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howard brace Feb 2012
Inconspicuous, his presence noted only by the obscurity and the ever growing number of spent cigarette stubs that littered the ground.  It had been a long day and the rain, relentless in its tenacity had little intention of stopping, baleful clouds still  hung heavy, dominating the lateness of the afternoon sky, a rain laden skyline broken only by smoke filled chimney pots and the tangled snarl of corroded television aerials.

     The once busy street was fast emptying now, the lure of shop windows no longer enticed the casual browser as local traders closed their premises to the oncoming night, solitary lampposts curved hazily into the distance, casting little more than insipid pools mirrored in the gutter below, only the occasional stranger scurrying home on a bleak, rain swept afternoon, the hurried slap of wet leather soles on the pavement, the sightless umbrellas, the infrequent rumble of a half filled bus, hell-bent on its way to oblivion.

     In the near distance as the working day ended, a sudden emergence of factory workers told Beamish it was 5-o'clock, most would be hurrying home to a hot meal, while others, for a quick drink perhaps before making the same old sorry excuse... for Jack, the greasy spoon would be closing about now, denying him the comfort of a badly needed cuppa' and stale cheese sandwich.  A subtle legacy of lunchtime fish and chips still lingered in the air, Jack's stomach rumbled, there was little chance of a fish supper for Beamish tonight, it protested again... louder.

     From beneath the eaves of the building opposite several pigeons broke cover, startled by the rattle as a shopkeeper struggled to close the canvas awning above his shop window.  Narrowly missing Beamish they flew anxiously over the rooftops, memories of the blitz sprang to mind as Jack stepped smartly to one side, he stamped his feet... it dashed a little of the weather from his raincoat, just as the rain dashed a little of the pigeons' anxiety from the pavement... the day couldn't get much worse if it tried.  Shielding his face, Jack struck the Ronson one more time and cupped the freshly lit cigarette between his hands, it was the only source of heat to be had that day... and still it rained.

     'By Appointment to Certain Personages...' the letter heading rang out loudly... 'Jack Beamish ~ Private Investigator...' a throat choking mouthful by any stretch of the imagination, thought Jack and shot every vestige of credulity plummeting straight through the office window and amidst a fanfare of trumpet voluntary, nominate itself for a prodigious award in the New Year Honours list.   Having formally served in a professional capacity for a well known purveyor of pickled condiments, who  incidentally, brandished the same patronage emblazoned upon their extensive range of relish as the one Jack had more recently purloined from them... a paid commission no less, which by Jack's certain understanding had made him, albeit fleeting in nature, a professional consultant of said company... and consequently, if they could flaunt the auspicious emblem, then according to Jack's infallible logic, so could Jack.  

     The recently appropriated letterhead possessed certain distinction... in much the same way, Jack reasoned, that a blank piece of paper did not... and whereas correspondence bearing the heading 'By Appointment' may not exactly strike terror into the hearts of man... unlike a really strong pickled onion, it nevertheless made people think twice before playing him for the fool, which sadly, Jack had to concede, they still invariably did... and he would often catch them wagging an accusing finger or two in his direction with such platitudes as... "watch where you put your foot", they'd whisper, "that Jack's a right Shamus...", and when you'd misplaced your footing as many times as Jack had, then he reasoned, that by default the celebrated Shamus must have landed himself in more piles of indiscretion than he would readily care to admit, but that wouldn't be quite accurate either, in Jack's line of work it was the malefactor that actually dropped him in them more often than not.

     A cold shiver suddenly ran down his spine, another quickly followed as a spurt of icy water from a broken rain spout spattered across the back of his neck, he grimaced... Jack's expression spoke volumes as he took one final pull from his half soaked cigarette and flicked it, amid an eruption of sparks against the adjacent brick wall.  Sinking further into the shadow he tipped his fedora against the oncoming rain, then, digging both hands deep within his pockets, he huddled behind the upturned collar of his gabardine... watching.

     It was times such as these when Jack's mind would slip back, in much the same way you might slip back on a discarded banana peel, when a matter of some consequence, or in particular this case the pavement, would suddenly leap up from behind and give the back of Jack's head a resoundingly good slapping and tell him to "stop loafing around in office hours... or else", then drag him, albeit kicking and screaming back into the 20th century.  This intellectual assault and battery re-focused Jack's mind wonderfully as he whiled away the long weary hours until his next cigarette; cup of tea, or the last bus home, his capacity to endure such mind boggling tedium called for nothing less than sheer ******-mindedness and very little else... Beamish had long suspected that he possessed all the necessary qualifications.  

     Jack had come a long way since the early days, it had been a long haul but he'd finally arrived there in the end... and managed to pick up quite a few ***** looks along the way.  Whilst he was with the Police Constabulary... and it was only fair to stress the word 'with', as opposed to the word 'in'... although the more Jack considered, he had been 'with' the arresting officer, held 'in' the local Bridewell... detained at Her Majesties pleasure while assisting the boys in blue with their enquiries over a minor infringement of some local by-law that currently had quite slipped his mind at that moment.  Throughout this enforced leisure period he'd managed to read the entire abridged editions of Kilroy and other expansive works of graffiti exhibited in what passed locally as the next best thing to the Tate Gallery, whereupon it hadn't taken Jack very long to realise that it was always a good place to start if you wanted free breakfast, in fact the weeks bill of fare was tastefully displayed in vivid, polychromatic colour on the wall opposite... you just had to be au-fait with braille.
                            
     No matter how industrious Beamish laboured to rake the dirt there always appeared to be a dire shortage of gullible clients for Jack to squeeze, what would roughly translate as an honest crust out of, and although his financial retainer was highly competitive he understood that potential clients found it bewildering when grappling with the unplumbed depths of his monthly expense account, which would tend to fluctuate with the same unpredictability as the British weather, the rest of Jack's agenda revolved around a little shady moonlighting... in fact he'd happily consider anything to offset the remotest possibility of financial delinquency... short of extortion... which by the strangest twist was the very word prospective clients would cry while Jack beavered around the office with dust-pan and brush sweeping any concerns they may have had frantically under the carpet regarding all culpability of his extra-curricular monthly stipend... and they should remain assured at all times... as they dug deep and fished for their cheque books, and simply look upon it as kneading dough, which eerily enough was exactly the thick wedge of buttered granary that Jack had every intention of carving.

     Were there ever the slightest possibility that a day could be so utterly wretched, then today was that day, Jack felt a certain empathy as he merged with his surroundings... at one with nature as it were.  The rain, a timpani on the metal dustbin lids, by the side of which Beamish had taken up vigil, also taking up vigil and in search of a morsel was the stray mongrel, this was the third time now that he'd returned, the same apprehensive wag, yet still the same hopeful look of expectation in his eyes, a brief but friendly companion who paid more attention to Jack's left trouser leg than anything that could be had from nosing around the dustbins that day... some days you're the dog, scowled Beamish as he shook his trouser leg... and some days the lamppost, Jack's foot swung out playfully, keeping his new friend's incontinence at a safe distance, feigning indignance  the scruffy mongrel shook himself defiantly from nose to tail, a distinct odour of wet dog filled the air as an abundance of spent rainwater flew in all directions.   Pricking one ear he looked accusingly at Jack before turning and snuffled off, his nose resolutely to the pavement and diligently, picking out the few diluted scents still remaining, the poor little stalwart renewed its search for scraps, or making his way perhaps to some dry seclusion known only to itself.
  
     Two hours later and... SPLOSH, a puddle poured itself through the front door of the nearest Public House... SPLOSH, the puddle squelched over to the payphone... SPLOSH, then, fumbling for small change dialled and pressed button 'A'..., then button 'B'... then started all over again amid a flurry of precipitation... SPLASH.  The puddle floundered to the bar and ordered itself a drink, then ebbed back to the payphone again... the local taxi company doggedly refused to answer... finally, wallowing over to the window the puddle drifted up against a warm radiator amidst a cloud of humidity and came to rest... flotsam, cast upon the shore of contentment, the puddle sighed contentedly... the Landlady watched this anomaly... suspiciously.

     The puddle's finely tuned perception soon got to grips with the unhurried banter and muffled gossip drifting along the bar, having little else to loose, other than what could still be wrung from his clothing... Beamish, working on the principle that a little eavesdropping was his stock-in-trade engaged instinct into overdrive and casually rippled in their general direction...  They were clearly regulars by the way one of them belched in a well rehearsed, taken-a-back sort of way as Jack took stock of the situation and was now at some pains to ingratiate himself into their exclusive midst and attempt several friendly, yet relevant questions pertinent to his enquiries... all of which were skillfully deflected with more than friendly, yet totally irrelevant answers pertinent to theirs'... and would Jack care for a game of dominoes', they enquired... if so, would he be good enough to pay the refundable deposit, as by common consent it just so happened to be his turn...  Jack graciously declined this generous offer, as the obliging Landlady, just as graciously, cancelled the one shilling returnable deposit from the cash register, such was the flow of light conversation that evening... they didn't call him Lucky Jack for nothing... discouraged, Beamish turned back to the bar and reached for his glass... to which one of his recent companions, and yet again just as graciously, had taken the trouble to drink for him... the Landlady gave Jack a knowing look, Beamish returned the heartfelt sentiment and ordered one more pint.

     From the licenced premises opposite, a myriad of jostling customers plied through the door, business was picking up... the sudden influx of punters rapidly persuaded Beamish to retire from the bar and find a vacant table.  Sitting, he removed several discarded crisp packets from the centre of the table only to discover a freshly vacated ashtray below... by sleight of hand Jack's Ronson appeared... as he lit the cigarette the fragile smoke curled blue as it rose... influenced by subtle caprice, it joined others and formed a horizontal curtain dividing the room, a delicate, undulating layer held between two conflicting forces.

     The possibility of a free drink soon attracted the attention of a local bar fly, who, hovering in the near vicinity promptly landed in Jack's beer, Beamish declined this generous offer as being far too nutritious and with the corner of yesterdays beer mat, flipped the offending organism from the top of his glass, carefully inspecting his drink for debris as he did so.

     A sudden draught and clip of stiletto heels as the side door opened caused Beamish to turn as a double shadow slipped discreetly into the friendly Snug... a little adulterous intimacy on an otherwise cheerless evening.  The faceless man, concealed beneath a fedora and the upturned collar of his overcoat, the surreptitious lady friend, decked out in damp cony, cheap perfume and a surfeit of bling proclaimed a not too infrequent assignation, he'd seen it all before... the over attentive manner and the band of white, Sun-starved skin recently hidden behind a now absent wedding token, ordinarily it was the sort of assignment Jack didn't much care for... the discreet tail, the candid snapshot through half drawn curtains... and the all too familiar steak tartare... for the all too familiar black eye.

     To the untrained eye, the prospect of Jack's long anticipated supper was rapidly dwindling, when it suddenly focused with renewed vigour upon the contents of a pickled egg jar he'd observed earlier that evening, lurking on the back counter, his enthusiasm swiftly diminished however as the belching customer procured the final two specimens from the jar and proceeded to demolish them.  Who, Jack reflected, after being stood out in the rain all day, had egg all over his face now... and who, he reflected deeper, still had an empty stomach.  Disillusioned, Jack tipped back his glass and considered a further sortie with the taxicab company.

     "FIVE-BOB"!!! Jack screamed... you could have shredded the air with a cheese grater... hurtling into the kerb like a fairground attraction came flying past the chequered flag at a record breaking 99 in Jack's top 100 most not wanted list of things to do that day... and that the cabby should think himself fortunate they weren't both stretched flat on a marble slab, "exploding tyres" Jack spluttered, dribbling down his chin, were enough to give anyone a coronary... further broadsides of neurotic ambiance filled the cab as the driver, miffed at the prospect of missing snooker night out with the lads, considered charging extra for the additional space Jack's profanity was taking...

     And what part of 'Drive-Carefully', fumed Beamish, did the cabby simply not understand, that pavements were there to be bypassed, 'Nay Circumvented', preferably on the left... and not veered into, wildly on the front axle... an eerie premonition of 'jemais-vu' perched and ready to strike like a disembodied Jiminy Cricket on Jack's left shoulder, looking to stick its own two-penny worth in at the 'Standing-Room-Only' arrangements in the overcrowded cab... and at what further point, Jack shrieked, eyes leaping from his head as he lurched forward, shaking his fist through the sliding glass partition, had the cabbie failed to grasp the importance of the word 'Steering-Wheel...' someone wanted horse whipping, and as far as Beamish was concerned the sole contender was the cab driver...

     In having a somewhat sedate and unruffled disposition it had fallen to Beamish... as befalls all great leaders in times of adversity, to single handedly take the bull by the horns, so to speak and at great personal cost, alert the unwary passing motorist...  Waving his arms about like a man possessed whilst performing acrobatic evolutions in the centre of the road as the cabby changed the wheel came whizzing around the corner at a back breaking 98 on Jack's ever growing list... and why, Jack puzzled, why had they all lowered their side windows and gestured back at him in semaphore..?  Rallying to its aid, Jack's head and shoulders now joined his shaking fist through the sliding glass partition and into the cabby's face, "Who" Beamish screeched with renewed vigour ,"Who Was The Man", Jack wanted to know... *"a
DJ Thomas May 2010
We each have a voice and life, it is how we use them not how we might!  

Stop glaciers melting
Huge population movements
Death of progeny


The small reductions in carbon emissions being targeted for 2020 or 2050 - are thought to little to late to slow global warming.  The melting polar ice and glaciers together with our changing weather patterns are now fact. The resulting loss of river systems and rising sea levels will mean the desertification or flooding of agricultural lands and famine, then the migration of populations - starting with the skilled and rich seeking safety, to escalate into the terror of armed bands
warring over water, food, women and land.

By 20 20
Lets hope for twenty twenty
A 20 20


There is now the thought that the huge physical change wrought by global warming can be charted by the escalation in earthquake and volcanic activity.  And that this may eventually trigger huge eruptions in the American and Asian continents,
destroying civilisations to create a planetary volcanic winter.

Again fire and cold
The cycle repeats itself
Destroying nature


Was there a civilisation in deep history before the flood, prior to and during the last ice-age?
This has been researched and written about in great detail during the last twenty years
and many now believe it already proven by scientific review of documents and
thousands of archaeological finds, also by scientists having used the exactness
in the astronomical alignments of ancient monuments
to recalculate there greater age.  

Dead sold souls herd us
Lost mindless finger puppets
Vapid witless words


Sadly, the majority put their reliance and faith in
the actions of lawyer-ed politicians, most of whom evidence
a fixation on their own welfare,  selfish self-glorification needs
and an unwillingness to rock-the-boat once in power*

Politicians thwart
Party politics deafen
Propaganda’s herd


Putting off all radical action required until after the next election.  
Many have gifted away the necessary legal control and power to take national radical action
to a political or trade grouping of nations - in effect retaining only national rights
to go to war, put up taxes, borrow and spend monies.

Please no rhetoric
Complete local transition
Forget politics


We each have a voice and life, it is how we use them not how we might!

Living we give voice
So one voice might yet be heard
All being, believe!


We are left holding our eco-inheritance and children’s future in the palm of our hand.
Please let our love and imagination drive us each forward to make change.


Biosphere a greenhouse 
Target the impossible
Please gift some life soon?


So, we each of us have hard personal choices to make, which will encompass both positive and negative
benefits in terms of our time, lifestyle, health and wealth.  I chose to base my choices solely on how it
might benefit the eco-system and the lives of our children.

