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Sydney Ann Jan 2015
Yea, sure
I put on a smile when you see me
I laugh
I'm nice
I'm average,

But, you see,
There are two sides to every coin
And just because
I choose to show
The Puppy Tail side
Doesn't mean the
Dismembered Head side
Isn't alive and kickin'
**Right
         Underneath
                              The surface
Anatidaephobic para siesta,
on the park bench w/ the child molesters:

eyeballs eyevory as Arctic detergent,
amid shingle by De Beers are REMurgent.

Whitsands of some incroyable Bermuda
(white man even his own intruder,

upon cetocephalic theta depths,
that whistle crystal Dixie, seahorses for clefts).

'Peas have great individuality,'
but peristerite is this sea,

not peagreen.  A pickpoctopus of preag
(pre-peag more offshore than 64,000 leagues),

klepto Neptune mudlarks the silica,
into his limelylit hypothermia

sleeves shells, like the desirable hermitcrab Earth
of my astrally orarian self.

My gaze stolen by tealeaf tides:
samphire, sapphire, squid's suckereyed .

Under the sea, there is no CCTV.
But guilt is a silk meat to the nee-

dleeyed nostrils of PC Jaws;
feefifofumes slip faded scabs' pores.

He's not a panoptopus catching your tentacle in your mouth,
but squaloid cop whose own gob's a ganch.

Phaser intangible thru verdantique,
Policeshark! does davyjonestowns deek.

On a fishing expedition in shipwreck slums,
whose 19 new tenants are pinklewickers from Morecambe,

but they're innocent as God's goslings, so Policeshark!
capriciously octocuffed a gangster's mollusc

- by 'octocuffed', I meant crunched the suspect's stu-
diously nonevolved backbone in his beartrap bazoo.

After flossing the caries of noble cause corruption,
moody maccarelics had snubsnouted selachian

policesharkraid! an octopus's gardengate,
& half a McCalf, knee, did he confiscate

- minus the 'confisc'.
His beat is wide & his beat is deep, from Frisc-

o to Portalprints,
Constantlynubile  (Instantbeau) to Pawsmith,

from pertly lisped Perth to hellsmiled imorteen's
imaginary Miami, styrofoam unicorn shoreline.

& traversing isthmus now wasthmus, Lemuria,
where  the wreck of the Sargassoworks lies similar-

ly submerged, sunk by Cap'n Sanforisedbeard,
nautical vagabond who thought he'd blagged a pond,

but was wonking all the angles on the sextant,
till mainsail was mainly flailing like an introvert

among many reprikates of Rik Mayall. Policeshark! swam
thru turquoise ****** of amino acids, liquid farm-

yards of forms not yet strangely familiar enough,
where plankton are those new clear vitals' scurf,

or Creation's intelligent designer stubble.
& Creation's archeozoic goosepimples are bubbles.

For around Policeshark!, waves may turn time-
twiddlingly wavy: Zeit's gristle to the Sein-

shark, the Aardshark, the Wailsnark, the Sharchetype
worrying my liminal jugular like a vamp-

ire scarf. In the blink of the eye of the
Policesharknado!, Policeshark! the merciless mer-

monitor has done his bloodhound rounds,
reset his primordial aura dial, outswam Ground

Zerocean brane, that damp original,
even aquathreshed the 'bi.ven.' in that bilateral

venture 'tween surf 'n' turf, Sinbad the Flavour.
So as to spyhop above cursive of rips & rollers

to stake out this shorehugger, whose Shutter Island discs
sirenade not of Portalsmith, Bizzyhandyman or Frisc-

o, but of a more prosaic 'mare where sharks go quack.
So rage, Ol' Cuntsea, Thalassa you ****!

Big blue wobbly ****, Red Label Sea
of my unconscious! It is mens rea

for which Policesharks! frenze, pinprick of shame,
but the dreaming animal's meat is not game.

I am Ruestungminister in his Argentine cabana!
I am God in His Gondola!

& the Policesharkcage! is the cordon sanitaire
of my not really being there. Or here.

I'm Shore Ryder splittin' for a sun-Ken-
tucky, para siesta passing for a con-

tent Tuesday come to pass like the rainbands
that wore Ray Bans were disbanded by whitsands

fresh-CV-not-cream-scroll-brill, yet
inadmissible as Icarus giblets

or a mohican of gills' nullity.
O Policesharkbait! paltry

as dismembered Freudianism of carnal lagan!
Less catabasis & more embasan.

A dreampoet about to jump the Policeshark!,
awoke to the trope of a Savileville park.

Was it a dream within a dream within...
TL; DR, Policesharkfin!!
'embasan'  (Filipino)- to wear clothes in the bath
Cerebral Fallacy Jan 2014
It came upon the good doctor to clutch it in his palms
An object so sharp that blood oozes over its tip
Touching and clutching it he weeps tears of excess
Excess of the desire from where emerges life

Nothingness is the very excess that flows beyond being
Beyond the infinitesimal horizons of cosmic pleasure
The devil at play beyond the confines of the mind
Language the immanent trap that infinitely failed

Moving beyond the pale meditation of holy dignity
Gods emerge from the midst of haunting madness
The excess of the gods, divine excrement turn into dust
The sweet aura of the banished god- the scavenger

The very life of the gods contained with death and play
They danced across spaces, traversed beyond scope
Their bodies decay as stars while their excess reaches within
Within every marked desert of intoxication that grasps infinite depth

Weeping in the midst of the great gulf, the gods fade as the night
They emerge as beasts and flowers amidst the deep of the sea
The fall into madness, excess, passion and excrement
Perfume is but the odour of man turning into dust

Even the glory of the gods reflected divine excrement
Every entity an extension of another, the cosmic essence
That binds and destroys life as movement unfolds beyond reason
The essence beyond the shared catastrophe that binds life to itself

The good doctor watches the blood ooze from the body
Blood being the testimony of immanent frailty which traumatizes being
His tears dilute his blood as trauma sustains life
It falls into the ground and the divine fruit is born

The essence of goodness contained within the germ of madness
Madness that tantalizes the notion which shames reason
The realm of divinity where infinite wisdom dwells
It dwells in the midst of bliss- Ananda !

The God of Bliss awakens as the stench of being enters the heavens
The creator weeps as he watches the excess of heavens multiply
The object that the good doctor possesses drives him into oblivion
Never more is the world haunted by the gods !

Bliss even the bliss that is found in the mountaintop
Where the last god lay and washed his feet with perfume
And the milk of the divine yak nourished the heavenly nymphs
Charged with ****** excess, paradise lay in the midst of hell

The good doctor returns to the womb from whence he came
Beyond the confines of trauma, desire and being
Every creature watched as he lay the world bare and nacked
Never again will the gods return to plague the world

Then lie the bodies, cold, writing in pain and pleasure, leaning on love
Bodies that desire the gods of old to sustain trauma and jouissance
Where is the good doctor now? Whence will he return my love?
And there in her eyes, the beauty of the world lay

I looked at her and in an instant her eyes transformed reality
Oceans swept the depth of the horizons, stars became angels
Time turned into eternity and the darkness ebbed into nothingness
Trauma was rent apart and life was bound by divine love

I kissed her lips and as I wept I beheld the good doctor
He lay dying in the depth of the traumatic vengeance
His organs lay in the excrement of totality
His eyes gauged out, his ears rent apart and his mouth torn asunder

His limbs were scattered and his intestines emptied
The years of his life at an end and his body dismembered
Disseminated, the stench of the lifeless corpse filled the universe
I looked at her and it was the stench of love

I looked into the heart of darkness and I wept
The sound of my anguish filled the halls of time and space
The pillars of paradise was torn asunder and rent Hades apart
Eternal sorrow that sustains our love

And then as I beheld the futility of existence I kissed her lips again
I closed my eyes and I experienced the touch of the heavens in her mouth
And in the infirmary  his body lay among the dead
His organs burned as a sacrifice to atone for existence

Existence, trauma and excrement echo the cry of divine justice
And here the body lay without its organs and we were too sorrowful was beyond measure
We then buried his cold body under the stars in the heaven
We saw the scars from where his organs were rent asunder

A corpse contains the testimony of death as he gather everything to himself
But a corpse without organs? What does it contain?
Must it not contain death and trauma itself?
And here his hollow body lay, and death the parasite

A parasite's life lies in the life of the organs within the body
When the organs cease of give life, the enemy perishes
And death lay dying in the grave he decayed
The good doctor lay in the realm of darkness forever !

