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Amanda rodeiro Jan 2015
Lillian its not that your mother didn’t love you, its just that she was still trying to figure out how to love herself.
Her arms could only reach so far, you just were never close enough.
Lillian its not that your mother didn’t have a heart, its just that some days it couldn’t keep up with the pace of her mind.
you could try shouting but she would never hear you over the voices speaking to her.
Lillian its not that your mother viewed you as worthless, its just that she couldn’t find worth in her self just yet.
How could she open her eyes for you when she thought there was nothing worth looking at.
Lillian its not that you deserved her anger, its just that she didn’t know how to treat something constant in her life when everyone kept on leaving.
She couldn’t come to terms with how someone could love her so unconditionally despite her demons.
Lillian its not that your mother regretted you, its just that no one has stuck around long enough to get past her walls.
she thinks that she’ll be left to clean up the rubble alone.
Lillian its not that your mother is a reflection of yourself, its just that she never had room to grow.
You are a big fish in a little pond like her, though you can break free.
RAJ NANDY Jul 2017
THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD IN VERSE
Dear Readers, I have tried to cover the salient features of this True Story in free flowing verse mainly with end rhymes. If you read it loud, you can hear the chimes! Due to the short attention span of my readers I had to cut short this long story, and conclude with the
Golden Era of Hollywood by stretching it up to the 1950's only. When TV began to challenge the Big Screen Cinema seriously! I have used only a part of my notes here. Kindly read the entire poem and don't hesitate to know many interesting facts - which I also did not know! I wish there was a provision for posting a few interesting photographs for you here. Best wishes, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.  

                 THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD :
                        THE AMERICAN  DREAM
                             BY RAJ NANDY

           A SHORT  HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
Since the earliest days, optical toys, shadow shows, and ‘magic
lanterns’, had created the illusion of motion.
This concept was first described by Mark Roget in 1824 as  
the 'persistent of vision'.
Giving impetus to the development of big screen cinema with its
close-ups, capturing all controlled and subtle expressions!
The actors were no longer required to shout out their parts with
exaggerated actions as on the Elizabethan Stage.
Now even a single tear drop could get noticed easily by the entire
movie audience!
With the best scene being included and edited after a few retakes.
To Thomas Edison and his able assistant William Rogers we owe the invention of Kinetoscope, the first movie camera.
On the grounds of his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory, Edison
built his first movie studio called the ‘Black Maria’.   (1893)
He also purchased a string of patents related to motion picture
Camera; forming the Edison Trust, - a cartel that took control of
the Film Industry entire!

Fort Lee, New Jersey:
On a small borough on the opposite bank of the Hudson River lay
the deserted Fort Lee.
Here scores of film production crews descended armed with picture Cameras, on this isolated part of New Jersey!
In 1907 Edison’s company came there to shoot a short silent film –
‘Rescue From an Eagle’s Nest’,
Which featured for the first time the actor and director DW Griffith.
The independent Chaplin Film Company built the first permanent
movie studio in 1910 in Fort Lee.
While some of the biggest Hollywood studios like the Universal,
MGM, and 20th Century Fox, had their roots in Fort Lee.
Some of the famous stars of the silent movie era included ‘Fatty’
Arbuckle, Will Rogers, Mary Pickford, Dorothy and Lillian Gish,
Lionel Barrymore, Rudolph Valentine and Pearl White.
In those days there were no reflectors and electric arch lights.
So movies were made on rooftops to capture the bright sunlight!
During unpredictable bad weather days, filming had to be stopped
despite the revolving stage which was made, -
To rotate and capture the sunlight before the lights atarted to fade!

Shift from New Jersey to West Coast California:
Now Edison who held the patents for the bulb, phonograph, and the Camera, had exhibited a near monopoly;
On the production, distribution, and exhibition of the movies which made this budding industry to shift to California from
New Jersey!
California with its natural scenery, its open range, mountains, desert, and snow country, had the basic ingredients for the movie industry.
But most importantly, California had bright Sunshine for almost
365 days of the year!
While eight miles away from Hollywood lay the port city of Los Angeles with its cheap labour.

                        THE RISE  OF  HOLLYWOOD
It was a real estate tycoon Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida from
Kansas, who during the 1880s founded ‘Hollywood’ as a community for like-minded temperate followers.
It is generally said that Daeida gave the name Hollywood perhaps
due to the areas abundant red-berried shrubs also known as
California Holly.
Spring blossoms around and above the Hollywood Hills with its rich variety,  gave it a touch of paradise for all to see !
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903, and during
1910 unified with the city of Los Angeles.
While a year later, the first film studio had moved in from New
Jersey, to escape Thomas Edison’s monopoly!    (1911)

In 1913 Cecil B. De Mille and Jesse Lasky, had leased a barn with
studio facilities.
And directed the first feature length film ‘Squaw Man’ in 1914.
Today this studio is home to Hollywood Heritage Museum as we get to see.
The timeless symbol of Hollywood film industry that famous sign on top of Mount Lee, was put up by a real estate developer in 1923.  
This sign had read as ‘’HOLLY WOOD LAND’’ initially.
Despite decades of run-ins with vandals and pranksters, it managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of the Hollywood Hills.
The last restoration work was carried out in 1978 initiated by Hugh
Hefner of the ******* Magazine.
Those nine white letters 45 feet tall now read ‘HOLLYWOOD’, and has become a landmark and America’s cultural icon, and an evocative symbol for ambition, glamour, and dream.
Forever enticing aspiring actors to flock to Hollywood, hypnotised
by lure of the big screen!

                     GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
The Silent Movie Era which began in 1895, ended in 1935 with the
production of ‘Dance of Virgins’, filmed entirely in the island of Bali.
The first Sound film ‘The Jazz Singer’ by Warner Bros. was made with a Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.  (October 1927)
Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, this decade along with the 1940s have been regarded by some as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
However, I think that this Golden Age includes the decades of the
1940s and the 1950s instead.
When the advent of Television began to challenge the Film Industry
itself !

First Academy Award:
On 16th May 1929 in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard,
the First Academy Award presentation was held.
Around 270 people were in attendance, and tickets were priced at
$5 per head.
When the best films of 1927 & 1928 were honored by the Academy
of Motion Production and Sciences, or the AMPS.
Emil Jennings became the best actor, and Janet Gaynor the best actress.
Special Award went to Charlie Chaplin for his contribution to the
silent movie era and for his silent film ‘The Circus’.
While Warren Brothers was commended for making the first talking picture ‘The Jazz Singer’, - also receiving a Special Award!
Now, the origin of the term ‘OSCAR’ has remained disputed.
The Academy adopted this name from 1939 onwards it is stated.
OSCAR award has now become “the stuff dreams are made of”!
It is a gold-plated statuette of a knight 13.5 inches in height, weighing 8.5 pounds, was designed by MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons.
Annually awarded for honouring and encouraging excellence in all
facets of motion picture production.

Movies During the Great Depression Era (1929-1941):
Musicals and dance movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers provided escapism and good entertainment during this age.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it
backwards and in high heels,” - the Critics had said.
This compatible pair entertained the viewers for almost one and
a half decade.
During the ‘30s, gangster movies were popular starring James Cagey, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson.
While family movies had their popular child artist Shirley Temple.
Swashbuckler films of the Golden Age saw the sword fighting scenes of Douglas Fairbanks and Errol Flynn.
Flynn got idolized playing ‘Robin Hood’, this film got released in
1938 on the big screen!
Story of the American Civil War got presented in the epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) with Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.
This movie received 8 Oscars including the award for the Best Film, - creating a landmark in motion picture’s history!
More serious movies like John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and
John Ford’s  ‘How Green Was My Valley’, were released in 1940 and 1941 respectively.
While the viewers escaped that depressive age to the magical world
of  ‘Wizard of Oz’ with its actress Judy Garland most eagerly!
Let us not forget John Wayne the King of the Westerns, who began
his acting career in the 1930s with his movie ‘The Big Trail’;
He went on to complete 84 films before his career came to an end.
Beginning of the 40s also saw Bob Hope and the crooner Bing Crosby, who entertained the public and also the fighting troops.
For the Second World War (1939-45) had interrupted the Golden Age of Hollywood.
When actors like Henry Fonda, Clarke Gable, James Stewart and
Douglas Fairbanks joined the armed forces temporarily leaving
Hollywood.
Few propaganda movies supporting the war efforts were also made.
While landmark movies like ‘Philadelphia Story’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Citizen Kane’,
‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, were some of the most successful movies of that decade.  (The 1940s)
Now I come towards the end of my Hollywood Story with the decade  of the 1950s, thereby extending the period of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Since having past the Great Depression and the Second World War,  the Hollywood movie industry truly matured and came of age.

                        HOLLYWOOD  OF  THE  1950s

BACKGROU­ND:
The decade of the ‘50s was known for its post-war affluence and
choice of leisure time activities.
It was a decade of middle-class values, fast-food restaurants, and
drive-in- movies;
Of ‘baby-boom’, all-electric home, the first credit cards, and new fast moving cars like the Ford, Plymouth, Buick, Hudson, and Chevrolet.
But not forgetting the white racist terrorism in the Southern States!
This era saw the beginning of Cold War, with Eisenhower
succeeding Harry S. Truman as the American President.
But for the film industry, most importantly, what really mattered  
was the advent of the Domestic TV.
When the older viewers preferred to stay at home instead of going
out to the movies.
By 1950, 10.5 million US homes had a television set, and on the
30th December 1953, the first Color TV went on sale!
Film industries used techniques such as Cinemascope, Vista Vision,
and gimmicks like 3-D techniques,
To get back their former movie audience back on their seats!
However, the big scene spectacle films did retain its charm and
fantasy.
Since fantasy epics like ‘The Story of Robin Hood’, and Biblical epics like ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’, did retain its big screen visual appeal.
‘The Robe’ released on 16th September 1953, was the first film shot
and projected in Cinema Scope;
In which special lenses were used to compress a wide image into a
standard frame and then expanded it again during projection;
Resulting in an image almost two and a half times as high and also as wide, - captivating the viewers imagination!

DEMAND FOR NEW THEMES DURING THE 1950s :
The idealized portrayal of men and women since the Second World War,
Now failed to satisfy the youth who sought exciting symbols for rebellion.
So Hollywood responded with anti-heroes with stars like James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman.
They replaced conventional actors like Tyron Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor to a great extent, to meet the requirement of the age.
Anti-heroines included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe with her vibrant *** appeal;
She provided excitement for the new generation with a change of scene.
Themes of rebellion against established authority was present in many Rock and Roll songs,
Including the 1954 Bill Hailey and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
The era also saw rise to stardom of Elvis Presley the teen heartthrob.
Meeting the youthful aspirations with his songs like ‘Jailhouse Rock’!
I recall the lyrics of this 1957 film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ of my school days, which had featured the youth icon Elvis:
   “The Warden threw a party in the county jail,
     The prison band was there and they began to wail.
     The band was jumping and the joint began to sing,
     You should’ve heard them knocked-out jail bird sing.
     Let’s rock, everybody in the whole cell block……………
     Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
     Little Joe was blowing the slide trombone.
     The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang!
     The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang,
      Let's rock,.................... (Lyrics of the song.)

Rock and Roll music began to tear down color barriers, and Afro-
American musicians like Chuck Berry and Little Richard became
very popular!
Now I must caution my readers that thousands of feature films got  released during this eventful decade in Hollywood.
To cover them all within this limited space becomes an impossible
task, which may kindly be understood !
However, I shall try to do so in a summarized form as best as I could.

BOX OFFICE HITS YEAR-WISE FROM 1950 To 1959 :
Top Ten Year-Wise hit films chronologically are: Cinderella (1950),
Quo Vadis, The Greatest Show on Earth, Peter Pan, Rear Window,
Lady and the *****, Ten Commandments, Bridge on the River
Kwai, South Pacific, and Ben-Hur of 1959.

However Taking The Entire Decade Of 1950s Collectively,
The Top Films Get Rated As Follows Respectively:
The Ten Commandments, followed by Lady and the *****, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Bridge on the River Kwai, Around the World in Eighty Days, This is Cinerama, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, South Pacific, The Robe, Giant, Seven Wonders of the World, White Christmas, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Sayonara, Demetrius and the Gladiator, Peyton Place, Some Like It Hot, Quo Vadis, and Auntie Mame.

Film Debuts By Rising Stars During The 1950s :
The decade of the ‘50s saw a number of famous film stars making
their first appearance.
There was Peter Sellers in ‘The Black Rose’, Marlon Brando in
‘The Men’, and actress Sophia Loren in ‘Toto Tarzan’.
Following year saw Charles Bronson in ‘You Are in the Navy Now’,
Audrey Hepburn in ‘Our Wild Oats’, and Grace Kelly, the future
Princess of Monaco, in her first film ‘Fourteen Hours’. (1951)
While **** Brigitte Bardot appeared in 1952 movie ‘Crazy for Love’; and 1953 saw Steve Mc Queen in ‘******* The Run’.
Jack Lemon, Paul Newman, and Omar Sharif featured in films
during 1954.
The following year saw Clint Eastwood, Shirley Mc Lean, Walter
Matthau, and Jane Mansfield, all of whom the audience adored.
The British actor Michael Cain appeared in 1956; also Elvis Presley
the youth icon in ‘Love Me Tender’ and as the future Rock and Roll
King!
In 1957 came Sean Connery, followed by Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, and Vanessa Redgrave.
While the closing decade of the ‘50s saw James Coburn, along with
director, script writer, and producer Steven Spielberg, make their
debut appearance.

Deaths During The 1950s: This decade also saw the death of actors
like Humphrey Bogart, Tyron Power and Errol Flynn.
Including the death of producer and director of epic movies the
renowned Cecil B. De Mille!
Though I have conclude the Golden Age of Hollywood with the 50’s Decade,
The glitz and glamour of its Oscar Awards continue even to this day.
With its red carpet and lighted marquee appeal and fashion display!

CONTINUING THE HOLLYWOOD STORY WITH FEW TITBITS :
From Fort Lee of New Jersey we have travelled west to Hollywood,
California.
From the silent movie days to the first ‘talking picture’ with Warren
Bros’ film ‘The Jazz Singer’.  (06 Oct 1927)
On 31st July 1928 for the first time the audience heard the MGM’s
mascot Leo’s mighty roar!
While in July 1929 Warren Bros’ first all-talking and all- Technicolor
Film appeared titled - ‘On With The Show’.
Austrian born Hedy Lamarr shocked the audience appearing **** in a Czechoslovak film ‘Ecstasy’!  (1933)
She fled from her husband to join MGM, becoming a star of the
‘40s and the ‘50s.
The ‘Private Life of Henry VII’ became the first British film to win the  American Academy Award.  (1933)
On 11Dec 1934, FOX released ‘Bright Eyes’ with Shirley Temple,
who became the first Child artist to win this Award!
While in 1937 Walt Disney released the first full animated feature
film titled - ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarf ‘.
The British film director Alfred Hitchcock who came to
Hollywood later;
Between 1940 and 1947, made great thrillers like 'Rebecca', ‘Notorious’, ‘Rear Window’, and ‘Dial M for ******’.
But he never won an Oscar as a Director!

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD:
This award began in 1944 by the Foreign Correspondence Association at
the 20th Century Fox Studio.
To award critically acclaimed films and television shows, by awarding a
Scroll initially.
Later a Golden Globe was made on a pedestal, with a film strip around it.
In 1955 the Cecil B. De Mille Award was created, with De Mille as its first
recipient.

THE GRAMMY AWARD:
In 1959 The National Academy of Recording and Sciences sponsored the
First Grammy Award for music recorded during 1958.
When Frank Sinatra won for his album cover ‘Only The Lonely’, but he
did not sing.
Among the 28 other categories there was Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie
for his musical Dance Band Performance.
There was Kingston Trio’s song ‘Tom Dooly’, and the ‘Chipmunk Song’,
which brings back nostalgic memories of my school days!

CONCLUDING HOLLYWOOD STORY  WITH STUDIOS OF THE 1950s

Challenge Faced by the Movie Industry:
Now the challenge before the Movie Industry was how to adjust to the
rapidly changing conditions created by the growing TV Industry.
Resulting in loss of revenue, with viewers getting addicted to
their Domestic TV screen most conveniently!