My choices are grouped under five headings: transport, food, home, lifestyle and further action. They are:
-  

Transport: Rail; Bus; Coach; Bike;
(I pass woods in bud - a Red Kite hunting twisting, unhurried moments).  
To give up ownership of electric / motor vehicles
and to avoid air travel where possible.


Highly vaporous.
Emissions farting -
barrelling vipers
.

Food: To eat meat/fish only once a week at most;
(Slaughteramas greed - industrial carcase-ed meals. Sheep full of cancer)
To study fast methods of vegetarian cooking; buy local organic foodstuffs;
visit local farmers markets and farm shops; grow my own when possible
and help friends establish vegetable/herb gardens.
To not ever feed, cleave and eat!


Fat shopaholics,
a deadly consumerism.
Cancers meat to eat


Home:   A cottage sized for me, friends and neighbours,
overlooking a wooded valley and trout stream.
Like me a little untidy and basic
.

Crossing the shallows
trout fingerling feed at dawn
White dots steep hill path

Dusk - eight painted queue
river paired mare and foal
Foliage lined dark black


Well positioned to capture the morning sun, airy and light.  
Yet insulated to stay cool or warm. With easy access to mountain bike trails
and long distance bus routes, plus several end-of-line train stations
in energetic cycling distance over the mountains


A differing beat
Quickly fading doubled steps -
pulling separate


Life Style:* A thinking poet mountain biker, living organic
not part of the great noisious noxious ribbons of hurtling tired.

Pressured paced life -
impossible  commitments.
Organic living


Further Action: *I intend to give up meat not because of the terrible cruelty involved in ten billion or more animals
being slaughtered every year to feed the human race, but due to
: 1)  animal farming being a major factor in the burning of 50 million year old rainforests at a rate of one and half acres per second to generate huge volumes of greenhouse gases, destroying the richest habitats on Earth and a principal source of oxygen; and 2)  that these billions of farmed animals
are themselves a major source of greenhouse gases
.

Burning rainforests
Feeding to cleave open and eat
Subsistence farming


With ongoing intensive fishing, the world's fisheries already in crisis and climate change,
it could be that we will run out of wild-caught seafood much earlier than 2030!


Conserve energy -
and natural resources
Don’t waste foolishly


Each of us might have a different view of what globalisation is,
for some this word encapsulates the dangers of our global fast food culture, omnipresent brands,
popular culture, changing diets and the growing use of packaged processed foods
.

Freedom to act sought
Globalisation's curses
Octopus suckers!


For many it is the illegal international trade in endangered species of flora and fauna,  
second only in value to the $350 billion a year global drug trafficking trade that now services
perhaps more than 50 million regular users of ******, ******* and synthetic drugs
.

The label 'globalization' can cover the: spread and integration of different cultures;  
industry moving to low per capita income countries; sweatshops supplying this seasons branded goods
to retail outlets worldwide;  complex international interleaved financial trading instruments being developed
by banks and financial institutions to trade worldwide, create profits and pay huge bonuses, without risk to themselves
.

Globalisation -
orchestrated profiteers,
betting our losses


Many see globalisation as being the beneficial spread of free trade, liberty, democracy and capitalism,
involving the efficient allocation of resources and capital through the spread of technology.
Unelected international bodies and institutions such the World Bank actively promulgate globalisation,
a '‘world government’ promoting close economic ties between nations
.

Enculturation
Our sad indoctrination
Globalization
  

The anti-globalisation movements dislike the corporate and political nature of globalisation,
protesting the resultant harm done to the biosphere, a more rapid and extensive deterioration of the environment
and the unintended but very real consequences of globalisation: the erosion of traditional culture
resulting in social disintegration; a breakdown of democracy; the spread of new diseases;
changes in diet; increasing poverty.
.

I view globalisation and it's propagation as leading to the final destruction
of the world's cultures and civilisations by locked us into a
dogmatic world political doctrine secured through
trade and political alliances of states, institutions
and corporations that remain hell bent on
imposing this world governance. Such
that individual countries governments
cannot consider making substantive
radical change to avert the planet
being pushed into a natural cycle
that will end the human race
.

Caged in Fools World
The people hear heroic call  
Each one a hero
!

The peoples and cultures of the world need perhaps just one western country to
break the legal chains of globalisation and adopt a radical economic regeneration program
designed to make the total transition to a dynamic culture of localised
clean communities centred on the individual not competition*  

Only one tool
National taxation for -
economic change.


Here I begin discussing how global, regional and national economies might
be based on the growth of small organic local economies.
not the repeated foolishness involved in chasing lower cost base manufacture -
each time at great cost to the economy it has migrated from!
Then a further culture becoming totally reliant
on the transport of foodstuffs and goods -
I can here you saying
:

"Oh **** this guy is -
talking about change, changing -
the world we live in!"


Yes, I am and do we have a choice?  But such change will be organic and involve business
in the restructuring and regeneration of economies till we share green economies.  
In small part his is already happening slowly!


Unlock taxation,  
survivals powerful tool.  
Needed now for change!


This is why we need to consider doing something that many of today's
plutocrats, economists, bureaucrats and politicians, would dismiss out of hand or
discuss endlessly in terms of perfectly competitive markets, perverse economic incentives etc


Major solution
National taxation change
Human extinction



WORK in HAND

This haiku sequenced eco-haibun is an ongoing project being penned day-by-day by many that care and take action. Your reactions are all welcome, thank you


**Take back control now.  
Cease all squabbling, achieve act - decisively!

Globalisation's, global control cut away.
Diversity sought

Promote well being.  Act with imagination -
for ecology!

Creating employment -
with local utilities, local food and transport

Incentivise tax,  to create local benefits.
Gain prosperity

Income taxation -  value added tax, aged -
dangerous mistake

Local licensing.  Lead don't follow excuses.
Saviour taxation

Imaginative - energy, food and transport -
local licensing

An alternative - energetic strategy,
greening business

Organic foodstuffs - out compete processed food.
Life promoting health

Healthy government - a healthy population. 
Zero income tax!

Locally taxed - by distance it travelled -
and category

Products bar coded.  Point of agreed production -
and category

Local added tax, by distance it travelled -
and category

Local energy, initiatives supplant.  
Replacing at risk

User energy, capture and storage.  
Eco-dwelling plan

Local water works,  supplanting initiative.
Replace the at risk

User water need.  Capturing and storing half.
Securing supply

Communications, local initiatives.
Protecting our needs

Local healthy food, life saving initiative.
Planting guaranteed

Sort unemployment, local work available.
Agriculture base

Radical transport - initiatives needed.
Change made possible

Season’s colours blur - in ageing contemplation
chilling warm breezes

Ganges dried mud - dust
Armed hungry thirsty tide
Generations despair,  lost

Our politicians -
squabble condemn progeny.
Flee panic and die

HAIKU SEQUENCE FINISHED

HAIBUN PROSE BEING ADDED
Day by Day
This haiku sequenced eco-haibun needs prose and additional haiku added day by day.  Contributing comment and reactions considered for inclusion...

copyright©DJThomas@inbox.com 2010
ryn Sep 2014
Doom train hurtling along
Through the fog in my mind
Towing freight, rectangular and oblong
Dim headlights, you're travelling blind

Five carriages long, excluding engine and caboose
Metal against metal, spitting sparks on steel
Undetermined path, rails will choose
Chugging along on dirt covered wheels

In the cabin, I see the light
Emanating from your furnace
Swallowing up coals in your gaping bite
Tongues of flames licking the surface

Fire breathing, spewing thick black smoke
Almost unseen, against the dark of night
A long plumy arm as if extending to choke
And plug the remaining sources of light

Meandering precariously on tracks that weave
Over uncharted, unfathomable terrain
Your store, so reliably you heave
Worming your way through my brain

What's in that cargo of yours?
What lies within those boxcars?
What drives you to diligently run your course?
What fuels you to travel near and far?

Loads of self pity, self loathing and self reproach
Snaking your way to an unknown destination
Screeching brakes as if a stop you approach
Herald the train of dubious intentions

Light is upon you, dark will dissipate
Your plumes starting to lessen from your stack
The dawn breaking horizon you didn't anticipate
To see another charging towards you on this very same track...
See "Light Train"
See "Collision Course"
Rajinder Sep 2018
Violating a placid spirit
Memories transgress  
desecrating the sacred.

Memories are
the dark side
of a full moon.

Memories are unsatiated desires
couched on sorrow  
entangled in time
a perennial wrinkle on the soul.

Memories are trespassers
possessing neural atrium
wading saline sockets
slithering in to throbbing veins
tiptoeing to hollow spaces
burying all under their eerie weight,
Memories are an inescapable affliction.

In fragmented mindscape
Memories are violent winds
littering the past.

Lurking behind aches  
in ethereal garbs,
Memories are assassins.
Or sema
of a swirling dervish.

Hurtling within, Memories
is an avalanche
pounding the abyss
choking the void
one gasp at a time.

Memories are
nameless apparitions
fused as shadows
to the very being.

Memories are an assault
on identity and belonging.
Francie Lynch Jul 2014
The world is losing
Gravity,
But no one can escape,
We're hurtling on our petrie dish
In a gel that seals our fate;
Gravitating
Towards black holes;
They're closer than you think.

In China
There's a wall of dust,
Seen clear from outer space;
Our living waters die
In a legacy of disgrace.
We're citizens
Wearing masks;
We should hide our faces,
But we're running daily tasks.
We're fossils burning
Fossil fuels
Found in cremation gas.

The amphibians
Are on the fringe;
Whales can't sound,
They run aground.
It's an environmental slaughter.

Our world has lost
Some gravity.
We need to plant our feet,
But  charnel fires
And greenhouse gas
Have hastened our retreat.
Migrating birds lose sense of time,
Confused by the lights.
The morning dove coos at night,
The nightingale at dawn;
We're like
New turtles muddling,
Under lost starlight.
We must grasp
The gravity
Of burning
Burning  light.
Edit, repost.
cmy Oct 2016
Dark clouds hurtling by
Showing sketches in the sky
Winds storm and thunder
Nina JC Dec 2013
You say, "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”
but I say surely something

must taste nicer than the burning acid
being forced back up your throat.

Why not hug people instead of
toilet bowls? At least they’ll hug back.

Except Mia is your only friend now.
And her cousin, Ana, of course.

And I understand that you never
wanted to die, but this is a thousand ton truck

hurtling towards the edge of a cliff and
Ana took the wheel a long time ago.

There is no strength in this: in you, in a
fear of calories. Even your bones creak

as your muscles sigh with exhaustion -
for this, is not a war you're winning.

This is a battle with only one contender
and I will not be the one to disarm you.

That's your job and it always has been. I know
you only wanted to be beautiful

like all those stars in the magazines
you saved under a file titled ‘thinspo’

but the only stars you ever saw were in
your eyes from the dizziness

and to tell you the truth, you are not pretty.
For there is nothing “pretty”

about the layer of fuzz your body grew
to protect itself from the big bad wolf

when really, the only growl was coming
from inside your stomach.

Or how your little sister is afraid to touch,
let alone hug you, in fear of snapping you in two.

For there is no glamour in having to
remove clumps of hair out of the plughole

at least six times whilst having a shower,
just to let the water run down.

Or that one time you "accidentally”
took too many laxatives. Messy.

There is nothing admirable about the way
you sat shivering on your bed

at night instead of kissing boys,
or dancing, or eating ice cream.

There is nothing to be marvelled at
in dying.

This, is not a life to be lived.
God, this isn't even a life.

This is being a slave to your own body,

a walking zombie, a ghost stuck
between two sides.

You are not alive.

But it was all still worth it, right?
Slowly killing yourself from the inside out.

A small price to pay for perfection,
a bargain for a broken mirror;

for a half-written book
with 97 blank pages,

a camera
that only captures in black and white,

a clock
with frozen hands.

And most importantly, for a peace of mind
you never received.

No refunds.
Listen to the performed version here: http://www.soundcloud.com/natalieaiken/the-nina-jcs-poem-brought-to
Kenn Rushworth Jun 2015
A world in colour lies
                semi-distant, semi realised,
A near-forgotten future exsanguinates, yearning
              in the weakened glow, of infinite winter morning.
The voice, the voices, the voiceless, my anger, my age,
                Pan-millennial youth in coming years will fade,
It will carry duvet and pillow from hateful home
                to halfway-house until half way home
It will make all its hearts into the shape of cardboard,
                blemish the fire with chemical ****, **** hard,
It will seek forgiveness at the steps of screen,
                beat asthmatic chests, fingers, ribs and seams,
It will see itself cower in the horrible light of mirror,
               sail to the sun on wings of fakes lashes,
And it will burn, burn not in forgiving hangover sodium,
                but burn in the eye of a guilt yet to come,
And it will drown, drown at the blessing of the water,
               drown at its birth time and time over,
And it will wound, wound in scythe and cushion comfort,
                wound the waking dream in Siamese horror of sorts,
And it will leave strangled in the cords of its university hoody,
                leave alone at night, touch itself and cry.

Bursting rhythm from the panopticon, viewing all aspects
                of itself engulfed in ex-disney coloured acid
                spewing forth from the desired wreck,
Hurtling profound and profane into and beyond
                ******* and love and love and *******,
                *****-tinged snows lubricating seasons onward into each other,
Gut-busting, gut-busting, gut-busting societal downpour to harridan office
                from liquor dormitory, escaping and elevating
                on citalopram or selegiline,
The surgeons and nurses, the poets and builders, ever restless
                at the unbolted door, screaming into their unread palms,
                comparing varying hell to holy water lakes of others,
Sipping the dew from paradise wing, discontent with all
                in purgatory-England whilst licking the knee
                of America and imagined Europe,
Wanking itself dry at the lottery of thought,
                crude reckonings spiralling sugar into salt
                landing on the tongue of want,
Feeling crucified at the Atheist tea party,
                climbing the cross of trend
                supplying own milk and nails,
Unwanting in the chrysalis, ignoring coming candles
                but fantasising a thousand symmetrical suns
                to limited avail and idea.

But idea there will be, birthed, blood-hungry
                gnawing at the heel ‘til bare bone,
And it will rip apart fat riddled arteries,
                Deconstruct, Reconstruct all the bodies and the cites,
And it will write and spell all the words wrong
                realising that what ‘they’ are selling is sign language for the blind,
And it will note of itself as harsh but not unkind,
                reject bribe bread and water be it divided or divined,
And it will say of cartography “No need as of yet,
                I have seen men lost in the lining of a suit,
Crying into their shoes, uncombed, unfettered, unfertilised, without hope,
                after laughing into empty lakes.”
We can each say “My God, my empty sky, my cartoon prophet, my local MP,
                I have seen everything and want none of it,
                I am alone in a narrow shape of time,
                watching us all unfurl to the scent of burning feathers and hair,
                to the sound of punctured veins.”
We watch silent litanies for graceful pardons of filth,
                in “Amen” then nothing,
We watch our age’s world rend lung
                through hollow cheeks and air in our bones,
We watch ourselves into eyes or no eyes at all
                watch ourselves read last lines and then
                watch ourselves realise and whimper
                from ulcerated gut, tongue or pen,
                the everlasting knell…

                “…And it will happen again…”
Fah Aug 2013
Sailing in a dhow at sunset after snorkeling off Mafia island, Tanzania.
'
SPILLAGE
The tree’s don’t sleep at night
they photosynthesize , by moonlight.
Leaves drink in the cool wise light
And give off dreams of softly fading starlight

Whispers of secrets , monthly unfurl
A single blossom falls at new moon
Hurtling to the ground, awake before noon
Ever noticed? The very word has the circle
Curled up in the centre , twice to make sure we remember , two full cups , not one.

