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The Good Pussy Feb 2015
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                                  ****
                        ­    **** **** fu
                          **** **** ****
        fly               **** **** fu               fly
     flying            ck **** ****            flying
    flying fly       **** **** fu       fly flying
   flying flying  ck **** ****   flying flying
     flying ****   **** **** fu   flying  ****
          flying       ck **** ****     flying
                            **** **** fu  
                            ck **** ****  
                            **** **** fu
                            ck **** ****
                            **** **** fu
                    **** ****        **** ****
                **** **** ****  **** **** ****
             **** **** **** fu ck **** **** fu
              **** **** ****    **** **** ****
                  **** ****             **** ****
It's  a bird,  it's  a plane  - no, it's  a ****!
Geno Cattouse Nov 2012
Grandma made plantain fu-fu
On the fire hearth.
A big iron skillet of hot coconut oil.
Her hands were gnarled and knobby. But.
Oh they knew the way.

Mashed green bananas and special. Salt season.
Dropped lightly . In fried to gold.

Out and rolled with a green glass bottle then.
Deep fry again.

Hot plantain fu-fu.
In coconut oil.
Hello Africa.
Kenya.
Nigeria.

Sweet and nice.
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
What Works
by Michael R. Burch

for David Gosselin

What works—
hewn stone;
the blush the iris shows the sun;
the lilac’s pale-remembered bloom.

The frenzied fly: mad-lively, gay,
as seconds tick his time away,
his sentence—one brief day in May,
a period. And then decay.

A frenzied rhyme’s mad tip-toed time,
a ballad’s languid as the sea,
seek, striving—immortality.

When gloss peels off, what works will shine.
When polish fades, what works will gleam.
When intellectual prattle pales,
the dying buzzing in the hive
of tedious incessant bees,
what works will soar and wheel and dive
and milk all honey, leap and thrive,

and teach the pallid poem to seethe.



Smoke
by Michael R. Burch

The hazy, smoke-filled skies of summer I remember well;
farewell was on my mind, and the thoughts that I can't tell
rang bells within (the din was in) my mind, and I can't say
if what we had was good or bad, or where it is today ...
The endless days of summer's haze I still recall today;
she spoke and smoky skies stood still as summer slipped away ...
We loved and life we left alone and deftly was it done;
we sang our song all summer long beneath the sultry sun.

I wrote this poem as a boy, after seeing an ad for the movie "Summer of ’42," which starred the lovely Jennifer O’Neill and a young male actor who might have been my nebbish twin. I didn’t see the R-rated movie at the time: too young, according to my parents! But something about the ad touched me; even thinking about it today makes me feel sad and a bit out of sorts. The movie came out in 1971, so the poem was probably written around 1971-1972. In any case, the poem was published in my high school literary journal, The Lantern, in 1976. The poem is “rhyme rich” with eleven rhymes in the first four lines: well, farewell, tell, bells, within, din, in, say, today, had, bad. The last two lines appear in brackets because they were part of the original poem but I later chose to publish just the first six lines. I didn’t see the full movie until 2001, around age 43, after which I addressed two poems to my twin, Hermie …



Listen, Hermie
by Michael R. Burch

Listen, Hermie . . .
you can hear the strangled roar
of water inundating that lost shore . . .

and you can see how white she shone

that distant night, before
you blinked
and she was gone . . .

But is she ever really gone from you . . . or are
her lips the sweeter since you kissed them once:
her waist wasp-thin beneath your hands always,
her stockinged shoeless feet for that one dance
still whispering their rustling nylon trope
of―“Love me. Love me. Love me. Give me hope
that love exists beyond these dunes, these stars.”

How white her prim brassiere, her waist-high briefs;
how lustrous her white slip. And as you danced―
how white her eyes, her skin, her eager teeth.
She reached, but not for *** . . . for more . . . for you . . .
You cannot quite explain, but what is true
is true despite our fumblings in the dark.

Hold tight. Hold tight. The years that fall away
still make us what we are. If love exists,
we find it in ourselves, grown wan and gray,
within a weathered hand, a wrinkled cheek.

She cannot touch you now, but I would reach
across the years to touch that chord in you
which still reverberates, and play it true.



Tell me, Hermie
by  Michael R. Burch

Tell me, Hermie ― when you saw
her white brassiere crash to the floor
as she stepped from her waist-high briefs
into your arms, and mutual griefs ―
did you feel such fathomless awe
as mystics do, in artists’ reliefs?

How is it that dark night remains
forever with us ― present still ―
despite her absence and the pains
of dreams relived without the thrill
of any ecstasy but this ―
one brief, eternal, transient kiss?

She was an angel; you helped us see
the beauty of love’s iniquity.



Fountainhead
by Michael R. Burch

I did not delight in love so much
as in a kiss like linnets' wings,
the flutterings of a pulse so soft
the heart remembers, as it sings:
to bathe there was its transport, brushed
by marble lips, or porcelain,—
one liquid kiss, one cool outburst
from pale rosettes. What did it mean ...
to float awhirl on minute tides
within the compass of your eyes,
to feel your alabaster bust
grow cold within? Ecstatic sighs
seem hisses now; your eyes, serene,
reflect the sun's pale tourmaline.

Published by Romantics Quarterly, Poetica Victorian, Nutty Stories (South Africa)



I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

I pray tonight
the starry light
might
surround you.

I pray
each 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.



A Possible Argument for Mercy
by Michael R. Burch

Did heaven ever seem so far?
Remember-we are as You were,
but all our lives, from birth to death―
Gethsemane in every breath.



Gethsemane in Every Breath
by Michael R. Burch

LORD, we have lost our way, and now
we have mislaid love―earth's fairest rose.
We forgot hope's song―the way it goes.
Help us reclaim their gifts, somehow.

LORD, we have wondered long and far
in search of Bethlehem's retrograde star.
Now in night's dead cold grasp, we gasp:
our lives one long-drawn rattling rasp

of misspent breath... before we drown.
LORD, help us through this spiral down
because we faint, and do not see
above or beyond despair's trajectory.

Remember that You, too, once held
imperiled life within your hands
as hope withdrew... that where You knelt
―a stranger in a stranger land―

the chalice glinted cold afar
and red with blood as hellfire.
Did heaven ever seem so far?
Remember―we are as You were,

but all our lives, from birth to death―
Gethsemane in every breath.



Just Smile
by Michael R. Burch

We’d like to think some angel smiling down
will watch him as his arm bleeds in the yard,
ripped off by dogs, will guide his tipsy steps,
his doddering progress through the scarlet house
to tell his mommy "boo-boo!," only two.

We’d like to think his reconstructed face
will be as good as new, will often smile,
that baseball’s just as fun with just one arm,
that God is always Just, that girls will smile,
not frown down at his thousand livid scars,
that Life is always Just, that Love is Just.

We do not want to hear that he will shave
at six, to raze the leg hairs from his cheeks,
that lips aren’t easily fashioned, that his smile’s
lopsided, oafish, snaggle-toothed, that each
new operation costs a billion tears,
when tears are out of fashion.
O, beseech
some poet with more skill with words than tears
to find some happy ending, to believe
that God is Just, that Love is Just, that these
are Parables we live, Life’s Mysteries ...

Or look inside his courage, as he ties
his shoelaces one-handed, as he throws
no-hitters on the first-place team, and goes
on dates, looks in the mirror undeceived
and smiling says, "It’s me I see. Just me."

He smiles, if life is Just, or lacking cures.
Your pity is the worst cut he endures.

Originally published by Lucid Rhythms



Aflutter
by Michael R. Burch

This rainbow is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh.—Yahweh

You are gentle now, and in your failing hour
how like the child you were, you seem again,
and smile as sadly as the girl (age ten?)
who held the sparrow with the mangled wing
close to her heart. It marveled at your power
but would not mend. And so the world renews
old vows it seemed to make: false promises
spring whispers, as if nothing perishes
that does not resurrect to wilder hues
like rainbows’ eerie pacts we apprehend
but cannot fail to keep. Now in your eyes
I see the end of life that only dies
and does not care for bright, translucent lies.
Are tears so precious? These few, let us spend
together, as before, then lay to rest
these sparrows’ hearts aflutter at each breast.



Gallant Knight
by Michael R. Burch

for Alfred Dorn and Anita Dorn

Till you rest with your beautiful Anita,
rouse yourself, Poet; rouse and write.
The world is not ready for your departure,
Gallant Knight.

Teach us to sing in the ringing cathedrals
of your Verse, as you outduel the Night.
Give us new eyes to see Love's bright Vision
robed in Light.

Teach us to pray, that the true Word may conquer,
that the slaves may be freed, the blind have Sight.
Write the word LOVE with a burning finger.
I shall recite.

O, bless us again with your chivalrous pen,
Gallant Knight!

It was my honor to have been able to publish the poetry of Dr. Alfred Dorn and his wife Anita Dorn.



To Have Loved
by Michael R. Burch

"The face that launched a thousand ships ..."

Helen, bright accompaniment,
accouterment of war as sure as all
the polished swords of princes groomed to lie
in mausoleums all eternity ...

The price of love is not so high
as never to have loved once in the dark
beyond foreseeing. Now, as dawn gleams pale
upon small wind-fanned waves, amid white sails, ...

now all that war entails becomes as small,
as though receding. Paris in your arms
was never yours, nor were you his at all.
And should gods call

in numberless strange voices, should you hear,
still what would be the difference? Men must die
to be remembered. Fame, the shrillest cry,
leaves all the world dismembered.

Hold him, lie,
tell many pleasant tales of lips and thighs;
enthrall him with your sweetness, till the pall
and ash lie cold upon him.

Is this all? You saw fear in his eyes, and now they dim
with fear’s remembrance. Love, the fiercest cry,
becomes gasped sighs in his once-gallant hymn
of dreamed “salvation.” Still, you do not care

because you have this moment, and no man
can touch you as he can ... and when he’s gone
there will be other men to look upon
your beauty, and have done.

Smile―woebegone, pale, haggard. Will the tales
paint this―your final portrait? Can the stars
find any strange alignments, Zodiacs,
to spell, or unspell, what held beauty lacks?

Published by The Raintown Review, Triplopia, The Electic Muse, The Chained Muse, and The Pennsylvania Review



Fahr an' Ice
(Apologies to Robert Frost and Ogden Nash)
by Michael R. Burch

From what I know of death, I'll side with those
who'd like to have a say in how it goes:
just make mine cool, cool rocks (twice drowned in likker),
and real fahr off, instead of quicker.

Originally published by Light Quarterly



Ordinary Love
by Michael R. Burch

Indescribable—our love—and still we say
with eyes averted, turning out the light,
"I love you," in the ordinary way

and tug the coverlet where once we lay,
all suntanned limbs entangled, shivering, white ...
indescribably in love. Or so we say.

Your hair's blonde thicket now is tangle-gray;
you turn your back; you murmur to the night,
"I love you," in the ordinary way.

Beneath the sheets our hands and feet would stray
to warm ourselves. We do not touch despite
a love so indescribable. We say

we're older now, that "love" has had its day.
But that which Love once countenanced, delight,
still makes you indescribable. I say,
"I love you," in the ordinary way.

Winner of the 2001 Algernon Charles Swinburne poetry contest; published by The Lyric, Romantics Quarterly, Mandrake Poetry Review, Carnelian, and Famous Poets and Poems



The Locker
by Michael R. Burch

All the dull hollow clamor has died
and what was contained,
removed,

reproved
adulation or sentiment,
left with the pungent darkness

as remembered as the sudden light.

Originally published by The Raintown Review



Tremble
by Michael R. Burch

Her predatory eye,
the single feral iris,
scans.

Her raptor beak,
all jagged sharp-edged ******,
juts.

Her hard talon,
clenched in pinched expectation,
waits.

Her clipped wings,
preened against reality,
tremble.

Published by The Lyric, Verses Magazine, Romantics Quarterly, Journeys, The Raintown Review, MahMag (Iran), The Eclectic Muse (Canada)



Millay Has Her Way with a Vassar Professor
by Michael R. Burch

After a night of hard drinking and spreading her legs,
Millay hits the dorm, where the Vassar don begs:
“Please act more chastely, more discretely, more seemly!”
(His name, let’s assume, was, er... Percival Queemly.)

“Expel me! Expel me!”—She flashes her eyes.
“Oh! Please! No! I couldn’t! That wouldn’t be wise,
for a great banished Shelley would tarnish my name...
Eek! My game will be lame if I can’t milque your fame!”

“Continue to live here—carouse as you please!”
the beleaguered don sighs as he sags to his knees.
Millay grinds her crotch half an inch from his nose:
“I can live in your hellhole, strange man, I suppose...
but the price is your firstborn, whom I’ll sacrifice to Moloch.”
(Which explains what became of pale Percy’s son, Enoch.)



Shrill Gulls and Other Skeptics
by Michael R. Burch

for Richard Moore

1.
Shrill gulls,
how like my thoughts
you, struggling, rise
to distant bliss―
the weightless blue of skies
that are not blue
in any atmosphere,
but closest here...

2.
You seek an air
so clear,
so rarified
the effort leaves you famished;
earthly tides
soon call you back―
one long, descending glide...

3.
Disgruntledly you ***** dirt shores for orts
you pull like mucous ropes
from shells’ bright forts...
You eye the teeming world
with nervous darts―
this way and that...
Contentious, shrewd, you scan―
the sky, in hope,
the earth, distrusting man.

Originally published by Able Muse



Caveat Spender
by Michael R. Burch

It’s better not to speculate
"continually" on who is great.
Though relentless awe’s
a Célèbre Cause,
please reserve some time for the contemplation
of the perils of EXAGGERATION.



At Wilfred Owen’s Grave
by Michael R. Burch

A week before the Armistice, you died.
They did not keep your heart like Livingstone’s,
then plant your bones near Shakespeare’s. So you lie
between two privates, sacrificed like Christ
to politics, your poetry unknown
except for that brief flurry’s: thirteen months
with Gaukroger beside you in the trench,
dismembered, as you babbled, as the stench
of gangrene filled your nostrils, till you clenched
your broken heart together and the fist
began to pulse with life, so close to death.
Or was it at Craiglockhart, in the care
of “ergotherapists” that you sensed life
is only in the work, and made despair
a thing that Yeats despised, but also breath,
a mouthful’s merest air, inspired less
than wrested from you, and which we confess
we only vaguely breathe: the troubled air
that even Sassoon failed to share, because
a man in pieces is not healed by gauze,
and breath’s transparent, unless we believe
the words are true despite their lack of weight
and float to us like chlorine—scalding eyes,
and lungs, and hearts. Your words revealed the fate
of boys who retched up life here, gagged on lies.



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, Romantics Quarterly and Angle



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



The Pain of Love
by Michael R. Burch

for T.M.

The pain of love is this:
the parting after the kiss;

the train steaming from the station
whistling abnegation;

each interstate’s bleak white bar
that vanishes under your car;

every hour and flower and friend
that cannot be saved in the end;

dear things of immeasurable cost...
now all irretrievably lost.

Note: The title “The Pain of Love” was suggested by an interview with Little Richard, then eighty years old, in Rolling Stone. He said that someone should create a song called “The Pain of Love.” I have always found the departure platforms of railway stations and the vanishing broken white bars of highway dividing lines depressing.



Lean Harvests
by Michael R. Burch

for T.M.

the trees are shedding their leaves again:
another summer is over.
the Christians are praising their Maker again,
but not the disconsolate plover:
i hear him berate
the fate
of his mate;
he claims God is no body’s lover.

Published by The Rotary Dial and Angle



The Heimlich Limerick
by Michael R. Burch

for T. M.

The sanest of poets once wrote:
"Friend, why be a sheep or a goat?
Why follow the leader
or be a blind *******?"
But almost no one took note.



Millay Has Her Way with a Vassar Professor
by Michael R. Burch

After a night of hard drinking and spreading her legs,
Millay hits the dorm, where the Vassar don begs:
“Please act more chastely, more discretely, more seemly!”
(His name, let’s assume, was, er... Percival Queemly.)

“Expel me! Expel me!”—She flashes her eyes.
“Oh! Please! No! I couldn’t! That wouldn’t be wise,
for a great banished Shelley would tarnish my name...
Eek! My game will be lame if I can’t milque your fame!”

“Continue to live here—carouse as you please!”
the beleaguered don sighs as he sags to his knees.
Millay grinds her crotch half an inch from his nose:
“I can live in your hellhole, strange man, I suppose...
but the price is your firstborn, whom I’ll sacrifice to Moloch.”
(Which explains what became of pale Percy’s son, Enoch.)



Abide
by Michael R. Burch

after Philip Larkin's "Aubade"

It is hard to understand or accept mortality—
such an alien concept: not to be.
Perhaps unsettling enough to spawn religion,
or to scare mutant fish out of a primordial sea

boiling like goopy green tea in a kettle.
Perhaps a man should exhibit more mettle
than to admit such fear, denying Nirvana exists
simply because we are stuck here in such a fine fettle.

And so we abide...
even in life, staring out across that dark brink.
And if the thought of death makes your questioning heart sink,
it is best not to drink
(or, drinking, certainly not to think).



Snapshots
by Michael R. Burch

Here I scrawl extravagant rainbows.
And there you go, skipping your way to school.
And here we are, drifting apart
like untethered balloons.

Here I am, creating "art,"
chanting in shadows,
pale as the crinoline moon,
ignoring your face.

There you go,
in diaphanous lace,
making another man’s heart swoon.

Suddenly, unthinkably, here he is,
taking my place.

Published by Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly, Centrifugal Eye, and The Eclectic Muse



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 HyperTexts



Step Into Starlight
by Michael R. Burch

Step into starlight,
lovely and wild,
lonely and longing,
a woman, a child . . .

Throw back drawn curtains,
enter the night,
dream of his kiss
as a comet ignites . . .

Then fall to your knees
in a wind-fumbled cloud
and shudder to hear
oak hocks groaning aloud.

Flee down the dark path
to where the snaking vine bends
and withers and writhes
as winter descends . . .

And learn that each season
ends one vanished day,
that each pregnant moon holds
no spent tides in its sway . . .

For, as suns seek horizons―
boys fall, men decline.
As the grape sags with its burden,
remember―the wine!

Originally published by The Lyric



hymn to Apollo
by Michael R. Burch

something of sunshine attracted my i
as it lazed on the afternoon sky,
golden,
splashed on the easel of god . . .
what,
i thought,
could this airy stuff be,
to, phantomlike,
flit through tall trees
on fall days, such as these?

and the breeze
whispered a dirge
to the vanishing light;
enchoired with the evening, it sang;
its voice
enchantedly
rang
chanting “Night!” . . .

till all the bright light
retired,
expired.

This poem appeared in my high school literary journal; I believe I was around 16 when I wrote it.



****** Analysis
by Michael R. Burch

This is not what I need . . .
analysis,
paralysis,
as though I were a seed
to be planted,
supported
with a stick and some string
until I emerge.
Your words
are not water. I need something
more nourishing,
like cherishing,
something essential, like love
so that when I climb
out of the lime
and the mulch. When I shove
myself up
from the muck . . .
we can ****.



The One and Only
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

If anyone ever loved me,
It was you.

If anyone ever cared
beyond mere things declared;
if anyone ever knew ...
My darling, it was you.

If anyone ever touched
my beating heart as it flew,
it was you,
and only you.



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller

#2 - Love Poetry

She says an epigram’s too terse
to reveal her tender heart in verse ...
but really, darling, ain’t the thrill
of a kiss much shorter still?
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#5 - Criticism

Why don’t I openly criticize the man? Because he’s a friend;
thus I reproach him in silence, as I do my own heart.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#11 - Holiness

What is holiest? This heart-felt love
binding spirits together, now and forever.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#12 - Love versus Desire

You love what you have, and desire what you lack
because a rich nature expands, while a poor one retracts.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#19 - Nymph and Satyr

As shy as the trembling doe your horn frightens from the woods,
she flees the huntsman, fainting, uncertain of love.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#20 - Desire

What stirs the ******’s heaving ******* to sighs?
What causes your bold gaze to brim with tears?
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#23 - The Apex I

Everywhere women yield to men, but only at the apex
do the manliest men surrender to femininity.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#24 - The Apex II

What do we mean by the highest? The crystalline clarity of triumph
as it shines from the brow of a woman, from the brow of a goddess.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#25 -Human Life

Young sailors brave the sea beneath ten thousand sails
while old men drift ashore on any bark that avails.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#35 - Dead Ahead

What’s the hardest thing of all to do?
To see clearly with your own eyes what’s ahead of you.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#36 - Unexpected Consequence

Friends, before you utter the deepest, starkest truth, please pause,
because straight away people will blame you for its cause.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#41 - Earth vs. Heaven

By doing good, you nurture humanity;
but by creating beauty, you scatter the seeds of divinity.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



The Poet
by Michael R. Burch

He walks to the sink,
takes out his teeth,
rubs his gums.
He tries not to think.

In the mirror, on the mantle,
Time—the silver measure—
does not stare or blink,
but in a wrinkle flutters,
in a hand upon the brink
of a second, hovers.

Through a mousehole,
something scuttles
on restless incessant feet.
There is no link

between life and death
or from a fading past
to a more tenuous present
that a word uncovers
in the great wink.

The white foam lathers
at his thin pink
stretched neck
like a tightening noose.
He tries not to think.



These are poems I wrote in my early teens on the themes of play, playing, playmates, vacations, etc.

Playmates
by Michael R. Burch

WHEN you were my playmate and I was yours,
we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and the sorrows and cares of our indentured days
were uncomprehended... far, far away...
for the temptations and trials we had yet to face
were lost in the shadows of an unventured maze.

Then simple pleasures were easy to find
and if they cost us a little, we didn't mind;
for even a penny in a pocket back then
was one penny too many, a penny to spend.

Then feelings were feelings and love was just love,
not a strange, complex mystery to be understood;
while "sin" and "damnation" meant little to us,
since forbidden cookies were our only lusts!

Then we never worried about what we had,
and we were both sure—what was good, what was bad.
And we sometimes quarreled, but we didn't hate;
we seldom gave thought to the uncertainties of fate.

Hell, we seldom thought about the next day,
when tomorrow seemed hidden—adventures away.
Though sometimes we dreamed of adventures past,
and wondered, at times, why things couldn't last.

Still, we never worried about getting by,
and we didn't know that we were to die...
when we spent endless hours with simple toys,
and I was your playmate, and we were boys.

This is probably the poem that "made" me, because my high school English teacher called it "beautiful" and I took that to mean I was surely the Second Coming of Percy Bysshe Shelley! "Playmates" is the second longish poem I remember writing; I believe I was around 13 or 14 at the time.



Playthings
by Michael R. Burch

a sequel to “Playmates”

There was a time, as though a long-forgotten dream remembered,
when you and I were playmates and the days were long;
then we were pirates stealing plaits of daisies
from trembling maidens fearing men so strong . . .

Our world was like an unplucked Rose unfolding,
and you and I were busy, then, as bees;
the nectar that we drank, it made us giddy;
each petal within reach seemed ours to seize . . .

But you were more the doer, I the dreamer,
so I wrote poems and dreamed a noble cause;
while you were linking logs, I met old Merlin
and took a dizzy ride to faery Oz . . .

But then you put aside all "silly" playthings;
with sunburned hands you built, from bricks and stone,
tall buildings, then a life, and then you married.
Now my fantasies, again, are all my own.