The late 1950s saw two studios REPUBLIC and the RKO go out of business!
REPUBLIC from 1935- ‘59 based in Los Angeles, developed the careers of
John Wayne and Roy Rogers, and specializing in the Westerns.
RKO was one of the Big Five Studios of Hollywood along with Paramount,
MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Brothers in those days.

RKO Studio which begun with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers in the ‘30s,
included actress Katherine Hepburn who holds the record for four Oscars
even to this day;
And later had Robert Mitchum and Carry Grant under an agreement.
But in 1948, RKO Studio came under the control Howard Hughes the
temperamental Industrialist.
Soon the scandal drive and litigation prone RKO Studio closed, while
other Big Four Studios had managed to remain afloat!


PARAMOUNT STUDIO:
Paramount Studio split into two separate companies in 1950.
Its Theatre chain later merged with ABC Radio & Television Network;
And they created an independent Production/Distribution Network.
Bing Crosby and Bob Hope had been Paramount’s two biggest stars.
Followed by actors like Alan Ladd, William Holden, Jerry Lewis, Dean
Martin, Charlton Heston, and Dorothy Lamour.
They also had the producer/director Cecil B. De Mille producing high-
grossing Epics like ‘Samson & Delilah’ and ‘The Ten Commandments’.
Also the movie maker Hal Wallis, who discovered Burt Lancaster and
Elvis Presley - two great talents!

20th CENTURY FOX:
Cinema Scope became FOX’s most successful technological innovation
with its hit film ‘The Robe’. (1953)
Its Darryl Zanuck had observed during the early ‘50s, that audience  
were more interested in escapist entertainments mainly.
So he turned to FOX to musicals, comedies, and adventure stories.
Biggest stars of FOX were Gregory Peck & Susan Hayward; also
stars like Victor Mature, Anne Baxter, and Richard Wind Mark.
Not forgetting Marilyn Monroe in her Cinema Scope Box Office hit
movie - ‘How to Marry a Millionaire’, which was also shown on
prime time TV, as a romantic comedy film of 1953.

WARREN BROTHERS:
During 1950 the studio was mainly a family managed company with
three brothers Harry, Albert, and Jack Warren.
To meet the challenges of that period, Warren Bros. released most of
its actors like James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Oliver de Havilland, -
Along with few others from their long-term contractual commitments;
Retaining only Errol Flynn, and Ronald Regan who went on to become
the future President.
Like 20th Century Fox, Warren Bros switched to musicals, comedies,
and adventure movies, with Doris Day as its biggest musical star.
The studio also entered into short term agreements with Gary Copper,
John Wayne, Gregory Peck, Patricia Neal, and Random Scott.
Warren Bros also became the first major studio to invest in 3-D
production of films, scoring a big hit with its 3-D  suspense thriller
‘House of Wax’ in 1953.

MINOR STUDIOS were mainly three, - United Artists, Columbia, and
The Universal.
They did not own any theatre chain, and specialized in low-budgeted
‘B’ Movies those days.
Now to cut a long story short it must be said, that Hollywood finally
did participate in the evolution of Television industry, which led to
their integration eventually.
Though strategies involving hardware development and ownership of
broadcast outlets remained unsuccessful unfortunately.
However, Hollywood did succeed through program supply like prime-
time series, and made-for-TV films for the growing TV market making
things more colorful!
Thus it could be said that the TV industry provided the film industry
with new opportunities,  laying the groundwork for its diversification
and concentration;
That characterized the entertainment industry during the latter half  
of our previous century.
I must now confess that I have not visited the movie theatre over the last
two decades!
I watch movies on my big screen TV and my Computer screen these days.
Old classical movies are all available on ‘You Tube’ for me, and I can watch
them any time whenever I am free!
Thanks for reading patiently, - Raj Nandy.
**ALL COPYRIGHTS ARE WITH THE AUTHOR RAJ NANDY OF NEW DELHI
I’m sure she did, although at the times, I saw only red.” “ You killed her?”
“ I.....slaughtered her, “ he replied, looking almost repelled by the memory. “ To be honest, I’m not exactly proud of the way that I handled it. It was the one and only time I lost complete control.
“ Regardless, don’t blame yourself. She deserved to die. “
He didn’t say anything but I could tell from the look in his eyes that he was still reliving the moment.
“ What happened to your wife and son?”
I asked after a while. He cleared his throat. “ Minging moved in with her parents.”
“ Did you go to her?”
“ Yes. I told her that I’d been kidnapped, but didn’t get into detail.
“ She must have been so relieved to see you again. “
Lillian nodded. “ Yes, and I her. I’d thought that maybe Montour had sent his hunters after my family.
Sophia, they were still alive.”
“ Did they know what you’d become?”
“No. I didn’t want her to be frightened of me. I left the next morning. I was afraid of endangering Sophia and Lillian. “ Do you know if she was able to move on with her life?” I asked, imagining the pain she must have felt, believing that her boyfriend was lost. Then there was her son. He must have been devastated.
Yes, it took few years, but she eventually fell in love with a farmer and they got married.
I lost track of them years ago after moving to the United States, Unfortunately.
My cell phone began to ring,
somewhere in the house. I looked at the time on my alarm.
“ That’s got to be Jarrett?” I said, standing up quickly.
“ Who’s Jarrett?”
“ My partner. We own a private online business. I have some appointments that I’m going to be late for if I don’t get my *** in gear, “ I said, walking out of my bedroom.
“Wait a second,” said Lillian behind me. “You need to go into hiding. David hunters are searching for you. “
“ Good, let them find me. I’d love to meet the ******* who killed my wife and turn him into dust.”
Unlike Lillian, I was a hybrid vampire and succubus. I could not only drain someone of their blood, but a simple kiss from me could be toxic, since I had the ability to extract their life-force. Sophia asked Lillian, do you have to think like that. Lillian your so evil. Well, Sophia your too nice. I understand are family is crazy.
I wasn’t about to share that information with them, however. Jarrett was still a stranger.
“ These hunters are skilled and deadly. For surely they wouldn’t let you get close to them, “ he said, as if reading my mind again. “ They’d have your head on the ground before you caught their scent.”
We’ll answer, I whipped around and shoved him against the wall. Staring up into Lillian’s eyes, I gave him my most seductive smile. “ kiss me.
L B Apr 2017
Somehow it wasn’t right to cry
for someone who
no one knew—for years
though everyone knew about Lil
She was the crazy burden
of an orphaned family
whose memories rearrange the winter shadows

“Are we dressed right?
Are our faces adequately sad?”

They loved the skinny, happy kid
Loved—the ones who loved her
knew her from “The Old Neighborhood”

Two sisters approach the body
echoed in black and navy
holding each other’s hand
They look down at her—
They look her over
They overlook—“The Old Neighborhood”
of the Lillian they had hoped for—
took care of as a child....

And in the din of last respects
a comment from an older gentleman—

The Goldrick girls were all such lookers

So I was her niece
and not from “The Old Neighborhood”
I have memories of my own....

I was rich when Lil brought play money
from Misquamicut
She brought whelks and slipper shells too
My ear cupped close
I first heard the sea

Not as beautiful as I expected
nor as beautiful as I would know
She gave them with love—without telling
where and when that I would go....

Her hands were always cool and sweaty
Always trembling
Always a cigarette
and an argument in the background

From the height of three
and hugging knees
I see her face against the ceiling’s
white—with panic

Her eyes are never with me
I know someone is with her

The Goldrick girls were all such lookers....”

Beleaguered beauty
Frail, with stiff grace
she glances sideways
Checking for my safety?

“Our names too close! Confused too often!”

I was to know her horror— as I know her sea

...Her laughter, too late for the conversation
a smoky hysteria
that will not share with her eyes
She stumbles backward through her childhood
as if she has mislaid something

She wants to go roller skating
with her sister, eight months pregnant
besieged by diapers
with stew on the back burner

...And Lil wants to go back...
to a time at the Rialto
to the *****’s boogie

to the edge—before
The Depression declared WAR—

on someone who
no one knew
for years!

And is it okay yet?
...to let her sea out of me!

It burns so!
Sequel to "Hey Kid"
Tommy Johnson Apr 2014
The rumbling motorcycle pulled in
The Cowboy entered the luncheonette
And Doctor Boss was sitting there waiting
They licked their lips, shook hands and that was it
This is the Legend of The Cowboy and Doctor Boss
Two stones untouched by complacent moss
Together they made a deal
His satin suit and His Cuban heeled boots
This is how it began

Doctor Boss was a respected physician
Shaved, shampooed and conditioned
Wore a stethoscope, had tongue depressors in jars
The Doctor had a gold tooth and fancy cars
But he was crooked as the day was long
Had no regards for right and wrong
Just as long as he was making a buck
He had connections to the cartel down in Mexico
And they lined his pockets with rising dough

Back in 1955 he was peddling dope in med school
Made the junkies line up and the women drool
Until he was challenged to a switchblade duel
Got his right ring finger sliced off and throw into a pool
He turned around and killed that man
Slashed him in the face and punctured his gut
He packed his trunk and headed north and ran
Darted toward the Jersey Horizon
On the way he picked up gun and a phony medical license

You would think a ****** would weigh on a man’s conscience
But not the Doc his mind was on motel options
He got a room and went to a local hole in the wall
A smoky, run down biker bar
“Dewar’s and water” said a pretty little thing
Boss looked at her, downed his drink and suffered whiskey sting
“Hey there beautiful, what’s your name?” “Lillian” she said
“What’s yours?” “Well, Lillian that’s not important but I’ll tell you what is”
“I got a motel room all to myself and I need some company”

Paper thin walls and a moaning women
The mattress squeaks as the vacancy signs flashing
The next morning Lillian awoke
Just to see The Boss had hit the road
She got dressed and went on her way
The motel bill remained unpaid
She wished he would have stayed awhile
But he was miles away by then
And starting a new life
This was the origin of Doctor boss
Wayward bound and identity lost
How a boy became a man
From check ups to drug trafficking now
This is how it all began

Now The Cowboy thought life was a game
A wild child that wouldn’t be tamed
He lived his life against the grain
Behind his aviators was repressed pain
He never knew his dear old dad
And his mother, run over by a drunken cab
Broken home launching pad
The kid went mad and hopped on his bike
He began his quest to quench his thirst for an exciting life

He raced and robbed from Cali to Michigan
He broke every law from Dallas to Vermont and back again
Until the day when he wasn’t fast enough
They tackled him down and put him in cuffs
He was charged and sentenced to five years in Cook County
An extensive criminal record by the age of twenty
But as soon as he was behind bars he busted out before anyone knew
Off to continue his life of debauchery
Of freedom and existential ecstasy

He was an escaped convict with a bounty on his head
The warden of Cook County didn’t want him alive but dead
But The Cowboy went on his merry way, making deals and getting laid
Getting ******, kicking *** and taking names
He was just looking for a good time
He was searching for a new trail to ride
All he wanted to do was live
Do everything in the world there was to do
To him every day brought something new

On a faithful day, The Cowboy came to Hacketts
The city where Doctor Boss opened up his practice
The tired traveler went to go get drunk
Over in the corner of the bar he was slumped
The Doc strolled in and everyone paid their respects
But there was something The Cowboy didn’t get
“Why are they kissing the ring of this nine fingered quack?”
He pulled out a knife on The Doc and a bottle went smash!
Over the poor Cowboy’s head and he blacked out

“Now, son I know that’s not how you say hello”
“And you seem to be a nice young fellow”
“So how bout I cut you a break”
“And we’ll go over to my office and I’ll clean up these scrapes”
The Cowboy agreed and got to his feet
They walked to Boss’s office just down the street
And The Doc sewed up his head
“Say, boy where you from I never seen you around here”
“It doesn’t matter you three piece suite wearing queer”

Doctor Boss chucked then pushed The Cowboy down by the throat
Pulled out his gun ,“I can **** you now but I won’t”
“No, you’re gonna do me a favor you little ****”
The Cowboy couldn’t breathe but Boss wouldn’t quit
“I got a package that needs to go to Georgia”
“If you take it there , they’ll be four grand waiting here for ya”
Now how could The Cowboy resist such an adventure?
Not to mention the grip Doctor Boss had on his Adam’s apple
He let him go and began to cackle

“Now around here, I run things”
“I’m free to do as I please”
The Cowboy was amazed at this man, he was right
He owned a gun and  got involved in a bar fight
Could this man be in the mob?
“Boy, you can call me Doctor Boss”
“Well Doc, they call me The Cowboy”
“So tell me, where am I going?

Doc Boss loaded up The Cowboy’s bike
With Mexican white powdered dynamite
“Now that’s four kilos, you got there”
“You get the money and bring it back here”
“You got it Boss, I’ll be back by Tuesday night”
And off went The Cowboy out of sight
The Doc new he could trust him
He had that look in his eye the he did those years ago
The one when you yearn to search for the unknown

This was the origin of The Cowboy and Doctor Boss
They paid no attention to consequence or cost
They saw themselves in each other
Just trying to reach one height after another
Cowboy respected a man so free
And Boss saw his prodigy
Together they became filthy rich
They shook hands and that was it
Tristan Taylor Apr 2017
She sashayed in the room
With intent
The freshman named Lillian
Felt eyes when she walked in
The boys said “Daaaaamn!"
Let’s not pretend
She knew her **** was big
But what she didn’t know as class went on
Was a boy couldn’t control his hard-on
14, hormones, puberty
You know what it is
But while others look at her like animals
After all, we are mammals
She knew something was different about him
Something was

As for the boy, he was sitting with his best friend
When Lillian walked in
The boy was an *** man, of course
But he looked at her face
She was pretty
Curvaceous
Confident
She had that aura about her
That was evident
But the boy compared to her couldn’t be more different

She said hi one day
He waved, blushing
He prayed to God that his soldier would be at ease
But that day they would be working on a project
Oh how that girl was a tease

She was different
He was different, too
In their own ways
She noticed his “soldier”
Didn’t say anything about it
She just made him laugh in conversation
It didn’t falter, it actually didn’t want to make him engage in *******

She was different
He was different, too
He saw the beauty other than the obvious
She began to see the same, she was guiltless

Her name was Lillian
Pretty name
Her body was like a work of art
Wish he could actually say it
Carsyn Smith Jan 2013
My brow curly angel
my Lillian
with eyes that shine like
the first star in twilight.
My blond sweetheart
my Liam
with eyes that burn like
a sunrise on a winter day

They sit, with unseen bond,
and watch as lights flicker
and reflect on their eyes.
“Go! Diego Go!” Liam bounces.
Lillian’s lavish lashes fall, lackadaisical
she holds her doll and recites
“Mommy made me mash my M&Ms;”

Liam can feel the bond, weakened,
and teases her, lovingly,
“The lily-licking frog licked Lillian!”
she squeals and holds her doll tight
Frightened, he drives his sister out.

I smile, and hold them both,
Lillian’s escape postponed.
Liam falls into me,
but my angel,
she slips away
smiling
laughing
and then it hits.

Water trickles down my cheeks,
salty with defeat,
as we dress in black.
I have failed, my angel,
and I have lost you,
Forever.

I long for your Love
your Warm giggle
your Bright eyes.
My hope for happiness
is Shattered as you
fall
out of reach
and out of sight.

Why hadn't I insisted?
Why didn't I keep you safe?
Now my sweetheart is
lost, connection broken,
he watches his sister
disappear under Earth.
NDevlin Mar 2012
Buy me chrysanthemums
Not lavandula or geraniums
Or phalangium with their low hanging bulbs
Why don’t you know I love chrysanthemums!

Chrysanthemums, Dahlia…Hera…Willow?
Lillian! Lillian,
How could I take chrysanthemums from Lillian?

You should know. I shouldn’t have to say anything! You should know.

Buy me Viognier
Not Muscat or Chardonnay
Or Furmint with its corky taste
Why don’t you know I love Viognier!

Viognier, Vionnier…Vienne…Vienna?
Dalmatia! Dalmatia,
How could I take Viognier from Dalmatia?

