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Terry Collett Apr 2015
Jane passed the church, walked past the gravestones of those long dead, smelt the scent of flowers, heard the songs of birds in nearby hedgerows and trees. Benedict said to meet her there the day before while leaving the school van, about midday he had said. She had cycled from the vicarage where she lived with her parents, down through the narrow lanes, passed the water tower by the farm, riding carefully past the cottage where Benedict lived with his parents and siblings, on through narrow lanes until she had reached the church. She was happy to be meeting him again, from the time she had awoken that morning she felt a sense of excitement at seeing him, being in his company. Her mother had asked where she was going and she said to meet Benedict at the church on the other side of the hamlet. Her mother smiled; she liked Benedict, he was trustworthy, unlike some of the boys round about whom she would have felt uneasy about Jane meeting...Benedict sat in the churchyard in the corner away from the nearest grave, where the name and date had worn away over the years until just a few words remained visible. He looked around him, studied the shapes and size of the gravestones, many had become dilapidated over the years, but it was peaceful and he liked it being amongst the dead sensing the feeling of being beyond the here and now. He waited for Jane to come. He had asked her to meet him there the day before. She said she would. He looked forward to seeing her, having her  near him, seeing her eyes looking at him, her dark hair, brown eyes, that shy smile...Jane saw Benedict sitting on the grass in the corner, he was looking at the gravestones, his hands around his knees. He was in blue jeans and white shirt and black shoes. She passed a few graves when he looked up and saw her. A thrill of excitement went through her, her stomach churned, her heart beat fast...There she was, standing not far away, Benedict stood up from the grass and went to her and she smiled at him. Not late am I? she asked, putting a hand out to touch his. No, he said, just on time, looking at the watch on his wrist, feeling her hand touch his, buzzing his nerves with her touch...Jane sensed her tongue becoming stuck in her mouth; her eyes scanned him taking in his eyes, hazel bright, his brown hair with that quiff that she loved, that smile so warm and yet inviting. Her hand was in his, warm, soft, his thumb rubbing her skin...Benedict felt alive; felt so here and now that his heart beat so that it seemed it would crash through his chest. How are you? He asked, rubbing her hand, not wanting to let it go, but not wanting to hold it too long. I'm all right, she said shyly, wanting his hand to stay there, to feel him near her, listening to his every word...Jane looked around at the churchyard, saw the flowers on some of the graves, some dying of neglect, some fresh planted. Shall we look in the church? She said, see  the interior? Yes, he said, why not, not seen inside for ages(although he had a few weeks before when the girl Lizbeth had taken him there and had tried to ****** him inside on one of the pews and he had left and declined)...Jane looked at him, seeking to see if he mentioned the girl Lizbeth whom Jane had heard had taken Benedict there a few weeks before. She trusted him, but needed him to tell her about the girl from their school, thirteen like them, but more forward, more dangerous. I heard you were here with Lizbeth a few weeks ago, Jane said, not wanting him to be unaware that she knew, but wanting him to be honest with her...Benedict blushed and looked at her, releasing her hand reluctantly. Yes, he said, she took me here, or rather we came here.  He didn't know what to say, but he couldn't lie, not keep things back. She came to the cottage and asked me to bring her here because she said she was interested in the architectural aspects of the church, but she just wanted to do things, he said looking at the nearest gravestone, feeling unsettled. Do things? Jane asked, looking at him, seeing his blush still there, wondering what he had done. She wanted me to have *** with her on a pew in the church, he said, but that was after we were in the church and she tricked me...Jane caught her breath, brought her hands together in front of her, trying to make sense of what he was saying. *** with her on a pew? She said, the words soft almost choking her. You didn't did you? She asked, not believing she was asking him. No, of course not, I would never have come here with her had I known that was what she was after, he said, gazing at Jane, unsure of her reaction. She felt her heart beating fast in her breast, her mind was becoming out on a limb. How could she think you would? She asked, not sure what to say or asked any more...Benedict felt the world becoming almost too big for him. He wanted to take Jane and say it hadn't been for real that he had been tricked, that he wanted to be near her not Lizbeth. I don't know, Benedict said, I never encouraged her, thought she was interested in the church, but inside she changed and said we could have *** on one of those pews. Jane sensed an unease enter. And what happened then? She asked, looking at him shyly. Nothing, I left the church and she followed and I cycled back home and she followed me, but them rode off, he said, feeling undone, feeling as if the ground was about to swallow him up...Tears were rising to her eyes, she could sense them. Did you kiss her? She asked, wanting to know, yet not wanting to know. No, nothing at all, he said shaking his head, I wanted none of that. She bit her lower lip, tried to hold back the tears in her eyes. She sensed he hadn't, but she needed to be sure. She had heard about the girl at school, but had he fallen for her charms such as they may have been? Why did she want to have *** with you? She asked, blushing at the word *** in her own mouth. No idea, he said, seems to have this fixation with me and ***. She sensed the tears falling from her eyes and on her cheeks. She wiped them off with the back of her hand. Can I trust you? She asked, the tears making her throat feel sore. Yes, he said, I’d never betray you, never. Not with her or anyone, he added, feeling his world emptying like a fish thrown on dry land. She put a hand on his arm, squeezed it, drew him to her and he embraced her uncertain if it was for real or just a gesture. I trust you, she said, wanting him to hold her close to him, sensing her tears rub on his shoulder, dampening his shirt...Benedict held her tight, not wanting her to go from him, not wanting to lose even this one moment in her closeness. He smelt that naturalness about her, an apple scent, fresh air, purity like new snow, blossoms...She kissed his cheek; lips to skin, not pressured, but there wanting to express how she felt, how her heart felt, not lust like the Lizbeth girl, but love, yes, love for him...Benedict sensed her lips kiss his cheek, warm, soft. He held her tight, feeling her body close to his, sensing her soft ******* against his chest as he held her...Jane put a hand behind his head, drew him closer, her lips kissing his ear, his lobe, his cheek again, then she pulled away a little to look at him. I should not have doubted you or your what you would do or not do, she said softly, her eyes watery, her cheeks damp. I heard about her and her visit to you, but I wasn't sure if it was true or not, but it doesn't matter now, because I trust you, she said...Benedict held her as near as he dare, not wanting her to go from his hold. I would never hurt you. I didn't know what she was after. Jane put a finger on his lips. Hush, she said softly. Let us not give her the benefit of thinking she has undone us. He felt his heart pounding in his chest as if someone was punching him from the inside...Jane turned his head towards her and kissed him on the lips. He kissed her, too, his lips pressing against hers. She put her arms around his waist and hugged him as she had never hugged anyone before, her lips sealing him from breath, from leaving her, from going away...Benedict sensed her body so close now that his heart seemed to beat with hers in a duet of thumping inside. His lips felt as if welded to hers, wet and warm and soft and he sensed himself filling with tears, tears he'd not shown or felt before to this degree...Jane took his hand and they walked past the gravestones into the church and sat in a side pew next to each other. His hand was in hers; he rubbed his thumb against her skin, rubbed it gently. She squeezed his hand, turned and kissed him, then sat back and stared ahead. God's house, she said, she should never had thought you would do anything like that here, not in here...Benedict said, not anywhere with her, certainly not here. He recalled that day here with Lizbeth, how she had suggested they have *** on a pew and he taken aback by such a thing and how she thought it quite possible...Us, Jane said, us and not her, not anything she thought possible. He nodded and looked at the altar where a brass cross stood alone. Do you love me? She asked. He turned and gazed at her, his eyes searching each aspect of her features. Yes, I do, he said, as much as its possible to love. She smiled shyly, wiping tears from her damp cheeks. I love you, too, she said... Benedict closed his eyes. He wanted to capture her and her words and that moment for ever in his mind. He wanted being here with her now to over brush the image of Lizbeth here with him those weeks before, to have that image and words of Jane captured in his mind like a camera snapping it all and holding it in frame and picture for evermore... Jane breathed in and out slowly. He had closed his eyes. His hand was still in hers. His pulse pulsed with hers, a gentle beat, a soft thump, a mixture of one becoming two, an uncertainty going, a truth and love becoming true.
A MEETING AT A CHURCH ONE MIDDAY IN 1961.
Ariel Taverner Apr 2015
We just drove through a small town
It was fascinating
Fascinatingly morbid
Morbidly surreal
There were probably 10+ plots that were haphazardly converted into graveyards
'Ratchet' as my generation would think but not say because that would be 'disrespectful to the dead'
In each of the graveyard were hundreds of graves
And it was strange
Strange how such 'ratchet, disrespected and haphazard' graveYARDS
Contained such Beautiful and ornate gravestones
As if to say that nothing could lessen the glory of their death
They would leave behind an impression of beauty
Even in death
(Even though they never chose their gravestones. But don't say that because it would be 'disrespectful to the dead' in their blissful abyss)
It makes one think
That in a town of less than 1000
There was easily more  than 2000 gravestones
It shows how life goes on
How, even in a small town,  we are insignificant
Poetic T Mar 2015
Slipping in & out of gravestones  & tombstones,
She whispers words upon the carvings
Sleep,
Sleep,
Sleep
Well, in this slumber of death
You have earned this eternal rest
You were of the living but past to the dead,
You earned what eyes closed shut need
And that is rest.
Sleep,
Sleep,
Sleep
My still, motionless friends
For this is eternal this moment
That death gifted, never worry what
Happens as you now reside in the
Fields of
Stone,
Words,
Silence
Speak volumes, as tears fall like raindrops
Each misses that moment
But know it has passed.
Rest in your bed of silk and wood
As she slips in & out of
Gravestones & tombstones, she speaks to the dead.
He waits in the park for a date.
A bus full of los Angeles Models and photographers
talk through walkie talkies.
He walks around spying through his peripheral.
pretending he's James Bond trying to scope them out.
He wonders if he seems suspicious, or if he's going undetected.

A Beautiful girl passes briskly by, looking curiously around.
She long dark bangs, fall colored scarf, flirty skirt.
She sits on a nearby bench.
He no longer thinking of his date.

"oh my god."
"wait, no."
"what if she showed up right when you started flirting?"
"be respectful."

A vibration in his palm.
"I'm Here"
he looks around
the only woman to fit the profile is perched on the bench.
"no way."
He walks over to the girl.
"you walked right past me, beautiful."
on his face is a smolder
the gas mask used to hide all sorts of jumbled feelings in the past.
Today. it's hiding a tiny jumping boy. feeling like he just won the gorgeous girl lottery.
This is his Date.

They go to Dobra Tea,
She takes a sip.
"It tastes like peaches" she says.
"Peaches come, in a can." The boy starts.
"they were put their by a man" she adds.
they screamingly harmonize a bit too loudly for a tea shop
"In a factory downtown"
they shush each other.
giggles erupt out of them as they collapse into the tiny pillows.
they get quiet.

the girl explains she puts her "bad pictures" on tinder
so people are surprised to realize she's beautiful in person.
stricken by her brilliance.
He applauds the flawless strategy.
as it clearly worked on him.

They go on a few more dates.

First She takes him to a graveyard.
They talk about their Jiminy Cricket's
Shared demons, so familiar some
creep from behind gravestones.
push leaves from their path as they stroll along.

Then He bring her to lighthouse.
A thick cold fog.
they switch between belting 90's pop hits
and laying peacefully up at the sky holding hands.
Music.
sound of bleeding hearts rubbing against each other.
bow and violin.
how soon they flint and steel.
spark too hot, too real, too soon.

later, in bed.
His heart leaks something.
He wonders if he looks suspicious, or if he's going undetected.
when she pushes "did you just say you love me?
Tired, and teary eyed, He says:
"Peaches."
It was their safe word.

As she starts in, Clearly not satisfied,
"C'mon, I know I hear-" she interrupts herself.
"oh... you said peaches."

See, he could have said yes,
It would have been more honest.
but this was only their third morning waking up together.
even though his heart wanted to say it again.
his Jiminy Cricket doesn't care if he loves her.
it knows he can't take care of her.
Jiminy knows that when he goes home tomorrow, she's a poem.

So He says peaches.
Ariel Baptista Mar 2015
Have you known the winter days?
Late February falls like frigid snow
Merciless undertow
Of evergreen and alpenglow
And grey ground pavement walking
Like Grocery shopping
and weak chai tea
Moonlengths from all family
And surrounded like strawbury temptation,
Late night lamp light contemplation
And drowsy-dampened mornings
Grey glaze of diluted boring
Spattered over every orifice
Charcoal eyes, platonic kiss.
Pull your bow to shoot and miss
Tell me all this is is what it is
And I will tell you, “okay”
(but you know this isn’t what I wanted)

Hide the roadsigns
Blur the guidelines
This is how I love you

Have you known the winter days?
Late February fell like fire on hell
And shook me from my sleep
Ashes cover snow-banked heaps of rubble
I slice my wrist on the sharpened stubble
Of your half-assed beard
(this is how I bleed my dear)
This is how I bear my soul
******* smile
And dominoes
Carnation cults
And buried bones
(This is how I build your throne)

Hide the gravestones
Burn the rainbows
This is how I love you.