The blood and his tears have now produced fruit !
It was its fragrance that brought life to darkness
In the darkness of the night my lover went into the grave
Fearing not what lay in the midst of the darkness

Wind is the master of time, she flies beyond the medium that she animates
The wind carried in her ***** the fruit of blood and tears
And then she saw that the keeper of the dead leave the confines of his realm
The wind blew beyond measure into the land of the living

And then I kissed her in the graveyard one last time
For she was too sore to live but her eyes spoke one last time
And there I saw the good doctor was not dead ! He smote his foe in the deep !!
His fruit was now beyond the grave where they lay him !

The hollow of his body is now the testimony of love and eternity !
And there I awoke from my dream and my heart skipped a beat !
My desire was water was now beyond measure and I looked into the river
In the sky I saw that love is the very excess that engulfs desire !
Michelle Feb 2013
Dismembered feelings
Lying on the cold, hard ground
Whispering softly
--
Untrodden pathways
Swirling in my memory
Of things yet to come
--
If I'm disheveled
You're the mess of jumbled eggs
Early this morning
--
Similar standards
Feelings of security
Kinship ties abound
--
Creation strikes me
Words flow through my soul and fly
Onto this paper




All of these: © 2/28/13
These separate poems are just a few feelings and emotions I needed to let out during free time in school. Written in Haiku format, but you can obviously tell that they're not true haikus, as the subjects have nothing to do with nature.

No revision.
Ella Gwen Jul 2015
I feel like the white lion
stuck in a cage for the rest of my days
feet set to tread a path barred and dusty
from all of those who trod before it.

The only excitement, the jangles of
keys from the keeper who runs to
throw carcass of rabbit, turkeys
through my bars for me
to render sustenance, incomplete.

I fear the white lion
hear my lonely roar and wonder
at such talons, canines now stolen
and feet dismembered, claws ripped
from their shackles, top-of-the-food-chain
fear desecrated.

And a genetic time-bomb too
ticks under my skin and theirs
as I sit and I listen to the lies
your children now share.

My line also ends, a mere stutter
in the sand, as the tides flow steady
and the last lion lingers.

And I am, too, held high like a beacon,
a warning, a message spanning
centuries, look, children, look!
See the mistakes of your ancestors.

See how her coat shines so very bright
that it reflects all seven colours
of the light? See how lonely and low
the last of a manipulated, mistaken,
misconstrued species can go?

She was drawn from her mother
mixed with her father, no she doesn't need him
and the others, why yes, all left
are her kin!

How wonderful, how quaint, you
know only ten now remain?
None in the wild of course, where
their life cannot sustain,
better here locked under our
constraints where we have
so much wonder, so much recreation
and education to gain.

And true, from this bleak place
they can never migrate
but look at her, no where else to go
this man-made mistake.

Don’t worry about the pacing,
the maddened, gleaming eye
the freedom they miss
out there? They would die!
And they know no other way
than this.

I know she looks sad, but
that’s just your feelings projecting,
they’re just animals, my darling,
you’re innocent, shouting in consternation
save her in the name of conservation!

But we are all white lions
all now endangered, our steps
are no freer, our lives all
subject to external changes and we
cannot move but for the cage
they have constructed, their
lives are impacted but our
wonder is not deducted.

I feel like the white lion
this ambassador of our greatness
this one mistake, so very clever,
engineered to engage us, these lives that
were wrought solely to entertain us.

I feel it, their future entwined in mine
and in humans across the ages.

Meaning of life designed, its sibilant message
dangerous, a dumb animal wandering
a set path, disregarded, destructive, aimless.
Mateuš Conrad Oct 2018
.i cannot do justice to Hölderlin's invocation of Hyperion, but i also have no intention to, but i'll begin with, what isn't regarded as a pristine, classical constellation:

it begins with a punt volant,
on first observation,
   ・
      which descends in brightness
         ano teleia -
romanic interruption of the added
comma beneath it,
like a tail dragging the head along...

    the constellation?

        a dismembered man,
a crooked pentagram,
and a trinity of sorts...

                              .          .        
    ­                               .    
                                           .
        .

                       .

                                       .

this, the dislodged man,
with a trinity of stars floating
outside of him...

the trinity is faint...
when you first spot the ano teleia
star with its brightness...
yet that is a mishandled
pentagram...

which brings me to the argument,
some people send their DNA
to companies that
discover their genetic makeup,
i also read a newspaper article
that stated:
why bother?
you genetic make-up
also consists of what
you gravitate to,
culturally...

    so... i'm reading an article
on Hyperion...
and then i follow several links...
all i know is that the Vikings
were the founders of
Kiev...
                
   and to get to Kiev from Norway...
you have to go past the land
i was born in...

   then working from an article
on Emperor Julian, the Apostate...
then onto an article on Mardonius...
then on the article on the Goths...

Goths?
  Swedish "vikings"...
  who had established settlements
in the region of Poland were
i was born,
by 250BC...
                  
   so... why would i cling to
Nordic folk songs,
or their revisionism,
if i... suddenly hear a song,
and react with goosebumps on
my cheeks from hearing it?

or what about the remnants
of Scythia?
           boiling in my veins?

that newspaper article was right,
i don't need to send off my DNA
sample to companies,
i can read my DNA from the culture
i'm migrating toward!

     Hyperion,
i have abandoned the Athenian gods
of Olympus,
i've looked elsewhere,
to the mountain that became
the pit of Tartarus...
look back at Uranus, and sampled
the wintry perfumes of Gaia...

          swam in the ***** of Pontus...
and i have...
seen how both the gods,
and the titans...
   are the source of etymological
classification,
unlike what the judeo-christian tranditions
teach...
Adam didn't name the birds
and the animals from an a priori
posit / advantage point
of some obscure inheritance...

        first come the grander things...
man conjures up the existence / non-existence
of either gods, or titans...
to spin the wheel and gain etymological
momentum!
            
of what became the ****** of the affair
between Helios and Gaia...
    however true...
   or untrue...
      there is still an etymological foundation
for the existence of said
names...
   the names / not beings...
that spawn more names to be attributed
to such miniscule things
as flies, centipedes and pebbles...

from the word Uranus, comes the word
Helios,

from Selene comes the word
which coincides
the words Pontus, Oceanus, Poseidon,
and subsequently the
moon's influence of the tides...
the... παλίρροιες (palirroies,
siblings of the furies, the rivers,
and all other nymphs)...

      but however ridiculous applying
these nouns is...
they are rigid evolution
of words, formerly grunted,
or expressed in a barbaric way...
these are the words first defined...

Gaia probably became perfected
when there occurred a syllable
arithmetic... well... "arithmetic" is a lose
term of addition...
    the syllable g'ah! g'ah!
combined with i'ah!
                            
stealthy *******, this Jewish god,
he knew it all along...
hide in the letters,
hide in phonetics,
hide long until...
there's a second Belshezzar moment
in history...
when he's seen a second time...

i see him!
the surd H and the laughter
instigator H of the tetragrammaton...
you sigh when you write AH...
you express a vague awed-surprise
when you write OH...
    H represents the breath...
and the soul...

i see him!
i write too much to not be able
to dis-guide you from doing likewise...
the breath enter with an AH
and an OH...
   ah as in wonder with a surprise,
oh, as in counter: so i was wrong?

ooh... like something is teasing
you...
    uh? as in an element of disgust...
but?
HA?
       the point...
the point being?
laughter...
                    how else can you
express laughter,
if not balancing on the Jewish
definite article,
i.e. HA, i.e. HA-shem (the-name?),
how?!

but the Greeks were of some use...
their names of Titans and
Greeks?
   etymological boot-camps...
what we began with,
and, ultimately,
what we return to,
not for bowing, prayer,
belief...
but?
            *momentum
...
    
