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mannley collins Jul 2014
Is such a big and impossible to miss step for a scribbler
of poetry free poems to trip over.
A step that cannot be ignored, except consciously and conscientiously.
Such a person as a scribbler of poetry less poems would be a person who cannot tell the difference between truth and truthfulness.
A person whose sole raison d,etre in pretending to be a poet is their lifelong angst in being unable to escape from being under the control of  their mind and its operating system --the Conditioned Identity.
The Conditioned Identity,which is the facetious and morally dishonest "I am a poet" mask that is the consciously adopted Conditioned Identity--the operating system for the Mind.
In the great scheme of things becoming just another member of the human GroupMind--one who doesn't count--not even on the fingers of one hand-.
One,who,in the grand scheme of things,never has counted and never will count-call them countless.
Shadows that flicker and dim on the walls of the Prison of political, racial,national,familial and religious conformity
And these worthless scribblers of poetry less poems do have an all consuming conditioned habit  of consciously ignoring truthfulness and integrity and substituting pathetic sub-teen lower middle class emo whinging "truth"--about their "art" and "insight"and "vision"and their "truth"--always their worthless "truth".
Sitting and mourning the fulfilling love that always evades them and always will evade them--unless they let go of the conditioned identity and the Mind--consigning them to the dustbin of history--where they rightfully belong.
Angst ridden whingers all--in love with their image in the mirror of Minds oh so believable deception.
Scribbling about a conditional possessive love that would have been a valueless truth but never can be the essence of truthfulness.
A conditional possessive love that never was and never will be unconditional and non-possessive.
Whinging about nothing more than conditional love and a truthfulness that never can be for them--- as we see openly here and there and everywhere there are scribblers of poetry less "poetry" who use sites such as this to scribble their pretentious infantile nonsense.
Poverty of values and integrity,orphaned from the Isness of the Universe, children of worthless technological consumerism and followers of false oligarchic hopes.
With their greedy gobs open for any crumbs falling from the rich peoples tables,like baby chicks in the nest--feed me feed me they screech.
Colluding with like minded betrayers of truthfulness,groupminds of
limp wristed bombastic poseurs.
Deluding themselves by babbling media made inane celebrities
empty insights and twisted conclusions--purveyors of puerile pettiness.
Oligarchic media celebrities noted only for the illusions between their ears,and the beguiling way they collude with each other to delude themselves.
Ludare!
Oh how they love to play mind games
Lives spent colluding with these babbling worthless celebrities who know the price of everything and the value of nothing,
Pompous posturing pretentious pissants of aesthetic poverty.
Bound together into a worldwide consumers Groupmind,
persuaded by perverts of PR into believing in the Illusion of Wealth and Demockery that the Oligarchy sells.
To step over the truthfulness threshold is,indeed, to  leave behind their
security blankets of "truth and beauty and revealed knowledge"
and the concomitment meaningless verbiage about "veracity" and "existence".
Shallow and unrequited attempts to own another that the weak and unwanted call "love".
Stomping through the quagmire of conditional love
up to their necks in the **** of consumer garbage.
The Conditional love of possessing another and grasping at thin air
as they submerge slowly in the seas of righteous stupidity .
poets cling to their misconceptions religiously,
poets cling to their ignorance avidly,
poets cling to their proto-fascist politics squeamishly,
with each word and stanza that they write.
Pouring out such pleasant and elegant and flowery and "deep"
words and verses(rhyming or not) that,at their core,
have only one meaning and aim.
Which is!.
To divert and confuse their readers with the"shallow beauty"
of endless strings of meaningless associated but fine sounding words .
To create a groupmind for their poetry business products.
Admire me--buy my product--join my groupmind--eulogise me,
let me rip off your energy--I need your praise,I need your lifes energy
gimme your money honey!.
The Publishing Oligarchy will bestow rewards and honours,
medals and diplomas--critiques fit only to wipe your **** on.
Book sales and the summer Poetry festival circuit--reciting and signing scribbles of narcissism--casting lecherous eyes over dripping **** or stiff wobbling **** in the adoring crowd of sycophants.
The  Media will fawn and adulate and cast its sly net
to entangle your desires in ---infamy awaits.
Come admire me and my use of other poets stolen words,
my criminality in even daring to think the word "poet" has any value.
These are my words about my inexperience and unknowingness they scream possessively in jaundiced teeny remembrance.
Remembrance of mediocre middle class homes and attitudes
of ingrained ignorance and wilful imagined self victimisation.
Eating societies poisoned dishes--.
Serve me up a burger of roasted babies on toast
from Vietnam--live on Channel Whatever.
Or chargrilled peasants from Afghanistan
with breathless commentary from
our "reporter on the spot".
Or homeless mental wrecks from the streets
of any Amerikan or World city big or small,
trailing acerbic criticism from the immoral majority.
Or dead celebrity  consumer junkies in 5 star hotels
complete with PR handouts and **** licking "friends"
positioning themselves for increased sales.
Or the children of the Oligarchs with their "I" newspapers
and inbuilt fascist attitudes.
Who spend their shallow lives hoping for the kind
of meaningless and worthless Honours and Validation
from those that do not have honour or validity..
Or the not just lame but crippled duck presidents with their finely crafted speeches that say nothing but I am a beard wearing  failure,
looking forward to penning lies and calling it a frank memoir
while holding out my hands  for the Oligarchies pennies.
Can anyone tell me where to get a bucket of truthfulness?.
A glass of honesty?.
A tumbler full of veracity?.
A beaker of back breaking honest labour?.
Can anyone tell me where I can find
a peaceful man or woman,of any of the 5 colours.
Not those merely observing a Cease-Fire
while they rearm their weapons of the lies of beauty and truth.
Oligarchy allowed social commentary.
Is there just one decent truthful man or woman out there?.
Judging by the world Id say not.
No Id say not.
Not.
There Ive said it.

www.thefournobletruthsrevised.co.uk
tonight we gather
to mark a
commencement day

four decades on
from a late June
afternoon

exchanging
embraces and
bon voyage wishes

departing a grand
chandeliered Rivoli
embarcadero

bound
to glorious
destinations

our bold sails
welling with
youthful
exuberance
in pursuit of
dreams
and intrepid
endeavors

our life
journeys
are blessed
with rich
abundance,
the grace of
challenge and
the gift of days

this evening
as we reconnect
to share the joys
and wisdom gleaned
from well lived lives
we will also celebrate
in multicolored splendor
the lives of classmates
who have commenced
journeys to other
destinations

though their
earthly sojourn
is complete
passed friends
remain alive
in our memory

surely the spirits
of the beloved
will walk this
room tonight

forever young
their quiet presence
will gently touch
tender hearts

they’ll appear
as they once looked
on their finest day

and as we relive
the bits of our lives
we shared with
one another

we may feel
the grasp of a
warm hand
as we once did
during that
snowy evening
west end walk

we’ll dance with them again
around Tamblyn Field bonfires
gyrating in a shared
ecstatic ebullience

we’ll applaud most likely
to succeed lives
most beautiful smiles
and crack up
to the hilarity of
class clown jokes

we’ll taste the kiss
of an after dark
Lincoln Park
rendezvous

groove to the
rock steady
beat of a
bad company tune  

we’ll submerge again
in a Yellow Submarine
to embark on an epic
Greenwich Village
journey

we’ll roll down
the shore on old
Thunder Road
windows open
hair blowin
radio blastin

we’ll taste the sweet sip
of Cherry Cokes
and Root Beer floats
at Roadrunners

chasing lost love salty tears
spilled over ***** upperclass home boys
and the soft blush sentiment of a
first French kiss

wouldn't it be nice
to swoon to the
fantasy and
winsome yearnings
of favorite
summer songs

filling our head’s
with mind
blowing collages
starring
team mates
drama club
second takes
heady chess club
checkmates

we’ll marvel at the disruption of
premillennial breakthrough science projects
created by pocket protected slide ruling
entrepreneurial math wizards

we'll recall droll gossip
by drab hall lockers
dim gym showers
awkward dances
Yippie people power

patriotic assemblies
cool sharp dressers
right on brother
Que Pasa lil sista

rock and roll album covers
Simon and Garfunkel poetics
Go Go Boots kickin
FM radio psychedelics

Midnight Confessions
emphatically blared
from the cafeteria jukebox
Civil Rights, Earth Day
and righteous
anti war activism

tribes of hoods, Ra’s,
jocks, artistes and tie dye hippies
everything is groovy
lets get a sandwich at Ernie’s

first carnal explorations
Moody Blue Tuesday trysts
man could she speak German
boy do I dig her dress

we did hard time together
at split session detention centers
ate chocolate chip cookies
cracked up to Mr. Thomas’s
Ides of March tragedy

took first tokes and
sips of Boones Farm
we partied hard
and did no harm

admired academic brainiacs
and the civic commitment
of student govie reps
shut down the gubmint
was never a threat 

basketball rumbles
Bulldog football
**** Ludwig soccer teams
nimble cheerleaders

leggy majorettes
kick *** marching band fanfares
compelling masquer presentments
Park Avenue wayfarers

they were
crew mates
on The Soul Boat
rode shotgun
to Midnight Rambler
Doobie Concerts

cruised hard in
the Root Hog
Rat Raced Louie
in tiny white Pintos

we booked
many a mile
with our lost
friends

on the road to
this evening

authoring
volumes of
fabled odysseys
and fantastic
recollections

their stories
are our stories
telling our stories
keeps them alive

some may say
gone too soon
but the measure of
a well lived life
is not counted
in days, nor
accomplishments

but how one has loved
and how much one was loved

quietly there
always with us
forever to be
a wholesome
part of us

as the brothers
from Cooley High
would say

lets tip a sip
for the brothers
and sisters who
ain’t here….

