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Kim E Williams Jul 2014
This morning
Damp with it all
The purple tongues
Of the Irises
Threaten to speak of painful memories

She always loved the spring
That the Irises announced
Arriving on palates
Of green and violet
Promises of tender possibilities

But, the spring never really changed
Anything of substance and
Colors run in summer rains
Pooling into charcoal swirls

And the Irises died
With a vain promise
Whispered into tomorrow’s
Memories
oh me oh my Nov 2012
They ask me if I still love you.

I blush, grin and say;

of course.

Why?

Because your eyes are of the most utter ocean blue,

but other days they're the currents of the stormy grey sea.

I see a current of salty water, deep, once blue, but now a faded grey.

I see a bundle of darkened grey clouds in the distance,

and the thunder rumbles from your irises,

and I hear it pound in the back of my mind.

I wonder if you knew.

I see a spark of lightening flash, only once in a while,

while you look at her.

My throat corrodes with bile.


She says she sees green demons lurking in the depth of my own ocean currents,

and I shrug.

What am I supposed to say?

I know you think about her.

Night and day.


The hardest part,

is a generic, old saying.

If you love them,

you let them go.

If they love you enough to stay,

or to come back,

you never let go.





But you haven't come back.
EDIT: Wow. Never expected this to blow up as big as it did. I thank you all so much!
EDIT: 2/15/14
i would say i never loved you, but that is a lie.
they say that your *first* love makes *you realize*, your first *love* wasnt really your first.
i pray for the day this happens.
*getting over you was the best thing i ever did.
and i did it for myself.*
so, one last:
*******.
you.***
EDIT: 9/14/14
i still hate you.
and you don't deserve her.
EDIT:   12/01/14
im sorry. you still arent
the same person
and neither is she.
but we all grow up.

EDIT
10/14/20
I was going through my bookmarks
on my old computer and found my old writings.
I just wanted to update this one last time to say things are better,
things are good. Thanks again for all the likes and comments.
suicidal twitch Jul 2015
And in this courtroom
So filled with Four Nations
The Sun held her head up high,
Lighting the way for their tales and psalms:

I am the King of Spades.
Righteous ambition is my goal.
The bravery of the Spades is made known to others
Only through such matters.
Perseverance is our path to Victory
Endurance, our greatest desire.
We, the Spades, partner with Father Time
To belong as a mighty people
Forever more.

I am the Queen of Diamonds
The splendor and enjoyment of Life's beauty is my passion.
A Diamond's journey is a one of glorious awe
That no one can compare.
Loveliness surrounds this pretty people
And the Artist shall forever be pleased by them.
Our perception of artistry leaves most in awe
And this fact is forever the passion we strive for.

I am the Queen of Clovers
Survival is the sole lifestyle of the Clovers
In this wretched and unforgiving world
The Clovers must stay strong
Holding the clubs of the ancients,
We prevail
Onward shall we extend our power
The Clovers will remain
Forever the mightiest.

I am the King of Hearts.
The rapid spread of emotional ties
Is what us Hearts long for.
Threads of fate surround our people
Binding them to one another.
Love, lust, infatuation
Oh, these are the things that steady our nation!
So filled with Faith, Hope and Love
Our Hearts shan't fail us
As passion will never cease
To flow in our veins
—ah, yes!
This is the way of the Hearts.

And in this courtroom
So filled with Four Nations
The Sun laid down her head
Whilst the Moon finally awoke and,
Smiled his light onto them below.
This was made by my fanfiction friend called Sam-Chan who gave it to me! :3
i Mar 2014
i met a pair
of prominent blue
eyes staring at
me today,
i may have
found my new
muse.
Amanda Apr 2014
People tell me with hushed lips and pained irises,
(pain really only flickers and quietly sinks deep within the absolute oblivions of you.)
that it will get better.
"You grieve, I have done it. Every person has."

Not for this one.

Not for him or her that is.

She had the sort of wittiness that would cut right though that
buttery feeling of warmth
wisped from
one hell of
a
smile.
Guess whose?

He had one of the loveliest voices, one that lulls your tired eyelids to much needed sleep.
A voice that will inexplicably grasp your fingertips when you feel utterly lost and breathless with pain.

And, I could go
   on,  
on
&
on.


Just that my very voice will be cracked
by
the
sweet, bitter
goodbye
whispered by
the yellowing memories
of    

*them.
Hello there darling!
x
Good morning Sunshine, Afternoon Madam/Sir or Good night & Sweet dreams to you, you and you!
unwritten Sep 2016
my psychiatrist tells me i have holes in me.
she says it as though it is something
i should already know.
and when she says it,
the shift inside me is something i wish i could compare
to the grinding of tectonic plates,
if only i were strong enough to bring about an earthquake.

but since i am a stranger even to aftershocks,
i keep quiet.
my earthquake is stillborn,
expressed instead as a nod,
as a chewing of the lip,
as a silent, compliant “mhm.”
and the urge that nestles itself at the pit of my stomach
is not an urge to disagree;
it is an urge to forget.

because my psychiatrist tells me i have holes in me.
she says it as though it is something i should already know,
and she says it in a way that is not meant to make me feel incomplete,
but it is a way that still does,
and if i can forget this,
even for a moment,
i can forget that i am not okay.

i do not like not being okay;
i do not like having problems,
and my psychiatrist,
she tells me i have holes in me and she says it
as though it is a problem.

and so begins a slow disintegration:
i become but a bearer of problems,
a garden growing only weeds —
something in need of fixing.
i see myself a war-torn landscape,
dry and cracked and lacking life.
i see myself the kind of ground you step on and say,
“remember when things used to grow here?
remember when it used to be green?”

i am still trying to be green,
always trying to be green,
but my psychiatrist tells me
i have holes in me,
and suddenly green becomes a color i will never know how to paint.

outside my psychiatrist’s office,
on the wall of the waiting room,
there is a painting of flowers —
irises and a geranium —
and the leaves, i know, are supposed to be green,
but the paint is old and faded
and they don’t look it.

and for a moment,
i think
that maybe,
whether iris
or geranium
or boy riddled with holes,
maybe it is possible to bloom
even if you are not green.

(a.m.)
sorry for my absence. here's a poem i wrote periodically over the last month or so, from 7/18 to 8/30. hope you enjoy. **
Zach Jan 2019
I think of friends as trees, growing to and from one another, but you grew all by yourself.
You had scars and scratches on the bark. Your leaves hit the light like no other tree did. Our branches grew out to the same sun.

I think of a garden when i think of you, i think of strong stone pathways, crossing carefully through flowerbeds of secrets, laughter, and long face-time calls. Whenever we walked through that garden together, i counted every step and i watched every flower sprout carefully. I would water them and you would make sure they got enough sunlight, you always insisted on carrying the watering can. I carried the shovel high on my shoulder, it was heavy but i didn’t mind, the shovel was shiny and sharp.  

I remember sharing secrets with the snapdragons, the way we danced next to the daffodils, how we laughed with the lilacs, cried behind the carnations, how we imagined new lives beneath the irises.

I’ll never forget the way your boots squeaked when you threaded through our garden. I always loved the way they sounded, i never told you though. You always say i pay too much attention to things.

We both hated leaving the garden, but we knew we would come back the next day, we always did.

Sometimes people wanted to see our garden.

We didn’t want people in our garden, but we weren’t rude hosts. We showed them the snapdragons, the daffodils, the lilacs, the carnations, and even the irises. He didn’t think the lilacs were the right color purple yet and she didn’t know we even grew carnations and they all insulted the irises.

But we didn’t mind.

They wanted to plant their own seeds in our garden. But it wasn’t theirs.

Our garden had grown. Plant life filled the fields, flowers bloomed bolus petals, fruit was ripening trees were treacherously tall, there was color. I liked blue. Your favorite was green. I liked green.

One day it stormed. It didn’t rain. Rain was good. It stormed. It boomed and it clapped and it roared. I was scared but you weren’t. I wasn’t scared.

Things were different after the storm.

When we came back. The fence had fallen down. Fruits were bruised. Vegetables were browned. Trees had branches snapped off. Flowers were wilted. The soil was flooded. But the stone remained untouched.

You didn’t water the daffodils but i didn’t mind i just stepped on the snapdragons but you didn’t like that.

Flowers started wilting but you couldn’t see it from the outside. We forgot to water them. We said we would remind each other, but we didn’t come back to the garden as much.

And this time we came back you didn’t want to carry the watering can. I even watered them this time. Sometimes you took the shovel, but you dragged it on the ground. It chipped the stone but you said we would fix it later.

We couldn’t fix it. Hell, we didn’t even try.

This time we sulked by the snapdragons, we determined damage next to the daffodils, we loathed the lilacs, we cut the carnations, we still imagined new lives by the irises.

Your boots didn’t squeak the same. I could barely stand it anymore.

By now we both stopped coming to the garden together. You left before I saw you.
I started seeing you in other places. You dressed differently in other places.

Your hair no longer kisses your shoulders. It’s tied back tight.
You wear jeans with patches covering holes in which only I know exist.
Your eyes are locked like the gates.
Your boots don’t even squeak anymore.

I still go to the garden alone
I don’t know if you come anymore
But i never harvest the crops we planted together.
I leave the gate unlocked.

I think of friends as trees, growing to and from one another. But your ax cries bullets. And our trees grow outward to two different suns.
PERSONIFICATIONS.

Boys.            Girls.
  January.                February.
  March.                  April.
  July.                   May.
  August.                 June.
  October.                September.
  December.               November.

  Robin Redbreasts; Lambs and Sheep; Nightingale and
  Nestlings.

  Various Flowers, Fruits, etc.

  Scene: A Cottage with its Grounds.


[A room in a large comfortable cottage; a fire burning on
the hearth; a table on which the breakfast things have
been left standing. January discovered seated by the
fire.]


          January.

Cold the day and cold the drifted snow,
Dim the day until the cold dark night.

                    [Stirs the fire.

Crackle, sparkle, *****; embers glow:
Some one may be plodding through the snow
Longing for a light,
For the light that you and I can show.
If no one else should come,
Here Robin Redbreast's welcome to a crumb,
And never troublesome:
Robin, why don't you come and fetch your crumb?


  Here's butter for my hunch of bread,
    And sugar for your crumb;
  Here's room upon the hearthrug,
    If you'll only come.

  In your scarlet waistcoat,
    With your keen bright eye,
  Where are you loitering?
    Wings were made to fly!

  Make haste to breakfast,
    Come and fetch your crumb,
  For I'm as glad to see you
    As you are glad to come.


[Two Robin Redbreasts are seen tapping with their beaks at
the lattice, which January opens. The birds flutter in,
hop about the floor, and peck up the crumbs and sugar
thrown to them. They have scarcely finished their meal,
when a knock is heard at the door. January hangs a
guard in front of the fire, and opens to February, who
appears with a bunch of snowdrops in her hand.]

          January.

Good-morrow, sister.

          February.

            Brother, joy to you!
I've brought some snowdrops; only just a few,
But quite enough to prove the world awake,
Cheerful and hopeful in the frosty dew
And for the pale sun's sake.

[She hands a few of her snowdrops to January, who retires
into the background. While February stands arranging
the remaining snowdrops in a glass of water on the
window-sill, a soft butting and bleating are heard outside.
She opens the door, and sees one foremost lamb, with
other sheep and lambs bleating and crowding towards
her.]

          February.

O you, you little wonder, come--come in,
You wonderful, you woolly soft white lamb:
You panting mother ewe, come too,
And lead that tottering twin
Safe in:
Bring all your bleating kith and kin,
Except the ***** ram.

[February opens a second door in the background, and the
little flock files through into a warm and sheltered compartment
out of sight.]

  The lambkin tottering in its walk
    With just a fleece to wear;
  The snowdrop drooping on its stalk
      So slender,--
  Snowdrop and lamb, a pretty pair,
  Braving the cold for our delight,
      Both white,
      Both tender.

[A rattling of doors and windows; branches seen without,
tossing violently to and fro.]

How the doors rattle, and the branches sway!
Here's brother March comes whirling on his way
With winds that eddy and sing.

[She turns the handle of the door, which bursts open, and
discloses March hastening up, both hands full of violets
and anemones.]

          February.

Come, show me what you bring;
For I have said my say, fulfilled my day,
And must away.

          March.

[Stopping short on the threshold.]

    I blow an arouse
    Through the world's wide house
  To quicken the torpid earth:
    Grappling I fling
    Each feeble thing,
  But bring strong life to the birth.
    I wrestle and frown,
    And topple down;
  I wrench, I rend, I uproot;
    Yet the violet
    Is born where I set
  The sole of my flying foot,

[Hands violets and anemones to February, who retires into
the background.]

