyage, wedding, relationship, mrbtran



Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

Alone again as evening falls,
I join gaunt shadows and we crawl
up and down my room's dark walls.

Up and down and up and down,
against starlight―strange, mirthless clowns―
we merge, emerge, submerge . . . then drown.

We drown in shadows starker still,
shadows of the somber hills,
shadows of sad selves we spill,

tumbling, to the ground below.
There, caked in grimy, clinging snow,
we flutter feebly, moaning low

for days dreamed once an age ago
when we weren't shadows, but were men . . .
when we were men, or almost so.



Recursion
by Michael R. Burch

In a dream I saw boys lying
under banners gaily flying
and I heard their mothers sighing
from some dark distant shore.

For I saw their sons essaying
into fields—gleeful, braying—
their bright armaments displaying;
such manly oaths they swore!

From their playfields, boys returning
full of honor’s white-hot burning
and desire’s restless yearning
sired new kids for the corps.

In a dream I saw boys dying
under banners gaily lying
and I heard their mothers crying
from some dark distant shore.



THE RUIN
an Old English/Anglo-Saxon poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

well-hewn was this wall-stone, till Wyrdes wrecked it
and the Colossus sagged inward ...

broad battlements broken;
the Builders' work battered;

the high ramparts toppled;
tall towers collapsed;

the great roof-beams shattered;
gates groaning, agape ...

mortar mottled and marred by scarring ****-frosts ...
the Giants’ dauntless strongholds decaying with age ...

shattered, the shieldwalls,
the turrets in tatters ...

where now are those mighty Masons, those Wielders and Wrights,
those Samson-like Stonesmiths?

the grasp of the earth, the firm grip of the ground
holds fast those fearless Fathers
men might have forgotten
except that this slow-rotting siege-wall still stands
after countless generations!

for always this edifice, grey-lichened, blood-stained,
stands facing fierce storms with their wild-whipping winds
because those master Builders bound its wall-base together
so cunningly with iron!

it outlasted mighty kings and their claims!

how high rose those regal rooftops!
how kingly their castle-keeps!
how homely their homesteads!
how boisterous their bath-houses and their merry mead-halls!
how heavenward flew their high-flung pinnacles!
how tremendous the tumult of those famous War-Wagers ...
till mighty Fate overturned it all, and with it, them.

then the wide walls fell;
then the bulwarks were broken;
then the dark days of disease descended ...

as death swept the battlements of brave Brawlers;
as their palaces became waste places;
as ruin rained down on their grand Acropolis;
as their great cities and castles collapsed
while those who might have rebuilt them lay gelded in the ground:
those marvelous Men, those mighty master Builders!

therefore these once-decorous courts court decay;
therefore these once-lofty gates gape open;
therefore these roofs' curved arches lie stripped of their shingles;
therefore these streets have sunk into ruin and corroded rubble ...

when in times past light-hearted Titans flushed with wine
strode strutting in gleaming armor, adorned with splendid ladies’ favors,
through this brilliant city of the audacious famous Builders
to compete for bright treasure: gold, silver, amber, gemstones.

here the cobblestoned courts clattered;
here the streams gushed forth their abundant waters;
here the baths steamed, hot at their fiery hearts;
here this wondrous wall embraced it all, with its broad *****.

... that was spacious ...



Victor Hugo "Love Stronger Than Time"
loose translation/interpretation by Michael Burch

Since I first set my lips to your full cup,
Since my pallid face first nested in your hands,
Since I sensed your soul and every bloom lit up—
Till those rare perfumes were lost to deepening sands;

Since I was once allowed those pleasures deep—
To hear your heart speak mysteries, divine;
Since I have seen you smile, have watched you weep,
Your lips pressed to my lips, your eyes on mine;

Since I have sensed above my thoughts the gleam
Of a ray, a single ray, of your bright star
(If sometimes veiled), and felt light falling stream,
Like one rose petal plucked from high, afar;

I now can say to time's swift-changing hours:
Pass, pass upon your way, for you grow old;
Flee to the dark abyss with your drear flowers,
but one unmarred within my heart I hold.

Your flapping wings may jar but cannot spill
The cup fulfilled of love, from which I drink;
My heart has fires your frosts can never chill,
My soul more love to fly than you can sink.



Lines for My Ascension
by Michael R. Burch

I.
If I should die,
there will come a Doom,
and the sky will darken
to the deepest Gloom.

But if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.

II.
If I should die,
let no mortal say,
“Here was a man,
with feet of clay,

or a timid sparrow
God’s hand let fall.”
But watch the sky darken
to an eerie pall

and know that my Spirit,
unvanquished, broods,
and cares naught for graves,
prayers, coffins, or roods.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.

III.
If I should die,
let no man adore
his incompetent Maker:
Zeus, Jehovah, or Thor.

Think of Me as One
who never died―
the unvanquished Immortal
with the unriven side.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.

IV.
And if I should “die,”
though the clouds grow dark
as fierce lightnings rend
this bleak asteroid, stark ...

If you look above,
you will see a bright Sign―
the sun with the moon
in its arms, Divine.

So divine, if you can,
my bright meaning, and know―
my Spirit is mine.
I will go where I go.

And if my body
should not be found,
never think of me
in the cold ground.



The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

I never meant to love you
when I held you in my arms
promising you sagely
wise, noncommittal charms.

And I never meant to need you
when I touched your tender lips
with kisses that intrigued my own—
such kisses I had never known,
nor a heartbeat in my fingertips!



Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

O little yellow flower
like a star...
how beautiful,
how wonderful
we are!



Published as the collection "Modern Charon"

Keywords/Tags: Charon, Styx, death, ferry, boat, ship, captain, steering, helm, wheel, rudder, shipwreck, disaster, night, darkness, 911, 9-11, mrbch
―Go Forth
Flourish in The Light
Of The
Estival Sol,
Elysium of the Soul,
Once you have vanquished
The Stygian,
Your Soul
Awaits You―


~I bid you
Immortal Heartsease
And
Armistice of Ataraxia:
The Reverberation of our Souls
In the Key of Elysium~.





I. Archean Prelude

The echoes
of your
Memories of
The Light & Airwaves
Pine to
Bloom in Reminiscence
Over the
Days of Yore.


II. The Echoes of Existentiality

We are all atomic particles;
Molecular Particles,
Of an aromatic
Omniscient,
Omnipotent,
Omnipresent Mist:
The Cosmo-Plexus of Empyreal Love

―Echo forth comrades―

~Evanesce,
Into the Empyrean,
Etherealized Lightscape
Until the
Visage of Creation
Enskies us
To the exalted
El Dorado~



II. Tempus Fugit

The Promise
Of the
Morrow
Is nigh:

The Yesteryears
Wax
Distant Ages,
Wax
Archean Aeons;

(Eventuality of Existence)

Our Bygone Days
Of Lovelit, Loveless Life,
Antiquate and
Our Soulwaves
Wax
The Spirit of
The Ancient of Days.


III. Nova Cosmogony

Betwixt the Realms
Of the
Beneficent Matriarch Mirror,
Beyond
Terraqueous Gaia
Unfurls the Vista,
Your Fulgurant Dreamscape:

Only the Sapient of Sages
Doth denude:

The Incorporeal Incarnation
Of
Virtue, it’s vesture,
Na’phesh

The Decrepitude of Withering
Dovens the Divine
In the
Vestibule of Vanity,
Sanctimony & Superciliousness
Thence deliquesce;
Bearing womb of Light.

IV. Celestial Morphology

Unveiling the Substance
Of Space and Time;
Spirit and Soul;
Euphony, Harmony;
Atrophy, Intrepidity
All are Entity

Once
Pristine yet vacuous,
Flourishing into
Mystical and shimmering
Nothingness, gropes
For Meta-Astral ―form;

Ventus Divinitas,
The Cosmogonist’s Agenda
Resonates
Through the
Inchoative Universe.

V. The Temporal Hither:

Her Genesis
Waxeth
Vestal Vicissitudes:

She is
The Twilit Quiver
Uprising in
Darts of the Dawn,

Until
Arrows of Antemeridian
Light Cascade
Our epidermis
With the incendiary
Sovereignty of Sol.

Dusk:
Chars the Canvas
Of Ethereal Skies,
Garnetiferous,
Moonlit, Martyred Mind’s Sky;
The Eve’s Imperator
And
Inquisitive Spirit Eyes.

By Luminaries
We’re ensorcelled
Corpulent with thought.