I believe “Playthings” was written in my late teens, around 1977. According to my notes, I revised the poem in 1991, then again in 2020 and 2021.



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.

This is another of my boyhood poems about play and playing. 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."



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.



Ironic Vacation
by Michael R. Burch

Salzburg.
Seeing Mozart’s baby grand piano.
Standing in the presence of sheer incalculable genius.
Grabbing my childish pen to write a poem & challenge the Immortals.
Next stop, the catacombs!

This is a poem I wrote about a vacation my family took to Salzburg when I was a boy, age 11 or perhaps a bit older. But I wrote the poem much later in life: around 50 years later, in 2020.



Of course the ultimate form of play is love ...



An Illusion
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was as hushed as the breath of a bee
and the world was bathed in shades of palest gold
when I awoke.

She came to me with the sound of falling leaves
and the scent of new-mown grass;
I held out my arms to her and she passed

into oblivion ...

This little dream-poem appeared in my high school literary journal, the Lantern, so I was no older than 18 when I wrote it, probably younger. I will guess around age 16.



Smoke
by Michael R. Burch

The hazy, smoke-filled skies of summer I remember well;
farewell was on my mind, and the thoughts that I can't tell
rang bells within (the din was in) my mind, and I can't say
if what we had was good or bad, or where it is today.
The endless days of summer's haze I still recall today;
she spoke and smoky skies stood still as summer slipped away ...

This poem appeared in my high school journal, the Lantern, in 1976. It also appeared in my college literary journal, Homespun, in 1977. I was probably around 14 when I wrote the poem.



Myth
by Michael R. Burch

Here the recalcitrant wind
sighs with grievance and remorse
over fields of wayward gorse
and thistle-throttled lanes.

And she is the myth of the scythed wheat
hewn and sighing, complete,
waiting, lain in a low sheaf—
full of faith, full of grief.

Here the immaculate dawn
requires belief of the leafed earth
and she is the myth of the mown grain—
golden and humble in all its weary worth.

I believe I wrote the first version of this poem toward the end of my senior year of high school, around age 18.



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.

I believe this poem was written around age 18 as the poem itself says.



Infinity
by Michael R. Burch

Have you tasted the bitterness of tears of despair?
Have you watched the sun sink through such pale, balmless air
that your heart sought its shell like a crab on a beach,
then scuttled inside to be safe, out of reach?

Might I lift you tonight from earth’s wreckage and damage
on these waves gently rising to pay the moon homage?
Or better, perhaps, let me say that I, too,
have dreamed of infinity ... windswept and blue.

This is one of the first poems that made me feel like a "real" poet. I remember reading the poem and asking myself, "Did I really write that?" I believe I wrote it around age 17 or 18.



Will There Be Starlight
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

Will there be starlight
tonight
while she gathers
damask
and lilac
and sweet-scented heathers?

And will she find flowers,
or will she find thorns
guarding the petals
of roses unborn?

Will there be starlight
tonight
while she gathers
seashells
and mussels
and albatross feathers?

And will she find treasure
or will she find pain
at the end of this rainbow
of moonlight on rain?

If I remember correctly, I wrote the first version of this poem toward the end of my senior year in high school, around age 18, then forgot about it for fifteen years until I met my future wife Beth and she reminded me of the poem’s mysterious enchantress.



Childhood's End
by Michael R. Burch

How well I remember
those fiery Septembers:
dry leaves, dying embers of summers aflame
lay trampled before me
and fluttered, imploring
the bright, dancing rain to descend once again.

Now often I’ve thought on
the meaning of autumn,
how the moons those pale mornings enchanted dark clouds
while robins repeated
gay songs they had heeded
so wisely when winters before they’d flown south.

And still, in remembrance,
I’ve conjured a semblance
of childhood and how the world seemed to me then;
but early this morning,
when, rising and yawning,
my lips brushed your ******* . . . I celebrated its end.

I believe I wrote this poem in my early twenties, no later than 1982, but probably around 1980.



The Tender Weight of Her Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

The tender weight of her sighs
lies heavily upon my heart;
apart from her, full of doubt,
without her presence to revolve around,
found wanting direction or course,
cursed with the thought of her grief,
believing true love is a myth,
with hope as elusive as tears,
hers and mine, unable to lie,
I sigh ...

This poem has an unusual rhyme scheme, with the last word of each line rhyming with the first word of the next line. The final line is a “closing couplet” in which both words rhyme with the last word of the preceding line. I believe I invented this ***** form and will dub it the "End-First Curtal Sonnet."



Starting from Scratch with Ol’ Scratch
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Love, with a small, fatalistic sigh
went to the ovens. Please don’t bother to cry.
You could have saved her, but you were all *******
complaining about the Jews to Reichmeister Grupp.

Scratch that. You were born after World War II.
You had something more important to do:
while the children of the Nakba were perishing in Gaza
with the complicity of your government, you had a noble cause (a
religious tract against homosexual marriage
and various things gods and evangelists disparage.)

Jesus will grok you? Ah, yes, I’m quite sure
that your intentions were good and ineluctably pure.
After all, what the hell does he care about Palestinians?
Certainly, Christians were right about serfs, slaves and Indians.
Scratch that. You’re one of the Devil’s minions.



Orpheus
by Michael R. Burch

for and after William Blake

I.
Many a sun
and many a moon
I walked the earth
and whistled a tune.

I did not whistle
as I worked:
the whistle was my work.
I shirked

nothing I saw
and made a rhyme
to children at play
and hard time.

II.
Among the prisoners
I saw
the leaden manacles
of Law,

the heavy ball and chain,
the quirt.
And yet I whistled
at my work.

III.
Among the children’s
daisy faces
and in the women’s
frowsy laces,

I saw redemption,
and I smiled.
Satanic millers,
unbeguiled,

were swayed by neither girl,
nor child,
nor any God of Love.
Yet mild

I whistled at my work,
and Song
broke out,
ere long.



Duet (II)
by Michael R. Burch

If love is just an impulse meant to bring
two tiny hearts together, skittering
like hamsters from their Quonsets late at night
in search of lust’s productive exercise . . .

If love is the mutation of some gene
made radiant—an accident of bliss
played out by two small actors on a screen
of silver mesh, who never even kiss . . .

If love is evolution, nature’s way
of sorting out its DNA in pairs,
of matching, mating, sculpting flesh’s clay . . .
why does my wrinkled hamster climb his stairs

to set his wheel revolving, then descend
and stagger off . . . to make hers fly again?

Originally published by Bewildering Stories



Rant: The Elite
by Michael R. Burch

When I heard Harold Bloom unsurprisingly say:
Poetry is necessarily difficult. It is our elitist art ...
I felt a small suspicious thrill. After all, sweetheart,
isn’t this who we are? Aren’t we obviously better,
and certainly fairer and taller, than they are?

Though once I found Ezra Pound
perhaps a smidgen too profound,
perhaps a bit over-fond of Benito
and the advantages of fascism
to be taken ad finem, like high tea
with a pure white spot of intellectualism
and an artificial sweetener, calorie-free.

I know! I know! Politics has nothing to do with art
And it tempts us so to be elite, to stand apart ...
but somehow the word just doesn’t ring true,
echoing effetely away—the distance from me to you.

Of course, politics has nothing to do with art,
but sometimes art has everything to do with becoming elite,
with climbing the cultural ladder, with being able to meet
someone more Exalted than you, who can demonstrate how to ****
so that everyone below claims one’s odor is sweet.
You had to be there! We were falling apart
with gratitude! We saw him! We wept at his feet!

Though someone will always be far, far above you, clouding your air,
gazing down at you with a look of wondering despair.



Chinese Poets: English Translations

These are modern English translations of poems by some of the greatest Chinese poets of all time, including Du Fu, Huang O, Li Bai, Li Ching-jau, Li Qingzhao, Po Chu-I, Tzu Yeh, Yau Ywe-Hwa and Xu Zhimo.



Lines from Laolao Ting Pavilion
by Li Bai (701-762)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The spring breeze knows partings are bitter;
The willow twig knows it will never be green again.



A Toast to Uncle Yun
by Li Bai (701-762)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Water reforms, though we slice it with our swords;
Sorrow returns, though we drown it with our wine.

Li Bai (701-762) was a romantic figure who has been called the Lord Byron of Chinese poetry. He and his friend Du Fu (712-770) were the leading poets of the Tang Dynasty era, which has been called the "Golden Age of Chinese poetry." Li Bai is also known as Li Po, Li Pai, Li T’ai-po, and Li T’ai-pai.



Moonlit Night
by Du Fu (712-770)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Alone in your bedchamber
you gaze out at the Fu-Chou moon.

Here, so distant, I think of our children,
too young to understand what keeps me away
or to remember Ch'ang-an ...

A perfumed mist, your hair's damp ringlets!
In the moonlight, your arms' exquisite jade!

Oh, when can we meet again within your bed's drawn curtains,
and let the heat dry our tears?



Moonlit Night
by Du Fu (712-770)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight the Fu-Chou moon
watches your lonely bedroom.

Here, so distant, I think of our children,
too young to understand what keeps me away
or to remember Ch'ang-an ...

By now your hair will be damp from your bath
and fall in perfumed ringlets;
your jade-white arms so exquisite in the moonlight!

Oh, when can we meet again within those drawn curtains,
and let the heat dry our tears?



Lone Wild Goose
by Du Fu (712-770)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The abandoned goose refuses food and drink;
he cries querulously for his companions.

Who feels kinship for that strange wraith
as he vanishes eerily into the heavens?

You watch it as it disappears;
its plaintive calls cut through you.

The indignant crows ignore you both:
the bickering, bantering multitudes.

Du Fu (712-770) is also known as Tu Fu. The first poem is addressed to the poet's wife, who had fled war with their children. Ch'ang-an is an ironic pun because it means "Long-peace."



The Red Cockatoo
by Po Chu-I (772-846)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A marvelous gift from Annam—
a red cockatoo,
bright as peach blossom,
fluent in men's language.

So they did what they always do
to the erudite and eloquent:
they created a thick-barred cage
and shut it up.

Po Chu-I (772-846) is best known today for his ballads and satirical poems. Po Chu-I believed poetry should be accessible to commoners and is noted for his simple diction and natural style. His name has been rendered various ways in English: Po Chu-I, Po Chü-i, Bo Juyi and Bai Juyi.



The Migrant Songbird
Li Qingzhao aka Li Ching-chao (c. 1084-1155)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The migrant songbird on the nearby yew
brings tears to my eyes with her melodious trills;
this fresh downpour reminds me of similar spills:
another spring gone, and still no word from you ...



The Plum Blossoms
Li Qingzhao aka Li Ching-chao (c. 1084-1155)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This year with the end of autumn
I find my reflection graying at the edges.
Now evening gales hammer these ledges ...
what shall become of the plum blossoms?

Li Qingzhao was a poet and essayist during the Song dynasty. She is generally considered to be one of the greatest Chinese poets. In English she is known as Li Qingzhao, Li Ching-chao and The Householder of Yi’an.



Star Gauge
Sui Hui (c. 351-394 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

So much lost so far away
on that distant rutted road.

That distant rutted road
wounds me to the heart.

Grief coupled with longing,
so much lost so far away.

Grief coupled with longing
wounds me to the heart.

This house without its master;
the bed curtains shimmer, gossamer veils.

The bed curtains shimmer, gossamer veils,
and you are not here.

Such loneliness! My adorned face
lacks the mirror's clarity.

I see by the mirror's clarity
my Lord is not here. Such loneliness!

Sui Hui, also known as Su Hui and Lady Su, appears to be the first female Chinese poet of note. And her "Star Gauge" or "Sphere Map" may be the most impressive poem written in any language to this day, in terms of complexity. "Star Gauge" has been described as a palindrome or "reversible" poem, but it goes far beyond that. According to contemporary sources, the original poem was shuttle-woven on brocade, in a circle, so that it could be read in multiple directions. Due to its shape the poem is also called Xuanji Tu ("Picture of the Turning Sphere"). The poem is now generally placed in a grid or matrix so that the Chinese characters can be read horizontally, vertically and diagonally. The story behind the poem is that Sui Hui's husband, Dou Tao, the governor of Qinzhou, was exiled to the desert. When leaving his wife, Dou swore to remain faithful. However, after arriving at his new post, he took a concubine. Lady Su then composed a circular poem, wove it into a piece of silk embroidery, and sent it to him. Upon receiving the masterwork, he repented. It has been claimed that there are up to 7,940 ways to read the poem. My translation above is just one of many possible readings of a portion of the poem.



Reflection
Xu Hui (627–650)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Confronting the morning she faces her mirror;
Her makeup done at last, she paces back and forth awhile.
It would take vast mountains of gold to earn one contemptuous smile,
So why would she answer a man's summons?

Due to the similarities in names, it seems possible that Sui Hui and Xu Hui were the same poet, with some of her poems being discovered later, or that poems written later by other poets were attributed to her.



Waves
Zhai Yongming (1955-)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The waves manhandle me like a midwife pounding my back relentlessly,
and so the world abuses my body—
accosting me, bewildering me, according me a certain ecstasy ...



Monologue
Zhai Yongming (1955-)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am a wild thought, born of the abyss
and—only incidentally—of you. The earth and sky
combine in me—their concubine—they consolidate in my body.

I am an ordinary embryo, encased in pale, watery flesh,
and yet in the sunlight I dazzle and amaze you.

I am the gentlest, the most understanding of women.
Yet I long for winter, the interminable black night, drawn out to my heart's bleakest limit.

When you leave, my pain makes me want to ***** my heart up through my mouth—
to destroy you through love—where's the taboo in that?

The sun rises for the rest of the world, but only for you do I focus the hostile tenderness of my body.
I have my ways.

A chorus of cries rises. The sea screams in my blood but who remembers me?
What is life?

Zhai Yongming is a contemporary Chinese poet, born in Chengdu in 1955. She was one of the instigators and prime movers of the “Black Tornado” of women’s poetry that swept China in 1986-1989. Since then Zhai has been regarded as one of China’s most prominent poets.



Pyre
Guan Daosheng (1262-1319)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You and I share so much desire:
this love―like a fire—
that ends in a pyre's
charred coffin.



"Married Love" or "You and I" or "The Song of You and Me"
Guan Daosheng (1262-1319)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You and I shared a love that burned like fire:
two lumps of clay in the shape of Desire
molded into twin figures. We two.
Me and you.

In life we slept beneath a single quilt,
so in death, why any guilt?
Let the skeptics keep scoffing:
it's best to share a single coffin.

Guan Daosheng (1262-1319) is also known as Kuan Tao-Sheng, Guan Zhongji and Lady Zhongji. A famous poet of the early Yuan dynasty, she has also been called "the most famous female painter and calligrapher in the Chinese history ... remembered not only as a talented woman, but also as a prominent figure in the history of bamboo painting." She is best known today for her images of nature and her tendency to inscribe short poems on her paintings.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I heard my love was going to Yang-chou
So I accompanied him as far as Ch'u-shan.
For just a moment as he held me in his arms
I thought the swirling river ceased flowing and time stood still.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Will I ever hike up my dress for you again?
Will my pillow ever caress your arresting face?



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Night descends ...
I let my silken hair spill down my shoulders as I part my thighs over my lover.
Tell me, is there any part of me not worthy of being loved?



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will wear my robe loose, not bothering with a belt;
I will stand with my unpainted face at the reckless window;
If my petticoat insists on fluttering about, shamelessly,
I'll blame it on the unruly wind!



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When he returns to my embrace,
I’ll make him feel what no one has ever felt before:
Me absorbing him like water
Poured into a wet clay jar.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bare branches tremble in a sudden breeze.
Night deepens.
My lover loves me,
And I am pleased that my body's beauty pleases him.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Do you not see
that we
have become like branches of a single tree?



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I could not sleep with the full moon haunting my bed!
I thought I heard―here, there, everywhere―
disembodied voices calling my name!
Helplessly I cried "Yes!" to the phantom air!



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I have brought my pillow to the windowsill
so come play with me, tease me, as in the past ...
Or, with so much resentment and so few kisses,
how much longer can love last?



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When she approached you on the bustling street, how could you say no?
But your disdain for me is nothing new.
Squeaking hinges grow silent on an unused door
where no one enters anymore.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I remain constant as the Northern Star
while you rush about like the fickle sun:
rising in the East, drooping in the West.

Tzŭ-Yeh (or Tzu Yeh) was a courtesan of the Jin dynasty era (c. 400 BC) also known as Lady Night or Lady Midnight. Her poems were pinyin ("midnight songs"). Tzŭ-Yeh was apparently a "sing-song" girl, perhaps similar to a geisha trained to entertain men with music and poetry. She has also been called a "wine shop girl" and even a professional concubine! Whoever she was, it seems likely that Rihaku (Li-Po) was influenced by the lovely, touching (and often very ****) poems of the "sing-song" girl. Centuries later, Arthur Waley was one of her translators and admirers. Waley and Ezra Pound knew each other, and it seems likely that they got together to compare notes at Pound's soirees, since Pound was also an admirer and translator of Chinese poetry. Pound's most famous translation is his take on Li-Po's "The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter." If the ancient "sing-song" girl influenced Li-Po and Pound, she was thus an influence―perhaps an important influence―on English Modernism. The first Tzŭ-Yeh poem makes me think that she was, indeed, a direct influence on Li-Po and Ezra Pound.―Michael R. Burch



The Day after the Rain
Lin Huiyin (1904-1955)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love the day after the rain
and the meadow's green expanses!
My heart endlessly rises with wind,
gusts with wind ...
away the new-mown grasses and the fallen leaves ...
away the clouds like smoke ...
vanishing like smoke ...



Music Heard Late at Night
Lin Huiyin (1904-1955)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

for Xu Zhimo

I blushed,
hearing the lovely nocturnal tune.

The music touched my heart;
I embraced its sadness, but how to respond?

The pattern of life was established eons ago:
so pale are the people's imaginations!

Perhaps one day You and I
can play the chords of hope together.

It must be your fingers gently playing
late at night, matching my sorrow.

Lin Huiyin (1904-1955), also known as Phyllis Lin and Lin Whei-yin, was a Chinese architect, historian, novelist and poet. Xu Zhimo died in a plane crash in 1931, allegedly flying to meet Lin Huiyin.



Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again
Xu Zhimo (1897-1931)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Quietly I take my leave,
as quietly as I came;
quietly I wave good-bye
to the sky's dying flame.

The riverside's willows
like lithe, sunlit brides
reflected in the waves
move my heart's tides.

Weeds moored in dark sludge
sway here, free of need,
in the Cam's gentle wake ...
O, to be a waterweed!

Beneath shady elms
a nebulous rainbow
crumples and reforms
in the soft ebb and flow.

Seek a dream? Pole upstream
to where grass is greener;
rig the boat with starlight;
sing aloud of love's splendor!

But how can I sing
when my song is farewell?
Even the crickets are silent.
And who should I tell?

So quietly I take my leave,
as quietly as I came;
gently I flick my sleeves ...
not a wisp will remain.

(6 November 1928)

Xu Zhimo's most famous poem is this one about leaving Cambridge. English titles for the poem include "On Leaving Cambridge," "Second Farewell to Cambridge," "Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again,"  and "Taking Leave of Cambridge Again."



The Leveler
by Michael R. Burch

The nature of Nature
is bitter survival
from Winter’s bleak fury
till Spring’s brief revival.

The weak implore Fate;
bold men ravish, dishevel her . . .
till both are cut down
by mere ticks of the Leveler.

I believe I wrote this poem around age 20, in 1978 or thereabouts. It has since been published in The Lyric, Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly and The Aurorean.



The Insurrection of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

She was my Shiloh, my Gethsemane;
she nestled my head to her breast
and breathed upon my insensate lips
the fierce benedictions of her ubiquitous sighs,
the veiled allegations of her disconsolate tears . . .

Many years I abided the agile assaults of her flesh . . .
She loved me the most when I was most sorely pressed;
she undressed with delight for her ministrations
when all I needed was a good night’s rest . . .

She anointed my lips with her soft lips’ dews;
the insurrection of sighs left me fallen, distressed, at her elegant heel.
I felt the hard iron, the cold steel, in her words and I knew:
the terrible arrow showed through my conscripted flesh.

The sun in retreat left her victor and all was Night.
The last peal of surrender went sinking and dying—unheard.



Star Crossed
by Michael R. Burch

Remember—
night is not like day;
the stars are closer than they seem ...
now, bending near, they seem to say
the morning sun was merely a dream
ember.



The State of the Art (?)
by Michael R. Burch

Has rhyme lost all its reason
and rhythm, renascence?
Are sonnets out of season
and poems but poor pretense?

Are poets lacking fire,
their words too trite and forced?
What happened to desire?
Has passion been coerced?

Shall poetry fade slowly,
like Latin, to past tense?
Are the bards too high and holy,
or their readers merely dense?



Options Underwater: The Song of the First Amphibian
by Michael R. Burch

“Evolution’s a Fishy Business!”

1.
Breathing underwater through antiquated gills,
I’m running out of options. I need to find fresh Air,
to seek some higher Purpose. No porpoise, I despair
to swim among anemones’ pink frills.

2.
My fins will make fine flippers, if only I can walk,
a little out of kilter, safe to the nearest rock’s
sweet, unmolested shelter. Each eye must grow a stalk,
to take in this green land on which it gawks.

3.
No predators have made it here, so I need not adapt.
Sun-sluggish, full, lethargic―I’ll take such nice long naps!

The highest form of life, that’s me! (Quite apt
to lie here chortling, calling fishes saps.)

4.
I woke to find life teeming all around―
mammals, insects, reptiles, loathsome birds.
And now I cringe at every sight and sound.
The water’s looking good! I look Absurd.

5.
The moral of my story’s this: don’t leap
wherever grass is greener. Backwards creep.
And never burn your bridges, till you’re sure
leapfrogging friends secures your Sinecure.

Originally published by Lighten Up Online


Yasna 28, Verse 6
by Zarathustra (Zoroaster)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lead us to pure thought and truth
by your sacred word and long-enduring assistance,
O, eternal Giver of the gifts of righteousness.

O, wise Lord, grant us spiritual strength and joy;
help us overcome our enemies’ enmity!

Translator’s Note: The Gathas consist of 17 hymns believed to have been composed by Zoroaster, also known as Zarathustra, Zarathushtra Spitama or Ashu Zarathushtra.



“Whoso List to Hunt” is a famous early English sonnet written by Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542) in the mid-16th century.

Whoever Longs to Hunt
by Sir Thomas Wyatt
loose translation/interpretation/modernization by Michael R. Burch

Whoever longs to hunt, I know the deer;
but as for me, alas!, I may no more.
This vain pursuit has left me so bone-sore
I'm one of those who falters, at the rear.
Yet friend, how can I draw my anguished mind
away from the doe?
                               Thus, as she flees before
me, fainting I follow.
                                I must leave off, therefore,
since in a net I seek to hold the wind.

Whoever seeks her out,
                                     I relieve of any doubt,
that he, like me, must spend his time in vain.
For graven with diamonds, set in letters plain,
these words appear, her fair neck ringed about:
Touch me not, for Caesar's I am,
And wild to hold, though I seem tame.