    And in my wake
    Frail wind-flowers quake,
  And the catkins promise fruit.
    I drive ocean ashore
    With rush and roar,
  And he cannot say me nay:
    My harpstrings all
    Are the forests tall,
  Making music when I play.
    And as others perforce,
    So I on my course
  Run and needs must run,
    With sap on the mount
    And buds past count
  And rivers and clouds and sun,
    With seasons and breath
    And time and death
  And all that has yet begun.

[Before March has done speaking, a voice is heard approaching
accompanied by a twittering of birds. April comes
along singing, and stands outside and out of sight to finish
her song.]

          April.

[Outside.]

  Pretty little three
  Sparrows in a tree,
    Light upon the wing;
    Though you cannot sing
    You can chirp of Spring:
  Chirp of Spring to me,
  Sparrows, from your tree.

  Never mind the showers,
  Chirp about the flowers
    While you build a nest:
    Straws from east and west,
    Feathers from your breast,
  Make the snuggest bowers
  In a world of flowers.

  You must dart away
  From the chosen spray,
    You intrusive third
    Extra little bird;
    Join the unwedded herd!
  These have done with play,
  And must work to-day.

          April.

[Appearing at the open door.]

Good-morrow and good-bye: if others fly,
Of all the flying months you're the most flying.

          March.

You're hope and sweetness, April.

          April.

            Birth means dying,
As wings and wind mean flying;
So you and I and all things fly or die;
And sometimes I sit sighing to think of dying.
But meanwhile I've a rainbow in my showers,
And a lapful of flowers,
And these dear nestlings aged three hours;
And here's their mother sitting,
Their father's merely flitting
To find their breakfast somewhere in my bowers.

[As she speaks April shows March her apron full of flowers
and nest full of birds. March wanders away into the
grounds. April, without entering the cottage, hangs over
the hungry nestlings watching them.]

          April.

  What beaks you have, you funny things,
    What voices shrill and weak;
  Who'd think that anything that sings
    Could sing through such a beak?
  Yet you'll be nightingales one day,
    And charm the country-side,
  When I'm away and far away
    And May is queen and bride.

[May arrives unperceived by April, and gives her a kiss.
April starts and looks round.]

          April.

Ah May, good-morrow May, and so good-bye.

          May.

That's just your way, sweet April, smile and sigh:
Your sorrow's half in fun,
Begun and done
And turned to joy while twenty seconds run.
I've gathered flowers all as I came along,
At every step a flower
Fed by your last bright shower,--

[She divides an armful of all sorts of flowers with April, who
strolls away through the garden.]

          May.

And gathering flowers I listened to the song
Of every bird in bower.
    The world and I are far too full of bliss
    To think or plan or toil or care;
      The sun is waxing strong,
      The days are waxing long,
        And all that is,
          Is fair.

    Here are my buds of lily and of rose,
    And here's my namesake-blossom, may;
      And from a watery spot
      See here forget-me-not,
        With all that blows
          To-day.

    Hark to my linnets from the hedges green,
    Blackbird and lark and thrush and dove,
      And every nightingale
      And cuckoo tells its tale,
        And all they mean
          Is love.

[June appears at the further end of the garden, coming slowly
towards May, who, seeing her, exclaims]

          May.

Surely you're come too early, sister June.

          June.

Indeed I feel as if I came too soon
To round your young May moon
And set the world a-gasping at my noon.
Yet come I must. So here are strawberries
Sun-flushed and sweet, as many as you please;
And here are full-blown roses by the score,
More roses, and yet more.

[May, eating strawberries, withdraws among the flower beds.]

          June.

The sun does all my long day's work for me,
  Raises and ripens everything;
I need but sit beneath a leafy tree
    And watch and sing.

[Seats herself in the shadow of a laburnum.

Or if I'm lulled by note of bird and bee,
  Or lulled by noontide's silence deep,
I need but nestle down beneath my tree
    And drop asleep.

[June falls asleep; and is not awakened by the voice of July,
who behind the scenes is heard half singing, half calling.]

          July.

     [Behind the scenes.]

Blue flags, yellow flags, flags all freckled,
Which will you take? yellow, blue, speckled!
Take which you will, speckled, blue, yellow,
Each in its way has not a fellow.

[Enter July, a basket of many-colored irises slung upon his
shoulders, a bunch of ripe grass in one hand, and a plate
piled full of peaches balanced upon the other. He steals
up to June, and tickles her with the grass. She wakes.]

          June.

What, here already?

          July.

                  Nay, my tryst is kept;
The longest day slipped by you while you slept.
I've brought you one curved pyramid of bloom,

                        [Hands her the plate.

Not flowers, but peaches, gathered where the bees,
As downy, bask and boom
In sunshine and in gloom of trees.
But get you in, a storm is at my heels;
The whirlwind whistles and wheels,
Lightning flashes and thunder peals,
Flying and following hard upon my heels.

[June takes shelter in a thickly-woven arbor.]

          July.

  The roar of a storm sweeps up
    From the east to the lurid west,
  The darkening sky, like a cup,
    Is filled with rain to the brink;

  The sky is purple and fire,
    Blackness and noise and unrest;
  The earth, parched with desire,
      Opens her mouth to drink.

  Send forth thy thunder and fire,
    Turn over thy brimming cup,
  O sky, appease the desire
    Of earth in her parched unrest;
  Pour out drink to her thirst,
    Her famishing life lift up;
  Make thyself fair as at first,
      With a rainbow for thy crest.

  Have done with thunder and fire,
    O sky with the rainbow crest;
  O earth, have done with desire,
    Drink, and drink deep, and rest.

[Enter August, carrying a sheaf made up of different kinds of
grain.]

          July.

Hail, brother August, flushed and warm
And scatheless from my storm.
Your hands are full of corn, I see,
As full as hands can be:

And earth and air both smell as sweet as balm
In their recovered calm,
And that they owe to me.

[July retires into a shrubbery.]

          August.

  Wheat sways heavy, oats are airy,
    Barley bows a graceful head,
  Short and small shoots up canary,
    Each of these is some one's bread;
  Bread for man or bread for beast,
      Or at very least
      A bird's savory feast.

  Men are brethren of each other,
    One in flesh and one in food;
  And a sort of foster brother
    Is the litter, or the brood,
  Of that folk in fur or feather,
      Who, with men together,
      Breast the wind and weather.

[August descries September toiling across the lawn.]

          August.

My harvest home is ended; and I spy
September drawing nigh
With the first thought of Autumn in her eye,
And the first sigh
Of Autumn wind among her locks that fly.

[September arrives, carrying upon her head a basket heaped
high with fruit]


          September.

Unload me, brother. I have brought a few
Plums and these pears for you,
A dozen kinds of apples, one or two
Melons, some figs all bursting through
Their skins, and pearled with dew
These damsons violet-blue.

[While September is speaking, August lifts the basket to the
ground, selects various fruits, and withdraws slowly along
the gravel walk, eating a pear as he goes.]

      
トリシャ Feb 2014
it was autumn last year when we first met,
just one step away from each other
(so close yet so far)
cherry leaves crunching under my feet
blue skies and russet cobblestone
the smell of cinnamon hanging in the air
branches snapping in two like brittle bones
and my unlit cigarette dropping to the ground in surprise
as he fell
falling down down down to the ground
gravity gripping him like a soul-******* monster
and his fragile limbs stretching out
rustling paper flying out of his bag
in a spiral dance to a song i could not hear.
frail eighteen-year-old knees scraping against the pavement
lurid irises latching onto mine
as he fell
and my hands shoot out as if to catch him
like palms aching to touch delicate butterfly wings
and even then
i now realize
he was asking me to save him;
to stop him from falling.
but he was already one step away
(so close yet so far)




it was winter last year when friendship was forged.
pink blossoms giving way for achromatic snowflakes;
shaky familiarity giving way for a solid bond
amongst wordless run-ins and shy hello's
and sitting across each other over cups of hot chocolate
(so close yet so far)
we learned about each other
reaching out past thickly built walls
about pets and family and friends
(china dolls and nickels and handmaids);
and maybe we learned a little about falling in love too.
but he bristled at the mention of dreams
and i learned
that in his world of half-shattered glass and dead seas
dreams were distant stars
not meant to be picked out of the pitch black sky
and he insists they were not meant to be;
i wondered
if he meant to tell me that neither were we.
i told him i didn't understand,
asking myself if looking into his eyes
have always been this painful
but he shakes his head and steps away
(so close yet so far)




it was spring this year when i admitted
i wanted him closer;
that i was tired
of having to reach him through broken chords
of him being a chapter i had to read over and over
of having to chase after a firefly slowly losing its light
tired of him always being a step away
(so close yet so far)
i told him
i wanted to keep his dulcet smiles deep inside myself
caramel bites sweet against my tongue
to tread my hands through his hair
like floss that would melt if i don't hold on tight enough
to have him sing to me;
velvet tones echoing in the silence
jars of honey reserved just for me.
i wanted to run my fingers across his spine
like the ivory keys he spins melodies out of;
to tug him closer and closer and closer
until distance is no more
and there's nothing but lips against lips
skin against skin.
but things don't work that way, he says
my fingers flat against his waist
(we can't work out, he adds;
as if i hadn't heard)
it was a whispered lie against fabric
his body shaking
like a man deprived of a drug he so desperately needs
his eyes irresolute;
uncertainty crippling irises that used to shine
as bright as the northern lights
but he takes a step back anyway
(so close yet so far)




it was early summer this year when i lost him;
he had a girl hanging from his arm
and debonair friends waiting at his every word
(they might as well be valet de chambres)
and not once did he spare me a look
not even when he was only a step away
(so close yet so far)
that month flew by in yet another blur
empty beer bottles in my hands
flimsy cigarettes back between my fingers
broken promises embracing me like an old friend;
as if the forced laughter
did not distort the syrupy voice
that used to drawl in my ear;
as if the empty kisses and i love you's
echoing in my head
did not feel
like repeated slaps against my cheek
like repeated punches into my gut;
and as if his vacant words
did not paint his eyes colours
that i never wanted to see.
eyes that never looked at me;
as if i was a discarded toy.
as if i was the soul-******* monster
i had (tried) to save him from.
someone not worth being around
someone not worth being near
which justifies, i think,
why he always remained a step away
(so close yet so far)




it was late summer this year when i realized
that this is how it has always been;
that to wish and to hope
was to wait for a shooting star
in a world grazed by neither beauty nor light.
that even prior to our meeting,
he had always been a step away
(so close yet so far)
i was born in november, he in october
i was born on the 6th, he on the 7th
i was born in 1990, he in 1991.
even before we were born,
we were already a step apart
like binary stars only destined to orbit but never touch
like parallel lines never meant to ever intersect
never meant to do anything but run close to each other
as close as it can get
but never meeting
forever a step away
(so close yet so far)




it was autumn this year when he lost himself;
gone were the iridescent irises i fell in love with
gone were the caramel smiles i wanted to keep;
gone was the boy i once knew.
like a tree kissing its cherry leaves goodbye
a butterfly bidding farewell to its brittle wings
the ghost of a boy i lost to shattered dreams
in a shell of fragile ribs and untuned keys
even then, he never strayed closer
not to me
not any less than one step away
(so close yet so far)
and i wondered if this was cruel punishment
for something i had done
handcuffs locking around my limbs
as i await the executioner's axe;
because there is no pain
quite like watching the boy i love(d)
crumble into himself
broken and vulnerable
knowing i myself was helpless
merely a felon awaiting my capital punishment
with him always one step away
(so close yet so far)




it was winter this year when the world lost him;
the boy i'd loved
with the fragile limbs and glitter orbs
having destroyed himself
giving in to the promise of a world
better than his tattered own.
reduced to nothing but a lifeless sack of ivory bones
like the branches and cherry leaves
from when we first met;
now contained in a velvet coffin,
still a step away
(so close yet so far)
i ran my fingers against the coffin glass
like he did with piano keys he loved
as much as the stars;
the coffin made with chiffon velvet
like the voice
that used to flow like milk and honey
in the silence of the night;
and his funeral clothes
black like the starless skies
in the desolate cage he'd locked himself in;
a stark contrast to the pastels
that used to paint his irises colours
that render the rainbow dull if compared.
only it's all in my head now
because he is gone
and even now, he is still a step away
(so close yet so far)
just leaving this here. messy and pretentious and hardly a poem, really.
lea Nov 2014
Filter the perfect shade of the forenoon sun,
Not too bright, not too dull.
For with ease and carefree thoughts,
You let the sunbeam-drizzling fairies play
As the beauty reflected in your retinas.