~Wondering upon,
Vacuous a fathomed
Cosmogenesis. ~



VI. Tempus et Spatium:


~There are
Edicts unseen
The Esoteric of the Macrocosm

Only the
Transcendent of Tellurians
May tell of
The Life-Rending,
Sunder forth:

Semantics in Constellations;
Gaian Whispers of Sylvan Tale
The Arboreal Wisdom,
Musicality in Zephyrs ruffling Trees of Vale
Hearken unto further
The Winged-Symphonic Bees
(The Bombinating Orchestra)
Soul Untethered = [ Meta-Consciousness ^ Spiritus de Liberty]

Einstein’s General Relativity= [Spatium ^ Matter ↔ Energy ^ Motion]

~

(Time & Space
The height,
The width,
The depth,
And
The breadth)
The Empyrean One
Enshrined in Pantheon
Our Virginal, Vestal Souls
Efflorescent Eternity
In our hearts?
(Ecclesiastes 3:11)

Time is fickle
A
Hydrean Leviathan:

Whilst ye
Voyage her
Seven Seas,
Moor naught
In her
Elapsed chronology;
Her caprice
And ire
Shalt not
Be quelled.

Be roused
From
Somnus,
Unto her
Perpetuity of
Aqueous Abyssal, Dream Deep Sea;
Tenuous,
Diaphanous,
Rare,
Tender,
Instinctive,

∞ Her Moments ∞
∞ Extinguished ∞
∞ At Birth. ∞

∞ Eternally, ∞
∞ Reincarnated; ∞
∞Anew.∞

∞The Cosmic Spectrum∞
∞Is Infinite∞

∞Excelsior, Godspeed∞

∞ Elo’him ∞





VII. Ultima Thule:

We
Empyrean souls,
Doth abide
In
Pearlescent raiment.

The Cosmogenesis is our Dreamscape:
.
We are all a cosmos,
Expanding, contracting;
Ebbing, flowing;
Hitherto and thitherto;
Red-Shift and Blue-Shift.

Until the Mellifluous Morn,
Whence the
Zephyr of Life
Reverberates the Musicality
Of The
Arboreal Sages.

Terraqueous Gaia
Whispers
The Hope of the Ages.
Spirits betwixt
Greater Eden and She’ol.

Count the stars,
Enumerate every
Constellation in The Cosmos
Of your Soulscape scintillating
Upon thine Mind’s Sky.

Whence Luna and Sol
By the Wisdom
Of your starlight.
Are benighted, beseech
The Ancient of Days

For within The Supernal Wavelength
Of the Hallowed Dove.
We glean refuge
Our Aegis,
Providence.

Awaiting the
Golden, incendiary pinions
Of the
Revenant Phoenix to resurrect us.
Allow the Holy Spirit
to be your Polaris,
― to Elysium.

~By Agape’s Armistice:
Ascend,
The Peaks of Heartsease.
Commune with the Cosmos,
Wax
Salvera y Jiustizia
Brethren,
I plead.~”


~This Sacred Lotus seed
Was sown
Into the
Into the Soil of your Souls
, ―By the Astral.

You are a melody,
Sung by
A coloratura,
Burst into a
Tapestry of Fioritura:

Of Hope,
Faith,
And
Love



(May you
Reap
The Virtues of the Lord)

Betwixt

Na’phesh,
(The [Your] Living Soul)

&

Kos’Mos’
(The World)

The Apotheosis of the Astral Flame
Awaits
You
Starry-Eyed
Phantasmagoreans~
Celestial Morphology © is the multi-epistled poem which I sired during the Estival vicissitude. Twas an ineffable cadenza that exhales of the incorporeal essence of mine entity. I had been toiling in sweat, blood, and tears over a written project at the time; consequently, this is the thematic poem begotten.
     It transmutes the zeitgeist of my summer into the Golden Raiment of Polymathy. The oppressed coals of my woe erupted from the igneous core of my heart as these adamantine words. This starry soundscape is the astral crux of my work during 2018.
      I think that there was a vast expanse of my understanding of the world that had been repressed. It had almost been veiled from the heightened sight of my Over-Soul. This was in my sheltered, infantile longing to elude heartache. To keep the flesh- sundering maladies of the world outside my apartment walls: love, passion, iniquity, penitence, forgiveness, piety, cultural fission, intolerance, injustice, indignation, divinity, melody, mysticism, schism, mania, trepidation, faith, wisdom, darkness, and temporally transcendent pain.
          This was my transcribed anarchy against a Fascist Regime. A country exalting body that calls its denizens creationists whilst they slaughter every creation under the sun. The sociological edicts that dictate how art should be produced, the pace, that tell us not to speak of discrimination and mold us to turn a blind eye to the harsh realities of 21st-century postmodern society heavied the air. I just needed to vent and let every bit of internalized asperity or self-directed hatred out in a beautifying paradigm.
      I'm realizing more and more that life is tough and quite frankly, short. I'd rather write for an infinitude on one poem, for the sake of saving myself, rather than compromising my own integrity (and creative latitude). The writing was becoming a drag: less about quality, and more about quantity. Thus, after months of phantasmagorical drought, I bestow a glistening glade of sterling words.
I hope this poem reverberates upon thine soul waves. Please comment as I am open to any feedback; moreover, I beseech it of thee. My deepest gratitude comrades.

Excelsior Forevermore,

Sanders Maurice Foulke III
Connor Sep 2018
Parting the stones ceaselessly
barraged by waves – Abyssal fireplaces
line my recent dreamscape in overwhelming numbers
all hungry & purveying the dirt of my forthright grave – I've had many
desperate attempts to climb your Mountain Tower, a fortress encrusted with seashells
glowing gates, halls which betray the laws of physics and stir trespassers into madness
(ardor)

I'm in the center of indefinite reprieve – a dark and shackled
sweat-bath keeps me from ascending

The Farther, my initial cause – defeated &
hush ! Slick the oil from exhausted wings – fallen protector/sublimated spirit -
as the Dominion I'd once mastered has been overtaken, now tasked at massaging
the unwashed swollen limbs of Sisyphus as repentance for my own behavior – but I have a fantastic balcony to be – Sicily, Spring – a date to attend/a death to disarm & appropriately
chain until such occasion draws me back to her

I am dark
and therefore substantial ! Terrifying ideations have ****** from my vein/The Pilgrim's onerous migration has revealed as much – Dracula thirsts in multitudes

“Life is simply a process of death and
devourment -”

Our purification is only lent to the existence of corruption. Neither can exist so long as  consciousness – specifically Ego – hasn't yet activated itself in the mind. So long as we are aware, there will be conflict in need of resolution, darkness to be expelled by light. Both are intrinsic to the other. In such a way, all division or conflict could be viewed as positive potential yet to be realized. The dragon yet to be slain
Dreams
Are euphony
Of thought,
Of heart,
Of body,
Of the splendid,
Of the soul,

(Unbinding our once
Spectral Fates
          That spiraled down
The Keys of Life
Tainted by
The Greatest of Dissonance)

My Redolent Reverie,
Sweetened by
Mellifluous Nectar Tides
Of cherished moments
Steeped for eons
In our
Carnal yearnings
Are made anew
By the Cosmogonist’s Hands
Of Eternity

(O, for I
Doth doven the skies,
That the Incendiary Wings
Of the Auburn Pheonix
Imbue me
With the Souls Acquisition
Of Golden Pinions
                      Of the Thew of Vitality).

Captive visions,
Slumber in
My Azure Dreamer’s Chest
Engraved with
The Insignia of Archaic Fates
Upon it’s
Starry Epidermis
Till skies fall
To the Terrene
And
The Luminaries
Shall rest
Betwixt
The palms of my hands

(O, for then
This Juggernaut of a Man
That I am
Shall Effloresce
Ceasing to be
     That Loveless Sentinel,
The Guardian over
The Bastion Heart
He fathoms
Impregnable)

.Ensorcelled Butterflies
Radiate
Lovelit Lavender Light
Upon that
Astral Parcel,
Lulling my weary eyes
By the
Sovereignty of Monarchial Wings
Vanquishing the doubts
Once blurring
My Kaleidoscopic Dreams
(Life’s Iridescent Seal
Branded upon
My forehead
And etherealizing
My exhalations
                    Till crystalline)

My sullied heart
Pulses shadowed winds
(The Sweeping Gales of Solemnity)
Without the
Blissful Kiss of Cadence
Resonating an
Ebony surge
Deeper,
Than first octave tonality
Of abyssal timbre.