God bless
Godspeed
enjoy the evening
vaya con dios mis amigos

Music Selection:
Pat Metheny
Mas Alla


RHS 74
Class Reunion
Elks Club
Rutherford
11/29/14
ryn Jan 2015
"You love them
With all your heart and soul
Yet, you can't be with them
But you'll never let them go...
And it hurts..."*
- The Girl Who Loved You


Submerged and gasping
Swept away by the immense wave
Thoughts of you I'm painfully drinking
To my heart I'm but a slave

Caught in the undertow
Find myself submitting carelessly
Brushed aside all that I used to know
Drowning in emotional debris

There's strength in me yet
I need not be killed today
I could break free, I could forget
But fight I do not, instead still I lay

Because you see... You are the ocean
And I am but an invisible speck
I, too, want a place in heaven
Not wallow an inconsolable wreck

I'd get washed over but I'd swim deeper
So we could exist only in memory
My heart betrays but never will I sever
Even if you're the love that was never meant to be
Line taken off TGWLY's "To All The People Who Can't Have The One They Love:", for Frank Ruland's "Let's Do A Line!" challenge.

TGWLY is one of the first friends I made here and she's such an incredible writer!

This line of hers bears so much that I'd shed a tear everytime I read it. It rings so true for most of us. It made me relate...it made me feel human.

Thank you TGWLY for the inspiration and Frank for setting up the opportunity for me/us to acknowledge and give credit to those who've penned down solid lines embedded within amazing writes.
miss pie Oct 2014
dreaming sunshine
soothing elixir
backstroke swimming
tranquilize

open seas survivor
floating feelings evacuate
sea salt shake and roll
1,000 stroke communion

turning over and over
nothing much has changed
side stroke view another mile
Making headway resistance is futile
BianchiBlue Aug 2014
Whenever you emerge
catching a breath of air -

I will submerge,

to the twist of an urge
fulfilled with a flare,
whenever you emerge
at the summit of a verge -

without a care
I will submerge,

ready for your surge
with a gasp of air
whenever you emerge
your strength is purged -

with a tug of your hair
I will submerge,

until our breath has merged
our souls aware,

whenever you emerge -

I will submerge
mygreatestescape Apr 2018
there once was a king,
with eyes like the sea,
pondering time beneath
an age old tree,
looking into a river,
checking the pilings
of his straight white teeth,

and upon this river,
with his wallowings
and tea,
there came a voice,
so soft and pristine,
"are you lost, oh master of the land?"

that at first glance he
took,
a beautiful reflection,
submerged in the brook,

"Oh why yes I am!"

he said,
with stars in his eyes,
and a blush for the books,

and he told the reflection
of his castles and his
wealth,
the will to die,
and the catalysts of
good health,
the drudgery and the liers,
the beauty of its spires!

and the reflection spoke softly,
it spoke of desire,
and it moved
as one,
laughing,
making fun,
greedily drinking words
for the gin of the sun,

"my home -too- is a beauty,
oh you would love it my dear!"

said the reflection,
with eyes so clear,
and it spoke of the darkness,
the bleakness too,
the ruined ships,
and the deep inky blue,

and the king's fear grew,
with his hand on his chin,
such long reaching corals,
and jellyfish too,
dimmed the desire to
submerge into such
bluish hues,

but the two lovers,
how tragic!
for how could they
say,
three words that belonged
to the shadows of yesterday?
and how could they unite
the sea and the land,
and prove their love in
the eyes of god's man?

One was all air,
and the other water,
a sacrificial stone,
and sheep for the slaughter,

"Oh love, such beauty, with eyes
so fair, the owner of my heart,
for you I will sacrifice air!"


and the reflection smiled back,
"of that you you must swear."

So the king in the shade,
caressed each grassy blade,
and  planned
and planned,
how to unite
the sea and the land,

and finally the king
sat up in horray,
for he would be the victor
of this fine day,
so he took down
a fine willow
and built a boat,
so his love,
his life would
forever be close
to his grand castle,
and its green
curtained tassels,

but the king had
an uncle,
as bony as could be,
who lusted for the throne,
found the king
sitting next to the sea,
and the king was drowned
before he could moan,
  there
             he bobbed,
and  the king   died
alone,


there once was a king,
who lays under the sea,
with blank blank
eyes,
and a throat full
of seaweed,
yellowing skin,
as fair as could be,
reaching out
for the world,
through the
abyss of the deep.
My grandpa always told me this 'fairytale', gave me nightmares for years to come.
Eliza Sterling Feb 2014
In a peculiar, far off, world, time and place,
The trivial past would be irrelevant, chased away then erased.
Contrary to the reality of distorted lies in front of my face,
These eyes cannot mask fraudulence or disgrace.
Chasing them down with a trace of a defaced case of toxic waste,
I pace as my thoughts race of the time that’s left until I dissipate.
Looking into the murky vase with dying flowers desperate to be replaced,
Misplaced to the one who’d obliterate the beauty I once embraced.

Within my sorrow I woke, shattered love replaced with a heart no longer broke.
Soaked with what I could never cope, I felt passion and choked on my once false hope.
This vision evoked a note; a call of duty for you, my eternity to devote.
Instinctively I knew, the words stuck in my throat, but blindly every incline eventually has a *****.
Surrounded by mirrors shielded with smoke,
As we stared we shared yet nothing we spoke.
Your presence was felt but disguised with a cloak,
Confined in your skin, comfortably lost afloat, for your soul I searched to perpetually stroke.

With blurred vision I envisioned, stood silent, anxious of your condition,
Division of indecision was nothing less than your frightened inquisition.
A hallucination on a mission of who was out to hurt you with consistence,
I understood as you tried to piece together the suspicion of our composition.
Guarded and in position to react upon intuition then the smoke disappeared and you saw our reflection.
No longer was my presence an imposition now in recognition you accepted the ignition of a united evolution.
Successful revision disposed internal superstition,
Our collision created a premonition for our future decisions of precision.

The past’s paths we chose were restricted to our addiction and careless indifference,
The assistance of negative influence stripped us of our innocence.
Blood shot eyes, negligence of appearance, abstracted resistance only creating distance.
Ambiguous and inexperienced, taking shots and hits in an instance,
Distorted images, lacking clarity, the abuse of substance left an absence of existence.
Building tolerance whilst sabotaging resilience, guilty and unable to admit repentance,
Without a witness, secret and safe, no justice to serve and no one to listen.
A mission incomplete and persistent,
We continue to envelope in our disappearance.

In the seam of my sickness I submerge within these contaminated nerves,
Fearing the silence with thirst not to be disturbed,
But absurdly I yearned your unhealthy and perplexed words to be heard,
My tender nature reserved an exclusive place to keep you conserved,
Unstable but concerned I’d preserve you like an herb,
I slurred for forgiveness but observed perhaps this was my turn,
But with your freedom you turned away and flew away like a bird.
Now relentless and pure I burn the surface of my figure, no intent to return.

Yet once we were young, wild and free,
Conducting our train with no fear of where we’d soon be,
The sweet breeze guaranteed the destination with ease,
Imagination without knowledge, amid glee and degree,  
We’d dive and rise above the salty sea,
Later meet beneath that tree with belief the starry sky we’d seize,
Through the debris you still held in your hand the key,
And we’d conquer our dreams, what we sought and believed.