Capture this scenic view:
Where the burnt chestnut colored oaks
And mudstained sweetheart sundress of yours
Dance in three-four beats of waltz.
The Crayola strokes of the skies
And the watercolor streaks of daydreams and nightmares
Paint the canvas of your disquited thoughts.
This is the peripheral view from your suncrashed irises and corners,
This is your world.

Let your knees down to your sore feet
Be engulfed by the chasms of the bewildered grass,
As the smile makes it way to your plump spring lips;
Callused fingers from guitar strings
Twirl and twist the blades,
Cutting through flesh
And green and red and blue and yellow,
All sorts of color came spilling from your playful bruise.

From this panoramic view of yours
Of a wonder wonderland,
Where the ticks of clock
Follow the sunflower throughout time and forever,
This is the beauty of that stem:
A key to escapism
To a well-dreamt lovely world.
Kendall Mallon Jul 2013
Book One


Prelude:

As Romans before them, they built the city upward—
layer ‘pon layer as the polar caps receded
layer by layer—preserving what they could, if someday
the waters may recede back into the former polar
ice caps; restoring the long inundated coastlines.


Home:

A man sat upon a tall pub stool stroking
his ginger beard while grasping a pint loosely
in his other hand. An elderly gent stood
next to him. The older gentleman noticed
that the ginger bearded man’s pint sat almost
quite near the bottom of its tulip glass.

A woman with eyes of amber and hair
as chestnut strolled through a vineyard amongst
the ripening grapes full of juice to soon
become wine. She clutched a notebook—behind (10)
thick black covers lay ideas and sketches
to bring the world to a more natural
state—balancing the wonders and the merits
of technology apace with the allure ‘n’
sanctity borne to the natural world.

When the ginger bearded man finished the
final drops of his stout, another appeared
heretofore him—courtesy owed to the elder
gentleman. “Notice dat ye got d’ mark
o’ a man accustom amid the seas,” (20)
he inferred; gesturing the black and blue
compass rose inscribed inside a ship’s wheel,
imbedded into the back of the ginger
bearded man’s weathered right hand.
                 “I have crewed
and skippered a many fine vessel, but I
am renouncing my life at sea—one final
voyage I have left inside of me:
one single terminal Irish-Atlantic
voyage t’ward home.” (30)
“Aye d’ sea can beh cold
‘nd harsh, but she enchants me heart. Ta where
are ye headed fer d’ place ye call home,
d’ere sonny boy?”
     “’tis not simply a where,
‘tis a who. Certain events have led me
to be separate from my wife. For five
eternal years I have been traveling—
waiting to be in her embrace. The force
of the Sea, she, is a cruel one. For (40)
it seams: at every tack or gybe the farther
off I am thrown from my homeward direction
to stranger and stranger lands… I have gone
to the graveyard of hell and the pearly gates
of (the so called) heaven; I have engaged
in foolhardy deals—made bets only a
gambling addict would place. All to just be
with Zara. I am homesick—Zara is my
home—it doesn’t matter where (physically)
we are located, my home is with Zara. I (50)
was advised to draw nigh the clove of Cork
and wait; wait for a man, but I was barely
given a clue as to who this man is,
only I must return him this:” the ginger
bearded man held out a dull silver pocket watch
with a frigate cut into the front cover
and two roses sharing a single stem
swirling upon themselves cut into
the back.
   “Can it be? ‘Tis meh watch dat meh (60)
fat’er gave t’ meh right before he died…
I lost it at sea many a year ago.
It left meh heartbroken—fer it was meh only
lasting mem’ry of him… Come to t’ink I
was told by a beggar in the street—I
do not remember how long ago—dat
I would happen across a man wit’ somet’ing
dear t’ meh, and I’d accomp’ny dis man
on a journey, and dis man would have upon
‘im d’ mark of a true sailor…” (70)
    “Dear elder man,
my name is Abraham; the mark you see
represents the control that I have on my
direction—thought it appears the Sea retains
some ascendancy… Yet now, it appears,
the Sea is upholding her bargain—though
a bit late... Do you, by chance, own a vessel
that can fair to Colorado?—all across
this mist’d island no skipper ‘ll uptake
my plea; they fear the sharp wrath of the Sea (80)
or (if they have no fear) simply claim my home
‘is not on their routes…’ i’tis a line I’ve
heard too often. I would’ve purchased a vessel,
but the Sea, she, has deprived me completely
of my identity and equity.”

Zara, with her rich chestnut hair sat upon
a fountain in a piazza—her half empty
heart longing to savor the hallow presence
of Abraham, and stroke his ginger beard…
Everyday she would look out at the sea (90)
whence he left…
     All encouraged her to: “forgo
further pursuit”; “he is likely deceased
by now”—his vessel (what left) scuttled amidst
the rocks of Cape Horn, yet Zara could feel
deep-seated inside her soul he is alive;
Alive (somewhere) fighting to return home.
Never would Zara leave; never would she
abandon post; she made that promise five
years ago as Abraham, ‘n’ his crew,
set out on their final voyage; and she (100)
would be ****** ere she broke her promise—a promise
of the heart—a promise of love. Abraham
said: “You are my lighthouse; your love, it, will guide
me home—keep me from danger—as long as you
remain my lighthouse, I’ll forever be
set to return home—return home to you.”

Out from Crosshaven did the old man take
steadfast Abraham en route to his home.
Grey Irish skies turned blue as they made their
way out on the Irish Sea, southwest, toward (110)
the southern end of the Appalachian Island.
The gentle biting spray of the waves breaking
over the bow and beam moistened the ginger
bearded face of Abraham; his tattooed
hands grasped the helm—his resolute stare kept him
and the old man acutely on course.
A shame,
it struck the old man, this would be the final
voyage of Abraham… he: the best crew
that the old man had ever came across; (120)
uncertain if simply the character
of Abraham or his pers’nal desire
to return home in the wake of five long
salty-cold years—a vassal to the Sea
and her changing whim. Never had the old
man seen his ship sail as fast as he did when
Abraham accorded its deck—each sail
set without flaw: easing and trimming sheets
fractions of an inch—purely to obtain
the slightest gain in speed; the display warmed (130)
the heart of the old man.
        And thus the elder
gent mused as he lightly puffed on his pipe
while sitting on the stern pulpit regarding
at Abraham’s passion to return home
(as he calls her):—maybe dis is d’ reason
d’ Sea has fought so hard, and lied, t’ keep
Abraham from returning home… Could not
bear t’ lose such fine a sailor from her
expanses—she is known t’ be quite a jealous (140)
mistress…
      But for all Abraham’s will and passion,
the old man insisted for the fellow
to rest; otherwise lack of sleep would cause
the REM fiddler to reap his debt—replace
clarity of mind with opacity.
Reluctantly stalwart Abraham gave
in and retire below deck—yet the old
man doubted the amount of rest that he
acquired in those moments out of his sight. (150)

For the days, then weeks, in the wake of their
departure from the port-island Crosshaven,
the seas were calm as open water can:
gentle azure rolling swells oscillated
and helped impel the vessel forward. The southern
craggy cape of the Appalachian
Island pierced the horizon. Like a threshold
it stood for Abraham—a major landmark;
the closest to home he had been in five
salty long years—his limbo was beginning                               (160)
to fade, his heart slowly—for the first time since
he left port in eastern Colorado—
started to feel replete again. The Great
Plains Sea—his final sea—he would not miss
the gleam of his lighthouse stalwart on shore.




Book Two

Oracle:**

Upon a beach, Abraham found himself alone—gasping
in gulps of moist air like that of a new born baby first (10)
experiencing the breathe of life; he felt as if he
would never become dry again… the salt burning his skin
as it crusted over when the water evap’rated
into the air; Abraham took the first night to rest, the
next day he set to make shelter and wait for a rescue
crew; out he stared at the crashing waves hoping for a plane
or faint form of a ship upon the horizon…days and
nights spun into an alternating display of day then
night: light then dark—light, dark, light, dark, grey, grey, grey…

Abraham (20)
gave up marking the days—realized the searches are done—
given up after looking in the wrong places (even
he did not know where he was…) the cold waves and currents took
him to a safe shore away from his ship and crew, in a
limp unconscious float…
From the trees, and what he could find on
the small  island, Abraham occupied himself with the
task of building a catamaran to rid himself of
the grey-waiting.
Out he cast his meager vessel into (30)
the battering surf; waves broke over his bows and centre
platform—each foot forward, the waves threatened to push him back
twofold… Abraham struck-beat the water with the oars he
fashioned; rising and falling with the energy of the
waves; Abraham stole brief looks back with hopes of a van’shing
shoreline—coast refused to vanish… his drenched arms grew tired;
yet he pushed on knowing he would soon be out passed the
breaking waves; then could relax and hoist sail; yet the waves grew
taller—broke with greater power… Abraham struck-beat the
water with his oars—anger welled—leading to splashes of (40)
ivory sea-froth instead of the desired progress
forward; eventually, his arms fell limp beyond the
force of will… waves tumbled him back to shore as he did the
first night upon the island…
Dejected Abraham lay
in the surf that night—the gentle ebb of the sea added
to insult, but hid the tears formed in the corner of his eyes—
salt water to salt water… the next day Abraham took
inventory of damage: the mast snapped in multiple
places, the rudders askew—the hulls and centre structure (50)
remained intact; the oars lost (or at least Abraham cared
not to search); over the next weeks he set to improve
the design and efficiency of his vessel—the first
had been hurried and that of a man desperate to leave;
the bare minimum that would suffice—he set to create
a vessel to ensure his departure from the des’late
accrue of sand and vegetation; Abraham laboured
to strengthen his body—pushing his arms further passed the
point his mind believed they could go—consuming the hearty,
protein-rich, mollusks, and small shellfish he could find inside (60)
tide pools or shallows—if lucky, larger fish that dared the
nearby reefs.
Patiently, Abraham observed the tides and
breaking water; he wanted to determine the correct
time to set off to ensure success—when the waves would not
toss him back to the beach; the day: a calm clear day—only
within few metres of soft beach did there exist any
breaking waves, and those that broke were barely a metre high;
loading provisions upon the vessel, Abraham bid
farewell to the island (out of wont for the sustenance (70)
it gave not for nostalgia) grasping his oars, he set forth
to find open sea—where the waves do not break and set you
gingerly on foreign shore(s); Abraham paddled passed the
first few breaking waves, his heart pounding with hope—he stifled
the thoughts (celebrate when the island is but a subtle
blue curve upon the horizon); as the island began
to shrink in his vision, the sky to his back grew darker…
the waves started to swell—moguls grew to hills—Abraham
stroked up and rode down; the cursèd Island refused to shrink…
if not begin to grow wider… stroke by stroke Abraham (80)
grew frustrated—stroke by stroke frustration advanced into
anger—stroke by stroke anger augmented into fiery
beating of the water!—Abraham struck and struck at the
Sea—eyes closed—white knuckles—trashing!—unsure which direction
he paddled…sky pitch-black, wind blowing on-shore Abraham
bellowed out to the Sea in inarticulate roars of:
hatefrustrationpitydesperationheartache!
Towards
Abraham’s in-linguistic roar, the sky let out a crack
of authority! a wave swept the flailing Abraham (90)
into the ocean—cool water only heated the rage
in Abraham’s mind—his half empty heart only wanted:
to sail home, become whole  again—sit under and olive
tree and stroke the chestnut hair of Zara as she drifted
off to sleep on his chest while he would whisper sweet verses
into her ear… Abraham’s rage, beyond reason, forgot
the boat and all clarity, he tried to swim away from
the cursèd island—scrambling up waves only to tumble
back with their breaking peaks—salt, the only taste in his mouth;
churning his stomach to *****; his kidney’s praying he (100)
would  not swallow anymore… his gasps stifled any curse
Abraham’s head wished to expel onto the Sea—yet she
swore she heard one final curse escape his lips! at that the
Sea tossed Abraham (head first) into his ghost-helmed vessel—
all went dark for hostile Abraham…

Contemplating back
at his rage—knowing the barbarian it makes of him,
Abraham peered into the band inscribed into his
ring-finger and saw the knot tying him to Zara—shame
at his arrogant-uncontrolled-fury sent Abraham (110)
into a meditative exile inside of his mind
(within the exile of the island…) in his mental
exile Abraham spun into deeper despair at his
two failures—even more at the prospect of failing the
vow he professed onto Zara: return home—home from this
final voyage, grow old with her on solid ground, never
to die apart and cause the pain of losing a loved one
without the closure of truly knowing the death is real,
to die by her side white, white with the purity of age…
Abraham’s destitution turned inward—his fury, the (120)
lack of control, the demon he becomes when rage surges
through his muscles; equiping him with untamed strength without
direction or self-possession—so much potential, yet
no productive way to use it… Abraham’s half-full-heart
burned, ached with passion and anguish—all desire
focused on home, his return, but the mind’s despondency
and insistent ‘what-ifs’ kept poor Abraham prostrate in
his mental cave—all his wishing for anger and vi’lence
to force his will, it did more to retain him upon the
cursèd island than bring his heart closer to fulfillment: (130)
his long awaited home…
Out of his mental exile did
Abraham’s irises dilate and contract with blinding
illumination—self-pity is not what make things happen—
it would only serve to anger Zara—nothing other
than I can be to blame for my continued absence; I
am stronger than that!—looking at the tattoo in his hand,
he remembered the reasons for the perennial brand—
the eight-spoke ship’s helm: the eight-fold-path—I must cut off my
desire for anger to be the solution and focus (140)
on the one path to Zara—the mind can push the body
further than the body believes is possible—the star:
the compass to guide me via celestial bodies
to where my heart can see the guiding beam of my lighthouse!
This is the Final Voyage epic thus far. I am converting Home into blank verse and it is taking longer than I thought to do; which is why that part is incomplete here. I also added line numbers. I changed The names as well.
allissa robbins Aug 2014
Sometimes you say
I have oceans in my eyes.
Not once have I thought
That so.