I beseech you,
Unfurl those forested eyes
My Desiderata Materialista,
That I may
Drinketh of your
Emerald Streams,
Ineffably Pristine.

(For then
I shall be
Spirited away
      To Eden,
My existence
     Shall become
Nirvanic Transcendence)

To pine is a pang,
To envisage
Is to breath.

Perhaps that
Is the only solace
My feeble soul
Can bear,
Without you.

By your alabaster skin
Vein my eyes
With luminescence.

With your tender caress
Saunter my
Voracious skin.

Weave my Chrysalis,
By your
Susurrant voice.

Cocoon me
In your
Flawless serenade,
That I metamorphose
Bearing the
Sacrosanct Wings of Phantasmagoria
And
The Melisma of Your Piety.

Pearlescent blood
Floweth within me,
Like baptismal rain,
As I muse
When you alight
Once more
In my Cosmos.

I am yours,
Floral Fallal.

~Our fears are the burdens
    Of the Vestige of the Past,
      A hollow cry
       That fights to exist
         In a zeitgeist
           That flowers
              Quicker than
                Our hearts know how to beat.
                          
                     Unfurl your Gates
                           To the Arbiter of Fates,
                              Unearth the Hallowed Crystals
                                 Of your Garnetiferous Passion
                                    That takes shape
                                        Because you…

                               O, Stalwart Knight,
                                    You were cosmic
                                         Like myriad raindrops,
                                           Mystic echoes
                                              Emancipating­ your spirit
                                                 From the trepidation
                                                     ­    Of the mortal kind.

                                                   Evolve,                                            
                                Evanesce,                       ­   
                                                  For to be Ephemeral                      
                                 ­                Means to conquer                                  
That Magisterial Oblivion.
                                                       ­     Se’lah.~
Hey guys! I've been doing a great deal of experimenting with my writing as of late. This piece is an embodiment of all the introspection, musings, tribulations, and heartbreaks I have experienced as of late. I hope you all can appreciate this piece despite the quasi-obscurant references that I present bereft of explicit detail.

The core of this piece lies in the fundamental nature of our dreams, yearnings, and aspirations (as well as the shadows born of the loveless blight). It effloresced it something much greater as I continued to refine it. Hope you guys like! God bless!
Janette Aug 2012
Born to the night in the cry of wolves,
We are….inked lovers spilling secrets, under velvet skies,
Shrouding the night in silver spools;
The season of silver silence, hangs upon shades of silken soul,
This midnight offering, a white entice;
My hair shimmers brightly, a wet fleece of gold, of shadow and starlight,
And shimmering hues, emerald and sapphire breathe kindred embers into the bellows of passion;
Challenging the flame that burns; entwined....






Whispered intrigue lays in the crescent of moon,
In an eminent blaze of sweetest surrender
Unborn whispers lie entwined with heated petals, silken;
We shiver....I shiver,
I am warm arms embraced;
Your lips hard yet soft against my side,
The feel of flesh warmed to a rising flame...










The long moon steps into midnight;
My *******, full of your hands as candles, pour hard against the ebon fall,

Luscious to the hush of soft smiles
Steeled eloquence flows in ribbon ripples;
Winter sown, blood quilled, in midnights cast;
Cloaked in beautiful, shadow's bed a bouquet of lacy foxglove...














Eyes closed and deep of breath,
Moistness seeps the sugared flower,  and longing surges deep;
Shudder me wicked, drench me quick;
The wildness swirls inside as he moves like a shadow over my heart
His tongue eager to swim the gushing urge;
Touching, slick-slide, the soothe of smooth fingers slip past softness;
Lips cross, moist to moan me quick, sliding to quivers.
Thigh's whispering and heart pounding ,
Soft, the wind blows, tapping walls, fingers dancing
And shadow sways to moonlight...

Velvet-soft, the  sweet of tongue's mesh,
Fire burning,
The tips of breast's aroused by the touch of a slow hand lover;
Your tongue gently rolls, wet and burning hot,
Hungrily, it feeds diving deep, and sandalwood spires upon the malachite air,
And burning murmurs the silent song, pleasures
Your flame to touch me hot, softly hard,
Against the darting quivering rose, stokes sweet, the flame of conjure....















I weep as you strain to slay this huntress of indolent submission;
Descending into darkness, I squirm upon your touch, lifting my altar upon your hunger,
Eyes lost to ecstasy, the flow quickens from abyssal moans;
Overflowing with need, release bound by gold shattered stars
Suckling whispered thoughts;
With us, for us, in us, in dreams, in thoughts, in love
....And in....time my love..................
His rain, has become my decadent addiction.........where my thoughts manifest into tangible words, written slowly over his flesh........laced with twilights absolute surrender drowning, in the renewal of his liquid seduction....grasping, frantic starless wishes in hand....chasing shadows...I curl to myself, longing for your darkness...falling into a cradle of need finding myself ...rocked alone..... J
Thursday, January 2nd, 2020 &
Friday, January 3rd, 2020

The Resplendent Sol shineth forth for each one of us. We are all one, even whence divided. In truth, there is no schism betwixt us.

       I awoke this morning assured of the Cosmo-Plexus' Empyreal Love, The Ransom of the Lovebound, and Provenance of Life by the Holy Dove. I am sure that his auspices remain even now. Even in the din of disquietude, in the Soulborne War of Stillness, his aegis dost remain.

I am roused from my slumber by foreordinance. The maelstrom of lament only stirs the Leadings of Lovelight within. I must simply listen to the glistening waft to illumine my shadow'd microcosm.

From what Starlit Aethers shall my Niveous Dove alight? From thence shall heartsease unfurl! I know not when the Light of Life shall shine his visage upon me; yet and still, I must trust in the sweetness of hope. Her honesty inspires faith & amour.

Somewhere over the Rainbow, there exist no needs for unrequited dreams. Why? The fantast fathoms imagination an extension of reality, a synergy, a duality, a plurality. Yet, even the phantasy desires realization.

The Rainbow is an insignia of the Noachian Covenant. The prism is a kaleidoscopic thread, one woven across the firmaments by a Grand Creator. It is a dream realized, by the Divine, of the Divine, and from the Divine.

       How can I find stability, how can I summon strength without the Light of the Lovebound within? Our moor in a sea of sanctity, is he, Christ.

Sometimes I feel chasmic & abyssal, as though my heart were a rapacious sea. I know not from whence this emptiness has arisen, nor from whence it can be sundered. Yet and still, I carry on, sometimes consumed by the seductive embrace pulsing betwixt my ribs. Will the charm of despondency unfurl its pall over me forevermore?

At this moment, pristine synchronicity aligns my heart & mind, thereby affixing my entity upon cloud-nine. I am genuinely enough; I am genuinely substantive, for, at this moment, reason & rhyme intertwine upon the wavelength of the sublime. Therefore, I choose happiness not because it comes easily, but because it is the only real & authentic way to live.

----------------------------------------------------------­------------------------------------------------------------The Life-Bearing Dictum:----------------------------

(Added for the
Promulgation of Inspiration
On
March 11th, 2020)

----------------------------------------------------------­--------------------------------

(I) "Creativity is the residue of time wasted."

-Einstein

(II) "Darkness is the birth of a new dawn. It should be celebrated, not feared.

-Aladdin Zackaria

(III) "For look! I am creating new heavens
and a new earth;
And the former things will not be called to mind,
Nor will they come up into the heart"

-Isaiah 65:17 (New World Translation Study Edition)

(IV) "For you the sun will no longer be a light by day,
Nor will the shining of the moon give you light,
For Jehovah will become to you an eternal light,
And your God will be your beauty.
No more will your sun set,
Nor will your moon wane,
For Jehovah will become for you an eternal light,
And the days of your mourning will have ended."

-Isaiah 60: 19, 20 (New World Translation Study Edition)

---------------------------------------------------------------­-----------------------------------------------------------------­----------------------------------------------------
Words uttered
Reverberate on a sonority
Now distinctly tinged
By the sanguine ripples of
Malice & betrayal.

A soul bound
Has been unfettered;
Yet, pain lingers in the anomaly
Once inhabited  
By a paradoxical wholeness.

Perhaps suffering is life,
Maybe life is suffering,
But what is life,
Without art
(?)

The Magnum Opera of the World
Were forged in an
Empyrean blaze of spontaneity;
Penultimate Vision;
Mastery of emotions; Mind-over-matter.

(The Legacy Carries)
Ever onward; therefore,
Breathe,
The Light is near,
Oblivion of Shadow.