Geko’s slip off old skins
And the croaking frog adds to the din
As thunder rolls in
Triggering the dogs bark
Guardian of the stark naked couple
Asleep in their parallel worlds
Together under the umbrella of ambient lighting
Not the natural kind either
But a shameless copy of pure sunlight
That emenates when their bodies collide
On the material plane.

Astral visions lead the way to headquarters
The address? Fax? Phone number?
I’m afraid you’ll have to dial again ,
Unless you’ve meditated on the vibration of emancipation
Then you would already know, you are already there
Doors are open , for those who care to try
No lock on this baby ,
Ain’t no safe to play safe
We bask in our humble glory
Under the shores on undulating tides
Rhythmic pulsations
no where to hide
The emanations come from within,
Without , a shadow of a doubt

There is a war coming , infact we’ve already been fighting for decades
Just like the change of winds, nature knows her stuff
Tip the seeds too soon and you’ll end up with a field full of fluff
But just in time and a harvest with enough to reduce every super market shelf to dust
Even though they already stock that kinda stuff
Clean up on Aisle 4, Aisle 3 , Aisle 2 , Aisle 1
Return the purchase , we’ve discovered the ****
In the cake
And we found the frog in the salad,
At least their habitat is intact
Or did you think I was still talking about the shops?

Ok , I’ll change tact
Change of pace.
No , no I will not join the Human Race
Running to where? Why all the running?
From what? To where? From whom , to whom it seems like we run straight to our tombs, without a second glance at perhaps the chance that legs can walk…
Wanna know where I’d rather be?

I want to be on a motorbike heading 70 miles an hour down empty roads
An island paradise , holding the hips of my dearest
To arrive at another home ,
where our friends relax to the forlorne strums of the blues
Tripping on love we depart ,
not without slightly heavy hearts
Peace , friends we’ll see you anon.

Pull into the golden arches , I tell myself ‘I can’t kiss those lips now they’ve touched that burger’
then I remember you’ve been working all day
before you came out to play , I wasn’t up for a dance I was too entranced in my own madness
But. Always the **** , walk up those stairs for me, softly you moan.
I agree in a semi tone. Secrets are meant to be shared,
we quietly told each other of love in the parking lot at 4 am. The pain in your eyes still wakes me up in the middle of thunderstorms.

Awoken to sorrows from the motherland, monsters creep to the door,
peep in the keyhole.
Oh,
I forget,
your door is activated by credit card numbers that spiral from lips of z-list celebrities.
So we’ll waste away the morning in each other arms,
you watch me as I dress. No underwear no less. Put on your bra properly, suddenly you get kinda frosty.
Not far from where we sat to have a Japanese lunch , pretty close to where I walked to meet you for tea , where you held my feet and handed me a phone I left in your brothers car.
Well that’s where we have breakfast coffee and papaya whilst tourists ogle at the dog guard.
Deaf to our calls , luxuriously taking his time. He didn’t find the secret beach either.
Although the sea was good for a float, and to hear the space journey’s musical manifestation
at every crash of every wave, the magnetic pull playing her crooked beat as she bypasses our feet.
Then, there are two nights with two Amsterdam gals , one smoked lucky strikes and had scars across her wrists , the other photographed trees for a living.
Both blonde , both fair , both with their own flair.

Expect the unexpected , beach raves full of people I don’t really want to be with , so we get tequila shots instead
and stand outside a shop selling knock off clothes when the bar needs to shut.

She took a break to the bathroom , we finally let out the kisses we’d been holding in all night,  
until she got back.

Who said we couldn’t control ourselves? Although to be fair, I could feel you reaching for me wayyy back.

Why should we be selfish? Why shouldn’t we? I still went home with you that night, there really was no two ways about it.
I had *** with you, slightly drunken ***, that was by no means gentle, by no means candle lit , by no means rose petals laid out on the bed, infact , if my memory holds true, there were no flowers apart from the ones on my dress.
I’d say you were lucky , but then I cried at home.
So much pent up emotion in that one act.
Enough to propel us in into another night and untold eons beyond, I’m skipping ahead now,
Where we drank red wine on the shoreline , I used the staff bathroom and noticed all the things that could be improved – seemed like work was wearing off on me.
Still, the best part was yet to come, yeah the *** was fun but nothing compared to the games we played. Dress up and salsa ,
mysterious temples
natures tickles leading to giggles at the foolish endevours of two ***** humans., smoke a spliff , enough to unwind the mind to a new point of time. A flash of something I’ve never seen before, nor have yet to be graced with again.
I guess that was divine. Well, wouldn’t you say….
It was about time.

So , am I still talking about the shops?
Or who wore what with kate moss?
No disrespect
she’s adept at her art but i don’t wanna read about boring old farts
Lets hear about the underground collective of conscious minds who are rewinding the clock , who won’t stop ,
warriors.

Well quite frankly

How long have we sat , year after year to be told the same **** and bull story.. my ears, my ears! MY EARS!!! They yearn for the sweet serenade of the truth

behind the crumbling arcade of rigged lottery tickets and games of black jack where the house always wins.
Fortunately we’ve been coming since we were five , we know the cards without seeing the faces, we hold all the jacks and aces, we’ve got time on our side

So…that’s why they are running , finding places to hide.

We’d only be stealing from the house to give to the houseless…
With the tools the house gifted to us…doesn’t it seem ironic?

I laughed until I cried the day I discovered the universe had a sense of humor. A dark , ironic , sarcastic tone that involves  a major chord. Maybe a G or a D.
For some reason , my first poem i ever posted here i cut short
i felt that the whole poem was too close
i thought i lost it on my old laptop
but seemingly here it is...

funny,

what i seek seems to be seeking me....
Fah Apr 2014
It would seem the world has quietly fit the puzzle pieces into place over night ,
Like wet washing , crispy and dry from the radiators humming warmth , a satisfactory feeling , a job well done.
There is much beauty to be found on this journey home , moments where the heart is plummeting at a million miles a second , descending from the upper troposphere hurtling down , through clouds whipped up by a storm of ages – waiting for the conclusion – perpetual motion catches me
Elegant design,
Crooked lines make curves,      
Spitting at the throat, holding those words,  
  vision of confusion eats up at the temple of love , bodies are walking shrines.

******* karma on sticky fingers.
maybe finished...maybe not
WHERE has Maid Quiet gone to,
Nodding her russet hood?
The winds that awakened the stars
Are blowing through my blood.
O how could I be so calm
When she rose up to depart?
Now words that called up the lightning
Are hurtling through my heart.
DM Oct 2012
Hurtling along and away,
Approaching the center of the galaxy,
The event horizon becomes visible,
Slowly pulling me inside,
Time and space distorted,
Wave-forms collapsing in on themselves,
Stretching and bending frequencies,
Unrealities become fluid,
then begin collapsing and twisting,
Beyond recognizable form,
Into infinite and immense matter,
Like twist and tears in the fabric of space,
Falling toward nothingness,
That dreaded singularity,
A moment away,
A million moments away,
As time ceases to exist,
And crushing gravity,
Displacing understanding,
Dispelled notions,
Horrific,
And peaceful,
Become the same.
Ignatius Hosiana Sep 2015
If only my purpose was curved in clay
So that I would know what lies ahead
And charge for it without wavering or delay
Hurtling through quag of uncertainty with my hope dead

If only I had a manual on how to navigate this sea
To avoid the waves or to battle them all harder
If only every opportunity was clear enough for me to see
And make out the one to seize and the one to ******

Yes, sometimes a life of not knowing what awaits
Not knowing when the ocean of life will be calm
And when to hit the waters and peacefully plant our baits
***** for we cannot predict who we ultimately become

Boring is the story whose end is clear from the start
But reading such once in a while wouldn't hurt
Tom Spencer Oct 2018
pulling back the covers
dimming the lights

an owl calls
from the holly tree

just outside
of my window

the garden below
has grown beyond my control

weeds sprout vines tangle
in the summer squirrels gnaw

on the green holly berries
littering the courtyard

with half-eaten haws
in the spring mockingbirds

gorge on the bright red fruit
their florid songs

celebrating
light sky life sun leaf air

closing my eyes
I think back through the decades

to when I planted the tree
it was a time of hope

a time when we dared dream
of a world without

mortal enemies
when you could imagine

shaded islands of calm
hidden coves immune to rancor

now look at us
heads down lost hurtling

stumbling
under a trance

we have turned on one other
distracted by those

who grab wealth and power
under the cover of night

confused by the constant
trumpeting and alarms

blind to what we share
we retreat

into the darkness
of our fears

Tom Spencer © 2018
Moon Humor Oct 2014
I woke up to the sound of a train and it was raining. I might be dreaming.
My mom has always loved
the sound of a train and here I am in someone else’s bed thinking
about how much I love the taste of blood and the smell of sweat.
My plant has a pulse but my eyes might
be playing tricks on me, I have a way of forgetting to separate my dreams
from reality. Sometimes
I share too much of myself with people too soon. I told
him that my grandma had green eyes
and that’s where I got mine and that I’ve got nightmares that test
my patience night after night
with grotesque new realities on display before my eyes
and that my nails are stained from pomegranate and that
I got straight As and I told him to bite me because
I like it
but I shouldn’t have said it all so soon.
When I’m hurtling home in my metal death trap
powered by explosions I take pictures of the sky to show myself that
I’m alive and beauty is only here now and a deer
could leap or someone could swerve and ****
me or the airbag could rip off my jaw and I’ll
spend my life bearing my ******* way that I didn’t intend. I’m the writer
with no jaw that everyone reads out of pity and to get a glance
in the windows of a ******’s life.
When I wake up my jaw is still there
but I’ve been clenching it again.
No adderall, no *******, no caffeine, just the pressure
I put on myself and the weight of life knotting up the muscles in my back
until my ribs start to tighten and constrict my breathing so I pull at the ribbons
laced up and down my sternum
but it is too late and the bone corset pulls me in,
pulling pulling pulling until
my organs burst out of my skin.
He tells me,
“You’re hard to read, you know.” I giggle
but I find it tough to explain the rich cascade of emotions that are tied
to the lunar tides and make me crave coffee at midnight in terms
that don’t make me sound completely crazy.
Well, tonight I am eating dinner and attempting to read while the television
babbles at me from another room
about something I don’t need to hear but I hear
a cracking sound and my teeth are sharp and jagged and crumbling
as I run my tongue across them. I wake up sweating.
When it was sunny I bought socks from the little girl section and I drenched myself in perfume. Later on we were drinking chai tea
and getting *****, so I **** on your fingers
while you choke me and in the morning you make pancakes
and I eat it
but I’m afraid of the flour and the substance because it rises up
under my skin and collects in unwanted pools on my body.
I shouldn’t have drank any beer but
I had three
and I spilled my secrets the second I felt the warmth of trust.
God ******* ****.
I drive in silence.
The poster’s eyes have been following me
all night and I don’t know if it is a matter of perspective
or some delusion convincing me that I’m not alone
word vomiting on notebooks and textbooks and gushing
piles of words onto my comforter. I pictured
growing a human being inside of me and my heart
started trying to run from my chest
I scared myself into an anxiety attack
picturing years flashing before me. Before I told him
that I’m not like most girls
he kissed my forearms
and then he kissed my neck. Maybe I’m crazy for believing in astrology but
last night I was hearing your moans
as roars like the lion you are purring, nuzzling me
until you fell asleep and I remembered
being five and wishing I was Belle, marrying the beast. I don’t know.
I don’t know if I’m crazy.
I kept losing my earring in your bed like I secretly wanted to leave something more tangible than my scent or stray blonde hairs for
you to find and remember me by. I think you like me too much and I’m
afraid of what you’ll find when you get in my mind and see the battlefield
that rages inside of a pretty head.
I used to see the world with the eyes of a child but today I feel like I’m senile and looking at the world from the future and dissecting the past
because I lost track of time again and no one knew where I was for seven hours. I might have been wandering but I think I was asking
a fruit fly for directions when she flew into my pupil and laid eggs on my optic nerve causing the light to fraction
and my thoughts to be projected onto the wall ahead.
People passing by could see it all streaming out of me,
every emotion, every desire, every fear and every image,
even the smoking **** on the cement
from when he left got stuck on my screen
and the dream I had the night before
about a man with gigantic hands
and a woman shielded her eyes
as I thought about the way you use your tongue on me. When I finally
stumbled home the projection had stopped
but the maggots had started and I stared at the mirror
and branded myself with the word ugly.
The pill is folded in the dollar and I whack it with a lighter,
the white shards scatter out and I lay the bill flat and crush crush crush
until the powder is free of chunks. One two three
making ten perfect lines, five on each side and my nostrils are on fire.
I **** smoke from a pipe and get so high that my entire face feels like melting
off and I’m so determined to sleep that I can’t
and I anticipate
gritty dreams but I never drift off.
Three glasses of white wine later I drive to his house and I can hear the train hitting the breaks while we throw empty beer bottles at the moving cars
from the roof of a crooked house. And then, the willow tree
draped over the train tracks
grabs the wind with her branches and she summons
sheets of rain that come blasting down.
I’m afraid of heights and I’m not sure why but I think falling
from the apple tree at age thirteen was the first time I realized that
bones break and they never heal the same way and my hands are shaking but

I stay on the wet roof with you and I let myself melt into this
momentary reality.
One of the most personal poems I've ever written. Thank you for reading.
*revised 10/3
For James Weldon Johnson**


the clock fast approaching
an appointed midnight click
it was time to punch in
for my avocational shift

we sauntered up creaky steps
of the old weathered rectory
its planks loose, its bricks chipped,
the gabled roof still leaking

a CDC on the outer verge
leaning over a bankrupt precipice
catastrophic failure predicted
from chronic cash flow distresses

we’ve  been on the ropes
since doors swung open
to fulfill a sacred mission,
25 years in the hood
keepin the devil in remission

a young ED with firebrand cred
emerged from a cubicle partition
his erudition and abundant zeal
would save many from perdition

he commenced his brief
in the entrance hall
laid out maps of the Silk City
articulating a canvasse plan
bereft of fear and blithe pity

he stood ***** announcing
the surety of his calling
handsome face and balding spire
lent a stern presence of authority

The PIT a Point In Time
Homeless Census annual review,
to root out and count the heads
of the lost and out of view

from Bed Stuy to Boston
Baltimore and DC
San Antone, Windy City Frisco
vols be countin to see

what happening with
America’s homeless folks
who, what, how they got there;
what can we do to help them
besides a hot, a cot and a prayer

last week in January  
in cities all over the nation
missioners fan out  to uncover
the most lowly of station

we’ll discover and recover
lost lambs and prodigal sons
we’ll find street walk daughters
falling through cracks
and criminals on the run

some junkies and crack pied pipers
be yodelling sickness, death and fear
mental illness, castaway children
may licit sorrowful tears

like gnats strained
through the gaping
holes in failing
social safety nets
this night is about
good shepherds
gone forth with no regrets

this mission
is most important
to our agency as well

each head you count
every calf you cull
the coffers of the
agency will grow

program grants are tied
to an index of misery
our streets give ample evidence
of an abundant presence in this city

no poverty pimps
work harder to improve
the blighted human condition
the quality of our work
speaks for itself
its no liberal sedition

we got a dog in the fight
that's undoubtedly true
tending to add an urgency
to the critical work we do

our shelter, food pantry
and job training programs
keep jumpers off the ledge
we attempt to arrest fallers
its the agency’s solemn pledge

for what profit a man
if he inherits the earth
and finds only strife
and devastation?;
community development
our diligent charge
workin hard to build
a better nation

so as your
caravansaries
cross the city’s
food deserts

to search the oases
of supermercados
surreal revelations
may manifest a few
midnight bizarros