The First Complete Musical Composition

Shine, while you live;
blaze beyond grief,
for life is brief
and Time, a thief.
—Michael R. Burch, after Seikilos of Euterpes

The so-called Seikilos Epitaph is the oldest known surviving complete musical composition which includes musical notation. It is believed to date to the first or second century AD. The epitaph appears to be signed “Seikilos of Euterpes” or dedicated “Seikilos to Euterpe.” Euterpe was the ancient Greek Muse of music.



Keywords/Tags: amphibian, amphibians, evolution, gills, water, air, lungs, fins, flippers, fish, fishy business, poets, poetry, writing, art, work, works, rhyme, ballad, immortality, passion, emotion, desire, mrbwork, mrbworks

Published as the collection "What Works"
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
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 which have been praised by Trump as "exactly" what is "needed."

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. Apparently no one knows his present whereabouts or condition.

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.



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.

The original Uyghur poem:

Yax iduq muxkul seperge atlinip mangghanda biz,
Emdi atqa mingidek bolup qaldi ene nevrimiz.
Az iduq muxkul seperge atlinip chiqanda biz,
Emdi chong karvan atalduq, qaldurup chollerde iz.
Qaldi iz choller ara, gayi davanlarda yene,
Qaldi ni-ni arslanlar dexit cholde qevrisiz.
Qevrisiz qaldi dimeng yulghun qizarghan dalida,
Gul-chichekke pukinur tangna baharda qevrimiz.
Qaldi iz, qaldi menzil, qaldi yiraqta hemmisi,
Chiqsa boran, kochse qumlar, hem komulmes izimiz.
Tohtimas karvan yolida gerche atlar bek oruq,
Tapqus hichbolmisa, bu izni bizning nevrimiz, ya chevrimiz.

Other poems of note by Abdurehim Otkur include "I Call Forth Spring" and "Waste, You Traitors, Waste!"



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!

Another poem of note by Téyipjan Éliyow is "Neverending Song."

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



Chinese Poets: English Translations

These are modern English translations of poems by some of the greatest Chinese poets of all time, including Du Fu, Huang E, Huang O, Li Bai, Li Ching-jau, Li Qingzhao, Po Chu-I, Tzu Yeh, Yau Ywe-Hwa and Xu Zhimo.



Lines from Laolao Ting Pavilion
by Li Bai (701-762)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The spring breeze knows partings are bitter;
The willow twig knows it will never be green again.



A Toast to Uncle Yun
by Li Bai (701-762)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Water reforms, though we slice it with our swords;
Sorrow returns, though we drown it with our wine.

Li Bai (701-762)    was a romantic figure who has been called the Lord Byron of Chinese poetry. He and his friend Du Fu (712-770)    were the leading poets of the Tang Dynasty era, which has been called the 'Golden Age of Chinese poetry.' Li Bai is also known as Li Po, Li Pai, Li T'ai-po, and Li T'ai-pai.



Moonlit Night
by Du Fu (712-770)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Alone in your bedchamber
you gaze out at the Fu-Chou moon.

Here, so distant, I think of our children,
too young to understand what keeps me away
or to remember Ch'ang-an...

A perfumed mist, your hair's damp ringlets!
In the moonlight, your arms' exquisite jade!

Oh, when can we meet again within your bed's drawn curtains,
and let the heat dry our tears?



Moonlit Night
by Du Fu (712-770)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight the Fu-Chou moon
watches your lonely bedroom.

Here, so distant, I think of our children,
too young to understand what keeps me away
or to remember Ch'ang-an...

By now your hair will be damp from your bath
and fall in perfumed ringlets;
your jade-white arms so exquisite in the moonlight!

Oh, when can we meet again within those drawn curtains,
and let the heat dry our tears?



Lone Wild Goose
by Du Fu (712-770)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The abandoned goose refuses food and drink;
he cries querulously for his companions.

Who feels kinship for that strange wraith
as he vanishes eerily into the heavens?

You watch it as it disappears;
its plaintive calls cut through you.

The indignant crows ignore you both:
the bickering, bantering multitudes.

Du Fu (712-770)    is also known as Tu Fu. The first poem is addressed to the poet's wife, who had fled war with their children. Ch'ang-an is an ironic pun because it means 'Long-peace.'



The Red Cockatoo
by Po Chu-I (772-846)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A marvelous gift from Annam—
a red cockatoo,
bright as peach blossom,
fluent in men's language.

So they did what they always do
to the erudite and eloquent:
they created a thick-barred cage
and shut it up.

Po Chu-I (772-846)    is best known today for his ballads and satirical poems. Po Chu-I believed poetry should be accessible to commoners and is noted for his simple diction and natural style. His name has been rendered various ways in English: Po Chu-I, Po Chü-i, Bo Juyi and Bai Juyi.



The Migrant Songbird
Li Qingzhao aka Li Ching-chao (c.1084-1155)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The migrant songbird on the nearby yew
brings tears to my eyes with her melodious trills;
this fresh downpour reminds me of similar spills:
another spring gone, and still no word from you...



The Plum Blossoms
Li Qingzhao aka Li Ching-chao (c.1084-1155)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This year with the end of autumn
I find my reflection graying at the edges.
Now evening gales hammer these ledges...
what shall become of the plum blossoms?

Li Qingzhao was a poet and essayist during the Song dynasty. She is generally considered to be one of the greatest Chinese poets. In English she is known as Li Qingzhao, Li Ching-chao and The Householder of Yi'an.



Star Gauge
Sui Hui (c.351-394 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

So much lost so far away
on that distant rutted road.

That distant rutted road
wounds me to the heart.

Grief coupled with longing,
so much lost so far away.

Grief coupled with longing
wounds me to the heart.

This house without its master;
the bed curtains shimmer, gossamer veils.

The bed curtains shimmer, gossamer veils,
and you are not here.

Such loneliness! My adorned face
lacks the mirror's clarity.

I see by the mirror's clarity
my Lord is not here. Such loneliness!

Sui Hui, also known as Su Hui and Lady Su, appears to be the first female Chinese poet of note. And her 'Star Gauge' or 'Sphere Map' may be the most impressive poem written in any language to this day, in terms of complexity. 'Star Gauge' has been described as a palindrome or 'reversible' poem, but it goes far beyond that. According to contemporary sources, the original poem was shuttle-woven on brocade, in a circle, so that it could be read in multiple directions. Due to its shape the poem is also called Xuanji Tu ('Picture of the Turning Sphere') . The poem is now generally placed in a grid or matrix so that the Chinese characters can be read horizontally, vertically and diagonally. The story behind the poem is that Sui Hui's husband, Dou Tao, the governor of Qinzhou, was exiled to the desert. When leaving his wife, Dou swore to remain faithful. However, after arriving at his new post, he took a concubine. Lady Su then composed a circular poem, wove it into a piece of silk embroidery, and sent it to him. Upon receiving the masterwork, he repented. It has been claimed that there are up to 7,940 ways to read the poem. My translation above is just one of many possible readings of a portion of the poem.



Reflection
Xu Hui (627-650)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Confronting the morning she faces her mirror;
Her makeup done at last, she paces back and forth awhile.
It would take vast mountains of gold to earn one contemptuous smile,
So why would she answer a man's summons?

Due to the similarities in names, it seems possible that Sui Hui and Xu Hui were the same poet, with some of her poems being discovered later, or that poems written later by other poets were attributed to her.



Waves
Zhai Yongming (1955-)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The waves manhandle me like a midwife pounding my back relentlessly,
and so the world abuses my body—
accosting me, bewildering me, according me a certain ecstasy...



Monologue
Zhai Yongming (1955-)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am a wild thought, born of the abyss
and—only incidentally—of you. The earth and sky
combine in me—their concubine—they consolidate in my body.

I am an ordinary embryo, encased in pale, watery flesh,
and yet in the sunlight I dazzle and amaze you.

I am the gentlest, the most understanding of women.
Yet I long for winter, the interminable black night, drawn out to my heart's bleakest limit.

When you leave, my pain makes me want to ***** my heart up through my mouth—
to destroy you through love—where's the taboo in that?

The sun rises for the rest of the world, but only for you do I focus the hostile tenderness of my body.
I have my ways.

A chorus of cries rises. The sea screams in my blood but who remembers me?
What is life?

Zhai Yongming is a contemporary Chinese poet, born in Chengdu in 1955. She was one of the instigators and prime movers of the 'Black Tornado' of women's poetry that swept China in 1986-1989. Since then Zhai has been regarded as one of China's most prominent poets.



Pyre
Guan Daosheng (1262-1319)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You and I share so much desire:
this love―like a fire—
that ends in a pyre's
charred coffin.



'Married Love' or 'You and I' or 'The Song of You and Me'
Guan Daosheng (1262-1319)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You and I shared a love that burned like fire:
two lumps of clay in the shape of Desire
molded into twin figures. We two.
Me and you.

In life we slept beneath a single quilt,
so in death, why any guilt?
Let the skeptics keep scoffing:
it's best to share a single coffin.

Guan Daosheng (1262-1319)    is also known as Kuan Tao-Sheng, Guan Zhongji and Lady Zhongji. A famous poet of the early Yuan dynasty, she has also been called 'the most famous female painter and calligrapher in the Chinese history... remembered not only as a talented woman, but also as a prominent figure in the history of bamboo painting.' She is best known today for her images of nature and her tendency to inscribe short poems on her paintings.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I heard my love was going to Yang-chou
So I accompanied him as far as Ch'u-shan.
For just a moment as he held me in his arms
I thought the swirling river ceased flowing and time stood still.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Will I ever hike up my dress for you again?
Will my pillow ever caress your arresting face?



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Night descends...
I let my silken hair spill down my shoulders as I part my thighs over my lover.
Tell me, is there any part of me not worthy of being loved?



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will wear my robe loose, not bothering with a belt;
I will stand with my unpainted face at the reckless window;
If my petticoat insists on fluttering about, shamelessly,
I'll blame it on the unruly wind!



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When he returns to my embrace,
I'll make him feel what no one has ever felt before:
Me absorbing him like water
Poured into a wet clay jar.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Bare branches tremble in a sudden breeze.
Night deepens.
My lover loves me,
And I am pleased that my body's beauty pleases him.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Do you not see
that we
have become like branches of a single tree?



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I could not sleep with the full moon haunting my bed!
I thought I heard―here, there, everywhere―
disembodied voices calling my name!
Helplessly I cried 'Yes! ' to the phantom air!



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I have brought my pillow to the windowsill
so come play with me, tease me, as in the past...
Or, with so much resentment and so few kisses,
how much longer can love last?



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When she approached you on the bustling street, how could you say no?
But your disdain for me is nothing new.
Squeaking hinges grow silent on an unused door
where no one enters anymore.



Tzu Yeh (circa 400 BC)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I remain constant as the Northern Star
while you rush about like the fickle sun:
rising in the East, drooping in the West.

Tzŭ-Yeh (or Tzu Yeh)    was a courtesan of the Jin dynasty era (c.400 BC)    also known as Lady Night or Lady Midnight. Her poems were pinyin ('midnight songs') . Tzŭ-Yeh was apparently a 'sing-song' girl, perhaps similar to a geisha trained to entertain men with music and poetry. She has also been called a 'wine shop girl' and even a professional concubine! Whoever she was, it seems likely that Rihaku (Li-Po)    was influenced by the lovely, touching (and often very ****)    poems of the 'sing-song' girl. Centuries later, Arthur Waley was one of her translators and admirers. Waley and Ezra Pound knew each other, and it seems likely that they got together to compare notes at Pound's soirees, since Pound was also an admirer and translator of Chinese poetry. Pound's most famous translation is his take on Li-Po's 'The River Merchant's Wife: A Letter.' If the ancient 'sing-song' girl influenced Li-Po and Pound, she was thus an influence―perhaps an important influence―on English Modernism. The first Tzŭ-Yeh poem makes me think that she was, indeed, a direct influence on Li-Po and Ezra Pound.―Michael R. Burch



The Day after the Rain
Lin Huiyin (1904-1955)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love the day after the rain
and the meadow's green expanses!
My heart endlessly rises with wind,
gusts with wind...
away the new-mown grasses and the fallen leaves...
away the clouds like smoke...
vanishing like smoke...



Music Heard Late at Night
Lin Huiyin (1904-1955)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

for Xu Zhimo

I blushed,
hearing the lovely nocturnal tune.

The music touched my heart;
I embraced its sadness, but how to respond?

The pattern of life was established eons ago:
so pale are the people's imaginations!

Perhaps one day You and I
can play the chords of hope together.

It must be your fingers gently playing
late at night, matching my sorrow.

Lin Huiyin (1904-1955) , also known as Phyllis Lin and Lin Whei-yin, was a Chinese architect, historian, novelist and poet. Xu Zhimo died in a plane crash in 1931, allegedly flying to meet Lin Huiyin.



Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again
Xu Zhimo (1897-1931)  
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Quietly I take my leave,
as quietly as I came;
quietly I wave good-bye
to the sky's dying flame.

The riverside's willows
like lithe, sunlit brides
reflected in the waves
move my heart's tides.

Weeds moored in dark sludge
sway here, free of need,
in the Cam's gentle wake...
O, to be a waterweed!

Beneath shady elms
a nebulous rainbow
crumples and reforms
in the soft ebb and flow.

Seek a dream? Pole upstream
to where grass is greener;
rig the boat with starlight;
sing aloud of love's splendor!

But how can I sing
when my song is farewell?
Even the crickets are silent.
And who should I tell?

So quietly I take my leave,
as quietly as I came;
gently I flick my sleeves...
not a wisp will remain.

(6 November 1928)  

Xu Zhimo's most famous poem is this one about leaving Cambridge. English titles for the poem include 'On Leaving Cambridge, ' 'Second Farewell to Cambridge, ' 'Saying Goodbye to Cambridge Again, '  and 'Taking Leave of Cambridge Again.'



These are my modern English translations of poems by the Chinese poet Huang E (1498-1569) , also known as Huang Xiumei. She has been called the most outstanding female poet of the Ming Dynasty, and her husband its most outstanding male poet. Were they poetry's first power couple? Her father Huang Ke was a high-ranking official of the Ming court and she married Yang Shen, the prominent son of Grand Secretary Yang Tinghe. Unfortunately for the young power couple, Yang Shen was exiled by the emperor early in their marriage and they lived largely apart for 30 years. During their long separations they would send each other poems which may belong to a genre of Chinese poetry I have dubbed 'sorrows of the wild geese' …

Sent to My Husband
by Huang E
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The wild geese never fly beyond Hengyang...
how then can my brocaded words reach Yongchang?
Like wilted willow flowers I am ill-fated indeed;
in that far-off foreign land you feel similar despair.
'Oh, to go home, to go home! ' you implore the calendar.
'Oh, if only it would rain, if only it would rain! ' I complain to the heavens.
One hears hopeful rumors that you might soon be freed...
but when will the Golden **** rise in Yelang?

A star called the Golden **** was a symbol of amnesty to the ancient Chinese. Yongchang was a hot, humid region of Yunnan to the south of Hengyang, and was presumably too hot and too far to the south for geese to fly there.



Luo Jiang's Second Complaint
by Huang E
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The green hills vanished,
pedestrians passed by
disappearing beyond curves.

The geese grew silent, the horseshoes timid.

Winter is the most annoying season!

A lone goose vanished into the heavens,
the trees whispered conspiracies in Pingwu,
and people huddling behind buildings shivered.



Bitter Rain, an Aria of the Yellow Oriole
by Huang E
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

These ceaseless rains make the spring shiver:
even the flowers and trees look cold!
The roads turn to mud;
the river's eyes are tired and weep into in a few bays;
the mountain clouds accumulate like ***** dishes,
and the end of the world seems imminent, if jejune.

I find it impossible to send books:
the geese are ruthless and refuse to fly south to Yunnan!



Broken-Hearted Poem
by Huang E
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

My tears cascade into the inkwell;
my broken heart remains at a loss for words;
ever since we held hands and said farewell,
I have been too listless to paint my eyebrows;
no medicine can cure my night-sweats,
no wealth repurchase our lost youth;
and how can I persuade that ****** bird singing in the far hills
to tell a traveler south of the Yangtze to return home?
Raj Arumugam Jul 2011
hey, before kung fu fighting
was kung fu ***;
emperors practiced it and
would have lived to be Immortals
if not for the darned traitors and assassins

Crane sees Phoenix
and in Plum Tree Garden of Scents
Plum Tree Arms
Encircle Double Mountains;
Pine Reaches for the Skies

Drunken Monkey Jumps
and Pheasant Sings
and White Pearl Slips;
Dogs Unite and Clouds Merge
Tiger Bites and Lion Roars
Grand Dragon Withholds

Jade Gate Opens
Jade Stem enters
Wild Boars stampede
and Cherry Blossoms Fall

Drunken Monkey Sleeps
White Pearl Smiles
Drunken Monkey Awakes
and Blue Pearl Awaits -
and again Serpent on Rock hisses;
Wheels of Legs Rotate


hey, before kung fu fighting
was kung fu ***;
emperors practiced it and
would have lived to be Immortals
if not for the darned traitors and assassins
no illustrations available; we leave it to your imagination
TinaMarie Feb 2012
He fu¢ks her with ease
She fu¢ks him to please
She fu¢ks as he wishes
     And she does not see

He fu¢ks with disease.

He thrusts with anger, disguising his pain
She receives it as passion, it drives her insane
He thrusts with intention, he's full with disdain
She receives unwittingly, her health being slain

He arises proud having laid her in a lie
She arises feeling a closeness and exhales a soft sigh
She turns to watch him leaving and proceeds to wonder why
He turns and moves with furor and never says goodbye

She looks into the mirror giving thought to her conduct
Each moment playing in her head she starts to reconstruct
As toxins flow through her veins and begin to deconstruct
She finally takes her blinders off and sees she's just been fu¢ked

© Tina Thompson
zebra Sep 2018
it's the management
here to inform you
your lust has been hacked

we know what your thinking
what you hide
we are all up in your business
like cyber terrorist's

don't ruin your life with to much self respect
we are all watching you *******
to mamma mia meets a hundred shades of crimson
and fight club blood ****
while you ***
screaming
ooooooooh god
licking
holes and poles
like a pig at a trough
praying to be handcuffed and on your knees
sweating and hysterical, a red moon struck **** face
high on drugs
in a dream better then this life has to offer

life is full of yogas
***** pony position
bouncy bouncy

i'm the light in your darkness
i know what you do
i want pieces of you, you wont show anyone else
your sickness, is my own
you are my love slave
turning me *******
who loves to hurt you

who's the *****
who's the switch

your flawless

now
cry me a river
move a little bit faster and to the left
your **** is a cartoon
**** grinning emoji
bleeding shrieking
fu fu fu fu *******
your brains running out of your eyes

gimmie all your venom
***** movie poem's
*** tongue and *****
your mouth like hemoglobin jewelry
saliva diamonds

kiss that
you'll never go back
squealing smooth heat
breathing winds of perfume
love and pain
united by
tragedy and desire
by
the grotesque and the beautiful
like thirst holds stones

stop crying

you know baby
you look your best on the toilet bowl
shameless
a delicious little *******
that holds me close to life
like a baby to the womb

please
stop banging on the door
i'm using this stall
Thank you
The Management
neo surrealism/ surveillance state ***
A note of seeming truth and trust
                      Hid crafty observation;
                And secret hung, with poison’d crust,
                      The dirk of defamation:
                A mask that like the gorget show’d
                      Dye-varying, on the pigeon;
                And for a mantle large and broad,
              He wrapt him in Religion.
                   (Hypocrisy-à-la-Mode)


Upon a simmer Sunday morn,
     When Nature’s face is fair,
I walked forth to view the corn
     An’ ***** the caller air.
The risin’ sun owre Galston muirs
     Wi’ glorious light was glintin,
The hares were hirplin down the furrs,
     The lav’rocks they were chantin
          Fu’ sweet that day.

As lightsomely I glowr’d abroad
     To see a scene sae gay,
Three hizzies, early at the road,
     Cam skelpin up the way.
Twa had manteeles o’ dolefu’ black,
     But ane wi’ lyart linin;
The third, that gaed a wee a-back,
     Was in the fashion shining
          Fu’ gay that day.

The twa appear’d like sisters twin
     In feature, form, an’ claes;
Their visage wither’d, lang an’ thin,
     An’ sour as ony slaes.
The third cam up, hap-step-an’-lowp,
     As light as ony lambie,
An’ wi’ a curchie low did stoop,
     As soon as e’er she saw me,
          Fu’ kind that day.

Wi’ bonnet aff, quoth I, “Sweet lass,
     I think ye seem to ken me;
I’m sure I’ve seen that bonie face,
     But yet I canna name ye.”
Quo’ she, an’ laughin as she spak,
     An’ taks me by the han’s,
“Ye, for my sake, hae gien the ****
     Of a’ the ten comman’s
          A screed some day.

“My name is Fun—your cronie dear,
     The nearest friend ye hae;
An’ this is Superstition here,
     An’ that’s Hypocrisy.
I’m gaun to Mauchline Holy Fair,
     To spend an hour in daffin:
Gin ye’ll go there, you runkl’d pair,
     We will get famous laughin
          At them this day.”

Quoth I, “With a’ my heart, I’ll do’t:
     I’ll get my Sunday’s sark on,
An’ meet you on the holy spot;
     Faith, we’se hae fine remarkin!”
Then I gaed hame at crowdie-time
     An’ soon I made me ready;
For roads were clad frae side to side
     Wi’ monie a wearie body
          In droves that day.

Here, farmers ****, in ridin graith,
     Gaed hoddin by their cotters,
There swankies young, in braw braidclaith
     Are springin owre the gutters.
The lasses, skelpin barefit, thrang,
     In silks an’ scarlets glitter,
Wi’ sweet-milk cheese in mony a whang,
     An’ farls, bak’d wi’ butter,
          Fu’ crump that day.

When by the plate we set our nose,
     Weel heaped up wi’ ha’pence,
A greedy glowr Black Bonnet throws,
     An’ we maun draw our tippence.
Then in we go to see the show:
     On ev’ry side they’re gath’rin,
Some carryin dails, some chairs an’ stools,
     An’ some are busy bleth’rin
          Right loud that day.


Here some are thinkin on their sins,
     An’ some upo’ their claes;
Ane curses feet that fyl’d his shins,
     Anither sighs an’ prays:
On this hand sits a chosen swatch,
     Wi’ *****’d-up grace-proud faces;
On that a set o’ chaps at watch,
     Thrang winkin on the lasses
          To chairs that day.

O happy is that man and blest!
     Nae wonder that it pride him!
Whase ain dear lass that he likes best,
     Comes clinkin down beside him!
Wi’ arm repos’d on the chair back,
     He sweetly does compose him;
Which by degrees slips round her neck,
     An’s loof upon her *****,
          Unken’d that day.

Now a’ the congregation o’er
     Is silent expectation;
For Moodie speels the holy door,
     Wi’ tidings o’ salvation.
Should Hornie, as in ancient days,
     ‘Mang sons o’ God present him,
The vera sight o’ Moodie’s face
     To’s ain het hame had sent him
          Wi’ fright that day.

Hear how he clears the points o’ faith
     Wi’ rattlin an’ wi’ thumpin!
Now meekly calm, now wild in wrath
     He’s stampin, an’ he’s jumpin!
His lengthen’d chin, his turn’d-up snout,
     His eldritch squeal and gestures,
Oh, how they fire the heart devout
     Like cantharidian plaisters,
          On sic a day!