Excelsior Forevermore,



Ω



Sanders Maurice Foulke III
vircapio gale Jul 2012
exude the moment;
you are a transformative fulcrum

of intersubject's rent and awe:
anthropomythic ecolaw

the dream cascades into words,
birds fly little crisps of meaning
into morning light. last night's
snow leaves a crystalline spark
of you subdued, become a finer point
of tantric sight, gazing rose-blue pulsar
lashing through a cosmic garden,
delicious fruit of spacious letting be.
i'm grasping for that pleasure,
vermillion moan of lifestring vibrance,
but the wind carries on outside,
swirling pieces of the mind in
flux of upturned joy~
our heartbreeze summoned,
now whispersssoulsounds to come
and earthly darkness grips the future frost,
thaw, break and steam as it wills;
the churning ground sings to us
of bear-sleep and jackal-howl,
of seasons transpiring,
one lost sled of memories
leaves us empty, pressing crystal sky:
my aching ideality trounced in bliss-meanders
!stunning revelation! you! You! yOu!
bringing all to be a second time,
as it was.. in me.. now new,
sweet novelty of union,
this gathering of nervure self,
gliding insights, sudden soundsss.

like a node of forest-echo swirls
it dazzles: unseen colors for my inner eye;
ancient tones of fog ripple
off something you are,
creaking center easing of my sidling,
spirit drop and wavelet growth:
as if you were a branching greenery
of my own once lost other-self,
last gasping there as what i pictured 'you'~
swayingss.. sun-spikes speaking,
sky-gaze and soaking barky iris sssuck,
moulding into me the wisdom of our past leavings,
those raspy kites of sap-filled yearnings
shadow sunshower evening.
i would be a tree with you and
let you pierce our foundations
with roots of gaiasight slipping though
our primal urgings, concrete deference
under sun arch, spin of moon. let
ignorant insistence on fetishized divides~
slipping past my grounded darkness
still unknown, remain
my underself unleashed
my silent trunk-swilling soothed,
stable chaos-other, self regiven,
life renewed in leaf,
the touch of you imbued.

the whole vision lost
but for that glimmer~
it finds me writhing unknown spirals:
ringing wonderment in a seed,
or dormant sporocarpic lineage of life,
the vast hyphae-humming cups of death-born
nethergenesis of cycled hyle me.
a womb that never knew of pain
or being evertorn in dessicated spectre-sea.

the burning desert-storms helixify our rain,
a heaving hiss-like suncry
from that dark, sandy baobabic throat.
the earth consumes in shifts,
and blossoms toward the alterbliss of you, too,
an expanse of solar flare
its beautific reach engulfing terribly,
nepho-logos spanning all the air.

ssssunlit boughs of winds' remembrance
grow soft across this window,
then shift with forest breath,
their snowlace puffed before
an azure true expanse,
the burdened greens stirring a needlish depth
of metawinter, all-too-human
starfields constellate in hiding
far behind my starshine there a curtain blue,
whose prismatic humor lights more
than scenic treescape, frigid dust.
hair, nose, glass enframed by sapless wood
of window cut to square my void revision of the world.

the colors whirl into mindflow,
inter-material upsurge-undulate,
abyssal cauldron seething passions stilled by
comic symbols of a secular mystic;
dancing eddies convey my sense of sight
just thought, then lost into a wider dance
of tensions eased and drawn,
of geometric visions seemly here and gone,
inner, outer: conveyed by stroke of
spinal eidos, its rhythm set
before my time, its tone the vital,
draping earthverse
recited in my veins, the sinews of my
life in other lives,
the song of us expressive in my gaze~
one blink()a single point of beauty
fades into another haze,
lighted icedrift iridescing evanesce.
anthropos (religion, Gnosticism) Man. (From Ancient Greek) [cf. Anthropogenesis, (an thro po jen’ e sis) n. Study of the development and origin of man]

myth·os/'miTHos/ Noun: A myth or mythology. (in literature) A traditional or recurrent narrative theme or plot structure.

*derew(o)- Indo-European root meaning "tree" or "wood"

Tantra, "weave, loom, warp"; or "principle, system, doctrine", from the two root words tanoti "stretch, extend, expand", and trayati "liberation"

Sporocarp (in fungi, known as fruiting body or fruit body): a multicellular structure in certain algae, lichens, and fungi on which spore-producing structures are borne.

Hypha · (plural hyphae). (mycology) Any of the long, threadlike filaments that form the mycelium of a fungus. The hyphae are used for reproduction and nutrient gathering.

hyle, In philosophy, refers to matter or stuff [fr. Gk "ulh" (üleh, where the ü is as in German or "lune"]

baobab, A short tree with an enormously thick trunk and large edible fruit. Other common names include boab, boaboa, bottle tree, upside-down tree, and monkey bread tree.

ne·phol·o·gy. n. The branch of meteorology that deals with clouds. [Greek nephos, cloud; see nebh- in Indo-European roots + -logy.]

logos, multivalent term fr. the Gk verb legein (soft g - modern greek lego ) "to say, speak" and also "to gather and lay down" ;  traditionally meaning "word, thought, principle, or speech"; also ratio (latin for reason), pre-linguistic language (phil.), the principle governing the cosmos, the source of this principle, or human reasoning about the cosmos. origin of  "(o)-logy." the active, material, rational principle of the cosmos; nous.  logos is marked by two main distinctions - the first dealing with human reason (the rationality in the human mind which seeks to attain universal understanding and harmony), the second with universal intelligence (the universal ruling force governing and revealing through the cosmos to humankind)

eidos, a term used by Plato for the abstract forms or ideas. fr. the Indo-European root *weid-, "see" is determinative of a substance; it is the key aspect expressed in the thing's definition as the essence or whatness of the thing. also (anthropology) the distinctive expression of the cognitive or intellectual character of a culture or a social group.
anmey Aug 2014
you sit here weaving words into stories like the sea;
while i fumble with alphabet soup in the corner.
Andrew Rueter Aug 2017
We think in money patterns
No peace from here to Saturn
When we live in money caverns
Tranquility lies in the clatter
Of echoes bouncing off walls
Traveling down darkened halls
Yet to be seriously explored
Where knowledge is stored
But the paths are abyssal
Leading to our dismissal
We cower next to the fire
It once provided light and warmth
Now we're just fascinated by it's chaos

I know I'm right
Eventually humanity will evolve
And if humanity doesn't reach that point
I'd be more correct than I'd like to have been

We need to withdraw from this system
And buy stock in each other
Whether you're Muslim or Christian
We should still be brothers
For we pursue freedom
As they purchase kingdoms
We wither in the waters of their wealth
We can see this isn't good for our health
When our species' main asset is empathy
And understanding
Now reaches no longer than the interest fee
And we're damning
Ourselves to a life in the furnace
With no humanity to be purchased
Dan Schell Oct 2011
Deep in the bottle,
where even the strongest minds fizzle,
perspective sways softly
and judgment is cutting
deep into submission
of stupor and stumble,
a profound lack of commitment
nodded off in the chair.

Wishing away
today and tomorrow,
but shadows can be patient
and wait for the dark.
The lump on the couch,
he bristles with anger,
fed whiskey and Winston’s
to dull those sharp cravings
for death ever-lasting,
for abyssal release.

You left the lump breathing,
withdrew your attention
to his core care and feeding;
you’ve taken to singing
serenades to the sleeping,
but memories keep bleeding,
that puncture your tincture;
for that lump is your fixture
of regret and remorse.

The lump does not whimper
until shadows are long,
the reruns on TV run into
the screaming of your song;
the drum solo hammers
on tomb-like front door;
a concert, just for husband and you;
the social worker’s knocking;
whatever will you do?
Published in the August, 2011 issue of Midwest Literary Magazine.
http://midwestliterarymagazine.com/archives/
© 2011 – Dan Schell
vivian cloudy Sep 2019
I used to be as bitter as the wood
waiting to catch fire and
I looked forward to a good cry
at night
But mornings were good for me
I woke up thinking like maybe
I had mastered what it’s like to be alone
Maybe I had mastered what it’s like to
fill up a room
of silence
with just my breath
My spirit starts to get cocky
at how it's learned the rhythm
of a stone
rippling through the water
about to head home
sinking like some
deep sea creature
allowed to live
in the abyssal zone
20,000 feet deep in
nothing but my own
unshakable core
Umi Aug 2018
Bodies sink into the depths,
Disappearing beneath the waves with no light,
The abyss welcomes them, offers them a new home: Despair.
Driven by frustration and the wish to return home, hatred is born.
Strong enough to break through the hellish, screaming cauldron.
This is my story too, the me standing right before you, is the one who sank into the bottom of her heart, disappearing in a hole of sadness.
I won't allow you to cross these waters, not without defeating me,
Sink, again and again, the cycle never ends, war never changes.
Even if your enemy might be your very self from the past long gone,
Give it everything you got and be ruined by the fate that chains you,
With every cycle returning, frustration, hopeless rage, envy and hatred are gaining strengh, losing more and more of themselves here,
Parts of yourself vanish between the iron bottom sound, where so many have fallen before, just to protect those who they held so dear.
But what is a war worth that has no meaning but greed at all ?
The things I held dear started vanishing long ago, rusted, dissolved,
All I am is a shell of my former being.
I am but just an abyssal.