And have you known the winter days?
Late February fallen like Lucifer to the underworld
We both knew I wasn’t altogether that typeof girl
But we pretended anyways
Alcoholic halo haze
And foreign intervention
Of somewhat insidious intention
And the legitimate logistical question
That defined our discourse on fear
(this is how I think my dear)
This is how I speak my mind
All that grey
Those missing roadsigns
Smoke and soot and
Blurry guidelines
And Gravestones gone
And rainbows ash
(and we are never coming back)

This.
This is how I love you.
Xander Duncan May 2014
I'd never cared for flowers
Symbols of affection that wilt
And forget memories
And fall apart in kitchens and bedrooms and strew their pieces on the floors
Dried and broken after only days of being lovely
Flowers with their alternating patterns of
Unreliable determinations
Claiming every other petal as an opposite declaration
Of a determination
Of love
And I never liked removing thorns from roses
Because they added something truthful and
Poetic

But when you gave me flowers
I held them to my heart and let my eyes dance across the kaleidoscope that they created in a glass vase
I let them live for longer than they did
Because they were still pretty even when no one else seemed to think so
And when they hang dried on a wall
Still colorful but slightly brittle
Maybe they'll stay like that if I just don't touch them
When you gave me flowers
I plucked off every other petal
Into a bouquet of He-Loves-Me
Because for once there was no doubt
For once I believed the sentiment in the flowers and the words from your lips as you handed them over
The lack of nots in the petals
Pulling apart the knots in my stomach
He loves me
He loves me
Truer than the dirt that holds
Wilting symbols of affection
Sweeter than the honey
Of their pollinators
He loves me
He loves me
A garden of something new and beautiful
Perennial and built on symbolism after all

Until you let me know that dead flowers were just dead flowers
That they were past their worth
And metaphors aren't worth the dirt they were grown in
That perennials can't return
When you've salted the soil
And brittle flowers on the wall should always be removed
But I always lived in metaphors anyway
And I had a new appreciation for flowers that I didn't want to lose
I was no longer a rose
But a thorn
I always thought smooth stems were so boring
Not to mention dishonest
But I didn't want to make you bleed
So painfully I dug an olive branch from my rib cage
Then realizing that a ****** token may not be so well received
I decorated it with a bouquet of blue Forget-Me-Nots
But you plucked off every other petal
And handed back an array of He-Loves-Me-Nots
He loves me not
And there was no doubt in the sentiment
The sentience of metaphors dying all around me
When all I know is metaphors
And flowers were never just flowers
And words were never just words
But both are found on gravestones and poems and apologies
And parallels have fallen into nice and even spacing
Reducing flowers to clichés
Of alternating promises
Of He loves me and
He loves me not
Of broken promises
He loves me
Not
Nihl Jun 2013
“And as for you, River, there will be a day when you will flow with blood more than water. And dead bodies will be stacked higher than the dams. And he who is dead will not be mourned as much as he who is alive. Asclepius, why are you weeping? ”

CHAPTER I

The lake house was always a place of good memories. I couldn’t help but remember the countless summers just like this one, where I had spent days down by the lake, beside my father, catching rainbow trout with nothing but a line and a little bread or bait worm. The sound of crickets chirping in chorus at dusk, while just a slither of gold managed to peek over the mountain range that hung like curtains, draped across the horizon on every side. It was our paradise on earth, the Coulter families’ personal heaven. A humble log house nestled in the heavy shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Standing peacefully beside our private little lake, cradled within a thick pine forest. It was our pine forest.
-
We had arrived at the house two days ago, on a particularly overcast Friday afternoon. But the grey sky had parted, and left us with clear blue skies almost as soon as we arrived. Now nothing but the occasional broad, pearl-white, sky conquering clouds would dare to appear. This made the weather perfect for a swim in the lake, as well as an afternoon frying the day’s catch of trout in the fire pit just outside the cabin. I was inside the cabin, stuffing the weekend’s filthy clothes into my pack, in preparation for the long journey home tomorrow morning. Dad was gathering a load of firewood from our great proud pile of logs outside. I always liked adding to the pile the same way I found a mundane joy in saving money, I watched as we built it up into a neat pyramid, then imagined how long it would last us and how many cold nights they would ward off.
After packing my last well-worn flannel shirt into my now plump olive duffle bag the sun had disappeared behind the mountain; leaving a quickly dying amber streaked across the western sky.
I could hear my father’s footsteps as he entered the house, dropping a collection of heavy wood at his feet in front of the fireplace. Then quickly transporting the two best-looking ones straight into the warm mess of crackling flames that kept our cabin warm. I climbed under the covers of my bed and sat with my back against the wall, with a clear view into the living room.
I am Curtis, and George Coulter was my father, a broad man with dark brown hair, a short cropped haircut, bright blue eyes and dark stubble with traces of silver sneaking through. He was a weathered man with a tough 37 years over my easy 16, and always seemed to dress like a cliché lumberjack. Apart from the weathered appearance, sprouting grey hair and working class fashion sense, we were practically a splitting image. My mother would always say that looking at me was like stepping back in time and that every day I looked more like him.
-
“That should keep it going for a while.” George said, obviously exhausted from the events of the weekend and He slowly moved just inside the doorway and leaned against the frame, rubbing his eyes with his right hand before bringing it down to form a soft v shape on his chin.
“I’ve already loaded the truck, so we’ll be able to leave bright and early tomorrow.” He turned his head quickly as if to listen carefully for something else in the room. I found this to be a perfect opportunity to shoot a question I’d been wondering recently.
“Do you think there really is life after death?” I asked him abruptly and he looked straight at me with a quizzical expression and replied “Why do you ask, did someone say something?” I sat up straight on my bed pulled my hands into my lap.
“No, no one said anything. It’s just that I rode my bike by the cemetery last week, and there was a statue of an angel in the middle of all the gravestones, it just made me wonder, you know. Does all that stuff really exist?” I had a lump in my throat and swallowed hard to keep in down. My father sat down beside me at the foot of the bed.
“I think…” He started, still searching for the right words to say. “I like to think that there’s a place somewhere up there for us.” He turned his gaze towards the window and observed the last light in the sky before turning quickly back to me.
“Do you think mom will be up there?” I asked, and his face dropped a little.
“Your mother is up there waiting for us and the first thing she’ll do is tell us to take our shoes off so as not to get the cloud *****.” He said with a slight smile, I laughed at the idea as he continued. “But you don’t have to worry about that for a long time Curt.” He grinned, roughed up my hair, and then forced me into bed playfully. “I’ll do my best to make sure of that.” He rose from the bed and advanced towards the door. “Now get some sleep. I don’t want to have a conversation with myself on the ride back.” He disappeared into the main room and slumped into a lazy boy chair to gaze at the fireplace in the warmth of our now quiet cabin, as my room was filled with the soft lullaby of crackling fire. I turned towards the window and stared out towards the stars, my mind wandering as I closed my eyes. Tomorrow we would begin the long journey home.
-
Without any warning I was startled awake by a terrifying ripping sound. A great rip echoed throughout the house like a plastic bag violently flailing about in heavy wind. I immediately sat up on my bed, and blindly stared out into an ocean of black. A strange loud thumping sound rang from the living room in regular intervals. It had seemed like no time at all had passed since I had closed my eyes, my heart was thundering like the gears on a full-speed freight train and my eyes fed off the darkness in the room, starving for even the slightest idea of a source for the noise. But all I could see was darkness beyond my doorway. I struggled to pull myself back together from my state of screaming fear and cautiously got to my feet.
As far as I could tell the thumping was coming from outside, as I moved towards the doorway and peered into the living room. For some reason the fireplace that should still have been flickering with hungry flames was now dark and dead, as though it had gone cold days ago and the house completely vacated. The warmth that the fire had supplied moments ago had now been replaced with a cruel cold midnight breeze sailing in through the wide open swinging cabin door. The cabin door was clashing against the cabin wall outside in the wind I now knew was the source of the horrifying thumping that my imagination had played so helplessly with. My breath became shallow as I contemplated my situation, how long had I been asleep, and where was my father? I turned to the lazy boy in the living room and noticed it upturned and vacant. My heart started firing again like a machine gun and cold sweat now dawned on my brow. There was no sign of dad, not in the cabin at least. With my heartbeat slowing to the manageable speed of a cruising passenger train, I wondered where he could have gone while struggling to tame the rising feeling of dread as I hurried towards the front door and looked out over the hill and down towards the lake. There was no jagged black figure or human form in sight. A great deal of me was hoping to catch him investigating the same noise that startled me. But he was nowhere near, which made my blood run cold.  
-
The unforgiving night’s ice cold wind stung my ears and pinched my face, my breath trailing off in vapour. “Dad!” I called out, towards the southern wharf down by the water, nothing. Again I called, towards the vegetable patch on the eastern side of the house, nothing. I tapped my fingers anxiously on the door frame before proceeding down the few steps leading into the cabin, closing the cabin door behind me to stop the jarring thump. With that I was engulfed in the darkness and violent wind. Disoriented I called out once more towards the pine forests to the west, “Dad!” my voice cracked from desperation and bounced through the gale, ringing in the distance as if it had been carried by the wind and exploded skyward, amplified by the mountains surrounding the lake.
-
A light! A light darted between the tree line and danced in the darkness before disappearing just as quickly as it came. I stared in awe as the wind found its way through my clothes and now chilled me completely. My bare feet screamed from the cold grass that I tortured them with and I could hear the abhorrent ripping sound bellowing back at me from the distant forest. I stood still, confused and staring hopefully. I heard him, faint at first, but I was certain that I heard my father’s voice on the wind.
“Curt.”
I followed the voice out into the darkness, past the fire pit and towards the western tree line. I waved my arms in front of me pathetically probing the air for something to guide me. My eyes squinted hard to try and make out detail from nothing. “Curt.” Again it whispered from the distance. I stumbled across the field until I reached the outskirts of the woods and I could feel the first cluster great pine looming overhead. The wind and chill was slowly cut off by the wall of trees, as I followed the origin of my father’s voice.
The forest bed was thick with undergrowth and as familiar as this place was during the day, at night it was like another world, a world in which sight had to be thrown to the wind and I was forced to rely on my other senses for navigation. I could smell the heavy musk of the leaf litter, and hear the wind from the field. But I could see nothing more than the glare of the full moon hanging behind the thick clouds and the faint outline of the countless pine trees that shot skyward.

It was strange, I could smell him now. I could smell my father laced upon the air, boot-polish and old sweat. The same smell hanging among the trees as the red plaid shirt that he'd use to polish his boots and labour all weekend around the lake house. It was as if he was right beside me, this idea urged me to quickly turn side to side hoping that this was in fact, true. But all I found was more vague lines in darkness, freezing fingers and whipping wind songs from the distant clearing. The smell slowly disappeared, replaced with an eerily familiar, metallic, pooling scent…
My heart thundered at the realization, Blood. I could smell blood swimming in the air, as if someone painted the trees with buckets of human blood. I could taste it on the tip of my tongue the air was so filthy with the scent.
-
My eyes opened wide, panicking at the lack of visual aid as I stopped dead in my tracks. Something felt awkward, space felt strange, warped and twisted. It was like the world was turned on its side. It felt as though someone somewhere had invaded the space I now stood in. And I could feel its presence, I felt its eyes burning a hole in the back of my head, and the hair on my neck stood upright. My heart began racing faster and faster, thumping now like the cabin door, slamming against the wall in the wind. I could feel something out there, watching and waiting. I could feel it getting nearer, getting ever closer and growing. It was as if it was feeding on the shadows and becoming larger, filling the darkness with its horrid presence. I couldn't bare it anymore; I felt it creeping up on me and my skin was crawling. My head screaming for me to turn around but I couldn't move. I felt an impossible grip encompass my entire body and swallow me in darkness. Cold sweat like ice running down my cheeks and my clothes were now saturated.
-
My breath was pounding rapidly in short, sharp bursts as I watched it fog and pillar upwards through the cutting wind. I couldn't hear anything past the roaring noise in my head, raw panic like nails on a chalkboard. My thoughts were like a game of Ping-Pong, bouncing back and forth and I couldn't focus on anything. I felt it slithering at my heels now, like a python slowly constricting its prey, playing with it before a sudden death. A twisted cold breath falling onto my shoulders as every muscle in my body tensed to point where it felt I could explode at any time. I it leaned in closely beside me, with its face hanging inches away from my ear. I could hear its lungs gathering the icewind for speech, and its tongue slithering in between razor teeth, preparing for the first terrifying bite.
-
“It’s so close.” Hisses from its jaws in several thunderous voices spawning from the darkness in every direction, the trees dissolve, the sky falls apart and my entire world collapsed away into pitch black.

N.H.

CHAPTER II
http://hellopoetry.com/poem/possession-two/
One foggy morning i woke up to find my father crying in the living room.
I asked him what was happening, but not a word he said.
I walked out the door and ran into my friend at the gate.
he was crying.
I asked him what was happening.
not a word he said.

I kept walking and i saw 2 women in the park crying.
One of them was sobbing so hard that her body shivered.
Then came another woman, crying, she sat between the two other women and hid her face with her jumper.

As i kept walking I saw a man passing me by in a rush,talking on his phone, crying.
A little boy in his ***** school uniform,crying while his mother, who was crying as well walking them both towards the other side of the busy street.

Then i saw it....
Everybody was crying...
A man driving by in his red car...
4 men pulling a canoe to the river...
A woman in black dress carrying a sheet of paper fluttering in the wind.
2 old men playing chess in front of the department store...
All crying....
While doing their regular daily activities...

I thought to myself....
What is happening????

The answer came unexpectedly from myself...
I was crying as well...
Tears running down my face like sweat.

I was standing in front of my Father's graveyard....
With those gravestones around me....
It was just another cold foggy day in Kilkenny.
Those gravestones looked so sad and old.
I thought to myself....
''These people who died a long time ago.
Forgotten and abandoned...
I used to know these people...
When they were still alive and full of hopes for their lives''

'' Now all dead and sad...
Before me....''