You should know. I shouldn’t have to say anything! You should know.

Dalmatia, near Sibenik
From where I dine on scallops,
Or do you not know that I love scallops?
If not then you should know that I love fickle, false and fair
It’s my nature and you are my nurture
If you did not know then know this, love’s a hapless farce
Emilyn Nguyen Nov 2015
Lily, you grow delicately like the dreams in your undefiled mind,
internally defiant of your ambition to the people; kind, and graceful;
Loving all; Ivies and cattails envy you when you bloom lonely on single:
Lilypads, refusing to accept anything that you deserve. You must realize,
in time you deserve to be called by something so beautiful, and stop,
answering to everything but your full –
Name.
L B Mar 2017
This is a three-part, longer narrative poem, seen
as old photographs that follow the main character, My Aunt, Lillian Goldrick, across two decades.  It was written 30 years ago*
______

“Hey Kid!”     Part I

Photographs aren’t fair
stopping the soul where it’s not
in rectangular guffaws
surrounded by serrated edges, pickets, teeth?
to fence and stab in yellow, soft-covered booklets
with designated floppy phrase
“Your memories”

Happier than she could ever be...

A black and white day at Salisbury Beach, NH
hung over his hammock
Private pin-up girl
tilts her head against silver sheen of shoulder
Hair, dark chignon
except for a few wispy curls about her face
freed by wind
bleached by sun

Stopped

...for three decades
Legs slightly bent—long extended
that could stop trains, stop traffic

Stopped

Modest bathing suit, probably peach
cannot hide (not that she would)
the undeniable
And if there were question left
you could look at her smile—and love her
posed by he message scrawled in sand:

“Hey Kid!”

What kid? Where?
In the foreground?
In the camera’s eye?

In the background—
a Ferris wheel, a billboard
and  r-i-g-h-t  there—Can’t you see it?
Look again—behind her eyes
You can barely see it, but it’s there.
Remember?

The Depression
Only ten years before
It was April
Stroke, heart attack
Both of them gone, a year apart!
The priest came
Last Rites for mortally stricken
Candles, crucifix, the Catholic containment
of holy water that dams the tears

Kneeling around the bed
they said the Rosary

——————————

After VJ Day he came
to the house on the corner
of Commonwealth Ave.
She knew he was coming
but she could not be ready today
nor tomorrow
nor next week—or ever...

“Lill! Will ya come to the door?
She’ll be ready in a minute.
Hey Lill! Hurry up, will ya!
They’re waitin’ fer us!”

Upstairs in the dark hallway
her door clicks shut....
________


"Hey Kid"    Part II


The clock at Joe Rianni’s read 20 minutes to 12...

Crowd from the Phillip’s Theater—gone
though laughter lingers
in a Friday mood
in high-backed booths
where only an hour ago swinging free
were high-heeled shoes
legs crossed at knees....

Now on tables abandoned
deserted fields of French
fries lie cold in salt flurries

Only female straws wear lipstick
as do Luckys bent in ashtrays
Males, uniformly flattened
as powder burned, as mortar might
shells, casings—the evidence of war
Among explosions of tickled giggles
one was taken broadside...

listing     toward      stars
_______

...The clock read 20 minutes to 12

when she walked in--
And Rhea stopped swabbing black mica counters
long enough to absorb late-customer hate
and envy that such beauty can arouse
In voice hoarse and weighted like a trucker’s

“Whadaya have, Lill?”

“coffee”

The small answer settled at the soda fountain
and slowly struck a match...
She was falling from the slant
of her black felt hat
dripping off the point of pheasant feather
Gray gabardine suit
tailored from angle of shoulder
to dart diagonally
toward such a waist!
Turned to skirt hips
that arched and dove toward slit—
then seams that run the round of calf

that seem to flow
to ankles of naught—
...and all that seems

Black     high-heeled     above it

Coffee— cold, stale
Gray glassed-in stare
searches air and random walls
of coat hooks, menus, mirrors...
while lips ****** exiled words— replies

Dragging a demon from her Camel
slowly     purposefully
she exhaled a burly arm of smoke
that rose and laid its hand
against the ceiled atmosphere of embossed tin
Then leaning over her shoulder
in roiling emission of shrugs and sneers—

“Lill—There’s no way outa here!”
________


“Hey Kid!”    Part III

After kneeling backwards on their chairs
after nuns, catechism recited
After—
Five of them scuffed through leaves and litter
along the curbing
spotting cars that counted—
Bugs, beach wagons, flying bathtubs
A slower way home of hunting
shiny chestnuts and muddy finds
rare match book covers
and bottle caps that win ya things!

One breaks from bunch
and trials off to where
dimes turn to candies!
...at a dingy luncheonette...Joe Rianni’s
____

Here—behind smeary wall of glass
pleasure leers while holding back
those grimy fingers, lips that long
for jelly fish, gum drops, lollies
holding back the company
of Baby Ruth, and Mary Jane
O Henry or Bazooka Joe!
For less money but the same salivation
there were colored dots to chew and ****
from strips of paper that last forever!
For a little more, plus the sweet struggle
of desire denied
a kid could be proud owner
of a pea shooter or trading cards!
While in the mouth
were golden imaginings—
the chocolate foil of coins
and the candied pretense of cigarette adulthood
_____

Rhea didn’t see her in the line...

Only grownups with wallets and purses
Only grownups get waited on...
...because Rhea was a Gypsy!
Kids could tell!
by her big red lips and hair to match
by the nasty way she chased them out—
“****** kids!”
Only grownups get waited on....
_______

And the clock read 20 minutes to 12

While a child waits—
time stirs in a ceiling fan
   There’s a drift in attention
      along deepening endless walls
         toward a line of sleepy booths
              carved with

“I was here—in such and such a year”

Her aunt—at the last stool—like always
Their names too close
Confused too often

A little girl wonders
about the sight behind the sightless stare
loafers, ankle socks, the ‘40s hair
the gathered skirt that gathers ashes
as they fall from cigarette
held in yellowed fingertips
Tremors crimp the smoke that climbs—

              ...a strobing pillar

“Whataya want, girly?”

              ...the only movement

“Hey! What’s it gonna be!”

              ...in a shot—

“HEY KID!”

              Snapped
There are photos that go with this. I'll try to post them together on Facebook.
RAJ NANDY Aug 2017
Dear Readers, I have tried to cover the salient features of this True Story in free flowing verse mainly with end rhymes. If you read it loud, you can hear the chimes! Due to the short attention span of my readers I had to cut short this long story, and conclude with the
Golden Era of Hollywood by stretching it up to the 1950s only. When TV began to challenge the Big Screen Cinema seriously! I have used only a part of my notes here. Kindly read the
entire composition during your Spare Time dear Readers. I wish there was a provision for posting a few interesting photographs for you here. Best wishes, - Raj Nandy, New Delhi.  

                THE LEGEND OF HOLLYWOOD :
                      THE AMERICAN  DREAM
                              BY RAJ NANDY

               A SHORT  HISTORICAL  BACKGROUND
Since the earliest days, optical toys, shadow shows, and ‘magic
lanterns’, had created the illusion of motion.
This concept was first described by Mark Roget in 1824 as  
the persistent of vision.
Giving impetus to the development of big screen cinema with its
close-ups, capturing all controlled and subtle expressions!
The actors were no longer required to shout out their parts with
exaggerated actions as on the Elizabethan Stage.
Now even a single tear drop could get noticed easily by the entire
movie audience!
With the best scene being included and edited after a few retakes.
To Thomas Edison and his able assistant William Rogers we owe the invention of Kinetoscope, the first movie camera.
On the grounds of his West Orange, New Jersey laboratory, Edison
built his first movie studio called the ‘Black Maria’.   (1893)
He also purchased a string of patents related to motion picture
Camera;
Forming the Edison Trust, - a cartel that took control of the Film
Industry entire!

Fort Lee, New Jersey:
On a small borough on the opposite bank of the Hudson River lay
the deserted Fort Lee.
Here scores of film production crews descended armed with picture Cameras, on this isolated part of New Jersey!
In 1907 Edison’s company came there to shoot a short silent film –
‘Rescue From an Eagle’s Nest’,
Which featured for the first time the actor and director DW Griffith.
The independent Chaplin Film Company built the first permanent
movie studio in 1910 in Fort Lee.
While some of the biggest Hollywood studios like the Universal,
MGM, and 20th Century Fox, had their roots in Fort Lee.
Some of the famous stars of the silent movie era included ‘Fatty’
Arbuckle, Will Rogers, Mary Pickford, Dorothy and Lillian Gish,
Lionel Barrymore, Rudolph Valentine and Pearl White.
In those days there were no reflectors and electric arch lights.
So movies were made on rooftops to capture the bright Sunlight!
During unpredictable bad weather days, filming had to be stopped
despite the revolving stage which was made, -
To rotate and capture the sunlight before the lights started to fade!

Shift from New Jersey to West Coast California:
Now Edison who held the patents for the bulb, phonograph, and the Camera, had exhibited a near monopoly;
On the production, distribution, and exhibition of the movies which made this budding industry to shift to California from New Jersey!
California with its natural scenery, its open range, mountains, desert, and snow country, had the basic ingredients for the movie industry.
But most importantly, California had bright Sunshine for almost 365 days of the year.
While eight miles away from Hollywood lay the port city of Los Angeles with its cheap labor.

                        THE  RISE  OF  HOLLYWOOD
It was a real estate tycoon Harvey Wilcox and his wife Daeida from
Kansas, who during the 1880s founded ‘Hollywood’ as a community for like-minded temperate followers.
It is generally said that Daeida gave the name Hollywood perhaps
due to the area's abundant red-berried shrubs - known as
California Holly!
Spring blossoms around and above the Hollywood Hills with its rich variety,  gave it a touch of paradise for all to see!
Hollywood was incorporated as a municipality in 1903, and during
1910 had unified with the city of Los Angeles.
While a year later, the first film studio had moved in from New
Jersey, to escape Thomas Edison’s monopoly!    (1911)

In 1913 Cecil B. De Mille and Jesse Lasky, had leased a barn with
studio facilities.
And directed the first feature length film ‘Squaw Man’ in 1914.
Today this studio is home to Hollywood Heritage Museum as we get to see.
The timeless symbol of Hollywood film industry that famous sign on top of Mount Lee, was put up by a real estate developer in 1923.  
This sign had read as ‘’HOLLY WOOD LAND’’ initially.
Despite decades of run-ins with vandals and pranksters, it managed to hang on to its prime location near the summit of the Hollywood Hills.
The last restoration work was carried out in 1978 initiated by Hugh
Hefner of the ******* Magazine.
Those nine white letters 45 feet tall now read ‘HOLLYWOOD’,  has become a landmark and America’s cultural icon,
And an evocative symbol for ambition, glamour, and dreams!
Forever enticing aspiring actors to flock to Hollywood, hypnotized by lure of the Big Screen!

                     GOLDEN AGE OF HOLLYWOOD
The Silent Movie Era which began in 1895, ended in 1935 with the
production of ‘Dance of Virgins’, filmed entirely in the island of Bali.
The first Sound film ‘The Jazz Singer’ by Warner Bros. was made with a Vitaphone sound-on-disc technology.  (October 1927)
Despite the Great Depression of the 1930s, this decade along with the 1940s have been regarded by some as Hollywood’s Golden Age.
However, I think that this Golden Age includes the decades of the
1940s and the 1950s instead.
When the advent of Television began to challenge the Film Industry
itself !

First Academy Award:
On 16th May 1929 in the Roosevelt Hotel on Hollywood Boulevard,
the First Academy Award presentation was held.
Around 270 people were in attendance, and tickets were priced at
$5 per head.
When the best films of 1927 & 1928 were honored by the Academy
of Motion Production and Sciences, or the AMPS.
Emil Jennings became the best actor, and Janet Gaynor the best actress.
Special Award went to Charlie Chaplin for his contribution to the
silent movie era and for his silent film ‘The Circus’.
While Warren Brothers was commended for making the first talking picture ‘The Jazz Singer’, - also receiving a Special Award!
Now, the origin of the term ‘OSCAR’ has remained disputed.
The Academy adopted this name from 1939 onwards it is stated.
OSCAR award has now become “the stuff dreams are made of”!
It is a gold-plated statuette of a knight 13.5 inches in height, weighing 8.5 pounds, was designed by MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons.
Annually awarded for honoring and encouraging excellence in all
facets of motion picture productions.

Movies During the Great Depression Era (1929-1941):
Musicals and dance movies starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers provided escapism and good entertainment during this age.
“Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did. She just did it
backwards and in high heels,” - the critics had said.
This compatible pair entertained the viewers for almost one and
a half decade.
During the ‘30s, gangster movies were popular starring James Cagey, Humphrey Bogart, and Edward G. Robinson.
While family movies had their popular child artist Shirley Temple.
Swashbuckler films of the Golden Age saw the sword fighting scenes of Douglas Fairbank and Errol Flynn.
Flynn got idolized playing ‘Robin Hood’, this film was released in 1938 on the Big Screen.
Story of the American Civil War got presented in the epic ‘Gone With The Wind’ (1939) with Clarke Gable and Vivian Leigh.
This movie received 8 Oscars including the award for the Best Film, - creating a landmark in motion picture’s history!
More serious movies like John Steinbeck’s ‘Grapes of Wrath’ and John Ford’s  ‘How Green Was My Valley’, were released in 1940 and 1941 respectively.
While the viewers escaped that depressive age to the magical world
of  ‘Wizard of Oz’ with its actress Judy Garland most eagerly!
Let us not forget John Wayne the King of the Westerns, who began
his acting career in the 1930s with his movie ‘The Big Trail’;
He went on to complete 84 films before his career came to an end.
Beginning of the 40s also saw Bob Hope and the crooner Bing Crosby, who entertained the public and also the fighting troops.
For the Second World War (1939-45) had interrupted the Golden Age of Hollywood!
When actors like Henry Fonda, Clarke Gable, James Stewart and
Douglas Fairbanks joined the armed forces temporarily leaving
Hollywood.
Few propaganda movies supporting the war efforts were also made.
While landmark movies like ‘Philadelphia Story’, ‘Casablanca’, ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’, were some of the most successful movies of that decade.  (The 1940s)
Now I come towards the end of my Hollywood Story with the decade  of the 1950s, thereby extending the period of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
Since having past the Great Depression and the Second World War,  
The Hollywood movie industry truly matured and came of age.

                        HOLLYWOOD  OF  THE  1950s
Backgroun­d:
The decade of the ‘50s was known for its post-war affluence and
choice of leisure time activities.
It was a decade of middle-class values, fast-food restaurants, and
drive-in- movies;
Of ‘baby-boom’, all-electric home, the first credit cards, and new fast moving cars like the Ford, Plymouth, Buick, Hudson, and Chevrolet.
But not forgetting the white racist terrorism in the Southern States!
This era saw the beginning of Cold War, with Dwight D. Eisenhower succeeding Harry S. Truman as the American President.
But for the film industry, most importantly, what really mattered  
was the advent of the Domestic TV.
When the older viewers preferred to stay at home instead of going
out to the movies.
By 1950, 10.5 million US homes had a television set, and on the
30th December 1953, the first Color TV went on sale!
Film industries used techniques such as Cinemascope, Vista Vision,
and gimmicks like 3-D techniques,
To get back their former movie audience back on their seats!
However, the big scene spectacle films did retain its charm and
fantasy.
Since fantasy epics like ‘The Story of Robin Hood’, and Biblical epics like ‘The Robe’, ‘Quo Vadis’, ‘The Ten Commandments’ and ‘Ben-Hur’, did retain its big screen visual appeal.
‘The Robe’ released on 16th September 1953, was the first film shot
and projected in Cinema Scope;
In which special lenses were used to compress a wide image into a
standard frame and then expanded it again during projection;
Resulting in an image almost two and a half times as high and also as wide, - captivating the viewers imagination!