My eyes are thin
And grey;
They are no "silver lining".

The green that lines them
Is not seaweed,
But the mold of a past
Mess.

You have told me my eyes
Are reflective.
But they simply harbor the
Colors of lonely skies
And mismatched loves.

You have described beauty
And freedom
Within my irises.


But I can't see them
Unless there's a layer
Of glass between.

I don't see the oceans.
elissa Apr 2014
cloudy skies obstruct your eyes
waves are your body,
your irises are the tides.
Juliana Aug 2013
You have stars in your hands
and you hold them like grenades.
The boats tattooed on your thighs
spread out like finger placements of the G major chord.
Synthetic drugs make chains
tying your first and second fingers
around the mechanically rolled paper,
canvasing your throat like too much sea water,
each breath as rough as the veins in your arms.
Close your eyes
there’s pollen in the air
spread out like imperfections on the skin of an apple.
Solar countries keep foreign coins
sewed into their cotton sails,
they put their money into the navy.
You have a comet in your circulatory system
leaving bright spots under your skin
a reminder to gather the sunshine back under your eyelashes.
Hand soap in ketchup packets
make bubble bath islands
and unhappy lips.
You’re as talkative as a poem and
as expensive as a poppy
with homemade constellations on your back,
staining your lumbar muscles with cherries.
I can’t wash off your fingerprints
with my favourite shampoo.
I’ll swim across the Georgia Strait,
dodge your dinghies and
make a home in handmade ships
where I’ll practice erasing scars from my arms
and washing the soap from my hair.
Stephan Sep 2016


I painted irises
in watercolor whispers
seduced by a new season,
violet pastels of autumn blushing
tall within the burnt orange,
sprinkled in falling leaves
amidst the scent of
juniper and pine
as I dream of your eyes,
mahogany blossoms
inspiring soft feathered brushstrokes,
for absolute beauty
always does that
to me
mar Jun 2016
It's not fair that you only have to spend the morning without me
for I'm trapped in the night
darkness deafening me as I tell myself over and over that this is real
that midnight is only an hour
that I'll be home soon
and I never feel like I'm where I'm supposed to be
transporting myself place to place
continent hopping like a heart murmur
my soul is five hours behind
and when you sleep my whole being longs for your voice
glasses half empty stacked beside me
I remember a time when my hair danced at my hips
when the moon would be full and heat lightning blinded me
constantly praying to a god I didn't believe in that I could fall asleep
but dreams didn't come
and that summer lasted but eight days
when I can feel your heartbeat you are fire
but now that I'm so far away your voice is tired
your laugh is like a wind chime on a day when the air doesn't speak
milk moons have a habit of forcing me to reread your words
making me realize I now posess curses I never thought I'd have to endure
like how when I touch you I am not the girl my father raised
like how when you push me into the wall I hope your mother doesn't weep

We all have promises we wish we never made
I wish I didn't tie myself to you with silk
knotting each of my heartstrings around your fingers
I'm like your puppet
and it's wrenching because I had always been so brimmed with pride
conceived by my parents notion that I'd be doomed to wander alone
or blessed
if you choose to look at my freedom like it's that of a gift
but I don't want it anymore
I refuse to chain myself to my past
my frosted veins melting in your palms
I am not who I thought I was
I am not the lady my matriarch once bore that hot morning
a head full of curls and irises that told two different tales

I'm so lucky that the trees bend north tonight
I contribute secrets as clouds to the noir
unkept stands of chestnut trying to escape
but I don't blame them
and ink is all around me as I further my vices
counting down to paradise as I move a little too quickly from my bed
the other part of me wonders if I go visit him at this time
and I grin at that notion she thinks that's what I want from this hour
there are moments I forget to miss you
guild soaked as I remember love
I wouldn't call this bliss
it doesn't even scrape at happiness
it's emptiness
but not the way I've experienced before
I don't have words for this new feeling
not yet at least
I'll let anything in as an attempt to starve out this self doubt
but no whisper is as warm as your breath
because with you you don't even need to comfort me with diction
instead I swallow your glances like honey
I hope you know this mindset will never evolve
and if it does it is only to grow stronger

Some hearts change with the seasons
mine used to change at every chime of a clock
I'm stagnant now
laying calmly in the eye of the storm
the light hitting my skin the only thing changing each hour

Soon this will be over
No longer damning every firefly and its nerve to glow without purpose
Soon I'll be at your mercy again
Purple thighed and alive
Because right now without you I've never felt so alone
Eyelids like blankets
Terrified of what dreams could await my unconscious soul
But in the deepest hollows of my chest I hear your voice calming me
Saying what you always say when you hear my heart rate jump
"Let me sing you that song about the stars I know you love"
alex Nov 2017
when a boy shows you his hands
bare except for the dust
he’s begging you to look past
take them in yours.
squeeze them once.
twice.
say without speaking
that you understand that the valleys
in his palms were meant to cradle
shooting star wishes
that he’s allowed to still hope for.
when a boy shows you his eyes
of milk and crimson and melanin
a bloodshot vein for every night he can’t sleep
let him shut his eyelids.
say without speaking
that you understand that the black hole pinpricks
of his irises hold more than the universe
should allow.
when a boy shows you his soul
shivering but still working toward friction
iced over but still working toward melting
let him come to rest next to yours.
say without speaking
that you understand that he is lonely
and that his silence speaks volumes
and that you kept his treasure close
because you love him.
when a boy shows you his hands
show him your hands.
when a boy shows you his eyes
show him your eyes.
when a boy shows you his soul
show him that
this is a comfortable place to rest it.
when a boy shows you the hardness that shaped him
show him the softness
that you have in store.
k
Nat Lipstadt Jun 2014
the irises have passed,
their existence, entirety,
a three week, 21 day, gun salute,
to which I was witness to but an
abbreviated four short generational
days

the Kabbalist among us say Kaddish,
and a-Buddhist chants so-be-it,
both celebrating the brevity cycle
of natural things, both notating,
that death makes room for more

ugly yelloe'd and black now,
these irises are now
misfits on a breezy,
dancing summer lawn

today, shriveled and misshapen,
they compare and contrast
on a normative, glorious,
June Sunday that
picturesque presents
the living and the deceased,
side by side

all comrades,
all summer sundries
on a dancing grass blanket
half-graveyard battlefield,
the half-heaven

oft I have writ of the beach detritus,
the shells, the sun burnt *****,
a recycled funeral rectory where
no one utters prayers for the
no longer alive historical artifacts

what has this to do
with that human construct,
artifice of memory,
a string on the finger
of the mind,
a pausation, a man-made creation
to momentarily recall another of
nature's cycle -
your children

Have children.
Am a father.
Had a father in my youthful days.

this is a boy scout qualification medal,
marker of me as Expert,
permitting me to commentary
with gravitas, now that I’ve graduated
to grandfather status,
I enjoy superstar freedom
to opine inanely on such matters

of my father have I writ,
of my sons, those remain unseen,

likely neither will mark these day
with a telephone call
or an all-I-got-was-this-lousy-t shirt
gift of gall

I say that's ok for what else is there,
certainly not an unthinking, dismissive
whatever

it saddens me some for sure,
but it makes judge myself as human being
on a gradation of one to none

but more than this internal reflection,
I ponder this hallmark'd day,
as life cycle point notarized,
in verse and rhyme,
for that is what I do best

for before,
many father's day
in the priory passed,
most unrecallable,
just another ceremonial checkmark,
habitually acquitted,
but somewhere
in a drawer of shirts,
in a home I store stuff in,
I do believe, there are some cards
from decades past,
that prove nothing,
other than life goes on,
and we best capture
what we can, as best we can...
with small, objet d'art of sorts

Perhaps one will call after all...
in any event,
to honor the dead,
to mark the existing,
the bannered ship's bell rung,
its sonorous sound,
notable and onerous,
fades as well

but man and animal,
plant and tree,
a living fraternal sorority,
who all look over my shoulder
as I compose on
that Adirondack chair you
by now, we’ll acquainted

they know,
for whom the bell tolls this day,
and why as well,
as we all pause and contemplate
where we are on this day,
on our own overlapping cycles
nowadays I get a ten second video of a happy father’s day wish
i Mar 2014
i was wrong,
so wrong,
but i find my true love,
my beautiful muse
with chocolate brown eyes,
that makes you fall in love with
her, more and more
each day.
Robin Carretti Aug 2018
Every* fine* detail*
Getting  flushed the
blues inside the
red I phones
The lonesome blue
Ring my Rolling Stones
Waking up in [Blue Oceania]
Mama Mia bluesy jazz me waterbed

Hazy, not one yellow daisy
*hurry up your driving me_crazy
          In love like the
Foggy Day in London Town
The saying *New York like no other town

Forget about it Brooklyn is my town

Wearing your face with frowns
like a vine of tomatoes

Is it your time for Victories

Those rotten movies and
throwing those forgotten
  Love potatoes
At the Villa looking
out he's the Captain of the blue sea
My Alaskan blue eye husky
Meet Charlie or the Bumble Bee
Tuna fish

Saw the fog getting stronger
The winter is hazy don't be
the chicken of the sea

  She was spinning her mind into the
vertigo love is crazy
The crazy love''Hugo"
Hers and his E- ecstasy twin-mail
Hazy is just the way you feel
His strings azure blues power tie
She felt other blues what lies

Workout blues hazy spirit greys
She prays hazy winters of blueberry pie

Hearing the blues rush of water
The waitress taking his order
Inside her tasty fingers
The blues "*****" lightly stir
How she met his brother
But why? Don't you love me, Sir

Eyes of blues flower irises
Her blues pour crystal sugar
She turned her head surprises
Swarovski crystal bead
What was said singing the blues
Shades of deep sensual gray
The shapes of things Godly pray
How many words could
you possibly say
When you catch your breath
His eyes are bluer than your
Heart intense red his iron shirts
Got badly burned

Pumpkin Head met sesame seed
flatbread in the modern flat world
Eating a blueberry muffin top
Who has the open mind
Her blues boysenberries
Doing Hip-hop
By her nook pulling the blinds
How the blood stain her lips
Fashion art Chanel cherries
The bloodshot eyes
Caught her fire candle

Wonka" Blues house Coffee Diva

Hazy blown out of
proportion blue
"Hazy Just So" how do you do it
Do you go through her dreams?

Another brainstorm little
boy blue like a fairytale
So inviting love true lights
Just so in her beam another
enticing clue its never what it seems
Just because there is so much blue
Life shouldn't trick you just kick
off your shoes


Just Relax meditate your body flex
The Gulf of Mexico the blue sharks
Take a bite any kind of fish the
whale of a blue wish
The weather so many changes
crazy or not
Everything feels right
when you tie the knot
So hazy the winter to the spring and the summer flowers bluish morning glory September trying to remember the birth of all shades of babies wearing little boy blue but this goes beyond anyone's spirit colors come out the way you seem to see it so live it singing the blues-rock your waves in those velvet shoes
Colette Jun 2014
I was falling into a deep pitch of darkness,
never having a thought of being rescued,
and only the thoughts of me falling into the abyss of darkness clouded my mind like how 21-gun salute resonates the deafening silence on one's death.