I felt the cold wind blowing the dead leaves away...
The fog hanging heavily in the air....
Not a word i said....
Skypath Jan 2015
He writes boy on his leg
Etching the letters the world won't understand
Wishing the felt tip pen could
Break the gravestones on his chest
And fill the valley between his legs

He writes boy on his leg
It's a word kept secret in fear
He's a mustang learning his legs
And the world is a pack of vicious wolves
They don't know what to call him
Only he does

He writes boy on his leg
Takes a picture and sends it to the one he knows understands
The flash against his pale skin stark and bright
Like sleepy eyes against fresh snow

He writes boy on his skin
Because he can't write it anywhere else
K Paige Aug 2014
your bones like gravestones
prominent among the barren skin
you laugh the whisper of the dead
and your teeth fell out from caring

you were beautifully ruined
by thunderstorms in your head
your smile is all but dead
you can't stand the sight of yourself

you have fallen among the rest
skeletons of who they used to be
a wounded army of solders
fighting for peace within their souls

the body count is heartbreaking
for mothers who clean up the blood
and wish they could've been happier
as they gasped for air with burnt lungs

high school hallways are turned into
a backwards funeral procession
they mourn the living
because they all feel dead

paradise is their only cure
but what is the definition
longing for an infinite silence
muted mouths rejoice at the emptiness

everything about you is wrong
but the presence of individuality
has quieted and so has
the sound of your beating heart
Warren Gossett Sep 2011
Snow fell deeply on the graves that night,
falling on both the wealthy and not so,
coating with cleanliness and purity all who
do not deserve and the very few who may.
The snow descended coldly and quietly,
blanketing gravestones and statues alike.
Distinguishable only by their shadows
and heavenward thrusts and stances,
they continue to designate where bodies
lay and bright hopes are finished.
Despite the softness and the silence,
above the solitude and endless white,
the boundless rage of ended dreams
seems to penetrate upward, to shriek.

--
Najwa Kareem Aug 2017
Ramadan 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia                      

The first day and the second

What a blessing!!!

Brothers and Sisters in the Old Town speaking the words Salamu Alaikum

Sisters wearing veils with colors like in the bright rainbow appearing before me and my two new friends from Bosnia in a sky above a bussling bazaar, there a smaller group of humans watching and a larger group of tourists capturing a rare moment in Sarajevo on photo

Many brothers wearing kufis and many brothers with trendy hair styles paired with Western outfits gathering in the courtyard of Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque, the largest in Bosnia and sixteen centuries old. Tourists from Africa, America, Europe, and other landscapes and many locals exchanging words and gestures in a month better than a thousand

Families spending time together at the Grand Mosque and at smaller mosques and in other places surrounded by picturesque hills and green plush trees

A father, a mother, their toddler son...he practicing walking on a masjid's cobblestone, and their young daughter...she smiling at her father as he walks by. Each family member physically at a distance from each other. Each family member at a cell's distance in communion with each other.

In the mid afternoon on a Ramadan's day, a sister from Munich and I having met for the first time at Bey Mosque ride together in a taxi up a steep hill to see a guest house she knows

A smell of lingering cigarette smoke permeating the air within the house so thick beckons me to leave politely and quickly. Unaware of the smell's degree, the owner learns of its' offensiveness as I disclose my sensitivity to & the dislike of the smell of cigarette smoke, both acutely heightened while fasting

Careful steps back down the steep hill to the city center, me avoiding stumbling on a large rock or being runover by a speeding automobile, interestingly instead I stumble upon a beautiful grave yard of uniquely shaped white gravestones and a charming mosque with a high minaret

At the bottom of the hill sits a crafts and artistry shop, one of many in Sarajevo's Old Town. Upon entering and a brief conversation with the owner, a piece of generosity is handed to me, a square shape piece of wood with Ayat tul Kursi in hand calligraphy

During the late afternoon hours, a time for reading Quran by many at mosques in the city. Sisters and brothers sitting on carpeted floors, some with backs supported by mosque walls, some with bodies sitting in chairs, fasters occupied with the most perfected Divine Scripture

A brief leisurely stroll with my two new friends Dzenita and her sister Amina through part of the Bazaar, they sharing opinions of their favorite restaurants, best eating experiences, and other things

In the early evening, a time to buy food to prepare for the Iftar meal. Showing me how it's done in Sarajevo, Dzenita and Amina invite me to join them on an excursion up a hill to buy Somun, a Bosnian flatbread topped with black seeds from the city's famous bread maker. Standing in a line longer than Georgetown Cupcake, Dzenita surprises me with a gift of Somun for myself

Two dates, one cube of Bosnian delight, and one cup of water to break our fast with at the Bey Mosque. A canon bomb sounds off to announce the time for Magrib prayer and Iftar, customary in Sarajevo during Ramadan

Startled and alerted by the bomb's depth and volume, I stand up to join the congregation for communion with God, The God Most Gracious, Most High

Out of nowhere I'm invited to Iftar at a shop nearby the Grand Mosque, about 8 of us guests being served by the warm owner, she offering a meal for Iftar at her shop every night during Ramadan, a big-hearted tradition of hers

Cevapi, Cevapi, Cevapi...I'll say it once more, Cevapi -- sold in Bosnian restaurants, cafes, bazaars, and made in many homes, eaten happily by many fasters at Iftar. Served with freshly chopped onions, some served with a soft white cheese, some with a red peppery sauce, many served with Somun, all ways tried by me and tasting as scrumptious as my first experience with Cevapi in Germany, then falling in love with it

Cold winds at night from the surrounding mountains, a refreshing air yet taking my breath and power away from the chill of it, completely disappearing with my start of Isha prayer with other Muslims and the declaration "Allah hu Akbar"

9 Muftis with impeccable Tajweed each taking turns to recite the words of our Grand Lord before sunrise, me weeping from God's messages, the reality of His greatness, my servitude to Him, and a recognition of sounds similar to that of my Mumin Father's, those familiar to me since birth

Three dear sisters, university students from Turkey and I journey together on foot after Fajr from the Old Mosque to a street train, along the way stopping by a community center, our destination - their home an hour or so away to rest, the four of us coming to know each other and each others' thoughts with every step. Contempleting my desire to spend more time in the city over sleep, the three sisters showing great generosity and I embrace and exchange Salams at a stop near the main station, the three walking with me to an open place before continuing on

In the land of a marriage between the East and the West and where newspaper is used to clean a cafe window, on the list of to-dos -- shopping for gifts for family and for souvenirs, window shopping done along the way, asking myself Shall I buy a Dzezva, a hand-made Bosnian coffee set, or a vintage wood Sarajevo box, or a woven wallet, or Bosnian sweets.

In a bazaar walkway, Maher Zain's song "Ramadan" playing loudly. At another moment, lyrics about a month of devotion and sacrifice from Sami Yusuf echoeing. Shop owners in Old Town with dispositions of calm and quiet grace greeting me and others cordially and respectfully. Shopping a few hours more until near sunset for post cards with a real version of the Grand Mosque, finding only less than satisfactory versions. Time running out for shopping, another reason now to return to Bosnia, God-Willing

Magrib prayer a second night at the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque. Observing the crowd, a striking occurrence taking place, a teenage boy walking a small length behind a man on to the mosque carpet. There the boy approaches an older man giving him a respectful hand shake. After prayer, a native of Sarajevo shares with me in wholesome conversation, "You are known in the town not by what you have. You are known by how well you behave."

Another invitation, this time for a cup of a tea at a cafe. Overflowing with people mostly young adults, men and women sitting at tightly packed small tables inside and a few outside, conversations merging into each other with a loud volume flowing throughout, Shisha being smoked by some, cigarettes by some, smoke in the air and the temperature inside melting away heavy make-up on sisters' faces. "This is Ramadan in Sarajevo." Madia says. "One aspect of it." says I. Not having a good feeling right away when walking in and not wanting to stay, the two of us leave quickly.

My two new friends Dzenita and Amina aka angels of hospitality and kindness reciprocating my gift to them of Milka chocolate give me a gift before departing the next day. "Tespih!!" A burnt red and yellow colored set with sparkingly gold thinly cut wrapping paper looking stripes purchased at the Gazi Husrev-Bey Mosque gift shop. Not knowing then I collect Tesbih, their gift is now my most favorite of my Tesbih collection

Husbands and wives, men and women both young and old, well-groomed and well-dressed, some holding hands as they stroll through narrow pathways in the Old Town on a Ramadan's night. Families talking and eating at restaurants, friends in groups sharing laughs, so much to see, so much to experience. At a cafe where baked goods, ice cream, and other sweets are sold, a lady sitting with a group of others initiates speaking to me, stopping me in my tracks. Bidding me farewell, she extends me a gracious compliment

Ramadan 2017 in Sarajevo, Bosnia to Remember

The first day and the second

What a blessing!!!

by Najwa Kareem
Family Gravestones, 2012

I search for ancient paths
Deep rutted, hidden by catbriars and laurels
Washed by rain, trodden by my mother, invisible others,
Grandmothers and aunts carving tortuous trails
Dug deeper by custom and love,
Red veined tendrils
Under history’s tangled growth.
I follow their tears, the strings,
The scattered household debris
Of women’s work—cast iron pots,
Old *** blades, treadles, rusted with disuse,
String quilts and melted firewood.
You, Vera, Louisa, Catherine, Prudence, Elizabeth
And names now invisible,
I’m coming with my shears and blades,
My crosscut saws made strong by other seekers.
We snip, we cut, we tear at the weeds of illusion
That hide your deep and righteous trails.
Published in  " Pinesong," 2014.
Riley Renee Aug 2014
Ruby red slippers, rich with passionate love
for you, dear state, as I search your land,
grazing the colors, the life, and the mystery
of weeds choking gravestones, tangling the dead.
But you, dear state, yourself is so gentle.

Kansas, you stretch to ****** my curls;
to stroke my tender cheek with a
flock of sunflowers, blooming vivid gold and
a mizzle of musicality, too high, too loud for me.

Your screams of country overwhelm me.
Why you, dear state, never treat us to
tangles of concrete nor mazes of glass?

Kansas, your heaven gives me migraine.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Modern Charon
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Warming Her Pearls
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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



Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts

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

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

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

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

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



Distances
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The Poetry Porch/Sonnet Scroll



Fascination with Light
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

a soft blur.

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

and flutters and drifts on in dark aimless flight.

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

Originally published by The HyperTexts



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Water and Gold
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



escape!!!
by michael r. burch

for anaïs vionet

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



Leave Taking
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

have learned what it means to say—
goodbye.

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



Passionate One
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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



Stay With Me Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

Originally published by The Lyric



This poem has over 600 results for the eleventh line:

First They Came for the Muslims
by Michael R. Burch

after Martin Niemoller

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

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

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

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

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

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



bachelorhoodwinked
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



chrysalis
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

and yet You must love Your Self



Self Reflection
by Michael R. Burch

(for anyone struggling with self-image)

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

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



War is Obsolete
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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



In My House
by Michael R. Burch

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

Manifest Destiny?

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

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

I feel my tongue
stilting accordingly.

We were wrong;
brother, forgive me.

Published by Black Medina



Shock
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



In Praise of Meter
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Completing the Pattern
by Michael R. Burch

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



The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

Published by Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Webring



The Harvest of Roses
by Michael R. Burch

for Harvey Stanbrough

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

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

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



White in the Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

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

tell Regret it is not so rare.

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

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



The Octopi Jars
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



The Children of Gaza

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



Epitaph for a Child of Gaza
by Michael R. Burch

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



Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

Frail envelope of flesh,
lying cold on the surgeon’s table
with anguished eyes
like your mother’s eyes
and a heartbeat weak, unstable ...

Frail crucible of dust,
brief flower come to this―
your tiny hand
in your mother’s hand
for a last bewildered kiss ...

Brief mayfly of a child,
to live two artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her tears ...



For a Child of Gaza, with Butterflies
by Michael R. Burch

Where does the butterfly go
when lightning rails
when thunder howls
when hailstones scream
while winter scowls
and nights compound dark frosts with snow?

Where does the butterfly go?

Where does the rose hide its bloom
when night descends oblique and chill
beyond the capacity of moonlight to fill?
When the only relief's a banked fire's glow,
where does the butterfly go?

And where shall the spirit flee
when life is harsh, too harsh to face,
and hope is lost without a trace?
Oh, when the light of life runs low,
where does the butterfly go?



I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

for the children of Gaza and their mothers

I pray tonight
the starry Light
might
surround you.

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

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



Something
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

Something inescapable is lost―
lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight,
vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars
immeasurable and void.

Something uncapturable is gone―
gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,
scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass
and remembrance.

Something unforgettable is past―
blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less,
and finality has swept into a corner where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.



Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza and their children

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

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

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

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



Such Tenderness
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza

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

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

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

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



who, US?
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

“who’s to blame?”



My nightmare ...

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



I, too, have a dream ...

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



Suffer the Little Children
by Nakba

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



Piercing the Shell

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the lost gold of vanished stars.

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



Habeas Corpus
by Michael R. Burch

from “Songs of the Antinatalist”

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



In His Kingdom of Corpses
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Uyghur Poetry Translations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



Free Fall to Liftoff
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



The One True Poem
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

even so,
We were One.



The Poem of Poems
by Michael R. Burch

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



Peace Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

Be calm.
Be still.
Be silent, content.

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

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

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

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



Sometimes the Dead
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



What the Poet Sees
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Finally to Burn
(the Fall and Resurrection of Icarus)
by Michael R. Burch

Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand

and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands

where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting

and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting

and all I remember
,upon awaking,

is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking

one’s Being―to glide
heroically beyond thought,

forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.



O, finally to Burn,
gravity beyond escaping!

To plummet is Bliss
when the blisters breaking

rain down red scabs
on the earth’s mudpuddle ...

Feathers and wax
and the watchers huddle ...

Flocculent sheep,
O, and innocent lambs!,

I will rock me to sleep
on the waves’ iambs.



To sleep's sweet relief
from Love’s exhausting Dream,

for the Night has Wings
gentler than moonbeams―

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

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Quixotic, I seek Love
amid the tarnished

rusted-out steel
when to live is varnish.

To Dream―that’s the thing!
Aye, that Genie I’ll rub,

soak by the candle,
aflame in the tub.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Somewhither, somewhither
aglitter and strange,

we must moult off all knowledge
or perish caged.

*

I am reconciled to Life
somewhere beyond thought―

I’ll Live the Elsewhere,
I’ll Dream of the Naught.

Methinks it no journey;
to tarry’s a waste,

so fatten the oxen;
make a nice baste.

I’m coming, Fool Tom,
we have Somewhere to Go,

though we injure noone,
ourselves wildaglow.

Published by The Lyric and The Ekphrastic Review



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Each Color a Scar
by Michael R. Burch

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

She did not speak,
but her intention
was clear,

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

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

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

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



Ultimate Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



Sanctuary at Dawn
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

"My father!"
"My son!"