But as I’ve grown within my questioning dome,
My home of stones has nothing to be shown,
Prone to disown my weakened skin and bones,
Candidly I pacify the clone I’ve never known.
In hopes to be flown far ahead of this zone,
I’d hover above in a whispering tone, draining my disease as it’s blown.
My soul will glisten and roam, looking down at my new golden throne,
As I’ve postponed to recognize the beauty of the Earth & my own – No longer shall I be alone.
Michael P Todd Sep 2010
A deep breath—I fill my lungs and close the airway. Submerge my face in a pillow and resolve myself to wait until my lungs burn—I await the pain. My senses screaming, my lungs driving me to let them have the oxygen they so desire—I decline. Funny how I chose that which offers peace to the weary, an item that invites comfort to rob myself of that most archaic means of surviving. I find it interesting how calm I feel while denying myself that which I know I cannot live without. Isn’t it odd how we only become aware of the subtle currents of air that tickle our skin, raising chill bumps where it finds us bare when we deny ourselves its luxury? Luxury. That’s an interesting way to phrase it really—Breathing as a luxury. A gift of power, smug in our abuse and neglect we fail to see what we loose when we breathe. Lying here refusing to give myself life—for that’s what air is really, and breathing is living. I laugh. Oh yes, I find it funny. I catch myself readying to breathe again and I still that notion. Shove it down; subdue it until it is nothing but a stinging memory in my chest. It takes a lot of strength to deny yourself to breathe. But somehow that only drives me to test that strength.
I wonder if I will forget how? Could the muscle memory that pilots such a necessary involuntary act be forgotten? No, of course not. But perhaps the feeling of fresh air full of life could be. Could it? Perhaps not. For even as these words find themselves onto this page I find myself remembering what it feels like to expand my lungs, for the blood to cool as it gathers its fill with oxygen as it travels on its wending cyclical way. I laugh again. The burn begins to spread and I feel my muscles atrophy. Yet they tighten and tense as if under assault, screaming at the atrocity wrought upon them. Though still I refuse to breathe.
I roll away from the pillow, open my face to the still air and feel it tickle as it tries to find a weakness. Denying my lungs for so long I begin to feel my skin breathing. Absorbing oxygen as cellular mitosis continues in spite of my flirtatious dance. Maybe I am just dreaming. I feel the fire subside. As if my body accepts its doom. “No breath for you,” I say. “No easy outs.” And resolve continues.
Amazing how long a person can go without breathing, pushing ever closer to that most primal fear—that of not being able to breathe. But I can. I feel my chest involuntarily expand, demanding the very thing I strenuously withhold. I know by that alone that I can breathe, I can live. But still not once do I begin to inhale the sweetness that I need. I want it now, but the primal is so enticing. After all, it is when we fear that we truly know what it is to live. That’s when we feel life. As if it were a tangible being that we’ve strapped to ourselves so that it won’t escape. I’ve set mine free. I’ve let go. Maybe it will return to me. Maybe it will leave me in my vain attempts to deny myself to continue fickly on to another. But which do it want--Perhaps neither, perhaps something more. Beyond breathing, beyond mere muscle memory, beyond what I cling to. The Pain returns.
I want to breathe. I want to live. I want to feel the rush as all my body awakens and revels in new existence--Rebirth. Its odd how something so ordinary can redefine a person, how something so obviously taken for granted and ignored can make us anew—a Renaissance of living, giving new life to life, helping life live. That’s just funny to say. My chest chuckles--I can’t laugh. I can’t breathe so how could I anyway? I smile. Vanity is alluring. I am vain. I deny that which defines life just to feel alive. Vanity, Luxury, Rebirth, Pain—such is the nature of my breathing, the archaic nature of involuntarily driven muscle memory.
Would I even know how to breathe if it wasn’t burned into the most ancient quadrants of my brain? I don’t even know the part that drives the muscle memory. Perhaps when people die there are a few lingering moments where their lungs contract like the twitching mouth of a decapitated fish, gulping at air to fill dead lungs. Maybe breathing is so primal that it doesn’t end with the rest of the body.
The burn has come. I can feel the fire inside my chest. I welcome its warmth, rubbing my hands over the radiating inferno as if I just came from the dead winter cold without the weathering to block out the chill. The warmth permeates through me. Would breathing feel better than this? Could it? I doubt. Only at the razor edge of life while teetering upon the precipice stealing insecure glances to the other side on the off chance that we may glimpse a greener field do we know what living really is.  So aren’t I living now more so than ever before? Whilst denying myself a breath, aren’t I more aware of what it means to be alive? I laugh. Denying yourself air only leads to an end. No, the end--Death. Yet I appreciate life more so dying than living. I deserve to die. Taking for granted that which is stolen from innocents daily. Innocent? Now that’s a peculiar ideal. They are the same. I wonder if they are aware that they breathe. That’s absurd, of course they are. How could they not be? ******* life, ******* air, but do they know what it means?
I feel my lungs contract again—Pain. That’s all it is now, but why? I know I can breathe, yet I choose not to. Is it the act of forcing myself not to take a fresh breath, or the fact that I have yet to do so that hurts? Maybe it’s because I now know what I’ve been doing all these years. At the brink I realize what it means to live. Was I living before? Yes, but I wasn’t alive. Interesting that, to live without being alive—sounds as if I’m hooked to a load of machines keeping me from decay. That’s all they do really. Awareness, that’s living. Breathing is merely the means. The end is being aware, awakened to the fact that an action which you can’t control is the only thing keeping your head above ground. After all, even when drowning the body wants to breathe.
I open my mouth. I lie to my body. I still fill my lungs with nothing but stubborn desire, desire to delay my breathing. I imagine what it will feel like to take that first breath—a Renaissance of living. I can feel the blood in my veins bubble in anticipation. My body wants to be alive. My heart can’t beat fast enough. Striking a furious pace it pumps my blood through my body spreading life and oxygen to every limb making me light headed and delirious with its purity.
I’ve decided. I’m going to breathe again. I’m going to live. And what’s more, I’m going to be alive.
My mouth still open, my lungs still closed, still screaming, still burning, still tightening in their involuntary way—breathing air that isn’t there, air that they know is there, available to them at their whim. I open my lungs.
I exhale. Now that is interesting. I’ve denied myself the life of breath until my lungs begin to pump out of sheer memory and longing for that which gives them purpose. Denied that which defines life, that which I want—that I need. And I exhale?!? Further delaying what my instinct has told me to take? How is that logical?
Air rushes into my lungs. Funny, I scarce expanded them at all. I feel the life rushing to my fingertips, to my toes, to my ears and eyes—to my kidneys even. I am alive. It’s funny though. Part of me feels like I’ve just died, like I’ve ceased to live. I laugh long and hard, throaty and merry and so brim full of life. I began to live again, became alive at the very instant I ceased to exist. And it is so funny.
Nate Mar 2015
Rain. A flood. Rain a flood that will carry me away. That it will drown my emotion that floods my soul. Drown me so that when I breathe it floods me. Hold me under. Submerge me. Engulf me. Gently. Like a shower. Feel it slowly glide down my body almost as if a tickle. A sensation. A seduction. A caress upon my skin. Then...when I am at ease...strike me. Strangle me. Like hands around my neck, take me in one full ****. Take me under. Purge my soul. Then spill out of me. Violently. Forcefully. Cleanse me. Expel from my body. Let me breathe.

...air...
Andre Baez Aug 2013
Everyone Has a Story… Here’s Five.


Part I: Cousin

I remember
That daze I felt those days
Those days that were fixtures
In my life at the time
But like all good stories
They come to an end
Sometimes abruptly

I was on the island,
At the very top,
Looking down from our mountain,
It was night time,
And the lights shined clearly,
Little holes from the bottom of heaven were penetrating the world,
As they did so I peered on,
Never truly understand what heaven was,
This was my element,
The curiosity which was placed in me,
Since the birth of my being,
Has never been one for being quenched,
Even if my parents tried to beat it out of me,
After a time they kind of hit a fork in the road and decided to go right,
But at the last second I side stepped and ran my behind to the left,
Because the right side isn't always the right way to go,
I felt that their minds died some time ago,
But I was a kid, in the hoods of Puerto Rico,
Only visiting, never witnessing,
The day to day realities,
That came from living so rapidly.

I met my cousin for the second time the days before that night,
He took me under his wing almost immediately and I was happy to follow,
He was a tall man, tattooed from head to toe,
I thought the second I laid eyes on him, that this was my role model
As a lover of Hip-Hop I thought this was how everyone should look,
He would cuss, and spit, and drink, and have several women on deck,
While rolling a couple of joints,
This was the MAN!

However, this view didn't last for very long,
Because on that night,
I witnessed the devil for the first time,
I crawled from beneath my covers,
That my mother had so carefully put into place,
As a safeguard against the realities of the world,
That would come true in my childish fantasies of the boogie man,
The only bad I knew was what was told to me by the news,
People falling left and right cause of wars and other endless fights,
But in my mind they could be brought back to life by the Dragon *****,
Unfortunately Goku wasn't here this night,
I snuck through the house silently,
As the noise would be drowned out by the singing of coquis,
My bare feet hit the humid pavement following the rush down the stairs,
I only wanted to see my view,
The view of heavens holes peering through the vast and dark sky,
It was located at the edge of a cliff that looked over a ravine and then the wilderness,
At the precise moment I stopped to realize my will,
My dream was disrupted by a voice,
Followed by a sound that sliced through my mind and deflated my childish intuition,
A sound that penetrates my adult mind and echoes in the silence to this day,
Muffled screams echoed out after I heard the gunshots ring,
Beneath the sounds of the forests singing,
My heart was pounding slowly,
I was strangely calm rather than panicky and fearful,
Not that I was a brave child, but I remained curious,
Until I saw the blood…
It was then that I saw the dimly lit lamp beneath the moon light,
Resulting in the two bodies casting elongated shadows against the dank Earth,
Followed by a larger body standing over them,
One body was completely still,
While the other one was rocking back and forth,
The terror that took me was shear and raw,
The only other time that I had witnessed such a fear,
Was through the appearance in a pig’s eye,
As my grandfather drove a machete through its heart,
I heard the second shot ring out,
In the same amount of time that it took me to blink,
The other man had been murdered just the same,
And before I knew it the gun was pointed at me,
I stared back and started shaking,
This had to be pure fiction,
But no, this was reality,
I turned to run, but stopped when I realized who it was,
Looking up at me as he exited the thicket and the shadows,
Was my cousin, my role model,
He cocked his head up and looked at me with concern,
But said nothing,
As I ran home breathlessly,
Under the holes into heaven,
That had been put there by bullets,
My childhood was finished…

And I'd never see him again.


Part II: Brother

I remember
That daze I felt those days
Those days that were fixtures
In my life at the time
But like all good stories
They come to an end
Sometimes abruptly

As a child,
I thoroughly enjoyed,
Playing around outside,
I enjoyed getting into play fights,
I loved feeling like I could overwhelm any opponent, but I couldn't.
My brother was way stronger than me,
He had the height advantage,
And best believe he had the weight advantage,
But still, I thought I could manage,
It never really crossed my mind that my brother was a bit off,
To me he was a big kid,
A quiet companion,
My best friend,
My heart.

That was more than enough,
Until one day I went too far,
See my brother had one toy that he loved,
It was string; he'd tear up clothes to make string,
He'd cry up storms at department stores if he didn't get his string,
He'd hit my mother and punch my father if he didn't get string,
I just always thought the exception was me,
I was his play mate, he smiled at me,
Something quite rare for my big brother to do as a result of his condition,
And the medication he was taking,
You see when a child has autism they kind of want to do their own thing,
They want to be on their own,
Enjoying whatever it is they enjoy doing on their time,
But I had a child's mind and a child's ego,
His toys were mine too,
Share with me,
Play with me,
Look at me,
ME, ME, ME!
So he punched me right across the face,
I went flying into a sliding paneled glass door and began crying,
When my mother entered the room,
She asked what was going on and tried to calm me down,
I wouldn't listen so she told me shut up before the neighbors called police,
And we were both taken away,
Being that my mother was a single parent, I believed her,
With that being the case, I closed my eyes and didn't look at my arm,
Nor the blood slowly dripping down it onto my fingertips,
Down to the floor below,
I didn't play much anymore after that,
I was too childish to blame myself,
So the fault was his.