we already that Zeus is actually
Thor,
   who's father, Odin,
is Uranus...
                    so, technically...
Zeus is Thor...
                     Prometheus is Loki...
etc. etc. etc.,
      point being...
these similarities, these correlations?
they're not, they're not,
plagiarisms...
                        they would be plagiarisms,
if they had similar etymological
beginnings...
they're not plagiarisms,
because even now,
not everyone on this earth is a bilingual
entity that could
support a globalist agenda!
      if bilingualism was rife,
then the liberals could have their
globalist "unity"...
              but since bilingualism is the lesser
half of the polymath...
    no...
              isolated communities
have isolated ideas...
they look as if they were plagiarisms
now... but then?
   the only globalist artifact left these days,
the Socratic argument for
universal, convergent purposes -
and particular, divergent practicalities...
these religions were not
plagiarisms...
   do you really think that
plagiarism is a pulverizing motivational
tool for the perpetuation
of a people's existence?
   i don't think so...
                      plagiarism doesn't drive
people...
it's just a strange coincidence that
there are similarities that could be conceived
as plagiarisms...
but then again...
****... me and this Mongol share
a very similar physiognomy...
  and... oh ****... we're standing up-right...
have five limbs...
   and we use fire to cook food...
yeah... the religious plagiarism issue is
really suspicious...
we weren't, ever, to make a similar conclusion...
since we all, supposedly led a mass
exodus from Africa...
     like **** we did...
     perhaps...
               but the story doesn't begin
with an origins...
   more... what happened in what
became localized eventualities of segregation...
hey... i might have, 100 year... ha ha!
yeah right... to write my own narrative...
i don't like the antithesis of
doubt: of the perfected plethora of
the antithesis of both faith & denial...
     i like my rainbow plethora of doubt
to "counter" faith & denial...
   given that i also don't like
the pseudo-schizophrenic dichotomy of
faith, contra denial.
- makes for a more exciting
content of the heart... what? doubt;
doubting Thomas
  with a heart like a sinking stone,
and fire in his eyes,
                    a, second Belshezzar.
Somebody is shooting at something in our town --
A dull pom, pom in the Sunday street.
Jealousy can open the blood,
It can make black roses.
Who are the shooting at?

It is you the knives are out for
At Waterloo, Waterloo, Napoleon,
The **** of Elba on your short back,
And the snow, marshaling its brilliant cutlery
Mass after mass, saying Shh!

Shh! These are chess people you play with,
Still figures of ivory.
The mud squirms with throats,
Stepping stones for French bootsoles.
The gilt and pink domes of Russia melt and float off

In the furnace of greed. Clouds, clouds.
So the swarm ***** and deserts
Seventy feet up, in a black pine tree.
It must be shot down. Pom! Pom!
So dumb it thinks bullets are thunder.

It thinks they are the voice of God
Condoning the beak, the claw, the grin of the dog
Yellow-haunched, a pack-dog,
Grinning over its bone of ivory
Like the pack, the pack, like everybody.

The bees have got so far. Seventy feet high!
Russia, Poland and Germany!
The mild hills, the same old magenta
Fields shrunk to a penny
Spun into a river, the river crossed.

The bees argue, in their black ball,
A flying hedgehog, all prickles.
The man with gray hands stands under the honeycomb
Of their dream, the hived station
Where trains, faithful to their steel arcs,

Leave and arrive, and there is no end to the country.
Pom! Pom! They fall
Dismembered, to a tod of ivy.
So much for the charioteers, the outriders, the Grand Army!
A red tatter, Napoleon!

The last badge of victory.
The swarm is knocked into a cocked straw hat.
Elba, Elba, bleb on the sea!
The white busts of marshals, admirals, generals
Worming themselves into niches.

How instructive this is!
The dumb, banded bodies
Walking the plank draped with Mother France's upholstery
Into a new mausoleum,
An ivory palace, a crotch pine.

The man with gray hands smiles --
The smile of a man of business, intensely practical.
They are not hands at all
But asbestos receptacles.
Pom! Pom! 'They would have killed me.'

Stings big as drawing pins!
It seems bees have a notion of honor,
A black intractable mind.
Napoleon is pleased, he is pleased with everything.
O Europe! O ton of honey!
A Mareship Sep 2013
I am ragged and
Dismembered
In velveteen splendour.
Assembled by a drunk,
Who couldn't remember
What loveliness
Looked like.

I'm too tall for my height.

You are pulpy and bright
Like today's magazines.
Your eyes are spotless like
Ironed jeans,
And they fold and crease
in smiles at me.

You find me funny.

I am sterile and naked
And aching with
Tension.
I'll bend into positions to
Get your attention.
I am fixed in the curb,
and you gather the nerve
to cope with my most
unnerving dimensions.

(I love you. I forget to mention.)

You've never indulged in
petty ***.
You wrap my arms around
Your neck,
like I'm a scarf.

I make you laugh.

You've never been
out on the scene.
You've never found yourself
between two strangers
in a darkened room.
Bedroom theatre's not
for you.
Nor costume.

You've never smoked.
You've never drank so much
You've choked
on hot-bodied ***** and
collapsed in the road.
You had four pints of
beer
and I watched you explode.

From your skin I lick atoms of the sky and shampoo.
You are dripping with hygiene,
You are clear, you are blue.

In mirrors you stand and watch me watching you.
A man must be knowledgeable, says God
For him to come in the presence of God,
He who has his male members dismembered
Or his testicles crushed whatsoever,
He shall not be permitted to enter in to the synagogue,
To worship Jehovah God of Israel,
says the deutronomical god of Jews
And today I am ill fated,
my testicles are crushed,
By the grenade thrown by a terrorist,
Here in Nairobi, an Islamic terrorist
Has crushed my testicles, in his guest
For the land of Palestine usurped by Israelis,
How do I worship you God of Israel?
Sam Haidan Mar 2015
Another night,
Another array of dismembered emotion.
I zig zag across the room to your bed,
And join you as we lie,
Naked in our flaws together;
Perhaps, a peculiar vision,
Confusing, yet compelling.
Look at my eyes,
Look into your eyes,
I smile and then you smile,
Nothing else exists.
And eventually the eyes begin to close...
Infiltrate my dreams, won’t you?
Rescue me as I drift away.

Another day,
Another array of dismembered emotion.
I zig zag across your room to the door,
And leave you lying naked in your flaws.
Perhaps, a peculiar vision,
Confusing, yet captivating.
I smile and wave good bye,
The world begins to resurface,
And eventually, I'm lost inside the haze.
Infiltrate my soul, won't you?
Rescue me before I fade away.

Another night
Another array of dismembered emotion.
I zig zag within my head because you are not around.
You leave me lying naked in my flaws;
Perhaps, a peculiar vision,
Confusing, yet convincing.
I force a smile,
As your image in my head begins to tear at the edges.
Infiltrate my mind, won't you?
Rescue me before I stray away.
The crowds, slithering down the aisles
           aimless yet ordered,  manoeuvering
                     shopping carts and metal baskets

Welcome to the lower class, the minion slave tied to the renting a house instead of a home. The climate is too harsh not to have shelter. They shop at thrift stores and outfit themselves for twenty bucks, hell they can find a living room for under a hundred dollars or bones or what ever you want to call them, that magic thing called Ca$h.

All those people spending that cash, in most cases, hard earned.

How did this ever happen * The Consumer they call us
                                                      We save a lot of money
                                                           ­  Spending money we don't got.

Ownership is the problem.. How does someone have the right to stake a claim to a chunk of land, then parcel  it off and make money selling it.
The Earth belongs to all of us.

The rich will go forward and lay claim to any planet they can reach for its natural resources.. How the hell can we let that happen. The Universe is ours, it belongs to everybody. We will leave this dirt and venture back when it has healed.

I can see them harvesting asteroids and riding  comets, waving there Stetsons
And hootin' yee haw as they speed through the galaxy, trying to hold onto their imagined power. The making up the rules as they go along.

Sometimes I just have to ignore everything and create my own little world.
A world where I trust my dead friends for sure. I don't know about everyone else.

Leave everything all behind  finding some real peace. Not this chanting about it, but shaping it and moving it like the malleable construct that it is....
               if you can call it a construct... and if you can't then 'what the hell'.

We are more than we know, more than we claim.. the People can be the power

We can start again, start all over before we swallow ourselves whole... and in part. Dismembered for certain. Dismembered and sent to the other side of the country, or half way around the world.
I haven't edited it as of yet. I'll look at it tomorrow.

*the consumer they call us -Stompin' Tom Connors
Caroline Grace Feb 2012
..... bodies of leaping salmon,
eyes blinking like soft kittens.

I wade ankle-deep in water
searching for her glassy eyes,

plunge my wrists into the flow
groping for her drowned dress.

I know if I could reassemble her face,
push back those eyes to stare,

stare out at me again, clothe her
with that special dress

sewn with delicate seeds of honesty,
she would become whole

and the tiger-fish believe she's human.




copyright © Caroline Grace 2012
ConnectHook Sep 2015
A hymn to paired planethood: Venus hits Pluto
as death, in cold orbit, collides with biology
smashing to fragments: demonic astrology
(more a black hole than a love-star, it’s true though).
Cynical cure for Eve’s womanly grievance
Concupiscent consequence: lust’s bitter fruit –
ah the thought… changing Sin into mere inconvenience.