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



All Things Galore
by Michael R. Burch

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

Grandfather,
now in your gray presence
you are

somehow more near

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

wish

that ululate soft phrase,
that hopeful phrase!

and everywhere above, each hopeful star

gleamed down

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

and taught me heaven, omen, meteor . . .



Attend Upon Them Still
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandparents George and Ena Hurt

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

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

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

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

make them complete.



The Composition of Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

for poets who write late at night

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

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

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

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

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



First Steps
by Michael R. Burch

for Caitlin Shea Murphy

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

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

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

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



brrExit
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Vacuum
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

that once intrigued us so.

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

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



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

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

What is their brazen goal?

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Charles d'Orleans translations of Rondels/Roundels/Rondeaux

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



Le Balcon (The Balcony)
by Charles Baudelaire
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Paramour of memory, ultimate mistress,
source of all pleasure, my only desire;
how can I forget your ecstatic caresses,
the warmth of your ******* by the roaring fire,
paramour of memory, ultimate mistress?

Each night illumined by the burning coals
we lay together where the rose-fragrance clings―
how soft your *******, how tender your soul!
Ah, and we said imperishable things,
each night illumined by the burning coals.

How beautiful the sunsets these sultry days,
deep space so profound, beyond life’s brief floods ...
then, when I kissed you, my queen, in a daze,
I thought I breathed the bouquet of your blood
as beautiful as sunsets these sultry days.

Night thickens around us like a wall;
in the deepening darkness our irises meet.
I drink your breath, ah! poisonous yet sweet!,
as with fraternal hands I massage your feet
while night thickens around us like a wall.

I have mastered the sweet but difficult art
of happiness here, with my head in your lap,
finding pure joy in your body, your heart;
because you’re the queen of my present and past
I have mastered love’s sweet but difficult art.

O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!
Can these be reborn from a gulf we can’t sound
as suns reappear, as if heaven misses
their light when they sink into seas dark, profound?
O vows! O perfumes! O infinite kisses!



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch

for George King

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Birdsong
by Rumi
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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



After the Deluge
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



grave request
by michael r. burch

come to ur doom
in Tombstone;

the stars stark and chill
over Boot Hill

care nothing for ur desire;

still,

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

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

so come, spend ur last hardearned bill
on Tombstone.



Defenses
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Pool's Prince Charming
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



The Aery Faery Princess
by Michael R. Burch

for Keira

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



pretty pickle
by Michael R. Burch

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



and then i was made whole
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Album
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Because You Came to Me
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Beckoning
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Besieged
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

and the rout begins.



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

(for mothers battling addiction)

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

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



Loose Knit
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Alien Nation
by Michael R. Burch

for a Christian poet who believes in “hell”

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

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

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

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



Burn
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

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

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



Burn, Ovid
by Michael R. Burch

“Burn Ovid”—Austin Clarke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



*** 101
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

The most unlikely coupling—

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

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

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

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

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



honeybee
by michael r. burch

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



honeydew
by michael r. burch

i sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle!



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

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



Huntress
Michael R. Burch

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



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

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

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

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

Originally published by The Chained Muse



Ince St. Child
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

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

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

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

Will wake together, by and by.

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

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

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

Know nothing but this lullaby.



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Kindred
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Reflections
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



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

for Trump

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Café Dissensus



Remembrance
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Resurrecting Passion
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Songs of Innocence and The Chained Muse.



Currents
by Michael R. Burch

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

Originally published by The Lyric



Righteous
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



R.I.P.
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



The Shape of Mourning
by Michael R. Burch

The shape of mourning
is an oiled creel
shining with unuse,

the bolt of cold steel
on a locker
shielding memory,

the monthly penance
of flowers,
the annual wake,

the face in the photograph
no longer dissolving under scrutiny,
becoming a keepsake,

the useless mower
lying forgotten
in weeds,

rings and crosses and
all the paraphernalia
the soul no longer needs.



Tillage
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



For All That I Remembered
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The Raintown Review



Hearthside
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



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

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

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

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



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

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

in ourselves.



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



Villanelle: Hangovers
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



Haunted
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Published by Romantics Quarterly



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

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

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



Her Preference
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



hey pete
by Michael R. Burch

for Pete Rose

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

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



Nevermore!
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

their skeletal love―impossibility!

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



Mehmet Akif Ersoy: Modern English Translations of Turkish Poems

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



W. S. Rendra translations

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

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

Best wishes for an impending deflowering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then comes light,
life, the animals and man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



Recursion
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Lines for My Ascension
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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



Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

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



Published as the collection "Modern Charon"

Keywords/Tags: Charon, Styx, death, ferry, boat, ship, captain, steering, helm, wheel, rudder, shipwreck, disaster, night, darkness, 911, 9-11, mrbch
Tark Wain Sep 2015
I want to write a poem that rhymes
I haven't done that in a while
it's unnecessary my professor said
the one that never cracked a smile

She told me my work didn't need structure
that there was no need to work within the lines.
It was all ******* to me
no car has ever reached its destination without the aid of signs

No bird has flown his way down south
without another bird *** in its face
and so the story goes
and so continues the race

structure in a sense is supposed to free us
because it brings familiar tones
because after all
What are we all but walking Gravestones?
The living come with grassy tread
To read the gravestones on the hill;
The graveyard draws the living still,
But never anymore the dead.
The verses in it say and say:
“The ones who living come today
To read the stones and go away
Tomorrow dead will come to stay.”
So sure of death the marbles rhyme,
Yet can’t help marking all the time
How no one dead will seem to come.
What is it men are shrinking from?
It would be easy to be clever
And tell the stones: Men hate to die
And have stopped dying now forever.
I think they would believe the lie.
Lexi Cairns Dec 2013
One day everything we have ever owned will be reduced to dust,
The last remnants of our lives
Scattered to the winds.
Just another child of the moon,
Another sad story.
Love and loss and laughter
Never to be remembered-
Tossed into the ocean.
Yet we see remnants of a struggle;
Names etched into stone,
Initials carved into trees,
Stories printed in ink-
All bearing the same timeless message.
I was here.
I was here.
I was here.
Blake Sep 2018
And I'll try to delay what you make of my life
But I don't want your way,
I want mine

I’m lying, I’m so very far from fine

I don’t believe, in talking just to breathe

I’m here to give you words as tools that can destroy my heart

He thinks that faith might be dead
Nothing kills a man faster than his own head

*** nobody knows he’s alive

I want to crack the door so I can just fall out

I begin to understand why god died

And I want everyone to know that I am half a soul divided

Don’t be afraid. We’re going home.

We had to steal him from his fate so he could see another day

Am I alive and well or am I dreaming dead?

Where all your blood is washed away and all you did will be undone

We pick songs to sing remind us of things that nobody cares about and honestly we’re probably more suicidal than ever now

If we wake up every morning and decide what we believe we can take apart our very heart and the light will set us free

Please don’t be afraid of what your soul is really thinking

It’s time you pick your battle, and I promise you this is mine.

I know what you think in the morning when the sun shines on the ground

But there’s hope out the window, so that’s where we’ll go, let’s go outside and all join hands but until then you’ll never understand

Simply suggest my chest in this confused music it’s obviously best for them to turn their guns to a fist.

I’m taking over my body back in control no more shorty

I fought it a lot and it seems a lot like flesh is all I got not anymore

You should take my life, you should take my soul

You are surrounding all my surroundings

Fight it. Take the pain ignite it tie a noose around your mind loose enough to breathe fine and tie it to a tree tell it “you belong to me this ain’t a noose this is a leash and I have news for you, you must obey me”

It ain’t the speakers that bump hearts, it’s our hearts that make the beat.

I’m pleading please oh please, on my knees repeatedly asking why it’s got to be like this, is this living free?

Some see a pen I see a harpoon.

I’ll stay awake, *** the dark’s not taking prisoners tonight

I don’t hear those voices calling, I must’ve kicked them out

Why won’t you let me go? Do I threaten all your plans I’m insignificant

I’m afraid to tell you who I adore, won’t tell you who I’m singing towards

I know it’s dire my time today

Somebody stole my car radio and now I just sit in silence

Sometimes quiet is violent
I find it hard to hide it my pride is no longer inside it’s on my sleeve my skin will scream

There’s no hiding for me I’m forced to deal with what I feel there is no distraction to mask what is real

This time there’s no sound to hide behind

I find over the course of our human existence one thing consists of consistence and it’s that we’re all battling fear oh dear I don’t know if we know why we’re here oh my too deep please stop thinking

Peace will win and fear will lose

There’s faith and there’s sleep we need to pick one please because faith is to be awake and to be awake is for us to think and for us to think is to be alive and I will try with every rhyme to come across like I am dying to let you know you need to try to think.

I don’t wanna be heard, I wanna be listened to.

I scream you scream we all scream *** we’re terrified of what’s around the corner.

My brain has given up, white flags are hoisted

The stomach in my brain throws up onto the page

I don’t understand why everything I adore takes a different form when I squint my eyes have you ever done that when you squint your eyes and your eyelashes make it look a little bit right and then when just enough light comes from just the right side and you find you’re not who you’re supposed to be?
This is not what you’re supposed to see, please, remember me I am supposed to be king of kingdom, swinging on a swing, something happened in my imagination the situations becoming dire, my treehouse is on fire, and for some reason I smell gas on my hands. This is not what I had planned.

We’ll be on fire

We have romantic fantasies about what dying truly is

We all know somebody who knows somebody who’s doing great, I know some people who know people who are flying straight, but I’ll kindly enter into rooms of depression, while ceiling fans and idle hands will take my life again.

But I would rather sing a song, for the eyes to sing along

I’m holding onto what I know and what I know I must let go

Redemption’s not that far and darkness is going down.

Nobody thinks what I think, nobody dreams when they blink, think things on the brink of blasphemy I’m my own shrink think things are after me, my catastrophe.

Are you searching for purpose? Then write something and it might be worthless, paint something yeah it might be wordless pointless curses nonsense verses you’ll see purpose start to surface, no one else is dealing with your demons meaning maybe defeating them could be the beginning of your meaning friend.

They will play a game and say they know what you’re doing through and I tried to come up with an artistic way to say they don’t know you and neither do I

I hear a second voice behind your tongue somehow

They will not take you down they will not cast you out

Dear friends here we are again pretending to understand how you think your world is ending sendin signals and red flags in waves it’s hard to tell the difference between blood and water these days
I pray that one day you see
The only difference between life and dying
Is one is trying that’s all we’re gonna do so try to love me and I’ll try to save you

Won’t you stay alive I’ll take you on a ride, I will make you believe you are lovely

Your redemption won’t grow stale, we are now just setting sail, on the seas of what we fear, treason now is growing near to me, I’m coming clean, god hit me straight on.

I know, where you stand, silent in the trees
And that’s where I am

Why won’t you speak, where I happen to Be? Silent in the trees standing cowardly
I can feel your breath, I can feel my death.
I want to know you, I want to see, I want to say, hello

I don’t believe my ears and I’m scared of my own head.

Clearly I am dying, dearly I am writing

I’m lying cause I say I am fine

I’m so sorry but I do believe that all my bridges I have burned and I’ve earned a policy of no return

Today, day, I want to go away, way

I put my sock on my feet, just so that my soul would fall through my toes, And I walk through my door, just so I don’t fall through the floor.

So bold and fearless in the risks we take, laugh in the face of gravity as it’s laws we’d break, on trampolines so high, we reach for the sky, but I do not look up anymore and I don’t know why.

I take my face off at the door because I don’t know who they will take me for

I’m the son of all I’ve done

When we’re done we’ll all have made something new under the sun

“Where’s your home? Where are you going and why are you here?”

I will tell you what I can, but your mind will take a stand, I sing of a greater love, let me know when you’ve had enough.

When your father turns to stone will you take care of me?
I will make you queen of everything you see, I’ll put you on the map, I’ll cure you of disease.
Let’s say we up and left this town and turned our future upside down, we’ll make pretend that you and me, lived ever after happily.

Since we know that dreams are dead, and life turns plans up on their head, I will plan to be a *** so I just might become someone.

Taking my only, friend I know. He leaves a lot. His name is Hope.

I’m never what I like, I’m double sided

*** I’m twisted up, I’m twisted up, inside my mind

When the sun is climbing window sills, and the silver lining rides the hills, I will be safe, for one whole day, until the sun makes the hills it’s grave.

By the time the nights wears off, the dust is down, and shadows burn, I will rise and stand my ground, waiting for, the nights return.

I do not know why I would go in front of you na shied my soul, *** you’re the only one who knows it

I don’t know why I think I could lie, *** there’s a screen on my chest

I’m standing in front of you I’m trying to be so cool, everything together trying to be so cool.

I can’t see past my own nose I’m seeing everything in slow-mo look out below crashing down to the ground

A train from the sky locomotive my motives are insane
My flows not great okay, I conversation with people who know if I flow on a song I’ll get no radio play.
While you’re doing fine, there’s some people and I, who have a really tough time getting through this life so excuse us while we sing to the sky.

We’re broken people

I can’t take them on my own, my own, pa, I’m not the one you know, you know

Don’t wanna give you all my demons, you’ll have to watch me struggle, from several rooms away. But tonight, I need you to stay.

I am up against the wall, the wall, pa, I hear them coming down, the hall.

I want to drive away in the night, headlights call my name.
I’ll never be, be what you see inside, you say I’m not alone but I am petrified.

Is close the closest star? You just feel twice as far.

I’m so afraid, of what you have to say, cause I am quiet now, and silence gives you space

And the wrists of my mind had the bleeding lines that remind me of all the times I have committed

What kids are doing they’re killing themselves, they feel they have no control of their prisoner cells, and if you’re one of them then you’re one of me

Now the night is coming to an end

The sun will rise and we will try again

Stay alive, stay alive, for me.
You will die, but now your life is free take pride in what is sure to die.

I will fear the night again.