The fault would end up being mine,
As this action being a culmination of things done by my brother,
Led my father and my mother to do what I thought was unthinkable,
They chose to let him go,
Giving him to a group home,
My young mind couldn't even begin to comprehend the pain they felt,
But to me all I could see was two adults giving up on their son,
I saw love and hope dissipate right in front of my eyes,
He was playing with his string in the back seat of the car,
While I sat beside him just watching him,
Saving every movement of his,
And his joy into my memory banks,
To be left to gather dust; because the pain was too much to harness,
But with respect I chose to re-open the chest,
And hold my brother in my arms once again,
Before he was ripped away from me,
And given away to the monstrous people,
That wouldn't let him hug his mother nor me,
I didn't care if this is what was needed to be,
I was losing my brother!
My blood!
My playmate!
My best friend!
My only friend!
My HEART!
It didn't matter that he hit me,
It don't matter if he hit my mother or father,
Because the beating my heart was taking was too much,
For my slim frame and still developing body to handle,
As such my growth was stunted and I gained heart problems,
On top of the asthma,
Autism meant nothing to me,
He was everything!

But it ended with me sleeping alone,
At home he was gone.


Part III: Father

I remember
That daze I felt those days
Those days that were fixtures
In my life at the time
But like all good stories
They come to an end
Sometimes abruptly

I never felt much towards you,
I was taught to love my mother solely,
As she was the one always there to heal my bumps and bruises,
The only memories I have of you from my childhood,
Are of you feeding me God awful food and teaching me to ride a bike,
But I forgot how to ride a bike,
And I could cook what you cooked on my own,
Burnt hotdogs, and pasta, and cereal never really fazed me,
Every other memory is a blur,
Your love was like a line or two painted upon a Mona Lisa of love,
That I had gathered from the various sources of inspiration in my life,
I could always gain appreciation for them,
But not for you.


As I entered my adult years,
You tried to make up for it,
I knew you had pent up guilt inside from not seeing me,
Yet you bought presents and rose up the seeds of another tree,
Seeds that I don't blame,
I only wanted to smell the same flowers that you gave them,
So you were trying to give them to me while I could still smell them,
But that sense was long gone along with my sense of sight,
Literally my vision was fading, but my mind was expanding,
As I was witnessing the world around me quite clearly, and the soul within me,
Just wouldn't release me, from the overwhelming feeling of needing you,
A father figure I could depend on,
A monument for what a man should be, and truly believe in,
As it comes to issues of morality, love, and loyalty,
Up until this point you had only taught me resentment,
Resentment leading to hate,
But I wanted to honor you in place,
So I hide the parts of me that you don't care to see,
I hide my relationships,
I hide my true feelings,
I hide my poetry,
Because if you found those things,
I would no longer be free,
And I refuse to submerge my soul into slavery,
Just for you to feel like you rose up the brightest son,
When truly the darkness is where I was brought up and where I belong,
Moonlight is the only thing I can touch with my pen,
As I compose the paintings residing in my head,
Of wordsmiths and demons battling,
Because words are my angels,
And they have always been there in every instance,
Whenever I've needed a piece of wisdom,
Or a calming presence that would come from the essence,
And recollections of stories of glory,
Stories that helped me forget you,
I love you, and hope our relationship can bloom,
But I no longer wish to speak on you.


Part IV: Mother

I remember
That daze I felt those days
Those days that were fixtures
In my life at the time
But like all good stories
They come to an end
Sometimes abruptly

I was taught to feel love towards you,
And it still remains as strong as ever,
From when I was a child,
Your sacrifice made my life exactly what it is,
Exactly what I needed it to be in order to grow and explore my soul,
To reach for my dreams,
You have always given to me,
Even on your last two cents,
Both would be for me,
You were my mother goose,
Even if I seemed like a young rooster,
Because we were always so different,
You always wanted to mold me into your vision of me,
While you instilled in me many things which cling tightly to me,
You've made someone completely different from what you expected,
I hold different views and truths that are separate from you,
Which is fine, but for a time it would keep me from being who I desired to be,
Because you could never cut the umbilical cord.

In fact, it was wrapped around my neck,
The death of me was coming slowly,
Due to the inhibitions of my creativity,
You loved that I would write, but you hated what I was writing,
Hip-Hop, home to me, was looked at as purgatory,
You couldn't see why I would want to listen to these stories,
Stories of struggling and hustling and juggling jobs, drugs, women, and friendships,
These ships were all sailing gallantly through my mind; the wordplay was so sublime,
And the fact that the words blended with their worlds were so unkind,
Appealed to me, but you were blind,
This changed my perspective,
However what really taught me to be a man,
Was when you began pushing opposing women out of my life,
I would be deep in love, buy-a-ring love,
But one thing would be enough to trigger a string of insults,
And a manikin-like regard for the person of whom I adored,
This was too much for me, you were systematically ending my dreams,
I thank you for your love and for everything that you continue to do for me,
But the cataclysm that was forming in this poets mind,
Was becoming too much to bridge,
If this feeling was to be ongoing,
So as a desperate act of love and care,
I left you behind,
But the love is forever there,
I'm a man because of you,
Your heart will forever reside with me on my journey,
You’ve no need to be frightened,
I’ve got you, I’ve got us,
My senses have been heightened.


Part V: Lover

I remember
That daze I felt those days
Those days that were fixtures
In my life at the time
But like all good stories
They come to an end
Sometimes abruptly

We met after a string of accidents,
Accidents that nearly cost me my life,
These were love losses, blood losses,
Things I’d never thought I could recover from,
The experiences had me going numb,
Until you found me… or did I find you?
It's hard to tell it just seemed like we were two lost souls,
Looking to quell our young hunger for the opposite ***,
Each and every day was spent together,
First on the stoop in front of your sister’s house,
The place where I first kissed your mouth,
Second on the park benches,
This is where hours flourished from minutes,
Third was along the streets of the world,
You were my diamonds and my pearls,
Indestructible and irreplaceable,
Once you met the paper you were there forever,
With that ink blood that flows through your veins,
A fellow poet whose love would stain my mental,
Instrumental in gifting my simple world with a new understanding,
It wasn’t how I imagined, but God laughs at notions of planning,
I finally found out what it meant to be in love,
I never had two people show me what it was,
Honestly the many descriptions of hate,
Is what would be seen at the gate of my consciousness,
As such, I believed this same fate would await me,
It was once the singular feeling with which I could relate,
But the euphoric hands you laid on me,
Made me lose an awake thought process,
As I was in a lake filled with your waters,
That would flow to rivers,
Followed by seas of your loving,
Seas consummating your body,
As I laid on the beach,
Believing it to be a dream.

But it wasn't, and it shouldn’t have ended,
In reality, love has ways of being reprimanded,
I was so lucid, and the picture was candid,
It was the simplest of pleasures that I'd ever been handed,
I learned right away the right things to do,
To flow from my heart and work my way into you,
To take care of my lips,
A rough kiss can't ******,
Nor find proper pleasure,
Along a woman's surface,
You’d allow me to peruse your mind,
Sending shivers up your spine,
As I embarked on my conquest,
Explorations of lustful aspirations,
Symbolizing and synthesizing,
Each and every stroke,
Representing a new letter,
In the alphabet of love,
Allowing our tale to unwind,
To combine the breathlessness of our exploits,
With our hearts desire for choice,
Which declined to lend voice,
To the greater work to be done,
The acquisition of newer positions,
Are symptoms of the journey,
Keep going, never surrender,
Be tender and conquer,
Mental foreplay is stronger,
Than any physical touch.

Love of a poet both bold and stoic,
Is a simplistic view of unfolded vibes and rhythms from the inside,
This could never subside to anything less than genuine spirit of heart and signs,
Among the winds, trees, stars, because you are the art,
You are Moses parting the red sea of my subconscious,
You are the dark sphere which encircles me,
You are the light that penetrates me,
You are harmonic melodies and sweet remedies,
You are rude symmetries and cool symphonies,
You are a lesson learned and an angel untouched,
With exception of me,
Hushed whispers or high pitched screams,
Mean nothing, without the mind following the body to finality,
The fluidity of our ****** motion,
Is a reflection of our mental state,
I seek not to pass through you,
I seek to become one with you.

That's how I feel about poetry,
That's also how I feel about ***,
That's how I feel about you,
You showed me the way,
You are my soul mate,
One with the words I write,
And the memories that I seek the convey,
You are the sun pouring through with the rain,
You are my miracle, one year my junior,
Fifty years older under the skin,
Deep within, your soul, my solar,
Not an eclipse, but a shimmering glow,
Always for my love and never for show.

I fall in love with people's honesty.
Their smile.
Funny jokes.
Tears.
Scars.
Passions.
Eyes.
Dreams.
Their spirit.

Word to Marley Soul.

Five steps in my growth,
Five indispensable cogs of my sou
Fayre Jul 2018
In sable darkness and deafening sounds of her bedroom silence,
she found herself aching
in deep cogitation.

The full moons brightness had peered in
through her window pane,
but with its light
encompassed her with defeat
and decay.