~ Umi

- M i d w a y - H i m e -
Andrew Rueter Jul 2017
The clock struck midnight
With an informative pang
I couldn't face it's music
So I turned counterclockwise
But time kept moving forward
As my wisdom dissipated
Bad times I anticipated

As I wandered through life
Burdens grew
Weight added with each step
My feet started to sink into the ground
So I got in my car
And drove
And kept driving
The more I traveled
The more I witnessed
The less I talked
As I grappled with the futility and necessity of communication

The clock warned of night's approach
I decided to continue driving
Luminous fireflies pelted my vessel
Their lamps exploding upon impact against my vehicle
The ability to destroy light
Exhilarated me
And I became addicted
To extinguishing that which shines
Until darkness flooded my engine
And an abysmal order was made by my abyssal odor

I had to exit my vehicle
And consult a mechanic
He explained my engine wouldn't work
Unless my windows were down
Which solved my darkness problem
But those ****** pests pervaded my car
Their locust glow disoriented me
The slight variations of their unique displays
Manufactured chaos within the light

My eyes grew accustomed to entropy
My brain grew accustomed to impairment
Commuters noticed my erratic driving
And offered to assist me
By attempting to ram me off the road
But the impenetrable light created a force field
Impalas couldn't run through
For my light bugs too much
Buffering me from others
And driving others from me
Leaving me alone
As a giant pulsating light that never stops moving
Is this how a star is born?
Can be found in my self published poetry book “Icy”
https://www.amazon.com/Icy-Andrew-Rueter-ebook/dp/B07VDLZT9Y/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Icy+Andrew+Rueter&qid=1572980151&sr=8-1
Life is unavoidably ecstatic,
at every scale, degree, level, dimension,
an oscillation,
season to season
day to night to day to night
cycle by cycle
wax by wane
feeling
by feeling
to feeling

always moving
both ways
all ways
always

crest, trough,
cresting-
falling,
lifting-crashing
riding, riding out
and in
and through
and by
and by,
bursting..

I could explode,
I might explode,
I did explode,
I do explode
though I'm contained,
boundary by boundary,
transcending,
including,
moving

always moving
both ways
all ways
always

rainbows weaving spectral waving,
rivers raging, bodies growing,
organismic, oceanic, orgiastic
in-ing, out-ing,
coming-going,
holding, letting go,
flowing, flowing, flows
surrendered, building,
pursing, pleasing,
pangs, paining,
ripping, breaking,
sorrows to joys to shade to shine,
as chasms to substantiation,
as abyssal to full,
as burn to burning,
to smoke etheric,
to ashes, to ground,
all passions
as passions
passion

pumping, filling, releasing
on-ing, off-ing,
alive-dying-birthing-living,
living as moving
always moving,
transforming
breath by breath
by breathing, being
this to that,
a changeling,
changing
always moving

always moving
both ways
all ways
always
Andrew E Savage Dec 2011
My feet steadfast upon the soil,

The ground stirs beneath me.

The translucent smoke levitates about,

Seclusion claiming the sublime mountains.

The wooden sovereigns retain indefinite poise,

Exuberant with gleaming white flowers.

Ants traverse the green bridge,

Their mouths opening a seal to new life.

Elegant leaves flutter in the wind,

Their entities obscuring the radiant sun.

An infinite stream flows;

A waterfall is calling to me.
Aric J Brisolara Jan 2012
My dreams are an interstellar spaceship
(gotta admit, that's pretty hip).
I close my eyes and they take me far
beyond the reaches of the farthest star.
There I sit and ponder
all the cosmic wonder
of life, love, luck and chance,
and all sorts of circumstance.

I look to the stars and see
hopes of life in natural beauty.
Every path a new possibility,
my wishes come near reality.
I look to the dark and see
my fears pooling in abyssal sea.
Undisturbed, they're left alone,
for by my hopes, they are outshone.

To me alone belongs this view,
but my dreams were built for two.
Alone, I feel the cold,
long for you to hold.
Come with me, I'll let you see
all the universe in majesty.
My dreams are an interstellar spaceship.
Won't you join me on this trip?
Where the wind ruffles my hair
The rain kisses my lips
The sunrays embraces to keep me warm
And the serenity makes me break into a song
Or just a simple humming and wiggling
Where I can lie on the grass to catch my breath
And for hours watch the birds fly
And watch the kids play
Where the innocence once more beats in me
That I run up to them just to taste the shear joy in playing
Where I can spontaneously plunge into a river and then decide Whether to drink it's purity or drown in it's abyssal depth
Or just watch my reflection on its glistening surface
And drift off to distant thoughts with the shepherd's kulning
Where the farthest stars lead me to my deepest emotions
Where the silence of the dark night awakens my soul
There I'll make my bed
On the grass under the sky
And not sleep a wink
For I'll be already living in my sweetest dream
Gaze,
Into the eternity.
The abyss of questions,
And answers.

Tremble,
At the fear.
Of being immortal.

Hate,
The man who did this to you.
Transcend...
Metempsychosis and Dream
METEMPSYCHOSIS AND DREAMSCAPES


Dramatis Personae ---


nYxEr0s -
an umbral being wielding the soul "morpheus nyktelios", in the shape of the sword of nocturnal dreams.
he can enter the dreams and sub-consciousness of trees, rocks, rivers, droplets of rain and people in order to restore inner balance, or destroy it.
he is the principality of earth and water intertwined.
the personification of ****** nocturnal desire and the night itself, and he wields the power to restore, fulfill of destroy dreams.


IrUx0iD -
a name that is whispered in nyxeros' dreams. the inverted and warped spelling of the secret name of his second self, his one true love; The Dioskouri.
this astral phantom wields the sword "Philopannyx", because his power and reason for being is to love the night, and all that the night encompasses.
one day these two variations of one purpose will meet, fuse in a loving and resplendent embrace and then the universe will devour itself, overlapping it's inexplicable film of pure darkness, converge the surrounding nothingness upon it's solemn silence in the darkness, and then light will be born and life will begin anew.