But hark! the tent has chang’d its voice:
     There’s peace and rest nae langer;
For a’ the real judges rise,
     They canna sit for anger.
Smith opens out his cauld harangues,
     On practice and on morals;
An’ aff the godly pour in thrangs,
     To gie the jars an’ barrels
          A lift that day.

What signifies his barren shine
     Of moral pow’rs and reason?
His English style an’ gesture fine
     Are a’ clean out o’ season.
Like Socrates or Antonine
     Or some auld pagan heathen,
The moral man he does define,
     But ne’er a word o’ faith in
          That’s right that day.

In guid time comes an antidote
     Against sic poison’d nostrum;
For Peebles, frae the water-fit,
     Ascends the holy rostrum:
See, up he’s got the word o’ God
     An’ meek an’ mim has view’d it,
While Common Sense has ta’en the road,
     An’s aff, an’ up the Cowgate
          Fast, fast that day.

Wee Miller niest the Guard relieves,
     An’ Orthodoxy raibles,
Tho’ in his heart he weel believes
     An’ thinks it auld wives’ fables:
But faith! the birkie wants a Manse,
     So cannilie he hums them;
Altho’ his carnal wit an’ sense
     Like hafflins-wise o’ercomes him
          At times that day.

Now **** an’ ben the change-house fills
     Wi’ yill-caup commentators:
Here’s cryin out for bakes an gills,
     An’ there the pint-stowp clatters;
While thick an’ thrang, an’ loud an’ lang,
     Wi’ logic an’ wi’ Scripture,
They raise a din, that in the end
     Is like to breed a rupture
          O’ wrath that day.

Leeze me on drink! it gies us mair
     Than either school or college
It kindles wit, it waukens lear,
     It pangs us fou o’ knowledge.
Be’t whisky-gill or penny-wheep,
     Or ony stronger potion,
It never fails, on drinkin deep,
     To kittle up our notion
          By night or day.

The lads an’ lasses, blythely bent
     To mind baith saul an’ body,
Sit round the table weel content,
     An’ steer about the toddy,
On this ane’s dress an’ that ane’s leuk
     They’re makin observations;
While some are cozie i’ the neuk,
     An’ forming assignations
          To meet some day.

But now the Lord’s ain trumpet touts,
     Till a’ the hills rae rairin,
An’ echoes back return the shouts—
     Black Russell is na sparin.
His piercing words, like highlan’ swords,
     Divide the joints an’ marrow;
His talk o’ hell, whare devils dwell,
     Our vera “sauls does harrow”
          Wi’ fright that day.

A vast, unbottom’d, boundless pit,
     Fill’d fou o’ lowin brunstane,
Whase ragin flame, an’ scorching heat
     *** melt the hardest whun-stane!
The half-asleep start up wi’ fear
     An’ think they hear it roarin,
When presently it does appear
     ’Twas but some neibor snorin,
          Asleep that day.

‘Twad be owre lang a tale to tell,
     How mony stories past,
An’ how they crouded to the yill,
     When they were a’ dismist:
How drink gaed round in cogs an’ caups
     Amang the furms an’ benches:
An’ cheese and bred frae women’s laps
     Was dealt about in lunches
          An’ dauds that day.

In comes a gausie, **** guidwife
     An’ sits down by the fire,
Syne draws her kebbuck an’ her knife;
     The lasses they are shyer:
The auld guidmen, about the grace
     Frae side to side they bother,
Till some ane by his bonnet lays,
     And gi’es them’t like a tether
          Fu’ lang that day.

Waesucks! for him that gets nae lass,
     Or lasses that hae naething!
Sma’ need has he to say a grace,
     Or melvie his braw clathing!
O wives, be mindfu’ ance yoursel
     How bonie lads ye wanted,
An’ dinna for a kebbuck-heel
     Let lasses be affronted
          On sic a day!

Now Clinkumbell, wi’ rattlin tow,
     Begins to jow an’ croon;
Some swagger hame the best they dow,
     Some wait the afternoon.
At slaps the billies halt a blink,
     Till lasses strip their shoon:
Wi’ faith an’ hope, an’ love an’ drink,
     They’re a’ in famous tune
          For crack that day.

How monie hearts this day converts
     O’ sinners and o’ lasses
Their hearts o’ stane, gin night, are gane
     As saft as ony flesh is.
There’s some are fou o’ love divine,
     There’s some are fou o’ brandy;
An’ monie jobs that day begin,
     May end in houghmagandie
          Some ither day.
Michael R Burch Nov 2020
Poems about Icarus

These are poems about Icarus, flying and flights of fancy...



Southern Icarus
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

and *****
its white rebellious wings,
and all

the houses watch with baffled eyes.



Flight 93
by Michael R. Burch

I held the switch in trembling fingers, asked
why existence felt so small, so purposeless,
like a minnow wriggling feebly in my grasp...

vibrations of huge engines thrummed my arms
as, glistening with sweat, I nudged the switch
to OFF... I heard the klaxon's shrill alarms

like vultures’ shriekings... earthward, in a stall...
we floated... earthward... wings outstretched, aghast
like Icarus... as through the void we fell...

till nothing was so beautiful, so blue...
so vivid as that moment... and I held
an image of your face, and dreamed I flew

into your arms. The earth rushed up. I knew
such comfort, in that moment, loving you.



I AM!
by Michael R. Burch

I am not one of ten billion―I―
sunblackened Icarus, chary fly,
staring at God with a quizzical eye.

I am not one of ten billion, I.

I am not one life has left unsquashed―
scarred as Ulysses, goddess-debauched,
pale glowworm agleam with a tale of panache.

I am not one life has left unsquashed.

I am not one without spots of disease,
laugh lines and tan lines and thick-callused knees
from begging and praying and girls sighing "Please!"

I am not one without spots of disease.

I am not one of ten billion―I―
scion of Daedalus, blackwinged fly
staring at God with a sedulous eye.

I am not one of ten billion, I
AM!



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.

This odd poem invokes and merges with the anonymous medieval poem “Tom O’Bedlam’s Song” and W. H. Auden’s modernist poem “Musee des Beaux Arts,” which in turn refers to Pieter Breughel’s painting “The Fall of Icarus.” In the first stanza Icarus levitates with the help of Athena, the goddess or wisdom, through “strange dreamlands” while Apollo, the sun god, lies sleeping. In the second stanza, Apollo predictably wakes up and Icarus plummets to earth, or back to mundane reality, as in Breughel’s painting and Auden’s poem. In the third stanza the grounded Icarus can still fly, but only in flights of imagination through dreams of love. In the fourth and fifth stanzas Icarus joins Tom Rynosseross of the Bedlam poem in embracing madness by deserting “knowledge” and its cages (ivory towers, etc.). In the final stanza Icarus agrees with Tom that it is “no journey” to wherever they’re going together and also agrees with Tom that they will injure no one along the way, no matter how intensely they glow and radiate. The poem can be taken as a metaphor for the death and rebirth of Poetry, and perhaps as a prophecy that Poetry will rise, radiate and reattain its former glory...



Free Fall (II)
by Michael R. Burch

I have no earthly remembrance of you, as if
we were never of earth, but merely white clouds adrift,
swirling together through Himalayan serene altitudes―
no more man and woman than exhaled breath―unable to fall
back to solid existence, despite the air’s sparseness: all
our being borne up, because of our lightness,
toward the sun’s unendurable brightness...

But since I touched you, fire consumes each wing!

We who are unable to fly, stall
contemplating disaster. Despair like an anchor, like an iron ball,
heavier than ballast, sinks on its thick-looped chain
toward the earth, and soon thereafter there will be sufficient pain
to recall existence, to make the coming darkness everlasting.



Fledglings
by Michael R. Burch

With her small eyes, pale and unforgiving,
she taught me―December is not for those
unweaned of love, the chirping nestlings
who bicker for worms with dramatic throats

still pinkly exposed, who have not yet learned
the first harsh lesson of survival: to devour
their weaker siblings in the high-leafed ferned
fortress and impregnable bower

from which men must fly like improbable dreams
to become poets. They have yet to learn that,
before they can soar starward, like fanciful archaic machines,
they must first assimilate the latest technology, or

lose all in the sudden realization of gravity,
following Icarus’s, sun-unwinged, singed trajectory.



The Higher Atmospheres
by Michael R. Burch

Whatever we became climbed on the thought
of Love itself; we floated on plumed wings
ten thousand miles above the breasted earth
that had vexed us to such Distance; now all things
seem small and pale, a girdle’s handsbreadth girth...

I break upon the rocks; I break; I fling
my human form about; I writhe; I writhe.
Invention is not Mastery, nor wings
Salvation. Here the Vulture cruelly chides
and plunges at my eyes, and coos and sings...

Oh, some will call the sun my doom, but Love
melts callow wax the higher atmospheres
leave brittle. I flew high: not high enough
to melt such frozen resins... thus, Her jeers.



Notes toward an Icarian philosophy of life...
by Michael R. Burch

If the mind’s and the heart’s quests were ever satisfied,
what would remain, as the goals of life?

If there was only light, with no occluding matter,
if there were only sunny mid-afternoons but no mysterious midnights,
what would become of the dreams of men?

What becomes of man’s vision, apart from terrestrial shadows?

And what of man’s character, formed
in the seething crucible of life and death,
hammered out on the anvil of Fate, by Will?

What becomes of man’s aims in the end,
when the hammer’s anthems at last are stilled?

If man should confront his terrible Creator,
capture him, hogtie him, hold his ***** feet to the fire,
roast him on the spit as yet another blasphemous heretic
whose faith is suspect, derelict...
torture a confession from him,
get him to admit, “I did it!...

what then?

Once man has taken revenge
on the Frankenstein who created him
and has justly crucified the One True Monster, the Creator...

what then?

Or, if revenge is not possible,
if the appearance of matter was merely a random accident,
or a group illusion (and thus a conspiracy, perhaps of dunces, us among them),
or if the Creator lies eternally beyond the reach of justice...

what then?

Perhaps there’s nothing left but for man to perfect his character,
to fly as high as his wings will take him toward unreachable suns,
to gamble everything on some unfathomable dream, like Icarus,
then fall to earth, to perish, undone...

or perhaps not, if the mystics are right
about the true nature of darkness and light.

Is there a source of knowledge beyond faith,
a revelation of heaven, of the Triumph of Love?

The Hebrew prophets seemed to think so,
and Paul, although he saw through a glass darkly,
and Julian of Norwich, who heard the voice of God say,
“All shall be well,
and all manner of things shall be well...”

Does hope spring eternal in the human breast,
or does it just blindly *****?



Icarus Bickerous
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Like Icarus, waxen wings melting,
white tail-feathers fall, bystanders pelting.

They look up amazed
and seem rather dazed―

was it heaven’s or hell’s furious smelting

that fashioned such vulturish wings?
And why are they singed?―

the higher you “rise,” the more halting?



Earthbound, a Vision of Crazy Horse
by Michael R. Burch

Tashunka Witko, a Lakota Sioux better known as Crazy Horse, had a vision of a red-tailed hawk at Sylvan Lake, South Dakota. In his vision he saw himself riding a spirit horse, flying through a storm, as the hawk flew above him, shrieking. When he awoke, a red-tailed hawk was perched near his horse.

Earthbound,
and yet I now fly
through the clouds that are aimlessly drifting...
so high
that no sound
echoing by
below where the mountains are lifting
the sky
can be heard.

Like a bird,
but not meek,
like a hawk from a distance regarding its prey,
I will shriek,
not a word,
but a screech,
and my terrible clamor will turn them to clay―
the sheep,
the earthbound.

Published by American Indian Pride and Boston Poetry Magazine



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

It is the nature of loveliness to vanish
as butterfly wings, batting against nothingness
seek transcendence...

Originally published by Hibiscus (India)



The Wonder Boys
by Michael R. Burch

(for Leslie Mellichamp, the late editor of The Lyric,
who was a friend and mentor to many poets, and
a fine poet in his own right)

The stars were always there, too-bright cliches:
scintillant truths the jaded world outgrew
as baffled poets winged keyed kites―amazed,
in dream of shocks that suddenly came true...

but came almost as static―background noise,
a song out of the cosmos no one hears,
or cares to hear. The poets, starstruck boys,
lay tuned in to their kite strings, saucer-eared.

They thought to feel the lightning’s brilliant sparks
electrify their nerves, their brains; the smoke
of words poured from their overheated hearts.
The kite string, knotted, made a nifty rope...

You will not find them here; they blew away―
in tumbling flight beyond nights’ stars. They clung
by fingertips to satellites. They strayed
too far to remain mortal. Elfin, young,

their words are with us still. Devout and fey,
they wink at us whenever skies are gray.

Originally published by The Lyric



American Eagle, Grounded
by Michael R. Burch

Her predatory eye,
the single feral iris,
scans.

Her raptor beak,
all jagged sharp-edged ******,
juts.

Her hard talon,
clenched in pinched expectation,
waits.

Her clipped wings,
preened against reality,
tremble.

Published as “Tremble” by The Lyric, Verses Magazine, Romantics Quarterly, Journeys, The Raintown Review, Poetic Ponderings, Poem Kingdom (All-Star Tribute), The Fabric of a Vision, NPAC―Net Poetry and Art Competition, Poet’s Haven, Listening To The Birth Of Crystals(Anthology), Poetry Renewal, Inspirational Stories, Poetry Life & Times, MahMag (Iranian/Farsi), The Eclectic Muse (Canada)



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 merged, remaining two...

And Grief, which lurked unseen beyond the lens
or in shadows where It crept on furtive claws
as It scritched 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.



Springtime Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

They’ll have to grow like crazy,
the springtime baby geese,
if they’re to fly to balmier climes
when autumn dismembers the leaves...

And so I toss them loaves of bread,
then whisper an urgent prayer:
“Watch over these, my Angels,
if there’s anyone kind, up there.”

Originally published by The HyperTexts



Learning to Fly
by Michael R. Burch

We are learning to fly
every day...

learning to fly―
away, away...

O, love is not in the ephemeral flight,
but love, Love! is our destination―

graced land of eternal sunrise, radiant beyond night!
Let us bear one another up in our vast migration.



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.

Published by Songs of Innocence, Romantics Quarterly, The Chained Muse and Poetry Life & Times. This is a poem I wrote for my favorite college English teacher, George King, about poetic kinship, brotherhood and romantic flights of fancy.



For a Palestinian Child, with Butterflies
by Michael R. Burch

Where does the butterfly go
when lightning rails,
when thunder howls,
when hailstones scream,
when winter scowls,
when 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?

Published by Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly, Poetry Life & Times, Victorian Violet Press (where it was nominated for a “Best of the Net”), The Contributor (a Nashville homeless newspaper), Siasat (Pakistan), and set to music as a part of the song cycle “The Children of Gaza” which has been performed in various European venues by the Palestinian soprano Dima Bawab



Sioux Vision Quest
by Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux (circa 1840-1877)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A man must pursue his Vision
as the eagle explores
the sky's deepest blues.

Published by Better Than Starbucks, A Hundred Voices



in-flight convergence
by Michael R. Burch

serene, almost angelic,
the lights of the city ―― extend ――
over lumbering behemoths
shrilly screeching displeasure;
they say
that nothing is certain,
that nothing man dreams or ordains
long endures his command

here the streetlights that flicker
and those blazing steadfast
seem one: from a distance;
descend,
they abruptly
part ―――――― ways,

so that nothing is one
which at times does not suddenly blend
into garish insignificance
in the familiar alleyways,
in the white neon flash
and the billboards of Convenience

and man seems the afterthought of his own Brilliance
as we thunder down the enlightened runways.

Originally published by The Aurorean and subsequently nominated for the Pushcart Prize



Squall
by Michael R. Burch

There, in that sunny arbor,
in the aureate light
filtering through the waxy leaves
of a stunted banana tree,

I felt the sudden monsoon of your wrath,
the clattery implosions
and copper-bright bursts
of the bottoms of pots and pans.

I saw your swollen goddess’s belly
wobble and heave
in pregnant indignation,
turned tail, and ran.

Published by Chrysanthemum, Poetry Super Highway, Barbitos and Poetry Life & Times



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

Eagle, raven, blackbird, crow...
What you are I do not know.
Where you go I do not care.
I’m unconcerned whose meal you bear.
But as you mount the sunlit sky,
I only wish that I could fly.
I only wish that I could fly.

Robin, hawk or whippoorwill...
Should men care that you hunger still?
I do not wish to see your home.
I do not wonder where you roam.
But as you scale the sky's bright stairs,
I only wish that I were there.
I only wish that I were there.

Sparrow, lark or chickadee...
Your markings I disdain to see.
Where you fly concerns me not.
I scarcely give your flight a thought.
But as you wheel and arc and dive,
I, too, would feel so much alive.
I, too, would feel so much alive.

This is a poem that I believe I wrote as a high school sophomore. But it could have been written a bit later. I seem to remember the original poem being influenced by William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl."



Flying
by Michael R. Burch

I shall rise
and try the ****** wings of thought
ten thousand times
before I fly...

and then I'll sleep
and waste ten thousand nights
before I dream;
but when at last...

I soar the distant heights of undreamt skies
where never hawks nor eagles dared to go,
as I laugh among the meteors flashing by
somewhere beyond the bluest earth-bound seas...

if I'm not told
I’m just a man,
then I shall know
just what I am.

This is one of my early poems, written around age 16-17. According to my notes, I may have revised the poem later, in 1978, but if so the changes were minor because the poem remains very close to the original.



Stage Craft-y
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a dromedary
who befriended a crafty canary.
Budgie said, "You can’t sing,
but now, here’s the thing―
just think of the tunes you can carry!"



Clyde Lied!
by Michael R. Burch

There once was a mockingbird, Clyde,
who bragged of his prowess, but lied.
To his new wife he sighed,
"When again, gentle bride?"
"Nevermore!" bright-eyed Raven replied.



Less Heroic Couplets: ****** Most Fowl!
by Michael R. Burch

“****** most foul!”
cried the mouse to the owl.

“Friend, I’m no sinner;
you’re merely my dinner!”
the wise owl replied
as the tasty snack died.

Published by Lighten Up Online and in Potcake Chapbook #7

NOTE: In an attempt to demonstrate that not all couplets are heroic, I have created a series of poems called “Less Heroic Couplets.” I believe even poets should abide by truth-in-advertising laws! ― MRB



Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.



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.



Delicacy
by Michael R. Burch

for all good mothers

Your love is as delicate
as a butterfly cleaning its wings,
as soft as the predicate
the hummingbird sings
to itself, gently murmuring―
“Fly! Fly! Fly!”
Your love is the string
soaring kites untie.



Lone Wild Goose
by Du Fu (712-770)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The abandoned goose refuses food and drink;
he cries querulously for his companions.

Who feels kinship for that strange wraith
as he vanishes eerily into the heavens?

You watch it as it disappears;
its plaintive calls cut through you.

The indignant crows ignore you both:
the bickering, bantering multitudes.

Du Fu (712-770) is also known as Tu Fu. The first poem is addressed to the poet's wife, who had fled war with their children. Ch'ang-an is an ironic pun because it means "Long-peace."



The Red Cockatoo
by Po Chu-I (772-846)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A marvelous gift from Annam―
a red cockatoo,
bright as peach blossom,
fluent in men's language.

So they did what they always do
to the erudite and eloquent:
they created a thick-barred cage
and shut it up.

Po Chu-I (772-846) is best known today for his ballads and satirical poems. Po Chu-I believed poetry should be accessible to commoners and is noted for his simple diction and natural style. His name has been rendered various ways in English: Po Chu-I, Po Chü-i, Bo Juyi and Bai Juyi.



The Migrant Songbird
Li Qingzhao aka Li Ching-chao (c. 1084-1155)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The migrant songbird on the nearby yew
brings tears to my eyes with her melodious trills;
this fresh downpour reminds me of similar spills:
another spring gone, and still no word from you...



Lines from Laolao Ting Pavilion
by Li Bai (701-762)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The spring breeze knows partings are bitter;
The willow twig knows it will never be green again.



The Day after the Rain
Lin Huiyin (1904-1955)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I love the day after the rain
and the meadow's green expanses!
My heart endlessly rises with wind,
gusts with wind...
away the new-mown grasses and the fallen leaves...
away the clouds like smoke...
vanishing like smoke...



Untitled Translations

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

As autumn deepens,
a butterfly sips
chrysanthemum dew.
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Come, butterfly,
it’s late
and we’ve a long way to go!
―Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Up and at ’em! The sky goes bright!
Let’***** the road again,
Companion Butterfly!
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Ah butterfly,
what dreams do you ply
with your beautiful wings?
―Chiyo-ni, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Oh, dreamlike winter butterfly:
a puff of white snow
cresting mountains
―Kakio Tomizawa, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Dry leaf flung awry:
bright butterfly,
goodbye!
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku

Will we remain parted forever?
Here at your grave:
two flowerlike butterflies
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

a soaring kite flits
into the heart of the sun?
Butterfly & Chrysanthemum
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku

The cheerful-chirping cricket
contends gray autumn's gay,
contemptuous of frost
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Whistle on, twilight whippoorwill,
solemn evangelist
of loneliness
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

The sea darkening,
the voices of the wild ducks:
my mysterious companions!
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Lightning
shatters the darkness―
the night heron's shriek
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

This snowy morning:
cries of the crow I despise
(ah, but so beautiful!)
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

A crow settles
on a leafless branch:
autumn nightfall.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hush, cawing crows; what rackets you make!
Heaven's indignant messengers,
you remind me of wordsmiths!
―O no Yasumaro (circa 711), loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Higher than a skylark,
resting on the breast of heaven:
this mountain pass.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

An exciting struggle
with such a sad ending:
cormorant fishing.
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Does my soul abide in heaven, or hell?
Only the sea gull
in his high, lonely circuits, may tell.
―Glaucus, translation by Michael R. Burch

The eagle sees farther
from its greater height―
our ancestors’ wisdom
―Michael R. Burch, original haiku

A kite floats
at the same place in the sky
where yesterday it floated...
―Yosa Buson, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Critical Mass
by Michael R. Burch

I have listened to the rain all this morning
and it has a certain gravity,
as if it knows its destination,
perhaps even its particular destiny.
I do not believe mine is to be uplifted,
although I, too, may be flung precipitously
and from a great height.

"Gravity" and "particular destiny" are puns, since rain droplets are seeded by minute particles of dust adrift in the atmosphere and they fall due to gravity when they reach "critical mass." The title is also a pun, since the poem is skeptical about heaven-lauding Masses, etc.



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 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...



Leaf Fall
by Michael R. Burch

Whatever winds encountered soon resolved
to swirling fragments, till chaotic heaps
of leaves lay pulsing by the backyard wall.
In lieu of rakes, our fingers sorted each
dry leaf into its place and built a high,
soft bastion against earth's gravitron―
a patchwork quilt, a trampoline, a bright
impediment to fling ourselves upon.

And nothing in our laughter as we fell
into those leaves was like the autumn's cry
of also falling. Nothing meant to die
could be so bright as we, so colorful―
clad in our plaids, oblivious to pain
we'd feel today, should we leaf-fall again.

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea



The Folly of Wisdom
by Michael R. Burch

She is wise in the way that children are wise,
looking at me with such knowing, grave eyes
I must bend down to her to understand.
But she only smiles, and takes my hand.