Reality had settled in;
as she felt her body slowly submerge,
She knew
she was no longer her own saving grace.

She awoke in a place of death and morbidity,
But awoke in a state of contentment and comfortability.

Her agony remained; as the remembrance of today,
the ideas of what will come tomorrow,
and the hope of assurance to what she forebodes her future to be,
with the life she leads.

At last

the words had finally escaped.

“Bittersweet serenity.”
Sometimes I write at night.
There's something about the evenings that make me feel inspired.
ryn Aug 2014
We can only afford to contain our fires
Turning to... Soothsaying waters

Soothsaying rain, empty out your bottles
Irrigate from our heart puddles
Let flow into a singular well
An oasis where our hearts would kiss and silently tell

Submerge us as one being
The water milling and licking
Kissing our warm skins
Wash away as it purges and cleans

Cleansing waters, wash and give birth
Rid of the sadness to reveal the earth

Of this earth, you and I are one
Looking up to idolise the same sun
Wedged between... This expanse of redundant land
Pining for the mixing of our sands

We... We are made of the same
Earth, dirt and gravel placed in different games
Bearing similar stones that beat
Beating away the seconds that flit

Earth biding time... Stay on ground
Let wind take your souls to realms unbound

Casting our souls into the wind
Carved hearts on flags we pinned
Kites of love set to catch the air
Wind be kind... Carry us easy with care

Gift us your gentle airy fingers
As you would the sails of hopeful seafarers
Together we would dance and billow
Frolic upon your light feathered pillow

Ride the wind, on wings that never tire
Tiny bites that keep us afire

Never needing a flint to set alive the flame
Stoking the fire that burns on the same
Rhymes and reasons be our fuel
Combat logic and sense in a cerebral duel

Fight in our eyes, subdued are the blazes
Embers dormant behind glassy tearful gazes
Spark them to life with passionate heat
Fan them to rage till the time our hearts meet

But still... We must contain our fires
With nothing but soothsaying waters
mzwai Aug 2014
"I am made up out of dreary routinely aspects."*
.
The afternoon always spans out throughout each morning,
And I awake within each in a bed I have spent eternity within.
I unveil the sheets, stand myself up onto the ground,
And rub my eyes of their tiredness.
I adjust the straps of the clothes I wear, and stand up
And just wait there.
The room is usually empty and often I feel like I am apart of the paint of the walls.
Like I am stuck upon them like a rock in the concrete or a figure that can be scraped from it.
I un-mount my position like a fly un-mounts a jar and swindle across my bedroom to
The door and go through the unfamiliar house to the kitchen where I collapse onto the chair.
I stare at the table, and caress its granite. I stand up and fix up the coffee in the corner.
I listen to the whistling of the kettle as it replaces the birth of an old silence.
'Its cold outside' it reminds me. It's always cold outside.
I pour the coffee and add the sedatives that would otherwise leave my thoughts racing within me,
And sip from the cup as I stand in the corner.
I leave it, sit at the table, and stare at the granite again.
The wind outside is not whistling, but rustling the leaves. I am reminded of thunderstorms.
Lightning, thunder, clouds, lightning, thunder, clouds,
I sip the cup again.
There is an old familiarity behind the noises outside the window,
I **** myself uselessly to infatuate a rhythm to the steps of the branches of the winter trees.
The kitchen is filled with the noises of these audacities,
and once, perhaps last year July,
Their repetitive sounds would escape their waves and induce me frightened alone in my kitchen chair...
But now, they do not frighten me.
Not since last year July.
I pick up the teaspoon from the side and enter it into the cup,
Neither have been washed from their last usage or usages.
As I stir, I hum a melody that is quieter than the rustling. A melody that is quieter than me myself.
When the coffee cup is empty, I lay my hands onto the granite and force myself up.
I stumble towards the door and through the house and back into the bedroom.
Sometimes the days are loud, and sometimes I am a figure to its silence.
I enter the bedroom and sit at the rocking chair that would of belonged to someone else
In another world where there was furniture for the restless women who stayed awake...
And I do not rock, I only sit.
My sleeping gown covers my legs,
but if I could, I would imagine a dress much shorter than this.
Showing the scars, the marks, the knees, the bones, the skin layers, the worn-out
Wrinkles and the sighing thighs.
I would picture their lengths dominated by the visibility of threads of cloths that
Are for some other woman in some other world.
I sit up and almost fall,
Then use the armchair to balance me as I mount onto the carpet,
Where I stand again and tremble.
I walk towards the bed,
Then turn around. I exit the bedroom.
I walk through the house and past the kitchen and enter
The bigger room with the chandelier and the grand piano.
There are picture frames in this room, but they do not show faces-
They only show sentences.
Scriptures,
and I ignore them, and sit myself at the grand piano.
Middle C has turned from the ivory color to
Brown. And I blow the dust away.
Ave Maria begins with the note G,
But I play the highest note on the set of keys
With my left hand,
Then roll across it one by one as if I'm playing an infinite scale.
And watch my fingers as they shake upon each valorous key.
'One, two, three' I whisper
Then play another note.
'One
Two
Three.'
I put my hands to my side then realize that there are tears rolling down my cheeks.
There is no window in this room,
I hum again and now it is the loudest sound in the house...
But it is still, oh so quiet.
The furniture in the room is all in standard condition,
As I stand up, I close my eyes and remember them without having to look at them.
As they are, as they have always been.
I walk to one of the walls that present four picture frames.
All of them show a man and a woman in each-
And all of them are blank.
There is a quote underneath one of them that reads, "The house must be tendered well-
for now home is where the heart is."
I read it out aloud, repeat it, then read it out a third time.
"If home is where the heart is," I then say, "then my heart must still be in July."
I look around...
"Last year."
This is my house... And it has not been tendered in a very long time.
I walk away from the wall again, face the piano,
Then walk out of the room and past the kitchen to the bedroom again.
There is a bathroom to the side, I remember,
I enter it and place myself fragilely at the sink and the mirror.
My face is in its center, and the tiles around of me create a green shade to my pale skin.
There is little hair left on my head, but I brush it away and look deeply into the shallowness
Of my eyes.
I hum again,
and I am echoed by the tiles of the bathroom walls.
But I am still oh so quiet. I hum louder.
Then I turn to the bathtub in the area of space in the corner of the bathroom.
There is still water inside of it from the previous day...or week.
I walk to it and realize that there are no windows in this room.
I enter the water, and sit in the bathtub.
The dress floats at the surface.
I am still humming.
I submerge my head within the water,
then bring it out after a few seconds.
I submerge it again and keep it in for longer,
then bring it out again.
I submerge myself within it again...
It is drastically cold and it's temperature permeates my bones and leaves me feeling
Bloodless.
The water enters my nose, my mouth, goes down my throat and suddenly,
I am out of it again and choking at the head of the bathtub.
I bring myself out of it, weakly and exasperated, onto the bathroom tiles.
I exit the bathroom and walk back into the bedroom.
I collapse onto the bed and then pull the sheets on top of my dried shaking body.
I exhale...
"The sheets used to love you." A voice in my head says.
"If you were to veil yourself every-night like a queen in marriage to a dead man,
Then no one would blame you for never actually showing yourself."
And I listen...
Then that is exactly what I do.
I think about the loss of my neurons,
Then append my thoughts to race under their sedatives as I pull the sheets around my entire body.
Eventually, I stop shaking.
But when I open my eyes, I realize that only my body has.
"I wonder how these memories would feel like," I whisper again,
"If they were in the mind of some other woman,
In some other world..."
I close my eyes,
I close my mouth,
And I go to sleep.
Sy Lilang Aug 2014
Wet season becomes dry
But dryness is not permanent;
It's a test.

And when one embrace the vision,
There will be a provision
Unto him, due to his higher calling.

There is a revival
An awakening of the soul
There, justice shall submerge
And it shall be a payback time.

For to where a revelation lies,
There will be power and inspiration
And the keys to the multitudes:
Faith, prayer and obedience.
Poetic T Aug 2015
I wallow in submerged thoughts,
Each movement is a drowning moment
Wasted energies of nothing
Under foot or part.
Will I submerge my inner self
In desperation,
Or will I float on hope.
Reliance is a bubble,
One that can easily be pierced
Then we sink beneath the crumbling thoughts
And we submerge slowly into tainted obscurity.
Worldeater Oct 2014
The Sun recedes
Shadows reverse into their dreams
The darkness sings and rings
Begging to justify its means

As with life comes death
And a hope that we will be redeemed
We anticipate rebirth
Our awakening's awakening

Through black and white verse
Our voices shall submerge.
Harmonious.
Dre G Jan 2014
if the god of impulse and
furious fire decides to strike our
planets with etherial combustion,
then let us bathe each other in
plasma, let us crack like red glass
into madness, let us mine deep into
our lungs for oxygen and tie our wrists
tight with the bonds, proud, covalent,
bursting forth, so exothermic that
the molten waves submerge us.

we are not two animals who have succumb to
the embers of electromagnetism. we are plates in
the lithosphere who have built infernal mountains
across the ocean floor, millennia of melting together
atop the blazing peaks.
Bryce Aug 2018
To have them shipped across the sea,
sitting like ornamental drops
tinsel strung around your eyes
pocketed the tree

walking down sunset avenue
reeking of bamboo stalks and water chestnuts
looking for a place to submerge your treasure
with a rattling breath do you deflate

And the Oak trunk that grows unimpeded
hanging her branches
caressing the Spaniard shingles
the clay missionary tabs
touching the stucco with a golden blade
of sunlight
cutting a thousand little strips
to hang about the face
moving a thousand miles a second
stopped in place with the quiet repose
of a yoga state

humming and shimmering
yet let me be sweet oak tree.