AWAKENING


An eldritch and wyld prescence has manifested itself upon these desolate shores. Emanating from the deep soil of a long forgotten world. Rich with life and benevolence, but also terrible cruelty. It is very old, and at the same time, very young. A will of old, and a spirit of youth. It has taken the shape of a human boy. He has come from beyond the river of eternal sleep. The merciless kiss of death and mortal undoing has left a crest upon that precious dwelling-place of his dreams and young intellect, as it is called in the world in wich his chtonic vessel now unknowingly decays. Now this being has come to us, in his final stage of sentience. Deep in his soul, the nexus of a bleeding ocean, a forgotten dream is trapped in perpetual waxing and waning. Upon his moonlit countenance, two glass-like spheres are set. They belong to him. This luminous soul, fettered to this pathetic configuration of earth and water. two lonely, dark and unfathomable windows into the neverending vacuum of his soul. lying there. poured into infertile soil. alien soil. a mortal coil lying in listless apathy. human apathy. what is this human doing here? from what resplendent dream did he sojourn from and traverse through. oh liminal, boundless being, your tragedy will inextricably unfold, like the petals of a perfectly nourished and complete lotus. there is nothing your dying body can do. the contriving universe has manifested you in this abstract realm for a reason. a purpose. to discover the hidden schemata and destiny that sleeps inside, and to encounter and seek out the other half. your other half. you are a split soul. a mysterious schizm. empty by yourself. whole and compleat when unified. he exists somewhere in this neverending desert of grief. precious limbs that was lost, and throbbing wounds gained in your previous stratum of existance, are in this world reconfigured and presented to you in the form of sacred gifts. weapons and protection and magic that you may wield in order to defend your heart, and the hearts of others in need. weapons of absolute destruction, or benevolent aegis. these curses transmuted as wonders we give to you. absolution for past crimes and malignancy we also give to you, precious dreamer. we exist to guide you. you will find that wich was lost to you. that wich you have longed for all these stringed existances. we incarnate you once again, so that you may resume this task. one day, the interlaced network of dark brooding stars that desperatley glitter and gleam inside of you, will reach out for that wich they yearn and interact and intertwine with your twin light. the one that was made to compliment and render absolute both of your insulated existances. this is the one and only true alchemy. in the black land, lies and misstruths are whispered by venomous tongues. poison poured from dread lips and fill the once pure air. tormenting all fragile life in this sphere. accept this sword, morpheus, in your hand and embrace the hidden music of the night. this is our gift to  you. accept them now into your etherial incarnation and your everflowing, grieving heart. wield your true gifts. wander alone beneath the dying stars of this world, and free the ones who dwell beneath and beside you. living in fear and despair. once you have done this, brave warrior, the hidden path shall be revealed to you, and your love will await at the ends of this universe. at the end of time. go now. into the endless night. dark haired creature. heart of the ocean flowing within. The death and rebirth of stars light the way through the neverending desert of perpetual night. nyxeros the gods whisper. a primordial name. a second gift granted to the warrior, so that all the creatures of this world may speak it and whisper it in benevolent tones amongst themselves. nyxeros had been wandering for 77 nights and 77 sub-nights. weary and lithe in limb and heart. he sat down in a patch of mysterious mercurial grass. everflowing darkness wreathed around him. framing his wyrd existance in silence and a subtle agony. he layed his sword Morpheus on the surface of silver beside him and shut his abyssal black eyes, and allowed sleep’s gentle touch to caress his mind and soothe his aching concience, and thus, for the first time scince he had awakened in this world, he fell asleep. he dreamed of planets making love to each other, and giving birth to supreme music that again gave birth to new planets. of galaxies exchanging wisdom and expanding into one-another. and of a voice, beckoning from some darkness. a darkness from a place in the nothingness. a hollow place. a compression of past, present and future. someone was calling to him. alien words that he could not decipher the meaning of. but his heart fluttered and a deep longing ignited within his heart of chaos. somewhere, in the infinite K0s:m0S, someone was waiting for him. someone had begun a journey at the opposite end of the vast darkness of space. wandering alone, and sad. but forward, always forward. towards him. nyxeros could feel it moving. a faint contraction of the fabric of space. a frequency so weak, barely noticable. but he could feel it nontheless. deep inside. nyxeros opened his eyes. the black stars residing behind the frail lids of his eyes eating up all the blackness of erebus, making the deep, black pools of his soul even blacker and deeper still. his left hand, engraved and scarred with terrible and agonizing poetry clasped around the hilt of morpheus. he stood up and peered deep into the horizon of chaos. The great and wide melancholia of dust and dead wind and withered mountains. The void and the chasm of his cleaved soul urging him to brave onwards. In the ever-expanding distance, a faint light was discernable. His black eyes could scarcely witness it, but it was there, without a doubt, and his heart convinced him that this was true. Something stirred in the distance. So he gripped the hilt of his dream-blade tightly, and began the long waltz towards the strange faint melting light beyond.
I wrote this as an experiment, to see what would pour out if i just kept on writing non-stop, without thinking about anything really...it actually makes a lot of sense to me, but it's mostly just metaphysical mumbo-jumbo, and it's not polished, or meditated upon. Anyway, i just felt like posting it. my reasoning and agenda behind exhibiting this piece is as abrupt and cumpulsive as the mode it was written in. thank you-
kevin hamilton Dec 2017
black lung whispered
abject terror in my ears
a circle of candles
and closed eyes
made plainly naked
by the thought of you
beneath the rising tide

i poured raw honey
down your abyssal throat
stole a different form
and fell into your arms
only sweet goodbyes
as i grabbed my overcoat
Elizabeth Jan 2014
I want to be a safari woman

I will stand in a regal position with my elephant gun cocked,
Finger resting firmly on the trigger.
Will I dress as an Indian war leader?
Will I choose to look like a gentleman?
Or will my attire consist of camouflage paint and steel toed boots that walk with a purpose?
It may change daily, but I still possess the same desire inside-
To be one with this habitat so intriguing, so mysterious and concealed.

The rivers call my name.
As I paddle my silver bullet canoe into the abyssal waters ebbing and bending around my streamline vessel,
The water calms at my own will in a passive manner much like the coo of a dove

The trees know my presence
-Such a command I boast-
They know to bow at my arrival and whistle their harmonious flutters.
The babies cower at the sight of my polished machete.
The mothers stiffen when I equip it with a cool hand.

I am Simba.
I am ruler.
Africa,
Asia,
India,
I own this land as my own,
And I understand it is needy.
I care for it in sickness,
I check its fever regularly,
I mother every animal, every bush,
And in return they signal their respect.

As the day ends, the sun sings "good night" and the moon chimes in with a "good morning".
I watch as the fish jump from the waters to catch their dinner airborne,
And the bats chirp above me while my campfire crackles in response.
I watch the stars mirror themselves onto the water, yearning to be remembered as something great.

A day of accomplishment achieved.
I am a real woman,
I am a safari woman.
Ralph Albors Sep 2015
On the dawning horizon, Barcelona.
Above us, a quiet storm rages.
A meter away, Isabel,
with her abyssal draw-well eyes,
Silence as her name,
catapults for legs.

Your name, nothing more.
Your past and life, trivial.
Only your name was important
and I obtained it: Isabel.
It was but a physical infatuation,
completely platonic and surreal.
You whose name I will forget.
    June 31st
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Jacob Thomas Oct 2018
Flames, flames, fire!

Hearts loaded with embers,
Begone flame, you hold no sway!

Pooled in blood,
The melting moon
Shines far above

Warming your frigid eyes
With shards of night and
Blaring beams of white

Crushing the natural mind
With ballads of war and pain,
Spitting moments of gore through
Abyssal pupils.


  Prepare this intestine of youth,
       Detach its origin and cast it unto

            A forest with one tree.

Then char the strand of mind in which
Fear reigns, scar it with the memory
       Of life

Let it kneel
to your flight
And Bring it fore your eyes,
Caging the slithering chimera with
     Immense cliffs of ice

Let it look to your matter
Yet never engage your voice,
Fluxing into your cells with terrific
      Color,
Breaking off the origin and planting
It’s lessons in between the soul and
      Skin,
Offering access to any lost traveler
Drowning in a raging sea.

Embers in your heart,
       Fire consuming without,
       Fire empowers within
Chrissy Mar 2019
Every step I take forward in the abyssal sand
I lose myself farther in your desert
I saw only dry bones and uninhabited land
but in this desolate wasteland you were my hallucination of an oasis
so I wasn't afraid to get lost in you
sweet ridicule Feb 2016
I can't walk in
flowered printed heels
I've watched you study yourself in
the mirror
steady neck leading down to
gentle shoulders and halcyon hands
sour ideas filling my brain I'm
imagining my hands
sweetening your concerned
soft-muscled legs
into certainty
bronze-brown strands of curly hair
on dark grey seats
I sense dancing trees behind me
and savor the beautiful bitterness
of abyssal secrets
on my saccharine tongue
your collar bones are silken
and veiled with Taurus-led
misunderstandings.
mine are always veiled with
uncertainty and
sporadically veiled with
you
this was nice to write
Amber Bowen Jan 2015
Thoughts of you echo throughout the hills of my mind
Like reverberations from a sweet symphony
As melodies drip off your caressing words
Falling… Falling… Always falling
Lasting longer than the ends of infinity
Soaring among broken dreams
Born as frivolous stars
Replaced by vast universes
Ones that invade the abyssal twilight of my night skies
Flickering and bursting all around
Splattering these walls with colored emotions
Painting the wondrous picture of beauty and pain
I couldn't quite settle on what to call this one...
Oh well.
LittleFreeBird Jul 2020
I

am

bottomless


this gaping
maw

place my heart
vacated

I am
devoid

and resonance has
deserted me

this is a lonely
place to be




inside myself


.
Wren Djinn Rain Sep 2015
You are present
you are present
you are science, philosophy, nature and hate
you are the tempest and conduit
you are the energy forming and reforming
you have the power
to choose, to do, you do

Then why am I losing faith?
Then why has it come to this
juncture, where light I found
is lost
Puncture my lungs, go ahead
because
You won't let me back inside
from the slippery precipice
Abyssal black night tide draws
closer

You won't lend to me the confidence
to enter, once again, the single
place I stand
Shane May 2013
… Today I fell in love with flow. As she pulled back the fabric of her luxurious wave encrusted dress, shimmering with an oceanic radiance, she would twirl into whirlpools with breathtaking fluidity. I gazed upon her empyrean heritage, her angelic countenance, bursting with wondrous reefs and soothing currents to spiral me downward into watery depths. She revealed to me dark riffs in her imagination, inciting outbursts from deep sea crevasses. Thundering underwater volcanoes join the tides of war, championing themselves with the discordant cries that surface and pop with a siren’s sorrow. She feels there’s an abyssal drop nobody is willing to venture across, but I’ve seen transcendence manifest in the deeps, and they glow and resonate with her generosity and grace. And as long as kisses are exchanged between shores, I will admire my love beneath the tide.
Ronald D'Aguilar Dec 2014
You are amazing.