Demand For New Themes During The 1950s :
The idealized portrayal of men and women since the Second World War,
Now failed to satisfy the youth who sought exciting symbols for rebellion.
So Hollywood responded with anti-heroes with stars like James Dean, Marlon Brando, and Paul Newman.
They replaced conventional actors like Tyron Power, Van Johnson, and Robert Taylor to a great extent, to meet the requirement of the age.
Anti-heroines included Ava Gardner, Kim Novak, and Marilyn Monroe with her vibrant *** appeal;
They provided excitement for the new generation with a change of scene.
Themes of rebellion against established authority was present in many Rock and Roll songs,
Including the 1954 Bill Hailey and His Comets’ ‘Rock Around the Clock’.
The era also saw rise to stardom of Elvis Presley the teen heartthrob!
Meeting the youthful aspirations with his songs like ‘Jailhouse Rock’!
I recall the lyrics of this 1957 film ‘Jailhouse Rock’ of my school days, which had featured the youth icon Elvis:
   “The Warden threw a party in the county jail,
     The prison band was there and they began to wail.
     The band was jumping and the joint began to sing,
     You should’ve heard them knocked-out jail bird sing.
     Let’s rock, everybody in the whole cell block……………
     Spider Murphy played the tenor saxophone,
     Little Joe was blowing the slide trombone.
     The drummer boy from Illinois went crash, boom, bang!
     The whole rhythm section was the Purple Gang, Let's rock...

Rock and Roll music began to tear down color barriers, and Afro-
American musicians like Chuck Berry and Little Richard became
very popular!
Now I must caution my readers that thousands of feature films got  released during this eventful decade in Hollywood.
To cover them all within this limited space becomes an impossible
task, which may kindly be understood !
However, I shall try to do so in a summarized form as best as I could.

Box Office Hits Year-Wise From 1950 To 1959 :
Top Ten Year-Wise hit films chronologically are: Cinderella (1950),
Quo Vadis, The Greatest Show on Earth, Peter Pan, Rear Window,
Lady and the *****, Ten Commandments, Bridge on the River
Kwai, South Pacific, and Ben-Hur of 1959.

However Taking The Entire Decade Of 1950s Collectively,
The Top Films Get Rated As Follows Respectively:
The Ten Commandments, followed by Lady and the *****, Peter Pan, Sleeping Beauty, Bridge on the River Kwai, Around the World in Eighty Days, This is Cinerama, The Greatest Show on Earth, Rear Window, South Pacific, The Robe, Giant, Seven Wonders of the World, White Christmas, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Sayonara, Demetrius and the Gladiator, Peyton Place, Some Like It Hot, Quo Vadis, and Auntie Mame.

Film Debuts By Rising Stars During The 1950s :
The decade of the ‘50s saw a number of famous film stars making
their first appearance.
There was Peter Sellers in ‘The Black Rose’, Marlon Brando in
‘The Men’, and actress Sophia Loren in ‘Toto Tarzan’.
Following year saw Charles Bronson in ‘You Are in the Navy Now’,
Audrey Hepburn in ‘Our Wild Oats’, and Grace Kelly, the future
Princess of Monaco, in her first film ‘Fourteen Hours’. (1951)
While **** Brigitte Bardot appeared in 1952 movie ‘Crazy for Love’; and 1953 saw Steve Mc Queen in ‘******* The Run’.
Jack Lemon, Paul Newman, and Omar Sharif featured in films
during 1954.
The following year saw Clint Eastwood, Shirley Mc Lean, Walter
Matthau, and Jane Mansfield, all of whom the audience adored.
The British actor Michael Cain appeared in 1956; also Elvis Presley
the youth icon in ‘Love Me Tender’ and as the future Rock and Roll
King!
In 1957 came Sean Connery, followed by Jack Nicholson, Christopher Plummer, and Vanessa Redgrave.
While the closing decade of the ‘50s saw James Coburn, along with
director, script writer, and producer Steven Spielberg, make their
debut appearance.

Death During The 1950s: This decade also saw the death of actors
like Humphrey Bogart, Tyron Power and Errol Flynn.
Including the death of producer and director of epic movies the
renowned Cecil B. De Mille!
Though I have conclude the Golden Age of Hollywood with the 50’s Decade,
The glitz and glamour of its Oscar Awards continue even to this day.
With its red carpet and lighted marquee appeal and fashion display!

CONTINUING THE HOLLYWOOD STORY  WITH  FEW TITBITS
From Fort Lee of New Jersey we have traveled west to Hollywood,
California.
From the silent movie days to the first ‘talking picture’ with Warren
Bros’ film ‘The Jazz Singer’.  (06 Oct 1927)
On 31st July 1928 for the first time the audience heard the MGM’s
mascot Leo’s mighty roar!
While in July 1929 Warren Bros’ first all-talking and all- Technicolor
Film appeared titled - ‘On With The Show’.
Austrian born Hedy Lamarr shocked the audience appearing **** in a Czechoslovak film ‘Ecstasy’!  (1933)
She fled from her husband to join MGM, becoming a star of the
‘40s and the ‘50s.
The ‘Private Life of Henry VII’ became the first British film to win the American Academy Award.  (1933)
On 11Dec 1934, FOX released ‘Bright Eyes’ with Shirley Temple, who  became the first Child artist to win this Award!
While in 1937 Walt Disney released the first full animated feature film titled - ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarf ‘.
The British film director Alfred Hitchcock who came to Hollywood later;
Between 1940 and 1947, made great thrillers like ‘Rebecca’, ‘Notorious’,‘Rear Window’, and ‘Dial M for ******’.
But he never won an Academy Award as a Director!

THE GOLDEN GLOBE AWARD:
This award began in 1944 by the Foreign Correspondence Association at
Connor Jul 2016
And it's difficult to remember something as the very name of Eisenhower
Or flowerbaskets
And tired movies made of silicone and
Aftersex
Or sixteen candles echoing out of an imaginary suite with cigarettes at every table
And green lawns
Barbershop conversation
The reflection of the sun in special trees
Or my best friend Jesus Christ
Or the smell of the theater that one day with the cynics who just got back from a tennis match and barbwire still laced delicately around their thoughts and
Nihilism
And automotives
And priestess Jane or Henry's gloomy doppelganger who reads alternative magazines and loves the aesthetics behind broken glass
And fine tuned musical instruments

It's difficult to remember
Lonesome Fridays smoking on a park bench trying to finish the puzzle
Or synagogues you've never been in
Or insurance
Or newspaper articles detailing the misadventures of Mr. City
(Of course of course! Take your shoes off at the door and make yourself at home)
We're tossing all our sewage into the ocean
that's far from clean as it
LOOKS anymore these days
That's anything
And everything except for the glowing mountains seen faded and wintry behind Apartments and the
"Glorious Mexican House of Spices"
Never been in there either

It's difficult to remember
Times of Mr Twin Sister
Or Joan Jett in the hallway
In a highschool who's psychology classrooms have become a time capsule in the ground/
Or the gentle skinny ******
Wearing Broadway makeup and
Kafka tattooed on his shoulder
I like his hat
He looks at me suspiciously
Or the guy who is yelling his order at the counter when it's quiet here anyways
Or the mariner who has a hobby of the saxophone
Or 1970s *******
Or the sheepskin bikeseat fad that's yet to come but I'm predicting it now!
Or two dollars and twentyseven cents at the beginning of Allen Ginsberg's America
"I've given you all and now I'm nothing"

It's difficult to remember
The Oriental
Sacramento flies
Midnight Moon
Quarter to four
"The Immortalization Commission"
Remodelled hotels downtown
Where mandalas on the floor became a
Tiger lily luminous
And the kimono is yesterday's painting/
Dearest Darling
When I was feeling down!
A staircase in reverse (??)
The sound a kiss makes
It's difficult to remember
Colleen's earrings
Or Washington State
Or air conditioners in Bali
The Indian ocean's daybreak hymn
To Seminyak
Or whatever happened to Steve from the Airplane out of Taiwan
On 3 days awake
Hello Kitty nursing stations
****** (Kubrick's version)
Cardboard taking up half my bedroom
It's difficult to remember until I jot it down and then its a sudden forever
Sunshine Superman in a cafe spontaneous
drawings with someone I just met who has some ******* attitude/
Who hops fences and has feral ideas
People! En Masse! Te Amo!
You're all in wolven liberty
And vague postulators
And holy prostitutes for the dollar
Sad eyed intellectuals
With undergarments made of breakfast cereal/
Seaferry poetry is different from
Trestle in August poetry
Or henna handshakes
Or the Napoleonic era
Sweet Cherry Pie
The tulip's tongue
Garabajal
Cloudy first day of July
Was hotter yesterday
But not too hot

It's difficult to remember
Antiquity
The pale horse Studebaker outside the clinic
With a glossy red trim and **** I wish that was my ride
Andy Warhol's exploding plastic inevitable
Nearsightedness
Angels and their ability to shower with a a snap of their fingers
Distant harp music
Better him than me
Bananas almost ripe
Green aquatic
Reclusive junkies
Palomo's appliances
Questions for the next time
How much I like what you like and how I like that you like what I like
Ahh that's not my bus
I'm trying to get to the city!
That one quote Socrates is known for about knowing nothing as true wisdom
Supermarkets being built on top of liquor stores burned down a while back
Monopolies
Tragedies
"No Love Lost"
THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL
Your guess is as good as mine
Never tried to eat Asian food in Asia
It was all pasta and good cider that tasted like pineapple
Rain hitting the window and I'm
Drowsy again
God Save The Trees!
Curly hair looks good on boys
Torn up blinds
Queer as a three dollar bill
If Bill costs 3 dollars I'm sure he's caught something better safe than sorry
Sage advice
I'm the very model of a modern major general
Golden yen and international currency
Incense in the bedroom and how good it smells
There's my bus! Applying for a better job than the one I got now
But that's how it always is right?
Chasing satisfaction
1007 apt
Porch ornaments
Unique names
Unique style le style
The extra charge on foreign ATMs
Cordoroy polo shirts
Flooding in New York!
When someone's face screams *******
"Slippery when wet"
Dine N Dash
Grass gone yellow
Confidence in dyed hair and capes as long as wedding gowns
But less expensive
Doors that always seem to be locked and I'm wondering 20 year later what's behind them?
Albino animals
White thoughts as clouds or
Abstractions
Weathers nicer in Florida but who cares
Festivities this early in the day
Automatopeia
Do sad orphanages still exist?
Just like the movies
Midnight in mirrors
That sick puppet at the shoe shop used
To know how to really hammer it down
And now he's weak and forgotten
Never heard the words of a true prophet only Oceania
Or the private temple near Apollo Bay
Like Japanese gardens behind that gate
Will I ever see it
Make a proud example outta ya misbehavior
Form without function
Exhausted spiritualism
*** Kettle Black
negative photographs of dark rooms
And there's laughing coming from SOMEWHERE
Essays on kleptomania
Had a bad dream I became a cliche
Surrounded by other freaks and there was a lovely ***** I fell in love with her
We married in Oregon by the sea her name was rosy
***** rosy
Check your mailbox for nails
And what you don't wanna hear/
If you were a vegetable you'd be organic!
Empire
Satirical bubble gum
Satori
Linda Lovelace and her special party trick
That's someone's fantasy
Diamond in the rough
Mister guy with two black eyes frequents the adult playhouse
Hes fully stocked on fishnet leggings
He's too proud to put them on himself but
Has nobody else around
Boo hoo
Swigs back the whiskey and trips down the stairs getting a third black eye in the process
Marion came by with her dog the other day
Wanted her box of clothes back but he loved to sniff them to remember her
But she wouldn't have it

"Honey I'm going to call the police!"

"Ah they don't give a **** they have bigger things to worry about"

"Yeah you got that right shrimp **** enjoy my unwashed *******"

And she never came back again
He started losing the vertebrae in his spine 1 by 1 and you know where this is going
I won't say he was a poor man because he had it all coming to him the *******
But he coulda had a better start if you ask me.

It's difficult to remember
And even more difficult to forget
After the fact

Seagull opera
Giganticism
Portrait of the artist as a young man
Losing one's pencil when the best idea of your life drops down from heaven and into your sorry head
Signs graffitied to have funnier meanings
Cruelty
Impassive
The Loyal Lioness
And Bangladesh has too many kitchens
And not enough dishes
When I was young I used to say Island as "is-land"  
Which is true it is land
But the Europeans probably stole it from somebody else anyways/
I left my future behind
And objects in the mirror are closer than they appear
Im no illusionist
I'm terrified of the cracken
Father feels the same way about
Hotels
Why bother/
This has been going on and on for a while are you tired yet
Is your patience being tested
Mine isn't because this wasn't an all-at-once kind of rambling
It's extremely important to laugh at least
Once a day
Otherwise you'll find yourself a politician
In no time at all
Rockefeller
(         ) Quaint home to die in
I think
Trains create great music
Float on
Sink into yourself
Roses in a crooked alley
That's people
Busy busy busy busy
Let's describe a situationist
I'm not a fan of bright colors on clothes
Your best shade is blue
Bricklayers transcription of Don Quixote to a skyscraper
Rocket thyme
& Garden
Erratic children's
Insomnia
The doorbell repeatedly
Vancouver riots/ I saw that live on the news!
Pictionary with the surrealists
N Dada TV set MC Escher
Antenna
You're in the Twilight Zone now
Dear Ramona
I'm trying to make it up to you
With a brightness only seen when you're ready to see it so please for the love of God don't blame me when it's not appearing
The tapestry hidden
Keep your blankets clean
And avoid hospitals unless you're fine with fishbowls & the halogen
The water gestapo
Storage lockers full of unacted plays and
Antique microwaves
Emitting the nostalgia of the cold war era
And what a waste of time that was /
Walter Wanderleys presence in Autumn universities
The opening of Vivre sa Vie
Salvador Dali's pluvial taxi
Lightbulb epiphanies
Aquariums and their protestors
Zebras in the shade
Two wrongs dont make a right
Elizabethan theater
Saloon shootouts in a fever dream
I lost and bled out all over the rustic wooden floor
A maiden reached out for me and El Paso did play I woke up and pretended nothing happened/
Funerals for bad People who did bad things
My first memory of a cat beneath the mattress
Hello Dolly!
Auditory learning
Psychotherapy
Lillian the landlady lost her ladle and labeled little Lyle as a lair
The Black panther movement
Reading symposium some years ago and
Making note that Phaedo was still my favorite dialogue/
Zen Buddhism
Xoxo xoxo
The day Gypsies were replaced with
Surface ****** appetite
And not the real thing
Newspaper clippings
Hypnotism when all other options are out
Mystical visions of sidewalks
And the love of your life stepping through a door you've never seen
Maybe Yes No I Don't Know
Creature comforts
Che Guevara's problem is that his beard made him too easy to recognize
(Also that little hat!)
Chinese cough medicine didn't work
For long I still wheeze sometimes
Domestic violence thru the wall
Ceiling fan probably doesn't even work!
Dimpled laughter
Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
In skytrains to Commercial
Bermuda in her mind
And courtesy in her voice
I'm no Arthur Rimbaud
But you already knew that
Alcazar of Seville
Filling up the shipbottle
Here's your paradise
Now relinquish it as it is
False!
Hare Krishna
Nowhere Fast
El Diablo and the
Portofino loaf left rotting on the countertop
Latin children speak of the sacred viper
You'll hear of it after this but we'll never see what the ******* meant
Heads alternating round the social current
Of my lively city
There's a dog soaking up the rain
And songs are made in honor of
Recent catastrophes
Trials are dealt
Cards cast to the gutter
New York quiets down for the news of another war
You scratch my back I'll scratch yours
Skeleton key
Ballad of the last wailing zoo
THE ATRIUM
Complexity in simplicity
That's how Brainard got me!
Elderly overcoats
Hiding purest LSD
Is a fan of Hawaiian T shirts
And a communist
What if I was a Freemason
Or owned a tanning salon
Faint crimson
What did Marv look like again?
"You're surrounded by people who love you"
Coffee when one needs it
GOODBYE BLUE MONDAY
Tattoos on the wandering man
Oriental chimes and the people who own them
Bus stop regulars
Vines overtaking power lines
The hypnogogic state
Strawberry light softening
The mind
Sister Ray LOUDLY PROCLAIMING
doitdoitdoitdoit
Passing the graffiti n Pluto neon
Halal wide awake another Saturday
Where's the Karaoke
Flashing by here
Those who find comfort in a bridal scavenger hunt
Or expensive beer
And here comes the hooded clown
Clamoring about his favorite
Loudspeaker
Telling me my time is soon and the noise
Drowns out the drowsy bliss
After hour spirits the perfect time for
Writing and trying to read distant Chinese
Indecision on the tip of the tongue
"NOW WHO IS THAT KNOCKING
ON THE CHAMBER DOOR?
COULD IT BE THE POLICE?"