And I wander through the canyon boulevard
between the rocky cliffs and the endless riff
of surf-rock echoed off skate parks
and riding the PC
highway hair bedraggled and snaked into next week
lingering bonfire on the cotton shirt
plant for plant
*** for tat
seed to breed
Now dance, you and me.

Insinuation
drooling salivary tongue full
bacon
pigging out on burgers
getting red-eyes from vegans
smoking plants
murderers

We squirt,
relish on the act of dying
all things dying
choking life second by second
dying to live.
Staring at neon fins lining the gravel lot
Koi flickering beneath the celestial night
Suspended pondwater
pondering
In surfce tension
the deep mysteries of life

Tracing the snake through the winding streams
we watch atop the rooftop
Gaia
Taking in the burgeoning
Ocean of incandescent tangerine
and Peyote-light
Cacti hidden somewhere between
the quiet slumber of mindless streets
aligned by formless hands
Drinking the mescaline
air

Twisting the nightly moments
as locks of hair
I curled them, slipping, within my fingertips
tracing the long winding road of Tao
along her shoulders
Enraptured by her sensual bliss

When I finally drifted along the clouded memories
of divine rumbling eyes
she disappeared into the sky
blinking along the Jet turbines
Never meant to be mine
for more than a night
Kemy Sep 2018
Can I write you a love song
I’ll sing it softy in your ear all night long
Blow gently without words on my saxophone
Diamond and Pearls behind the throne
A beautiful ensemble meant for only you
As I give credence too
Take my hand
Cross this journey with me as I sing about faraway lands
Past Egypt pyramids shifting Morocco sands
Lay back my love, allow your mind to silently drift
Feel the enchantment of my piano keys as it spiritual uplifts

I’ll sing love songs of old
A cappella chorus echoed from deep within my enlighten soul
I’ll sing to you about the blues, society’s injustice, and elements of darken storms
Keep your heart warm, while playing my French Horn
Enrapture foretold from this dedicated symphonic poem
A music sheet of percussion, woodwind, brass, keyboard, and strings
Harmony carrying the mind away as the joy of coming spring
I’ll hum your favorite beats, can you feel the crescendo now
Fiddle from the heart by the sweat of one’s brow

Submerge your cerebral cortex, lose yourself in the sultry tunes
Harp sounds bathe of light kissed from the illuminating moon
Destiny overcasts in the lyrics
Fate floating stratospheric
Karma of others handled in the eyes of satiric
Opera, I give you so grand in its grace
French Creole dialect murmured among silk and lace
Sounds of my flute resonant to face
Allowing my Cello sounds to thoroughly embrace

Can I write you a love song
Body and soul serenading soprano to keep you standing strong
My guitar stringing your philosophies along
An equal equation, one plus one equals two
Emotions, feelings, sentiments, its tenor expressed only for you
No compass to my heart, my seasonal love found in hidden melodies
Trombone guiding back and forth breathless as it please

Orchestra sounds
Ascending minds, bodies, souls, pass the opening clouds, divine and profound
The last note sung by me as we gradually come down
Beautiful music embraced, needs never to make a sound
Shh, close your eyes
Meditate on the music for a little while

Hush sweet baby don’t say a word
My heart softly tweets to a mockingbird
If that mockingbird don’t sing
Can I write you a love song created only for your being
As minds are sightseeing
Hearts fleeing
Timpani drums guaranteeing
Entwined of our divine wellbeing
Emotions freeing
Crooning of bodies heard as the day is long
Can I write you a love song
Love songs are one of the great essences of life, the only thing that's lasting.

George Benson
Madeleine Toerne Aug 2015
I don’t know what to order so I order the cheapest thing on the menu
I don’t know if you have lotion, but if you do could I use some
you pulled something out of your pocket, that attracts the consumer I’m sure
it looked lip balm, it looked like blush, but it was lotion

you walked me to your place
made me a whisky and soda
you had mint, you put it in
before then I had read about that only in novels
I didn’t go home soon
I was thinking of polyamory, the next morning at noon
the next morning at noon
curly hair, brown skin, brown skin, curly hair
nose ring, curly hair, brown skin, nose ring, and curly hair

guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt guilt in the morning
I’m mourning over my Catholic upbringing
and do I always have to tell the truth when I write something
I don’t wanna drink and drive like I don’t wanna drink and make love
make love with a woman
I don’t wanna drink and just fritter and **** away
******* guilty conscience
you’re wrong socialized conscience

let me dip my feet, let me submerge
Denisse May 2014
I'll ride in a unicorn if I had a chance
Go visit the hidden garden and take a glance
I'll go drop and make a dance in the moon
Through the magic carpet and massive balloon.

I'll watch the star from falling
Tie a hanky and keep myself wishing
I'll fly with the help of the birds
Make a big conversation with the clouds.

I'll submerge in the sea to play with Ariel
Dance under water and collect shell
I'll travel to visit Alice in the Wonderland
Not minding the dirt in the sand.

I'll ride on the plane and go to Paris
Tour myself in the city of poetry
I'll go to Eiffel Tower to have my dream come true
I don't care if I will go alone, atleast I have my happiness upto my bone.

Paris will be an amazing trip, but it isn't enough
I want to go visit the Queen
In the place where my favorite boyband has been
The place called London, the land I wish I was on.

It's always an amazing thing to imagine
And there is no other place for this, only in this piece.
When you write poem, you can go where you want, you can do whatever you want, you can act without limits. That's an awesome thing in a poem. YOU CAN DO WHATEVER YOU WANT.
I'm unassured with the words I think,
slipping, skipping days, I sink.
I lost my mind in my head's black,
and died in the depth trying to get it back.
Maybe I'm a resented presence;
pressed upon malnourished intentions.
I can't find the point anymore;
I can't brim the dark anymore,
and if I submerge below my purpose,
what am I even fighting for?
--------------------------------------
All feedback is welcome and appreciated
pat pakla Jun 2012
Fatima Latima**

I had wished I had no gift of sight
That the worst I could endure is hear you speak
And not snapshot the footfall of your gradation

You may not be a thief
Nor ****, daughter of the dayspring
But definitely my heart you stole

I speak of the daughter of Arabia  
Aesthetically, she rocks
The queen of the pilgrim sands
And aeonian desert stones

Beyond the hijab
Artistically knead with consummate craft
Like the relics of Mecca
Blest by the prophet’s bones
The blessed

I see torches
Beaming with intelligence
Within those mascaras
Exquisitely trimmed and vibrant
A lulu class botany

She fixes a searching gaze
As she saunters close
And the stride and tread
Beats a drum entrancing
Soothed in her solacing spell
I give in, to her lullaby

She halts her perambulation
Stands magniloquent and stupefy
Like some pop diva magazine pose
Or Victorian secret shot
A tactical derangement of her gluteals
As she rests her palm in its cleft
I feel contractions, my dartos muscles

The blew of summertime
Gently beats her exceptional form
Her belt submerge her thigh crevice
Cleft by the sundered rift of fleshy fat
Built by the dainties and delicacies
Seasoned by the finest Arabian chef
As her silken dress slithers and gowns
Under the breeze bulging and blooming
Like a rose blossom or sunflower fore

As she bends down
To assuage the burlesque
The sun specula lilts her sensational
Her smile apologetic bids me stillness
I am caught staring
Guzzling down her scent and
Feasting on empty imaginations
Of What If that accentuate the mind and
Speed a hormone
And I pray I sin no more
Next time we meet and I see her again

For I am but a writer
Learning to use my pen and paper
And hope you but forgive
My linguistic impotence
When I make my confession
Employing too plain a language
When I say thus;

Her smile is classical
Her walk magical
Her beauty celestial
Her stride sensational
Her religion ethical
Her character spotless
And that leaves me breathless

And forgive if I step on broken toe
And try speak of the unspoken
Her ****** is sacred
Her being a type that dresses up
In the milliards of brutes dressing down
And shamelessly style it fashion

I must see a priest
One confession I ought to utter
And even vociferate abroad
For once I had fallen in love
With an Arabian Beautie
A ****** of Mecca.
Dahlia Jun 2017
♡♡♡


"TEACHINGS ADVISE AGAINST FORMING ATTACHMENTS."
To avoid it as much as possible;
Nothing or no one is guaranteed to last forever.
One must avoid materialistic ambition and luxurious desires,
Blink and rub away their hungry, dollar sign eyes.
Greed and longing for possessions that are often obtained
To impress people that do not even care about you
For one could never place a numerical value
On the breathtaking

                                              wonde­r

                                              that

                                              is

                                              you.
  

♡♡♡


"ATTACHMENT TO PEOPLE LEADS TO DISAPPOINTMENT."
One cannot rely on another for happiness;
For people may leave you, abandon you, hurt you.
You cannot ever truly know someone's thoughts and feelings;
Whether their ill intentions and snake eyes are hidden well
Behind pearly whites and cold, empty embraces.  
Those who you would gladly endure hardships for,
Bleed, cry, sweat, fight, suffer for,
Could abandon or betray you whenever they choose;
Thus, ultimately

                                              leaving­

                                              you

            ­                                  truly

                                              empty.