Margaret sang her seductive refrain
about weeding the garden and progress and light.
Her sisters should view her with scornful disdain
but instead have adopted her murderous rite.
With sang-froid she promoted her racist eugenics
(as if she had never herself been a fetus),
condemning her heirs to postmodern polemics
while nurturing ardent desires to defeat us.

Suppressing the lives that she flushed down the drain
she would liberate Death – and resistance was vain.
As a midwife to modern life (though on the “anti” side)
Old Matron Margie racked up quite a legacy
singing the praises of sanctioned infanticide
calling the shots for the coming sick century.
Planning, quite calmly, to “cleanse” certain races
her zeal was empowered by murderous graces.
She labored to bring us such pearls of subduction:
“dilation and curettage”, “women’s autonomy”
“viable fetus”, “procedure”, a “suction”
Hippocrates retches to hear the taxonomy;
words that turn Life into mere reproduction.

She enters the realms of the ****** and the motherless
roundly condemned by her feminine otherness.
Man’s first protection: the God-given womb
which no infant should have to regard as their tomb.

Dismembered dark cherubs, assembling, greet her
as demons (in scrubs) holding baby-parts meet her.
Long may she burn with the medical cynics
this mother of Moloch, this founder of clinics.
Convenience is king when abortion’s the Queen
and the profits swell big with each nubile teen…
yet the fruit of such carnage remains to be seen.

I send her this song as a funeral wreath
and a card inked in blood. You may read what is there:
“To the Matrix Supreme of our culture of death
from the souls of the infants you slew on the earth.
May your torment increase with the children you bear.”
http://tinyurl.com/ortqfvp

Poetic T Jun 2014
She was the glittering fairy
In the books,
But those who knew
Of the fairy
Tinker Bell,
Told another truth.

For hook was never after Pan
He was to hook a fairy,
Was his plan.

She had them hooked
On Dust,
Each morning
They would snort the glitter,
Then once again
Before dusk.

Those of weak soul
Could not take the toll,
Blood would seep
from there,
Eyes
Ears
& nose.

Feed to the croc
With a clock ticking,
Also addicted to
Lost boy flesh
Glazed,
Glittered,
Eyes,
Of a hunger untold

Peter Pan  
He flew to our world,
Not for
Friendship
Or for fun,
But to replace those fallen
Dismembered,
Hacked,
carved,
All by tinkers wand.
They were
Feed to the croc,
When all were asleep
High on dust
They never did ask,
Where the others had gone.

Enticed by a far away land,
Those who were taken
Never again to see home.
The lost boys
In a far off Land.

Peter her protector,
From the man,
The one with a hook for a hand.
Stories sing a different tune,
For it was tinker bell
Who magically removed
This limb called hand,
To quench its hunger,
Fed it to croc
Now the beast has a
Taste for the man.

No ill does hook hold
Against Pan,
But a sword
Must be put  
Through this child,
Who thinks he is man.

For hook is the only one
Who can rid this land,
Of the twisted dealer
Of dust,
Who wishes
To enslave this land.
Feel Sep 2012
I feel close to you,
Though far,
I feel the chill down the spine.
Like raindrops falling on leaves,
you slipped right through me.
You slipped right into me.

I imagine your hands
and how it would feel like to hold them,
I imagine your eyes,
and how it could read my play by play.
Imagination fuels curiosity,
Curiosity fuels death – death in your hands.

Unique relationship of a thousand purposes,
We walk towards an oriental sun,
I remember your perfume
like memorizing keyboard characters.
But we have dismembered physicality.
We have configured a disfigured mentality.

Let’s not go outside,
Beauty has its way to disconnection,
I know it too well from you.
I feel detached from my consciousness,
In this dream, rationality became serendipity.
I turned to sleep – only to stay awake.
effaced Dec 2014
I have picked up this diary,
And I look inside.
So much has changed,
In so little time.
August to December,
So much to remember.
August to December,
So much has dismembered.
12/4/14
I was going through my diary and felt that i should write this,
Funny how in 11 days even more has dismembered.
Nature, nature, dear sleek, bland nature;
Thou art the very love I seek,
The very art when my soil's weak,
The lifeless grass that clearly speaks,

Nature, nature, my feverish, sweet bland pasture;
Look at but the greasy grass around thee,
And take a glimpse of the soul in me,
Console my tears through my poetry,

Nature, nature, the witness of joys and sorrows;
With thou gone, life matters no more,
All shalt be dead like ever before,
Dead before the sight of lonely hours,

Nature, nature, my sweet grand nature;
This idyll, like my undying past love,
More promising than the Unseen above,
A love and a hate, a tear and a smile,
Whose charms made me giggle for a while,

Nature, nature, canst but thou see the poet in me;
Buried deep down in my febrile sanctuary;
A silent place my love shan't ever know;
A delight only to me, and my wordless tomorrow.

Nature, nature, I am dying in my delirium;
Looks like I'm daydreaming again,
That the whole world is but a small poem,
That looms and grows over today's rain.

Nature, nature, but that's the daydreams of a poet;
That the world's skin is covered in soot,
And so is its arrogant roots,
That once severed and soaked my foot.

And so I hate it with all might;
Long for it to fly off my sight;
During the tremblings of the nights;
And the fury of our tight winds.

Oh nature, once my sweet old friend;
I hath lost my conscience again,
And thou, once handed to me a blanket,
Ah, that doth thou remembereth?

Nature, nature, my darling old candle;
Who awoke me with handfuls of sweet kisses;
But hath now died and is not smiling again;
A rival that was ostentatiously a friend.

Nature, nature, my ceremonious old light;
Thou shalt steal me at the end of the night;
There is a shade behind the fruits of yon twilight;
Thou shalt hide there, and astound me with fright.

Nature, nature, words and blandishments down the line;
This diabolical and conscious soul of mine,
I hath been lifted into a turbulent state,
Where all is unfair and against such fate.

Nature, nature, beyond thee I cannot see;
Beyond whose all seems brown and futile;
Despite their tremendous originality;
All is bland to such physical rigidity;

Nature, nature, ah, why all tranquil hath gone;
I travel in agony by myself alone,
I, a poet, in whose heart are scars,
From parting with my love's nuptial stars,

And on whose departure, nothing was to stay genial;
At whose goodbyes I couldst not stand cordial;
Him, whose laughter had been kind pleasantry,
And poetry, whom I'd wanted to wander here with me.

Nature, nature, in t'is whose bloodied sight I set off alone;
By my ears playing a deformed old song;
Into the world my poet's soul shan't ever be married;
To whose souls I'm just a myth, a wicked soul intoxicated;

Nature, nature, to whom I am just a pile of debris;
That be torn by one easy leap,
A breathless snap and clouded mutiny,
And none be left, of me and my poor poems.

Nature, nature, beyond these waning northern gales;
Still there is no more than the pale,
Perhaps our past is like those of untold tales,
Like that of Wayne, a dear from cold Wales.

Nature, nature, but I shall be back;
A ship journey's awaiting me by the red sack,
And I shan't be prone to their hatred,
I shan't be deterred, nor get hurt,

Nature, nature, these storms grow insolent outside;
Mocking my indolent soul and black hair;
Streaming down my warm yellow skin;
Surging up my generous pink spleen;

Nature, nature, and the suns shield me no more;
'Tis the cold and white that matter,
Not even an umbrella for my frost,
All of us here are shattered and lost,

Nature, nature, I am roaming like a foul ghost;
With all the dirt of humanity on my face,
And all their sins I hath vastly borne,
But they are gone, and I screech in cold, alone,

Ah, nature, and now that thou hath deleted me too;
Like a pianist rejected by his own songs,
Which he hath, and hath been doing for long,
With a violin that knows not what true fame looks like;

Nature, nature, it loves only those insincere;
Who are too hard and dark on their own hearts;
With congested hate loathed by calm scripture;
A music that they shan't notably dance.