But I was saved by a blinding light,
warm arms wrapped me with comfort and security,
hands to hands with mine,
to stop me from falling.

Never have I thought I would be save by an angel in admits of all darkness that was eating me alive.
An angel he is, though we both said that we are of bad souls like devils.
Despite so, both our demons played well.

My heart beats fast around him,
and every poetry I write seems to only be indirectly pointed out of what seems to be him.

To say that this is a sickly puppy love wouldn't describe what I have for him.
An addiction, a complex disease, a deadly infatuation,
are what more seems to describe him in literal.

As if cigarettes and bottles of beers were more than enough to ****,
I might eventually die from the presence of him.

On 2505, I brave myself,
confronting or more like pouring my tongue-tied words with feelings of afraid of being rejected,
but wholeheartedly he accepted me.
The feeling were mutual and an awkward kiss we shared.

I feel my dark world lighting up,
blinding me in the consuming brightness.

Ever since then,
I felt more sick.
It wasn't a negative effect,
but I was very much deeply fallen in those brown irises of his.

His words, his movements,
the way his hands fit with mine,
the way his lips capture mine in perfection,
how could I have still survive all these while?

As day passes,
I questioned myself,
"Was I worth it?"
"Am I good enough for him?"

The thoughts of him with another sickens me and made my blood boil.
But he ensures me by saying the same.
And again, the kisses came after.

As days passed,
I, who had been busy often,
found less time to spend with him.
Getting tired and frustrated at times,
but I always feel guilty.

He would ask me to sleep and rest,
though I can be quite stubborn,
but eventually my body gave in.

Despite so, he would never get mad at me,
and I wonder and wonder..
was I ever that good of a lover for him?

All these doubts are still in mind,
but nevertheless,
I  hope that he wouldn't get bored of him.
And if ever do,
I would probably never stop chasing him.

Desperate and deeply in love,
that is the word to describing me.
But afterall, I'm just hopelessly in love with the man who is everything to me.
My best friend, my lover, my saviour, my anchor, my beautiful euphoria
and most importantly,
my everything.

Can you see how badly you have infatuated me with?
made a poem for bae on one monthsary so yeah-
i Mar 2014
the green in your
eyes reminds me of
what we had
and what we will
never have.
II. TO DEMETER (495 lines)

(ll. 1-3) I begin to sing of rich-haired Demeter, awful goddess
-- of her and her trim-ankled daughter whom Aidoneus rapt away,
given to him by all-seeing Zeus the loud-thunderer.

(ll. 4-18) Apart from Demeter, lady of the golden sword and
glorious fruits, she was playing with the deep-bosomed daughters
of Oceanus and gathering flowers over a soft meadow, roses and
crocuses and beautiful violets, irises also and hyacinths and the
narcissus, which Earth made to grow at the will of Zeus and to
please the Host of Many, to be a snare for the bloom-like girl --
a marvellous, radiant flower.  It was a thing of awe whether for
deathless gods or mortal men to see: from its root grew a hundred
blooms and is smelled most sweetly, so that all wide heaven above
and the whole earth and the sea's salt swell laughed for joy.
And the girl was amazed and reached out with both hands to take
the lovely toy; but the wide-pathed earth yawned there in the
plain of Nysa, and the lord, Host of Many, with his immortal
horses sprang out upon her -- the Son of Cronos, He who has many
names (5).

(ll. 19-32) He caught her up reluctant on his golden car and bare
her away lamenting.  Then she cried out shrilly with her voice,
calling upon her father, the Son of Cronos, who is most high and
excellent.  But no one, either of the deathless gods or of mortal
men, heard her voice, nor yet the olive-trees bearing rich fruit:
only tender-hearted Hecate, bright-coiffed, the daughter of
Persaeus, heard the girl from her cave, and the lord Helios,
Hyperion's bright son, as she cried to her father, the Son of
Cronos.  But he was sitting aloof, apart from the gods, in his
temple where many pray, and receiving sweet offerings from mortal
men.  So he, that Son of Cronos, of many names, who is Ruler of
Many and Host of Many, was bearing her away by leave of Zeus on
his immortal chariot -- his own brother's child and all
unwilling.

(ll. 33-39) And so long as she, the goddess, yet beheld earth and
starry heaven and the strong-flowing sea where fishes shoal, and
the rays of the sun, and still hoped to see her dear mother and
the tribes of the eternal gods, so long hope calmed her great
heart for all her trouble....
((LACUNA))
....and the heights of the mountains and the depths of the sea
rang with her immortal voice: and her queenly mother heard her.

(ll. 40-53) Bitter pain seized her heart, and she rent the
covering upon her divine hair with her dear hands: her dark cloak
she cast down from both her shoulders and sped, like a wild-bird,
over the firm land and yielding sea, seeking her child.  But no
one would tell her the truth, neither god nor mortal men; and of
the birds of omen none came with true news for her.  Then for
nine days queenly Deo wandered over the earth with flaming
torches in her hands, so grieved that she never tasted ambrosia
and the sweet draught of nectar, nor sprinkled her body with
water.  But when the tenth enlightening dawn had come, Hecate,
with a torch in her hands, met her, and spoke to her and told her
news:

(ll. 54-58) 'Queenly Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of
good gifts, what god of heaven or what mortal man has rapt away
Persephone and pierced with sorrow your dear heart?  For I heard
her voice, yet saw not with my eyes who it was.  But I tell you
truly and shortly all I know.'

(ll. 59-73) So, then, said Hecate.  And the daughter of rich-
haired Rhea answered her not, but sped swiftly with her, holding
flaming torches in her hands.  So they came to Helios, who is
watchman of both gods and men, and stood in front of his horses:
and the bright goddess enquired of him: 'Helios, do you at least
regard me, goddess as I am, if ever by word or deed of mine I
have cheered your heart and spirit.  Through the fruitless air I
heard the thrilling cry of my daughter whom I bare, sweet scion
of my body and lovely in form, as of one seized violently; though
with my eyes I saw nothing.  But you -- for with your beams you
look down from the bright upper air Over all the earth and sea --
tell me truly of my dear child, if you have seen her anywhere,
what god or mortal man has violently seized her against her will
and mine, and so made off.'

(ll. 74-87) So said she.  And the Son of Hyperion answered her:
'Queen Demeter, daughter of rich-haired Rhea, I will tell you the
truth; for I greatly reverence and pity you in your grief for
your trim-ankled daughter.  None other of the deathless gods is
to blame, but only cloud-gathering Zeus who gave her to Hades,
her father's brother, to be called his buxom wife.  And Hades
seized her and took her loudly crying in his chariot down to his
realm of mist and gloom.  Yet, goddess, cease your loud lament
and keep not vain anger unrelentingly: Aidoneus, the Ruler of
Many, is no unfitting husband among the deathless gods for your
child, being your own brother and born of the same stock: also,
for honour, he has that third share which he received when
division was made at the first, and is appointed lord of those
among whom he dwells.'

(ll. 88-89) So he spake, and called to his horses: and at his
chiding they quickly whirled the swift chariot along, like long-
winged birds.

(ll. 90-112) But grief yet more terrible and savage came into the
heart of Demeter, and thereafter she was so angered with the
dark-clouded Son of Cronos that she avoided the gathering of the
gods and high Olympus, and went to the towns and rich fields of
men, disfiguring her form a long while.  And no one of men or
deep-bosomed women knew her when they saw her, until she came to
the house of wise Celeus who then was lord of fragrant Eleusis.
Vexed in her dear heart, she sat near the wayside by the Maiden
Well, from which the women of the place were used to draw water,
in a shady place over which grew an olive shrub.  And she was
like an ancient woman who is cut off from childbearing and the
gifts of garland-loving Aphrodite, like the nurses of king's
children who deal justice, or like the house-keepers in their
echoing halls.  There the daughters of Celeus, son of Eleusis,
saw her, as they were coming for easy-drawn water, to carry it in
pitchers of bronze to their dear father's house: four were they
and like goddesses in the flower of their girlhood, Callidice and
Cleisidice and lovely Demo and Callithoe who was the eldest of
them all.  They knew her not, -- for the gods are not easily
discerned by mortals -- but standing near by her spoke winged
words:

(ll. 113-117) 'Old mother, whence and who are you of folk born
long ago?  Why are you gone away from the city and do not draw
near the houses?  For there in the shady halls are women of just
such age as you, and others younger; and they would welcome you
both by word and by deed.'

(ll. 118-144) Thus they said.  And she, that queen among
goddesses answered them saying: 'Hail, dear children, whosoever
you are of woman-kind.  I will tell you my story; for it is not
unseemly that I should tell you truly what you ask.  Doso is my
name, for my stately mother gave it me.  And now I am come from
Crete over the sea's wide back, -- not willingly; but pirates
brought be thence by force of strength against my liking.
Afterwards they put in with their swift craft to Thoricus, and
there the women landed on the shore in full throng and the men
likewise, and they began to make ready a meal by the stern-cables
of the ship.  But my heart craved not pleasant food, and I fled
secretly across the dark country and escaped by masters, that
they should not take me unpurchased across the sea, there to win
a price for me.  And so I wandered and am come here: and I know
not at all what land this is or what people are in it.  But may
all those who dwell on Olympus give you husbands and birth of
children as parents desire, so you take pity on me, maidens, and
show me this clearly that I may learn, dear children, to the
house of what man and woman I may go, to work for them cheerfully
at such tasks as belong to a woman of my age.  Well could I nurse
a new born child, holding him in my arms, or keep house, or
spread my masters' bed in a recess of the well-built chamber, or
teach the women their work.'

(ll. 145-146) So said the goddess.  And straightway the *****
maiden Callidice, goodliest in form of the daughters of Celeus,
answered her and said:

(ll. 147-168) 'Mother, what the gods send us, we mortals bear
perforce, although we suffer; for they are much stronger than we.

But now I will teach you clearly, telling you the names of men
who have great power and honour here and are chief among the
people, guarding our city's coif of towers by their wisdom and
true judgements: there is wise Triptolemus and Dioclus and
Polyxeinus and blameless Eumolpus and Dolichus and our own brave
father.  All these have wives who manage in the house, and no one
of them, so soon as she has seen you, would dishonour you and
turn you from the house, but they will welcome you; for indeed
you are godlike.  But if you will, stay here; and we will go to
our father's house and tell Metaneira, our deep-bosomed mother,
all this matter fully, that she may bid you rather come to our
home than search after the houses of others.  She has an only
son, late-born, who is being nursed in our well-built house, a
child of many prayers and welcome: if you could bring him up
until he reached the full measure of youth, any one of womankind
who should see you would straightway envy you, such gifts would
our mother give for his upbringing.'

(ll. 169-183) So she spake: and the goddess bowed her head in
assent.  And they filled their shining vessels with water and
carried them off rejoicing.  Quickly they came to their father's
great house and straightway told their mother according as they
had heard and seen.  Then she bade them go with all speed and
invite the stranger to come for a measureless hire.  As hinds or
heifers in spring time, when sated with pasture, bound about a
meadow, so they, holding up the folds of their lovely garments,
darted down the hollow path, and their hair like a crocus flower
streamed about their shoulders.  And they found the good goddess
near the wayside where they had left her before, and led her to
the house of their dear father.  And she walked behind,
distressed in her dear heart, with her head veiled and wearing a
dark cloak which waved about the slender feet of the goddess.

(ll. 184-211) Soon they came to the house of heaven-nurtured
Celeus and went through the portico to where their queenly mother
sat by a pillar of the close-fitted roof, holding her son, a
tender scion, in her *****.  And the girls ran to her.  But the
goddess walked to the threshold: and her head reached the roof
and she filled the doorway with a heavenly radiance.  Then awe
and reverence and pale fear took hold of Metaneira, and she rose
up from her couch before Demeter, and bade her be seated.  But
Demeter, bringer of seasons and giver of perfect gifts, would not
sit upon the bright couch, but stayed silent with lovely eyes
cast down until careful Iambe placed a jointed seat for her and
threw over it a silvery fleece.  Then she sat down and held her
veil in her hands before her face.  A long time she sat upon the
stool (6) without speaking because of her sorrow, and greeted no
one by word or by sign, but rested, never smiling, and tasting
neither food nor drink, because she pined with longing for her
deep-bosomed daughter, until careful Iambe -- who pleased her
moods in aftertime also -- moved the holy lady with many a quip
and jest to smile and laugh and cheer her heart.  Then Metaneira
filled a cup with sweet wine and offered it to her; but she
refused it, for she said it was not lawful for her to drink red
wine, but bade them mix meal and water with soft mint and give
her to drink.  And Metaneira mixed the draught and gave it to the
goddess as she bade.  So the great queen Deo received it to
observe the sacrament.... (7)

((LACUNA))

(ll. 212-223) And of them all, well-girded Metaneira first began
to speak: 'Hail, lady!  For I think you are not meanly but nobly
born; truly dignity and grace are conspicuous upon your eyes as
in the eyes of kings that deal justice.  Yet we mortals bear
perforce what the gods send us, though we be grieved; for a yoke
is set upon our necks.  But now, since you are come here, you
shall have what I can bestow: and nurse me this child whom the
gods gave me in my old age and beyond my hope, a son much prayed
for.  If you should bring him up until he reach the full measure
of youth, any one of womankind that sees you will straightway
envy you, so great reward would I give for his upbringing.'