I hope I’m not my only friend.

There’s an infestation in my minds imagination

This not rap this is not hip hop, just another attempt to make the voices stop

This doesn’t mean I lost my dream it’s just right now I got a really crazy mind to clean.

Can you save my heavydirtysoul, for me?

If I didn’t know better I’d guess you’re all already dead

You’ve got one time to figure it out, one time to twist and one time to shout, one time to think and I say we start now

Death inspires me like a dog inspires a rabbit

I wish I found some better sounds no ones ever heard, I wish I had a better voice to sing some better words, I wish I found some chords in an order that is new, I wish I didn’t have to rhyme every time I sang

Now I’m insecure, and I care what people think.

Sometimes a certain smell will take me back to when I was young, how come I’m never able to identify where it’s coming from?

It would remind us of when nothing really mattered out of student loans and treehouse homes we all would take the ladder.

We used to play pretend give eachother different names

Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face saying wake up you need to make money

I wanna stay in the sun where I find, I know it’s hard sometimes

I think about the end just way too much, but it’s fun to fantasize

I won’t fall in love with falling

I’d die for you that’s easy to say we have a list of people that we would take a bullet for them a bullet for you

Metaphorically I’m the man but literally I don’t know what I’d do, that’s harder to do even harder to say when you know it’s not true and it’s harder to write when you know that tonight there were people back home that tried talking to you

All these questions they’re for real like who would you live for who would you die for and would you ever ****?

I’ve been thinking too much, help me

I’m fairly local, ive been around, ive seen the streets you’re walking down

I’m evil to the core, what I shouldn’t do I will, they say I’m emotional, what I wanna save I’ll ****. Is that who I truly am? I truly don’t have a chance. Tomorrow I keep a beat. And repeat yesterday’s dance

I’m not evil to the core, what I shouldn’t do I will fight. I know I’m emotional, what I wanna save I will try. I know who I truly am. I truly do have a chance. Tomorrow I’ll switch the beat, to avoid yesterday’s dance

It’s the few the proud and the emotional

The world around us is burning but we’re so cold

Our minds change on what we think is good, I wasn’t raised in the hood, but I know a thing or two about pain, and darkness, if wasn’t for the music I don’t know how I would’ve fought this.

I’m in constant confrontation with what I want and what is poppin in the industry it seems to me that singles on the radio are currency my creativities only free when I’m playing shows.

Who would you live and die for on that list but the problem is there’s another list that exists and none really wants to think about this forget sanity, forget salary, forget vanity my morality, if you get in between someone I love and me, you’re gonna feel the heat of my calvary

He cranked out those dismal chords, and his four walls declared him insane.

I found my way right time wrong place

I know my souls freezing hells hot for good reason

But I’m not good with directions and I hide behind my mouth, I’m a pro at imperfections and I’m best friends with my doubt.
Now that minds out and now I hear clear and loud I’m thinking wow I probably should’ve stayed inside my house

I don’t know if this song is a surrender or a revel. I don’t know if this one is about me or the devil.

Help me out, my friends and I we got a lotta problems

Wanted to be a better brother better son wanted to be a better advisory to the evil I have done I have none to show to the one I love

Polarize is taking your disguises sepersting then splitting them up from wrong and right, is deciding when to die and deciding when to fight

I don’t know where you are, you’ll have to come and find me

We have all learned to **** our dreams

I need to know that when I fail you’ll still be here. *** if you stick around I’ll sing you pretty sounds and well make money selling your hair

I don’t care what’s in your hair I just wanna know what’s on your mind.
I used to say I wanna die before I’m old but because if you I might think twice.

What if my dream does not happen. Would I just change what I’ve told my friend. Don’t want to know who I would be. When I wake from a dreamers sleep

Scared of my own image. Scared of my own immaturity

Fear might be the death of me. Fear leads to anxiety. Don’t know what’s inside of me.

Even when I doubt you, I’m no good without you.

Temperature is dropping, I’m not sure if I can see this ever stopping. Shaking hands with the dark parts of my thought no, you ar wall that I’ve got no.

I want the markings made on my skin, to mean something to me again.

Hope you haven’t left without me, please

Who I am today is worse than other times. You don’t know what I’ve done.

Why I’m in denial that they tried the suicidal session. Please use discretion when you’re messing with the message man, these lyrics aren’t for everyone only few understand.

Hope you’re dead *** how could you sleep at a time like this

I’m the kinda guy who takes every moment he knows he confided in
Music to use for others to use it

Life is up here but you comment below And the comments below will become
Common motivation to promote
Your shows next episode
So your brain know to keep going
Even though hope
Is far from this moment but you and I know it gets better when mornin finally reads it’s head, together we’re losers remember the future remember the mornin is when night is dead.

My people singing

Be the one to take my soul and make it undone

Be the one to take me home and show me the sun

Where we’re from, there’s no sun, our hometowns in the dark
Where we’re from, we’re no one, our hometowns in the dark.

We don’t know, how to put back the power in our soul

We don’t know, where to find, what once was in our bones.

I look outside and see a whole world better off without me in it trying to transform it.

Listen I know, this ones a contradiction because of how happy it sounds. But the lyrics are so down.
It’s ok though, because it represents Wait better yet it is, who I feel I am right now.

I’m a goner, somebody catch my breath

I wanna be known, by you.

Though I’m weak, and beaten down. I’ll slip away, into this sound.
The ghost of you is close to me.
I’m inside out, you’re underneath.

I’ve got two faces, blurry’s the one I’m not

I need your help to take him out

Don’t let me be gone.

I can’t believe how much I hate.
Pressures of a new place roll my way.

Spirits in my room, friend or foe?
Felt it in my youth feel it when I’m old

I’ll be right there, but you’ll have to grab my throat and life me in the air. If you need anyone
I’ll stop my plans, but you’ll have to tie me down and then break both my hands.

You can learn to levitate with just a little help

Cowards only come through when the hours late and everyone’s asleep mind you

My heart is with you hiding but my minds not made

No we are not just graffiti on a passing train I got back what I once bought back in that slot I won’t need to replace

Sever all I thought I could depend on my weekends on the freezing ground that I’m sleeping on please keep me from please keep me down from the ledges

At least they all know all they hear comes from a place.

When everyone, you thought you know, deserts your fight, I’ll go with you
You’re facing down, a dark hall, I’ll grab my light and go with you

Surrounded and  up against a wall, I’ll shred em all. And go with you
When choices end, you must defend, I’ll grab a bat, and go with you

Stay with me, no you don’t need to run, stay with me, my blood.

They’re callin for your head and they’re callin for your name, I’ll bomb down on em I’m comin through

Just keep it outside

If you find yourself, in a lions den, I’ll jump right in, and pull my pin.

East is up, I’m fearless when I hear this on the low
Easy is up, I’m careless when I wear my rebel clothes

They will know that, Dema don’t control us

They wanna make you forget

Save your razor blades now, not yet

I’m flying from a fire, from Nico and the Niners.

What I say when I wanna be enough what a beautiful day for making a break for it, we’ll find a way to pay for it, maybe from all the money we made razor blade stores, rent a race horse, and force a sponsor, and start a concert a complete diversion, start a mob and you can be quite certain we’ll win but not everyone will get out.

Can’t stop thinking about if and when I die for now I see that if and when are trike different cries for If is purely panic and when is solemn sorrow and one invade today while the other spies tomorrow

If I keep moving they won’t know I’ll morph to someone else

I’m just a ghost

Defence mechanism mode

What are we here for if not to run straight through all our tormentors

Anybody listening?

This beat is a chemical

Lovin what I’m tasting
Venom on my tongue
Dependant at times
Poisonous vibrations

I’m running for my life

Hide you in my coat pocket

Felt I was invincible you wrapped around my head now different lives I lead my body lives on lead the last two lines may read incorrect until said

I despise you sometimes I love to hate the fight and you in much life is like sippin on straight chlorine

Grows while I decay

Can you build my house with pieces I’m just a chemical

My interior world needs to sanitize
I’ve got to step through or I’ll dissipate
I’ll record my step through for my basement tapes

Nice to my kind will be on my side

And you know you’re a terrible sight but you’ll Be just fine

Your exterior world can step off instead
It might take some friends and a warmer shirt but you don’t get thick skin without getting burnt

No I don’t know which way I’m going
But I can hear my way around

I never look for conflict for the thrill

For you I would get beat to smithereens

And my problem? We glorify those even more when they

My opinion our culture could treat a loss like it’s a win and right before we turn on them we give them the highest of praise and hang their banner from the ceiling communicating further ingravjng and earlier grace is an optional way. No.

What’s my problem don’t get it twisted it’s with the people we praise who may have assisted

I could go out with a band they would know my name they would host and post a celebration . My opinion will not be lenient

We don’t get enough love well they get a fraction they say how could he go if he’s got everything I’ll mourn for a kid but won’t cry for a king.

Neon gravestones try to call for my bones

Promise me this. If I lose to myself you won’t mourn a day and you’ll move on to someone else

But they won’t get them

Don’t get me wrong the rise in awareness is beating a stigma that no longer scares us but for sake of discussion in spirit of fairness could we give this some room for a new point of view and could it be true that some could be tempted to use this mistake as a form of aggression a form of succession a form of a weapon thinking I’ll teach them well in refusing the lesson it won’t resonate in our minds I’m not disrespecting what was left behind just pleading that it does not get glorified maybe we swap out what’s it is that we hold so high. Find your grandparents or someone of age. Pay some respects for the other that they paved to life they were dedicated now that should be celebrated.

I could take the high road but I know that I’m going low

I’m a bandito

This is the sound we make when in between two places where we used to bleed and where our blood needs to be

In city I feel my spirit is contained like neon inside the glass they form my brain but I recently discovered it’s a heartless fire like nicknames they give themselves to uninspire begin with bullet now add fire to the proof but I’m still not sure if fears a rival or close relative to truth either way it helps to hear these words bounce off of you the softest school could be enough for me to make it through

I created this world to feel some control destroy it if I want so I sing Sahlo Folina

I can feel pressure start to posses my mind so I’ll take this beat I should delete to exercise

No I move slow I wanna stop time I’ll sit here til I find the problem

This clique means so much to this dude it could make him afraid of his music and be scared to death he could lose it

You were one of those classic ones
Traveling around this sun

I wish she knew you

You were here when I write this but the masters and mixes will take to long to finish to show you I’m sorry I did not visit did not know how to take it when your eyes did not know me like I know you

Then the day that it happened I recorded this last bit I look forward to having a lunch with you again

I’m tired of tending to this fire

Embers barely showing proof of life in the shadows dancing on my plans

They know that it’s  almost over

The burning is so low it’s concerning *** they know that when it goes out it’s a glorious gone
It’s only time before they show me why no one ever comes back with details from beyond

In time I will leave the city for now I will stay alive

Last year I needed change of pace
Couldn’t take the pace of change
Moving hastily
But this year
Though I’m far from home
In trench inches not alone
These faces facing me
They know what I mean.
I made this more for me than anyone else. It’s a really fricken long piece. They saved me tho so I do not care. K bye.
Alec Boardman Mar 2017
A wind chime old and rusting on your grandmother’s porch
The song not as clear as it once was
The new tune so softly eerie that to a passerby it seems just fine

Waking up five minutes before your alarm
Sitting on your bed, wide awake
Just watching the time tick pass, minutes of your life
Until you’re past the time to go

In the idle of traffic, you become aware
Of all the movement around you
Babies whine, horns honk, people sing
Yet here you are
What are you doing?
Are you doing anything at all?

Your bed is a coffin, dusty from the days you don’t open it at all
The sunlight is foreign to your eyes
People prance around you, basking in its glory
They don’t even blink at your inability to see the light.

In the cemetery,
Gravestones surround you,
Bodies of the lost and souls of the ******
You can’t help but resonate somewhere deep inside your soul.
Not that you wish to be dead, no.
Just that it seems you already are.
October 2016
Sophia Chang Jun 2016
The perfect manicured hand of a *****'s
slap slap slapping
The raw red skin on my cheeks

The short pink skirt from hell
swish swish swishing
Against the long tan legs of evil

The shiny glinting blade of steel
slice slice slicing
The long green veins on my skin

The pure dark red of blood
drip drip dripping
On the crisp clean white of the bathroom tiles

The big hard hand of my mother's
bang bang banging
The heavy frosty door of solitude

The loud sharp voice of my father's
ring ring ringing
In the nooks and crevices of every corner

The ******* bird of night
hoot hoot hooting
on the thick grey gravestone of mine
{24.06.16}
Don't be a bully, it ends more than just a life.
It ends faith in humanity.
Tom Orr Nov 2012
Terrifying façade,
long and tall, overpowering
but frail.
Ready to crumble and fall.

Snide wire intertwined,
exit wounds in the concrete flesh.
Each thorn stood to attention,
unwelcoming guards of the now unwanted.

Block after block
of relentless alleyways,
like a labyrinth of colossal gravestones.
The sky opens.

Water rattles bullet-like,
upon the once majestic city walls.
The cathedral moans its last hymn
as the steeple betrays itself.

The descent prevails.
Tempora labuntur, tacitisque senescimus annis,
Et fugiunt freno non remorante dies.
             Ovid, Fastorum, Lib. vi.

“O Cæsar, we who are about to die
Salute you!” was the gladiators’ cry
In the arena, standing face to face
With death and with the Roman populace.

O ye familiar scenes,—ye groves of pine,
That once were mine and are no longer mine,—
Thou river, widening through the meadows green
To the vast sea, so near and yet unseen,—
Ye halls, in whose seclusion and repose

Phantoms of fame, like exhalations, rose
And vanished,—we who are about to die,
Salute you; earth and air and sea and sky,
And the Imperial Sun that scatters down
His sovereign splendors upon grove and town.

Ye do not answer us! ye do not hear!
We are forgotten; and in your austere
And calm indifference, ye little care
Whether we come or go, or whence or where.
What passing generations fill these halls,
What passing voices echo from these walls,
Ye heed not; we are only as the blast,
A moment heard, and then forever past.