Nature, nature, and listen to once more;
All is dark and I hath only thee have left,
I am suffered by t'is sleepless haze,
Entranced only by whose sightless grace,

But ah, if thou hath disgraced me too;
If to thee that no inspiration a poet canst give,
I may divorce thee and soon shall leave;
I shalt again embrace my long-lost oppositions;

For I shalt be hurt should thou disgrace me too;
Like a long corpse plainly dismembered,
Like a painting whose colours hath waned,
Like a spirit that hath fainted;

Like a touch of grey, bitter oblivion;
Like an angry pompous heart and vision;
Like a severely wounded wisdom;
Like a battered rainbow in its gloom;

And after dusk I shalt emerge again;
With a vain anger, as cruel as crystals;
Being reborn as an immortal star;
I shalt tear thee and thy hearts apart;

Ah, nature, and with the whole world too fishy and foul;
Where but I seek to find the poet of my soul,
And as all embrace turns to grow cold,
Whilst dawn is the hate of my enemy,

Nature, nature, and with a plain laughter so clear,
Still they speak of me with hate;
Like thou wert once unjust to me,
Unlike the very God I could see,

Nature, nature, once my friend nature;
Thou too loathe me for evermore,
For I must go, and calm my self alone,
Treat my ill by the summer's murdered song.
Staring at yourself
forgetting the clock went round.
standing, staring
dead faced with those lost eyes.
cringed soul.
mascara dripping down your lower lashes like streams of black ink.
leaning up against the sink.
when a girl cries its calligraphy.
her tears spell out the sadness bleeding out of her soul.
nobody cries with emptiness.
you're a rotting corpse
maggot infesting.
its emotional ******.
an empty skeletal.
dismembered.
discarded.
when nothing pains anymore.
nothing gives meaning anymore.
the mind wanders.
walking along a tight rope of death with the thoughts of losing balance.
sleeping but never waking sounds like joy to you.
life is still yet present.
you're still here.
stuck.
alone.
motivation ceases existence.
you want to *****
sun rays piercing through the window feel like needles in you eyes.
signs of optimism eat the insides of the soul like a disease.
that same routine.
tired of how pathetic it feels
that shattered slab of glass gets exhausted of that repetitive view.
the view of you.
you just want to be them.
the people outside your window.
the ones with the smiles.
the ones that have everything.
but when you can't even be happy with yourself.
how do you expect to be happy with
anything at all.


You can't.
This was written in reflection of myself. I was depressed for so long until I learned that I had to start accepting myself for who I am. The work comes from the source (myself) and then works outward.
harlee kae Sep 2014
When I no longer felt the need to live they told me there was a way;
they would cut up my body, sale all the pieces, and that way, I could stay..

They stuck me inside a crane machine,
my arms, my legs, my heart.
Fifty cents was all it took to win yourself a part.

My head it was the first to go, it went to a strange old man.
Who lived down in a basement, and had a secret plan.

My fingers they went next, to some little girls and boys.
The size of them was perfect for the children to use as toys.

The piece of me that went last, was the piece that belonged to you,
and when you walked by the crane machine you knew just what to do.

You put in your two quarters and you grasped the handle tight.
The claw wrapped gently around my heart and didn't give a fight.

You walked to your car, whistling, with my heart held in your hand.
Completely content, my soul was free, because you were my final plan.
Christine Ueri Jul 2016
(rough translation)*

debt
debt
debtor

tonight it howls
in tumbleweed tongues
beaten about and windblown
over a barren, over-there road
a dust-tongue stretches
licking skeletons
all the way to feet of the silver hills
that lie in the moon of the Little Karoo

debt
debt
debt in vein

Mother is a stranger
just standing there and sipping tea
in another woman’s blue kitchen

debt
debt
debt in her

all staring at the cracks
reflecting on the windowpane
the fragile earth’s
dismembered

but

the rain will come
my child
the rain will come
prophesy the rust-red clouds

all bellowing in the wind

Mother will stand
unequivocal
as untamed buffalo grass --
rooted and valid
Simple Static Oct 2013
Honey meets tongue,
Leaves taste buds stung and mouth melting
violently versing vows, Spilling out
fermented
Thoughts caught aloud
Dribbling down toward where they ought not
Time stopped us In a clockmaker shop
Cooking empty pots of dead doves in forgot sauce
Some day in december's When
Plans were dismembered
For the scent of Butter bubbling curiosity
Found horse hungry, So, suddenly he broke free
Trampling Predictable  logic.
chasing her tail to town
When, I, sir pain, thought id taught again, then again
the art of invading castles,
Without being found.
Trolling, rolling through The inner out of bounds
A shoeless, shoreless yet Very sure way To get around
None catching on of course Till swordsman number four
Split with silver This world on wheels we made
With a crash
left some
Birthday suit vision
Standing
stunned
stupid
Abashed with a gun to the  mirror
Which crying, stammered:
If you let them dear,
Just let them,
They will Listen,
To your  chime, chiming Bells inside,
Rhyming you dread hearing songs from"
Said defense:
"Who wants to play each blow to the heart
With lawless abandon to The head?"
"letting harsh  light burn holes and leave marks wherever they feel"
Don't think so Solomon!"
Vision laughs,
reflection kneels,
Hands praying
And In the periphery, as a way to break scene here
we see the mailman Crying tears on a map
Who once watched little Ms steel-sturdy
put on her full act.
Wood chips flew thenmsky went black
Pupils dilate to her shell-shocked state Of Before,
before hell bent on Withholding,
before Taking hostage of clowns who are all ******* with
Lilith, the queen
The state that led our wayward siren to begin driving round  
in Some man-made beast
She calls Ed.
love me Dec 2014
i havent written in weeks
normally that means i am too dismembered to even think
but this time it's different
this time is because i have nothing left to write
because i am happy
things are looking up
writing for me at least
is for the lows
the loyal friend that helps through the pain
so my friend
you'll hear from me when things get bad
so my friend
you'll hear from me soon

xoxo
Brandon Sep 2011
(insert generic death metal song title here one)

Human blood bath
Soak in ******* and human waste
Got a taste for the diseased human race
Acid melting face
Drink from the spewing flesh
Gurgle and gargle to the dying beat
Of a victims last gulp of tarnished breath

(insert generic death metal song title here two)

Skull cracked and bleeding
Blood **** filled wounds seeping
Immaculate Christ unjaded
Aborted abortion
Born and bathed in afterbirth
Blown and constipated in foreign ***** matter
Torn from arms of zombie flesh
Decaying in the hot summer sun
Baked in the hot summer sun

(insert generic death metal song title here three)

Trash my intended victim with nothing better to do
Than torture **** **** and torture some more
Death does not last in the flesh
Emancipated from life
Just a breath away from dying
Hang on to the threads of the noose
Strangulating the frustrating last gasp of air
Torture **** **** and torture some more
Out of boredom and out of time
Boredom kills
You better watch out
I’m coming for you

(insert generic death metal song title here four)

Hollow eye sockets
Wretched
Reeking
Filthy ****
Plastered on crimson caked hands
****** dirt beneath the fingernails
Scratches scraped in the walls
From bodies dragged thru the hall
Down the stairs to the killing room
Meat hook art show of disembodied
And disemboweled corpses
Dismembered in some horrorshow freakshow
Bowl of human remains cooked on the stove
For this years All-You-Can-Eat chili fest
Lick savory lips with salted tongue
Hunger pains from cannibalistic urges
The brain tastes best when paired with a good wine
Eat, drink, and be merry
Tomorrow you’re on the menu
Alexis Dec 2014
Kind,
Shy, funny man,
Did the best that he can,
To raise me to be what I am,
Beautiful baby girl,
Smiling every second,
What everyone wants in the world
Years pass,
Daddy always there,
Doing the best he can,
Raising me to be the way I am
Beautiful baby girl,
A baby no more,
Middle school,
Troubled;
Diminished smile,
Daddy where are you?
No reply
Daddy's soul has left his eyes
No more doing what he can to raise me how I am,
Doing what he can,
To stop the voices in his head
Searching for cameras,
In the walls,
Paranoia controls his all,
Delusions
President,
Police,
Mom,
Everyone out to get him,
Stumbling upon his daughters sketchbook,
Sketch unfinished;
Headless body
Voices,
Convincing to be dismembered,
Out to get him;
Dismember him,
Paranoia growing,
Irritability as well,
Mommy a victim,
Strangled, breathless,
By a body with no soul
Life flashes amongst her eyes,
Children being married,
Awakes,
Escapes,
Daddy's alone,
In a mental home
Not for long,
Returns with medicine to fix the harm
Daddy?
Void of soul replaced
Stability,
Daddy regained,
Medicine disposed,
Voices grow,
They're going to **** me,
The 9th,
Facing doom,
Departure to a highway overpass,
Aimlessly walking,
The edge
Concerned bystandards,
Authorities called,
Shouting,
Scared,
No way out,
A fall,
A crash,
Daddy,
Is dead.
The story of the loss of my father from schizophrenia and suicide. I'm hoping to raise awareness to mental illness, if you or anyone you know is struggling with mental illness please be there for them, & pursue them to seek treatment. I would hate for the heartbreak of another beautiful life to be reaped from such crippling illness.
The human soul, as vile as bile,
Savage Cruel disturbed infected and distort,
The human soul, obsessed with foul style,
Sinful confused mishandled and extort

Devoid of ethical human feelings,
Inflicted with raw sadistic hatred,
Grotesque depraved dismembered killings,
Ungodly occultism, unsacred

Sickness requires resolute treatment,
Stitches to repair ripped incisions,
Reducing the risk of dismemberment,
Catastrophe fractured by excision

Ceased decaying crippled in dreadful despair
Emerging from darkness, disturbed and aware.