(ll. 224-230) Then rich-haired Demeter answered her: 'And to you,
also, lady, all hail, and may the gods give you good!  Gladly
will I take the boy to my breast, as you bid me, and will nurse
him.  Never, I ween, through any heedlessness of his nurse shall
witchcraft hurt him nor yet the Undercutter (8): for I know a
charm far stronger than the Woodcutter, and I know an excellent
safeguard against woeful witchcraft.'

(ll. 231-247) When she had so spoken, she took the child in her
fragrant ***** with her divine hands: and his mother was glad in
her heart.  So the goddess nursed in the palace Demophoon, wise
Celeus' goodly son whom well-girded Metaneira bare.  And the
child grew like some immortal being, not fed with food nor
nourished at the breast: for by day rich-crowned Demeter would
anoint him with ambrosia as if he were the offspring of a god and
breathe sweetly upon him as she held him in her *****.  But at
night she would hide him like a brand in the heard of the fire,
unknown to his dear parents.  And it wrought great wonder in
these that he grew beyond his age; for he was like the gods face
to face.  And she would have made him deathless and unageing, had
not well-girded Metaneira in her heedlessness kept watch by night
from her sweet-smelling chamber and spied.  But she wailed and
smote her two hips, because she feared for her son and was
greatly distraught in her heart; so she lamented and uttered
winged words:

(ll. 248-249) 'Demophoon, my son, the strange woman buries you
deep in fire and works grief and bitter sorrow for me.'

(ll. 250-255) Thus she spoke, mourning.  And the bright goddess,
lovely-crowned Demeter, heard her, and was wroth with her.  So
with her divine hands she snatched from the fire the dear son
whom Metaneira had born unhoped-for in the palace, and cast him
from her to the ground; for she was terribly angry in her heart.
Forthwith she said to well-girded Metaneira:

(ll. 256-274) 'Witless are you mortals and dull to foresee your
lot, whether of good or evil, that comes upon you.  For now in
your heedlessness you have wrought folly past healing; for -- be
witness the oath of the gods, the relentless water of Styx -- I
would have made your dear son deathless and unaging all his days
and would have bestowed on him everlasting honour, but now he can
in no way escape death and the fates.  Yet shall unfailing honour
always rest upon him, because he lay upon my knees and slept in
my arms.  But, as the years move round and when he is in his
prime, the sons of the Eleusinians shall ever wage war and dread
strife with one another continually.  Lo!  I am that Demeter who
has share of honour and is the greatest help and cause of joy to
the undying gods and mortal men.  But now, let all the people
build be a great temple and an altar below it and beneath the
city and its sheer wall upon a rising hillock above Callichorus.
And I myself will teach my rites, that hereafter you may
reverently perform them and so win the favour of my
M Eastman Aug 2015
Cup your palms around
that candle dear lazy
Spells to cast to the wombs
keep our ghosts outside
peering into tent *****
yellowing irises and
stamens strangely swaying
but nonsense
Butte no
out there
they stalk you dear lazy
Travis Dixon Feb 2012
Time is of the sentence, while
verbs reveal their intents
for adjective nouns (pro or no
comment) quickly in vents
meant for air, but coarseness
courses through upturned grates  
shredding of courses into no ways

to go from here to home,
awaiting infinitely fine moments
caressed along necks of silken
skin within the wear of stretched out
glances left lingering still
in compassionate ponds rippling
soft warm smiles lazily by
the melting cares of the world
golden in luxuriously wrapped light
playing across the surface & through-

out into emerald encrusted irises
to cast love's shadow over
swamps of fear gurgling neuro-
toxic diatribes against plu-
perfect pasts & future
imprefects presented in a case to
Your Honor's (the jury) out of bounds
dissolved with ear ration-
al solutions mixed & stirred
thoroughly throughout,
without spilling too
much.
mûre Apr 2014
I fell for a maelstrom of a man
an earthquake of a man
a tempest of a man

but his deepest terror is violence,
he exists only to be softly loved.
Raymond Johnson Apr 2013
The brain is a pretty rad little doodad. Sitting atop your neck, buzzing with blood and budding thoughts like an apple tree in spring.
I think it's fascinating that we're still quire clueless as to how it really works.
There's one particular part that still fascinates me, namely, memory.

Memories are the cranial equivalent of keeping a diary or writing in a journal. a collection of feelings and happenings of days gone by and words once said.
There are a few journal entries, if you will, that stand out to me. Ones I made with a girl... let's call her B.

If B were here right now, I'd look her in her big brown eyes and ask her:

Do you remember?

Do you remember the divine way the curves of your body fit into mine was we lay in an amorous embrace amongst the blankets and downy pillows?

Do you remember the way I told you a million times that I loved your hair. Your angelic, graceful hair, even though you thought it was too long and too messy?

How we walked through the forest for hours, talking about nothing and nonsense, and how we sat on a log for what seemed like eternity until I manufactured enough courage to finally kiss you?

They say that elephants never forget, and every time you cross my mind I feel my nose getting a little longer and my skin turning a little greyer.

Do you remember? Because I sure as hell do.

Do you remember how adorable you looked in those pajama pants of mine that were about a foot too long for you because you forgot to bring your own?

Do you remember how we sat on a bench and watched the birds flit from feeder to feeder as the sun waved us a crimson farewell?

Do you remember the feeling of your lips upon my lips, and the simple fact that it is impossible to properly describe that in any banal combination of 26 tired characters?

Do you remember the bittersweet intermingling of the smells of my eighty dollar cologne and your forty dollar shampoo?

Do you remember the way we looked into each other’s eyes? The vast universes of possibilities leaping from neuron to neuron behind those irises?

Wonderful memories. Pleasant memories. You couldn’t ask for anything better than these kind of memories. But there’s more. And there’s a reason why they’re just memories.

I remember the way the blood drained from my face like your used bath water circled the drain in my bathtub, and how my heart went on strike and stopped beating when you told me we couldn’t be together.

I remember how similar the crunch of the leaves and twigs under our booted feet sounded to the cracking and shattering of my sanity as you drove away on that sombre day.

I remember all of the dreams my brain pumped out of its pitiful pineal gland in a futile attempt to travel back in time.

I remember the empty spot in my bed and the gaping and gushing hole in my heart that still exists
To
This
Day.

But for all of these melancholy memories, these rotten ruminations, the beast of anger has yet to rear its matted mane.

In fact,

I thank you.

I thank you for this sadness, this regret, this longing, and this acute absence of rage,

For it is proof that I am alive.

I thank you for this sorrow, for this awful ammunition, for inspiration to machine masterpieces from the melancholy.

For what is light without darkness?

What is life without death, and love without loss?

So thank you.

I look back on our shared seconds not with eyes full of misplaced malice and fury,

But with gratitude.

Because even through tragedy

The heart survives.
https://soundcloud.com/blaxstronaut/memories
Upon the mighty raging sea, whirlpools of fiery sparks, Catherine wheels of light and mist mix with the foam of time. Tossed by unseen movements a tiny globe is floating on the tides and flotsam swirls around its contours, attracted by invisible smooth ripples. Dashed to smooth curves, rare and precious treasure pebbles dance in the flotsam, around the tiny globe, lost in that vast sea, tossed aside by finned entities. Together they ride the foam of endless ocean.

Upon his bed of green soft flotsam, in peaceful tranquillity, gazing out at other treasure pebbles, upon the most precious jewelled blue sapphire, swimming in the azure sea, the purple man soaks up the rays of green made by the yellow globe.

The purple man sees and understands.

The lines of his world are shining silver light, for him there is no darkness in the night. Beset by cares he glances at the fractal flotsam and sees himself reflected, unfolding, timeless. Cares melt in mellow green.

The purple man fades and expands, his nebula fills the ocean wide and everything folds, unfolds; breathes in and out. Allfather stands beside the gate.

Where the fish swim and water snakes, where rivers run and wash the mountains silt upon the shore, there one day the star man came descending from a ship that sails the ocean Sky. The purple man was dreaming as before. From far away where people live in light, from where there is no hunger, fear or pain, where none deceive because there is no gain, where power is within and all are free, Wayland came.

Sitting by the river in the mud his fingers sinking into rich red clay he saw this world so full of music and in love, he sought the matrix seeds that dormant lay. Weaving the matrix then this Wayland made a pair of people from the clay and calling to the green fire of life, he gave them this garden free, to care for and in which to learn and play.

The purple man, who on his misty pillow lay said to Wayland then,

“Will you not stay?” The star man answered,

“I have so far to go and there is so much I want to see, you stay here awhile and tell them this: they are the keepers now of flotsam Zu, and you can teach them all that they must know. Say to them and get it right, 'you are the children of the light, travel where you will; you are not bound here by the clay. In all who say, “I am“ there is the life, and all who live are one in truth, this moment does not pass away.' I will return to visit you one day.”

Purple light shines green around the gate and all pass to and fro. There were the flying elephants of old, bright butterfly wings and iridescent scales, and fire within they blew and rose to mate high in the careless foam of space.

“I see, I see,” the purple man exclaims, “And I will leave a legacy.” Then taking out his notebook draws a stone and then another, places both together high upon the hill.

“All shall know!” he cries and gives them eyes and crowns. Thrones they hold with firm rock fingers, king and queen in rock of jewels tiny crystal shimmers. Eyes gaze out along the silver lines of truth, eyes of stone, and he cuts a small notch in the place the eyes alight their vision.

“Now all will know.” He spreads his cloak and sleeps beneath the hill in quiet satisfaction but dreams he did the task and lost in thought forgets. Stones stand waiting in dreams of eyes that only dreamers see and ride the light that only globe green rays can ride in pale yellow day.

“Forget, forget.” The whispers of the shining huntress sing sweetly and the residents of the butterfly house are soothed and filled with wonder. Dancing light reflects from yellow sand. Lifting hot feet to cool in baking oven rays.

Skating on tension, walking on invisible support a fish jumps from the water of a lake, cascading diamond spray around golden wings, then plunges back into the familiar world. Together all are one and life renewed. Wisps of purple smoke rise from a burning pile of old splendid green boughs now brown and brittle and delicious waves cook as chatter rises in anticipation. Toes muddy and wet warm as much as they dare and faces shine as globe of green gives energy. Wisteria sweet twists its tendrils on the gatepost and spreads its fingers wide to reach the stars.

The white and shining orb that, with full sails, is dancing with the flotsam sapphire tells her story in the ripples of a darkened pool. As in each drop the orb is, so it is with all and in all flows the green.

A grey cat-wolf with silky coat, who sweetly purrs sinks her teeth into feathers and warm nourishment flows from vein to vein. Carrying proudly to the doorstep leaves the gift but pricked purple fingers drip blood as tears flow for the tiny, feathered form.

Misunderstanding of the gift and weary sleep claim the mourner. In the corner stands a child of dusty clothes, untidy and ragged feathers. Grey coloured and brown his hair, face, and hair all dusty and brown. In mind of purple song was singing sad songs of green trees and fields of flowers and seeds. The child turns and eyes as old as time look deep as hands are stretched to greet. The purple man takes outstretched hands and they dance to music of the ocean deep.

“It cannot end, the green can never end, it just returns.” and round they dance, as the child is filled with light and transparent power touches purple hands and spirit surges to pull the purple man to stand before the gate.

Purple man rides on steed of unicorn; who sheds his twisted horn of white and says,

“With this you may write and tell the keepers of Zu to teach their subjects true.” His purple fingers hold the shining torch as on the saddle of his steed he carves the key, the binary. “All is here!” he shouts, “it is enough for all to be and all who will to see! Freedom is my gift to humanity!” Walking to the golden shore, he breathes the green fire to his steed, “Fly now and take my pattern home for all to learn.” The unicorn, now dragon born and horse is manifest, with fiery nostrils and shining fins swims into the long and winding currents of the thread of gold.