Not so the teachers who in earlier days
Led our bewildered feet through learning’s maze;
They answer us—alas! what have I said?
What greetings come there from the voiceless dead?
What salutation, welcome, or reply?
What pressure from the hands that lifeless lie?
They are no longer here; they all are gone
Into the land of shadows,—all save one.
Honor and reverence, and the good repute
That follows faithful service as its fruit,
Be unto him, whom living we salute.

The great Italian poet, when he made
His dreadful journey to the realms of shade,
Met there the old instructor of his youth,
And cried in tones of pity and of ruth:
“Oh, never from the memory of my heart

Your dear, paternal image shall depart,
Who while on earth, ere yet by death surprised,
Taught me how mortals are immortalized;
How grateful am I for that patient care
All my life long my language shall declare.”

To-day we make the poet’s words our own,
And utter them in plaintive undertone;
Nor to the living only be they said,
But to the other living called the dead,
Whose dear, paternal images appear
Not wrapped in gloom, but robed in sunshine here;
Whose simple lives, complete and without flaw,
Were part and parcel of great Nature’s law;
Who said not to their Lord, as if afraid,
“Here is thy talent in a napkin laid,”
But labored in their sphere, as men who live
In the delight that work alone can give.
Peace be to them; eternal peace and rest,
And the fulfilment of the great behest:
“Ye have been faithful over a few things,
Over ten cities shall ye reign as kings.”

And ye who fill the places we once filled,
And follow in the furrows that we tilled,
Young men, whose generous hearts are beating high,
We who are old, and are about to die,
Salute you; hail you; take your hands in ours,
And crown you with our welcome as with flowers!

How beautiful is youth! how bright it gleams
With its illusions, aspirations, dreams!
Book of Beginnings, Story without End,
Each maid a heroine, and each man a friend!
Aladdin’s Lamp, and Fortunatus’ Purse,
That holds the treasures of the universe!
All possibilities are in its hands,
No danger daunts it, and no foe withstands;
In its sublime audacity of faith,
“Be thou removed!” it to the mountain saith,
And with ambitious feet, secure and proud,
Ascends the ladder leaning on the cloud!

As ancient Priam at the Scæan gate
Sat on the walls of Troy in regal state
With the old men, too old and weak to fight,
Chirping like grasshoppers in their delight
To see the embattled hosts, with spear and shield,
Of Trojans and Achaians in the field;
So from the snowy summits of our years
We see you in the plain, as each appears,
And question of you; asking, “Who is he
That towers above the others? Which may be
Atreides, Menelaus, Odysseus,
Ajax the great, or bold Idomeneus?”

Let him not boast who puts his armor on
As he who puts it off, the battle done.
Study yourselves; and most of all note well
Wherein kind Nature meant you to excel.
Not every blossom ripens into fruit;
Minerva, the inventress of the flute,
Flung it aside, when she her face surveyed
Distorted in a fountain as she played;
The unlucky Marsyas found it, and his fate
Was one to make the bravest hesitate.

Write on your doors the saying wise and old,
“Be bold! be bold!” and everywhere, “Be bold;
Be not too bold!” Yet better the excess
Than the defect; better the more than less;
Better like Hector in the field to die,
Than like a perfumed Paris turn and fly.

And now, my classmates; ye remaining few
That number not the half of those we knew,
Ye, against whose familiar names not yet
The fatal asterisk of death is set,
Ye I salute! The horologe of Time
Strikes the half-century with a solemn chime,
And summons us together once again,
The joy of meeting not unmixed with pain.

Where are the others? Voices from the deep
Caverns of darkness answer me: “They sleep!”
I name no names; instinctively I feel
Each at some well-remembered grave will kneel,
And from the inscription wipe the weeds and moss,
For every heart best knoweth its own loss.
I see their scattered gravestones gleaming white
Through the pale dusk of the impending night;
O’er all alike the impartial sunset throws
Its golden lilies mingled with the rose;
We give to each a tender thought, and pass
Out of the graveyards with their tangled grass,
Unto these scenes frequented by our feet
When we were young, and life was fresh and sweet.

What shall I say to you? What can I say
Better than silence is? When I survey
This throng of faces turned to meet my own,
Friendly and fair, and yet to me unknown,
Transformed the very landscape seems to be;
It is the same, yet not the same to me.
So many memories crowd upon my brain,
So many ghosts are in the wooded plain,
I fain would steal away, with noiseless tread,
As from a house where some one lieth dead.
I cannot go;—I pause;—I hesitate;
My feet reluctant linger at the gate;
As one who struggles in a troubled dream
To speak and cannot, to myself I seem.

Vanish the dream! Vanish the idle fears!
Vanish the rolling mists of fifty years!
Whatever time or space may intervene,
I will not be a stranger in this scene.
Here every doubt, all indecision, ends;
Hail, my companions, comrades, classmates, friends!

Ah me! the fifty years since last we met
Seem to me fifty folios bound and set
By Time, the great transcriber, on his shelves,
Wherein are written the histories of ourselves.
What tragedies, what comedies, are there;
What joy and grief, what rapture and despair!
What chronicles of triumph and defeat,
Of struggle, and temptation, and retreat!
What records of regrets, and doubts, and fears!
What pages blotted, blistered by our tears!
What lovely landscapes on the margin shine,
What sweet, angelic faces, what divine
And holy images of love and trust,
Undimmed by age, unsoiled by damp or dust!
Whose hand shall dare to open and explore
These volumes, closed and clasped forevermore?
Not mine. With reverential feet I pass;
I hear a voice that cries, “Alas! alas!
Whatever hath been written shall remain,
Nor be erased nor written o’er again;
The unwritten only still belongs to thee:
Take heed, and ponder well what that shall be.”

As children frightened by a thunder-cloud
Are reassured if some one reads aloud
A tale of wonder, with enchantment fraught,
Or wild adventure, that diverts their thought,
Let me endeavor with a tale to chase
The gathering shadows of the time and place,
And banish what we all too deeply feel
Wholly to say, or wholly to conceal.

In mediæval Rome, I know not where,
There stood an image with its arm in air,
And on its lifted finger, shining clear,
A golden ring with the device, “Strike here!”
Greatly the people wondered, though none guessed
The meaning that these words but half expressed,
Until a learned clerk, who at noonday
With downcast eyes was passing on his way,
Paused, and observed the spot, and marked it well,
Whereon the shadow of the finger fell;
And, coming back at midnight, delved, and found
A secret stairway leading underground.
Down this he passed into a spacious hall,
Lit by a flaming jewel on the wall;
And opposite, in threatening attitude,
With bow and shaft a brazen statue stood.
Upon its forehead, like a coronet,
Were these mysterious words of menace set:
“That which I am, I am; my fatal aim
None can escape, not even yon luminous flame!”

Midway the hall was a fair table placed,
With cloth of gold, and golden cups enchased
With rubies, and the plates and knives were gold,
And gold the bread and viands manifold.
Around it, silent, motionless, and sad,
Were seated gallant knights in armor clad,
And ladies beautiful with plume and zone,
But they were stone, their hearts within were stone;
And the vast hall was filled in every part
With silent crowds, stony in face and heart.

Long at the scene, bewildered and amazed
The trembling clerk in speechless wonder gazed;
Then from the table, by his greed made bold,
He seized a goblet and a knife of gold,
And suddenly from their seats the guests upsprang,
The vaulted ceiling with loud clamors rang,
The archer sped his arrow, at their call,
Shattering the lambent jewel on the wall,
And all was dark around and overhead;—
Stark on the floor the luckless clerk lay dead!

The writer of this legend then records
Its ghostly application in these words:
The image is the Adversary old,
Whose beckoning finger points to realms of gold;
Our lusts and passions are the downward stair
That leads the soul from a diviner air;
The archer, Death; the flaming jewel, Life;
Terrestrial goods, the goblet and the knife;
The knights and ladies, all whose flesh and bone
By avarice have been hardened into stone;
The clerk, the scholar whom the love of pelf
Tempts from his books and from his nobler self.

The scholar and the world! The endless strife,
The discord in the harmonies of life!
The love of learning, the sequestered nooks,
And all the sweet serenity of books;
The market-place, the eager love of gain,
Whose aim is vanity, and whose end is pain!

But why, you ask me, should this tale be told
To men grown old, or who are growing old?
It is too late! Ah, nothing is too late
Till the tired heart shall cease to palpitate.
Cato learned Greek at eighty; Sophocles
Wrote his grand Oedipus, and Simonides
Bore off the prize of verse from his compeers,
When each had numbered more than fourscore years,
And Theophrastus, at fourscore and ten,
Had but begun his “Characters of Men.”
Chaucer, at Woodstock with the nightingales,
At sixty wrote the Canterbury Tales;
Goethe at Weimar, toiling to the last,
Completed Faust when eighty years were past.
These are indeed exceptions; but they show
How far the gulf-stream of our youth may flow
Into the arctic regions of our lives,
Where little else than life itself survives.

As the barometer foretells the storm
While still the skies are clear, the weather warm
So something in us, as old age draws near,
Betrays the pressure of the atmosphere.
The nimble mercury, ere we are aware,
Descends the elastic ladder of the air;
The telltale blood in artery and vein
Sinks from its higher levels in the brain;
Whatever poet, orator, or sage
May say of it, old age is still old age.
It is the waning, not the crescent moon;
The dusk of evening, not the blaze of noon;
It is not strength, but weakness; not desire,
But its surcease; not the fierce heat of fire,
The burning and consuming element,
But that of ashes and of embers spent,
In which some living sparks we still discern,
Enough to warm, but not enough to burn.

What then? Shall we sit idly down and say
The night hath come; it is no longer day?
The night hath not yet come; we are not quite
Cut off from labor by the failing light;
Something remains for us to do or dare;
Even the oldest tree some fruit may bear;
Not Oedipus Coloneus, or Greek Ode,
Or tales of pilgrims that one morning rode
Out of the gateway of the Tabard Inn,
But other something, would we but begin;
For age is opportunity no less
Than youth itself, though in another dress,
And as the evening twilight fades away
The sky is filled with stars, invisible by day.
Gabriel Bonney Oct 2018
These gravestones call my name
The things they claim
A crow sits atop a tree
Carrying a noose for me
At my soul, they're tapping
In the dark, they're stabbing
I won't let them take my soul
I will write the truth you must know
I must say it again
I won't let them take my soul
Please tell them not to take my soul
You may take my soul
I'm sorry.
Kaiden A Ward May 2019
The stars have abandoned the sky,
leaving only gravestones of darkness
to mark their passing.
Em Glass Apr 2015
We have ventured from the start
and lost sight and broken apart, but
there is a way to live without
hearing heartbeats as ticking clocks
shouting of times past;
we sat side by side through every class
and we’re not done learning. Our
gravestones are jettisoned from the shuttle,
floating there goes gravity but
even shadowed from the sun by so much,
we clutch at moons to make our own light
on our own planet. We
could keep going now,
could stop each other from falling
and keep marking our heights
against the wall even though
they stopped changing long ago
because we didn’t
and instead of accumulating
the weight of years and days
we could find a way to keep getting lighter
the farther we get from the beginning
we are finite
but there went gravity
cause of death: life
a space-time continuum
Wyatt Jul 2016
Your tears rain down,
I turn mine into gravestones.
jeremy wyatt Jan 2011
Picked two pockets-ful today,
all were damp from where they lay.
Will paint them with flowers.
A sad place, with pockets of hope.
My pockets hold no hope.
Just stones.
For the six little ones.
yvan sanchez Sep 2018
summer nights—cold soul
drunken anecdote
the flow of ink so delicate
to massacre the old for the new

winter morning—warm hands
littered streets
the sound of your vowels and consonants
just the right consistency

chiseled gravestones—life in your eyes
sound of footsteps
the burn of your last words to me
inverted and sweet

the universe owes us no due;
the six minutes i treasured you—

Paradise, 2018
Casper J Oct 2013
Consciousness,
mindfulness,
philosophical enlightenment -
Live for the **** of it.
Camus was right to breathe in spite of the tide of crushing emptiness.
The boulder gets heavy,
the bones grow weary,
the mountain is steep and we are steeped in irony.
For life can be deadly and death's rows of gravestones mark homes for freed slaves,
their crossed arms hiding scars
left by the teeth of nihilistic grief beatings and
surgery scalpels set to carve by
frequent false
alarms.

Sisyphus took but one break,
to hear the chains rattled from the gates,
hellish obsidian, vermilion flames licking lumps of silica grains
mixed with ash and a black tar splash.

And Orpheus sighed on the lyre and brought tears to the eyes of the most vile,
while Sisyphus
paused -
not long,
but a lifetime for those still free to subside
to dust, from blood and guts,
when their time arrives.

The trials of life,
the striving rites and lavish gifts of light to defy
the black and empty dusk still fail.
Eurydice grows pale as Orpheus turns to see her cheeks
losing every trace of peach hue,
eyes emptying,
lungs leaking their
last gale.

Struggling again, Sisyphus is sent
tumbling down the face of the great mountain,
grabbing gravel and sand and gashing gaps in his hard leather hands.
Bleeding ash,
not blood,
hot red mud dripping from the thick lacerations,
mixing with the sickening avalanche of wasted effort and waylaid plans.
Repeating the climb up the steep peak,
bones creaking like a clock's gears,
rattling off the seconds,
minutes,
hours,
years
until the watch stops its
panicked hands.