William James
Shaine Fraz Sep 2013
I couldn't figure why she left
so I killed her

killed the memories cut feelings-- severed;
Dismembered in these compositions, decomposition
skeleton's wish the fishes
she was swimming I could her listen,

how her waves are getting colder
silent as the ink turns to water.

drown in my notebook
choke like my love did,
no trace missing person drown in my hatred

drown you are baptized, opposite, soulless,
drown you just capsized, titanic,
roses
decapitate her DiCaprio
even playing all the roles I only get one Oscar?

you left me all alone babe,
so I safely took the safety off
like you,
safely made my core soft sole cause of secrets sore cause I keep them

no

I won't die with you Juliet,
slaughtered by a ball point to you I will be Shakespeare

and lately,
it mattered how I showered you with care
maybe
but it mattered how I showered you I swear
you left me you tempt me this weapon my intent
my motive, now I indent-- rarely but clearly this death will be punctual
Capital
punishment to you in my college ruled,
my hands electric

black attire
funeral-- my ivory dinner jacket,
remember you said it's a crime to fall in love
and I plead guilt to your probable cause

now the pigs wouldn't find her
not in mud,
not in dirt,
I'm on drugs,
not on earth,
still in love,

she,
vanished
the reality set in, even though you left I'd marry the poem that I killed you in--
I'd marry the words you left me with.
© 2013 by S Fraz All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without prior written permission of S Fraz
Mark Williams May 2013
An old year was fading; and, as the time drew near
To celebrate the passing of a thousand years,
The world grew thoughtful; and the governments decreed
A festival of love for the devout and the sincere,

In which no thought, and no expense, indeed,
Be spared on marking so momentous an occasion;
And nothing was required in the matter of persuasion,
For, to these plans, the people readily agreed.

* * * * * * * * * *

A great enthusiasm fired the multitude,
And wealth was lavished freely for that day of days.
Brass coin converted into banners and bouquets;
On cloth and candle, showers of silver spent;

Vast sums of gold discharged on fireworks and food,
And greater sums discharged on wine for all.
Music and verse set down, bright blooms arrayed,
Felicitations forwarded, and invitations sent.

And later, as that sacred eve began to fall,
Loved one met with loved one, as had been arranged;
Greetings and platitudes and kisses were exchanged,
The wine flowed, and the people were content.

* * * * * * * * * *

As midnight fell, the towns and cities roared
In testimony of their faith and love.
Church bells rang joyously, and rockets soared
To vie in transient splendour with the stars above.
And many a heartfelt prayer to heaven was raised;
‘Allah is merciful!’, the people cried.
‘Love is to all of us!’, ‘The Lord be praised!’,
But then; ‘One nation under God!’, they lied.

* * * * * * * * * *

For, beyond those charmed circles of love and light
Were others, huddled miserably in outland places.
The outcast, the untouchable, the dispossessed;
The starving and pitiful, who turned their faces
Toward the joy of those whom God had blessed.

They saw the fireworks illuminate the night,
And blaze a cruel message of betrayal across the sky.
A tale of blind hypocrisy and thoughtlessness;
Of fortunes squandered in the blinking of an eye.
The distant bells chimed faintly as the rockets flew;
The poor looked on, and some died, even as they stared.
And, as life dimmed and mercy came to them, they knew
The true extent to which their brothers cared...

* * * * * * * * * *

A new year was blooming; and, as night turned to day,
The world turned heedless on its outworn way;
In dawn’s first brightness, the first shell screamed
A song of hate to those who dwelt in Palestine.

Bodies were dismembered, and blood flowed like wine;
The dead were known only by the clothes they wore.
And those who dreamed of peace a little time before
Awoke, and realised that they had but dreamed.

And soon, they saw the sight of refugees in flood;
Screaming for mercy as the bombs rained down.
While, over many a shattered city and a town,
Aurora’s hands adorned the sky with blood.

The world caught fire, and the streets ran red;
Hell visited on earth as nation fought with nation.
And all, by way of fervent oath and imprecation
Called out on the Almighty to avenge their dead.

Ah brothers! There would be no answer to your call;
For, in seeing the crimes committed in their name,
The Lords of Heaven but bowed their heads in shame;
A thousand years had passed, and nothing changed at all.
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.



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



This poem has over 600 results for the eleventh line:

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 anthology is to teach students about human rights through poetry. Here is a bit of background information: Words That Burn is an online poetry anthology and human rights educational resource for students and teachers created by Amnesty International in partnership with The Poetry Hour. Amnesty International is the world’s largest human rights organization, with seven million supporters. This new webpage has been designed to "enable young people to explore human rights through poetry whilst developing their voice and skills as poets." This exemplary resource was inspired by the poetry anthology Words that Burn, curated by Josephine Hart of The Poetry Hour, which in turn was inspired by Thomas Gray's observation that "Poetry is thoughts that breathe and words that burn."



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!



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.



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
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.



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.



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
Destiny is the dismembered head in that box in your hands

It could be ******
Smelling like a broken home and a shiny briefcase
It could be rotting
Like the stomach of the starving child climbing into the van

Or it could as old and dry
As the grass after winter under feet that have only known glass and shouting
Features still intact
A beagle playing with a stick
As his twin in recent memories gnaws on a stick of a starving leg

Close your eyes
Hold your breath
And once your heart is leaping out of your parched throat
Open the lid

Destiny is the dismembered head in that box in your hands
Mateuš Conrad Nov 2017
no number of opinions will alleviate this apathy, promised, paradoxically: a pandora's box of pathology, which is why attempting dialectics is a farce, a cheap magic trick for a talk-show host in being "understanding", to attempt in mediating, and then scoffing it off, like some under baked crumpet / scone, and yes, it makes sense, pivoting on the possession of a conscience... it's not that some people appear to now possess it, but that they are comical in possessing, and comedy is always nuanced, an ambiguity surrounds their conscience... the binary opposite of comedy? the birth of the tragedy, a succumbing to madness, a suicide... every person possesses a conscience, as the universal law of unit, but comedy hides a person with a grieving conscience, making the person so callus as to make them donkeys, laughing stocks, spaghetti entangled liars... it's only a conscience triggered into a tragedy that reeks with redemptive qualities ascribed to a person, cf. the already mentioned carl sergeant and 'arvey 'ard on weinstein... in the spirit of the film split: rejoice! for those who have suffered are redeemed! rejoice! said the beast. the comedy is near impossible to avoid in post-script idiocy beaming the letters FAIL; the tragedy of conscience, at least we know some evil doers in death are redeemed with the only puritanical act to redeem conscience: the bride of honour.*

can an intelligent person make a slapstick
joke?
  or is it that,
   a dumb person cannot make an original
joke?

besides the point,
  a question is a question -
  and as most questions go -
it's not whether there's a correct
or wrong answer,
rather, whether there actually is
an answer to accomplish
that stated question.

i've noticed a resurgence of dialectical
inquiry, but i have decided to
avoid perfecting the art,
   other than in person,
on a park bench, rather than on
a page in pixel white...

  oh sure, i have a life beyond this
outlet,
and i rarely write a platonic dialogue
to reinforce my experiences,
i once enforced a question
upon a child in a supermarket:
do you think animals are unable
to see 3-dimensional objects
     in / on a 2-dimensional canvas?
he didn't answer, because his guardian
thought i was weird in my
presumption...
which was, however you imagine it:
casual, cordial, orientated
within the adequate use of time and space
for the question to be asked.