I'm completely off the topic
And into Apartment lobby photosets
Low battery phone calls
Confessions
Nauseated reverb
Trying to see the attachment people got with bingo halls
And moving companies
Ah no luck again
Eve is at it with her showtunes
Halfway methodology
Triage
Paisley headbands left
Distraught on the quivering
Heater
Dwindling sunsets
We're truly disciples of the moon spirit which grants us more energy
(This is according to a drunk I met one night)
Or ***** old men
When the horizon is engulfed with
A winking cinder
Suitcase at the door
Last time
First time
Magician never reveals his fetishes
(They all have to do with bags under your eyes)
Employment office dramas of my friend the one who blinded a social worker
And the one who blamed Islam
And the one whos philosophy entirely consisted of Spooky Action at a
                                            DISTANCE
Parisian riots
Queer youth
Didn't make the team! Jester
'cross the hall who's beard suggests
Ishmeal n car battery n expired vegetables n rain which crosses the line n
***** cranberry n
Poorly fitted suits n
Harsh pigment n incense shops n
Bocca     secret towns
With churches more beautiful than any you'd find in your own city
n the cultural market
Xylophone ear to ear
Soul cleansing starting at only
$89 (with a 6 month guarantee)
Sophie's birthday and her picnic at Victory Park
The nearby bums trying to sell tea mugs and
Loose wires beside gated convenience stores
I'm an Island away attempting a poem
And never bought a scratch n win
Or heard the same song more than seven times in a row or been in a column
Or escaped the washhouse
Invested in a birdcage for next year
Been to a palm reading
Visited Oasis
Smoked salmon
Told anyone else about Montana
Screamed the things I'd like to scream
** Word of the day
Or kissed a lunatic or swallowed the corpse of yesterday
I keep her on my neck until
I'm too anxious to let go
Counting streetlights
Jeans worn in and faded to be sent off to
A lonely caffeine addict
Christmas Eve I'll be reading a postcard from San Francisco
Asking the same questions
My imagination is made of a different material than last week
Now it's the same color as your hair
HEY that's a good pickup line to use in the heart of the Canadian Embassy
Drinking discarded music resembling a sweater you may have said YES to if it wasn't so unsure of itself
And now Mr. Acker Bilk ascends thru the window of an August home
Like a lazy hornet
I'm still lost without identification
Or a nice belt
As happens when one uses a quality item too casually
How did uphill suddenly seem so downhill?
I'll claim a waterfall
For SALE that inevitable Indonesia
Greyhound O another greyhound O another greyhound
I'm fretting too much about not enough
Delayed the Airport and the yellow question

????

II

What if I knew how to read the curb?
Or translate drunken droll
What if I was never tired again and could
REALLY do anything I set my mind to?
What if I was the first cigarette that cured cancer instead of caused it?
What if I could end superstition
And walk underneath any ladder I wanted?
What if I could make it with a young Audrey Hepburn!?
What if I stopped pretending to be a microphone and got on with "it"
What if the grocery store closed later
And I opened earlier?
What if parking lots werent so sad
All the time?
What if gravity simply had enough of exotic birds and specifics?
What if we stopped trying to recreate what is truly lost?
What if foreign children embraced
Wasting time instead of
Midnight starry bicycles
And the antics of a monk
Disguised as a romantic?

There are those that worship God
And those who worship the Sun
And those who worship nothing at all
But I suppose on the last bus
We're all the same exhausted
Voice who can't wait for next pay day
What is an empty bank?
Or authenticity
What is there to prove anymore?
I hope I don't die tonight and regret
Being impulsive for once
You're a smart shadow
And a dull character
Pushing the last of the daisies
Get the lamp to turn on again
Give the pavement something to look forward to with your walk
Be consistent in being inconsistent
If there's a word there's a ***** and a poem for it!
We all oughta worship
Nothing at all except
Clarity
Compassion with ones neighbor who either forgot the pay the electricity bill or couldn't afford to
We're a swimmin
Written between late June to July 13th.
I never got to hold you,
and I never saw your face.
I didn't even know you were
inside me, until it was much
too late. But darling never fear,
for I once heard it said, that
a love like what I have
for you, is never truly dead.

Sleep soundly my dear child,
wherever you may be. If there
is a heaven high above us, or
a nonexistent sea. I live my life quite
differently, ever since you left. I
like to think I'd make you proud my
love, if you followed in my steps.
For you see I'm training, so that
someday I'll be strong. Strong, and ready,
and proud, to hold someone, much
like you, in my arms.
Inspired by a quote. "A baby is something you carry inside you for nine months, in your arms for three years and in your heart till the day you die." - Mary Mason.
And of course, Lillian.
kaylene- mary Nov 2015
Gabriel,
have we not set sail upon this ship once before?
And did it not sink at the sight of a storm?

*Lillian,
we built that ship in arms,
and when we sank,
we sank together.
Our wood was fragile and water torn,
but I've come baring steal.
Yung Wifey Apr 2015
We could have been smart with the plot from the start
Mistakes from the spark..
We knew it wasn't love
Samantha Bauman Jul 2013
How strange my young life, its proclivities.
How quick and profound are its extremities.
How cruel the loss and joyous the gains.
And yet surrounded and ever by change.
As I reflect on my last year,
I reflect on my life now. Like watching waves from a pier.
Or should I be filled with fear?
Who I was, when I was then. ­­­­­­
And then that I became back and forth again.
What my chances are for times to be like they were are very dim.
But how can one wish to return?
Because if that were the case,
Then I’d never learn.
And then the rewards I would never earn.
But is that what life is about?
At such a young age,
My mind is filled with doubt.
And these new ideas flourish and sprout.
And I start to pride in my growing.
Because I have spent all these years knowing,
At least my first name.
But as I grow older my name changes meanings.
But not based upon me,
Based on what people are seeing.
What does it mean when they say seeing is believing?
So what does my name mean this year?
I slowly become someone else’s image I must adhere.
But the days of ending time are coming near.
And I feel like I have nothing to fear.
I have seen many versions of myself.
And the mirror screams, “Look at yourself!”
And as I reflect on my last year,
And the girl looking back at me in the mirror,
The changes have never been so clear.
Andrea Schmidt Oct 2016
Still, I sip nicotine clouds;
this calls for calming calculation.
I wave my scythe, slashing though shrouds.
Still I sip nicotine clouds.
Hardly buzzed, I flick at fish flies.
She gladly drifts through prostration.
Still…I sip nicotine clouds
that call for calming calculation.

Waiting depths to rock me closer,
barely breathing surface air.
I’m death’s beautiful composer,
waiting depths to rock me closer.
Mom said, “No one would choose her.”
I’m infected, why should I care?
Wait for depths to rock me closer,
barely breathing surface air.
We all wish to be chosen despite our faults, short comings and mistakes.
That’s a lie,” I replied angrily. “ My father’s name was Robert Boreman. My mother met him in Philippines, where I was conceived.” Robert been a vampire and she love him dearly. Unfortunately, he’d disappeared before I was born, under suspicious circumstances.
She’d believed that he’d been murdered by a previous jealous lover, but never really liked talking about it.
“ Unfortunately, that’s not true at all.”
“ Of course it’s true. What make you think that she will lie to me? To come to think about it, why should I believe you?” I snapped, placing my hands on my hips.
“ You’re a freaken stranger. Hell, you could be lying about all of this. “
He reached into his leather jackets and pulled out an envelope.
“ I don’t understand your anger and suspicion. If I were in your shoes, I’d feel the same way. But here, Goerge held it out. “ This letter is from your wife. It explains everything. What so ever Lillian knew that her life was in danger and wanted to make sure you learned the truth, so she gave it to me several weeks ago.”
I snatched it out of his hands and tore open the letter. Than I recognized her handwriting, I felt the blood rush to my head.
My Dearest Sophia,
If you’re reading this letter, then frank has found me and I’m no longer among the living. I know you’re going to be angry and confused by the time you’ve finished reading this, and for that, I’m so terribly sorry. I’ve kept so many secrets, but only because I was trying to protect you.
Let me start out by admitting that John was not your biological father. He was a mortal man that I met and fell in love with when you were just a babe. Your real father, and I’m so sorry to break this to you, is David Ellis. Admittedly, I once cared for David, before learning what kind of monster he really was, and what exactly he was capable of. David killed John when he learned of my feelings for him and wanted to do away with me as well. Fortunately, I was able to escape with you before he carried out his plans. This is why I haven’t hated David Ellis and why I never told you much about him. I had that feeling he wanted me dead and I couldn’t bear the thought of him or his vile council getting their hands on me. David would have told you so many lies, making you believe that my love for Dechone had broken his black heart. The truth is, Dechone only loves what he can’t have and right now that’s you and your friends. I stopped reading. “ Me and my friends?” Did you know that I have brothers?”
He nodded.
“ How many are there?”
“ At least three more that we knew about. Your father wasn’t exactly sure the correct number.”
“Are they alive?”
“ I believe so.”
“ Are any of them Sophia’s daughters?” I asked, horrified. All of this was making lies and secrets.
“ No. Each of them had different fathers.”
Sighed in relief. “ Do they know about us?”
I’m aware of it. In fact , I believe only Fonzi who knew about David being her father.”
“ Fonzi?”
“ Yes, Lillian. She’s one of my sisters. There are two others. There only one I’m sure of her name.  “ This is crazy, “ I mumbled, going back to the letter. We could have somehow stood up to David and his hunters together.
“Are you okay?” ask Sophia, studying me.
I look up at Jarrett. “ What do you think?” On his face. “ I imagine you’re furious that she kept all of this from you.”
“ You shouldn’t do that.”
“ And you’re also thinking that because you’re part vampire, you might have been able to help save her life.”
“ Yep.”
“ That both of you could have defeated David and his hunters.”
“ Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a mind-readers,” I said dryly, reaching over to the nightstand to grab a tissue.
Lillian eyes twinkled. “ Your mother warned me about your snarkiness.”
“ It’s called a sense of humor. I take it you don’t have one?”
“ Only at the expense of others,” he replied, smiling slowly. “ And don’t worry, I’ll leave you alone right now. Considering the circumstances.”
“ You’re too kind.”
“ You should be flattered. It usually isn’t one of my strong points.”
I smiled and shook my head.
“ So, what’s your story, anyway,” I asked.
How did you know my mother? “ The man you thought was your father, Celso, he was my step father.”
“ Really?” I said, not expecting that answer. “ Were you close?”
“ You could say that. He practically raised me.”
“ What happened to your parents?”
“ My grandma died in illnesses and cancer to the heart. My grandpa died when I was seven, he had a stroke. “
Obviously he wasn’t born a vampire. Lillian had had a rough life. “ I’m sorry to hear that.”
She shrugged. “ It’s been a long time. Unfortunately, I barely remember either of them.”  
“ How long ago was it?”
“ My grandpa died in 2006. “
“ And that’s when you guys already here in Vegas?”
“ We move into our apartment, actually. Then we moved out to a different apartment. When I was eight I couldn’t actually remember so much. What about your mom and dad. And your two brothers.
“ Idelfonso has a wife?”
Why, is it’s hard for you to answer.
“ Yes, khaila. Khaila is my wife, we have a beautiful daughter. Her name Xana. Beside of all that, sometimes I get pain on my legs. Even enough to tragedy my life. What are you talking about. I’m talking about my pain. And your talking about, you saw David hunter ****** someone. “ One of the females took a liking to me. I was charmed and the next thing I knew, I was in her bed and her fangs were buried in my neck.
My eyes widened. “ But you escaped?”
“ Not right away. I was Serena’s captive for about a month and then she decided to make me into a vampire.

“ Let me guess, that was her undoing?”
A grim smile spreads across his face. “ Aye. Right after Sophia turned me into her kind, the spell she had over me died.
REDACTED Jan 2011
... I feel jealous, in a way.

I feel like I have to get this off my
chest, even if it has been so blatantly obvious the ENTIRE time
I've known you... I've always liked you; more or less,
I've loved you, Jack.
I always admired you, and no matter how much
I try, I can never stop.

I feel like I'm just an eternally smoldering,
nearly put out ember;
I burn brighter on occasion,
but the rest, it's come to pass as a dull, aching pain in my chest.
I've tried to bury it down and away with
Dan, and I was indeed, happy for a time.
It can just never last, unfortunately;
if it had, I would never dream of disclosing this to you.
You don't know how many times I lay
in bed, thinking about how different things
would have been if things never fell down and apart.
Most nights, I keep thinking that you fell in love
with the wrong Lillian.

I feel like I have to prove myself to you at every
step I take, trying to make myself valid
in your *eyes
, but it seems like all
my attempts are in vain. You told me, that if I really
loved something, I would let it go. You
basically wrenched my hand away, and unfortunately, it feels like
I still have a single thread of your shirt in my fingers,
twined
tangled so deep
that the string may never come loose.

It kills me, as
I must be faithful to Dan, and see you fall in love
with this engaged girl,
it just burns me up so much in jealousy,
because I see you in love with some other girl named
Lillian and I just can't help but wish that was me, wish
I was that girl, wish I had your love.
I don't want to **** up, and I want to be perfect
in your eyes, and it stings something
fierce when I'm yelled at by
you.

I feel like I can't fully devote my heart to
someone, if another has a piece hidden somewhere in
history, and this is true. I just... I just can't move
on. Please, I beg of you;
keep this to yourself,
don't speak to--

I feel like I’m almost obsessed with you.

**And... May I say, it doesn’t feel nice.
Just a bit of a note, here.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Ali's Song
by Michael R. Burch

for Muhammad Ali

They say that gold don't tarnish. It ain't so.
They say it has a wild, unearthly glow.
A man can be more beautiful, more wild.
I flung their medal to the river, child.
I flung their medal to the river, child.

They hung their coin around my neck; they made
my name a bridle, "called a ***** a *****."
They say their gold is pure. I say defiled.
I flung their slave's name to the river, child.
I flung their slave's name to the river, child.

Ain't got no quarrel with no Viet Cong
that never called me ******, did me wrong.
A man can't be lukewarm, 'cause God hates mild.
I flung their notice to the river, child.
I flung their notice to the river, child.

They said, "Now here's your bullet and your gun,
and there's your cell: we're waiting, you choose one."
At first I groaned aloud, but then I smiled.
I gave their "future" to the river, child.
I gave their "future" to the river, child.

My face reflected up, dark bronze like gold,
a coin God stamped in His own image—BOLD.
My blood boiled like that river—strange and wild.
I died to hate in that dark river, child,
Come, be reborn in this bright river, child.

The poem above has been set to music in a YouTube video by Lillian Y. Wong.

You are free to copy the poem for noncommercial use, such as a school project, essay or report, or just because you like it and want to share, but please credit Michael R. Burch as the author.

NOTES: (1) Muhammad Ali said that he threw his Olympic gold medal into the Ohio River after experiencing racism in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. Confirming his account, the medal was recovered by Robert Bradbury and his wife Pattie in 2014 during the Annual Ohio River Sweep. The Ali family paid $200,000 to regain possession of the medal. Ali later made a joke about the incident that caused him to toss his medal into the river. He said that he took his medal into a white downtown restaurant and ordered a cheeseburger. The waitress told him, "We don't serve negroes." Ali replied, "I don't eat them either. Just bring me a cheeseburger!" (2) When drafted during the Vietnam War, Ali refused induction, reputedly saying: "I ain't got no quarrel with those Viet Cong; no Vietnamese ever called me a ******." (3) The notice mentioned in my poem is Ali's draft notice, which metaphorically gets tossed into the river along with his slave name. (4) The poem was originally published by the literary journal Black Medina. It has since been published by Other Voices International, Thanal Online, Freshet, Poems About and Poem List.