After what seemed like a lifetime of fervently searching through endless, abyssal, darkness, I have found a stunning array of the most spectacularly luminous qualities, in you. It may be hopelessly cliché, but you are the light at the end of the tunnel.

It is breathtakingly difficult to describe quite how fantastic you are. You are elusive, like a single, pure, white Trillium in a forest of ivy. Your beauty is beyond both simile and metaphor; to your form, there is no comparison. If it is possible for a person to be flawless, then I am sure that you are.

Every word you say captivates my undivided attention, and leaves me hoping for more. I am enraptured by every move your body makes. When you sing, I feel my pulse quicken, and I could listen for hours. When you dance, my eyes follow every action with genuine appreciation for your graceful motion.

No matter what I am doing, I catch myself thinking about you throughout the day, wishing I was next to you. You are everything I want, and more than I could ever ask for. You aren't afraid to laugh like a fool, or cry like a child, or scream at the top of your lungs, or smile like you've never felt pain.

Everything about you makes me crazy over you, and, sometimes, it's easy to question whether someone as incredible as you can even be real...
Cee Ching Jun 2016
When the salt chuck was mine
I promised to dance as the ocean waves on the smiles you grant

For the sea I was a trap of destiny
To the sand I was too slippery to stamp

I embraced the wind bearing the taste of brine
I rendered a pledge from your bright eyes into the sea’s chant

Every edge of this tedious isle
You were the unending aria

At dawn, you would passionately rip the queen conch
The hush of the gale would turn into wail

The sun would set as the shore would reflect
Your voice a ditty, a glassy reverie

When the hurricane arrived
You were carried away by fright

A zephyr into a whirlwind
Drawing abyssal rumpus into ordeal

I tried to hold your hand tight
But you whispered “this is what it’s supposed to be”

You carved the salt into your skin- a sight of crystalline art
And breathed “i found a better shore than your stormy coast”

It was only a sojourn you said
So you left my briny, dull and murky

The salt chuck was a wreck
The queen conch was whacked
To Adrianne who left my heart shattered for he fell in love with his best friend.
bleh Jan 2016
(not a poem i guess but eh)




Space keeps falling to the sides. I try to concentrate, - I mean, I make a token effort every now and again,- but concentration, fixation is always in terms of something external, something I'm not sure I can deal with.  I roll over and go back to sleep.



'Where's the flour?'
'Where you left it.'
'Which is where?'
'On the table. What you want it for anyway?'
'Which table?'
'Haha. The generic maple with the ugly-*** spandrels. What are you making?'
'You think we could afford that? Nah, it's like, faux-pine or some ****. And like muffins.'
'Oh good, there's banan's that need using up'
'No no, like, other muffins. Crumpets and such. Got any golden syrup?'
'I think there's some maple.'
'No, it's like, ply, I swear.'



I haven't moved in days. I need to. He'll come eventually and I don't want him to see me like this. Plus, I need to locate that smell. I can't have guests over with it here. I'm just not sure where it is though. I  feel like it's on my left arm when I’m in the middle of the room, but off to the right everywhere else. It's.. acerbic, but fermenting, like vegetables on the onset of rot but not quite there yet. Not that I know; I haven't moved in days. I don't want to smell it again. Also garlic, definitely garlic.



We visited the inland sea the other day. The hundred years since last time hadn't changed it one bit. The beached clay was brittle under the midday sun, and the cracking footsteps fragmented it into a hundred hexagons.
               'I hear a strain of the pathogen is airborne. It's only a matter of time now'
A group of tourists park up by the shore. A child holds out their arms and runs in small circles.



The corridor keeps flashing. And maybe spinning. It's hard to tell, the colour change starts at a different point each time and there's no discernible rhythm to it. You keep pacing up and down. I feel self conscious that you want to leave, but then again, you did show up unannounced. You shake the snowglobe disinterestedly. The fragments burn like molten static.
'Stop that. I feel like I’m vomiting spiders.'
'You're being dramatic.'
'None the less.'
'Don't worry; you'll get through it. The world is transitioning, and this is just motion sickness.'
'I know that, I didn't say I was worried, I said I wanted it to stop.'

'sorry'



We'd always go for a walk at night if we felt we needed to talk. It was an unwritten rule. The veil of amber filter let our more timid thoughts breath in the nebulous darkness. Stark daylight was always too suffocatingly real, and that was the one thing we were never allowed to be; real. You'd always talk superficially if we discussed personal matters. That day you did a one-third spin clockwise and faced my side, and talked grandeloquently, hammed up like on a stage. You gave an embarrassed smile and blew a kiss for the invisible audience. I always felt jealous of those nothings, those non-existent beings, that got to figure into your world.



'Christ it's warm today. I can't think.'
'so don't bother.'
I spin in the chair. Whooosh. Whooosh.



It's the end of a 6 hour shift. A customer, a mother in her odd thirties, was angry that a sale item was out of stock, like sale items always are: She'd only gone out of her way to shop at this store because of the advertised deal, and we had taken time out of her busy schedule under false pretence. Her child stared at the ground intensely, his eyes watering. I tried to imagine the situation through his eyes, to try and ground myself; to remain both present, but stable. She insisted on speaking to the manager. It's a relief really; He's a skeevy ****, but he at least knows when the customers are just there to start ****, and responds accordingly. He comes over, asks what the problem is. It turns out I entered the code wrong and the item was still available after all. He gets one from out the back, handles the transaction, says have a nice day and apologises for me and everything, and I just stand there blankly; I’d had the graveyard shift the night before and honestly I’m beyond feeling right now, but when she mutters 'dumb *****' as she turns away a tight feeling still twists in my gut anyway.
I come home and leave the door hanging open framed in the setting sun and just drop my bags in the hallway. You're in the kitchen, hunched over a workbench eating out of a mug.
'Whatcha having?'
'Cornflakes.'
'….Cornflakes?'
'Yep.' you pivot as I approach. 'corn..flakes.' you hold out the packet.
'coooornfllllakkkkkkkeeeessssss' I start laughing.
'coooornfllllaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaakes'
we chorus the term in groaning monotone, and I grab the packet out your hand and throw it down and violently stomp it into the ground with every non-energy I have left. You just laugh and egg me on, repeating 'cornflakes! Cornflakes!' in crescendo, ostinato. The satisfaction of each crunch gives me the drive to smash them further, and corn dust spills out of the pulverised cardboard and gets everywhere. In the end I’m panting, my face is a mess of tears, and I collapse over onto it and just roll, bathing in the glorious fragments of reconstituted mulch.



'They say another ice age is coming.'
'They also say we'll be swallowed by the sun'
'well, it's true.'
'Yeah, but which'll happen first? I need to know to dress accordingly.'
'Tunnel's up ahead'
'I know, I see it.'
I deliberately swerve to the side and speed up, changing back at the last moment.
'You know I hate it when you do that.'
'What, don't you wanna die together with me? Here and now? Immortalised, as if our existences actually meant something?'
'like Diana and the nameless chauffeur?'
'******* exactly.'
We step out onto the hill, frozen **** tufts breaking underfoot. It's cold as hell but the skies glittering. You get out the telescope you borrowed off your rich *** sister.
'I think that's Jupiter over there.'
'Pfft, Jupiter.'
'What?'
'What's the blankest space you can find?'
'Hmm.. that way?'
You point it in that direction. 'Look'
I stare into it, but it's hard to keep focus while shaking from the cold. You keep adjusting and asking ,’See anything?', eventually some hazy distortion comes into view.
'See, no matter where you look, there's always something there.' You're trying to sound eloquent. 'Even when it seems like you're drowning in nothing.'
I stand back. 'That's terrifying. I feel sick.' I try to breathe but it's shaky and shallow. I stare into the ground, but I can still feel it; the blaze of the myriad innumerable heavens burn into me. Their judging gaze pierces through me and tears me to shreds.  