personally i find myself if a binary
realm of,
   which isn't exactly a left right divide -
as a "schizophrenic" i am marching
down the middle, and asking myself:
   there's only the middle to mind,
and the mind is the only thing worth
juggling, sure, but juggling
a thesis hemisphere and an antithesis
hemisphere becomes lost in
the schizophrenic-quadratic -
      right down the middle.

which is why i find modern attempts
at dialectics so odd...
i prescribed myself dialectical escapism,
simply because there are too
many opinions i'm simply not interested in.

people seem to have stored these opinions
for so long, they are choking at not
having talked about them...
  it's apparent in comedy...
among comics...
                    they simply say:
if we can't bypass the comedy and sit down
with a cold beer, we can't actually
take the opinion seriously,
  if we can't, at first, make a joke of it...
that's hard...
              that's near impossible to stage...
you can realise the complexity of
enabling a seriousness with a comic precursor
antics to "soften" the blow of
approach...
that is why i await the awaited for
dialectical artist, who must be much
older than i, frankly the age of socrates,
i can only fathom dialectical escapism,
    in that i can fathom an opinion,
but i can't fathom being endearing to it,
keeping it, nurturing it,
       maturing it,
                     making the animate
water into inanimate ice...
                       which leaves steam
   a categorical conundrum of categorisation...

in terms of the human mind,
i can only find comparison with Alcatraz...
i am forever attempting escape,
i know i will be aided by the snitch,
judas, death...
     but i have to be lodged into
a vocab that may aid me,
  or hinder me.

                   the human experience is
an Alcatraz because of the a priori principle -
what came before me: set the rules,
the winding corridors where
i'm not the Minotaur,
but the scared victim,
   or just the dumb-enough brick of
the labyrinth's wall.
or? the a posteriori principle -
           i impose my own graffiti on
the walls, and be the Minotaur of the long
wait of life, with death:
my morphine angel.
                              
         but i see no desire to engage in
dialectical endeavours,
            hence my choice in attempting
a purification of poetry,
against technique of schooling,
  in making poetry less and less
musically orientated, and returned to
its primordial genesis: of narrative.

  hence my dialectical escapism,
i really have not stable opinion,
or opinion i'd like to adhere to, to subsequently
hug a pillar of a Parthenon.
                
- believe me when i say that the english
language has no inclination of
orthography, since it uses no diacritical
distinctions...
  and yes... russian diacritics is ugly as
your waning babushka of "secrets"...
  - the beauty of existentialism?
            avoidance of the thesaurus,
mismatching words, ambiguity -
the phraseology of: for lack of a better word...
     fiddly parts, you know,
            **** it, you can't exactly
interrupt a waterfall, so why bother
   attempting to boil some water in a saucepan?

  the world once believed in the enterprise
of dialectics, but since the emergence
of a third party mediator,
       what sort of "dialogue's" worth of
the dialectical endeavour is there left?
once upon a time, in ancient,
the mediator of a dialogue was a park
bench, after that a stage for actors...
who asked these third party ponces,
  more to the point: who invited these
plebs into our private debate so they can
mere awe and sigh their saturday nights off?!
who the **** let these plebs in?!

       i'm a pleb, i can call them plebs,
do i ******* look like i work at 10 downing st.?!
plebs only understand pleb talk,
  rude, incoherent, mildly orientated
in journalism, and ever wishing for some
marquis de sade hard-ons.

i encourage dialectical escapism, frankly,
because,
          i 've found that i have a bare
minimum, laurel leaf worth of covering my
genitals aspiration to keep opinions...
    opinions have become spare change,
you loose them almost all the time,
they're the pennies from heaven,
some other lucky ****** might find them,
and then the resourcefulness of that poor
****** is imminent: spend it,
what's there to debate?

                    the only truth of opinion is
that one man keeps them,
and by keeping them, idealises them,
thus becoming an idealist,
  or that another man discards them
as easily as a ***** peacock,
and by doing the ***** peacock strut,
discarding them,
          becomes a chameleon,
a "non-conformist" (**** me that's
stretching the idealist antonym);
  
   if there's a truth: it's a bunch of lies -
and if there's a lie: it's the only truth -
because the rule of pluralism (borrowed from
heidegger states):

          one truth = many lies
           one lie = only one truth

(there is no pluralism of a truth,
       but there is a pluralism of a lie -
the genesis of a lie is?
             a continuum beginning
with the original temptation -
truth is "plural" but it is not
a continuum of precipitation,
but even if it is dismembered
it is a whole, already apparent,
           or rather: to be made apparent,
it does not require a preceding step
to provide a pro-ceding step...
   lies are obstructive,
truth never obstructs; truth rapes,
while lies groom)...

   unum verum = falsum multis
   falsum unum = solum verum unum selem.
Shroombloomer Nov 2013
Increase The Pace (Side A)

Rhythmic pulsations invade comatose receptors
Lingering in the thick summer smog
The onset of tribulation commences-
Increase the pace.

Reverb ripples through
Hot wet lungs,
Love and Hate
The beats resonate...

Scared vinyl skips:
Repeating visions of angst,
Violent red chords
Rolling off shredded steel strings,
Acting as mania’s fingers…

Feet trapped in rebel rubber soles
Draw on littered concrete floors
Lonely like before
Noble souls abandoned this
Scene of raunchy rust,
gravity grabbing
as our wrists touch.

Increase The Pace (Side B)

Rush to Eden-
Greeted by harsh halogen
Bleach, eating out your sinuses,
water swirls as it slithers
round the basin
heavy door mutes the static,
holding back waves of thick smoke.
Blood shot eyes soothed
By branded potions,
Clarity cleanses
Dismembered demons

Crazed revelations infect the night no more
Forced silence seeps into aching eardrums
Breath forced from lungs
Adolescent epiphanies
Swirls down the drain,
Flying around chrome chains
Dust worn as protection
Drips into the sewers,
Flushed away
Forced silence reigns true
Voice of the bass-line
Forgotten anew.
When I met you, I never intended on dancing for so long.  Every year I’d think, “this is the last time I’ll ever see him”.  And I would get all weepy and teary-eyed as we sent the boats out for the last time, partially dismembered and covered in old, ***** tarp.  But sometimes, I swear, I swear, I’d feel some warped sense of

Relief.

Like I could finally send all my lust and desires off with you to another tomorrow, where I would not be.  Every year was your last year.  And every year I’d say, “this is the last time I’m ever gonna see you” and you’d say “don’t be ridiculous, we’re gonna see each other again.” And I, “How can you ever know for sure?” And you, “I just got a feeling”.  Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly like that, it was much more poetic.  You’re much more poetic.  And I’d melt like play-doh in the sun when you’d look at me lazily with those sky, sky blue eyes. And wither at the thought of you leaving me forever, my sunshine warming my skin to reach and grow.

But then like the tide, you would always return.

And then it was back to those hot, hot summer days, sweating ***** and drug cocktails out of every pore imaginable.  And in this state, being expected to attend to all the ridiculous tourists looking for a boat ride around the Public Garden. Yeah, can’t say pedaling a two-ton boat full of gossipy annoying foreigners is easy.  But the work pays for my play, so it’s back to the old wooden dock once more.  To your irritable character staining the dock Fridays through Sundays, as if your unbearable hangovers were my fault somehow.  Bloodshot eyes behind those ridiculous J-Lo-esque bright green sunglasses you insisted on wearing.  That is, until they broke and fell into the swampy glittering water.  Which started another screaming match between us, ending in me pouring disgusting pond water into your open, snoring mouth.  Yeah, it was mean, but someone had to let you know that you were being an *******.  You threatened to throw me off the dock, you even pretended to try.  But when you wrapped your cinnamon arms around me, the last thing I had on my mind was fear.  

I can’t even count on my fingers and toes the number of fights we’ve had, the times I’ve made you desperately rip at your thick blonde hair to try and quench the fire I started deep in your belly.  The times you’ve called me weak and naïve, stupid, childlike, to which I’d say you looked like an angry leprechaun.  That one always hit you the hardest.  But when we’d be up in each others’ faces bellowing and screaming, the energy passing between us was of such crushing force I could almost feel myself being ripped toward you, like a magnet to metal.  I could feel myself becoming a part of you, or you a part of me, whether I liked it or not.  