♡♡♡


"Y­OU SHOULD FIND HAPPINESS WITHIN YOURSELF."
For you will always be there for you;
A simple guarantee that is overlooked and forgotten
As one's perspective shifts from minimalism to materialism.
Love the way you capture thoughts and ideas,
   The way you intertwine two differing sides of your brain with ease
   Intelligence, creativity, peculiarity and individuality is exercised
   In the imagination of your bewildering, complex mind.
Love the way your physical body safeguards your untamable spirit,
   The way it coats the essence of your being in a protective shell
   Like the undying tenderness each speck of stardust
   Has for the immensely astonishing galaxy that it composes.
Love the way you are able to feel raw, passionate love
   That ****** and tugs at your delicate heart strings
   And gallops down each vertebrae of your spine
   In a jolt so vigorous that your mind, body, and spirit
   Unite to form an explosive feeling that can only be experienced
   When you watch her jaw drop in awe at the beauty that is

                                              within

                                              a

                                              fiery

          ­                                    sunrise.


♡♡♡


I SUBMERGE IN THE INTRICATE BEAUTY THAT SURROUNDS ME.
I become deeply infatuated, captivated, inspired
At the mesmerizing magnificence that constructs a single being.
It may just simply be my tendency to pay attention to detail
As a perfectionist's mind can appreciate small things
Oftentimes timidly, quietly, and from afar,
But nonetheless immensely deep and passionately
To the point where I cannot find words for such beauty;
The most I can do is curl the corners of my mouth upwards
And allow an exhilarated sigh to

                                              escape

                                              my

                                              parted

         ­                                     lips.


♡♡♡


I WANT TO CONTINUE LOVING, UNDERSTANDING, AND CONNECTING.
Hopes, dreams, fears, thoughts, personalities, quirks, mannerisms;
Every single aspect of a being who I am blessed to exist with
Sparks a curiosity in me that is unmovable and insatiable.
It gently takes my hand and journeys me through an alluring dance
Of exploration, adoration, and understanding
Spinning and swaying to music that reverberated in our unified souls,
Who's tune and melody sparked and crackled
Magma and fire in our core,
Who's beat and rhythm soothed and eased
Streams of water through our veins
Until we

                                              collapsed

                                              in

                                              the

                                              most

                                              beautiful

                                              way.


♡♡♡


I have never felt so free,

So happy,

So alive.
Michael R Burch Mar 2020
Modern Charon
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Warming Her Pearls
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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



Safe Harbor
by Michael R. Burch

for Kevin N. Roberts

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

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

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

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

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



Distances
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The Poetry Porch/Sonnet Scroll



Fascination with Light
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

a soft blur.

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

and flutters and drifts on in dark aimless flight.

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

Originally published by The HyperTexts



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Water and Gold
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



escape!!!
by michael r. burch

for anaïs vionet

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



Leave Taking
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

have learned what it means to say—
goodbye.

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



Passionate One
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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



Stay With Me Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

Originally published by The Lyric



This poem has over 600 results for the eleventh line:

First They Came for the Muslims
by Michael R. Burch

after Martin Niemoller

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

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

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

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

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

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



bachelorhoodwinked
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



chrysalis
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

and yet You must love Your Self



Self Reflection
by Michael R. Burch

(for anyone struggling with self-image)

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

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



War is Obsolete
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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



In My House
by Michael R. Burch

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

Manifest Destiny?

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

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

I feel my tongue
stilting accordingly.

We were wrong;
brother, forgive me.

Published by Black Medina



Shock
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



In Praise of Meter
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Completing the Pattern
by Michael R. Burch

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



The Communion of Sighs
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

Published by Grassroots Poetry and Poetry Webring



The Harvest of Roses
by Michael R. Burch

for Harvey Stanbrough

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

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

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



White in the Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

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

tell Regret it is not so rare.

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

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



The Octopi Jars
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



The Children of Gaza

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



Epitaph for a Child of Gaza
by Michael R. Burch

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



Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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

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

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



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

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

Where does the butterfly go?

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

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



I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

for the children of Gaza and their mothers

I pray tonight
the starry Light
might
surround you.

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

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



Something
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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

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

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



Mother’s Smile
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza and their children

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

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

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

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



Such Tenderness
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza

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

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

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

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



who, US?
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

“who’s to blame?”



My nightmare ...

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



I, too, have a dream ...

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



Suffer the Little Children
by Nakba

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



Piercing the Shell

for the mothers and children of Gaza

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the lost gold of vanished stars.

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



Habeas Corpus
by Michael R. Burch

from “Songs of the Antinatalist”

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



In His Kingdom of Corpses
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Uyghur Poetry Translations

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



Free Fall to Liftoff
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



The One True Poem
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

even so,
We were One.



The Poem of Poems
by Michael R. Burch

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



Peace Prayer
by Michael R. Burch

Be calm.
Be still.
Be silent, content.

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

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

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

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



Sometimes the Dead
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



What the Poet Sees
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



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

Athena takes me
sometimes by the hand

and we go levitating
through strange Dreamlands

where Apollo sleeps
in his dark forgetting

and Passion seems
like a wise bloodletting

and all I remember
,upon awaking,

is: to Love sometimes
is like forsaking

one’s Being―to glide
heroically beyond thought,

forsaking the here
for the There and the Not.



O, finally to Burn,
gravity beyond escaping!

To plummet is Bliss
when the blisters breaking

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

Feathers and wax
and the watchers huddle ...

Flocculent sheep,
O, and innocent lambs!,

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



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

for the Night has Wings
gentler than moonbeams―

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

fluttering off
to quarry the Sphinx.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Quixotic, I seek Love
amid the tarnished

rusted-out steel
when to live is varnish.

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

soak by the candle,
aflame in the tub.



Riddlemethis,
riddlemethat,

Rynosseross,
throw out the Welcome Mat.

Somewhither, somewhither
aglitter and strange,

we must moult off all knowledge
or perish caged.

*

I am reconciled to Life
somewhere beyond thought―

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

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

so fatten the oxen;
make a nice baste.

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

though we injure noone,
ourselves wildaglow.

Published by The Lyric and The Ekphrastic Review



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Each Color a Scar
by Michael R. Burch

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

She did not speak,
but her intention
was clear,

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

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

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

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



Ultimate Sunset
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



Free Fall
by Michael R. Burch

for my father, Paul Ray Burch, Jr.

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



Sanctuary at Dawn
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

"My father!"
"My son!"

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



All Things Galore
by Michael R. Burch

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

Grandfather,
now in your gray presence
you are

somehow more near

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

wish

that ululate soft phrase,
that hopeful phrase!

and everywhere above, each hopeful star

gleamed down

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

and taught me heaven, omen, meteor . . .



Attend Upon Them Still
by Michael R. Burch

for my grandparents George and Ena Hurt

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

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

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

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

make them complete.



The Composition of Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

for poets who write late at night

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

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

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

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

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



First Steps
by Michael R. Burch

for Caitlin Shea Murphy

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

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

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

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



brrExit
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Vacuum
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

that once intrigued us so.

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

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



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

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

What is their brazen goal?

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Charles d'Orleans translations of Rondels/Roundels/Rondeaux

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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



In the Whispering Night
by Michael R. Burch

for George King

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



Birdsong
by Rumi
loose translation by Michael R. Burch

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



After the Deluge
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



grave request
by michael r. burch

come to ur doom
in Tombstone;

the stars stark and chill
over Boot Hill

care nothing for ur desire;

still,

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

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

so come, spend ur last hardearned bill
on Tombstone.



Defenses
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Pool's Prince Charming
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



The Aery Faery Princess
by Michael R. Burch

for Keira

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



pretty pickle
by Michael R. Burch

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



and then i was made whole
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Album
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Because You Came to Me
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



Beckoning
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Besieged
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

and the rout begins.



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

(for mothers battling addiction)

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

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



Loose Knit
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Alien Nation
by Michael R. Burch

for a Christian poet who believes in “hell”

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

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

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

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



Burn
by Michael R. Burch

for Trump

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

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



Burn, Ovid
by Michael R. Burch

“Burn Ovid”—Austin Clarke

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



*** 101
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

The most unlikely coupling—

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

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

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

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

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



honeybee
by michael r. burch

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



honeydew
by michael r. burch

i sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle!



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

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



Huntress
Michael R. Burch

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



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

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

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

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

Originally published by The Chained Muse



Ince St. Child
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



Lullaby
by Michael R. Burch

for Jeremy

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

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

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

Will wake together, by and by.

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

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

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

Know nothing but this lullaby.



Kin
by Michael R. Burch

O pale, austere moon,
haughty beauty ...

what do we know of love,
or duty?



Kindred
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Reflections
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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



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

for Trump

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

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Café Dissensus



Remembrance
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



Resurrecting Passion
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

Published in Songs of Innocence and The Chained Muse.



Currents
by Michael R. Burch

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

Originally published by The Lyric



Righteous
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



R.I.P.
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Originally published by Romantics Quarterly



The Shape of Mourning
by Michael R. Burch

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

the bolt of cold steel
on a locker
shielding memory,

the monthly penance
of flowers,
the annual wake,

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

the useless mower
lying forgotten
in weeds,

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



Tillage
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



For All That I Remembered
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

Originally published by The Raintown Review



Hearthside
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



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

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

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

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



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

I know the truth―abandon lesser truths!

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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



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

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

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

in ourselves.



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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



Villanelle: Hangovers
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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



Haunted
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

Published by Romantics Quarterly



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

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

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



Her Preference
by Michael R. Burch

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

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



hey pete
by Michael R. Burch

for Pete Rose

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

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



Nevermore!
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

their skeletal love―impossibility!