For Ali, Fighting Time
by Michael R. Burch

So now your speech is not as clear . . .
time took its toll each telling year . . .
and O how tragic that your art,
so brutal, broke your savage heart.

But we who cheered each blow that fell
within that ring of torrent hell
never dreamed to see you maimed,
bowed and bloodied, listless, tamed.

For you were not as other men
as we cheered and cursed you then;
no, you commanded dreams and time—
blackgold Adonis, bold, sublime.

And once your glory leapt like fire—
pure and potent. No desire
ever burned as fierce or bright.
Oh Ali, Ali . . . win this fight!



In My House
by Michael R. Burch

I was once the only caucasian in the software company I founded and managed. I had two fine young black programmers working for me, and they both had keys to my house. This poem looks back to the dark days of slavery and the Civil War it produced.

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



Poet to poet
by Michael R. Burch

This poem imagines a discussion between Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who spoke so poetically about his dream of equality, and a poet who speaks in parentheses.

I have a dream
(pebbles in a sparkling sand)
of wondrous things.

I see children
(variations of the same man)
playing together.

Black and yellow, red and white,
(stone and flesh, a host of colors)
together at last.

I see a time
(each small child another's cousin)
when freedom shall ring.

I hear a song
(sweeter than the sea sings)
of many voices.

I hear a jubilation
(respect and love are the gifts we must bring)
shaking the land.

I have a message,
(sea shells echo, the melody rings)
the message of God.

I have a dream
(all pebbles are merely smooth fragments of stone)
of many things.

I live in hope
(all children are merely small fragments of One)
that this dream shall come true.

I have a dream . . .
(but when you're gone, won't the dream have to end?)
Oh, no, not as long as you dream my dream too!

Here, hold out your hand, let's make it come true.
(i can feel it begin)
Lovers and dreamers are poets too.
(poets are lovers and dreamers too)



I, Too, Have a Dream
by Michael R. Burch writing as “The Child Poets of Gaza”

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.
I, too, have a dream ...



My Nightmare ...
by Michael R. Burch writing as “The Child Poets of Gaza”

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.



Keywords/Tags: Muhammad Ali, boxing, violence, The Greatest, race, racism, racist, discrimination, black, slave name, Vietnam War, Olympics, gold medal, God, Muslim, Islam, Islamic, tribute, mrbali, mrbrace, mrbsport, mrbsports, mrbsong
Terry Collett Dec 2014
Mrs B said
can I take you
out to dinner
one lunch time

for being
such a kind
young man?
I'll bring Lillian along

not because
I don't trust you Benny
because I do
but just in case

my husband hears
about me taking
you out for dinner
and thinks there's

something going on
and I wouldn't
want that
and I know

a nice restaurant
where we can
have a really
decent meal

and O best dress
in reasonable clothes
because the place
I am going to take you

is quite upmarket
no jeans or tee shirts
I let her talk on
while I studied her

after all
she was old enough
to be my mother
and unlike Lillian

who was of
a similar age
and was a quite dish
Mrs B

never struck me
as being
****** at all
but it was good

to have a meal
and see Lillian eat
and see her
delicate hands

and her pale complexion
and O those eyes
I could so easy
fall into them

and **** her in
O boy
how is that
for sin.
A YOUNG MAN IS TAKEN OUT BY AN OLDER WOMAN IN 1974.
Keith Lumapas Aug 2017
Give me a moment, and I'll give you forever.  Give me your winter and I'll give you my summer.  Give me your kiss, and I'll give you my soul.  Give me your youth so we'll never  grow old.  Give me your light, and I'll give you the stars.  I will always be near, even if you are far.  Give me your wrongs, and I'll give you my rights.  Give me your heart, and I'll give you my Life..
S M Aug 2016
In the car
you felt awkward with
bobbed veiled eyes,
squished in,
a neighbour insisted lift.
Their Language was
Course
Throaty
chiming with gold.

You had rationed bread then,
it was women’s only
and when one was
touched askew,
they took her away
from there.

That time of servitude,
5am Dettol, peeling skin,
when your man would
be home waiting to
kiss them Better.
You were glowing and
not alone.

You lent me a book,
frayed edges with
bi-carb knowledge &
I was surprised
that it worked,
as I didn’t know much.

A cache of
pyramid pictures,
Wet mirrored smiles
as they looked down upon us,
with the man reflected
gone
but
kindly enough.

Dragging your feet,
talk time for hours, when
your upward chin
would float above your
throbbing knees,
no grievances at all.

Decibels rose
like the formidable
stone wall
that was still protecting you,
and the laughter you brought
to me was…
thank you.

My practice called and so
I beckoned,
but you whispered
to me somewhere -
with a single
guidance,
to come back.

A sunny day,
a set of white teeth,
was all you could see,
morphine soaked back
against green
struck trees.

Naïve glass
between you and I,
a rose card
with plush material
on the front,
it was
the most expensive one.

Blame that left me
misaligned against a rail,
peeking through
the parts that felt,
coldly
wrong.

Licked and waiting,
useless,
I didn’t know how
to release your
generous sentient
from mine.

Graceful and soft without
life's judgement,
it has locked within me
and remains,
like a warm
forgiving light.
I am sorry I never said goodbye to you. I hope you can accept this from me.
Nickols Feb 2014
Her skin was warm and smooth, with her face burrowing into the arch of my shoulder. It felt nice… Almost like an actual home coming…

That thought made me open my eyes I hadn't noticed I’d closed. My cheek pressing into the crown of yellow-hair which smelled of sweet shampoo and something purely Lillian's. It was comforting… With my nose touching the crest of her head, I inhaled that unique scent. *Like a freshly creased book, blowing on an oceans breeze.
© Victoria
Alysia Michelle Dec 2015
Grief strikes
At unexpected  moments
Memories that I stored away
Have abruptly resurfaced
And just like in the moment when
He told me that you were  gone
My breath  is taken away from me
And everything  feels wrong
Flash backs of that day
Flood my aching heart
And just like that  day
I'm torn all apart
Reliving the worst day of my life
And the last day of yours.
Fenix Flight May 2014
Dante pulls out the lily
its orange petals
glistening in the pale moonlight

Lillian stares at it
its the most beautiful thing
she has ever laid eyes upon

Edging closer to her
nervous she will bolt
He takes her hand

"Lillian I am just a lonely assasin
a monster in the eyes of your society"

He looks at her
fear in his eyes

"but you have dared to love me
you have turned your back agaisnt their ways"

He hold her close
and whispers

"So I must ask you this just once"


*Do you dare love me again?
The meaning of the tiger lily is

**I DARE YOU TO LOVE ME**
Chapter 7

Actually not sure exactly what was happening, I tried getting around Alex, but he grabbed my arm and ****** me backward.
“Who the **** are you?” he asked the woman. I’m Tessie, nice to meet you.
In answer, she pulled out a set and of handcuffs. “ Alex Jacobs, you’re under arrest. You want to do the easy way or the hard way?
The choice is yours.”
“For being a *******, “ I mumbled.
Not appreciating my humor, he grabbed my face with his hand and began squeezing it. “ Don’t talk.”
I touched my cheek, which was already starting to heal, but still pretty ******.” No. That’s okay. I think I’ll just take off. Uh, thank you.”
Nodding, her eyes studied my face. “ You’re a vampire.”
Yep.”
“ ***** , let me go,” growled Garrett, trying to unlock her arm from his neck without success
“Shut up,” order the young girl,
Glaring at him.
“ Nah, I asked, impressed. She was clearly one bad-assed immortal. Like this *******.
What’s your name?
“ Sarrett”.
I’m Sam. Hey, grab my handcuffs, will you?” she asked, nodding toward them. She’d lost her cuffs in the scuffle and they were lying on the carpet a few inches from my foot.
She tilted her head and gazed upon a transparent woman, no more than twenty. Her flaxen hair fell across her shoulders, circling her heart-shaped face. “ Who are you?” Lillian stammered.
I’m Sophia, once like you.
They’ve been here for centuries, before the pirates, before the first settlement. The true first inhabitants of this continent.
Who are they?
They are bookseekers. Come now! “ The urgency in her voice resounded inside Sophia.
Lillian did as asked. Not questioning Sophia. She knew the footsteps belonged to a book seeker.
Fourteen years ago, when I was only four years old, I was at a park in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, when I watched my mother get murdered. Every Sunday after church, she would take me to play at this park in particular, because it was her favorite park. She loved it because of its many trees, but she also loved it because of its solitude.
Once, I remember her
explaining to me that it reminded her of her hometown in rural California.
And a voice inside her head commanded her to stop. Her body froze in place. She tried to move but his mind controlled the core of her brain and she collapsed, waking up on the stone floor. Lillian stayed as motionless as possible, controlling the tremors threatening to shake her body. She popped her eyes open and watched his form through the corner of her eyes. A wooden door appeared before Lillian as she reached the top of the stairs. Sophia motioned for her to open it, the hinges creaking as she pushed it.
This my novel. I been trying to finish
John F McCullagh May 2015
Lillian Caine was the young lady’s name.
She was a romantic at heart.
She was painfully thin with a wart on her chin,
and stood tall at the end of the line.
Little Jim Coke was a short little bloke,
A cherub like smile his chief charm
He soon won her heart, they were seldom apart,
They looked like a “10” arm in arm.
Lillian thought they were destined to wed;
Her dear little Jim thought the same.
When they wed they became,
by their hyphenated last name,
Mr. & Mrs. Coke-Caine
Rylie Hawley May 2017
I remember that it hurt
Looking at him hurt-
His grin
His smile twisting up and curling
At the corners  
As his hands traced my body;
Me begging
Pleading,
Pleading
For him to stop
To stop touching me
To have some kindness left in him
To possibly stop himself from
Committing the crime he already had-
I remember feeling all of his
Weight pressed onto me
Suffocating me
That was only the first time
I remember that it hurt
Looking at her hurt-
Her face in the moonlight on the top bed
in our little cabin of eleven
I remember it hurt the night
She said she was in love with me-
Then punching me in the stomach and
Walking away,
Lillian
The girl I was irrevocably in love with,
Walking away because she said that
΅She has a new girl in Indiana΅
That was the last time I ever saw Lillian.
I remember that it hurt,
Looking at them hurt
The red lines
Lacing up my arms
Looking like a red ribbon on a christmas
Present
Look at my arms
Look at my face my
Tear stained face
Even though I felt
Nothing
Arms
Face
Arms
Lacing up my arms
Face
Ribbons on my arms
Face
Arms
Cuts
    And then it stopped hurting
It stopped hurting when I met him
The boy who makes my head spin
The boy who makes me think
I’m important to someone
Again
The boy who puts me first after
Everyone else puts me in
Their past-
It stopped hurting when he
Said it’s going to be okay
Now
It stopped hurting when he
Told me that those people
Could only hurt me if
I let them hurt me
It stopped hurting when he said
That soon I will be
A part of his family
Because he knows that
I feel like an alien in my own
It stopped hurting
when he came into my life
After everyone else had gone out;
After the boy who took away my innocence
Stopped noticing my existence-
After Lillian, the girl who
Ripped my heart out went back to
Chicago and was with
“Her new girl”-
After the last razor blade
Had been disposed of
And the pills had gone
Back into their bottles
After the last person to
Say that they were my friend
Or that they didn’t hate me-
and yet started rumors and
Harassed me in the hallways…
After I had been clean and had been out of the hospital and IOP
For more months than
I can remember
After the hell I had been through-
He made it better
And easier
And he makes life more
enjoyable -

So thank you to all of those who have made my life a living hell,
Thank you for breaking me down into dust
So I could be brought back up
Thank you for making me dark and twisty,
Thank you for putting a cloud of darkness around me,
So I could finally find my beam of sunshine that
He
Reflects into my life,
Thank you for making me the person I am today,
Thank you for showing me I’m not everything you told me.
Thank you for proving to me that I am a much stronger
And better person
Than you will ever be.

r.h. (April 5, 2017)
Robyn Nov 2015
God is my master.
I love Him more than all in my life.
He is the Master of my mind, my body, my heart.
He is my Shepherd.
He is beautiful.
He is love.
He is perfect.
He loves me more than I can comprehend.

God is telling me to stay.
So I will stay.
I cannot leave my church.
I cannot leave my family.
I cannot leave my city.
This is where I belong.
This is where I belong.
This is where I belong.

I belong. I belong. I belong.

In God I am made pure.
In God I am made clean.
In God I am rinsed of my sin.
In God I am white as snow.

Countless second chances He has given me.
Dear Lord, I need another today.
Today - I ask You for forgiveness.
Make me clean again.

I pray for them.
Ryan Kimmy Chiso Becky Dave Iris Mom Dad Kellie Tim Grandma Tim Debbie Laura Grandpa Betty Cindy Lori Shea Asher John Al Brian Teri Pamm Louie Chris Michael Tristan Bailey Victor Nikkie Mailee Andrew The Zachary's Kylie Michael and Megan Jade Airika Allie Bill Moriah Madison Mike Lani Moriah Tori Lenni Todd Maddie Hilary Holly Bella Jamie JT Bella Abby Sarah Anna Rick Ashtin Aaron Aleasha Christian Brian Gus Abbie Jenn Alec Jean Lois Larry Ryan Jake Bud Erin Tyler Jasmine Launts Wendy Michael Bella Sam Tony Ryan Ian Deric Jen Sam Erin Hanna Jamie Chad Mia Laura Tony Alena Tyrus Jack Luke Jenny Greg Reagan Kennedy Wilson Konni Wayne Brian Cammy Trina Mike Kameron Kasey Nikki Lexi Jelly Harley Izzie Rosie DJ Lillian Adrian Avery Asher Tyler Heidi Dan Sarah Ryan Griffin Daniel Jessica Pax Cory Abel Chandra Dave Julia Bethany Chris Orion Lindsay Twila Tracy Brandon Nate Braeden Amanda Jonah Luke Crosby Charlie Mark Debbie Ian Joy Susan Catherine Jeff Jill Andy Anna Joel Jacquie Tracy Shelby Brenden Grace Bruna Brendan Jadan Ariel Rick Johnna Laila Becca Joren Skylar David Lovins Gettys Nanny Papa My Cousins Grace Wanda Lamont Michael Amy Stephanie Tyler Tim Jeff Anthony Mikayla Emily Emily Sabrina Thomas Caleb Rene Sabra Autumn Cort Riley Cole Kaylee Amber Eryn Christina Trinity Bethany Kati Ben Jacob Megan Megan

and so so many more

May God bless you and keep you
Amen
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Poems about Leaves and Leave Taking (i.e., leaving friends and family, loss, death, parting, separation, divorce, etc.)


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."

Published by The Lyric, Mindful of Poetry, There is Something in the Autumn (anthology). Keywords/Tags: autumn, leaves, fall, falling, wind, barren, trees, goodbye, leaving, farewell, separation, age, aging, mortality, death, mrbepi, mrbleave

This poem started out as a stanza in a much longer poem, "Jessamyn's Song," which dates to around age 14 or 15, or perhaps a bit later. But I worked on the poem several times over the years until it was largely finished in 1978. I am sure of the completion date because that year the poem was included in my first large poetry submission manuscript for a chapbook contest.



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

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

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea, this poem has since been translated into Russian, Macedonian, Turkish, Arabic and Romanian.



Something

for the children of the Holocaust and the Nakba

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,
which finality swept into a corner... where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.

Published by There is Something in the Autumn, The Eclectic Muse, Setu, FreeXpression, Life and Legends, Poetry Super Highway, Poet's Corner, Promosaik, Better Than Starbucks and The Chained Muse. Also translated into Romanian by Petru Dimofte, into Turkish by Nurgül Yayman, turned into a YouTube video by Lillian Y. Wong, and used by the Windsor Jewish Community Centre during a candle-lighting ceremony



Leaf Fall
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The Neovictorian/Cochlea



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

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

Originally published by Measure



Flight
by Michael R. Burch

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

Originally published by Hibiscus (India)



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

"****** most foul! "
cried the mouse to the owl.