We are walking somewhere that her feet know to go,
so I smile, and I follow...

And the years are dark creatures concealed in bright leaves
that flutter above us, and what she believes―
I can almost remember―goes something like this:
the prince is a horned toad, awaiting her kiss.

She wiggles and giggles, and all will be well
if only we find him! The woodpecker’s knell
as he hammers the coffin of some dying tree
that once was a fortress to someone like me

rings wildly above us. Some things that we know
we are meant to forget. Life is a bloodletting, maple-syrup-slow.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

for Richard Moore

1.
Shrill gulls,
how like my thoughts
you, struggling, rise
to distant bliss―
the weightless blue of skies
that are not blue
in any atmosphere,
but closest here...

2.
You seek an air
so clear,
so rarified
the effort leaves you famished;
earthly tides
soon call you back―
one long, descending glide...

3.
Disgruntledly you ***** dirt shores for orts
you pull like mucous ropes
from shells’ bright forts...
You eye the teeming world
with nervous darts―
this way and that...

Contentious, shrewd, you scan―
the sky, in hope,
the earth, distrusting man.



Songstress
by Michael R. Burch

Within its starkwhite ribcage, how the heart
must flutter wildly, O, and always sing
against the pressing darkness: all it knows
until at last it feels the numbing sting
of death. Then life's brief vision swiftly passes,
imposing night on one who clearly saw.
Death held your bright heart tightly, till its maw―
envenomed, fanged―could swallow, whole, your Awe.
And yet it was not death so much as you
who sealed your doom; you could not help but sing
and not be silenced. Here, behold your tomb's
white alabaster cage: pale, wretched thing!
But you'll not be imprisoned here, wise wren!
Your words soar free; rise, sing, fly, live again.

A poet like Nadia Anjuman can be likened to a caged bird, deprived of flight, who somehow finds it within herself to sing of love and beauty. But when the world finally robs her of both flight and song, what is left for her but to leave the world, thus bereaving the world of herself and her song?



Performing Art
by Michael R. Burch

Who teaches the wren
in its drab existence
to explode into song?

What parodies of irony
does the jay espouse
with its sharp-edged tongue?

What instinctual memories
lend stunning brightness
to the strange dreams

of the dull gray slug
―spinning its chrysalis,
gluing rough seams―

abiding in darkness
its transformation,
till, waving damp wings,

it applauds its performance?
I am done with irony.
Life itself sings.



Lean Harvests
by Michael R. Burch

for T.M.

the trees are shedding their leaves again:
another summer is over.
the Christians are praising their Maker again,
but not the disconsolate plover:
i hear him berate
the fate
of his mate;
he claims God is no body’s lover.

Published by The Rotary Dial and Angle



My Forty-Ninth Year
by Michael R. Burch

My forty-ninth year
and the dew remembers
how brightly it glistened
encrusting September,...
one frozen September
when hawks ruled the sky
and death fell on wings
with a shrill, keening cry.

My forty-ninth year,
and still I recall
the weavings and windings
of childhood, of fall...
of fall enigmatic,
resplendent, yet sere,...
though vibrant the herald
of death drawing near.

My forty-ninth year
and now often I've thought on
the course of a lifetime,
the meaning of autumn,
the cycle of autumn
with winter to come,
of aging and death
and rebirth... on and on.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly as “My Twenty-Ninth Year”



Myth
by Michael R. Burch

Here the recalcitrant wind
sighs with grievance and remorse
over fields of wayward gorse
and thistle-throttled lanes.

And she is the myth of the scythed wheat
hewn and sighing, complete,
waiting, lain in a low sheaf―
full of faith, full of grief.

Here the immaculate dawn
requires belief of the leafed earth
and she is the myth of the mown grain―
golden and humble in all its weary worth.



What Works
by Michael R. Burch

for David Gosselin

What works―
hewn stone;
the blush the iris shows the sun;
the lilac’s pale-remembered bloom.

The frenzied fly: mad-lively, gay,
as seconds tick his time away,
his sentence―one brief day in May,
a period. And then decay.

A frenzied rhyme’s mad tip-toed time,
a ballad’s languid as the sea,
seek, striving―immortality.

When gloss peels off, what works will shine.
When polish fades, what works will gleam.
When intellectual prattle pales,
the dying buzzing in the hive
of tedious incessant bees,
what works will soar and wheel and dive
and milk all honey, leap and thrive,

and teach the pallid poem to seethe.



Desdemona
by Michael R. Burch

Though you possessed the moon and stars,
you are bound to fate and wed to chance.
Your lips deny they crave a kiss;
your feet deny they ache to dance.
Your heart imagines wild romance.

Though you cupped fire in your hands
and molded incandescent forms,
you are barren now, and―spent of flame―
the ashes that remain are borne
toward the sun upon a storm.

You, who demanded more, have less,
your heart within its cells of sighs
held fast by chains of misery,
confined till death for peddling lies―
imprisonment your sense denies.

You, who collected hearts like leaves
and pressed each once within your book,
forgot. None―winsome, bright or rare―
not one was worth a second look.
My heart, as others, you forsook.

But I, though I loved you from afar
through silent dawns, and gathered rue
from gardens where your footsteps left
cold paths among the asters, knew―
each moonless night the nettles grew

and strangled hope, where love dies too.

Published by Penny Dreadful, Carnelian, Romantics Quarterly, Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Life & Times



Transplant
by Michael R. Burch

You float, unearthly angel, clad in flesh
as strange to us who briefly knew your flame
as laughter to disease. And yet you laugh.
Behind your smile, the sun forfeits its claim
to earth, and floats forever now the same―
light captured at its moment of least height.

You laugh here always, welcoming the night,
and, just a photograph, still you can claim
bright rapture: like an angel, not of flesh―
but something more, made less. Your humanness
this moment of release becomes a name
and something else―a radiance, a strange
brief presence near our hearts. How can we stand
and chain you here to this nocturnal land
of burgeoning gray shadows? Fly, begone.
I give you back your soul, forfeit all claim
to radiance, and welcome grief’s dark night
that crushes all the laughter from us. Light
in someone Else’s hand, and sing at ease
some song of brightsome mirth through dawn-lit trees
to welcome morning’s sun. O daughter! these
are eyes too weak for laughter; for love’s sight,
I welcome darkness, overcome with light.



Prodigal
by Michael R. Burch

This poem is dedicated to Kevin Longinotti, who died four days short of graduation from Vanderbilt University, the victim of a tornado that struck Nashville on April 16, 1998.

You have graduated now,
to a higher plane
and your heart’s tenacity
teaches us not to go gently
though death intrudes.

For eighteen days
―jarring interludes
of respite and pain―
with life only faintly clinging,
like a cashmere snow,
testing the capacity
of the blood banks
with the unstaunched flow
of your severed veins,
in the collapsing declivity,
in the sanguine haze
where Death broods,
you struggled defiantly.

A city mourns its adopted son,
flown to the highest ranks
while each heart complains
at the harsh validity
of God’s ways.

On ponderous wings
the white clouds move
with your captured breath,
though just days before
they spawned the maelstrom’s
hellish rift.

Throw off this mortal coil,
this envelope of flesh,
this brief sheath
of inarticulate grief
and transient joy.

Forget the winds
which test belief,
which bear the parchment leaf
down life’s last sun-lit path.

We applaud your spirit, O Prodigal,
O Valiant One,
in its percussive flight into the sun,
winging on the heart’s last madrigal.



Breakings
by Michael R. Burch

I did it out of pity.
I did it out of love.
I did it not to break the heart of a tender, wounded dove.

But gods without compassion
ordained: Frail things must break!
Now what can I do for her shattered psyche’s sake?

I did it not to push.
I did it not to shove.
I did it to assist the flight of indiscriminate Love.

But gods, all mad as hatters,
who legislate in all such matters,
ordained that everything irreplaceable shatters.



An Illusion
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was as hushed as the breath of a bee
and the world was bathed in shades of palest gold
when I awoke.

She came to me with the sound of falling leaves
and the scent of new-mown grass;
I held out my arms to her and she passed

into oblivion...

This is one of my early poems, written around age 16 and published in my high school literary journal, The Lantern.



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 Locker
by Michael R. Burch

All the dull hollow clamor has died
and what was contained,
removed,

reproved
adulation or sentiment,
left with the pungent darkness

as remembered as the sudden light.

Originally published by The Raintown Review



Keywords/Tags: Sports, locker, lockerroom, clamor, adulation, acclaim, applause, sentiment, darkness, light, retirement, athlete, team, trophy, award, acclamation


Keywords/Tags: Icarus, Daedalus, flight, fly, flying, wind, wings, sun, height, heights, fall, falling, ascent, descent, imagination, bird, birds, butterfly, butterflies, hawk, eagle, geese, plane, kite, kites, mrbfly, mrbflight, mrbicarus
Thomas May 2016
"**** yourself!"
"**** yourself!" the words say to me taunting me as they float above my head, I try to build a wall but they walk through it,
"Your useless!"
"Your useless!" they say as I am pecked,
"It's fu.....g basic!"
"It's fu.....g basic!"
The words they flap around me blurring my vision,
"It's something that a 9 year old would get!"
"It's something that a 9 year old would get!"
I start to cry, I falter but am not ready to fall yet,
"Your so fu.....g selfish, 'it's all about me!"
"Your so fu.....g selfish 'it's all about me!"
I fall to the ground and try to cover my ears, but they peck at my hands so that I hear them,
"I don't want to see you!"
"I don't want to see you!"
I start screaming, my ears are bleeding now,
"Don't expect to get my approval when your this fu.....g selfish!"
"Don't expect to get my approval when your this fu.....g selfish!"
I try to get up but they dive at me striking my efforts,
"What kind of son does this!"
"What kind of fu.....g son does this to their mother!"
I just lye there hopeless and I whisper a word, just one tiny word,

"me..."
I close my eyes and the words fly away.
I dedicate this poem to my mother.
first step

when he looks at a woman he searches for qualities that attract him because he wants to desire her yet this tendency creates an imbalance or disadvantage he is rendered weak to a woman’s beauty or whatever traits he idealizes self-realizing this propensity he looks away from women years of disappointment neglect change him he becomes afraid of women gynophobic

2

when she looks at a man she searches for qualities she is critical of because she wants to be impervious to his power she is suspicious of all men their upper body strength penchant to be in control misperception of women as property misogyny emotional immaturity neediness to be mommyed selfishness insensitivity or over-sensitivity depending she wants to be treated with equal respect a loving nurturing relationship she is suspicious of all people their alternate realities passive aggressive behavior co-dependence craziness

3

he sees her then looks away she suspiciously notices nothing happens they go back to their separate homes alone always home alone grown calm in resignation yet disbelieving of this destiny saddened by this fate both worry about future she looks at her face naked body in mirror her stomach churns feels sad sickening remembers time when she was more carefree he puts one foot in front of other then walks tries to remember who taught him to walk how many times did he fall who taught him to laugh where did his sense of humor go

4

he sees her thinks she is lovely resists the urge to turn away he smiles says hello she notices nervously smiles her shaky voice articulates louder than a whisper hi

Tucson 2-step

they are standing in line at a café on 4th avenue he is directly behind her she is lanky wearing white background faded colors patterned summer dress thin straps over bare shoulders long brown hair few gray strands small unfinished tattoo on left calf leather slip-ons 1 inch heals he is at a complete loss for words thinks to make remark about the weather decides not to overhead fan stirs hot humid July air barista girl asks what she would like her eyes scan blackboard menu behind counter she hesitates remarks help him i need an extra moment to decide he steps up to counter money in hand orders small to go Arnold Palmer half black current lays $3 on counter mentions change goes in tip jar thank you barista girl moves fast he lifts cup from counter glances at woman still deciding then at barista girl says have a wonderful day turns walks out door dawns on him woman grows hair under her arms his 2nd most compelling female physique adornment fetish oh god he thinks to himself should i wait for her to make up her mind then approach try to craft conversation at least find out her name no i’m too weak in this moment she is so lovely let her go

2

she orders double Americana in small cup to go room for soy milk thinks to herself he did greet her perhaps their paths will cross on street why did he run off so fast she glances toward front of café notices window seat changes her mind instructs barista ******* 2nd thought make it for here digs through purse realizes she left wallet in truck explains to barista girl she needs to run out to her vehicle to retrieve wallet forgotten under front seat the air on the street is heavy dense she smells her own perspiration looks north then south does not see him walks to truck feels exhausted appetiteless almost nauseous wishes she did not order a drink thinks to get behind wheel drive home go to sleep

Tucson 3-step tango

she feels disappointment by her recent writings as if she is reaching a more sophisticated audience and setting a higher standard for her work yet she is not living up to her ambitions her recent writings smell of her past writings too emotional the damaged woman wounded child she wants to write more introspectively with detached humor that only comes from keener intelligence she slams her laptop shut decides to go to Club Congress for a ****** mary or margarita but Club Congress is haunted with small town cretins losers wannabes she considers Maynard’s decides Maynard’s is too safe suburban yuppyish finally gives in to thought of glass of pinot noir at Plush next comes what to wear jeans in mid-July desert heat is unacceptable perhaps loose fitting thin cotton white summer dress thin leather belt ankle high indian moccasins hair in ponytail no pigtail braids no ponytail no makeup maybe little ylang ylang oil no she thinks about her recent writings

2

i am one breath away from crying in every moment one breath away from flying m.i.a. in every moment one breath away from destroying everything there is beauty in ugliness beauty in decrepitude disease beauty in harm hurt suffering beauty in greed injustice betrayal beauty in corruption contamination pollution beauty in hate cruelty ignorance beauty in death we spend our whole lives searching for a good death we spend our whole lives searching for eternal love this modern world is too much for me over my head the horrors of this place are beyond words unspeakable voice inside maybe mom yells quit your whining or dad hollers stop complaining i am trying to smile through tears one breath away from giving in one breath away from becoming stranger to myself winter spring winter spring there is beauty in nothingness we spend our whole lives searching for ourselves learning who we are not finding grasping secrets from dark paths light trails winter spring winter spring i am one breath away

3

she sits alone at bar at Plush glass of pinot noir glass of ice water in front of her 2 bearded older men eye her from other end of bar she ignores them glances at her wristwatch tries to look like she is waiting for someone music from speakers antiquated rock standard it is early friday hours from dusk moderate middle aged crowd mingle wait for local jazz trio to begin she thinks about her recent writings wonders is it too late for love considers lesbian affair from 5 different perspectives 5 woman’s voices each describing same lesbian affair in 5 opposing accounts hmmm she sips dark red wine from glass chases it with ice water she considers a story about a gang of female bikers who ride south to Mexico

4

the Americans came through here last night crossing border illegally climbing over our fences digging tunnels beneath our barrier walls littering along their trail they travel in packs of every skin color carry guns knives explosives wear leather boots some are shirtless tattoos dyed hair mischievously smiling conceitedly stealing when in question murdering they rob our homes slaughter our chickens ransack gardens loot our harvest you can still smell the stink of their fast food breaths

5

she swallows the last dark red wine from glass chases it with ice water local jazz trio begins to play as bar fills with more people she decides to walk home one foot in front of other wonders who taught her how to walk how many times did she fall she laughs to herself

Tucson square dance

TPD 10-18 unconfirmed data report

7 post-University of Arizona female graduates go to Cactus Moon for several drinks and dancing then drive to Bashful Bandit for more drinks and dancing 2 women get into scuffle victim Brittany Garner female 23 years of age race #5 (Native American, Eskimo, Middle -Eastern, Other) 5’ 2” long black hair cut-off blue jean shorts clingy light blue top falls hits head on side of bar dies of fatal blow to skull forensics report crushed occipital lobe assailant Stacy Won female 31 years of age race #4 (Asian) 5’6” black jeans black leather jacket red helmet Honda motorcycle still at large

witness accounts

Jess Delaney female 33 years of age race #2 (White) 6’ tight black pencil skirt white sleeveless undershirt no bra 3” heels blond ponytail “that squirting little **** deserves everything she got she lied told Stacy i’m a ***** i never cheated on Brittany i don’t understand we were all having a good time getting buzzed and dancing we should never have left Cactus Moon **** Kerrie thought some biker dude might be hanging around the Bandit hell maybe the Bandit was a biker bar once but now it’s just a college sink hole full of drunken frat boys when Monique flashed a little *** they went crazy cheering and buying us shots it just got out of hand never should have happened the way it happened Stacy didn’t mean to **** Brittany it’s ****** up i want to go home please let me go home”

Sabrina Starn female 29 years of age race #2 (White) 5’8” trendy corporate gray suit black pumps red shoulder length hair “i have to be at work at 8 AM Stacy was drunk out of control she gets crazy when she drinks Brittany was trash talking pushing all Stacy’s buttons then Stacy accused Brittany of sleeping with Monique and all hell broke loose i didn’t see what happened i was in the powder room it’s a terrible tragedy unfortunate accident can i please be released i need to sleep this is madness”

Kerrie Angeles female 27 years of age race #1 (Hispanic) 5’ 6” black pants white shirt black hair cut stylishly short silver crucifix around neck red fingernails “when we got to the Bashful Bandit i was ***** soaking between my legs thinking about a cowgirl at Cactus Moon ready to **** anyone i saw fantasized pulling a train with those frat boys Monique had been kind of quiet at Cactus Moon but when we got to the Bashful Bandit she lit up dancing wild unbuttoning her top jacket Sabrina went to the ladies room to snort coke with biker dude Kerrie wanted but he wasn’t into her then Brittany started saying crazy stuff accusing Stacy of stealing Monique from Jess Jessie goes through women heartlessly she doesn’t give a **** about Monique Jessie knows if she wants Monique back she can simply fiddle a finger my guess is Stacy is half way to Argentina she never meant to **** Brittany i’m going to miss her real bad she was a good kid”

Ann Skyler female 28 years of age race  #2 (White) 4’ 11’’ green white red Mexican peasant skirt black t-shirt black high-tops hair in messy bun “i’m confused i saw them dancing laughing grinding up against each other Rage Against the Machine came on then Nine Inch Nails the room felt quaking dizzy claustrophobic then they were pushing each other shoving yelling frat boys cheering the next thing i knew Brittany was supine on the floor blood pouring out maybe she just slipped hit her head i don’t know what to think i feel real sad confused sick to my stomach scared”

Monique Smithson female 24 years of age race # 3 (Black) 5’ 9” blue jeans jean jacket cowboy boots nose ring braided pigtails “Stacy had it in for Brittany from the start i saw it in her eyes at Cactus Moon she made several clever toxic remarks they snapped at each other i never thought it would escalate to ****** poor sweet Brittany was always so susceptible i was looking down adjusting my jeans over my boots when it happened i heard felt a big thump glanced up Brittany was lying there lifeless blood spilling everywhere Stacy ran out fast i heard her bike engine take off in a hurry”

Rodeo Drive Tucson

matt’s hats tom’s tools & tobacco lou’s liquors fred’s beds frank’s planks bill’s drills jane’s drains & panes chuck’s check cashing cheryl’s barrels hank’s tanks tina’s trucks & tractors walt’s asphalt sean’s pawn rick’s rifles mom’s guns terry’s tires charlie’s harleys rhonda’s hondas jim’s rims art’s parts gus’s gasoline mike’s bikes frank’s feed gwen’s pens ann’s cans nancy’s nursery joes‘s clothes jess’s dresses bert’s skirts steve’s sleeves paul’s shawls michelle’s shells & bells al’s pails & snails sam’s hams & jams patty’s pancakes phil’s chili don’s donuts betty’s spaghetti bob’s burgers alycia’s quiches jean’s beans jerry’s berries anna’s bananas andy’s candies cathy’s taffies tony’s ponies roy’s toys kim’s whims marty’s parties jill’s pills rick’s tricks alice’s palace debbie’s disposal dave’s graves

Quinta Waltz de Tucson

she is definitely displeased profoundly disappointed in her latest literary efforts she dreams aches to create deeper discourse higher insight more thoughtful philosophical inquiries about life’s challenges beauty a better world overpowering love inspiration instead she writes paperback television trash stupid inadequate answers to solemn questions she wonders if she is too scratched dented to find love her ******* are definitely changing she is deeply disturbed not ready for menopause too young for menopause she wants to remain a fertile woman with smooth skin wet ******

2

her neighbor Leslie awoke to horrible morning Leslie’s 6 chickens were assaulted overnight precious Mabel dragged off feathers everywhere trail down the street other hens cowering slumped together with wilted necks 3 of them with puncture wounds Leslie carried them one by one inside washed their wounds hugged them cried who did this terrible act a neglected abusive neighborhood cat or some desert predator why didn’t Leslie wake to sounds of savage marauding now this creature knows hen’s whereabouts when will it return for more massacre what modifications need to be enforced to ensure their coup before nightfall

3

she wants to remain a hen keep producing eggs does not want is not ready to enter the next **** stage of this **** existence it was fun being pretty for men inspiring them to say do whacky things she wants to remain a hen she is definitely displeased profoundly disappointed in her latest literary attempts “Tucson square dance” (self-referential) ****** bit about Americans came through here last night in “Tucson 3-step” ****** "Rodeo Drive" tepid perhaps the pinot noir lowered her standards everything is becoming nothing she cannot sleep tosses turns thrashes sheets in humid heat of her lonesome bed is she is too scratched dented to find love she worries for Leslie

4

tomorrow is another day they say the rain will come last year’s monsoon never came the baking sun smothered her garden died one by one sleepless she will miss tomorrow’s pilates class the infrequent delightful chatty breakfast afterwards she dreams aches of deeper discourse higher insight with detached humor that only comes from keener intelligence more thoughtful philosophical inquiries about life’s challenges beauty a better world overpowering love inspiration she crossed the line tonight her ******* are definitely changing

Tucson 666

he decides to shave eighth to quarter inch length salt and pepper beard a.k.a. unshaven look he has worn for years and grow full mustache the whiskers on his upper lip are darker with sparse gray at first no one notices after weeks the mustache gradually fills evoking many contrasting remarks several women loath it several men admire it girl at grocery store suggests he grow Fu Manchu so she can tug on it shopgirl says he looks like Charlie Chaplin downstairs neighbor from Turkey explains most Turkish men traditionally wear mustaches he read mustaches masculinize and empower men especially men in authoritative positions he thinks back to the 1960’s when many hippie males grew mustaches then in the 70’s gay men fashioned mustaches then in the 80’s cops adopted mustaches he wonders why a swatch of hair beneath nose is so provoking examines his visage in mirror discerns the mustache confers a Pepé le Pew quality or European accent to his appearance he remembers when he was young hippie with many amorous episodes how his mustache preserved the scent of a woman but there are no women in his life for many years do post-menopausal women possess scent? he feels indecisive whether to retain it or be rid of it

2

she observes her figure in mirror thinks to herself maybe her ******* are not changing perhaps it’s all in her head she inspects the little lines forming near her eyelids studies her features for signs of aging hardly any silver strands in long brown hair she examines neck ******* arms elbows fingers tummy hips pelvic region thighs knees shins calves ankles feet detects subtle changes thinks to herself my ******* are possibly slightly changing turned 40 in March married briefly in late teens no children a 15 year old dog beginning to suffer veterinarian promises to warn her when the time comes she wonders why it is so difficult finding fitting mate men sleep with her several times then move on maybe she is not such a great lover perhaps she would be better if one of them stuck around perhaps she is a lesbian the whole ide
NitaAnn Apr 2014
The truth is that life isn’t fair– it isn’t, but “you do the best you can” – at least that’s what I’ve been told.