E 18th St bonito bodegas
where long shot scratch offs
and stale coconut macaroons
staples of community sustainability
the hoped for lift from poverty soon

busy parsing the three squares
bagged in paper thin brown balsa
cool ranch dorito, a teriyaki slim jim
frothy Colt quart to chase
the winkin sip of dog hair gin

that's where this
story begins...

yes beloved
the road is wide
the gate is narrow
for the many prodigals
off the path living
a life of shadows

they're out there
trudging
making a way
through the  gloom
hoping to be given
one more day

sojourning on
trying to get back
to the ***** of love
searching for the room
lit with light from above

take courage beloved
know that Jesus walks
the streets with you tonight

he’ll be your
present helper
as you mine
the dank waste
of the desolate
factory shells
the post industrial
monuments to the
expended labor of
six dead generations
now squatter
encampments
for urban nomads
moving through
the sarcophagi of
a nations
wasted labor

remember
afterall, we are
all fallen people
hurtling downward
into torn safety nets
slipping into the
tattered threads of
a handy hangman's
noose

who among us
has not fallen
through yesterdays
best expired dream?
waking to find yourself
in a midnight
nightmare scream

we'll catch them
round em up
as their falling
to build em up
lost sheep knows the
voice of the masters calling

Jesus will
walk before you
as you enter the
closed parks
were swings
of life fly
high and low
merry go rounds
zip by like a terrible
carousel that won't stop
to let you go

and may the
Good Deliverer
guard you as
you descend
into the screaming
rooms of
condemned
crack dens

here the fallen
angel finds comfort
in the resounding
chorus of misery
woefully regretted

Lucifer eloquently
hums beguiling
holy smoke tunes
to his doleful
acolytes sadly
lamenting
bluesy
blue
blues

you are the
Good Shepherds
leading the lost
back through
the gate

tell the beloved prodigal
children that the good
news of salvation
patiently awaits

we lucked out
its warm tonight
for the past few years
its snowed

heres a clipboard
filled with questions to ask
a box of supplies for lost sheep
and a yellow plastic poncho
so the cops know
you're one of God's own


Mary Lou Williams
Black Christ of the Andes
Praise the Lord

Paterson
1/30/13
jbm
Part 2 of extended poem Silk City PIT.  PIT is an acronym for Point In Time.  PIT is an annual census American cities conduct to count the homeless population.  The Silk City is a nickname for Paterson NJ.  An ED is an acronym for Executive Director.  A CDC is an acronym for Community Development Corporation, a non-profit agency that provides development services to urban communities.  James Weldon Johnson is an African American poet.  This piece is written in a style and manner of God's Trombones.
Fah Oct 2013
Afternoon light cascades onto ocean skin ,
momentarily turning the water a fine gold shimmer -
light dances merrily , shifting as the plane turns southwards - Equator barrier broken

Welcome to the Southern Hemisphere !

Cloud islands mirror
ground islands .

Puff ***** create architectural feats not known to humanity.  
Flowing with the wind , creating substance out of thin air
the ultimate magicians trick ,
Above , thin wisps of stratus clouds brushstrokes seamless onto sky glaringly iridescent and soft all at once.....hey look! ..... way out in the distance , towering cumulus on their way to becoming cumulonimbus thunderstorms , steady growth of stacks even out when a cold air bank has been reached....the sky writes love letters to the earth

in his cloud postcard snapshots , yet - it is a serenade from them both

Earth offers the waters , the dust needed for the molecules to bind together -  sky transmutes them in his belly - with shifting winds and earth curvature the color palate spectrum .

the offspring , playing in between two worlds
belonging to no one arriving and departing , shape shifters

whole landscapes whirling in amongst themselves , remain unseen,  save for the few souls in tin machines hurtling along in the presence of natures finest high sky views.

Azure crisscrossed with opaque whites and rapidly turning dusk eggplant purples , wild and free form mingle with voluptuous orange streams of liquid light , hiding in the shadows the ‘day’ comes to an end ...

Does natures delicate hands sculpt the static water molecules knowing that there is beauty there ,


i have yet to fathom how such a gracious glory goes un noticed by many ,

luckily , for us , as we destroy every other aspect of earths eco system - the bold sky still remains ,

In the city doldrums and slums high rises
or slums on ground
or mansion view

the sky still bears dow the art works of sunset and rise ,
of cloud shifters and shapers , movers and shakers
still offers a connection to natures heart to remind us , of the magnificence that is our world. That is our home,

although - i have been told - under the surface or in this case , above the surface , here too has been attacked , pumping deadly toxic fumes into water ways
and lung ways

knowing all the whilst that this will do more harm than good

and here is where i , still struggle - i’m writing this on the plane -

a carbon dioxide emitting , fossil fuel guzzling , corporate ******* of a business .

but i need to get places , and go long distances in the shortest amount of time possible ..
Aurora Jan 2019
I must admit:
I am unwilling to give
even a hint of consideration
to the thought of being anything,
anyone other than that brilliant,
briefly lit comet,
hurtling toward home.

It matters not
where I land,
or who takes pictures from the ground.

This is only a trip.
This is just a ride.
So fleeting, so fiery,
that you wouldn't want to pause to wonder
what you look like up there,
or else you might miss
the very things that make
your fires unforgettable
and your blast burn true.
Hypnotic music, joyous sounds surround
The fans, all entranced by the performers.
The drummer happily bashes and pounds
Everything he sees shaped like cylinders.

The hi-hat steadily keeps the rhythm,
The bass drum makes a thud, quite powerful.
The crowd can't help but nod along with him
As he makes these beats so insatiable.

The cymbals create such fearful crashes,
And his finely tuned snare shoots roaring pops
Hurtling towards the off-guard masses,
This manic madness just can't seem to stop!

What exactly does he have left to prove?
He simply wants to see everyone *groove!
The first

Drops for her,
The silent wish,
That it was different,
That I was not a burden.
It splashes down,
Splitting into a thousand little droplets,
Each a sorrowful entity,
Depicting each scene of heart-wrenching pain.

The second

Drops for him,
The silent prayer,
That I could be better,
A person you wished could be like you,
The man that could make you proud,
By just being a man
Not more, not less.
I'm sorry I'm less.

The third

Drops for me,
More than just silent,
More than just faint,
It crashes like thunder,
Bearing grief and pain,
That I am not what you expect,
Nor will I ever be,
And nothing can change that, even me.

These tears come hurtling down,
And maybe the figures are just figures,
It could be more, definitely more, I lost count,
But the awful truth is its always silent,
Never to be heard or seen...
Francie Lynch Apr 2016
The world is losing
Gravity,
But no one can escape,
We're hurtling on our petrie dish
In a gel that seals our fate;
Gravitating
Towards black holes;
They're closer than you think.

In China
There's a wall of dust,
Seen clear from outer space;
Our living waters die
In a legacy of disgrace.
We're citizens
Wearing masks;
We should hide our faces,
But we're running daily tasks.
We're fossils burning
Fossil fuels
Found in cremation gas.

The amphibians
Are on the fringe;
Whales can't sound,
They run aground.
It's an environmental slaughter.

Our world has lost
Some gravity.
We need to plant our feet,
But  charnel fires
And greenhouse gas
Have hastened our retreat.
Migrating birds lose sense of time,
Confused by the lights.
The mourning dove coos at night,
The nightingale at dawn;
We're like
New turtles muddling,
Under lost starlight.
We must grasp
The gravity
Of burning
Burning  light.
Repost in honor of Earth Day, April 21st.
--To Elizabeth Robins Pennell


'O mes cheres Mille et Une Nuits!'--Fantasio.

Once on a time
There was a little boy:  a master-mage
By virtue of a Book
Of magic--O, so magical it filled
His life with visionary pomps
Processional!  And Powers
Passed with him where he passed.  And Thrones
And Dominations, glaived and plumed and mailed,
Thronged in the criss-cross streets,
The palaces pell-mell with playing-fields,
Domes, cloisters, dungeons, caverns, tents, arcades,
Of the unseen, silent City, in his soul
Pavilioned jealously, and hid
As in the dusk, profound,
Green stillnesses of some enchanted mere.--

I shut mine eyes . . . And lo!
A flickering ****** of memory that floats
Upon the face of a pool of darkness five
And thirty dead years deep,
Antic in girlish broideries
And skirts and silly shoes with straps
And a broad-ribanded leghorn, he walks
Plain in the shadow of a church
(St. Michael's:  in whose brazen call
To curfew his first wails of wrath were whelmed),
Sedate for all his haste
To be at home; and, nestled in his arm,
Inciting still to quiet and solitude,
Boarded in sober drab,
With small, square, agitating cuts
Let in a-top of the double-columned, close,
Quakerlike print, a Book! . . .
What but that blessed brief
Of what is gallantest and best
In all the full-shelved Libraries of Romance?
The Book of rocs,
Sandalwood, ivory, turbans, ambergris,
Cream-tarts, and lettered apes, and calendars,
And ghouls, and genies--O, so huge
They might have overed the tall Minster Tower
Hands down, as schoolboys take a post!
In truth, the Book of Camaralzaman,
Schemselnihar and Sindbad, Scheherezade
The peerless, Bedreddin, Badroulbadour,
Cairo and Serendib and Candahar,
And Caspian, and the dim, terrific bulk--
Ice-ribbed, fiend-visited, isled in spells and storms--
Of Kaf! . . . That centre of miracles,
The sole, unparalleled Arabian Nights!

Old friends I had a-many--kindly and grim
Familiars, cronies quaint
And goblin!  Never a Wood but housed
Some morrice of dainty dapperlings.  No Brook
But had his nunnery
Of green-haired, silvry-curving sprites,
To cabin in his grots, and pace
His lilied margents.  Every lone Hillside
Might open upon Elf-Land.  Every Stalk
That curled about a Bean-stick was of the breed
Of that live ladder by whose delicate rungs
You climbed beyond the clouds, and found
The Farm-House where the Ogre, gorged
And drowsy, from his great oak chair,
Among the flitches and pewters at the fire,
Called for his Faery Harp.  And in it flew,
And, perching on the kitchen table, sang
Jocund and jubilant, with a sound
Of those gay, golden-vowered madrigals
The shy thrush at mid-May
Flutes from wet orchards flushed with the triumphing dawn;
Or blackbirds rioting as they listened still,
In old-world woodlands rapt with an old-world spring,
For Pan's own whistle, savage and rich and lewd,
And mocked him call for call!

I could not pass
The half-door where the cobbler sat in view
Nor figure me the wizen Leprechaun,
In square-cut, faded reds and buckle-shoes,
Bent at his work in the hedge-side, and know
Just how he tapped his brogue, and twitched
His wax-end this and that way, both with wrists
And elbows.  In the rich June fields,
Where the ripe clover drew the bees,
And the tall quakers trembled, and the West Wind
Lolled his half-holiday away
Beside me lolling and lounging through my own,
'Twas good to follow the Miller's Youngest Son
On his white horse along the leafy lanes;
For at his stirrup linked and ran,
Not cynical and trapesing, as he loped
From wall to wall above the espaliers,
But in the bravest tops
That market-town, a town of tops, could show:
Bold, subtle, adventurous, his tail
A banner flaunted in disdain
Of human stratagems and shifts:
King over All the Catlands, present and past
And future, that moustached
Artificer of fortunes, ****-in-Boots!
Or Bluebeard's Closet, with its plenishing
Of meat-hooks, sawdust, blood,
And wives that hung like fresh-dressed carcases--
Odd-fangled, most a butcher's, part
A faery chamber hazily seen
And hazily figured--on dark afternoons
And windy nights was visiting of the best.
Then, too, the pelt of hoofs
Out in the roaring darkness told
Of Herne the Hunter in his antlered helm
Galloping, as with despatches from the Pit,
Between his hell-born Hounds.
And Rip Van Winkle . . . often I lurked to hear,
Outside the long, low timbered, tarry wall,
The mutter and rumble of the trolling bowls
Down the lean plank, before they fluttered the pins;
For, listening, I could help him play
His wonderful game,
In those blue, booming hills, with Mariners
Refreshed from kegs not coopered in this our world.

But what were these so near,
So neighbourly fancies to the spell that brought
The run of Ali Baba's Cave
Just for the saying 'Open Sesame,'
With gold to measure, peck by peck,
In round, brown wooden stoups
You borrowed at the chandler's? . . . Or one time
Made you Aladdin's friend at school,
Free of his Garden of Jewels, Ring and Lamp
In perfect trim? . . . Or Ladies, fair
For all the embrowning scars in their white *******
Went labouring under some dread ordinance,
Which made them whip, and bitterly cry the while,
Strange Curs that cried as they,
Till there was never a Black ***** of all
Your consorting but might have gone
Spell-driven miserably for crimes
Done in the pride of womanhood and desire . . .
Or at the ghostliest altitudes of night,
While you lay wondering and acold,
Your sense was fearfully purged; and soon
Queen Labe, abominable and dear,
Rose from your side, opened the Box of Doom,
Scattered the yellow powder (which I saw
Like sulphur at the Docks in bulk),
And muttered certain words you could not hear;
And there! a living stream,
The brook you bathed in, with its weeds and flags
And cresses, glittered and sang
Out of the hearthrug over the nakedness,
Fair-scrubbed and decent, of your bedroom floor! . . .

I was--how many a time!--
That Second Calendar, Son of a King,
On whom 'twas vehemently enjoined,
Pausing at one mysterious door,
To pry no closer, but content his soul
With his kind Forty.  Yet I could not rest
For idleness and ungovernable Fate.
And the Black Horse, which fed on sesame
(That wonder-working word!),
Vouchsafed his back to me, and spread his vans,
And soaring, soaring on
From air to air, came charging to the ground
Sheer, like a lark from the midsummer clouds,
And, shaking me out of the saddle, where I sprawled
Flicked at me with his tail,
And left me blinded, miserable, distraught
(Even as I was in deed,
When doctors came, and odious things were done
On my poor tortured eyes
With lancets; or some evil acid stung
And wrung them like hot sand,
And desperately from room to room
Fumble I must my dark, disconsolate way),
To get to Bagdad how I might.  But there
I met with Merry Ladies.  O you three--
Safie, Amine, Zobeide--when my heart
Forgets you all shall be forgot!
And so we supped, we and the rest,
On wine and roasted lamb, rose-water, dates,
Almonds, pistachios, citrons.  And Haroun
Laughed out of his lordly beard
On Giaffar and Mesrour (I knew the Three
For all their Mossoul habits).  And outside
The Tigris, flowing swift
Like Severn bend for bend, twinkled and gleamed
With broken and wavering shapes of stranger stars;
The vast, blue night
Was murmurous with peris' plumes
And the leathern wings of genies; words of power
Were whispering; and old fishermen,
Casting their nets with prayer, might draw to shore
Dead loveliness:  or a prodigy in scales
Worth in the Caliph's Kitchen pieces of gold:
Or copper vessels, stopped with lead,
Wherein some Squire of Eblis watched and railed,
In durance under potent charactry
Graven by the seal of Solomon the King . . .