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

Published by Lighten Upand in Potcake Chapbook #7



escape!

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.

Published by Andwerve and Bewildering Stories



Love Has a Southern Flavor

Love has a Southern flavor: honeydew,
ripe cantaloupe, the honeysuckle's spout
we tilt to basking faces to breathe out
the ordinary, and inhale perfume...

Love's Dixieland-rambunctious: tangled vines,
wild clematis, the gold-brocaded leaves
that will not keep their order in the trees,
unmentionables that peek from dancing lines...

Love cannot be contained, like Southern nights:
the constellations' dying mysteries,
the fireflies that hum to light, each tree's
resplendent autumn cape, a genteel sight...

Love also is as wild, as sprawling-sweet,
as decadent as the wet leaves at our feet.

Published by The Lyric, Contemporary Sonnet, The Eclectic Muse, Better Than Starbucks, The Chained Muse, Setu (India) , Victorian Violet Press and Trinacria



Daredevil
by Michael R. Burch

There are days that I believe
(and nights that I deny)
love is not mutilation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There are tightropes leaps bereave—
taut wires strumming high
brief songs, infatuations.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were cannon shots’ soirees,
hearts barricaded, wise . . .
and then . . . annihilation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were nights our hearts conceived
dawns’ indiscriminate sighs.
To dream was our consolation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were acrobatic leaves
that tumbled down to lie
at our feet, bright trepidations.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

There were hearts carved into trees—
tall stakes where you and I
left childhood’s salt libations . . .

Daredevil, dry your eyes.

Where once you scraped your knees;
love later bruised your thighs.
Death numbs all, our sedation.

Daredevil, dry your eyes.



Talent
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin Nicholas Roberts

I liked the first passage
of her poem―where it led
(though not nearly enough
to retract what I said.)
Now the book propped up here
flutters, scarcely half read.
It will keep.
Before sleep,
let me read yours instead.

There's something like love
in the rhythms of night
―in the throb of streets
where the late workers drone,
in the sounds that attend
each day’s sad, squalid end―
that reminds us: till death
we are never alone.

So we write from the hearts
that will fail us anon,
words in red
truly bled
though they cannot reveal
whence they came,
who they're for.
And the tap at the door
goes unanswered. We write,
for there is nothing more
than a verse,
than a song,
than this chant of the blessed:
"If these words
be my sins,
let me die unconfessed!
Unconfessed, unrepentant;
I rescind all my vows!"
Write till sleep:
it’s the leap
only Talent allows.



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.



Desdemona
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

and strangled hope, where love dies too.

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



Ordinary Love
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Winner of the 2001 Algernon Charles Swinburne poetry contest; published by The Lyric, Romantics Quarterly, Mandrake Poetry Review, Carnelian, Poem Kingdom, Net Poetry and Art Competition, Famous Poets and Poems, FreeXpression, PW Review, Poetic Voices, Poetry Renewal and Poetry Life & Times



Are You the Thief
by Michael R. Burch

When I touch you now,
O sweet lover,
full of fire,
melting like ice
in my embrace,

when I part the delicate white lace,
baring pale flesh,
and your face
is so close
that I breathe your breath
and your hair surrounds me like a wreath...

tell me now,
O sweet, sweet lover,
in good faith:
are you the thief
who has stolen my heart?

Originally published as “Baring Pale Flesh” by Poetic License/Monumental Moments



At Tintagel
by Michael R. Burch

That night,
at Tintagel,
there was darkness such as man had never seen...
darkness and treachery,
and the unholy thundering of the sea...

In his arms,
who is to say how much she knew?
And if he whispered her name...
"Ygraine"
could she tell above the howling wind and rain?

Could she tell, or did she care,
by the length of his hair
or the heat of his flesh,...
that her faceless companion
was Uther, the dragon,

and Gorlois lay dead?

Originally published by Songs of Innocence, then subsequently by Celtic Twilight, Fables, Fickle Muses and Poetry Life & Times



Isolde's Song
by Michael R. Burch

Through our long years of dreaming to be one
we grew toward an enigmatic light
that gently warmed our tendrils. Was it sun?
We had no eyes to tell; we loved despite
the lack of all sensation—all but one:
we felt the night's deep chill, the air so bright
at dawn we quivered limply, overcome.

To touch was all we knew, and how to bask.
We knew to touch; we grew to touch; we felt
spring's urgency, midsummer's heat, fall's lash,
wild winter's ice and thaw and fervent melt.
We felt returning light and could not ask
its meaning, or if something was withheld
more glorious. To touch seemed life's great task.

At last the petal of me learned: unfold
and you were there, surrounding me. We touched.
The curious golden pollens! Ah, we touched,
and learned to cling and, finally, to hold.

Originally published by The Raintown Review



The Wild Hunt
by Michael R. Burch

Near Devon, the hunters appear in the sky
with Artur and Bedwyr sounding the call;
and the others, laughing, go dashing by.
They only appear when the moon is full:

Valerin, the King of the Tangled Wood,
and Valynt, the goodly King of Wales,
Gawain and Owain and the hearty men
who live on in many minstrels' tales.

They seek the white stag on a moonlit moor,
or Torc Triath, the fabled boar,
or Ysgithyrwyn, or Twrch Trwyth,
the other mighty boars of myth.

They appear, sometimes, on Halloween
to chase the moon across the green,
then fade into the shadowed hills
where memory alone prevails.

Originally published by Celtic Twilight, then by Celtic Lifestyles and Auldwicce



Morgause's Song
by Michael R. Burch

Before he was my brother,
he was my lover,
though certainly not the best.

I found no joy
in that addled boy,
nor he at my breast.

Why him? Why him?
The years grow dim.
Now it's harder and harder to say...

Perhaps girls and boys
are the god's toys
when the skies are gray.

Originally published by Celtic Twilight as "The First Time"



Pellinore's Fancy
by Michael R. Burch

What do you do when your wife is a nag
and has sworn you to hunt neither fish, fowl, nor stag?
When the land is at peace, but at home you have none,
Is that, perchance, when... the Questing Beasts run?



The Last Enchantment
by Michael R. Burch

Oh, Lancelot, my truest friend,
how time has thinned your ragged mane
and pinched your features; still you seem
though, much, much changed—somehow unchanged.

Your sword hand is, as ever, ready,
although the time for swords has passed.
Your eyes are fierce, and yet so steady
meeting mine... you must not ask.

The time is not, nor ever shall be.
Merlyn's words were only words;
and now his last enchantment wanes,
and we must put aside our swords...



Northern Flight: Lancelot's Last Love Letter to Guinevere
by Michael R. Burch

"Get thee to a nunnery..."

Now that the days have lengthened, I assume
the shadows also lengthen where you pause
to watch the sun and comprehend its laws,
or just to shiver in the deepening gloom.

But nothing in your antiquarian eyes
nor anything beyond your failing vision
repeals the night. Religion's circumcision
has left us worlds apart, but who's more wise?

I think I know you better now than then—
and love you all the more, because you are
... so distant. I can love you from afar,
forgiving your flight north, far from brute men,
because your fear's well-founded: God, forbid,
was bound to fail you here, as mortals did.

Originally published by Rotary Dial



Lance-Lot
by Michael R. Burch

Preposterous bird!
Inelegant! Absurd!

Until the great & mighty heron
brandishes his fearsome sword.



Truces
by Michael R. Burch

We must sometimes wonder if all the fighting related to King Arthur and his knights was really necessary. In particular, it seems that Lancelot fought and either captured or killed a fairly large percentage of the population of England. Could it be that Arthur preferred to fight than stay at home and do domestic chores? And, honestly now, if he and his knights were such incredible warriors, who would have been silly enough to do battle with them? Wygar was the name of Arthur's hauberk, or armored tunic, which was supposedly fashioned by one Witege or Widia, quite possibly the son of Wayland Smith. The legends suggest that Excalibur was forged upon the anvil of the smith-god Wayland, who was also known as Volund, which sounds suspiciously like Vulcan...

Artur took Cabal, his hound,
and Carwennan, his knife,
    and his sword forged by Wayland
    and Merlyn, his falcon,
and, saying goodbye to his sons and his wife,
he strode to the Table Rounde.

"Here is my spear, Rhongomyniad,
and here is Wygar that I wear,
    and ready for war,
    an oath I foreswore
to fight for all that is righteous and fair
from Wales to the towers of Gilead."

But none could be found to contest him,
for Lancelot had slewn them, forsooth,
so he hastened back home, for to rest him,
till his wife bade him, "Thatch up the roof! "

Originally published by Neovictorian/Cochlea, then by Celtic Twilight



Midsummer-Eve
by Michael R. Burch

What happened to the mysterious Tuatha De Danann, to the Ban Shee (from which we get the term "banshee") and, eventually, to the druids? One might assume that with the passing of Merlyn, Morgause and their ilk, the time of myths and magic ended. This poem is an epitaph of sorts.

In the ruins
of the dreams
and the schemes
of men;

when the moon
begets the tide
and the wide
sea sighs;

when a star
appears in heaven
and the raven
cries;

we will dance
and we will revel
in the devil's
fen...

if nevermore again.

Originally published by Penny Dreadful



The Pictish Faeries
by Michael R. Burch

Smaller and darker
than their closest kin,
the faeries learned only too well
never to dwell
close to the villages of larger men.

Only to dance in the starlight
when the moon was full
and men were afraid.
Only to worship in the farthest glade,
ever heeding the raven and the gull.



The Kiss of Ceridwen
by Michael R. Burch

The kiss of Ceridwen
I have felt upon my brow,
and the past and the future
have appeared, as though a vapor,
mingling with the here and now.

And Morrigan, the Raven,
the messenger, has come,
to tell me that the gods, unsung,
will not last long
when the druids' harps grow dumb.



Merlyn, on His Birth
by Michael R. Burch

Legend has it that Zephyr was an ancestor of Merlin. In this poem, I suggest that Merlin was an albino, which might have led to claims that he had no father, due to radical physical differences between father and son. This would have also added to his appearance as a mystical figure. The reference to Ursa Major, the bear, ties the birth of Merlin to the future birth of Arthur, whose Welsh name ("Artos" or "Artur") means "bear." Morydd is another possible ancestor of Merlin's. In Welsh names "dd" is pronounced "th."

I was born in Gwynedd,
or not born, as some men claim,
and the Zephyr of Caer Myrrdin
gave me my name.

My father was Madog Morfeyn
but our eyes were never the same,
nor our skin, nor our hair;
for his were dark, dark
—as our people's are—
and mine were fairer than fair.

The night of my birth, the Zephyr
carved of white stone a rune;
and the ringed stars of Ursa Major
outshone the cool pale moon;
and my grandfather, Morydd, the seer
saw wheeling, a-gyre in the sky,
a falcon with terrible yellow-gold eyes
when falcons never fly.



Merlyn's First Prophecy
by Michael R. Burch

Vortigern commanded a tower to be built upon Snowden,
but the earth would churn and within an hour its walls would cave in.

Then his druid said only the virginal blood of a fatherless son,
recently shed, would ever hold the foundation.

"There is, in Caer Myrrdin, a faery lad, a son with no father;
his name is Merlyn, and with his blood you would have your tower."

So Vortigern had them bring the boy, the child of the demon,
and, taciturn and without joy, looked out over Snowden.

"To **** a child brings little praise, but many tears."
Then the mountain slopes rang with the brays of Merlyn's jeers.

"Pure poppycock! You fumble and bumble and heed a fool.
At the base of the rock the foundations crumble into a pool! "

When they drained the pool, two dragons arose, one white and one red,
and since the old druid was blowing his nose, young Merlyn said:

"Vortigern is the white, Ambrosius the red; now, watch, indeed."
Then the former died as the latter fed and Vortigern peed.

Published by Celtic Twilight



It Is Not the Sword!
by Michael R. Burch

This poem illustrates the strong correlation between the names that appear in Welsh and Irish mythology. Much of this lore predates the Arthurian legends, and was assimilated as Arthur's fame (and hyperbole)grew. Caladbolg is the name of a mythical Irish sword, while Caladvwlch is its Welsh equivalent. Caliburn and Excalibur are later variants.

"It is not the sword,
but the man, "
said Merlyn.
But the people demanded a sign—
the sword of Macsen Wledig,
Caladbolg, the "lightning-shard."

"It is not the sword,
but the words men follow."
Still, he set it in the stone
—Caladvwlch, the sword of kings—
and many a man did strive, and swore,
and many a man did moan.

But none could budge it from the stone.

"It is not the sword
or the strength, "
said Merlyn,
"that makes a man a king,
but the truth and the conviction
that ring in his iron word."

"It is NOT the sword! "
cried Merlyn,
crowd-jostled, marveling
as Arthur drew forth Caliburn
with never a gasp,
with never a word,

and so became their king.



Uther's Last Battle
by Michael R. Burch

When Uther, the High King,
unable to walk, borne upon a litter
went to fight Colgrim, the Saxon King,
his legs were weak, and his visage bitter.
"Where is Merlyn, the sage?
For today I truly feel my age."

All day long the battle raged
and the dragon banner was sorely pressed,
but the courage of Uther never waned
till the sun hung low upon the west.
"Oh, where is Merlyn to speak my doom,
for truly I feel the chill of the tomb."

Then, with the battle almost lost
and the king besieged on every side,
a prince appeared, clad all in white,
and threw himself against the tide.
"Oh, where is Merlyn, who stole my son?
For, truly, now my life is done."

Then Merlyn came unto the king
as the Saxons fled before a sword
that flashed like lightning in the hand
of a prince that day become a lord.
"Oh, Merlyn, speak not, for I see
my son has truly come to me.

And today I need no prophecy
to see how bright his days will be."
So Uther, then, the valiant king
met his son, and kissed him twice—
the one, the first, the one, the last—
and smiled, and then his time was past.



Small Tales
by Michael R. Burch

According to legend, Arthur and Kay grew up together in Ector's court, Kay being a few years older than Arthur. Borrowing from Mary Stewart, I am assuming that Bedwyr (later Anglicized to Bedivere)might have befriended Arthur at an early age. By some accounts, Bedwyr was the original Lancelot. In any case, imagine the adventures these young heroes might have pursued (or dreamed up, to excuse tardiness or "lost" homework assignments). Manawydan and Llyr were ancient Welsh gods. Cath Pulag was a monstrous, clawing cat. ("Sorry teach! My theme paper on Homer was torn up by a cat bigger than a dragon! And meaner, too! ")Pen Palach is more or less a mystery, or perhaps just another old drinking buddy with a few good beery-bleary tales of his own. This poem assumes that many of the more outlandish Arthurian legends began more or less as "small tales, " little white lies which simply got larger and larger with each retelling. It also assumes that most of these tales came about just as the lads reached that age when boys fancy themselves men, and spend most of their free time drinking and puking...

When Artur and Cai and Bedwyr
were but scrawny lads
they had many a ***** adventure
in the still glades
of Gwynedd.
When the sun beat down like an oven
upon the kiln-hot hills
and the scorched shores of Carmarthen,
they went searching
and found Manawydan, the son of Llyr.
They fought a day and a night
with Cath Pulag (or a screeching kitten),
rousted Pen Palach, then drank a beer
and told quite a talltale or two,
till thems wasn't so shore which'un's tails wus true.

And these have been passed down to me, and to you.



The Song of Amergin
by Michael R. Burch

Amergin is, in the words of Morgan Llywelyn, "the oldest known western European poet." Robert Graves said: "English poetic education should, really, begin not with The Canterbury Tales, not with the Odyssey, not even with Genesis, but with the Song of Amergin." Amergin was one of the Milesians, or sons of Mil: Gaels who invaded Ireland and defeated the mysterious Tuatha De Danann, thereby establishing a Celtic beachhead, not only on the shores of the Emerald Isle, but also in the annals of Time and Poetry.

He was our first bard
and we feel in his dim-remembered words
the moment when Time blurs...

and he and the Sons of Mil
heave oars as the breakers mill
till at last Ierne—green, brooding—nears,

while Some implore seas cold, fell, dark
to climb and swamp their flimsy bark
... and Time here also spumes, careers...

while the Ban Shee shriek in awed dismay
to see him still the sea, this day,
then seek the dolmen and the gloam.