Between the fights and the hangovers and the thick ****** tension hanging in the air like smog, there were the “good days”.  The Mondays, the Wednesdays, when the only thing tainting the air was the rich conversation shared between us.  Some days we would talk for hours on end, about anything that crossed our minds.  “What’s your favorite color?”, “You don’t really believe in the end of the world, do you?” and “How do you say ******* in Italian?”.  You’d laugh at my silliness and I would bask in your happiness, drink it in like sweet nectar from a flower covered in thorns.  And then your happiness would transform into my happiness, and I would skip all the way home singing.  And so continues this delicate dance we began so long ago.

Three years.

Three years.   The difference between you and I, and time past.  Time I’ve spent watching you so carefully as you strut down the dock, muscles contracting and relaxing in rhythm with each deliberate step.  I watch devoutly for the white of your teeth to greet the sun shining so brightly in the sky blue sky.  Sky blue eyes.  All mine, sometimes.  This time.  In my mind I am forever living in the moments we spent entwined together on the forest green bench at the end of the dock, soaking in the sunrays in a content exhaustion.  I am living with your arms around me, you teasing my hair with tired fingertips.  At night I can still see you swerving down Commonwealth Ave and nearly knocking me over with your drunken embrace, then simply placing your arm around my waist.  It fit so well on the small of my back.  The days when you would loop your arm through mine as we finally got out of work and we’d practically run out of the place, as if we were chasing the remaining day through downtown Boston.  I always, always go back to the times you’d put your face so close to mine, as if we were living on a single breath between us.  But I’d blush and shy away, embarrassed, ashamed for feeling anything at all.  

These days, I find it hard to decipher what is me and what is you.  It’s as if we have been dancing around each other for so long we have morphed into one body, moving and mesmerizing.  Our time together is coming to an end, and minutes that once ticked by so slowly race through my fingertips, sand falling through the hourglass in an endless stream.  Days fall off the calendar effortlessly in a final solemn countdown to graduation day.  Every morning is one more morning without you, another moment wasted with you so far away.  Every night is one more night swimming in my loneliness, choking on words I wish so badly to throw at you, so you can finally carry the crushing weight drowning me.  Soon I will go looking to dive into the pools of your eyes and you will not be there.  I know the day I walk on the dock alone is coming, too quickly.  And to rip apart from you now might destroy me.

So time continues, and I continue. To watch, to wait, to covet.  Three years and I’m still hanging on to nothing.  When will you leave me and never come back?
Space Apr 2013
3-14-13

I felt my skin
Running through the spaces that I call between
And I listened in, from the places where I had been
I wrote down, the lyrics that came between
And I powered through, until a drop rang out
I noticed it was raining bullets, but I guess you can't always get what you want
Out from under the awning, I stuck my young, wrinkled arms out in the autumn
Eyes flew back as if the rope used to tie them down was chewed down to a nibble by some rats
I guess, you can never be too sure
My wrinkle was gone, almost based on the book
But it only shared a fragment of the sentence I was trying to reach in for
My hand was dismembered, vacant to a normal eye
But I knew what it had been through
Twisting crevices from blood spray and broken legs
Scarred underarms all the way up to penetrating collarbones
****** up thoughts teleporting away
Desensitization is something that is meant for prey
A coping with death, and a dealing with where you're at
In a tumbling food chain
I bring my imaginary hand back to my body
The bullet spray from outside the awning misted me really well
Maybe the rain is sexist or racist
Because I can see that the usher over there is untouched by the led
His arm wasn't turned into memories of all the things that he had accomplished with that hand
Not like a food for thought
Because all the food is meat
And that meat is diced to perfection
Diced to chance, a robust dance of sparking and harming
No weatherman can ask for so much misery to rain on that one guy
He couldn't sew up the stitches
Because there's nothing left
It's all on the sidewalk and the sides of the sidewalk
The under belly of the concrete I step on
Stepped on
I won't use the paths of limbs anymore
Because ya know what is really on the underside of a sidewalk?


A side of a place to sit, boiling in a melting ***
Grounded fine herbs make the best tea, a little piece of you
A little piece of me
You stir them together regardless of bullets, limbs, legs, amphetamines
Even race
Good old race
And ******* ***
...
Like, as in gender
Even though the bend of her back compliments the questions I feed her
Breaking down, she delves into her own habits, a glimpse at trying to save her
Maybe later
It might all be gone, or she might be hiding it on her tongue to savor
But I'm not the kind to wait on this conveyor belt.
So, just maybe, there's no cliche breakup
Or getting back at each other for how we treated ourselves
I just get my arm back. Instead of this red dangling flesh
Stanley Wilkin Oct 2016
1
The sun was maliciously hot that day in June.
The heat swelled his dusty wounds
Still raw from crawling-
He circumvented the Taliban
Dragging his rifle through the grass:

Who’s the soldier now my son,
Who is carrying a gun?
Don’t be afraid, the war has just begun.
Go out there and have fun!


From where the river ran
Closer to the camp the insurgents crawled
Lugging their layered forms over rock in the gristle-dry
Moon-dry landscape,
****** on by goats.

The sun’s grinding rays
Scraped his eyes like brillo-pads
Week-old grease.
Pulling his hat down, he settled behind the tumbledown scree.
He adjusted the sights.
Across his outstretched legs lizards scurried.

The mortars fell like hiccups exploding from the gut.
The mortars tore up bodies throwing them before the wind.
The mortars cried burrowing through the air.

Who’s the soldier now my son,
Who has a gun?
**** beneath the leering sun-
Get out there and have some fun.


Darkness before midday-
Of mind and intent.
The mountains hold their own soulless
Secrets that only religion can shape-
The soldier who murders for religion
Is crueller than the soldier who murders for money.

He knew who to ****.
Not why. He knew *******
Not the reasons for refusing!
He slowly, quietly, pulled the trigger,
The bullet burst out whining across the crumbling landscape, its course pre-ordained, its end
As complete as death. Death was its end
In a soft cry of expiration.

No heaven met, no god examined, no concluding prayer, no final evaluation, no joy, no experience!
A dead man in the dust!
A dead man-dust to dust!

By dinner Dave had reached the camp again
Without much trouble.
He’d been spotted once by a woman washing clothes in a mountain stream, her eyes fixed upon him
For a moment, full of contempt.

A gun, my son, a gun
Have some fun,
With the gun, my son, the gun.
Pop, pop. Yet another gone!


“Got him with one shot. Well done,
Old son. Got him with a single shot.”
The colonel was full of praise. Downing a *****, he
Picked at the pineapple cube on his dish,
And crushed it between his busy fingers.
An intelligent man, but a soldier too,
A poet at times whose words clawed at his memories, paying pale homage.

“You are a marvel, young man.
Four this week. Well done.”
The overhead fan twirled noisily,
Clashing with his redundant pride,
Giving meaning to a pointless war
In a torrid land full of becalmed ideas and underlying prayer.

“I’ll write a commendation for you,
Young man. You deserve it.”
The colonel continued, basking on olives.
“Your skill with the gun
Is astonishing. You deal death like
Other’s write poems. You destroy
With a well-balanced phrase. There is beauty
In your honed and natural talent.”

Others slapped his back as he passed
Beaming with approval, lavish with praise,
Expressive with congratulation. At that point,
In that shell-tight room, he felt himself a hero
An Achilles, an Odysseus, a haunted Vietnam veteran.

When the wind broke, rivers sidled up the canyon walls
Immersed in the valley. The sun glowered
Scorching lungs.
  2.    
Scattered around the shattered jeeps
Expelled their contents-
Broken and dismembered.
Triggered mines exploded one by one
In hellish sequence,
Flames of cooked air
Tearing wantonly into flesh.
His rifle lay embedded in his hand.

Time, my son, time for fun
So pick up your gun
Pick up your gun and run
Time for fun!


The colonel wrote sadly
Of an incident sparing all ugly details,
Of those who died that day
In a minute of ****** confusion.
He spared the ugly details
Vividly describing heroic deaths in the wadi
Of men he’d known well.

The Officer’s Mess was silent-
No jokes were cracked, no backs,
Slapped, no congratulations expressed.
In contemplation the soldiers read, studied form, thought about their families,
Trying, even in solitude, not to die.
Outside the camp walls, demolished by the heat,
Caricatured by flies,
The child’s motionless body lay
The child dispatched by a ******’s clean bullet, slumbering
In the dirt.

*Leave the gun, my son, leave the gun,
You’ve had your fun!
Leave the gun, my son, leave the gun
Your short life’s work is done!

— The End —