Then, as the Book was glassed
In Life as in some olden mirror's quaint,
Bewildering angles, so would Life
Flash light on light back on the Book; and both
Were changed.  Once in a house decayed
From better days, harbouring an errant show
(For all its stories of dry-rot
Were filled with gruesome visitants in wax,
Inhuman, hushed, ghastly with Painted Eyes),
I wandered; and no living soul
Was nearer than the pay-box; and I stared
Upon them staring--staring.  Till at last,
Three sets of rafters from the streets,
I strayed upon a mildewed, rat-run room,
With the two Dancers, horrible and obscene,
Guarding the door:  and there, in a bedroom-set,
Behind a fence of faded crimson cords,
With an aspect of frills
And dimities and dishonoured privacy
That made you hanker and hesitate to look,
A Woman with her litter of Babes--all slain,
All in their nightgowns, all with Painted Eyes
Staring--still staring; so that I turned and ran
As for my neck, but in the street
Took breath.  The same, it seemed,
And yet not all the same, I was to find,
As I went up!  For afterwards,
Whenas I went my round alone--
All day alone--in long, stern, silent streets,
Where I might stretch my hand and take
Whatever I would:  still there were Shapes of Stone,
Motionless, lifelike, frightening--for the Wrath
Had smitten them; but they watched,
This by her melons and figs, that by his rings
And chains and watches, with the hideous gaze,
The Painted Eyes insufferable,
Now, of those grisly images; and I
Pursued my best-beloved quest,
Thrilled with a novel and delicious fear.
So the night fell--with never a lamplighter;
And through the Palace of the King
I groped among the echoes, and I felt
That they were there,
Dreadfully there, the Painted staring Eyes,
Hall after hall . . . Till lo! from far
A Voice!  And in a little while
Two tapers burning!  And the Voice,
Heard in the wondrous Word of God, was--whose?
Whose but Zobeide's,
The lady of my heart, like me
A True Believer, and like me
An outcast thousands of leagues beyond the pale! . . .

Or, sailing to the Isles
Of Khaledan, I spied one evenfall
A black blotch in the sunset; and it grew
Swiftly . . . and grew.  Tearing their beards,
The sailors wept and prayed; but the grave ship,
Deep laden with spiceries and pearls, went mad,
Wrenched the long tiller out of the steersman's hand,
And, turning broadside on,
As the most iron would, was haled and ******
Nearer, and nearer yet;
And, all awash, with horrible lurching leaps
Rushed at that Portent, casting a shadow now
That swallowed sea and sky; and then,
Anchors and nails and bolts
Flew screaming out of her, and with clang on clang,
A noise of fifty stithies, caught at the sides
Of the Magnetic Mountain; and she lay,
A broken bundle of firewood, strown piecemeal
About the waters; and her crew
Passed shrieking, one by one; and I was left
To drown.  All the long night I swam;
But in the morning, O, the smiling coast
Tufted with date-trees, meadowlike,
Skirted with shelving sands!  And a great wave
Cast me ashore; and I was saved alive.
So, giving thanks to God, I dried my clothes,
And, faring inland, in a desert place
I stumbled on an iron ring--
The fellow of fifty built into the Quays:
When, scenting a trap-door,
I dug, and dug; until my biggest blade
Stuck into wood.  And then,
The flight of smooth-hewn, easy-falling stairs,
Sunk in the naked rock!  The cool, clean vault,
So neat with niche on niche it might have been
Our beer-cellar but for the rows
Of brazen urns (like monstrous chemist's jars)
Full to the wide, squat throats
With gold-dust, but a-top
A layer of pickled-walnut-looking things
I knew for olives!  And far, O, far away,
The Princess of China languished!  Far away
Was marriage, with a Vizier and a Chief
Of Eunuchs and the privilege
Of going out at night
To play--unkenned, majestical, secure--
Where the old, brown, friendly river shaped
Like Tigris shore for shore!  Haply a Ghoul
Sat in the churchyard under a frightened moon,
A thighbone in his fist, and glared
At supper with a Lady:  she who took
Her rice with tweezers grain by grain.
Or you might stumble--there by the iron gates
Of the Pump Room--underneath the limes--
Upon Bedreddin in his shirt and drawers,
Just as the civil Genie laid him down.
Or those red-curtained panes,
Whence a tame cornet tenored it throatily
Of beer-pots and spittoons and new long pipes,
Might turn a caravansery's, wherein
You found Noureddin Ali, loftily drunk,
And that fair Persian, bathed in tears,
You'd not have given away
For all the diamonds in the Vale Perilous
You had that dark and disleaved afternoon
Escaped on a roc's claw,
Disguised like Sindbad--but in Christmas beef!
And all the blissful while
The schoolboy satchel at your hip
Was such a bulse of gems as should amaze
Grey-whiskered chapmen drawn
From over Caspian:  yea, the Chief Jewellers
Of Tartary and the bazaars,
Seething with traffic, of enormous Ind.--

Thus cried, thus called aloud, to the child heart
The magian East:  thus the child eyes
Spelled out the wizard message by the light
Of the sober, workaday hours
They saw, week in week out, pass, and still pass
In the sleepy Minster City, folded kind
In ancient Severn's arm,
Amongst her water-meadows and her docks,
Whose floating populace of ships--
Galliots and luggers, light-heeled brigantines,
Bluff barques and rake-hell fore-and-afters--brought
To her very doorsteps and geraniums
The scents of the World's End; the calls
That may not be gainsaid to rise and ride
Like fire on some high errand of the race;
The irresistible appeals
For comradeship that sound
Steadily from the irresistible sea.
Thus the East laughed and whispered, and the tale,
Telling itself anew
In terms of living, labouring life,
Took on the colours, busked it in the wear
Of life that lived and laboured; and Romance,
The Angel-Playmate, raining down
His golden influences
On all I saw, and all I dreamed and did,
Walked with me arm in arm,
Or left me, as one bediademed with straws
And bits of glass, to gladden at my heart
Who had the gift to seek and feel and find
His fiery-hearted presence everywhere.
Even so dear Hesper, bringer of all good things,
Sends the same silver dews
Of happiness down her dim, delighted skies
On some poor collier-hamlet--(mound on mound
Of sifted squalor; here a soot-throated stalk
Sullenly smoking over a row
Of flat-faced hovels; black in the gritty air
A web of rails and wheels and beams; with strings
Of hurtling, tipping trams)--
As on the amorous nightingales
And roses of Shiraz, or the walls and towers
Of Samarcand--the Ineffable--whence you espy
The splendour of Ginnistan's embattled spears,
Like listed lightnings.
Samarcand!
That name of names!  That star-vaned belvedere
Builded against the Chambers of the South!
That outpost on the Infinite!
And behold!
Questing therefrom, you knew not what wild tide
Might overtake you:  for one fringe,
One suburb, is stablished on firm earth; but one
Floats founded vague
In lubberlands delectable--isles of palm
And lotus, fortunate mains, far-shimmering seas,
The promise of wistful hills--
The shining, shifting Sovranties of Dream.
Nothingness.
Imagine nothingness.
That nothingness which is nothing of the nothingness we are all familiar with:
Not that nothingness which is nothing but empty space and time
Like when you open an empty room.
No.
That nothingness where nothing truly exists:
Not space,
Not even time.

A singular point.
Imagine a singular point.
The ultimate singular point that contains all possible points
In the development of the universe
Come out and expand
From the birthing of time, the instance of The Big Bang,
(Which by the way is not a large explosion, as the words imply, but a silent rapid expansion)
Pushing the envelope
Where nothingness begins.

Chance.
Imagine chance.
The random occurrence of events:
Of fundamental particles colliding and uniting
Or annihilating each other,
Giving rise to protons, neutrons and electrons;
Giving rise to the periodic table,
To compounds, both organic and inorganic,
To macromolecules.

Billions of years.
Imagine billions of years
Gone by,
And billions of galaxies filling the sky:
Stars and quasars and pulsars
Planets and comets and meteors
***** nilly hurtling through
Dark matter and ever expanding space,
Yet inanimate still
,
A single cell.
Imagine a single cell
Form inexplicably so,
In a staggeringly highly improbable way
As carbon molecules combine,
Start to throb and pulsate:
Chance bringing forth life
In a barren and otherwise
Lifeless universe.

Consciousness
Imagine consciousness
Purposive, willful, deliberate

Feelings
Imagine feelings
Love, compassion, hatred

Imagine all in a universe that came out of itself from nothingness.

It is hard, of course,
For after all, we are creatures of somethingness!

But at this point
You must have seen the Point
Of all the ramblings and turns in the trajectory of my thought
Tracing the evolutionary course of the universe
From nothingness and that singular point
That without God
All things are
After all
Pointless!
.
And so,
Let us not deplore, as a great poet once did,
That this world “so various, so beautiful, so new
Hath no joy, nor love, nor light
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain…”
For what else should we expect
Of a cold, unfeeling universe?

What?
Give us some Novocain?
At this point, i find my mind still probing the boundaries of nothingness.
K Balachandran Feb 2014
Sometimes it's a cactus,  not a rose
that pinches the heart of a lover
though, she doesn't smell musk
or her eyes aren't lined with kohl,
he was weary and looking for an elusive spirit
which even he wasn't clear what, but found in her.

Breaking away from the caravan
hurtling down the dusty road
to an unknown town in that arid desert
he spoke to the cactus, whose eyes met his
when a shiver passed through the psyche of both.

Cactus, stood looking at him, her sad smile hinted
to the heartbreaking news they have to face,
cactus, broke her silence, said she was happy
on being looked after by the hollering sun,
howling desert wind and sand storm cover her
with utmost affection,"They are my cousins,
they know me well all these years,
I let them decide for me what I need..."
they stood looking at each other, for a minute,
nothing more was to be told

"Have no misgivings, stranger, though my lover you are,
we live or die here together, but your destination is far
you are a rare one, readily gave your heart
to a mere desert cactus, that rarely flowers,
your perception, is the creation of your vibrant mind
I respect your passion and spirit of adventure,
we live the way we are made to live, why bear the pain of change,
I hope you know what I mean,
we live the way the most fitting for us, love is sacrifice too,
we both have hearts that beat together, I am blessed
but now, we have different choices, who can say who is right
the logic we espouse are different, though our hearts crave to be together*"
NAY! swear no more, thou woman whom I called
Star, Empress, Wife! Were Dian's self to lean
From her white altar and with goddess lip
Swear thee as pure as her pale breast divine,
I could not deem thee purer than I know
Thou art indeed.

Once, when my triumphs rolled
Along old Rome and blood of roses washed
The battle-stains from off my chariot-wheels,
And triumph's thunders round my legions roared,
And kings in kingly ******* golden bound
Shook at my charger's foot, past the hot din
Of Victory-whose heart of golden pride in wound
Most subtly through with fire of subtlest pain-
My soul on prouder pinion rose above
The Roman shouting, to an air more clear
Than that Jove darks with hurtling thunderbolts,
Or stains with Jovian revels-that separate sphere,
Unshared of gods or man, where thy white feet
Caught their sole staining from my ruddy heart,
Blazing beneath them; where, when Rome looked up,
'Twas with the eyes close shaded with the hand,
As at some glory terrible and pure,-
For no man being pure, a terror dwells
Holy and awful in a sinless thing-
And Caesar's wife, the Empress-Matron, sat
Above a doubt-as high above a stain.

Nay! how know I what hell first belched abroad
Tall flames and slanderous vomitings of smoke,
Blown by infernal breathings, till they scaled
Thy throne of whiteness, and the very slaves
Who crouched in Roman kennels wagged the tongue
Against the wife of Caesar: 'Ha! we need not now
And opal-shaded stone wherewith to view
A stainless glory.' In that day my neck
Was bound and yoked with my twin-Caesar's yoke-
Man's master, Sorrow.

I know thee pure-
But Caesar's wife must throne herself so high
Upon the hills that touch their snowy crests
So close on Heaven that no slanderous Hell
Can dash its lava up their swelling sides.
I love thee, woman, know thee pure, but thou
No more art wife of Caesar. Get thee hence!
My heart is hardened as a lonely crag,
Grey granite lifted to a greyer sky,
And where against its solitary crown
Eternal thunders bellow.
I am riding on a limited express, one of the crack trains
     of the nation.
Hurtling across the prairie into blue haze and dark air
     go fifteen all-steel coaches holding a thousand people.
(All the coaches shall be scrap and rust and all the men
     and women laughing in the diners and sleepers shall
     pass to ashes.)
I ask a man in the smoker where he is going and he
     answers: "Omaha."
JR Falk Sep 2018
My dad would always warn me to be careful when falling in love;
I fall too quickly for my own good.

So on the days leading up to the moment you arrived,
I made sure I steadied my footing,
readying myself for the moment I would.
I could tell I was going to.
I wanted to be prepared.

But as I stood in that airport, my knees were already trembling.
It seemed as though the moment I saw you coming down that escalator,
I lost my footing.
All of a sudden everything around me had disappeared.
All at once, I was falling.

I wondered if skydiving rivaled that thrill, and the fear.
My heart never stopped pounding.

When we got back to the car,
I kept staring at you as though you'd vanish.
My mouth grew dry with dread.
I worried I would wake any moment and all of this would have been nothing but a dream.
But I didn't, and you remained.

We stepped into my room and everything blurred.
I heard nothing but the air rushing by me as I fell harder each moment.
I turned to you, begging for clarity, and was met with a kiss.
For a moment, I could see again.
I warned you I was petrified.
You held me.

I saw the pieces of me I had lost when falling in the past come hurtling towards me as I fell.
When I woke up to you, your chestnut irises were still closed,
yet your breathing stabilized my rugged heart rate.
I was completely unaware of where the ground was,
or how hard I'd hit it,
but I savored the sight as though it were still all just a dream.

Each and every moment with you,
I feared the outcome.
I prepared myself with every aching hour for the impact.
My breathing was so unsteady, I felt on the verge of collapsing.
I closed my eyes. I couldn't let myself see what was coming.

As we sat on my bed, and you held me in your arms,
you begged me to open up.
You insisted I open my eyes,
and I fought tears as our breathing synchronized.
I could see the ground now.
The panic clawed its way out of my heart, up my throat,
and I felt my body shake as the words finally spilled out.

I braced myself.
I winced, expecting the pain.
I had anticipated every bit of me to shatter.
I was ready for there to be nothing left of me to break.

But I didn't break.

I could tell the world around me was still again,
but I wasn't on the ground.
I was not broken.
I was pieced back together, carefully.

You kissed me, breathing into me the life I thought I'd given up.
I finally opened my eyes, and as my vision focused,
there sat every piece of me I thought I had thrown away for each and every heartbreak before.
The parts of me that I had lost so long ago, that I assumed nobody would miss or remember,
sat upright, polished, and presented like precious gems.
The feeling in my body returned,
and I turned to those perfect orbs in disbelief--

you caught me.

You never let me go.

It was then that I realized that all the while I had readied myself to fall,
I had already spent my life preparing my heart for you.

So when my dad reminds me to be careful this time, I'll let him know:

I was, but I never needed to be.
You were right here all along,
waiting to catch me.
2:09am
9.29.2018

oh my ******* god, i love you.

a month from right now i'll be in your arms again.
Michael R Burch Oct 2020
Poems about Flight, Flying, Flights of Fancy, Kites, Leaves, Butterflies, Birds and Bees



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

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

Originally published by Hibiscus (India)



Southern Icarus
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Only a little longer the wind invests its sighs;
you
stall,
spread-eagled, as the canvas snaps
and *****
its white rebellious wings,
and all
the houses watch with baffled eyes.



The Wonder Boys
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published by The Lyric



American Eagle, Grounded
by Michael R. Burch

Her predatory eye,
the single feral iris,
scans.

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

Her hard talon,
clenched in pinched expectation,
waits.

Her clipped wings,
preened against reality,
tremble.