From that island home is cast the stone and off it goes into the seas of time, the circle seas. Music wafts around the globe as jewelled pebbles sing. The purple man, his eyes upon the depths, his head on soft flotsam pillow looks horizontally and wanders paths of space between.

A king of Zu in earnest thought upon the shore, a hornless unicorn has caught. A dragon horse who will not bear but shakes his saddle, burden gone he flies into the air. This trinket fine will grace the royal belt and a medallion the king does wear; magic token lost in time as those who knew could not stay and to the music danced away. Beyond the gate, into the ocean deep they to while away, until the wafting air lifts up the drops to bear.

Within the turbulence of that wild sea of calmness where regular tides disguise, mountains are ground, their pieces smashed and broken into shimmering beads of light. Each piece the matrix seed does hold within its crystal frame and life its energy. They shoot forth in forces, travel star to star, globe upon globe they circumnavigate and chaos brings movement to the stagnant ponds of flotsam, pools stirring, breathing life.

In Zu, the wanderers, who had no houses yet, who lived among the stars and trees, gathered round fires to eat their fruit and seeds at Mothers knee and told their oral histories.

Memories of mine and theirs and time distorts the tales so pictures made they to endure but meanings lost as careless child is watching dripping fat of meat and mouth is watering at the food to eat. Within the ring of warmth and fire the wild beast fears, the stories fall distorted on deaf ears.

“Remember well the lessons here: Once our world was full of fear. The seas rose up and swallowed whole the land of Zu, the air was cold. The globe its shining rays of green was hid beneath a reddish sheen of fire as worlds collided higher. The cold it came, the ice giants walked upon the land, so I was taught. Now eat this meat the hunter men have brought.” Within the shamans cave the purple man sleeps and walks on paths of many feet.

On bellies laid upon a hill of hot dry golden sand, the purple man looks down with his band of friends upon the tall city gate below. Beyond he sees the golden domes and tall white towers of so fair a place. A white wall stretches far as he can see and by the gate two fierce lions guard with swords of shining steel.

“I know not how to enter there.” he says, but then finds he is inside, alone and the white city walls are high around him. Trepidation grips his thought and on tiptoes he intrudes in wonder, clinging to the walls. The giant who stoops to lift him smiles, gold flashes from ornaments, turquoise beads on olive skin, and strong muscular arms pick up the purple man who looks around and down to see the white towers are but square pools of proportion huge. The strong hands plunge him down into clear water cool, so fresh it cleans, from showers of silver droplets a babe is raised up to the shining pale blue sky.

Seeing a tortoise then beside the waters edge, the purple man, still having horn of unicorn, inscribed the pattern of the nine with movement of the all, so that he would remember all that Wayland said. Then silence and dreams were once more inside his head.

Purple man sat at the foot of a great tree. A red furred squirrel ran up and down the bark, collecting food and going deep to keep its secret safe. Above the tree the globe was shining bright and yellow light was all around. The good folk who dwell in light transparent crystal vessels sang their song for all to hear and as the squirrel gathered food she heard their voices clear. Then, scampering along the ground quietly in case the purple man should wake, she buried down to the deep pools where three watch the water that feeds the sap. She hummed the song but had not listened to the words and got it wrong before those there to guide the destiny.

“Oh, careless child who listens not when at the fire, who now will tell the history?” The purple man saw the green sap of the tree within and understood.

“Make a machine!” the keepers say, “for you are bound by clay. Rip out the sapphires heart and give us power so that in darkness is the light of day. We have the words and wisdom here,” the keepers fight and hide the secret words, “the nine is ours not yours to know, we only have the power, is it not so? We are your keepers, guardians true; we would not lie to you.

“We took the power from Mother of the tribes to keep you safe from beasts who roam. They would not stay outside the ring of warmth and fire but come inside, devour you in your home.

“The seas rose up before and swallowed Zu, the people perished all except a few. Those few were chosen by the unicorn and here to us a tortoise bore its horn. We stole the fire that came on flotsam Zu, we have the lightening here entombed, the stars that fell in dire punishment, we kept them to remind you of your doom.

“We took the prophets all and kept their words, we wrote them down and only we can give those words to you. He who was here is gone for now but will return, to judge all those who will not heed our rule.

“We must make war to punish those who hate, we must sacrifice to please the beast. Then within our boundaries you will be safe in service to our cause for we are wise.”

The slaves of Zu who toil and sweat all day, all fearful of whatever comes their way; the slaves who have no water and no food and not because they have not loved the good, the slaves who weep for flotsam Zu, the ones who try to do what they believe is true, all listened to the keepers and were quiet, they had no heart to war and die in riot. They had no heart to disobey the rules well taught from their first day. Some turned and struck their fellows in dismay.

The feet upon the pavement hard in hardness crunch and shocks run up the legs and bounce the brains of those who cannot see. Purple streaks the sunrise comes and petals yawn to greet the sailing globe of yellow breathing green. Herded and obedient, the subjects of the kingdom of Zu wake and queue politely as keepers set the tasty morsels. Wheels and tides, time and ocean turn as globe spins in eddies and careless diamonds sprinkled in the flakes of cornfields tell the story unfolding.

Shadows play. The sickle shines its ****** sweetness horned and lovely; sparks of stars surround the misty blue. Knees and cries on time forget the sly insertions and nourish soon forgotten virtues.

A bell is ringing on the shore. Sound bounces wave to wave and lost in purple wandering a passing bee remembers that it cannot fly and hurriedly taking scissors cuts a fine raft of leaf, pointed as a ships bow and hops aboard to surf and glide on currents of the sky.

From the deep oceans light, Wayland sees and sends a whisper from his mind, the purple man is dreaming still among the many others of his kind.

“Its time to wake now, of slumber is enough. Zu needs to have its gardeners intact, its time to plant the Iris bulbs to grow in pasture and in desert before the ice comes back. Seeds of the rainbow must be sown on every track. When summer dawns on frosted fields, fingers of warmth probing into the hearts of seeds that sleep, come now its time for growing. Plough the furrows deep. When summer dawns on frosted fields, fingers of warmth probing into cold frost hardened hearts. Awake, its time for knowing!”

The purple man in forest sees green light of yellow globe is shining energetically its light on all, and one with all he walks in joyful song. Along a branch a leg is stretched, a long leg, there a person sits within the tree, smiling song of life,

“He's just like me!” the purple man does not intrude but curiosity is wakened as the man is standing tall and then is gone before his eyes of sight. A figure dressed in light, not vaporous, a solid man who flickers on and off he sees. The purple man perplexed is wondering, when at his side a figure tall and grey is standing, branches on his head, without a face in the full light of day. The purple man looks for the face, the seat of senses known to know who is it there and meets an eye as old as universe. The eye is looking for the same and as they meet in trap of combined senses all, there is a spark and purple man is travelling then, he is not in the planet Zu at all. The visitor who comes to show the way gives him a choice of paths to take, he forward walks along a narrow lane with strange and pointed leaves of maize. Rustling in the plants the other chases past, he greets him at the other side, and man of light is shining on and off out of the gate the purple man to guide. The rainbow bridge connecting all the worlds, the green path that all who live must share, the purple man looks for the visitor but turning finds that nothing's there. Then rippling wave of green comes flowing through the woodland and the day, it passes through all that lies before, and purple man is standing in its way. Green fire! The life! The sap of tree! I see! His spirit soars as Wayland flies away.

Looking down at hands and feet with rainbows shine, in great delight he finds he is not purple now but made of light sublime and at his step the irises spring bright.
Matthew Harlovic Mar 2014
I like my women like I like my flowers,
down to Earth, and she’s rooted to the concept.
From her orchard, orchids cry out that she’s
a beauty. A beauty as bold as baby’s breath
but she’s not soft-spoken. It’s written in her
blue-eyed, irises that she’s a stargazer
with a heart made of marigolds, laced together
by Queen Anne. She sprouted out of that cracked
cement with tulips curled to the cosmos, greeting
morning glories with a stellar smile, that I fell for
like a shooting star. She’s a bloomed-beauty that’s
bound to this Earth, and well, I’d pick her up any day.

© Matthew Harlovic
Everything in bold is a type of flower.
Ramin Ara Jan 2017
Morning mist
Scent of irises
In her flowing hair
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Modern Charon
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Davenport Tomorrow
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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



Burn
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

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

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



Bikini
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



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

First They Came for the Muslims
by Michael R. Burch

after Martin Niemoller

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

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

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

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

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

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



Warming Her Pearls
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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



Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts

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

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

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

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

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



Distances
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The Poetry Porch/Sonnet Scroll



Fascination with Light
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

a soft blur.

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

and flutters and drifts on in dark aimless flight.

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

Originally published by The HyperTexts



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Water and Gold
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



escape!!!
by michael r. burch

for anaïs vionet

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



Leave Taking
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

have learned what it means to say—
goodbye.

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



Passionate One
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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



Stay With Me Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

Originally published by The Lyric



bachelorhoodwinked
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



chrysalis
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

and yet You must love Your Self



Self Reflection
by Michael R. Burch

(for anyone struggling with self-image)

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

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



War is Obsolete
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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



In My House
by Michael R. Burch

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

Manifest Destiny?

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

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

I feel my tongue
stilting accordingly.

We were wrong;
brother, forgive me.

Published by Black Medina



Shock
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



In Praise of Meter
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Completing the Pattern
by Michael R. Burch

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



The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

Published by Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Webring



The Harvest of Roses
by Michael R. Burch

for Harvey Stanbrough

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

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

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



White in the Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

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

tell Regret it is not so rare.

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

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



The Octopi Jars
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



The Children of Gaza

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



Epitaph for a Child of Gaza
by Michael R. Burch

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



Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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

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

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



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

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

Where does the butterfly go?

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

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



I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

for the children of Gaza and their mothers

I pray tonight
the starry Light
might
surround you.

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

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



Something
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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

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

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



Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza and their children

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

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

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

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



Such Tenderness
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza

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

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

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

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



who, US?
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

“who’s to blame?”



My nightmare ...

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



I, too, have a dream ...

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



Suffer the Little Children
by Nakba

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

O, Arab Aurora!

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



Piercing the Shell

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the lost gold of vanished stars.

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



Habeas Corpus
by Michael R. Burch

from “Songs of the Antinatalist”

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



Bittersight
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



In His Kingdom of Corpses
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Uyghur Poetry Translations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



Free Fall to Liftoff
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



The One True Poem
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

even so,
We were One.



The Poem of Poems
by Michael R. Burch

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



Peace Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

Be calm.
Be still.
Be silent, content.

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

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

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

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



Sometimes the Dead
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



What the Poet Sees
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



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

Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand

and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands

where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting

and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting

and all I remember
,upon awaking,

is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking

one’s Being―to glide
heroically beyond thought,

forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.



O, finally to Burn,
gravity beyond escaping!

To plummet is Bliss
when the blisters breaking

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

Feathers and wax
and the watchers huddle ...

Flocculent sheep,
O, and innocent lambs!,

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



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

for the Night has Wings
gentler than moonbeams―

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

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Quixotic, I seek Love
amid the tarnished

rusted-out steel
when to live is varnish.

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

soak by the candle,
aflame in the tub.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Somewhither, somewhither
aglitter and strange,

we must moult off all knowledge
or perish caged.

*

I am reconciled to Life
somewhere beyond thought―

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

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

so fatten the oxen;
make a nice baste.

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

though we injure noone,
ourselves wildaglow.

Published by The Lyric and The Ekphrastic Review



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Each Color a Scar
by Michael R. Burch

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

She did not speak,
but her intention
was clear,

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

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

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

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



Ultimate Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



Sanctuary at Dawn
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

"My father!"
"My son!"

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



All Things Galore
by Michael R. Burch

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

Grandfather,
now in your gray presence
you are

somehow more near

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

wish

that ululate soft phrase,
that hopeful phrase!

and everywhere above, each hopeful star

gleamed down

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

and taught me heaven, omen, meteor . . .



Attend Upon Them Still
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandparents George and Ena Hurt

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

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

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

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

make them complete.



The Composition of Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

for poets who write late at night

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

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

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

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

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



First Steps
by Michael R. Burch

for Caitlin Shea Murphy

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

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

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

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



brrExit
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Vacuum
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

that once intrigued us so.

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

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



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

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

What is their brazen goal?

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Charles d'Orleans translations of Rondels/Roundels/Rondeaux

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch

for George King

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Birdsong
by Rumi
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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



After the Deluge
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



grave request
by michael r. burch

come to ur doom
in Tombstone;

the stars stark and chill
over Boot Hill

care nothing for ur desire;

still,

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

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

so come, spend ur last hardearned bill
on Tombstone.