The truth is I don’t even know which one of ‘me’ is real and I’m scared of the many times I leave my body and can no longer communicate, it makes me feel unsafe and the truth is it happens every single night.

The truth is I’m scared all the time because at any minute I could change into someone else and bad things can happen.

The truth is every single night my body aches with sharp and persistent pain, and I cannot rest, or find comfort. And the truth is I prefer not to be present when the pain becomes unbearable.

The truth is I feel overwhelmed with the chaos inside my head and the pain in my body – and the truth is I know that no one will be there, so why would I even ‘write’ how it feels anymore?

The truth is DT has no idea what happens now because the truth I don’t think he really wants to know and he wants to believe that because I don’t ‘email’ him or leave him a ‘voicemail’ that I must be doing better. Good Job, Nita, you are doing such a great job navigating through the pain, in a much “healthier” way. But the truth is he doesn’t know anything about my “nightly navigation”.

The truth is no one wanted to know the TRUTH then, and no one wants to know it now. No one wants to see, or hear, about a man fu@#ing a kid. Because the TRUTH is that it’s disgusting and revolting, and horrifying…and the thought really turns the stomach of anyone who hears it. And the truth is, if it makes you feel that way to hear it, then imagine how disgusting it feels to be a kid who was fu@#ed.

The truth is I scared as hell that one day I will seriously hurt or **** myself. Because the truth is that we do tend to hurt and **** ourselves, and if ‘one’ of us does it – the rest of us are scared as hell that it will happen to another survivor!

The truththe truth is a journey into madness…and you can’t handle my ‘truth’. Because your truth and my truth are WAY to different…

The truth is I’m not that scarred when I’m covered up – and the truth is no one wants to see those scars because it’s uncomfortable and perhaps a reality check that the world really is fu@#ed up – and adults really do f@#k kids – and people like me really do hurt themselves and **** themselves.

The truth is everyone ignores what isn’t “spoken” and the truth is everyone is shocked as hell when the unspeakable happens.

The truth is “I” am not the one with the blinders on. And the truth is you don’t see me now because you don’t want to see me. Because you WANT to believe that I’m doing “better” as a result of your “boundaries” and “limits” (what a good doctor you are!- pure genius…she finally ‘accepts’ the limitations –and as a result huge sigh she’s doing so much better) – but the truth is you don’t know because you don’t ask, and you don’t ask because you don’t want to know- because it’s not pretty and it certainly isn’t something you see in a showroom window.

And the truth is you don’t know what my reality is because you don’t want to know, you don’t want to see. Because my reality is covered up with clothing, eyes that hide the truth, the ability to use humor to hide even the most painful feelings, and a bright smile.

And that’s okay – but really….your truth and my truth are as far apart as Earth and Venus.

Smile Pretty for the Camera, Nita ...that's "perfect."
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
We spread all over the continent
Your underwater girl event
So many times we
spoke curled up in
each other
I heard your getting
married to my
friend's brother huh?

Best friends acting silly
Girly- Goose rhymes
Girls with special
privileges


Like the magical tales
All the males get
better wages

And we are stuck
The unfurl girl
On fuel she got
The longer life eyelashes


The Gossamer
Pink Owl it's her
The Consumer Male
Play Bill

The pink lady fussy-Playgirl hat
The dreamer what's new Pussycat
Her body lined all sheer inside
the curtain's play pretend
he calls every time
Her pink slippers are on

Mystical time of men
Lucky Red dragons
* She Opens up pink for him
She's around all He's
Kitchen pink polka dots
In her Galley pink apron
He's in Las Vegas winning
the slots
Pink Mustang Sally
The dark magenta
Pink sugar pop
Mary Kay
Faraway Fay Dunaway
Powder Puff Maina Delray
Jekyll and Hyde
I'm certain I see him, Sir
She's in the Girl furled State

"It's a girl thing always
showing up late"

Girly whirly Artsy celebrate
Like a party pink
Gatsby
Impromptu
Pink pillow talk naps
Spinning bottle
Oh! her brassiere
Ginger
snaps

Girl gone Genie
in her tutu
The Girly gathering
Coffee and brunch Kong Fu

Whats up with her menu
Eye opener Pirates Carribean
Had her Jungle Jane meal
Those feminine smiles
*** appeal
A million stars of
masculinity the rough shave
Pretty in pink ladies
never behave

Girl's of pink pearls of
Mercedes
Let's bury the hatchet

Unfurl Girl Girl

Her Pink/Gold locket shines
Boys and Girls rocket
Spa creamy
The religiously told prophet
Easter Bunny Jack Rabbit
The habitats of the fervor my
Godly savor
The girl goes overboard
Femininity ****** creatures
not Saints we cannot be
what we ain't
      Gods
We got the girly features

Many people despise the rose crush
We are a naturally sweet  whole bunch

The pink feminine gift
Be careful in your
girly ways look to your left
Let us change our evil days
Unfurl Girl Girl her path to the right
Prayers become artificial
Materialistic Girl talk should be realistic

Animalistic our instinct ******
The girly specimen up to date
The sweet and so modest
She's the divine
A kiss on the hand
Confidential
Smelling all sweet

Elizabeth violet blue voice
She symbolizes
Grace so sweet the papers
For a real divorce
Wild untamed unfurled
All softly curled and loved
He looks at her the way
she looks now
But here to Eternity, she looks
amazingly well
Shes the girl-girl unfurl
He's handsomely tall she
is the Princess dressed frilly
Pink champagne ball
Their girly wishing well
who wants to tell?
Unfurl so many twists then body curl or the cheese curls but we are "Girls" having fun what we do best  the world turns but we are girls in swirls spinning twirls we do what we are told to learn? We love feminine smells of perfume and masculine smells of men perfect balance how we look at it remarkable gift we all have
Ari Feb 2010
there are so many places to hide,

in my home at 17th and South screaming death threats at my roommates laughing diabolically playing  videogames and Jeopardy cooking quinoa stretching canvas the dog going mad frothing lunging  spastic to get the monkeys or the wookies or whatever random commandments we issue forth  drunken while Schlock rampages the backdrop,

at my uncle's row house on 22nd and Wallace with my shoes off freezing skipping class to watch March  Madness unwrapping waxpaper hoagies grimacing with each sip of Cherrywine or creamsicle  soda reading chapters at my leisure,

in the stacks among fiberglass and eternal florescent lima-tiled and echo-prone red-eyed and white-faced  caked with asbestos and headphones exhuming ossified pages from layers of cosmic dust  presiding benevolent,

in University City disguised in nothing but a name infiltrating Penn club soccer getting caught after  scoring yet still invited to the pure ***** joy of hell and heaven house parties of ice luge jungle  juice kegstand coke politic networking,

at Drexel's nightlit astroturf with the Jamaicans rolling blunts on the sidelines playing soccer floating in  slo-mo through billows of purple till the early morning or basketball at Penn against goggle- eyed professors in kneepads and copious sweat,

in the shadow tunnels behind Franklin Field always late night loner overlooking rust belt rails abandoned  to an absent tempo till tomorrow never looking behind me in the fear that someone is there,

at Phillies Stadium on glorious summer Tuesdays for dollar dog night laden with algebra geometry and  physics purposely forgetting to apply ballistics to the majestic arc of a home run or in the frozen  subway steam selling F.U. T.O. t-shirts to Eagles fans gnashing when the Cowboys come to town,

at 17th and Sansom in the morning bounding from Little Pete's scrambled eggs toast and black coffee  studying in the Spring thinking All is Full of Love in my ears leaving fog pollen footprints on the  smoking cement blooming,

at the Shambhala Center with dharma lotus dripping from heels soaking rosewater insides thrumming to the  groan of meditation,

at the Art Museum Greco-fleshed and ponderous counting tourists running the Rocky steps staring into shoji screen tatame teahouses,

at the Lebanese place plunked boldly in Reading Terminal Market buying hummus bumping past the Polish  and Irish on my way to the Amish with their wheelwagons packed with pretzels and honey and  chocolate and tea,

at the motheaten thrift store on North Broad buried under sad accumulations of ramshackle clothing  clowning ridiculous in the dim squinting at coathangers through magnifying glasses and mudflat  leather hoping to salvage something insane,

in the brown catacombed warrens of gutted Subterranea trying unsuccessfully to ignore bearded medicine

men adorned with shaman shell necklaces hawking incense bootlegs and broken Zippos halting conversation to listen pensive to the displacement of air after each train hurtles by,

at 30th Street Station cathedral sitting dwarfed by columns Herculean in their ascent and golden light  thunderclap whirligig wings on high circling the luminous waiting sprawled nascent on stringwood pews,

at the Masonic Temple next to City Hall, pretending to be a tourist all the while hoping scouring for clues in the cryptic grand architect apocrypha to expose global conspiracies,

at the Trocadero Electric Factory TLA Khyber Unitarian Church dungeon breaking my neck to basso  perfecto glitch kick drums with a giant's foot stampeding breakbeat holographic mind-boggled  hole-in-the-skull intonations,

at the Medusa Lounge Tritone Bob and Barbara's Silk City et cetera with a pitcher a pounder of Pabst and a  shot of Jim Beam glowing in the dark at the foosball table disco ball bopstepping to hip hop and  jazz and accordions and piano and vinyl,

in gray Fishtown at Gino's recording rap holding pizza debates on the ethics of sampling anything by  David Axelrod rattling tambourines and smiles at the Russian shopgirl downstairs still chained to  soul record crackles of antiquity spiraling from windows above,

at Sam Doom's on 12th and Spring Garden crafting friendship in greenhouse egg crate foam closets  breaking to scrutinize cinema and celebrate Thanksgiving blessed by holy chef Kronick,

in the company of Emily all over or in Kohn's Antiques salvaging for consanguinity and quirky heirlooms  discussing mortality and cancer and celestial funk chord blues as a cosmological constant and  communism and Cuba over mango brown rice plantains baking oatmeal chocolate chip cookies,

in a Coca Cola truck riding shotgun hot as hell hungover below the raging Kensington El at 6 AM nodding soft to the teamsters' curses the snagglesouled destitute crawling forth poisoned from sheet-metal shanty cardboard box projects this is not desolate,

at the impound lot yet again accusing tow trucks of false pretext paying up sheepish swearing I'll have my  revenge,

in the afterhour streets practicing trashcan kung fu and cinder block shotput shouting sauvage operatic at  tattooed bike messenger tribesmen pitstopped at the food trucks,

in the embrace of those I don't love the names sometimes rush at me drowned and I pray to myself for  asylum,

in the ciphers I host always at least 8 emcee lyric clerics summoning elemental until every pore ruptures  and their eyes erupt furious forever the profound voice of dreadlocked Will still haunting stray  bullet shuffles six years later,

in the caldera of Center City with everyone craning our skulls skyward past the stepped skyscrapers  beaming ear-to-ear welcoming acid sun rain melting maddeningly to reconstitute as concrete  rubber steel glass glowing nymphs,

in Philadelphia where every angle is accounted for and every megawatt careers into every throbbing wall where  Art is a mirror universe for every event ever volleyed through the neurons of History,

in Philadelphia of so many places to hide I am altogether as a funnel cloud frenetic roiling imbuing every corner sanctum sanctorum with jackhammer electromagnetism quivering current realizing stupefied I have failed so utterly wonderful human for in seeking to hide I have found

in Philadelphia
My best Ginsberg impression.
...about to do FORTY YEARS...

how much
more do
you need
to see
that you
are in
a tyranny?


This is akin to handing Socrates a poisoned vial

Dre,
in his new documentary on HBO...

he says,
if it doesn't feel right
I'M OUT.

Does THIS feel right?

a million+white kids feel yah,
a million plus
feel
yah

TIME

TO GET OUT!

9/29/2017

If I were a White Judge,

Man
what i would give to
have gone to law school
and been a White Judge

Right Now

A Black Capitalist acts like J.P. Morgan

"Off the chain I leave CONGRESS soft in the brain cause SCUMBAGS still want the fame,
off the name, First of all, you ain't STOLE long enough to be fu ckin with me
and you, you ain't strong enough
So whatever it is you puffin on that got you think that you
Superman I got the Kryptonite, should I smack him with my **** and the mic?"
*
-DMX (sic)
reverse
psychology
works
don't it?
a Black Life matters here..
Cedric McClester Apr 2015
By: Cedric McClester

I can’t say for certain
What might have been
But I think about it
Every now and then
Cos no one ever got
Underneath my skin
The way you did
So I can’t pretend

You know that you had me
Totally sprung
When you French kissed me
With your tongue
My brain got scramnled
Like egg fu yung
And I loved the way
How it was done

I got caught up
In your spider’s web
I gave you my love
For your pretense instead
I think you’d agree
With everything I said
Though that was long ago
So why wake up the dead

You know that you had me
Totally sprung
When you French kissed me
With your tongue
My brain got scramnled
Like egg fu yung
And I loved the way
How it was done

It’s my fault
I guess you could say
So why did I
Bring it up anyway
Certain things die
While the memories stay
How could I forget you
Anyhow anyway

You know that you had me
Totally sprung
When you French kissed me
With your tongue
My brain got scramnled
Like egg fu yung
And I loved the way
How it was done

I can’t say for certain
What might have been
But I think about it
Every now and then
Cos no one ever got
Underneath my skin
The way you did
So I can’t pretend

(c) Copyright 2015, Cedric McClester.  All rights reserved.
IN SEARCH OF THE PRESENT

I begin with two words that all men have uttered since the dawn of humanity: thank you. The word gratitude has equivalents in every language and in each tongue the range of meanings is abundant. In the Romance languages this breadth spans the spiritual and the physical, from the divine grace conceded to men to save them from error and death, to the ****** grace of the dancing girl or the feline leaping through the undergrowth. Grace means pardon, forgiveness, favour, benefice, inspiration; it is a form of address, a pleasing style of speaking or painting, a gesture expressing politeness, and, in short, an act that reveals spiritual goodness. Grace is gratuitous; it is a gift. The person who receives it, the favoured one, is grateful for it; if he is not base, he expresses gratitude. That is what I am doing at this very moment with these weightless words. I hope my emotion compensates their weightlessness. If each of my words were a drop of water, you would see through them and glimpse what I feel: gratitude, acknowledgement. And also an indefinable mixture of fear, respect and surprise at finding myself here before you, in this place which is the home of both Swedish learning and world literature.

Languages are vast realities that transcend those political and historical entities we call nations. The European languages we speak in the Americas illustrate this. The special position of our literatures when compared to those of England, Spain, Portugal and France depends precisely on this fundamental fact: they are literatures written in transplanted tongues. Languages are born and grow from the native soil, nourished by a common history. The European languages were rooted out from their native soil and their own tradition, and then planted in an unknown and unnamed world: they took root in the new lands and, as they grew within the societies of America, they were transformed. They are the same plant yet also a different plant. Our literatures did not passively accept the changing fortunes of the transplanted languages: they participated in the process and even accelerated it. They very soon ceased to be mere transatlantic reflections: at times they have been the negation of the literatures of Europe; more often, they have been a reply.

In spite of these oscillations the link has never been broken. My classics are those of my language and I consider myself to be a descendant of Lope and Quevedo, as any Spanish writer would ... yet I am not a Spaniard. I think that most writers of Spanish America, as well as those from the United States, Brazil and Canada, would say the same as regards the English, Portuguese and French traditions. To understand more clearly the special position of writers in the Americas, we should think of the dialogue maintained by Japanese, Chinese or Arabic writers with the different literatures of Europe. It is a dialogue that cuts across multiple languages and civilizations. Our dialogue, on the other hand, takes place within the same language. We are Europeans yet we are not Europeans. What are we then? It is difficult to define what we are, but our works speak for us.

In the field of literature, the great novelty of the present century has been the appearance of the American literatures. The first to appear was that of the English-speaking part and then, in the second half of the 20th Century, that of Latin America in its two great branches: Spanish America and Brazil. Although they are very different, these three literatures have one common feature: the conflict, which is more ideological than literary, between the cosmopolitan and nativist tendencies, between Europeanism and Americanism. What is the legacy of this dispute? The polemics have disappeared; what remain are the works. Apart from this general resemblance, the differences between the three literatures are multiple and profound. One of them belongs more to history than to literature: the development of Anglo-American literature coincides with the rise of the United States as a world power whereas the rise of our literature coincides with the political and social misfortunes and upheavals of our nations. This proves once more the limitations of social and historical determinism: the decline of empires and social disturbances sometimes coincide with moments of artistic and literary splendour. Li-Po and Tu Fu witnessed the fall of the Tang dynasty; Velázquez painted for Felipe IV; Seneca and Lucan were contemporaries and also victims of Nero. Other differences are of a literary nature and apply more to particular works than to the character of each literature. But can we say that literatures have a character? Do they possess a set of shared features that distinguish them from other literatures? I doubt it. A literature is not defined by some fanciful, intangible character; it is a society of unique works united by relations of opposition and affinity.

The first basic difference between Latin-American and Anglo-American literature lies in the diversity of their origins. Both begin as projections of Europe. The projection of an island in the case of North America; that of a peninsula in our case. Two regions that are geographically, historically and culturally eccentric. The origins of North America are in England and the Reformation; ours are in Spain, Portugal and the Counter-Reformation. For the case of Spanish America I should briefly mention what distinguishes Spain from other European countries, giving it a particularly original historical identity. Spain is no less eccentric than England but its eccentricity is of a different kind. The eccentricity of the English is insular and is characterized by isolation: an eccentricity that excludes. Hispanic eccentricity is peninsular and consists of the coexistence of different civilizations and different pasts: an inclusive eccentricity. In what would later be Catholic Spain, the Visigoths professed the heresy of Arianism, and we could also speak about the centuries of ******* by Arabic civilization, the influence of Jewish thought, the Reconquest, and other characteristic features.

Hispanic eccentricity is reproduced and multiplied in America, especially in those countries such as Mexico and Peru, where ancient and splendid civilizations had existed. In Mexico, the Spaniards encountered history as well as geography. That history is still alive: it is a present rather than a past. The temples and gods of pre-Columbian Mexico are a pile of ruins, but the spirit that breathed life into that world has not disappeared; it speaks to us in the hermetic language of myth, legend, forms of social coexistence, popular art, customs. Being a Mexican writer means listening to the voice of that present, that presence. Listening to it, speaking with it, deciphering it: expressing it ... After this brief digression we may be able to perceive the peculiar relation that simultaneously binds us to and separates us from the European tradition.

This consciousness of being separate is a constant feature of our spiritual history. Separation is sometimes experienced as a wound that marks an internal division, an anguished awareness that invites self-examination; at other times it appears as a challenge, a spur that incites us to action, to go forth and encounter others and the outside world. It is true that the feeling of separation is universal and not peculiar to Spanish Americans. It is born at the very moment of our birth: as we are wrenched from the Whole we fall into an alien land. This experience becomes a wound that never heals. It is the unfathomable depth of every man; all our ventures and exploits, all our acts and dreams, are bridges designed to overcome the separation and reunite us with the world and our fellow-beings. Each man's life and the collective history of mankind can thus be seen as attempts to reconstruct the original situation. An unfinished and endless cure for our divided condition. But it is not my intention to provide yet another description of this feeling. I am simply stressing the fact that for us this existential condition expresses itself in historical terms. It thus becomes an awareness of our history. How and when does this feeling appear and how is it transformed into consciousness? The reply to this double-edged question can be given in the form of a theory or a personal testimony. I prefer the latter: there are many theories and none is entirely convincing.

The feeling of separation is bound up with the oldest and vaguest of my memories: the first cry, the first scare. Like every child I built emotional bridges in the imagination to link me to the world and to other people. I lived in a town on the outskirts of Mexico City, in an old dilapidated house that had a jungle-like garden and a great room full of books. First games and first lessons. The garden soon became the centre of my world; the library, an enchanted cave. I used to read and play with my cousins and schoolmates. There was a fig tree, temple of vegetation, four pine trees, three ash trees, a nightshade, a pomegranate tree, wild grass and prickly plants that produced purple grazes. Adobe walls. Time was elastic; space was a spinning wheel. All time, past or future, real or imaginary, was pure presence. Space transformed itself ceaselessly. The beyond was here, all was here: a valley, a mountain, a distant country, the neighbours' patio. Books with pictures, especially history books, eagerly leafed through, supplied images of deserts and jungles, palaces and hovels, warriors and princesses, beggars and kings. We were shipwrecked with Sinbad and with Robinson, we fought with d'Artagnan, we took Valencia with the Cid. How I would have liked to stay forever on the Isle of Calypso! In summer the green branches of the fig tree would sway like the sails of a caravel or a pirate ship. High up on the mast, swept by the wind, I could make out islands and continents, lands that vanished as soon as they became tangible. The world was limitless yet it was always within reach; time was a pliable substance that weaved an unbroken present.

When was the spell broken? Gradually rather than suddenly. It is hard to accept being betrayed by a friend, deceived by the woman we love, or that the idea of freedom is the mask of a tyrant. What we call "finding out" is a slow and tricky process because we ourselves are the accomplices of our errors and deceptions. Nevertheless, I can remember fairly clearly an incident that was the first sign, although it was quickly forgotten. I must have been about six when one of my cousins who was a little older showed me a North American magazine with a photograph of soldiers marching along a huge avenue, probably in New York. "They've returned from the war" she said. This handful of words disturbed me, as if they foreshadowed the end of the world or the Second Coming of Christ. I vaguely knew that somewhere far away a war had ended a few years earlier and that the soldiers were marching to celebrate their victory. For me, that war had taken place in another time, not here and now. The photo refuted me. I felt literally dislodged from the present.

From that moment time began to fracture more and more. And there was a plurality of spaces. The experience repeated itself more and more frequently. Any piece of news, a harmless phrase, the headline in a newspaper: everything proved the outside world's existence and my own unreality. I felt that the world was splitting and that I did not inhabit the present. My present was disintegrating: real time was somewhere else. My time, the time of the garden, the fig tree, the games with friends, the drowsiness among the plants at three in the afternoon under the sun, a fig torn open (black and red like a live coal but one that is sweet and fresh): this was a fictitious time. In spite of what my senses told me, the time from over there, belonging to the others, was the real one, the time of the real present. I accepted the inevitable: I became an adult. That was how my expulsion from the present began.

It may seem paradoxical to say that we have been expelled from the present, but it is a feeling we have all had at some moment. Some of us experienced it first as a condemnation, later transformed into consciousness and action. The search for the present is neither the pursuit of an earthly paradise nor that of a timeless eternity: it is the search for a real reality. For us, as Spanish Americans, the real present was not in our own countries: it was the time lived by others, by the English, the French and the Germans. It was the time of New York, Paris, London. We had to go and look for it and bring it back home. These years were also the years of my discovery of literature. I began writing poems. I did not know what made me write them: I was moved by an inner need that is difficult to define. Only now have I understood that there was a secret relationship between what I have called my expulsion from the present and the writing of poetry. Poetry is in love with the instant and seeks to relive it in the poem, thus separating it from sequential time and turning it into a fixed present. But at that time I wrote without wondering why I was doing it. I was searching for the gateway to the present: I wanted to belong to my time and to my century. A little later this obsession became a fixed idea: I wanted to be a modern poet. My search for modernity had begun.