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



Album
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Springtime Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The HyperTexts



Learning to Fly
by Michael R. Burch

We are learning to fly
every day...

learning to fly—
away, away...

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

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



In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch

for George King

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

Published by American Indian Pride and Boston Poetry Magazine



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

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

Published by Better Than Starbucks and A Hundred Voices



in-flight convergence
by Michael R. Burch

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

here the streetlights that flicker
and those blazing steadfast
seem one: from a distance;
descend,
they abruptly
part ———— ways,
so that nothing is one
which at times does not suddenly blend
into garish insignificance
in the familiar alleyways,
in the white neon flash
and the billboards of Convenience

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

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



Flight 93
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

This is a poem I wrote in high school. I seem to remember the original poem being influenced by William Cullen Bryant's "To a Waterfowl."



Flying
by Michael R. Burch

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

and then I'll sleep
and waste ten thousand nights
before I dream;

but when at last...
I soar the distant heights of undreamt skies
where never hawks nor eagles dared to go,
as I laugh among the meteors flashing by
somewhere beyond the bluest earth-bound seas...
if I'm not told
I’m just a man,
then I shall know
just what I am.

This is one of my early poems, written around age 16-17.



Stage Craft-y
by Michael R. Burch

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



Clyde Lied!
by Michael R. Burch

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



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

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

Published by Lighten Up Online and in Potcake Chapbook #7.



Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!
Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.



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

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



Delicacy
by Michael R. Burch

for all good mothers

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



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

The abandoned goose refuses food and drink;
he cries querulously for his companions.
Who feels kinship for that strange wraith
as he vanishes eerily into the heavens?
You watch it as it disappears;
its plaintive calls cut through you.
The indignant crows ignore you both:
the bickering, bantering multitudes.



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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Untitled Translations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Descent
by Michael R. Burch

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



Ultimate Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



Leaf Fall
by Michael R. Burch

Whatever winds encountered soon resolved
to swirling fragments, till chaotic heaps
of leaves lay pulsing by the backyard wall.
In lieu of rakes, our fingers sorted each
dry leaf into its place and built a high,
soft bastion against earth's gravitron—
a patchwork quilt, a trampoline, a bright
impediment to fling ourselves upon.
And nothing in our laughter as we fell
into those leaves was like the autumn's cry
of also falling. Nothing meant to die
could be so bright as we, so colorful—
clad in our plaids, oblivious to pain
we'd feel today, should we leaf-fall again.

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea



The Folly of Wisdom
by Michael R. Burch

She is wise in the way that children are wise,
looking at me with such knowing, grave eyes
I must bend down to her to understand.
But she only smiles, and takes my hand.
We are walking somewhere that her feet know to go,
so I smile, and I follow...
And the years are dark creatures concealed in bright leaves
that flutter above us, and what she believes—
I can almost remember—goes something like this:
the prince is a horned toad, awaiting her kiss.
She wiggles and giggles, and all will be well
if only we find him! The woodpecker’s knell
as he hammers the coffin of some dying tree
that once was a fortress to someone like me
rings wildly above us. Some things that we know
we are meant to forget. Life is a bloodletting, maple-syrup-slow.

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

for Richard Moore

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

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

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



Songstress
by Michael R. Burch

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

A poet like Nadia Anjuman can be likened to a caged bird, deprived of flight, who somehow finds it within herself to sing of love and beauty.



Performing Art
by Michael R. Burch

Who teaches the wren
in its drab existence
to explode into song?
What parodies of irony
does the jay espouse
with its sharp-edged tongue?
What instinctual memories
lend stunning brightness
to the strange dreams
of the dull gray slug
—spinning its chrysalis,
gluing rough seams—
abiding in darkness
its transformation,
till, waving damp wings,
it applauds its performance?
I am done with irony.
Life itself sings.



Lean Harvests
by Michael R. Burch

for T.M.

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

Published by The Rotary Dial and Angle



My Forty-Ninth Year
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Myth
by Michael R. Burch

Here the recalcitrant wind
sighs with grievance and remorse
over fields of wayward gorse
and thistle-throttled lanes.
And she is the myth of the scythed wheat
hewn and sighing, complete,
waiting, lain in a low sheaf—
full of faith, full of grief.

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



What Works
by Michael R. Burch

for David Gosselin

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

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

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

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



Child of 9-11
by Michael R. Burch

a poem for Christina-Taylor Green, who
was born on September 11, 2001 and who
died at age nine, shot to death...

Child of 9-11, beloved,
I bring this lily, lay it down
here at your feet, and eiderdown,
and all soft things, for your gentle spirit.
I bring this psalm — I hope you hear it.

Much love I bring — I lay it down
here by your form, which is not you,
but what you left this shell-shocked world
to help us learn what we must do
to save another child like you.

Child of 9-11, I know
you are not here, but watch, afar
from distant stars, where angels rue
the evil things some mortals do.
I also watch; I also rue.

And so I make this pledge and vow:
though I may weep, I will not rest
nor will my pen fail heaven's test
till guns and wars and hate are banned
from every shore, from every land.

Child of 9-11, I grieve
your tender life, cut short... bereaved,
what can I do, but pledge my life
to saving lives like yours? Belief
in your sweet worth has led me here...
I give my all: my pen, this tear,
this lily and this eiderdown,
and all soft things my heart can bear;
I bring them to your final bier,
and leave them with my promise, here.

Originally published by The Flea



Desdemona
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

But I, though I loved you from afar
through silent dawns, and gathered rue
from gardens where your footsteps left
cold paths among the asters, knew—
each moonless night the nettles grew
and strangled hope, where love dies too.

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



Transplant
by Michael R. Burch

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



Reading between the lines
by Michael R. Burch

Who could have read so much, as we?
Having the time, but not the inclination,
TV has become our philosophy,
sheer boredom, our recreation.



Rilke Translations

Archaic Torso of Apollo
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

We cannot know the beheaded god
nor his eyes' forfeited visions. But still
the figure's trunk glows with the strange vitality
of a lamp lit from within, while his composed will
emanates dynamism. Otherwise
the firmly muscled abdomen could not beguile us,
nor the centering ***** make us smile
at the thought of their generative animus.
Otherwise the stone might seem deficient,
unworthy of the broad shoulders, of the groin
projecting procreation's triangular spearhead upwards,
unworthy of the living impulse blazing wildly within
like an inchoate star—demanding our belief.
You must change your life.



Herbsttag ("Autumn Day")
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lord, it is time. Let the immense summer go.
Lay your long shadows over the sundials
and over the meadows, let the free winds blow.
Command the late fruits to fatten and shine;
O, grant them another Mediterranean hour!
Urge them to completion, and with power
convey final sweetness to the heavy wine.
Who has no house now, never will build one.
Who's alone now, shall continue alone;
he'll wake, read, write long letters to friends,
and pace the tree-lined pathways up and down,
restlessly, as autumn leaves drift and descend.

Originally published by Measure



The Panther
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

His weary vision's so overwhelmed by iron bars,
his exhausted eyes see only blank Oblivion.
His world is not our world. It has no stars.
No light. Ten thousand bars. Nothing beyond.
Lithe, swinging with a rhythmic easy stride,
he circles, his small orbit tightening,
an electron losing power. Paralyzed,
soon regal Will stands stunned, an abject thing.
Only at times the pupils' curtains rise
silently, and then an image enters,
descends through arrested shoulders, plunges, centers
somewhere within his empty heart, and dies.



Come, You
by Ranier Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

This was Rilke's last poem, written ten days before his death. He died open-eyed in the arms of his doctor on December 29, 1926, in the Valmont Sanatorium, of leukemia and its complications. I had a friend who died of leukemia and he was burning up with fever in the end. I believe that is what Rilke was describing here: he was literally burning alive.

Come, you—the last one I acknowledge; return—
incurable pain searing this physical mesh.
As I burned in the spirit once, so now I burn
with you; meanwhile, you consume my flesh.
This wood that long resisted your embrace
now nourishes you; I surrender to your fury
as my gentleness mutates to hellish rage—
uncaged, wild, primal, mindless, outré.
Completely free, no longer future's pawn,
I clambered up this crazy pyre of pain,
certain I'd never return—my heart's reserves gone—
to become death's nameless victim, purged by flame.
Now all I ever was must be denied.
I left my memories of my past elsewhere.
That life—my former life—remains outside.
Inside, I'm lost. Nobody knows me here.



Love Song
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

How can I withhold my soul so that it doesn't touch yours?
How can I lift mine gently to higher things, alone?
Oh, I would gladly find something lost in the dark
in that inert space that fails to resonate until you vibrate.
There everything that moves us, draws us together like a bow
enticing two taut strings to sing together with a simultaneous voice.
Whose instrument are we becoming together?
Whose, the hands that excite us?
Ah, sweet song!



The Beggar's Song
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I live outside your gates,
exposed to the rain, exposed to the sun;
sometimes I'll cradle my right ear
in my right palm;
then when I speak my voice sounds strange,
alien...
I'm unsure whose voice I'm hearing:
mine or yours.
I implore a trifle;
the poets cry for more.
Sometimes I cover both eyes
and my face disappears;
there it lies heavy in my hands
looking peaceful, instead,
so that no one would ever think
I have no place to lay my head.



Ivy
by Michael R. Burch

“Van trepando en mi viejo dolor como las yedras.” — Pablo Neruda
“They climb on my old suffering like ivy.”

Ivy winds around these sagging structures
from the flagstones
to the eave heights,
and, clinging, holds intact
what cannot be saved of their loose entrails.
Through long, blustery nights of dripping condensation,
cured in the humidors of innumerable forgotten summers,
waxy, unguent,
palely, indifferently fragrant, it climbs,
pausing at last to see
the alien sparkle of dew
beading delicate sparrowgrass.
Coarse saw grass, thin skunk grass, clumped mildewed yellow gorse
grow all around, and here remorse, things past,
watch ivy climb and bend,
and, in the end, we ask
if grief is worth the gaps it leaps to mend.



Joy in the Morning
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandparents George Edwin Hurt and Christine Ena Hurt

There will be joy in the morning
for now this long twilight is over
and their separation has ended.
For fourteen years, he had not seen her
whom he first befriended,
then courted and married.
Let there be joy, and no mourning,
for now in his arms she is carried
over a threshold vastly sweeter.
He never lost her; she only tarried
until he was able to meet her.



Prodigal
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Breakings
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch

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!



It's Halloween!
by Michael R. Burch

If evening falls
on graveyard walls
far softer than a sigh;
if shadows fly
moon-sickled skies,
while children toss their heads
uneasy in their beds,
beware the witch's eye!

If goblins loom
within the gloom
till playful pups grow terse;
if birds give up their verse
to comfort chicks they nurse,
while children dream weird dreams
of ugly, wiggly things,
beware the serpent's curse!

If spirits scream
in haunted dreams
while ancient sibyls rise
to plague black nightmare skies
one night without disguise,
while children toss about
uneasy, full of doubt,
beware the devil's eyes...
it's Halloween!



An Illusion
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was as hushed as the breath of a bee
and the world was bathed in shades of palest gold
when I awoke.
She came to me with the sound of falling leaves
and the scent of new-mown grass;
I held out my arms to her and she passed
into oblivion...

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



Describing You
by Michael R. Burch

How can I describe you?
The fragrance of morning rain
mingled with dew
reminds me of you;
the warmth of sunlight
stealing through a windowpane
brings you back to me again.

This is an early poem of mine, written as a teenager.



www.firesermon.com
by Michael R. Burch

your gods have become e-vegetation;
your saints—pale thumbnail icons; to enlarge
their images, right-click; it isn’t hard
to populate your web-site; not to mention
cool sound effects are nice; Sound Blaster cards
can liven up dull sermons, zing some fire;
your drives need added Zip; you must discard
your balky paternosters: ***!!! Desire!!!
these are the watchwords, catholic; you must
as Yahoo! did, employ a little lust
if you want great e-commerce; hire a bard
to spruce up ancient language, shed the dust
of centuries of sameness;
lameness *****;
your gods grew blurred; go 3D; scale; adjust.

Published by: Ironwood, Triplopia and Nisqually Delta Review



Her Grace Flows Freely
by Michael R. Burch

July 7, 2007

Her love is always chaste, and pure.
This I vow. This I aver.
If she shows me her grace, I will honor her.
This I vow. This I aver.
Her grace flows freely, like her hair.
This I vow. This I aver.
For her generousness, I would worship her.
This I vow. This I aver.
I will not **** her for what I bear
This I vow. This I aver.
like a most precious incense–desire for her,
This I vow. This I aver.
nor call her “*****” where I seek to repair.
This I vow. This I aver.
I will not wink, nor smirk, nor stare
This I vow. This I aver.
like a foolish child at the foot of a stair
This I vow. This I aver.
where I long to go, should another be there.
This I vow. This I aver.
I’ll rejoice in her freedom, and always dare
This I vow. This I aver.
the chance that she’ll flee me–my starling rare.
This I vow. This I aver.
And then, if she stays, without stays, I swear
This I vow. This I aver.
that I will joy in her grace beyond compare.
This I vow. This I aver.



Second Sight (II)
by Michael R. Burch

Newborns see best at a distance of 8 to 14 inches.
Wiser than we know, the newborn screams,
red-faced from breath, and wonders what life means
this close to death, amid the arctic glare
of warmthless lights above.
Beware! Beware!—
encrypted signals, codes? Or ciphers, noughts?
Interpretless, almost, as his own thoughts—
the brilliant lights, the brilliant lights exist.
Intruding faces ogle, gape, insist—
this madness, this soft-hissing breath, makes sense.
Why can he not float on, in dark suspense,
and dream of life? Why did they rip him out?
He frowns at them—small gnomish frowns, all doubt—
and with an ancient mien, O sorrowful!,
re-closes eyes that saw in darkness null
ecstatic sights, exceeding beautiful.



Incommunicado
by Michael R. Burch

All I need to know of life I learned
in the slap of a moment,
as my outward eye turned
toward a gauntlet of overhanging lights
which coldly burned, hissing—
"There is no way back!..."
As the ironic bright blood
trickled down my face,
I watched strange albino creatures twisting
my flesh into tight knots of separation
all the while tediously insisting—
“He's doing just fine!"



Letdown
by Michael R. Burch

Life has not lived up to its first bright vision—
the light overhead fluorescing, revealing
no blessing—bestowing its glaring assessments
impersonally (and no doubt carefully metered).
That first hard

SLAP

demanded my attention. Defiantly rigid,
I screamed at their backs as they, laughingly,

ripped

my mother’s pale flesh from my unripened shell,
snapped it in two like a pea pod, then dropped
it somewhere—in a dustbin or a furnace, perhaps.

And that was my clue

that some deadly, perplexing, unknowable task
lay, inexplicable, ahead in the white arctic maze
of unopenable doors, in the antiseptic gloom...



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.



Poet to poet
by Michael R. Burch

I have a dream
pebbles in a sparkling sand
of wondrous things.
I see children
variations of the same man
playing together.
Black and yellow, red and white,
stone and flesh, a host of colors
together at last.
I see a time
each small child another's cousin
when freedom shall ring.
I hear a song
sweeter than the sea sings
of many voices.
I hear a jubilation
respect and love are the gifts we must bring
shaking the land.
I have a message,
sea shells echo, the melody rings
the message of God.
I have a dream
all pebbles are merely smooth fragments of stone
of many things.
I live in hope
all children are merely small fragments of One
that this dream shall come true.
I have a dream...
but when you're gone, won't the dream have to end?
Oh, no, not as long as you dream my dream too!
Here, hold out your hand, let's make it come true.
i can feel it begin
Lovers and dreamers are poets too.
poets are lovers and dreamers too



Life Sentence
by Michael R. Burch

... I swim, my Daddy’s princess, newly crowned,
toward a gurgly Maelstrom... if I drown
will Mommy stick the Toilet Plunger down
to **** me up?... She sits upon Her Throne,
Imperious (denying we were one),
and gazes down and whispers “precious son”...