'You know, I think I read that Spinoza thought that consciousness is manifest in the ability of finite beings to continue persisting in and of their own will over time.'
'Doesn't that make a toaster more conscious than us?'
'Yeah, you don't say.'



We were twelve and at the department store. It was strange. I'd never taken the bus by myself to just hang out in town before. I always feel disorientated and light-headed in crowds so it had a strangeness; waves of apprehension cushioned by the homogeneity of it. one can be truly alone in a crowd; floating in a sea of otherness, where each gaze is no longer a signification of anything, but a warm static. We were among the aisles of a department store, in the toys and tacky house ornament section. Like, the junk you buy children and grandparents for their birthday. **** that you'd only attribute to people whom have no discernible qualities of their own. We were looking at snow globes. We kept trying to shake them violently enough so that the scene framed within would become entirely lost to the fog; it always felt so disappointing when clarity returned and things re-became what they were. I remember saying, 'I wonder if it tastes like real snow', I don't remember, It was stupid, I don't know why I said it, it sounded cool in my head. But you responded, that I remember, by taking the thing and smashing it against the concrete floor, and pouring out all the fragments into our hands. We tried them together and coughed and choked in laugher. It tasted awful, entirely unsurprisingly. On a rush you stuck one in your pocket, grabbed my hand, and we promptly left the store, and my heart was palpitating, it felt like all the rules, all the natural laws that had prefigured my world were crumbling, and I was terrified, trapped in the gaze of my mothers look of disappointment when we'd be inevitably caught, somehow watching me from its potential future, and I'd no longer be allowed to visit you but it was okay because I was here with you now in this moment and we were alone in this faceless mechanical place crumbling around us, and when we left, and no sirens buzzed, I felt sick with excitement at the unbounded possibility present in everything in every second. I cringe thinking back on it, and feel ashamed at finding such meaning, feeling such unabashed wholesale virtue in indiscriminate destruction, but sometimes, sometimes I still shake that snowglobe as hard as I can, till everything determinate is lost in haze, and I still feel a wave of comfort wash over me.



‘We’ve been walking for ages. you know where we’re going, right?’
‘It’s just up ahead. I swear’
‘You swear?’

‘I mean, I’ve only been there once before myself.’
‘****. This way?’
‘Wait-‘
‘What?’
‘Huh. Nothing. Sorry, I thought I heard a car coming.’


‘I think that’s the ocean?’
‘But.. aren’t we heading inland?’
‘You sure?’
‘Yeah, I swear.’



We're in your room. Your reading on your bed and I'm in the swivelly chair by the desk, pretending to work, but really we're just chatting, talking about.. something. Whatever. It was probably stupid, laughing at our own jokes, as always, catchphrases repeated till they loose all meaning. It's been a long day and honestly we're both too tired for coherence by this point, but the lack of effort lends the air an easy comfortability. But then suddenly.. Suddenly you stare into my eyes as if you're looking at me and it's somehow different, an intense gaze that I can't escape, as if you somehow found something located there, something fixed in those abyssal pupils. The feeling is overwhelming and terrifying. I am grounded, ripped into the prison of being and frozen static like a dumb animal transfixed in headlights: I am outside myself facing in, and I’m falling away. I pull you in and kiss you to escape; now, it is your touch that is fixed, your smell, your taste, and I breath a sigh of reprieve. You hold my back as I fall into you. I lace my fingers through the buttons in your shirt and feel the faint pulse of your flickering heartbeat. At once an ever-changing epiphenomena, and a calming rhythmic certainty. I vacantly tug at the buttons and your expression changes, gone is the feeling of suffocating questioning, but one of transfixed observation. Your touch is not a reaching out into something, but a continuation of yourself; I am an instrument of your lust, an extension. Holding me in your arm, you nervously run your hand down from my nape and trace my bra from the strap over the line of my breast. The lightness of your touch is a painful tickling and I push myself into you further, my thighs wrapping around yours. Your touch shoots a burning into me, not painful, but like glowing kindling, or the warmth of a blanket; an immanence, a retreat. I let my mind go blank and we continue; you fumble with my bra as I fumble with your belt. We're both shaking but too far gone to notice, too distant to care. The dry freeze of the night air contrasts your damp heat. You clasp me as you trace your hand under my skirt and I feel your arm brush my thigh. I tremble slightly at the sharp coldness of the damp cotton coming unstuck. After a stretching moment of awkward liminality, I feel you pass into me. It's a burning smoothness, distilled liquor. The rubber is an alien feeling, and for some reason I imagine myself as a giant balloon; a malleable featureless surface, filled with emptiness. I feel myself through the threshold of your presence and I am afraid; I am a boundary which encompasses nothing, and by your passing through I fear that I will be pierced; I will burst and out will flow an obsidian wind that will wither you to nothing, but it will keep coming, an endless torrent that will subsume the world and turn everything to desert, and the only way to save you is to keep it bound up as tight as I possibly can till my heart feels like burning metal, and I feel my tears land on my hand tightly clasping your shoulder. You ask through wavering breaths if I want to stop, but I shake my head; if you left now I would be caught and torn open; no, instead I subsume your undulations into myself; till the rhythm is as oceanic noise; a surface rolling located miles above a lightless motionless centre.



The pale green lamplight flickers. A nausea, tepid, but understated. The sentience of moss; an almost motionless drone, but the sense of unfolding. The corridor seems larger than it once was. Blank reflections harrowing accusations, mechanically indifferent but piercing; an alarm clocks wail. I lie still, I lie still. The buzzing repeats. I lie still. I am flowing, seeping through floorboards into the pores of the earth, into colonies of worms and I am lost and free, a motion, a multiplicity, pure form without the anxious drudgery of parts; pure alimentary canal, pure Elysium absolution. The flickering quickens and gets brighter. A pulsating light, a strobe, a beat frequency wavering behind vision. The liquid earth, saturated by light, hardens and dissolves. And 'I' am lost among the ruins, a vague memory of a sentiment. A nostalgic grief, an asphyxiated longing. I reach out to you desperately in the drag of the undertow, but you are the chalk of faded bones; cast to the winds centuries prior. A thousand years pass of blanket darkness, and a unitary bell rings. The flotsam batters against the temple gates. Debris collects in cracks, and my pieces are among them. I cling to retention, and return. I am cold sweat outlining the floorboards, the feeling of clenching before vomiting, repeated endlessly.



A few weeks after, turning off an avenue onto the main road, I see you. You're crossing, coming this way. It was bound to happen eventually. I bite back the moisture forming in my eyes and try to remain faceless. You suddenly change your trajectory, and hit the side of a car. It honks at you and you dodge around it. I allow a bitter smile to myself; the fact I can cause you such disorientating discomfit indicates I still mean something to you. Even if it's just a discomforting anxiousness, something beyond the boundary to be avoided, I have causal powers, extension; I can see my flicker of presence in you even now, even if I cannot for the life of me find it within myself. You run around and I walk straight. It's empowering; I can remain fixed, even if the torrent of the world flows around me. At that moment, I feel the indubitable strength to persevere. I am stronger than this world; I am stronger than you. But then, just as suddenly, the feeling folds upon itself and is gone. I felt solidified, just now, by the fact that I was the one that remained in this random encounter. I won, you lost. but Won how? With the ability to pretend that I can exist alone, in a world that means nothing to me? The ability to maintain a solid spectral façade, when underneath, scratching away under the skin, I contain nothing? To continue terrifies me. Knowing that I have the strength to continue terrifies me. That last thing I ever intended was to outlive you. I feel the world drain away from me, and yet I remain, left standing, alone, in a of realm of perpetual nothing.  



I feel sick

a hundred years pass in the cavity of the desert. Merchants make trade off raided materials and makeshift weapons. A library is burned. A soldier, wanders freely. An insect buzzes around his face. He darts about the place in annoyance, but it remains. He can't shake it. He closes his eyes. It's still there

I feel sick

the sun burns bright arrhythmic  clicking.  A late twenties couple go clothes shopping, however the child is hungry and will have none of it. Lunch is suggested. They are jocular about the decision, but feel an uneasiness about the indulgence. The air is saturated and dries

— The End —