Defenses
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Pool's Prince Charming
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



The Aery Faery Princess
by Michael R. Burch

for Keira

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



pretty pickle
by Michael R. Burch

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



and then i was made whole
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Album
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Because You Came to Me
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Beckoning
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Besieged
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

and the rout begins.



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

(for mothers battling addiction)

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

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



Loose Knit
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Alien Nation
by Michael R. Burch

for a Christian poet who believes in “hell”

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

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

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

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



Burn, Ovid
by Michael R. Burch

“Burn Ovid”—Austin Clarke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



*** 101
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

The most unlikely coupling—

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

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

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

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

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



honeybee
by michael r. burch

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



honeydew
by michael r. burch

i sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle!



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

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



Huntress
Michael R. Burch

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



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

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

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

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

Originally published by The Chained Muse



Ince St. Child
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

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

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

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

Will wake together, by and by.

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

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

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

Know nothing but this lullaby.



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Kindred
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Reflections
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



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

for Trump

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Café Dissensus



Remembrance
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Resurrecting Passion
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Songs of Innocence and The Chained Muse.



Currents
by Michael R. Burch

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

Originally published by The Lyric



Righteous
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



R.I.P.
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



The Shape of Mourning
by Michael R. Burch

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

the bolt of cold steel
on a locker
shielding memory,

the monthly penance
of flowers,
the annual wake,

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

the useless mower
lying forgotten
in weeds,

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



Tillage
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



For All That I Remembered
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The Raintown Review



Hearthside
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



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

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

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

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



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

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

in ourselves.



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



Villanelle: Hangovers
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



Haunted
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Published by Romantics Quarterly



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

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

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



Her Preference
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



hey pete
by Michael R. Burch

for Pete Rose

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

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



Nevermore!
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

their skeletal love―impossibility!

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



Mehmet Akif Ersoy: Modern English Translations of Turkish Poems

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



W. S. Rendra translations

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

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

Best wishes for an impending deflowering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then comes light,
life, the animals and man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



Recursion
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



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

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

broad battlements broken;
the Builders' work battered;

the high ramparts toppled;
tall towers collapsed;

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

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

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

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

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

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

it outlasted mighty kings and their claims!

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

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

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

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

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

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

... that was spacious ...



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

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

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

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

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

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



Lines for My Ascension
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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



Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

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



Published as the collection "Modern Charon"

Keywords/Tags: Charon, Styx, death, ferry, boat, ship, captain, steering, helm, wheel, rudder, shipwreck, disaster, night, darkness, 911, 9-11, mrbch
Amanda Hawk Jul 2020
Purple, slowly dripping
down her back
gently stroked, a tattoo
Irises were her favorite
so she built a garden
upon her back
Irises bloomed, spreading
from one shoulder to the other
CJ M Jul 2016
Lilies Dancing in the winds of blown bombs over my crashing city of delicacy.
Body craving pleasures produced by electric dedications.
Mind venomous as snakes in the grasses that run over my colored flowers of perfection as they slither hideously toward me, trying to get a sip of the inner being known as me.
Thousands of feet trampling through my serenity like I am the grounds in a war zone- no harmony.
Chilled through the bone as I see the smokes of blazes flow through the air with a menacing perspective.
Glazed eyes as I stare down an enemy I can't see, fighting the feeling of being crushed like the grasses beneath his feet.
I must fight back, I must get out, I must get away.
Thrown fists and black sight, heat so strong yet so clear and crisp that it could've been produced abnormally.
A body cleared and a soul freed, yet us stuck on the earth are still being crushed by unseen force like flowers in a field
Shattered Irises
Just....... Shhhhhhhh
Felix Sladal Apr 2017
Yawning mouth of the city beckons
Glittering jagged teeth tearing into
Passing souls
Walking on slick black tounges
Sand beaten breath fogs windowed eyes
The beast we come to love
Even as we live incased in it's cavities
The plaque in the grime of eroding gums

When did you last brush your teeth
Your buildings, starting to turn gray
Your tongue a tad flavorless
Do you grow old, fat, and tired?
Or is that just us?

Changes float on the breeze so subtle
You'd never see them unless you left
People slowly turning to dust
Blowing away
But everything still stands
As if nothing ever happened
We live our lives in nooks and crannies
Ghosts pressed between the glass
Tiptoeing enamel streets

Plush gold chairs and minty fresh
Oh peppermint fresh
Rain trickled saliva slips over your
swinging silk face
Breath, taunting tints of lavender
Your back is straight
Stressed crowsfeet pupils shine
Wake up tomorrow to find today
Your eyes are brown but green
Your mouth is wide but tight
Your grin not as cheap as the others

Everyone starts to bleed together
All traits the same
So very different
You weren't drinking mint
Nor lavender
Freeze frame in memory
Pick and choose what we see today
Who to be yesterday
Next week pickle plum I'll jump through a fire just to feel me, feel you

We're running from something
Day to day
Feels like time, might be ourselves
Your shoulders are curved, the slightest of slouches
Your eyes are oh so green and teeth so straight
Thin lips and a long face
Once opon a time I almost knew you
But not today not ever
Self chained straining towards freedom
But happiness wrinkles you cheeks
Self imprisonment won't bruise the will
Don't listen to me, your far more free than I'll ever be
Whistle to the stars
Shrug your shoulder at life's questions
Look it in the eyes with your peridot irises, tell it you've got this
I wish I know what you were drinking
Rainwater and honey

Your eyes are weary brown
Rosy cheeks blush on bronze
Hair shifts to straw spun gold
You haven't aged but I feel so old
Going places while I stand still
Doesn't feel the reverse though that's the truth, if only in theory
You paint life, I paint paper
I maybe younger but I'm wilting faster.
Is it wrong that I wanted to kiss you
For a millisecond and no more
Atune to a time warp lost in free space

Green eyes Brown
Rigged lines graceful limbs
I'm a overcooked noodle
With a halfcooked plot
And everyone seem so put together
I'll poor the pesto on myself and call
me done.
Eugene OR some time near me birthday 2016
Kendall Mallon Mar 2013
Upon a beach, Lysseus found himself alone—gasping
in gulps of moist air like that of a new born baby first
experiencing the breathe of life. He felt as if he would
never become dry again… the salt burning his skin as it
crusted over when the water evaporated into the air.
Taking the first night to rest, the set out the next day to
make shelter and wait for a rescue crew to arrive. Out he
stared at the crashing waves hoping for a plane or the
faint form of a ship upon the horizon. Days and nights
spun into an alternating display of day then night then
light then dark, light, dark, light, dark, grey, grey, grey…

He gave up marking the days whence he realized that the
searches were over; they had given up after looking in the
wrong places—he did not even know where he was…the
cold waves and currents took him to a safe shore  away from
his ship and crew in a limp unconscious float… From the
trees, and what he could find on the small  island, he
fashioned a catamaran to rid himself of the grey-waiting.

Out he cast his meager vessel into the
Battering surf; waves broke over his bows
and centre platform—each foot forward the
waves threatened to push him back twofold…
he beat the water with the oars he fashioned
rising and falling with their energy. Lysseus
stole brief looks back in hopes of a disappearing
shore, but it refused to vanish… His wet tan
arms started to grow tired—yet he pushed on
knowing he would soon get out passed the
breaking water and then he could relax and
hoist sail. But the waves grew taller and broke
with more power… Lysseus kept beating the
water with his oar, but anger was welling
inside, which ended in splashes of ivory sea
froth instead of forward progress. Eventually,
his arms went limp beyond the force of his will
and the waves tumbled him back to shore
as he did the first night upon the island…

Dejected he lay in the surf for the night—the gentle
ebbing of the sea just added to insult, but hid the tears
that formed in the corner of his eyes—salt water to salt
water… The next day he took inventory of the damage
done to his humble catamaran; the mast had been
snapped in a few places, the rudders askew, but the
main  hulls and centre structure remained intact—solid.
The  oars lost; or at least Lysseus did not care to search
the  beach for them. Over the next weeks he set out to
improve the design and efficiency of his craft; the first
had been hurried and that of a desperate man to leave
the bare minimum that would suffice to leave as soon
as possible. He set to create something that would
ensure his leaving that desolate pile of sand and
vegetation. He worked on his strength; pushing his
arms passed the point of where his mind thought they
could go; eating the hearty, protein rich, mollusks, and
small shell fish he could find in the shallows and tide
pools—if lucky larger fish that dared the reefs.

Patiently Lysseus observed the tides and the
breaking waters—he wanted to find the right
time to set off to ensure success—when the
waves would not toss him back to the beach.
The day was a calm clear day; only within a few
metres of soft beach did there exist any
breaking waves—and those who did were
barely a metre high. Loading up his provisions
upon his catamaran Lysseus bid farewell to the
island out of wont for the sustenance it gave
not for a nostalgia. Grasping his oars, he set
forth to find open seas where the waves do not
break. Lysseus paddled out past the firs few
breakers his heart pounding with hope, but he
stifled the thoughts in his mind—he would
celebrate whence the island was but a subtle
blue curve on the horizon. Whence the  island
began to shrink in his vision he the sky to his
back grew darker… the waves started to
swell—moguls grew to hills that Lysseus
stroked up and rode down. The Island refused
to shrink… if not begin to grow wider… Stroke
by stroke Lysseus began to grow frustrated
stroke by stroke that frustration grew into
anger stroke by stroke the anger grew into
violent beatings of the water with his oars; he
struck and struck at the water eyes closed
white knuckles trashing he did not even know
which direction he was paddling any more the
sky dark now and the wind blowing on shore
he cried out to the Sea in inarticulate roars of
hateangerfrustrationpitysavageragedesperation!

At his in-linguistic roar, the sky let out a
crack of  authority and a wave washed the
flailing Lysseus  into the water—the cool
water only heated the  rage in Lysseus’ head;
all he wanted in his half  empty heart was to
sail home and become whole  again—to sit
under and olive tree and stroke the chestnut
hair of Penny as she drifted to sleep on  his
chest while he would whisper sweet verses
into her ear… His rage was beyond any reason,
forgetting the boat and all sense he began to
swim  away from the cursed island; scrambling
up waves only to be tumbled back with their
breaking peaks. His mouth could only taste
salt, his stomach wanted to puke, his kidney’s
praying that he would  not swallow anymore…
His gasps for breath stifled  any curse that his
head wished to express to the  Sea—yet she
would swear she heard one escape his lips,
and at that she tossed him into his ghost-helmed
catamaran and all was dark for vengeful Lysseus.

Seeing his rage and knowing the monster it makes
him, Lysseus looked into the band inscribed into
his ring-finger and saw the knot connecting him to
Penny—shame at his arrogant-uncontrolled-fury
sent Lysseus into a meditative exile inside his
mind upon the exile of that cursèd island… In his
mental exile Lysseus spun into deeper despair at his
two failures—even more at the prospect of failing
the vow he gave to Penny to return home—home
from his final voyage—to grow old with her upon
solid ground—to never die away from her and
cause the pain of losing a loved one and never
having the closure of truly knowing the death is
real—to die by her side white with the purity of
age… his anger turned inward at his anger—his
lack of control—the monster he becomes when
rage surges through his muscles and give him wild
strength with out direction or self-possession—so
much potential, yet no way to use it… Lysseus’ half
full heart burned and ached—with passion and
anguish—all desire he had was focused upon
home, the return, but the mind’s despondency and
insistent ‘what-ifs’ kept poor Lysseus prostrate in
his mental cave—for all his wishing for anger and
violence to force his will to be, it did more to set
him back to the cursèd island than to bring his
heart closer to fulfillment from his long await home…

Out of his mental exile did Lysseus’ irises
contract with blinding illumination—self-pity
is not what make things happen it would to only
anger Penny for nothing other than I can be to
blame for my continued absence from home I
am stronger than that—looking at the tattoo in
his hand, he remembered the reasons for the
perennial brand—the eight-spoke ship’s helm:
the eight-fold-path—I must cut off my desire for
anger to be the solution and focus on the path to
Penny the mind can push the body further than
the body believes is possible—the star: the compass
to guide—me via the celestial bodies to where my
*heart can see the guiding beam of my lighthouse!
This is part of the 'Final Voyage' epic. I figured I would give you guys a bit of a teaser since 'Final Voyage' is my most popular poem. I decided to name 'the ginger bearded man' Lysseus and his wife, Penny. I hope you enjoy. (Why it is called the Tempation of Lysseus will become clear as I write more--I have big plans).

— The End —