Until then we will toil unswayed
as we wear stones to clay,
carving winding paths in spirals up the mountain's waist.
No calm for those with breath,
no rest for beating hearts.
We must live in spite of life,
and then sink silent
to the earth.
Derrek Estrella Oct 2018
New mildew mania, oh man-of-war
Live by the letter, and **** for the car
The dreamers, constrained by the fog they can’t see
I uttered this song in Breakaway Alley

A wandering blonde in the restless air
Their kids, half-afraid that they’re halfway to nowhere
Think what you may, they are not in a trance
Wield what they say and you’ll find that you dance

Upon every row, lies a flag waving by
Apartment gravestones kissing up to the sky
Now, must we try so hard for fake jubilee?
The happy ones live in Breakaway Alley

In Breakaway Alley lies the sun
Breakaway Alley is on the run

All the country crows, they’ve committed a crime
Each of their wings, flapping mad out of time
To fly with such freedom yet stay so cloudbound
Cacophonous sounds fighting for our own ground

The buds only look up for leviathans
To take them to the realm they misunderstand
To pity the fool that does not try to flee
We sit on our stools in Breakaway Alley

In Breakaway Alley lies the sun
Breakaway Alley has emptied the guns

The youth do not stir at the visage of hell
There is no romance in the streets’ calling bells
And while we may treat such a threat to be shown
The dagger of a mind is dull while unknown

The ravaged pretender spoke of the Romans
His gauntlets of gold, earned from fate’s happenstance
To escape his blood, he would face down the sea
The velvet hands shook in Breakaway Alley

In Breakaway Alley lies the sun
Breakaway Alley is due to be shunned

The eye of childhood feared the forgotten paint
They lay, unencumbered, on secular saints
The falsified folly in full leopard print
The troops in their trollies with pockets of lint

The radio is silent in time’s aging vice
We hear and don’t listen, bats spliced with mice
But maybe, you will see this sweet harmony
Remember the words of Breakaway Alley

In Breakaway Alley lies the sun
Breakaway Alley has finally gone

When the baby screams for the first time, aged five
Will it lament the loss of its life?
When the kids rear for a solution wherever you go
How much will it take to say “God, I’ll never know”?

Remember the words of Breakaway Alley
It’s not all you see, it’s not simply me
Terry Collett Oct 2013
And Jane held the butterfly
in the palms of her hands
gently opening up
a mere gap
so that you could glimpse it

it tickles
she said
and she laughed
and that aspect of her

thrilled you
the way she held
her head to one side
her eyes in wonderment

of the captured butterfly
her soft hands
as if she were caressing
the head of a first born

see?
she said
see its beautiful colouring
and you glimpsed

the bright colours
it's a Peacock butterfly
she said
and she stood there

on the narrow road
to Diddling Church
in the grey dress
with yellow flowers

and the muddy shoes
and white socks
her hands opening
and you both watched

as the butterfly
fluttered off
across the hedgerow
out of sight

one of God's treasures
my father calls them
she said
still gazing where

the butterfly had been
a butterfly was a butterfly
to you
fresh from London

unused to the country fare
the clean air
the wide expanse of space
did you see many

butterflies in London?
she asked
guess so
you said

can't say I paid them
much mind
you are funny
she said

all this beauty
and it doesn't strike you?  
you stared at her
standing there

her eyes wide open
her hands gesturing
as if to include
all about her

her dark hair
neatly brushed
her dark eyes
focusing on you

getting to me
each time I'm with you
and you explain things
you said

she smiled
and o that
really held you
in a sway that smile

that spread of lips
come on
she said
let's go look

at the gravestones
in the church yard
and so you followed her
up the narrow road

feeling the warm sun
of the Saturday afternoon
wanting to hold her hand
feel her fingers

in yours
sense the smoothness
feel her pulse of life
and you entered

through the wooden gate
along the stones
which made a path
the tombstones

high and low
chiselled names and dates
she stood by the church wall
and stared at the

beyond the hedge
you stood next to her
and touched her hand
with yours

your fingers touching
warm
soft
and she looked at you

and said
you can kiss me
if you like
and stood there waiting

and you unsure
wanting to but shy
not wanting
to mess things

or get it wrong
but you kissed her cheek
and then her lips
holding her

feeling her arms
about you
and you sensed
her waist slim

your fingers touching
and lips to lips
o God
you mused

confused
moved apart
she smiling
you uncertain

and she said
my mother likes you
says you're different
from the local boys

something that sets
you apart
you frowned
and said

am I?
kiss good
she said
not greedy

or too passionate
or too sensuous
but like holding
that butterfly just now

something tickled
inside me
she said
you gazed

into her dark eyes
as a Peacock
butterfly
fluttered overhead.
INDEX


                            Foreword

1  Despertación of Etréstles 13

2  Constitución New Government . 22

3  diabolic Intromisión 25

4  Kanti, the Corcel . 28

5  Ante the Council 30

6 Inauguración the Monument to Botsaris . 36

7  Losas abandoned 41

8  Satagénesis and Deidagénesis Four. Five

9   Enviados to Deidagénesis / Lepanto 52

10 Drestnia in Kalidona 56

11 Etréstles returns Lepanto 64

12 And the fourth cemetery 71

13 Top of the flight of Lucifer 79

14 In the crypt of the patriarchs 87

15 Etréstles part Valplacci 98

16 Etréstles fleet in the Ionian Sea 114

17 Near Messolonghi 120

18 A new era begins 123

19 Universal Era breaks 129

20 Goodbye Messolonghi 135

21 At the beginning of a new millennium. 141

Epilogue. 153








FOREWORD






Mi theme concept concerning Cemeteries, has been maintained for many years under a remarkable process falls recoup credibility. Unknown worlds which we do not know what to believe, are usually put into question.

Constantly let the silent fields where lie the dead, but it is not, rather that me thinks so. Undoubtedly, the Quantum Theory indicates a basic unit of the whole universe, showing that it is possible to decompose the world into small units of independent existence. This theory shows that the dynamics in the art is such that, solid objects are in constant motion entramando relations between different parts of a unified whole.

As we believe that matter is inherently sterile, we think the cemetery is in the same condition, and therefore inert bodies are also only turned into a pile of bones scattered.





7

8 Etréstles


My conception of the world of subterranean acting, aims to support the theory of Quantum, because at first glance it seems that under these moles cement there putrefaction and eternal solitude. Well, I, I do not think so, I think there is tremendous activity, above all tends to seek fulfillment in a world that concerns him, and also has the infinite grace of thanks from all lurking diseases that shake us. That is, each inhabitant of the subterranean acting as a Franciscan Noble receives worship existence, and not faints by the destructive effects of all known diseases.

Near the garden of heroes, they are the remains of those who died in this output. It was a legendary struggle for libertarian revolution of 1821 in Greece, exactly Messolonghi. Markos Botsaris's tomb and the statue of Lord Byron great Hellenophile found in this garden.

Once, I was looking for a book, and this was inevadiblemente of oriental trend. I used to remind my teacher, the monk talking Virajánanda Given the processes of time, yesterday, today and tomorrow; all at once were a pure unity. That physical death had to be spiritual satisfaction, so that the spirit can not disconnect your disposable body. Child saw my family to go to leave flowers garden home to their loved ones. But I am noticing that my grandparents were still alive, and then would leave, looking for ways to inhale the smell of the earth to prepare the farewell that someday would come from the dark beyond. It never was painful to see them

Ko umeterium MESSO LO Nghi 9


from, because I've always been with them. In addition always our body, which would be living in a merger with vague spirits, to vague minds that do not hold their interest in spirituality as a way of life, tend to make us climb through dark passages of ignorance.

Etréstles, the protagonist; It has place at a lineage that marks limits warriors of ancient Greece, since fought with neighboring nations. Thus, generation after generation, he meddles in successive reincarnations that are to be transported in time by different spaces.

Its Vitabión and Regma Mother, father and as Staktos and Esaedt, both from different eras. His monogamous romantic company is coyuntada with the presence of Drestnia; woman who had to pull out of her womb, better said from his rib, emulating the biblical account.

While it is noteworthy that the secondary characters are related to Greek mythology such as Eurydice, and real characters like Markos Botsaris, who was a great hero who drove the Turks. The famous Florentine sculptor and architect Lorenzo Ghiberti, is present in the action, so that his image is immortalized in an eternal cemetery. Similarly we should mention Asurbanipal king of Assyria (667-626 C), the Auriga; the coachman and truck driver where he had his Herreros over time to release the Hellenic descent.

Other memorable as Aristotle, Hesiod, Praxiteles, which are knowledge to every reader of Greek literature. The judge presiding over the classroom

10 E tr é stles


sesionaba time to time, trying to revive the rituals and reject the stubborn efforts of Lucifer, who was trying to have a place on earth, then God expelled him from heaven.

In the chapter of the onslaught of Lucifer, he is accompanied by his minions Heosphoros and Phosphoros; they are the ones who brought Lucifer from heaven to Messolonghi. In addition Mesopotamian demons appear hostile world, these were the Annunaki who were the jailers of the dead in hell. The Etimmu, were the ghosts of all those who had died unhappy. The Utukku lived in desolate places or cemeteries; they are all part of malignancy presence as oppressive form and manner of presence to the exuberance of good all-encompassing.

Kanti Botsaris steed, is nothing more than his superconsciousness, wearing it as a link between the different physical and oneiric dimensions. It should be noted that Kanti is a Cretan horse and belongs to the fallen in battle, as Botsaris.

Eulalia and Zultina, both courtesans who spent their lives together with Ghiberti and Botsaris.

And it could not ignore the Menopausal, puerperal and Enamorada, as they like female members suffer alone beyond the earthly life that had consequences that affect the desolate silence of death camps.

And to finish, arrival at Valplacci, where it meets a world and a rare man in an unknown dimension by Etréstles. subsequently arriving at Patmos, where St.

Ko umeterium MESSO LO Nghi eleven


John the Theologian, to regain some of its lost soul by the intrusion of Lucifer. Here manages to discover that there is no need to fight warriors who always talk about physical war, because many of them tend to succumb to the same battlefields. discovering, mind mentor as the best ally to overcome any difficulty, wherever it is that the human race is found, or infra-human.

Finally, Etréstles is discovered in a way that would open a new numeral cycle, to start a new era and a new physical space where the projection Messolonghi be situated; nothing less than Nineveh, Ashurbanipal land where the winds blow, as a priest in his exsufflation it does to remove the demons that inhabit the world.

The "Zero" is the initiator of a new era, from whose base the only means available to the new life that awaits the residents of escombroso Messolonghi, after the invasion of Lucifer appears.

My concept of the cemeteries, while seeking an answer to approximate I think now that enormous efforts are made to understand fully. Cemetery remains for me a scenario of hideousness and terror, seen from the observation point that everyone has it, however, I think that in a strange world where you're not supposed to govern ethics, aesthetics, law , and the professional, economic and social status; It is where more wealth is the multiestimulante vitality, "I think

12 E tr é stles


nowhere inhabited earthly souls, will be able to find more life here in the

Messolonghi cemetery ".


José Luis Carreño Troncoso San Antonio, 1997




1





Wake-up of Etréstles



Dfter sleeping a thousand years fell on my face greater light current Solar. I slept without smiling at the crowds inhumaron smearing me my only bones.

The search of that hubbub, made me celebrate the porous bodies and pelusientos arañosos falling on my fingers, delighting my humble tributes to the beetles that accompanied me to direct my view to the nearby burial vaults me. Some were swollen with a semblance augury despertativa; like starting today, with the ominous words They moved from today, the paddling of my fleshless jaws.

Among gravestones of Floreas esmeraldinas dinosauric, in a clear blue autumn, some birds refregaban on edges of the carved stones. Meanwhile, mustards was riding on dry leaves leaves clavelinas. The white-clad looked up Drestnia slab that closed their senses, remained behind bars with his hands crossed as evolving body


13

14 E tr é stles


to attend a new era of geography and different technology. On his chest he would run the living vertiginante wind up the corporeal hint in the light of Koumeterium Messolonghi; that housed over a thousand years ago, at Etréstles of Kalavrita.

This huge palace and flat, it is nothing more than an asylum, where the worst plague that began with the death of the sentinels of Lucifer, who dropped this place with its beautiful golden layers originated; whose satagénesis emerge the burning soil to ten fossilized cemeteries under the Messolonghi.

He walked slowly dragging my old body, the tenth floor, and that teenage girls pointed stones would break my nails; as such if they were claws of a mammal trapped by lava from a volcano. In each advance I awaken in my armor patriotic my last fight, and his enternecedor observe how parents tilled by the conglomerate caste, fighting in underground elements.

Etréstles awakening ...:

Etréstles ...: Which of all columns erected is able to open all columns built in the pavilion of these moles without form or color ... just vitalizing lung diaphragm Eólico my daydreams, is who I think would ...?

To all who are runaways and trapped underground Messolonghi, I bring you good tidings ... Auriga with its Herreros come from the region of the Dodecanese to loosen the bars you father

Ko umeterium MESSO LO Nghi fifteen


Staktos lucid and my mother Vitabión well that in a thousand years, has been damaged her beautiful body. Since my birth in Ayia Lavra, I was being buried for the ninth time in the Ninth Fossilized Cemetery. Whose archpriest with holy oil trickled down my wall, pretending to be a dance of water generated at the bottom of the Ionian. Between the arches of the temple columns running down my mother Vitabión; outward sacravertebral bathe in the water of my past christenings. My past lives were providing mandated by the Auriga their previous lives. And your mother ... A day tried the weight of my recycle ... ?!

Beyond you., Comrades of wars, pilgrimages sacrosanct, lush gauzy baths civilization in the Olympic and equestrian fields.

To you. That you lie here, as is my death in my last life in the hands of a Spartan soldier. Pcs., Blood of my blood, I feel inside me speak your need ...

And in the postrería Drestnia, which by its sixth rising from here from Messolonghi, between bars sealed thy grave situation for the Hellenic indeterminar.

I had to drink from the Pinosa resin to speak here, with my bony hands to touch the others are like yours ...

... Drestnia, my rib still preserved, I will be reborn placating the domain of collective wishful thinking, which prevents your freedom.

My rib you return to your present life, whose cold, flower seeds esqueletizaron the perimeter of your life ...

16 E tr é stles


Etréstles was with them into the Koumeterium Messolonghi, to about 1800 meters zenith direction.