Stonehenge
by Michael R. Burch

Here where the wind imbues life within stone,
I once stood
and watched as the tempest made monuments groan
as though blood
boiled within them.

Here where the Druids stood charting the stars
I can tell
they longed for the heavens... perhaps because
hell
boiled beneath them?



The Celtic Cross at Île Grosse
by Michael R. Burch

"I actually visited the island and walked across those mass graves of 30, 000 Irish men, women and children, and I played a little tune on me whistle. I found it very peaceful, and there was relief there." - Paddy Maloney of The Chieftans

There was relief there,
and release,
on Île Grosse
in the spreading gorse
and the cry of the wild geese...

There was relief there,
without remorse
when the tin whistle lifted its voice
in a tune of artless grief,
piping achingly high and longingly of an island veiled in myth.
And the Celtic cross that stands here tells us, not of their grief,
but of their faith and belief—
like the last soft breath of evening lifting a fallen leaf.

When ravenous famine set all her demons loose,
driving men to the seas like lemmings,
they sought here the clemency of a better life, or death,
and their belief in God gave them hope, a sense of peace.

These were proud men with only their lives to owe,
who sought the liberation of a strange new land.
Now they lie here, ragged row on ragged row,
with only the shadows of their loved ones close at hand.

And each cross, their ancient burden and their glory,
reflects the death of sunlight on their story.

And their tale is sad—but, O, their faith was grand!



At Cædmon's Grave
by Michael R. Burch

"Cædmon's Hymn, " composed at the Monastery of Whitby (a North Yorkshire fishing village), is one of the oldest known poems written in the English language, dating back to around 680 A.D. According to legend, Cædmon, an illiterate Anglo-Saxon cowherd, received the gift of poetic composition from an angel; he subsequently founded a school of Christian poets. Unfortunately, only nine lines of Cædmon's verse survive, in the writings of the Venerable Bede. Whitby, tiny as it is, reappears later in the history of English literature, having been visited, in diametric contrast, by Lewis Carroll and Bram Stoker's ghoulish yet evocative Dracula.

At the monastery of Whitby,
on a day when the sun sank through the sea,
and the gulls shrieked wildly, jubilant, free,

while the wind and time blew all around,
I paced those dusk-enamored grounds
and thought I heard the steps resound

of Carroll, Stoker and of Bede
who walked there, too, their spirits freed
—perhaps by God, perhaps by need—

to write, and with each line, remember
the glorious light of Cædmon's ember,
scorched tongues of flame words still engender.

Here, as darkness falls, at last we meet.
I lay this pale garland of words at his feet.

Originally published by The Lyric



faith(less), a coronavirus poem
by Michael R. Burch

Those who believed
and Those who misled
lie together at last
in the same narrow bed

and if god loved Them more
for Their strange lack of doubt,
he kept it well hidden
till he snuffed Them out.



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.



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 14-15 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.



Insurrection
by Michael R. Burch

She has become as the night—listening
for rumors of dawn—while the dew, glistening,
reminds me of her, and the wind, whistling,
lashes my cheeks with its soft chastening.

She has become as the lights—flickering
in the distance—till memories old and troubling
rise up again and demand remembering ...
like peasants rebelling against a mad king.

Originally published by The Chained Muse



Success
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

We need our children to keep us humble
between toast and marmalade;

there is no time for a ticker-tape parade
before bed, no award, no bright statuette

to be delivered for mending skinned knees,
no wild bursts of approval for shoveling snow.

A kiss is the only approval they show;
to leave us―the first great success they achieve.



Sappho's Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

Hushed yet melodic, the hills and the valleys
sleep unaware of the nightingale's call,
while the pale calla lilies lie
listening,
glistening . . .
this is their night, the first night of fall.

Son, tonight, a woman awaits you;
she is more vibrant, more lovely than spring.
She'll meet you in moonlight,
soft and warm,
all alone . . .
then you'll know why the nightingale sings.

Just yesterday the stars were afire;
then how desire flashed through my veins!
But now I am older;
night has come,
I’m alone . . .
for you I will sing as the nightingale sings.

NOTE: The calla lily symbolizes beauty, purity, innocence, faithfulness and true devotion. According to Greek mythology, when the Milky Way was formed by the goddess Hera’s breast milk, the drops that fell to earth became calla lilies.



The People Loved What They Had Loved Before
by Michael R. Burch

We did not worship at the shrine of tears;
we knew not to believe, not to confess.
And so, ahemming victors, to false cheers,
we wrote off love, we gave a stern address
to things that we disapproved of, things of yore.
And the people loved what they had loved before.

We did not build stone monuments to stand
six hundred years and grow more strong and arch
like bridges from the people to the Land
beyond their reach. Instead, we played a march,
pale Neros, sparking flames from door to door.
And the people loved what they had loved before.

We could not pipe of cheer, or even woe.
We played a minor air of Ire (in E).
The sheep chose to ignore us, even though,
long destitute, we plied our songs for free.
We wrote, rewrote and warbled one same score.
And the people loved what they had loved before.

At last outlandish wailing, we confess,
ensued, because no listeners were left.
We built a shrine to tears: our goddess less
divine than man, and, like us, long bereft.
We stooped to love too late, too Learned to *****.
And the people loved what they had loved before.



Piercing the Shell
by Michael R. Burch

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



Premonition
by Michael R. Burch

Now the evening has come to a close and the party is over ...
we stand in the doorway and watch as they go—
each stranger, each acquaintance, each unembraceable lover.

They walk to their cars and they laugh as they go,
though we know their forced laughter’s the wine ...
then they pause at the road where the dark asphalt flows
endlessly on toward Zion ...

and they kiss one another as though they were friends,
and they promise to meet again “soon” ...
but the rivers of Jordan roll on without end,
and the mockingbird calls to the moon ...

and the katydids climb up the cropped hanging vines,
and the crickets chirp on out of tune ...
and their shadows, defined by the cryptic starlight,
seem spirits torn loose from their tombs.

And I know their brief lives are just eddies in time,
that their hearts are unreadable runes
to be wiped clean, like slate, by the Eraser, Fate,
when their corpses lie ravaged and ruined ...

You take my clenched fist and you give it a kiss
as though it were something you loved,
and the tears fill your eyes, brimming with the soft light
of the stars winking sagely above ...

Then you whisper, "It's time that we went back inside;
if you'd like, we can sit and just talk for a while."
And the hope in your eyes burns too deep, so I lie
and I say, "Yes, I would," to your small, troubled smile.

I vividly remember writing this poem after an office party the year I co-oped with AT&T (at that time the largest company in the world, with presumably a lot of office parties). This would have been after my sophomore year in college, making me around 20 years old. The poem is “true” except that I was not the host because the party was at the house of one of the upper-level managers. Nor was I dating anyone seriously at the time. Keywords/Tags: premonition, office, party, parting, eve, evening, stranger, strangers, wine, laughter, moon, shadows



Survivors
by Michael R. Burch

for the victims and survivors of 9/11 and their families

In truth, we do not feel the horror
of the survivors,
but what passes for horror:

a shiver of “empathy.”

We too are “survivors,”
if to survive is to snap back
from the sight of death

like a turtle retracting its neck.



Child of 9-11
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Child of 9-11, I grieve
your tender life, cut short ... bereaved,
what can I do, but pledge my life
to saving lives like yours? Belief
in your sweet worth has led me here ...

I give my all: my pen, this tear,
this lily and this eiderdown,
and all soft things my heart can bear;
I bring them to your final bier,
and leave them with my promise, here.



The Locker
by Michael R. Burch

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

reproved
adulation or sentiment,
left with the pungent darkness

as remembered as the sudden light.



Tremble
by Michael R. Burch

Her predatory eye,
the single feral iris,
scans.

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

Her hard talon,
clenched in pinched expectation,
waits.

Her clipped wings,
preened against reality,
tremble.



Day, and Night
by Michael R. Burch

The moon exposes pockmarked scars of craters;
her visage, veiled by willows, palely looms.
And we who rise each day to grind a living,
dream each scented night of such perfumes
as drew us to the window, to the moonlight,
when all the earth was steeped in cobalt blue―
an eerie vase of achromatic flowers
bled silver by pale starlight, losing hue.

The night begins her waltz to waiting sunrise―
adagio, the music she now hears;
and we who in the sunlight slave for succor,
dreaming, seek communion with the spheres.
And all around the night is in crescendo,
and everywhere the stars’ bright legions form,
and here we hear the sweet incriminations
of lovers we had once to keep us warm.

And also here we find, like bled carnations,
red lips that whitened, kisses drawn to lies,
that touched us once with fierce incantations
and taught us love was prettier than wise.



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.



Komm, Du ("Come, You")
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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

Come, you—the last one I acknowledge; return—
incurable pain searing this physical mesh.
As I burned in the spirit once, so now I burn
with you; meanwhile, you consume my flesh.

This wood that long resisted your embrace
now nourishes you; I surrender to your fury
as my gentleness mutates to hellish rage—
uncaged, wild, primal, mindless, outré.

Completely free, no longer future’s pawn,
I clambered up this crazy pyre of pain,
certain I’d never return—my heart’s reserves gone—
to become death’s nameless victim, purged by flame.

Now all I ever was must be denied.
I left my memories of my past elsewhere.
That life—my former life—remains outside.
Inside, I’m lost. Nobody knows me here.



This is my translation of the first of Rilke’s Duino Elegies. Rilke began the first Duino Elegy in 1912, as a guest of Princess Marie von Thurn und Taxis, at Duino Castle, near Trieste on the Adriatic Sea.

First Elegy
by Rainer Maria Rilke
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Who, if I objected, would hear me among the angelic orders?
For if the least One pressed me intimately against its breast,
I would be lost in its infinite Immensity!
Because beauty, which we mortals can barely endure, is the beginning of terror;
we stand awed when it benignly declines to annihilate us.
Every Angel is terrifying!

And so I restrain myself, swallowing the sound of my pitiful sobbing.
For whom may we turn to, in our desire?
Not to Angels, nor to men, and already the sentient animals are aware
that we are all aliens in this metaphorical existence.
Perhaps some tree still stands on a hillside, which we can study with our ordinary vision.
Perhaps the commonplace street still remains amid man’s fealty to materiality—
the concrete items that never destabilize.
Oh, and of course there is the night: her dark currents caress our faces ...

But whom, then, do we live for?
That longed-for but mildly disappointing presence the lonely heart so desperately desires?
Is life any less difficult for lovers?
They only use each other to avoid their appointed fates!
How can you fail to comprehend?
Fling your arms’ emptiness into this space we occupy and inhale:
may birds fill the expanded air with more intimate flying!

Yes, the springtime still requires you.
Perpetually a star waits for you to recognize it.
A wave recedes toward you from the distant past,
or as you walk beneath an open window, a violin yields virginally to your ears.
All this was preordained. But how can you incorporate it? ...
Weren't you always distracted by expectations, as if every event presaged some new beloved?
(Where can you harbor, when all these enormous strange thoughts surging within you keep
you up all night, restlessly rising and falling?)

When you are full of yearning, sing of loving women, because their passions are finite;
sing of forsaken women (and how you almost envy them)
because they could love you more purely than the ones you left gratified.

Resume the unattainable exaltation; remember: the hero survives;
even his demise was merely a stepping stone toward his latest rebirth.

But spent and exhausted Nature withdraws lovers back into herself,
as if lacking the energy to recreate them.
Have you remembered Gaspara Stampa with sufficient focus—
how any abandoned girl might be inspired by her fierce example
and might ask herself, "How can I be like her?"

Shouldn't these ancient sufferings become fruitful for us?

Shouldn’t we free ourselves from the beloved,
quivering, as the arrow endures the bowstring's tension,
so that in the snap of release it soars beyond itself?
For there is nowhere else where we can remain.

Voices! Voices!

Listen, heart, as levitating saints once listened,
until the elevating call soared them heavenward;
and yet they continued kneeling, unaware, so complete was their concentration.

Not that you could endure God's voice—far from it!

But heed the wind’s voice and the ceaseless formless message of silence:
It murmurs now of the martyred young.

Whenever you attended a church in Naples or Rome,
didn't they come quietly to address you?
And didn’t an exalted inscription impress its mission upon you
recently, on the plaque in Santa Maria Formosa?
What they require of me is that I gently remove any appearance of injustice—
which at times slightly hinders their souls from advancing.

Of course, it is endlessly strange to no longer inhabit the earth;
to relinquish customs one barely had the time to acquire;
not to see in roses and other tokens a hopeful human future;
no longer to be oneself, cradled in infinitely caring hands;
to set aside even one's own name,
forgotten as easily as a child’s broken plaything.

How strange to no longer desire one's desires!
How strange to see meanings no longer cohere, drifting off into space.
Dying is difficult and requires retrieval before one can gradually decipher eternity.

The living all err in believing the too-sharp distinctions they create themselves.

Angels (men say) don't know whether they move among the living or the dead.
The eternal current merges all ages in its maelstrom
until the voices of both realms are drowned out in its thunderous roar.

In the end, the early-departed no longer need us:
they are weaned gently from earth's agonies and ecstasies,
as children outgrow their mothers’ *******.

But we, who need such immense mysteries,
and for whom grief is so often the source of our spirit's progress—
how can we exist without them?

Is the legend of the lament for Linos meaningless—
the daring first notes of the song pierce our apathy;
then, in the interlude, when the youth, lovely as a god, has suddenly departed forever,
we experience the emptiness of the Void for the first time—
that harmony which now enraptures and comforts and aids us?



Keywords/Tags: Rilke, elegy, elegies, angels, beauty, terror, terrifying, desire, vision, reality, heart, love, lovers, beloved, rose, saints, spirits, souls, ghosts, voices, torso, Apollo, Rodin, panther, autumn, beggar

Published as the collection "Leave Taking"
Delilah Summers Feb 2014
Remember that day you sat in your room?
silence was a comforting melody
Did he ever love me?
You dragged yourself over to your shelf, picked up a bottle of ***
Never mind a cup, the pain you were feeling couldn't be measured with a specific amount of alcohol entering your body
All you could remember is what you did on that bed together
You kissed
Made love to each other
Cried about lost dreams and made new ones together
We will have 5 kids, Etzio is our son, Delilah, Charlotte, summer, and Lillian
We will have them workout with us
Accept them for what our parents didn't accept us for
Love them unconditionally
Love each other unconditionally
You will travel with me for my competitions and I will be sitting and supporting you in every case you will be talking in
I want to die in your arms and never live a day without telling you that I love you

Now I'm drunk
You're gone
The memories are haunting me
I can't sleep
My dream catcher seems to be one of the lies I'm getting used to now
Your lies.
Apparently he still loves me.
Glenn Currier Sep 2018
My buddy the quarterback said to go long
music to my ears the chorus of my song
I could easily outrun all the puny secondary –
the guys from one block over on wealthy Dewberry.
We were all better at football on Lillian Street  
beating the crap out of those guys was oh so sweet.

Now mulling my interests, passions and such
I wonder why I love football so much
what with a life of writing, thinking and teaching
my football mania seems a tad overreaching
but still my arm flexes watching that heaver
connect in a perfect arch with his swift receiver.

Being Cajun in Texas where sports are king
probably explains something of why I’m so keen
and my pulse quickens as I remember
the neighbor boys’ shouts and calls in September
to meet them in our favorite autumn spot
down the street in that vacant lot.

Most of my life I’ve gone for short passes
connected with ideas and English classes
no novel for me, I fell for poetry
nor did I brave the rigor of a PhD.
Now finally, with my scores of years its not so wrong
to watch, leave it alone, wait a while, and go long.
I hope the European and futbol readers will forgive this American take on our version of a similar sport.

I couldn't go to sleep last night after watching the Bengals beat the Ravens (recording), so here I sit at 4:15 am just finished with this poem. It became almost biographical I suppose, but as I tried to sleep I got this image of racing to catch the long ball as a teenager and that vision would not let go. I'm tired now, ready for sleep. I hope it was worth the effort and you enjoy it half as much as I liked writing.

— The End —