What is modernity? First of all it is an ambiguous term: there are as many types of modernity as there are societies. Each has its own. The word's meaning is uncertain and arbitrary, like the name of the period that precedes it, the Middle Ages. If we are modern when compared to medieval times, are we perhaps the Middle Ages of a future modernity? Is a name that changes with time a real name? Modernity is a word in search of its meaning. Is it an idea, a mirage or a moment of history? Are we the children of modernity or its creators? Nobody knows for sure. It doesn't matter much: we follow it, we pursue it. For me at that time modernity was fused with the present or rather produced it: the present was its last supreme flower. My case is neither unique nor exceptional: from the Symbolist period, all modern poets have chased after that magnetic and elusive figure that fascinates them. Baudelaire was the first. He was also the first to touch her and discover that she is nothing but time that crumbles in one's hands. I am not going to relate my adventures in pursuit of modernity: they are not very different from those of other 20th-Century poets. Modernity has been a universal passion. Since 1850 she has been our goddess and our demoness. In recent years, there has been an attempt to exorcise her and there has been much talk of "postmodernism". But what is postmodernism if not an even more modern modernity?

For us, as Latin Americans, the search for poetic modernity runs historically parallel to the repeated attempts to modernize our countries. This tendency begins at the end of the 18th Century and includes Spain herself. The United States was born into modernity and by 1830 was already, as de Tocqueville observed, the womb of the future; we were born at a moment when Spain and Portugal were moving away from modernity. This is why there was frequent talk of "Europeanizing" our countries: the modern was outside and had to be imported. In Mexican history this process begins just before the War of Independence. Later it became a great ideological and political debate that passionately divided Mexican society during the 19th Century. One event was to call into question not the legitimacy of the reform movement but the way in which it had been implemented: the Mexican Revolution. Unlike its 20th-Century counterparts, the Mexican Revolution was not really the expression of a vaguely utopian ideology but rather the explosion of a reality that had been historically and psychologically repressed. It was not the work of a group of ideologists intent on introducing principles derived from a political theory; it was a popular uprising that unmasked what was hidden. For this very reason it was more of a revelation than a revolution. Mexico was searching for the present outside only to find it within, buried but alive. The search for modernity led
Mateuš Conrad Jan 2017
that's 3 weeks without a keyboard,
that's 3 weeks on a dual-detox -
         that's that: roughly: antagonism
of: once upon a time...
           there can only be one Hans Andersen,
and as the story goes: ol' granny
   passed on the tales, without which:
no talk of posterity, and seances at
the theatre; alternatively: what if Kierkegård
opted for opera, rather than theatre?
    well: horrid is the task of dropping names,
as if being a village idiot, in that
capacity: giving directions... no such thing!
  nonetheless: a horrid task...
3 weeks... without this horrid world-entanglement...
amphetamines in the wild west,
                   and yet... everything slows down...
that's 3 weeks without such ''luxury''...
    and would you believe it?
3 weeks went by: in a blink of an eye.
             strange, or what 21st century writers
fail to recognise: the ******* canvas has changed!
any-single-one-of-them bothered to scrutinise
this new canvas? anyone?
     ah yes, it's still in its adolescence -
it's still: Dostoyevsky, scuttering in the grand
dungeon: that's the Moscow underground.
             the canvas! the canvas!
                             and indeed, if this be some
bellowing horn, from the depths of some forsaken
place... i'll go into the street, and sabotage
civilisation with graffiti...
                     then again: i have the least
expectations, such that capitalism works...
poetry... and what investment have you made?
nil, or almost nil... evidently: zilch!
      ah, but to have invested in canvases,
a studio, paints, brushes... see... no one sees
investment in poetry: primarily because the poet
has done the minimal...
            unless of course it turns out to ****
with a hot poker something once resembling
nations... which now resides in the insane asylum
(even though those, have been abolished)
                           , nation - ooh! what a ***** word!
the left irksome sometimes uses it:
in theory: the nation-state...
                        and then there's the resurgence of
ancient Greece... in a sing-along:
maybe 'cos i'm a Londoner... brother! brother!
Athenian! Athenian!
                                       but we are born into
a Spartan wedlock... no one really bothers to
**** our gob with Shakespeare...
    then again that is the schizophrenia (alias
dualism) in humanity... thus, to be frank,
psychiatry can be congratulated, it has provided
one useful term... and i will use it, over and over again,
in a non-symptomatic way, because, i find,
it stands, as if the Olympic Graeae (Zeus, Poseidon
and Hades) eating the carcass of some inhabitant
of Tartarus...
                               evidently: tartar steak...
doubly evident: tartars, or the remnants of mongols,
settled in crimea, and elsewhere in the Ukraine...
   tartar                      tra-ta-ta-ta... ku ku ryku!
a ja fu! krecha! a ja znow... fu!       radowitą
uprzejmość... skłaniam...  
    or what i call: rising spontaneously from the depths...
polymaths applauded, the tribunal resides in
bilingualism... trenches... history... perspectives
and current affairs... wicker man media...
                        so... an example of pedantry?
ó....               that's an orthographic dignitary -
        an aesthetic muddle... as is
c-ha                               contending with samo-ha...
     ch                            came from antagonism of
cz                                   which was later antagonised
by č               in česka.... say that: hen party
bound to Prague... in the Czech republic...
                                          ch      k..­.
i am, quiet frankly... standing at the feet of the tower
of babel... and i'm looking up, and i see
correlations, and i see decimal marks,
which, when given enough geography,
can seem like England and the isles,
       and central Europe...
    Iberia? phantom of Seneca...
  eureka! let's begin, once again...
  why is there a continuum beginning with
Plato and Aristotle?
                                           we could become
reasonable people... told to deal with madmen...
we could claim beginnings with Seneca...
and Cicero...
                      and why? the Romans loved poetry...
the Greeks antagonised Homer...
            the Romans loved Horace, Virgil,
                           Ovid... perhaps we should really forget
beginning with Plato and Aristotle...
       the former has become a church,
the latter a dentist's assistant (minus the ancients'
concept of a joke).
                      evidently i have to finish off reading
Seneca... his educational letters to Lucilius....
      moralising ******* that he was, thus, perhaps
a nibble at Cicero? but i must say:
                           it has to begin somewhere,
so not necessarily in stale-bread Athens...
                      and having such perspectives helps
in claiming casual conversation?
   assuredly - if it doesn't involve talking about
the weather...
                                which is always a great mystery
   if it's given enough aurora.
   onto the mystery of dialectics,
as discovered by Alfred Jarry in his Faustroll
Pataphysics contraband...
                                                nag­ging agreement...
nodding without approval... (chapter 10) -
beginning with αληθη λεγεις εφη
        (you speak the truth, he replies) -
   and ending with ως δoκεì
                              (how true that seems)...
and then some dub-step...
        know nothing dROP! boom! jiggy jiggy,
get the rhythm.
   as i always find it hard to look at
    diacritical arithmetic...
                                  given the following
represent a prolonging: hangman:
       å, ā and ä...
                             esp. in Finnish -
stratum: hedningarna täss on nainen.
                        rolling yarn, plateau, two dips;
and i will never say something profound...
i'll just say something no one else has said,
benefit of the doubt? somewhere, someone,
                                      kneels at the same altar.
  such are the distinction - invaders from the
north, and invaders from the south...
                                           even with
crusading Golgotha mann -
the times? many bats, supers, spiders,
but not enough readings of thomas mann...
                              easily befallen into prune-nosed
high-airs... it comes with the diet of literature...
   unfortunately.
                              and with yet another book:
i have burried yet another living person
i could have had a beer with, and conversed.
it always happens, every time i read a book
i have to attend a funeral... by reading a book
i have burried someone alive...
                          shame, in all frankness...
    i will sit in a congested train, touch a breathing
body, and consecrate the touch with
a warring genuflect - harbringer of a Teutonic
passion for initiation: a komtur's slap across the cheek.
   chequers played with passions...
           and some have to be approached like
caged animals, their vocabulary as cages,
                and the whole world before them:
cageless!
             some have indeed become so encrusted in
their daily: routine, that it would take a zoologist
(thrice oh, begs some sort of diacritical marking)
rather than a psychologist to understand them...
    like the darting dupes they are, enshrined in
20% gratis! smile! have a nice day! boxing day sales!
all but pleasantries, fathoming the grave.
   stiff vocab and all other kinds of perfume...
                           a king and his charlatan knights,
who are merely ditto-heads.
                  and not of this world, afresh -
among the nimble hands prior to birth -
surely there is: more grandeour in birth
   that entry via a ******...
                            the greatest pain of ****...
and when the ancient treaty was signed
under the name: Augustus Cesarean - or
recommended for a need of aristocracy -
    it was, for a time, the mana magnetism:
and such was the rule of poetry:
rather than a crown, donned the laurel leaves...
donned the laurel leaves...
    and such was the covenant from ancient
foes when trying to assimilate the Jew...
three kings from Babylon,
                         the child in Egypt...
          no good tides from Nazareth...
         a crown of myrrh - later overshadowed
by dogmatic sprechen, simpler: thorns...
yella things... or rzepak, Essex is filled with it...
rzepak... so why bother adding a dot above
the z, when you get capricious and use rz to
denote the same?! thus a science:
voiced retroflex fricative... Stalingrad!
                       can you really stomach this kind
of jargon? if it wasn't for science fiction:
science would be twice removed from gott ist tot,
*******' worth of pondering, given the close
proximity rhyme... nothing that rhymes should
ever be taken seriously, it should be hymnal!
                         Horatio! mein lyre!
   mein Guinness leier! rabbi krähe -
     and they deem that ****** white when talking:
thinking? i'd prefer Cezanne in real life -
   maggot wriggling and all...
                                          as much eroticism
as bound to a dog slobbering its testicles:
which means ****-all in an almighty stance
   for a dollop of halleluyah in Nepal.
well: pretty talk, pretty pretty pretty: i feel pretty,
oh so butter-fly-e.
                                    2 week stance,
***** in autumn... but so many Swiss hues
coming from the same concentration of decay!
shweet!  zeit-ser!        and that's me talking
kindergarten german: innovation begins with
a fork and a spoon, should the tongue come to it...
            i see a poem,
i see something worth bugging... c.i.a.,
f.b.i., hannibal's lecture in Florence, Venice for
the rats... bugging... shoving...
  shovelling... necro grounding, rattling...
    windy via north... Icelandic...
drums along incisors of abstract gallop:
violins... fringes of the mustang... airy airy...
all regresses toward the Vulgate...
         like ****, like said, and the only pristine
stress comes with vanilla ice-cream,
or a medium-rare beef ****! hmph!
                         fa fa fa excesses with that hurling
puff...
                      and i did finish Kant's
critique of pure reason... minus two calendars...
but, so help me god, the 2nd volume was hiding
under some corner...
                           thus, from transcendental methodology
came plump apricots, plums and pears...
             sweet decay fruit baron...
              and it's called sugars in the intricacy of pulp...
lazily grown, dangling on that caricature of
a formerly known: full crop of wheat-crude fringe.
    2 years... honest to god!
         but so many books in between...
i was given a recommendation...
i cited it already... kraszewski's magnum opus...
29 books...
                       although that's history fictionalised...
but nonetheless, it really was about
     the cossack uprising in the 17th century...
   and it was, as i once said, something i can forgive
sienkiewicz - the film version,
as in: i will not read a book once it has been adapted
to a movie... it's self-evident that too many
people have read a piece of work and are gagging
for a conversation... but where's the playground?
           ******* cherades!
  chinese whispers and a Manchurian candidate!
  i thought as much.
                          and whenever it's not a preplaned
escapade, what becomes of the day?
     was it always about a stance for carpe diem?
  syllables: di                em.
                            carpe is said with more lubricant.
corpus diem. well, that's an alternative, however
you care to think about it.
                and whenever you care to think about,
the proof is there: mishandling misnomers:
poets as tattoo artists... although no one sees the ink,
signatures on a reader's brian (purposively altered,
toward a Michael Jackon he-he, and other:
albino castratos the church venerates!)...
   that's 3 weeks in a catholic country...
  3 weeks... if only the football was better,
      i'd be called Juan Sanchez...
               but, evidently, the football is bad...
     so it's catholicism on par with a sleeping inquisition...
no one really expected Monty Python to conjure
that one... because it never really took place,
not until a trans-generational exodus
postscript 2004... once western brothels were exhausted,
and the Arab started ******* a hippo...
              then it was all about lakes and rivers
and Las Vegas 2.0 in Dubai!
                     you say quack... i say:
                                                    easy target.
and they did receive a blessing from Allah...
enough ink to write out Dante's revision of the Koran,
and some Al-Sha'ke'pir to write a play called:
the Merchant of Mecca.
  last time i heard, when the reformation was
plauging Christendom, no one invited the Arabs...
these days i think the little Lutherans of Islam
watched too many historical movies...
me? pick up a crucifix and march to Jerusalem?
  and is that going to translate into:
   blame the populists! blame the nationalists!
it's like watching a circus... why is the Islamic
reformation asking for third party associates?
                  i was happy listening to
the klinik... albums: eat your heart out...
time + plague...
                             once again: the world narrative
gags for enough people to conjure up
     a placebo solipsism... and that's placebo
with a squiggly prefix (meaning? how far
that ambiguity will take you) - ~placebo...
well: since existentialists were bores...
it's about time to head for Scandinavia
   and ask: is that " ''                 for passing on
an inheritance, or better still: ripe for
acknowledging ambiguity?
                          and if you can shove this
  into your daily narrative... you better be
a connaisseur of chinese antiques...
                frailty... then again, theres: ******;
well hell yeah *****'h, it's a murky underwold
after all.
                     and yes: that's called a petting word...
some say hombre, and we'll all be amigos
and muskateers at the end of the story.
                                    finally... i feel like i'm writing
a poem that i'll never end...
              why? it was supposed to be about
how John Casimir of Sweden championed
  the crown away from his brother Prince Charles
(volume 1)...
                      the bishop of Breslau...
a recluse... couldn't ride a horse...
    then again: nothing worthy imitation...
beginning with a donkey...
                               the transfiguration of palms
into whips... 2000 years later
talk of Hercules is madness... that other bit?
complete sanity.
                              well... if that be the case...
the book is there... i signed it, 2nd volume of
Kant's critique...
  
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        an oak... in a forest of pine...
an oak in pine wood...

then onto the wood of sighs:

aH aH aH aH aH aH aH aH
aH aH aH aH aH aH aH aH
aH aH aH aH aH aH aH aH
aH aH aH aH aH aH aH aH
aH aH aH aH aH aH aH aH
aH aH aH aH aH aH aH aH
aH aH aH aH aH aH aH aH
          (somehow the surd escapes,
and later morphs into, but prior to)

a short script: variation on MW...

      pears' worth of blunting runes:
opulance s and ᛋ - versus z,
    congregation minor: the interchange, ß,
buttocks and *****, minus phantoms of erotica.
yet, taking into account trigonometry...
sine (genesis 0), and cosine (genesis 1),
or            M                                   W
(no Jew would dare believe the Latins have
the second 'alf of the proof: that loophole of all
things qab-cannibal-mystic - cravat donning
mystique - a flit's worth of sharpening,
or dental grit... flappy tongue,
flabby oyster, lazing for a crab's palette)...
so?

1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0
1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0

of course there's an
samuel nathan Aug 2011
And
i find myself sitting
drinking smoking
the saving grace
late night Kung Fu
on the television
white lotus clan style
against my swooping crane
defending honor
defining lip syncing
dignity left sinking
carefully choreographed madness
graceful
and somehow greatly unappreciated
they talk of honor and nobility
over tea
while
they talk of nonsense over spirits
fire in the holy temple
fire at the end
of my cigarette
as the fastest the eldest the master
returns to reign down vengeance
beckoning begging for a challenge
none to be found
bar none
in bar in land in tale
art in martial form
smiling like a school boy
bringing this certain soulless individual
joy
Alan S Bailey Feb 2019
To the tune of Five For Fighting's "100 Years to Live"

From "Frogs For Fighting"
Kermit Sings:

I'm just a simple green Muppet,
Good old friends with Scooter and Fuzzy,
And I'm small and skinny,
A quiet frog that's on the roam.

Animal's clearing out the whole fridge,
There's a Muppet chef inside the kitchen,
Making gibberish sounds,
Boiling a goose or baking rolls.

Piggy I'm alright with you,
No other Muppet pig will do,
MRS. PIGGY-there's never a wish better than this,
When you've got a hundred Muppet Tears TO GIVE...

I'm searching stars at the moment,
Still the frog-I'm just in love with a pig,
Dream of a connection,
A constellation for a sign,

Count goes "AH AH AH" when counting,
Cookie Monster's nomming on the cookies,
Snuffleupagus sounds like he just might have a cold...

But Piggy I'm alright with you,
You've got much might-no one can kick **** quite like you...

But piggy I'm OK with you,
MRS. PIGGY-there's never a wish better than this,
When you've got a hundred Muppet Tears TO GIVE...

Through a small Muppet's eyes
Can tell you no lies,
Bunson's Lab-a surprise,
Madness, havoc explode,
Beaker's running to hide,
We're moving on...

I'm feeling light at the moment,
Small as can be-the sky-all I view,
And I'm just reeling,
High up in the clouds-a message in blue,  
...Mrs. Piggy I'm alright with you,
You're black belt in Karate and Kung Fu,
Super Grover's on his way,
Every Muppet has their dog day...

Wooohooo-oohoohoo
Wooohooo-oohoohoo
Wooohooo-oohoohoo-ooh­oohoo

Piggy I'm alright with you,
There's no other Muppet pig like you,
MRS. PIGGY, there's never a wish-better than this...

When you've got a hundred Muppet Tears TO GIVE...
Sang to the tune of 100 Years to Live by Five For Fighting.

Frog's For Fighting, 100 Muppet Tears To Give.


"Well, no KIDDING Mrs. PIGGING!"
Cedric McClester Feb 2016
By: Cedric McClester

I can’t say for certain
What might have been
But I think about it
Every now and then
Cos no one ever got
Under my skin
The way you did
So I can’t pretend

You know that you had me
Totally sprung
When you French kissed me
With your tongue
My brain got scramnled
Like egg fu yung
And I loved the way
It was done

I got caught in
Your spider’s web
I gave you my love
You pretended instead
I think you’d agree
With everything that I said
Though that was long ago
So why wake up the dead

You know that you had me
Totally sprung
When you French kissed me
With your tongue
My brain got scramnled
Like egg fu yung
And I loved the way
It was done

It’s my fault
I guess you could say
So why did I
Bring it up anyway
Certain things die
While the memories stay
How could I forget you
Anyhow anyway

You know that you had me
Totally sprung
When you French kissed me
With your tongue
My brain got scramnled
Like egg fu yung
And I loved the way
It was done

I can’t say for certain
What might have been
But I think about it
Every now and then
Cos no one ever got
Under my skin
The way you did
So I can’t pretend
Egg Fu Yung is a copyright song lyric.
Sijo Robert Z Jun 2015
Black Gold, liquid energy, a morning obsession;
that here is the question, can we have another session.
Coffee is the great brew to share, an obsession,
with friends and family; and just to re freshen;

The time for the Saturday morning training,
just one-and-a-half hour remaining.
I am not complaining to be abstaining,
and refraining from the brew so sustaining
but it has to wait till one pm, after training.

So, i will see you, after the training of kung fu,
for this liquid black brew and something to chew,
today with my mordi kung fu crew,
so until then when i see you, adieu
zebra Mar 2017
oh honey ****
pen and ink **** star warrior
pretty little manga girl
twinkle wisp
with kung fu throwing stars
and triple steel samurai sword
that tear through others
made of pink taffy
and cherry juice fizz blood
moving like lightening
a flying gladiator
with dripping sweet rice
and tapioca milk shake *******

oh
you would taste so good to drink
out of a swirling sherbet punch bowl
with big ******* star goldfish
and hungry pink ***** lips octopus
drooling
sit on your face suckers

oh, fighter of one-legged midgets
the best part after a fresh ****
victory ****
to go down on them
their loli pop *****
butter ***** beautiful
springing through the top of your skull
cause you can't get enough

oh wow
happy hello kitty
***** plump plops
viscous
before the coup de grâce
as she twirls their chewing gum gizzards
with her little swizzle tongue
goo ga licious
before placing
what's left of their hose like glistening entrails
around her throat like a pearl necklace
only to get strangled with it
by double **** UFO boy
solar ******* hero of the universe
so hard
she spurts pineapple juice and *** donuts
out of pucker pie ****
**** banged cross eyed
like little girl manga never felt so good
addicted to cruel
whipped with a hella wet noodle
yes no yes no yes no
yes pleazzz
her big blue marble glass eyes
binocular kaleidoscopes
spring out on the floor
and roll around
turning into all seeing
anti-gravity magnetized
silver pin stripped spaceships
peopled by
evil omni ****** **** *****
screaming through eternity
in search of cosmic
tushi sushi
ogling wiggling ballerina butts

bubble gum for the eyeballs
Sijo Robert Z Jun 2015
On this chilly night,
so do not get a fright,
but rug up and come into the light,
at Mordialloc Training, Tonight.

We will do the warm-up, as is right
do some push ups for our might
and after this have a bite,
of some new chocolates, Tonight.

After this you will be ready outright,
with some cardie-vascular workout, quite,
and we will keep the schedule tight,
and do some partner-work too, Tonight.

So come and warm yourself by active rite,
maybe with a bit of sparring, no not fight,
and we will make it a delight, alright, alright,
when you come to Kung Fu training Tonight, Tonight.
A Tale

“Of Brownyis and of Bogilis full is this Buke.”
                              —Gawin Douglas.

When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
An’ folk begin to tak’ the gate;
While we sit bousing at the *****,
An’ getting fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o’Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter,
(Auld Ayr, wham ne’er a town surpasses,
For honest men and bonie lasses).

O Tam! hadst thou but been sae wise,
As ta’en thy ain wife Kate’s advice!
She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum,
A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum,
That frae November till October,
Ae market-day thou was nae sober;
That ilka melder, wi’ the miller,
Thou sat as lang as thou had siller;
That ev’ry naig was ca’d a shoe on,
The smith and thee gat roarin fou on;
That at the Lord’s house, ev’n on Sunday,
Thou drank wi’ Kirkton Jean till Monday.
She prophesied that, late or soon,
Thou would be found deep drowned in Doon;
Or catched wi’ warlocks in the mirk,
By Alloway’s auld haunted kirk.

Ah, gentle dames! it gars me greet,
To think how mony counsels sweet,
How mony lengthened sage advices,
The husband frae the wife despises!

But to our tale: Ae market-night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi’ reaming swats, that drank divinely;
And at his elbow, Souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
Tam lo’ed him like a vera brither;
They had been fou for weeks thegither.
The night drave on wi’ sangs an’ clatter;
And aye the ale was growing better:
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
Wi’ favours, secret, sweet, and precious:
The Souter tauld his queerest stories;
The landlord’s laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle.

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E’en drowned himself amang the *****;
As bees flee hame wi’ lades o’ treasure,
The minutes winged their way wi’ pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious,
O’er a’ the ills o’ life victorious!