... the Plunger worked; i’m two, and, if not blessed,
still Mommy got the Worst Stuff off Her Chest;
a Vacuum Pump, They say, will do the rest...

... i’m three; yay! whee! oh good! it’s time to play!
(oh no, I think there’s Others on the way;
i’d better pray)...

... i’m four; at night I hear the Banging Door;
She screams; sometimes there’s Puddles on the Floor;
She wants to **** us, or, She wants some More...

... it’s great to be alive if you are five (unless you’re me);
my Mommy says: “you’re WRONG! don’t disagree!
don’t make this HURT ME!”...

... i’m six; They say i’m tall, yet Time grows Short;
we have a thriving Family; Abort!;
a tadpole’s ripping Mommy’s Room apart...

... i’m seven; i’m in heaven; it feels strange;
I saw my life go gurgling down the Drain;
another Noah built a Mighty Ark;
God smiled, appeased, a Rainbow split the Dark;
... I saw Bright Colors also, when She slammed
my head against the Tub, and then I swam
toward the magic tunnel... last, I heard...
is that She feels Weird.



Beast 666
by Michael R. Burch

“... what rough beast... slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”—W. B. Yeats

Brutality is a cross
wooden, blood-stained,
gas hissing, sibilant,
lungs gilled, deveined,
red flecks on a streaked glass pane,
jeers jubilant,
mocking.

Brutality is shocking—
tiny orifices torn,
impaled with hard lust,
the fetus unborn
tossed in a dust-
bin. The scarred skull shorn,
nails bloodied, tortured,
an old wound sutured
over, never healed.

Brutality, all its faces revealed,
is legion:
Death March, Trail of Tears, Inquisition...
always the same.
The Beast of the godless and of man’s “religion”
slouching toward Jerusalem:
horned, crowned, gibbering, drooling, insane.



America's Riches
by Michael R. Burch

Balboa's dream
was bitter folly—
no El Dorado near, nor far,
though seas beguiled
and rivers smiled
from beds of gold and silver ore.

Drake retreated
rich with plunder
as Incan fled Conquistador.
Aztecs died
when Spaniards lied,
then slew them for an ingot more.

The pilgrims came
and died or lived
in fealty to an oath they swore,
and bought with pain
the precious grain
that made them rich though they were poor.

Apache blood,
Comanche tears
were shed, and still they went to war;
they fought to be
unbowed and free—
such were Her riches, and still are.

Published by Poetic Reflections and Tucumcari Literary Review



Kindergarten
by Michael R. Burch

Will we be children as puzzled tomorrow—
our lessons still not learned?
Will we surrender over to sorrow?
How many times must our fingers be burned?
Will we be children sat in the corner,
paddled again and again?
How long must we linger, playing Jack Horner?
Will we ever learn, and when?
Will we be children wearing the dunce cap,
giggling and playing the fool,
re-learning our lessons forever and ever,
still failing the golden rule?



Photographs
by Michael R. Burch

Here are the effects of a life
and they might tell us a tale
(if only we had time to listen)
of how each imperiled tear would glisten,
remembered as brightness in her eyes,
and how each dawn’s dramatic skies
could never match such pale azure.

Like dreams of her, these ghosts endure
and they tell us a tale of impatient glory...
till a line appears—a trace of worry?—
or the wayward track of a wandering smile
which even now can charm, beguile?

We might find good cause to wonder
as we see her pause (to frown?, to ponder?):
what vexed her in her loveliness...
what weight, what crushing heaviness
turned her lustrous hair a frazzled gray,
and stole her youth before her day?

We might ask ourselves: did Time devour
the passion with the ravaged flower?
But here and there a smile will bloom
to light the leaden, shadowed gloom
that always seems to linger near...
And here we find a single tear:
it shimmers like translucent dew
and tells us Anguish touched her too,
and did not spare her for her hair
of copper, or her eyes' soft hue.

Published in Tucumcari Literary Review



Numbered
by Michael R. Burch

He desired an object to crave;
she came, and she altared his affection.
He asked her for something to save:
a memento for his collection.
But all that she had was her need;
what she needed, he knew not to give.
They compromised on a thing gone to seed
to complete the half lives they would live.
One in two, they were less than complete.
Two plus one, in their huge fractious home
left them two, the new one in the street,
then he, by himself, one, alone.
He awoke past his prime to new dawn
with superfluous dew all around,
in ten thousands bright beads on his lawn,
and he knew that, at last, he had found
a number of things he had missed:
things shining and bright, unencumbered
by their price, or their place on a list.
Then with joy and despair he remembered
and longed for the lips he had kissed
when his days were still evenly numbered.



Nucleotidings
by Michael R. Burch

“We will walk taller!” said Gupta,
sorta abrupta,
hand-in-hand with his mom,
eyeing the A-bomb.

“Who needs a mahatma
in the aftermath of NAFTA?
Now, that was a disaster,”
cried glib Punjab.

“After Y2k,
time will spin out of control anyway,”
flamed Vijay.

“My family is relatively heavy,
too big even for a pig-barn Chevy;
we need more space,”
spat What’s His Face.

“What does it matter,
dirge or mantra,”
sighed Serge.

“The world will wobble
in Hubble’s lens
till the tempest ends,”
wailed Mercedes.

“The world is going to hell in a bucket.
So **** it and get outta my face!
We own this place!
Me and my friends got more guns than ISIS,
so what’s the crisis?”
cried Bubba Billy Joe Bob Puckett.



All My Children
by Michael R. Burch

It is May now, gentle May,
and the sun shines pleasantly
upon the blousy flowers
of this backyard cemet'ry,
upon my children as they sleep.

Oh, there is Hank in the daisies now,
with a mound of earth for a pillow;
his face as hard as his monument,
but his voice as soft as the wind through the willows.

And there is Meg beside the spring
that sings her endless sleep.
Though it’s often said of stiller waters,
sometimes quicksilver streams run deep.

And there is Frankie, little Frankie,
tucked in safe at last,
a child who weakened and died too soon,
but whose heart was always steadfast.

And there is Mary by the bushes
where she hid so well,
her face as dark as their berries,
yet her eyes far darker still.

And Andy... there is Andy,
sleeping in the clover,
a child who never saw the sun
so soon his life was over.

And Em'ly, oh my Em'ly...
the prettiest of all...
now she's put aside her dreams
of lovers dark and tall
for dreams dreamed not at all.

It is May now, merry May
and the sun shines pleasantly
upon the green gardens,
on the graves of all my children...
But they never did depart;
they still live within my heart.

I wrote this poem around age 15-16.



Kingdom Freedom
by Michael R. Burch

LORD, grant me a rare sweet spirit of forgiveness.
Let me have none of the lividness
of religious outrage.

LORD, let me not be over-worried
about the lack of “morality” around me.
Surround me,
not with law’s restrictive cage,
but with Your spirit, freer than the wind,
so that to breathe is to have freest life,
and not to fly to You, my only sin.



Birthday Poem to Myself
by Michael R. Burch

LORD, be no longer this Distant Presence,
Star-Afar, Righteous-Anonymous,
but come! Come live among us;
come dwell again,
happy child among men—
men rejoicing to have known you
in the familiar manger’s cool
sweet light scent of unburdened hay.
Teach us again to be light that way,
with a chorus of angelic songs lessoned above.
Be to us again that sweet birth of Love
in the only way men can truly understand.
Do not frown darkening down upon an unrighteous land
planning fierce Retributions we require, and deserve,
but remember the child you were; believe
in the child I was, alike to you in innocence
a little while, all sweetness, and helpless without pretense.
Let us be little children again, magical in your sight.
Grant me this boon! Is it not my birthright—
just to know you, as you truly were, and are?
Come, be my friend. Help me understand and regain Hope’s long-departed star!



Litany
by Michael R. Burch

Will you take me with all my blemishes?
I will take you with all your blemishes, and show you mine. We’ll **** wine out of cardboard boxes till our teeth and lips shine red like greedily gorging foxes’. We’ll swill our fill, then have *** for hours till our neglected guts at last rebel. At two in the morning, we’ll eat cold Krystals out of greasy cardboard boxes, and we will be in love.

And that’s it?
That’s it.

And can I go out with my friends and drink until dawn?
You can go out with your friends and drink until dawn, come home lipstick-collared, pass out by the pool, or stay at the bar till the new moon sets, because we will be in love, and in love there is no room for remorse or regret. There is no right, no wrong, and no mistrust, only limb-numbing ***, hot-pistoning lust.

And that’s all?
That’s all.

That’s great!
But wait...

Wait? Why? What’s wrong?
I want to have your children.

Children?
Well, perhaps just one.

And what will happen when we have children?
The most incredible things will happen—you’ll change, stop acting so strangely, start paying more attention to me, start paying your bills on time, grow up and get rid of your horrible friends, and never come home at a-quarter-to-three drunk from a night of swilling, smelling like a lovesick skunk, stop acting so lewdly, start working incessantly so that we can afford a new house which I will decorate lavishly and then grow tired of in a year or two or three, start growing a paunch so that no other woman would ever have you, stop acting so boorishly, start growing a beard because you’re too tired to shave, or too afraid, thinking you might slit your worthless wrinkled throat...



Mending Glass
by Michael R. Burch

In the cobwebbed house—
lost in shadows
by the jagged mirror,
in the intricate silver face
cracked ten thousand times,
silently he watches,
and in the twisted light
sometimes he catches there
a familiar glimpse of revealing lace,
white stockings and garters,
a pale face pressed indiscreetly near
with a predatory leer,
the sheer flash of nylon,
an embrace, or a sharp slap,
... a sudden lurch of terror.

He finds bright slivers
—the hard sharp brittle shards,
the silver jags of memory
starkly impressed there—
and mends his error.



Shadowselves
by Michael R. Burch

In our hearts, knowing
fewer days—and milder—beckon,
how are we, now, to measure
that flame by which we reckon
the time we have remaining?

We are shadows
spawned by a blue spurt of candlelight.
Darkly, we watch ourselves flicker.

Where shall we go when the flame burns less bright?
When chill night steals our vigor?

Why are we less than ourselves? We are shadows.

Where is the fire of youth? We grow cold.

Why does our future loom dark? We are old.

Why do we shiver?

In our hearts, seeing
fewer days—and briefer—breaking,
now, even more, we treasure
the brittle leaf-like aching
that tells us we are living.



Pressure
by Michael R. Burch

Pressure is the plug of ice in the frozen hose,
the hiss of water within vinyl rigidly green and shining,
straining to writhe.

Pressure is the kettle’s lid ceaselessly tapping its tired dance,
the hot eye staring, its frantic issuance
unavailing.

Pressure is the bellow’s surge, the hard forged
metal shedding white heat, the beat of the clawed hammer
on cold anvil.

Pressure is a day’s work compressed into minutes,
frantic minute vessels constricted, straining and hissing,
unable to writhe,

the fingers drumming and tapping their tired dance,
eyes staring, cold and reptilian,
hooded and blind.

Pressure is the spirit sighing—reflective,
restrictive compression—an endless drumming—
the bellows’ echo before dying.

The cold eye—unblinking, staring.
The hot eye—sinking, uncaring.



Open Portal
by Michael R. Burch

“You already have zero privacy—get over it.”
Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems

While you’re at it—
don’t bother to wear clothes:
We all know what you’re concealing underneath.

Let the bathroom door swing open.
Let, O let Us peer in!
What you’re doing, We’ve determined, may be a sin!

When you visit your mother
and it’s time to brush your teeth,
it’s okay to openly spit.

And, while you’re at it,
go ahead—
take a long, noisy ****.

What the he|ll is your objection?
What on earth is all this fuss?
Just what is it, exactly, you would hide from US?



beMused
by Michael R. Burch

Perhaps at three
you'll come to tea,
to sip a cuppa here?

You'll just stop in
to drink dry gin?
I only have a beer.

To name the greats:
Pope, Dryden, mates?
The whole world knows their names.

Discuss the songs
of Emerson?
But these are children's games.

Give me rhythm
wild as Dylan!
Give me Bobbie Burns!

Give me Psalms,
or Hopkins’ poems,
Hart Crane’s, if he returns!

Or Langston railing!
Blake assailing!
Few others I desire.

Or go away,
yes, leave today:
your tepid poets tire.



The Century’s Wake
by Michael R. Burch

lines written at the close of the 20th century

Take me home. The party is over,
the century passed—no time for a lover.

And my heart grew heavy
as the fireworks hissed through the dark
over Central Park,
past high-towering spires to some backwoods levee,
hurtling banner-hung docks to the torchlit seas.
And my heart grew heavy;
I felt its disease—
its apathy,
wanting the bright, rhapsodic display
to last more than a single day.

If decay was its rite,
now it has learned to long
for something with more intensity,
more gaudy passion, more song—
like the huddled gay masses,
the wildly-cheering throng.

You ask me—
How can this be?

A little more flair,
or perhaps only a little more clarity.

I leave her tonight to the century’s wake;
she disappoints me.



Salve
by Michael R. Burch

for the victims and survivors of 9-11

The world is unsalvageable...
but as we lie here
in bed
stricken to the heart by love
despite war’s
flickering images,
sometimes we still touch,
laughing, amazed,
that our flesh
does not despair
of love
as we do,
that our bodies are wise
in ways we refuse
to comprehend,
still insisting we eat,
drink...
even multiply.

And so we touch...
touch, and only imagine
ourselves immune:
two among billions
in this night of wished-on stars,
caresses,
kisses,
and condolences.

We are not lovers of irony,
we
who imagine ourselves
beyond the redemption
of tears
because we have salvaged
so few
for ourselves...

and so we laugh
at our predicament,
fumbling for the ointment.



Stump
by Michael R. Burch

This used to be a poplar, oak or elm...
we forget the names of trees, but still its helm,
green-plumed, like some Greek warrior’s, nobly fringed,
with blossoms almond-white, but verdant-tinged,
this massive helm... this massive, nodding head
here contemplated life, and now is dead...

Perhaps it saw its future, furrow-browed,
and flung its limbs about, dejectedly.
Perhaps it only dreamed as, cloud by cloud,
the sun plod through the sky. Heroically,
perhaps it stood against the mindless plots
of concrete that replaced each flowered bed.
Perhaps it heard thick loggers draw odd lots
and could not flee, and so could only dread...

The last of all its kind? They left its stump
with timeworn strange inscriptions no one reads
(because a language lost is just a bump
impeding someone’s progress at mall speeds).

We leveled all such “speed bumps” long ago
just as our quainter cousins leveled trees.
Shall we, too, be consumed by what we know?
Once gods were merely warriors; august trees
were merely twigs, and man the least divine...
mere fables now, dust, compost, turpentine.



First Dance
by Michael R. Burch

for Sykes and Mary Harris

Beautiful ballerina—
so pert, pretty, poised and petite,
how lightly you dance for your waiting Beau
on those beautiful, elegant feet!

How palely he now awaits you, although
he’ll glow from the sparks when you meet!



Keep the Body Well
by Michael R. Burch

for William Sykes Harris III

Is the soul connected to the brain
by a slender silver thread,
so that when the thread is severed
we call the body “dead”
while the soul — released from fear and pain —
is finally able to rise
beyond earth’s binding gravity
to heaven’s welcoming skies?