They were to be the Necromesolongui Council to define the minutes. -while music with winds adorned arrival-. Just at the moment, came the Auriga with its blacksmiths, they came to liberate Drestnia with its multiconciencia. What happiness to Etréstles! He ran through the underground halls, to the oldest Koumeterium, the first fossilized. Where thousands of years ago, with many now extinct species, Etréstles came to them resoundingly good news.

While the Council inveighed promulgating the divine sarmiento spray fields Dodecanese in producing seeds of Markos Botsaris.

Judge…: With my lameness, I have to advocate the reintegration of outstanding Markos Botsaris, that once we free them of the Turkish occupation!

Asurbanipal ...My Sirio reign, full of dynamism, placed on their doorposts the powerful image of South-west wind, in honor of his victorious from Kalidona.

Etréstles brought Drestnia just walking the Council and thousands of harmoniums undermined doubts Manor invoking the hero. They all stand, the Council at its octagonal table with his assistants left empty vine glasses to welcome, to the last surviving female first Koumeterium Messolonghi.

Ko umeterium MESSO LO Nghi 17


Harmoniums, as Apollonian rubies widen the dimensions of the cavernales vaults. She sit and ends the music. Drestnia with some leaves on his shoulders, adorned the new escenáculo, which would sit by the new future.

Asurbanipal ...: To you gifts Oh, the universe, you are welcome to this Council, where one day they brought me to praise my contributions from the entrance of Humanity!

But the issue for today, will await the arrival of Markos Botsaris as you who have reached this border, thanks to the generous Auriga.

Charioteer…: ***** wax Orion; Eternal fuel, donated them strength to my steeds pairs, that were raised over distant lands, to reach my Herreros desoldering the bars of Drestnia.

Blacksmith…: Our eyes closed every hundred kilometers, but Eurydice with your calendar, made the aphelion arrimara us this feat.

Ecos ...: Dust ..., Mito ... Dream ... illusion ... have swirled galloping millennia, wearing gray Borrasca ...!

What dark words illuminate the hopes, just below, it is well known that there is much to do, because there is more activity on the surface ...!

Judge…: Etréstles, Drestnia ... past, present, or future will speak of you.

18 E tr é stles


You Drestnia ... !, how long dream ..., defied your gothic vision, not move my neck to your neighbors, loved ensepulcrados in the first Fossilized Koumeterium.

Vitabión ...: Messolonghi lives up to all cemeteries in the world, where they loved their near them. But they do not know life here is more dynamic than in the world of their own.

Menopausal women ...My husband cry on my slab, because his infidelity caused me a bad venereum, which today has removed me from his life. The cries and cries for me ****** decline, all for being with another woman condemned me.

one curtain rises and leaves Funebrio; concelebrating priest all recent deaths ...

Funebrio ...: Woman when you cry my black clothes, cry black tears ...!

Your husband remains static, no movement, despite many kilometers to their own devices. Forbidden habit becomes, how tempting. But contestataria Mother Nature pours us their punishment.

Staktos ...: Friends kisses you give yourself, Where have posted ideations ...?

O dais to scatter everywhere the osculaciones they meet other mouths.

Ko umeterium MESSO LO Nghi 19


Etréstles ...: Everyone I ask do well to prepare your labors. Even so, his desire to hold my naughty pleas heart in this hour by the arrival of Drestnia.

The judge asks adjourn for the recess could then discuss strategies for future deaths.

Sepulcrero ...Lord Judge at the stepped eastern sector have buried an architect. We could ask your cooperation to Botsaris monument.

Judge…: All in good time. It will be done, does anyone want something narrow ...? -Drestnia raised his hand and asked ...:

Drestnia ...: With Etréstles in the last minutes of our lives, which extortioner once it is finished this monument, where our souls will be destined to remain here temporarily ... Messolonghi?

Judge…: General demented wars, take Etréstles the field of Lepanto, because there are stubborn souls who defy the vanquished souls ...

… and as for you, the benevolent Auriga take your soul colors of the sunset, to divide megatons of the Romantics, who along with Ghiberti, on some trunks of beautiful minerals, will anchor his best poems and hiperestésicas forward to outshine their suicides groups.

After the meeting, the attendees are removed, and Drestnia with Etréstles go to spring the celestial napa

twenty E tr é stles


with its golden glow waiting to sail to Tangier and Morocco. In their ships were concurrent, Etréstles woman carrying her ribcage navigation oriented towards the sound of the oars that were the femurs of a Diplodocus itself.

Drestni
ROUGH SAMPLE  - Metaphysic Poem besed upon a 1000 Bc. Etrestles of Kalavrita, greek hero, living through 10 lices, recommence a New Era.

Epic and Multidimensional poetic Ebook
come & enjoy, where you dont find..., stepout and see the Glory.

Jose Luis
Luke Gagnon Mar 2013
we are carbon,
ashes,
craters,
two towers,
after.

rubble,
mist and manholes.
your eyes on a
cloudy day.
the aftermath of destruction.

we are leftover scratches
on gas chamber walls,
corpses,
cremations, and gravestones.

vision without glasses,
abandoned buildings,
the residual newspaper ink on
your palms.

we are static, crumbling nihilism,
aged hair, and dust sifting through
frost bitten fingers.

cavities, apathies,
blank television screens,
sketches, ghosts, absence,
dust, collapse,
driftwood.

we are driftwood, not enough
for a life-raft,
sometimes, where there is smoke,
there is no fire.

i guess it’s where we were always heading,
dulling, deconstructing, disintegrating.
after all, every thing
reduces to this.
play - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0HANcSuL7A - in the background.
Finding peace in this life
Takes effort and strain
Feelings of hopelessness
Lead to the place
That it is kept
In a clearing, beneath the sky
Far away from the city
The gravestones
The gravel’s edge
Left behind
And the sun warms your skin
As the rain clouds gather
Dust swirling in anticipation
Plugging your nose
Despite the lovely smell
Your lungs deflate
Reconciled
That is peace
Akemi May 2016
the bottle twists
glass falls in drifts
and air parts like flesh

there’s a terror beneath this city
trucks enter from out of town and shake the power lines
passing without pause

sometimes birds gather for days
chirps grow exponentially
before tailing into silence;
heather and brimstone
little bodies roll to the edges
and burst on the streets in red regalia

a somnolence keeps the city forgetful
time flows in fits
a streetlamp; a raven; ten gravestones
it all runs without moving

vessels dilate
hands hold themselves

there’s nothing to breathe with
an empty chalice, turned on the hour grants
heaving clenching writhing
an ocean of rust
bulb shatters, blood spills out her
mouth cave head turn faith
the world remakes itself
*******
the colour of sunflowers
bicycle chains
thirst
colonialism
wet paint

emptiness over emptiness
act without agent
lack lack lack lack lack lack lack lack lack lack lack
peel the flesh and find flesh
always more flesh
don’t stop they know better
chirp chirp chirp
turn
exit
substance
purpose
nothing
4:45pm, May 1st 2016

the broken frame; the endless egress
a Oct 2014
Thank you Shaun,
for the pictures and flowers.
Thank you Lily,
for the ray of sunlight.
Thank you Bry,
for psychopathic measure.
Thank you D,
for the feeling of good pleasure.
Thank you Tay,
for tea and bears.
Thank you Meg,
for Sherlock and apples.
Thank you Zee,
for robots and twins.
Thank you Carrie,
for fangirling and friendship.
Thank you Liam,
for support and superheroes.
Thank you Paul,
for understanding and ingenious.
Thank you Ceryen,
for fake names and shared tears.
Thank you Chiara,
for Italian cheese and fanfics.
Thank you Rod,
for fish and evil.
Thank you Lia,
for kitties and souls.
Thank you Stephen,
for gravestones and vegetables.
Thank you Christine,
for mercurial and poetical love.
Thank you Caitlin,
for product design and Poundland.
Thank you Jordan,
for weddings and Brenda.
Thank you Conaill,
for DT and Courbet.
Thank you Brendan,
for axes and aunts.
Thank you Tom,
for form time and Brittany.
Thank you George,
for philosophies and pigeons.
Thank you Morgan,
for video games and hearing.
Thank you Alice,
for Pokemon and tumblr.
Thank you Aliyah,
for hearing aids and help.
Thank you all,
for reading and listening.
Thank you, me,
for absolutely nothing.
ongoing
v V v Jan 2012
I wanted to see you where the years were kind,
inescapably etched and displayed like
smooth stones spread out on velvet;
but I wouldn't ask. I rummaged through zippers
and heavy things.

On a cool summer night we heard a hiss of
broken stars across the desert sky
and looked up in time to see one pass over head
like a science fiction rocket ship.
It was a moment with you I will never forget.

It's funny how things are settled or settling
and divided by extremes,
jealousy   -   anger   -   hurt   -  houses  -  
etched stones  -  broken stars,
stuff  you  can't  find  words  for,  
stuff  you  wish  y­ou'd  written  down,
words  that  end  up  on  gravestones.

So leave me  with my imagination and your beauty,
maybe some nostalgia as my muse, add one more thing
for sure, make my children our children
not   half - me - half - devil - children
and maybe I wouldn't have to run,
wouldn't have to start a war.

Maybe I could be happy without
your etched stones.

Maybe all I really need is a broken star.
Artemis May 2014
How did we ever confuse the birds with the bushes
We’ve kept the birds wings clipped
And the bushes are running rampant
Yet we still wonder why we can’t understand anything
Like how gravestones roll off your tongue
Why the matches fall from your fingertips
And how your name has always reminded me of the gallows
The monsters under our beds have voices like shattering glass
And I know it makes it so hard to sleep sometimes
You told me to keep all my skeletons in the closet
Because I shouldn’t want anyone to read the signs that hang around their necks
I know to never look at them unless I want to see everything I ever died trying to find
And when I wake up in the middle of the night
With the tremors haunting me like a car crash
I always think I’m back in that hospital bed
And I’m sorry that I cannot control what escapes from my lips in that moment
I swear to God I’m not afraid of the dark I just don’t know what I’m fighting anymore
Entangled in the bushes that we left to grow unchecked
While the birds without wings watch me struggle with what I’ve made
Strange how its so hard to breathe without the sun
*~W.C.
Meaghan G Jan 2013
I. You are an angel,
a beautiful crystal-clear wet tongued straight-spined haloed human,
bringing that peace,
bring that piece of you that everybody needs. You hand it out like sin at a confessional, like blue jeans in Texas. They all need you. They all want to be saved.
You have something that everybody wants. They want that silver aura, that mist that hangs off your hips, a cloud that only God could have sent down with you. It is a stench.

II. You did not shiver when he touched you. You did not bark, did not swing your fists, did not pray, did not scalp him. You only asked to go in a different room, so your sister wouldn't have to witness
your ******* and the hollow of your collarbones not holding tears you held in. This one is not a lie. When he poked you in the morning, toe hanging out of his sock, you stared at him, weak smile. Smile keep smiling keep smiling walk out the door. Never feel shame, never wash your hands seventy-three times, never wake up four years later that same month and unconsciously decide to have *** with one person who looks like him and another who shares his name.

III. You wanted help. You
wanted attention, wanted somebody to pick up the phone, the line dead, you screaming you blaring you walking mindfully stepping over cracks you spitting out condolences and quotes like a book on grief. You want help.

IV. When you called the girl's father to tell him she had five new razor blades baptizing her back pocket, you did not lie to her when she asked if it was you.

V. If she had died, you would have lost more.

VI. You have an addiction to being ****** up. Not on anything, not on the pills you stole from your father, not on the mushrooms you gave to your mother, not on the bottles that sit in your kitchen like gravestones, scattered, weeping. No, this is on being
****** up.
Ask me how long I've been in therapy. Ask me if I can get enough.

VII. I can't. There will never be enough time for me to fill up "process group" with a voice that tells everyone that I am more damaged than them, that I've got more past, that I binge and starve and take pills that make me suicidal, that I've cut and have blurred the lines between ***, love, and intimacy, that my father was absent. That my father could hold a place in my life and still be
absent. That my father is a functioning alcoholic, that at least he didn't beat me, as far as I remember. That my mother carries her sorrow in boxes, carries her untold stories in the back of her throat, in the pit of her stomach, in her sweat. She compartmentalizes, you were a room she filled up with ****. That I am borderline, that I am bipolar, that I am **** spun into a web and called a patient, called smart and shy but I've got a need that will never run dry and it's for ears, it's for noses that can't smell out the lies, though I don't know if I have any.

VIII. I just have a need. My mother says that you can get addicted to therapy. My mother has never been a ******, doesn't know addiction. Doesn't know anorexia, only knows dinner with her daughter. Doesn't know depression, only knows a daughter who gets sad. Doesn't know borderline, says it's too severe. Says I could never be crazy enough for that.

IX. The woman I had *** with that shared his name called me crazy. I'm sure she went to sleep soft and angelic that night. I'm sure she has no baggage. She asked if she can visit me at the hospital. I asked her if she planned on bringing her suitcase too.

X. They want me and I let them. I want friend, I want family, I want a dinner that isn't me eating slivers and then shaking it off, I want -

XI. I wonder if it's an act. I feel myself talking. I am digging myself a hole. I am digging myself whole but at the risk of raw soul and flashing teeth and bleeding makeup, tissues in the middle of the circle I have too much pride to walk up to. This is my confessional. I pick a problem and never let it go, turn it into hospitalization, turn it into inhumanity, turn it into I Could Have Been More Than What's Happened To Me. Never take responsibility, never ask yourself why you are so happy to be on meds when the meds make you want to die. Never learn faith. Never learn patience. Learn mental tantrums. Learn how to take it like a woman. Learn how it feels when your therapist calls you seductive, calls you intentional. Learn how it feels to have your psychiatrist call you hot.

XII. Never trust yourself, not ever. Not your opinions, not your ink blots, not your journal entries. Question everything, all the time, in therapy. See a personality disorder online and decide you have it. See an addiction, have it verified. See your vulnerability on display, call it therapy. You beg for this. They call you strong and you question that too. You think you haven't been through that much, but you sure act like you have.

— The End —