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flow’r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white—then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow’s lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.—
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o’ night’s black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he tak’s the road in,
As ne’er poor sinner was abroad in.

The wind blew as ‘twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallowed;
Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellowed:
That night, a child might understand,
The De’il had business on his hand.

Weel mounted on his grey mare, Meg,
A better never lifted leg,
Tam skelpit on thro’ dub and mire,
Despising wind, and rain, and fire;
Whiles holding fast his gude blue bonnet;
Whiles crooning o’er some auld Scots sonnet;
Whiles glow’rin round wi’ prudent cares,
Lest bogles catch him unawares;
Kirk-Alloway was drawing nigh,
Whare ghaists and houlets nightly cry.

By this time he was cross the ford,
Whare in the snaw the chapman smoored;
And past the birks and meikle stane,
Whare drunken Charlie brak’s neck-bane;
And thro’ the whins, and by the cairn,
Whare hunters fand the murdered bairn;
And near the thorn, aboon the well,
Whare Mungo’s mither hanged hersel’.
Before him Doon pours all his floods;
The doubling storm roars thro’ the woods;
The lightnings flash from pole to pole;
Near and more near the thunders roll;
When, glimmering thro’ the groaning trees,
Kirk-Alloway seemed in a bleeze;
Thro’ ilka bore the beams were glancing;
And loud resounded mirth and dancing.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst mak’ us scorn!
Wi’ tippenny, we fear nae evil;
Wi’ usquabae, we’ll face the devil!
The swats sae reamed in Tammie’s noddle,
Fair play, he cared na deils a boddle.
But Maggie stood right sair astonished,
Till, by the heel and hand admonished,
She ventured forward on the light;
And, wow! Tam saw an unco sight!
Warlocks and witches in a dance;
Nae cotillion, brent new frae France,
But hornpipes, jigs, strathspeys, and reels,
Put life and mettle in their heels.
A winnock-bunker in the east,
There sat auld Nick, in shape o’ beast;
A towzie tyke, black, grim, and large,
To gie them music was his charge:
He ******* the pipes and gart them skirl,
Till roof and rafters a’ did dirl.—
Coffins stood round, like open presses,
That shawed the Dead in their last dresses;
And by some devilish cantraip sleight
Each in its cauld hand held a light,
By which heroic Tam was able
To note upon the haly table,
A murderer’s banes in gibbet-airns;
Twa span-lang, wee, unchristened bairns;
A thief, new-cutted frae a ****,
Wi’ his last gasp his gab did gape;
Five tomahawks, wi’ blude red-rusted;
Five scimitars, wi’ ****** crusted;
A garter, which a babe had strangled;
A knife, a father’s throat had mangled,
Whom his ain son o’ life bereft,
The grey hairs yet stack to the heft;
Wi’ mair of horrible and awfu’,
Which even to name *** be unlawfu’.

As Tammie glowered, amazed and curious,
The mirth and fun grew fast and furious:
The Piper loud and louder blew;
The dancers quick and quicker flew;
They reeled, they set, they crossed, they cleekit,
Till ilka carlin swat and reekit,
And coost her duddies to the wark,
And linket at it in her sark!

Now Tam, O Tam! had they been queans,
A’ plump and strapping in their teens;
Their sarks, instead o’ creeshie flainen,
Been snaw-white seventeen hunder linen!—
Thir breeks o’ mine, my only pair,
That ance were plush, o’ gude blue hair,
I *** hae gi’en them off my hurdies,
For ae blink o’ the bonie burdies!

But withered beldams, auld and droll,
Rigwoodie hags *** spean a foal,
Lowping and flinging on a crummock,
I wonder didna turn thy stomach.

But Tam kenned what was what fu’ brawlie:
‘There was ae winsome ***** and waulie’,
That night enlisted in the core
(Lang after kenned on Carrick shore;
For mony a beast to dead she shot,
And perished mony a bonie boat,
And shook baith meikle corn and bear,
And kept the country-side in fear);
Her cutty sark, o’ Paisley harn,
That while a lassie she had worn,
In longitude tho’ sorely scanty,
It was her best, and she was vauntie.
Ah! little kenned thy reverend grannie,
That sark she coft for her wee Nannie,
Wi’ twa pund Scots (’twas a’ her riches),
*** ever graced a dance of witches!

But here my Muse her wing maun cour,
Sic flights are far beyond her power;
To sing how Nannie lap and flang,
(A souple jade she was and strang),
And how Tam stood, like ane bewitched,
And thought his very een enriched;
Even Satan glowered, and fidged fu’ fain,
And hotched and blew wi’ might and main:
Till first ae caper, syne anither,
Tam tint his reason a’ thegither,
And roars out, “Weel done, Cutty-sark!”
And in an instant all was dark:
And scarcely had he Maggie rallied,
When out the hellish legion sallied.

As bees bizz out wi’ angry fyke,
When plundering herds assail their byke;
As open pussie’s mortal foes,
When, pop! she starts before their nose;
As eager runs the market-crowd,
When “Catch the thief!” resounds aloud;
So Maggie runs, the witches follow,
Wi’ mony an eldritch screech and hollow.

Ah, Tam! ah, Tam! thou’ll get thy fairin!
In hell they’ll roast thee like a herrin!
In vain thy Kate awaits thy comin!
Kate soon will be a woefu’ woman!
Now, do thy speedy utmost, Meg,
And win the key-stane of the brig;
There at them thou thy tail may toss,
A running stream they dare na cross.
But ere the key-stane she could make,
The fient a tail she had to shake!
For Nannie, far before the rest,
Hard upon noble Maggie prest,
And flew at Tam wi’ furious ettle;
But little wist she Maggie’s mettle—
Ae spring brought off her master hale,
But left behind her ain grey tail:
The carlin claught her by the ****,
And left poor Maggie scarce a stump.

Now, wha this tale o’ truth shall read,
Ilk man and mother’s son, take heed:
Whene’er to drink you are inclined,
Or cutty-sarks run in your mind,
Think, ye may buy the joys o’er dear,
Remember Tam o’Shanter’s mare.
Sijo Robert Z Jun 2015
Not every one knows who shall pass in the end,
Watching the training of Monk ***** Defence.
Who will manage the attack real well and defend,
And who will step aside and run away with good sense.

The time to compete is nearly at hand,
With a new weaponry style to commence
Come to training today and see how you withstand
The attacks on you person with Monks *****, bare hand defense!

And after all this that excellent Brew
That we will share and enjoy immense.
Look forward to training with You,
That most awesome of styles which we call Shaolin Self Defence
fairlyfreaksome Jul 2015
spining spinnig spinning spinnging spinging spinining spinning spinning psinngin psinnging psinning spining psminnng psinng psing spinning itching tiching tiching itching itching ithcintign itching ithc nihting itching itching itching my chgest chest chet chest chets chest chesth ches thchc chest chest chestch sthech sethch schesth chesth seht esht eshthe sehches stghse tpanic panic panic panic itching panich painc itchingpainic pinaibng pinc ananc intching paning cnians pannigba sicthicn itcthing itching ithcing itching ithchi nhelp help help ehple help e helpe helpe helpe help help help ehlp ehlpe help ehple go waay away waway away away away aya away away away waya waya awaya waya away awaya no i don’t wnat o ts see ll you this coffee get the **** out of my ****** gface itching itchin gnaimial itching reage rage rage rrage gar eget the **** cis ssifi ficuking ishaf sisth ge tou to fmy fauck ceuang face te get out of my faucking *******  ******* **** ing ******* fuckng icing ******* fufking ******* tufkc thing face get the **** out of my face get the **** out of my face get the **** out of my face and leave me alone get the fucki out to foi my face and leave me alone spinning sinning range tulnnel vision tunnel spinning tiching cehst panic get out o fmy face i don’t want to sell you foccefe and you are n’t going to e to to to to to tip me anyway you ******* **** head yet the **** out of my afce and leave me the **** anlone i have n’t taken a break a break a brak breath in like like like twnety minutes breaht ebreathe breathe abreathe breathe breathe breathe breathe breathe don’t tell me to ******* breathe i know to ******* breathe rage rage rage rage tag r rage reag e aasdna breathe brathe breathe breathe breathe breathe breathe breathe breahte breathe breathe breabdth rbreathe breathe breathe rbaein out in out in out in out in out in out in out in out in out in rythm rhythm rhtrm why the **** is that work word do so why the **** is that word so hard to spenl wp swhy the fu ck wiuy why the **** is that word si focukning hard to spell foeaajsdg why the **** is thwa why the **** is tha twor what why the **** is that word so hard to sle why the **** is that word os why the **** is that word so hard to spell rhyhtm rhyr rhythem rhythm tryhtm in out in ou to int out in tih rhythm rhytm tr intching itching itching ittchahinsdg in out in out outu ihn out in iuth out it ou th hei is this poetry hooray i wrote something go me look at all those words on the page i put thise there **** yeah go me hooray i was creative with my panic attack good for me good for ******* me now i guess the next step is to just go insatne and get drink run right horay hooray hooray three cheers for me i wrote something and it’s gonne anga nd id it’s gonna get me a million ******* dollars because i channeled ma my rf **** ing rage and that’s what epeople whatn ranwt ranw ran ran want wri sfsa tir right i it’s jurat rage riage rajfjs rb braeat breathe breathe breathe breathe breahte btrahet breathe i can’t ty e i can’t te i can’t tpye n d i can’t type ab ica i can’t type and breahte a ti ci  i can’t type and breathe at the samet ime i can’t tyime i can’t y i can’t type and breathe at the same to i can’t tiy i can’t type and breathe at the same timy i can’t ta i can’t type and breathe at the same time but maybe when i fguyre maybe when i figure out how to t mabye maybe when i figure out how to do that i’l act maybe bw maybe when i figure out how to do wh wm maybe wheni figure out how to do that i’ll write something that doesn’t make me want to **** myself but for now i detes i but forno but for now i detest ever ev but for now i want to stab every sing le but for now i want to strange but for now i want t o but for now i want to strangle every wrod that comes out ofmy ******* ******* useless garbage handss
Mike Essig Apr 2015
I practice
Pai Lum Kung-Fu,
which at 63
may seem absurd.

Not to be
a tough guy,
those days
are over.

Just to feel
the flow.

A martial art
is like poetry:
you work
your whole life
and never
perfect it.

So what
if the lovely
seventeen-year-old
girl beside me
can stretch
like Gumby
and the lean, mean
twenty-something
kid always
finds my nose.

It is meditation
for the body.

When it works,
it is being,
not doing.

You don't do
the technique,
you are
the technique.

The joy is in
the effort,
not the result.

  ~mce
Sijo Robert Z Jun 2015
It is time to compile, as it has been a while
and it is worthwhile, to trial
an animal style, that is very versatile.

So, tonight we will do and so-with accrue,
an insight into something funky and spunky,
and do a little Kung Fu Monkey.

But not the whole training sessions,
will be spent on our Monkey Expression,
we will also train, some kung fu just plain.

So, come to training tonight you must,
just come, do not be fussed, else you will rust
your kung fu skills and health too will go bust.
mark fishbein Mar 2018
I stand with you, Tu Fu,
With your ten thousand sorrows.

To say I feel any different than you
With the spring about to mesmerize
And the sound of birds and flutes...

No, at last our spring is looming!
Soon we will leave this room;
I will take my walking stick.

My face is warmed
By the breeze
Swollen in pollen
And happily
I sneeze

And think of you, Tu Fu.
*- Tu Fu, 713-770 AD. One of the most famous Chinese poets. He wrote many poems to spring. It is well known he suffered from asthma.
Qui su l'arida schiena
Del formidabil monte
Sterminator Vesevo,
La qual null'altro allegra arbor né fiore,
Tuoi cespi solitari intorno spargi,
Odorata ginestra,
Contenta dei deserti. Anco ti vidi
Dè tuoi steli abbellir l'erme contrade
Che cingon la cittade
La qual fu donna dè mortali un tempo,
E del perduto impero
Par che col grave e taciturno aspetto
Faccian fede e ricordo al passeggero.
Or ti riveggo in questo suol, di tristi
Lochi e dal mondo abbandonati amante,
E d'afflitte fortune ognor compagna.
Questi campi cosparsi
Di ceneri infeconde, e ricoperti
Dell'impietrata lava,
Che sotto i passi al peregrin risona;
Dove s'annida e si contorce al sole
La serpe, e dove al noto
Cavernoso covil torna il coniglio;
Fur liete ville e colti,
E biondeggiàr di spiche, e risonaro
Di muggito d'armenti;
Fur giardini e palagi,
Agli ozi dè potenti
Gradito ospizio; e fur città famose
Che coi torrenti suoi l'altero monte
Dall'ignea bocca fulminando oppresse
Con gli abitanti insieme. Or tutto intorno
Una ruina involve,
Dove tu siedi, o fior gentile, e quasi
I danni altrui commiserando, al cielo
Di dolcissimo odor mandi un profumo,
Che il deserto consola. A queste piagge
Venga colui che d'esaltar con lode
Il nostro stato ha in uso, e vegga quanto
È il gener nostro in cura
All'amante natura. E la possanza
Qui con giusta misura
Anco estimar potrà dell'uman seme,
Cui la dura nutrice, ov'ei men teme,
Con lieve moto in un momento annulla
In parte, e può con moti
Poco men lievi ancor subitamente
Annichilare in tutto.
Dipinte in queste rive
Son dell'umana gente
Le magnifiche sorti e progressive .
Qui mira e qui ti specchia,
Secol superbo e sciocco,
Che il calle insino allora
Dal risorto pensier segnato innanti
Abbandonasti, e volti addietro i passi,
Del ritornar ti vanti,
E procedere il chiami.
Al tuo pargoleggiar gl'ingegni tutti,
Di cui lor sorte rea padre ti fece,
Vanno adulando, ancora
Ch'a ludibrio talora
T'abbian fra sé. Non io
Con tal vergogna scenderò sotterra;
Ma il disprezzo piuttosto che si serra
Di te nel petto mio,
Mostrato avrò quanto si possa aperto:
Ben ch'io sappia che obblio
Preme chi troppo all'età propria increbbe.
Di questo mal, che teco
Mi fia comune, assai finor mi rido.
Libertà vai sognando, e servo a un tempo
Vuoi di novo il pensiero,
Sol per cui risorgemmo
Della barbarie in parte, e per cui solo
Si cresce in civiltà, che sola in meglio
Guida i pubblici fati.
Così ti spiacque il vero
Dell'aspra sorte e del depresso loco
Che natura ci diè. Per questo il tergo
Vigliaccamente rivolgesti al lume
Che il fè palese: e, fuggitivo, appelli
Vil chi lui segue, e solo
Magnanimo colui
Che sé schernendo o gli altri, astuto o folle,
Fin sopra gli astri il mortal grado estolle.
Uom di povero stato e membra inferme
Che sia dell'alma generoso ed alto,
Non chiama sé né stima
Ricco d'or né gagliardo,
E di splendida vita o di valente
Persona infra la gente
Non fa risibil mostra;
Ma sé di forza e di tesor mendico
Lascia parer senza vergogna, e noma
Parlando, apertamente, e di sue cose
Fa stima al vero uguale.
Magnanimo animale
Non credo io già, ma stolto,
Quel che nato a perir, nutrito in pene,
Dice, a goder son fatto,
E di fetido orgoglio
Empie le carte, eccelsi fati e nove
Felicità, quali il ciel tutto ignora,
Non pur quest'orbe, promettendo in terra
A popoli che un'onda
Di mar commosso, un fiato
D'aura maligna, un sotterraneo crollo
Distrugge sì, che avanza
A gran pena di lor la rimembranza.
Nobil natura è quella
Che a sollevar s'ardisce
Gli occhi mortali incontra
Al comun fato, e che con franca lingua,
Nulla al ver detraendo,
Confessa il mal che ci fu dato in sorte,
E il basso stato e frale;
Quella che grande e forte
Mostra sé nel soffrir, né gli odii e l'ire
Fraterne, ancor più gravi
D'ogni altro danno, accresce
Alle miserie sue, l'uomo incolpando
Del suo dolor, ma dà la colpa a quella
Che veramente è rea, che dè mortali
Madre è di parto e di voler matrigna.
Costei chiama inimica; e incontro a questa
Congiunta esser pensando,
Siccome è il vero, ed ordinata in pria
L'umana compagnia,
Tutti fra sé confederati estima
Gli uomini, e tutti abbraccia
Con vero amor, porgendo
Valida e pronta ed aspettando aita
Negli alterni perigli e nelle angosce
Della guerra comune. Ed alle offese
Dell'uomo armar la destra, e laccio porre
Al vicino ed inciampo,
Stolto crede così qual fora in campo
Cinto d'oste contraria, in sul più vivo
Incalzar degli assalti,
Gl'inimici obbliando, acerbe gare
Imprender con gli amici,
E sparger fuga e fulminar col brando
Infra i propri guerrieri.
Così fatti pensieri
Quando fien, come fur, palesi al volgo,
E quell'orror che primo
Contra l'empia natura
Strinse i mortali in social catena,
Fia ricondotto in parte
Da verace saper, l'onesto e il retto
Conversar cittadino,
E giustizia e pietade, altra radice
Avranno allor che non superbe fole,
Ove fondata probità del volgo
Così star suole in piede
Quale star può quel ch'ha in error la sede.
Sovente in queste rive,
Che, desolate, a bruno
Veste il flutto indurato, e par che ondeggi,
Seggo la notte; e su la mesta landa
In purissimo azzurro
Veggo dall'alto fiammeggiar le stelle,
Cui di lontan fa specchio
Il mare, e tutto di scintille in giro
Per lo vòto seren brillare il mondo.
E poi che gli occhi a quelle luci appunto,
Ch'a lor sembrano un punto,
E sono immense, in guisa
Che un punto a petto a lor son terra e mare
Veracemente; a cui
L'uomo non pur, ma questo
Globo ove l'uomo è nulla,
Sconosciuto è del tutto; e quando miro
Quegli ancor più senz'alcun fin remoti
Nodi quasi di stelle,
Ch'a noi paion qual nebbia, a cui non l'uomo
E non la terra sol, ma tutte in uno,
Del numero infinite e della mole,
Con l'aureo sole insiem, le nostre stelle
O sono ignote, o così paion come
Essi alla terra, un punto
Di luce nebulosa; al pensier mio
Che sembri allora, o prole
Dell'uomo? E rimembrando
Il tuo stato quaggiù, di cui fa segno
Il suol ch'io premo; e poi dall'altra parte,
Che te signora e fine
Credi tu data al Tutto, e quante volte
Favoleggiar ti piacque, in questo oscuro
Granel di sabbia, il qual di terra ha nome,
Per tua cagion, dell'universe cose
Scender gli autori, e conversar sovente
Cò tuoi piacevolmente, e che i derisi
Sogni rinnovellando, ai saggi insulta
Fin la presente età, che in conoscenza
Ed in civil costume
Sembra tutte avanzar; qual moto allora,
Mortal prole infelice, o qual pensiero
Verso te finalmente il cor m'assale?
Non so se il riso o la pietà prevale.
Come d'arbor cadendo un picciol pomo,
Cui là nel tardo autunno
Maturità senz'altra forza atterra,
D'un popol di formiche i dolci alberghi,
Cavati in molle gleba
Con gran lavoro, e l'opre
E le ricchezze che adunate a prova
Con lungo affaticar l'assidua gente
Avea provvidamente al tempo estivo,
Schiaccia, diserta e copre
In un punto; così d'alto piombando,
Dall'utero tonante
Scagliata al ciel profondo,
Di ceneri e di pomici e di sassi
Notte e ruina, infusa
Di bollenti ruscelli
O pel montano fianco
Furiosa tra l'erba
Di liquefatti massi
E di metalli e d'infocata arena
Scendendo immensa piena,
Le cittadi che il mar là su l'estremo
Lido aspergea, confuse
E infranse e ricoperse
In pochi istanti: onde su quelle or pasce
La capra, e città nove
Sorgon dall'altra banda, a cui sgabello
Son le sepolte, e le prostrate mura
L'arduo monte al suo piè quasi calpesta.
Non ha natura al seme
Dell'uom più stima o cura
Che alla formica: e se più rara in quello
Che nell'altra è la strage,
Non avvien ciò d'altronde
Fuor che l'uom sue prosapie ha men feconde.
Ben mille ed ottocento
Anni varcàr poi che spariro, oppressi
Dall'ignea forza, i popolati seggi,
E il villanello intento
Ai vigneti, che a stento in questi campi
Nutre la morta zolla e incenerita,
Ancor leva lo sguardo
Sospettoso alla vetta
Fatal, che nulla mai fatta più mite
Ancor siede tremenda, ancor minaccia
A lui strage ed ai figli ed agli averi
Lor poverelli. E spesso
Il meschino in sul tetto
Dell'ostel villereccio, alla vagante
Aura giacendo tutta notte insonne,
E balzando più volte, esplora il corso
Del temuto bollor, che si riversa
Dall'inesausto grembo
Su l'arenoso dorso, a cui riluce
Di Capri la marina
E di Napoli il porto e Mergellina.
E se appressar lo vede, o se nel cupo
Del domestico pozzo ode mai l'acqua
Fervendo gorgogliar, desta i figliuoli,
Desta la moglie in fretta, e via, con quanto
Di lor cose rapir posson, fuggendo,
Vede lontan l'usato
Suo nido, e il picciol campo,
Che gli fu dalla fame unico schermo,
Preda al flutto rovente,
Che crepitando giunge, e inesorato
Durabilmente sovra quei si spiega.
Torna al celeste raggio
Dopo l'antica obblivion l'estinta
Pompei, come sepolto
Scheletro, cui di terra
Avarizia o pietà rende all'aperto;
E dal deserto foro
Diritto infra le file
Dei mozzi colonnati il peregrino
Lunge contempla il bipartito giogo
E la cresta fumante,
Che alla sparsa ruina ancor minaccia.
E nell'orror della secreta notte
Per li vacui teatri,
Per li templi deformi e per le rotte
Case, ove i parti il pipistrello asconde,
Come sinistra face
Che per vòti palagi atra s'aggiri,
Corre il baglior della funerea lava,
Che di lontan per l'ombre
Rosseggia e i lochi intorno intorno tinge.
Così, dell'uomo ignara e dell'etadi
Ch'ei chiama antiche, e del seguir che fanno
Dopo gli avi i nepoti,
Sta natura ognor verde, anzi procede
Per sì lungo cammino
Che sembra star. Caggiono i regni intanto,
Passan genti e linguaggi: ella nol vede:
E l'uom d'eternità s'arroga il vanto.
E tu, lenta ginestra,
Che di selve odorate
Queste campagne dispogliate adorni,
Anche tu presto alla crudel possanza
Soccomberai del sotterraneo foco,
Che ritornando al loco
Già noto, stenderà l'avaro lembo
Su tue molli foreste. E piegherai
Sotto il fascio mortal non renitente
Il tuo capo innocente:
Ma non piegato insino allora indarno
Codardamente supplicando innanzi
Al futuro oppressor; ma non eretto
Con forsennato orgoglio inver le stelle,
Né sul deserto, dove
E la sede e i natali
Non per voler ma per fortuna avesti;
Ma più saggia, ma tanto
Meno inferma dell'uom, quanto le frali
Tue stirpi non credesti
O dal fato o da te fatte immortali.

— The End —