If so — no need to quail at death,
but keep the body well,
for when the body suffers
the soul experiences hell.



On Looking into Curious George’s Mirrors
by Michael R. Burch

for Maya McManmon, granddaughter of the poet Jim McManmon

Maya was made in the image of God;
may the reflections she sees in those curious mirrors
always echo back Love.

Amen



Maya’s Beddy-Bye Poem
by Michael R. Burch

for Maya McManmon, granddaughter of the poet Jim McManmon

With a hatful of stars
and a stylish umbrella
and her hand in her Papa’s
(that remarkable fella!)
and with Winnie the Pooh
and Eeyore in tow,
may she dance in the rain
cheek-to-cheek, toe-to-toe
till each number’s rehearsed...
My, that last step’s a leap! —
the high flight into bed
when it’s past time to sleep!

Note: “Hatful of Stars” is a lovely song and image by Cyndi Lauper.



Chip Off the Block
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

In the fusion of poetry and drama,
Shakespeare rules! Jeremy’s a ham: a
chip off the block, like his father and mother.
Part poet? Part ham? Better run for cover!
Now he’s Benedick — most comical of lovers!

NOTE: Jeremy’s father is a poet and his mother is an actress; hence the fusion, or confusion, as the case may be.



Whose Woods
by Michael R. Burch

Whose woods these are, I think I know.
**** Cheney’s in the White House, though.
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his chip mills overflow.

My sterile horse must think it queer
To stop without a ’skeeter near
Beside this softly glowing “lake”
Of six-limbed frogs gone nuclear.

He gives his hairless tail a shake;
I fear he’s made his last mistake—
He took a sip of water blue
(Blue-slicked with oil and HazMat waste).

Get out your wallets; ****’s not through—
Enron’s defunct, the bill comes due...
Which he will send to me, and you.
Which he will send to me, and you.



1-800-HOT-LINE
by Michael R. Burch

“I don’t believe in psychics,” he said, “so convince me.”

When you were a child, the earth was a joy,
the sun a bright plaything, the moon a lit toy.
Now life’s minor distractions irk, frazzle, annoy.
When the crooked finger beckons, scythe-talons destroy.

“You’ll have to do better than that, to convince me.”

As you grew older, bright things lost their meaning.
You invested your hours in commodities, leaning
to things easily fleeced, to the convenient gleaning.
I see a pittance of dirt—untended, demeaning.

“Everyone knows that!” he said, “so convince me.”

Your first and last wives traded in golden bands
for vacations from the abuses of your cruel hands.
Where unwatered blooms line an arid plot of land,
the two come together, waving fans.

“Everyone knows that. Convince me.”

As your father left you, you left those you brought
to the doorstep of life as an afterthought.
Two sons and a daughter tap shoes, undistraught.
Their tears are contrived, their condolences bought.

“Everyone knows that. CONVINCE me.”

A moment, an instant... a life flashes by,
a tunnel appears, but not to the sky.
There is brightness, such brightness it sears the eye.
When a life grows too dull, it seems better to die.

“I could have told you that!” he shrieked, “I think I’ll **** myself!”

Originally published by Penny Dreadful



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.

Keywords/Tags: flight, flying, fancy, kites, leaves, birds, bees, butterflies, wings, heights, fall, falling
AMcQ Jul 2015
Ever look to the night sky beyond tiring windscreen wipers?
They screech, exasperated by an army of droplets hurtling downwards.
Ever lean on the dashboard gazing upwards into the downpour?
Constant and linear; like how stars zoom past spaceships in old movies.
A whole universe of dazzling stars.
That's how she lived; her aura a universe peppered with light.
Light forever radiating towards captivated eyes.
Oh, she loved with a love unparalleled.
Eilis Ni Eidhin Feb 2015
He wove a weary comet streak
That stained the clear blue sky
He had no time to stop and think
But went a hurtling by
He warned of grevious perils
Dormant in coming days
I saw him with a sparkling eye
And watched through bleary haze
Nearing the horizon and eye limit
He turned and cast a wink
At what he loved and no one more
Then only did I blink.
Go ahead and lock your gimbal
Hurtle that spaceship
Right into my stable space station
At least I installed shock absorbers
But ****, keep running that engine
And you'll be crashing into me
At escape velocity
Till we're both hurtling from the solar system at the speed of light
(Different directions I might add)
So you keep burning that fuel
And see how long it takes
For me to lose this game of chicken.
Anecandu Oct 2017
There I was dangling off the edge of life by a thread,
Barnacles growing in my bed,
Walking around with lead shoes,
Always wearing Navy Blue contacts.

Out of nowhere something fast,
Picked me up and upward blast,
Bucking, hurtling into the sapphire sky,
Dancing rainbow fairies around us.

I feel the pixie ..... dust
I revel in the lust
I grow in the fertile trust
This must be Hero Love
B E Cults Feb 2019
We, the invisible reasons for your problems, blind ourselves to the
dismal inevitability that we will
suffocate because you refuse to stop
the pillaging of the future for the sake of your own ******* lineage being able to further itself and potentially give you a chance to again close your mind and scream as loud as you can when confronted with your own toxicity

We, the ones who humbly take the bludgeoning from your self-proclaimed pious hand, know these chains are only on your bleeding wrists and ankles.

We, the silent and the broken, know Santa Muerta by the nicknames she had in college and all accompanying wildness she brought in her wake.
We still will stroke your hair while you
throw your tantrums and wail about what is and isn't fair on your deathbeds.

We will burn the mattress and all while cheering you on on your flight into the night sky you ignored for a lifetime.

We, the servants of streaming digits and stewards of bottled stardust, will create stories about how it wasn't your fault and how you shouldn't be hated for bringing the world crashing into the excrement of wasted potential so our children know there was a choice to be made.

We, the overly polite pariahs pry laughs and love and lust and learning from looming catastrophe like Burroughs writing Naked Lunch with a glassy eyed stare that burned holes in the veil hiding the tide of partially coagulated blood and ******* that YOUR world preached as milk and honey.

We, the proof in the moldy pudding still finding time to rot, will burn tobacco fields in your honor just to dance while getting drunk on the breaths you'll never waste.

We, the lovers of questions and haters of creeds, let tears stream in the hope that they are not considered part of our body's 75 percent while fantasizing about your ghosts seeing them and the dehydration they may be in spite of and quiet your tired old yelling and shaking of fists at the clouds when overcome by the slight sadness that whispers "its too late" lovingly into your ear.

We, the lovers, the thieves, the reviled, the *******, the witches, the junkies, the ******, the reptiles and worms under the rocks society deems unusable and misshapen, will be the ones lifting the crowns off your corpses and throwing them high as graduates do when full of a hope only ever dashed by themselves.

We, the drooling monsters you vehemently deny anything besides the cramped closets or the space between bed and floor in childhood bedrooms, will be the Valkyries to descend onto the blood-choked battlefield you set aside for your souls to suffer on and offer you respite in the form of soggy bread and wildflower honey while  ravens and jackdaws bicker over the eyes and fingers of those that once showed us how to ride a bike or drunkenly beat us beneath our favorite trees or touched us in dark rooms in ways that would chase Love away from the shadow of our hearts until we finally climbed high enough to see it all as someone screaming of war and bravery while running from the sound of steel biting steal because their protectors talked so highly of honor and duty that it seemed as if it were God and Adam touching fingertips on the arched ceilings of youth. that, then was painted on the crumbling walls of abandoned houses they would secretly indulge on the forbidden fruit soaking pages of a faded **** magazines or up skirts of blushing  girls who put on their mother's prudishness until fingers pushed past
cotton and virtue alike to the warm center they both melted in.

We, the unsung and numb, walk in spirals while the complexity you rebuked as devil-born becomes the sigils of yet-to-be kingdoms bringing about golden age after golden age in the distant mists rolling over hills and valleys of memories of moments yet to coalesce into rigid experience.

We, the eyes weeping blood atop crumbling pyramids, have seen the walls you want to build in futures dissolved in the winds blowing dust over the dream-roads we skip down and how it resembles the one you built to keep your heart from breaking from the pressing mass of what you can't file away as noise or heresy or communist propaganda;
We drew throbbing ***** and dripping ***** on all the blueprints we came across and tucked them back into the secret compartments of wardrobes and roll-tops passed down through generations.

We, the keepers of the singing stones you traded for cheap concrete, will embrace the tiny souls you neglected out of ignorance to the existential snake oil pitch you broke every tooth biting down on all because the salesman reminded you of your drunk father or mother imposing their wills like you make shadow puppets dance on peeling wallpaper in the silence that ensued after they had passed out on creaky couches reeking of Lucky Strikes and spilled ***** while the shine of the staticky T.V. set covered them like the blanket no one ever put over their slumbering forms because of those infinite lists of excuses used to skirt the skirmishes of showing any kind compassion even if they alone were sole witness to it.

We, the pieces of self the deathbed "you" sent hurtling backwards through time to shine lights on the siege seething at the gates of what you stand for, are only holding those lanterns to show you that fleeing is futile and your death is just a hallway with a door that leads to the knowledge that life is not a cell to watch time morph into tally lines scratched into cold stone as if they were epitaphs for the seconds bet and lost at the roulette table crafted from any slave ship the ocean never swallowed.

We, the flames mimicking those dancing girls you longed to have squeal under the idea of your thrusting masculinity amidst the graffiti on the bathroom stalls in seedy dive-bars or the paupers playing prince you follow giggling with hope in hand like a bouquet of baby's breath and daisies for that one day they would stop and turn and smile so handsomely that your knees would shatter against one another and wedding chapels would bend down to tie tin cans to bumpers of beat up Buicks and Oldsmobiles your fathers give dowry and the crowd could watch "just married" poorly written in shaving cream on the back window grow small until it disappeared over the horizon.

We, the dreamers, are tired of sleeping and are in need of a old tree to swing from, to bury our dreams like beloved pets under, and watch as it lets its leaves fall to the hungry earth that is more patient then anyone closed eyed and humming ancient syllables beneath crooked branches could ever be.

All the trees you climbed and kicked and fell in love under have died from too many hearts around intials being carved into them or were used to make fascist pamphlets you yourself passed out at churchs mistaking the mask with bone structure or the river for the people it swept to sea.

We are laughing;
like a loving mother at her clumsiness on display in her cackling child and not like the crowds gazing at the sideshow stage as the curtains pull back and stage lights illuminating John Merrick's flesh and the intricate dissonance it lent to minds.
Minds that afforded only sips of bliss as monotonous stints on factory floors but were preached about like they were some heaven-sent golden cobblestones laid lovingly all the way
to the beach where Heimdall will one day sound his horn, one foot feeling the grit of the edge of the world and the other washed clean for the grave we will all step in.

So, all these words, all these images, all of it is intended to be a moon so all the stagnate tide pools that have forgotten their origin and the freedom they used to give form to lesser forms they forage forgetfulness from.

We, the ones beneath you on the climb to the summit of our collective potential, beg you to think of something beside yourself when taking a ****.

It is not just ******* in the wind if there isnt wind and we are right below you and dying of thirst.

It is not an inalienable right if someone else is deprived of the same.

It is not Heaven's gate if the brilliant gild has a melting point or if it remains latched to any soul's approach.

It is not "liberal *******" or a myth if whole flocks of birds fall from the sky or schools of fish wash up on beaches while people snap photographs for their feed.

It is not "god" if love dispels it like smoke hanging in the kitchens your great grandmother sat in and told you about a witch shapeshifting into dogs without heads to scare drunks stumbling home because she was a ******* racist.

It is not just food if someone's organs fail from starvation that even the worms and flies are free from.

You wave your banners and let your war-horns echo and you wear your ignorance as armor.

We, the eaters of life and death, will chisel a name into stone and pick your bones clean if you think we should march to the sounds of drums and trumpets just because you were stupid enough to think it was anything other than your masters convincing you to whip yourselves ****** because "at least God hath been kind enough to give you a purpose" or "he works in mysterious ways".

**** that.

Look at what it has brought out of the swirling sea of " all that could be" while you write the same song about how shiny and numerous the scales of the prize are.

We are not responsible for pillaging God's bounty.

We are the bounty and our emptiness and lack of foresight are in jeweled bowls at your feet, but in your hubris you believe it to be the slaves that come to wash the dirt from between your toes.

We are Death and She is the wet-nurse that will give us intimacy to fertilize our hearts by refusing us her breast but turning our heads to your silhouettes shambling off the edge of existence far off in the distance only a decade or less could be confused for.

[AS ONE VOICE WE SING/SANG/HOWL:
Lux amor potentia restituant propositum dei in terris.]

As if it were as easy as holding the hand of a dying tyrant afraid they cannot the luminous terminus while wearing your father's face as a mask to trick radiant angels or the contortions of gods reeking of struck matches by those trembling and their swirling black hearts closed to the breeze carrying leaves celebrating their liberation and caressing a cheek they were too ashamed to kiss when opportunity was their ally.

We shouldn't hate these piles of skulls all parroting the same axioms to those who only show up to add another or leave an empty bottle turned into a candle holder, wax dripped down the neck and froze before any trace of tallow could finally unite with the dirt it longs to become one with;
icicles hanging from the eaves of abandoned asylums.

This place was supposed to be alot of things but that is what lead THEM to drown in the sound of buzzing bees, birdsong, and abundance in all directions.

I suggest we stop trying to squeeze it into a shoebox we scribbled Promised Land on and just let it be the open armed paradise it inherently is.
Let it be the heart and home as well as the hostile territory because it is only ever that and what we wont find in any Oracle's Prophecy.

I'll end my rambling with a question and it's answer.

How do you turn a police station into a hospital and a schoolhouse?

Burn it to the ******* ground.
This is me pushing sentences to the max. Sentences that just shamble on through the space they themselves create.
Monks and magick practitioners use trance states to penetrate deeper.
I stretch these sentences which stretch your conscious mind's attention span well past being interested letting my imagery embed itself somewhere you'll realize is there farther down the ro
John Wayne Gacy Jan 2011
How do you sleep, eyes opened or closed? Ears listening or ignoring? Senses awoken or dreaming?

I have slept many times, and I've slept many ways. Dreams can be humorous, distant, terrifying, long, short; even beautiful.

Laying on grass, I can feel every single blade of it and the moist dew, I assume it's morning. I feel a gentle wind roll over my soft skin and hear the susurration of the wind, caressing my ear lobes tenderly in passing. I've yet to open my eyes, yet, I see countless possibilities in the vastness I Feel Surround Me.

Slowly, I stir from what must have been a deep sleep, my eyes open and I squint to assuage the pain caused by blinding sunlight.

It's too much to take in. A beautiful landscape. Mountain ranges that cover miles, rivers that flow with elegance yet viciousness, animals of every kind. It all lays before me. I'm humbled by the pulchritude of every little detail in front of these eyes...

I drift effortlessly to the nearest tree and softly place my palm on it, feeling the  rough bark against my supple skin, taking note of the fragrance of fresh trees: the boon of mother nature.

Walking slowly down a steep ***** and to the edge of a rather large drop, I think to myself, "I feel close," without warning, feeling the wind whip my face as the ground draws closer in an instant. The earth is hurtling towards me, I'm not scared. Impact is made and I bounce, the softness of my mattress telling me I've arrived, back in the real world; the comforting disappointment envelops me, as I realise....Yet another dream short-lived.
copyright JWG 2011

Reproduction in whole or in part is strictly prohibited.

— The End —