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



Mehmet Akif Ersoy: Modern English Translations of Turkish Poems

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



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

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



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

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



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

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



W. S. Rendra translations

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

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

Best wishes for an impending deflowering.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then comes light,
life, the animals and man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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



Recursion
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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



Lines for My Ascension
by Michael R. Burch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



The Quickening
by Michael R. Burch

for Beth

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

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



Ah! Sunflower
by Michael R. Burch

after William Blake

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



Published as the collection "Modern Charon"

Keywords/Tags: Charon, Styx, death, ferry, boat, ship, captain, steering, helm, wheel, rudder, shipwreck, disaster, night, darkness, 911, 9-11, mrbch
I live a shallow life.
No one is willing to submerge too deep.
I see them all around me…
Dancing on the sand,
Their skin hot from the sun,
& burning with romance.
I let them come and go as they please,
Stepping in my puddle by the sea,
Taking away a little at a time,
Leaving me alone…yet free.
I hear the others coming,
Rolling in so gently,
Each just a passerby
Speaking to me eloquently.
I see in the distance the whole that I should be,
But here I wait, unattached…
Just like a puddle by the sea.
woe May 2018
“Knees deep in sands, we’ll wander. Let’s sit engaged in guessing”
Much I marvel your every utterance,
I can’t help but to let my mind stray away far as the solar walk.
Its wings are to be unfolded and make leap,
And you’ve known me all too well to ever even dare coming rap.

“As the silence’s unbroken, the stillness starts suffocating”
I sorrow for the morrow,
I furrow in a world of moans.
'Forever' is a children’s tale made to amuse,
And joy’s never one to fuse.
But you, enchant your fancy into smiling.
And roses grow along your curve.

While I, rue.
We, submerge.
Stephan Cotton May 2017
Another shift, another day, Another buck to spend or save
A million riders, maybe more, delivered to their office door
Or maybe warehouse maybe store.
Or church or shul or city school, right on time as a rule.

Clickety, clackety, clickety, clee,
I am New York, the City’s me
Come let me ride you on my knee
From Coney Isle to Pelham Bay
From Bronx to Queens eight times a day.

Ride my trains, New Yorkers do
And you’ll learn a thing or two
About the City up above, the one some hate, the one some love.
On the street they work like elves
Down below they’re just themselves.

Through summer’s heat they still submerge,
Tempers held (though always on the verge),
They push, they shove – just like above –
The crowds will jostle, then finally merge.

Downtown to work and then back to sleep
They travel just like farm-herded sheep.
In through this gate and out the other,
Give up a seat to a child and mother,
Just don’t sit too close to that unruly creep!

With these crowds huddled near
Just ride my trains with open ear,
There’s lots of tales for you to hear.


Dis stop is 86th Street, change for da numbah 4 and 5 trains.  Dis is a Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.   77th Street is next.  Watch out da closin dowahs.


     I’m Doctor Z, Doctor Z are me
     I’ll fix your face or the visit’s free.
     Plastic surgery, nips and tucks
     You’ll be looking like a million bucks.

     Looka those pitchas, ain’t they hot?
     You’ll look good, too, like as not!
     Just call my numbah, free of toll
     Why should you look like an ugly troll?

     You’ll be lookin good like a rapster
     Folks start stealing your tunes on Napster
     Guys’ll love ya, dig your face
     Why keep lookin like sucha disgrace?

     Call me up, you’re glad you did
     Ugly skin you’ll soon be rid.
     Amex, Visa, Mastercard,
     Payment plans that ain’t so hard.

     So don’t forget, pick up that phone
     Soon’s you get yourself back home.
     I’ll have you looking good, one, two three
     Or else my name ain’t Doctor Z.


Dis stop is 77th Street, 68th Street Huntah College is next. Yer ona Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Watch out da closin dowahs.


     It was a limo, now it’s the train;
     Tomorrow’s sunshine, but now it’s rain.
     The market’s mine, for taking and giving
     It’s the way I earn my living.

     Today’s losses, last week’s gain.
     A day of pleasure, months of pain.
     We sold the puts and bought the calls;
     We loaded up on each and all.

     I’ve seen it all, from Fear to Greed,
     Good motivators, they are, both.
     The fundamentals I try to heed
     Run your gains and avoid big loss.

     Rates are down, I bought the banks
     For easy credit, they should give thanks.
     Goldman, Citi, even Chase
     Why are they still in their malaise?

     “The techs are drek,” I heard him say
     But bought more of them, anyway.
     I rode the bull, I’ll tame the bear
     I’ll scream and curse and pull my hair.

     So why continue though I’m such a ****?
     I’ll cut my loss if I find honest work.



Dis is 68th Street Huntah College, 59th Street is next. Yer ona Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Watch out da closin dowahs.


     He rides the train from near to far,
     In and out of every car.
     “Batchries, batchries, tres por un dolar!”
     Some folks buy them, most do not,
     Are they stolen, are they hot?
     “Batchries, batchries, tres por un dolar!”

     Who would by them, even a buck?
     What’re the odds they’re dead as a duck?
     “Batchries, batchries, tres por un dolar!”
     Why not the Lotto, try your luck,
     Or are you gonna be this guy’s schmuck?
     “Batchries, batchries, tres por un dolar!”


Dis is 59th Street, change for de 4 and 5 Express and for de N and de R, use yer Metrocard at sixty toid street for da F train.  51st Street is next. Dis is a Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Watch out da closin dowahs.


     “Dat guy kips ****** wit me, Wass he
     tink, I got time for dat ****?  Man, I
     got my wuk to do, I ain gona put
     up with him
     no more.”

          “I don’t know what to tell this dude. Like,
          I really dig him but
          ***?  No way.  And
          He’s getting all too smoochie face.”

     “Right on, bro, slap dat fool up
     side his head, he leave you lone.”

          “Whoa, send him my way.  When’s the last
          time I got laid?  I’m way ready.”

          “Oh, Suzie,..”


Dis is fifty foist Street, 42nd Street Grand Central is next. Yer ona Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Watch out da closin doors.



     Abogados es su amigos, do you believe the sign?
     Are they really a friend of mine?
     Find your lawyer on the train
     He’ll sue if the docs ***** up your brain.

     Pick a lawyer from this ad
     (I’m sure that you’ll be really glad)
     You’ll get a lawyer for your suit,
     Mean and nasty, not so cute.

     Call to live in this great nation
     1-800-IMMIGRATION.
     Or if your bills got you in a rut
     1-800-BANK-RUPT.

     We’re just three guys from Flatbush, Queens
     Who’ll sue that ******* out of his jeans.
     Mama’s proud when she rides this train
     To see my sign making so much rain.

     No SEC no corporations
     We can’t find the United Nations.
     Just give us torts and auto wrecks
     And clients with braces on their necks.

     Hurting when you do your chores?
     There’s money in that back of yours.
     Let us be your friend in courts
     Call 1-800-SUE 4 TORTS.


Dis is 42nd Street, Grand Central, change for the 4, 5 and 7 trains. Dis is a Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Toity toid is next.  Watch out da closin doors.


They say there’s sev’ral million a day
From out in the ‘burbs, they pass this way.
Most come to work, some for to play
They all want to talk, with little to say.

Bumping and shoving, knocking folks down
A million people running around.
The hustle, the bustle the noise that’s so loud
Get me far from this madding crowd.

“We can be shopping instead of just stopping
And onto the next outbound train we go hopping.
Hey, it’s a feel that that guy’s a-copping!”

They want gourmet food, from steaks down to greens
Or neckties and suits, or casual jeans,
It’s not simply newspapers and magazines
For old people, young people, even for teens.


Yer ona Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Dis is Thoidy toid Street, twenty eight is next.  Watch out da closin doors.


     “So what’s the backup plan if
     He doesn’t get into Trevor Day?
     I know your
     heart’s set on it, but we’ve only
     got so many strings we
     can pull, and we can’t donate a
     ******* building.”

           “Hooda believed me if I tolja the Mets
          would sail tru and the Yanks get dere
          by da skinna dere nuts?
          I doan believe it myself.  Allya
          Gotta do is keep O’Neil playin hoit
          And keep Jeter off his game an
          We’ll killum.

               “My sistah tell me she be yo *****.  I tellya I cut you up if you
                ****** wid her, I be yo ***** and donchu fuggedit.”

     “I wish you wouldn’t talk like that.
     And we can just **** good and
     Well find some more strings to pull!”

          “Big fuggin chance.  Wadder ya’ smokin?”

               “Yo sitah she ain my *****, you be my *****.  I doan be ******
                wid yo sistah.  You tell her she doan be goin round tellin folks
                dat ****.”


Yer ona Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Dis is Twenty eight Street, twenty toid is next.  Watch out da closin dowahs.


     Do you speak Russian, French or Greek,
     We’ll assimilate you in a week.
     If Chinese is your native tongue
     You’ll speak good English from day one.

     Morning, noon, evening classes
     Part or full time, lads and lasses.
     You’ll be sounding like the masses
     With word and phrase that won’t abash us.

     Language is our stock in trade
     For us it’s how our living’s made.
     We’ll put you in a class tonight
     Soon your English’ll be out of sight.

     If you’re from Japan or Spain
     Basque or Polish, even Dane,
     Our courses put you in the main
     Stream without any need for pain.

     We’ll teach you all the latest idioms
     You’ll be speaking with perfidium.
     We’ll give you lots of proper grammar
     Traded for that sickle and hammer.

     Are you Italian, Deutsch or Swiss?
     With our classes you can’t miss
     The homogeneous amalgamation
     Of this sanitized Starbucks nation.


Dis is Twenty toid Street, 14th Street Union Square is next. Yer ona Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Watch out da closin doors.


     “Ladies and Gentlemen, I hate to bother you
     But things are bleak of late.
     I had a job and housing, too
     Before my little quirk of fate.”

     “There came a day, not long ago,
     When to my job I came.
     They handed me a pink slip, though,
     And ev’n misspelled my name.”

     “We’ve got three kids, my wife and me.
     We’re bringing them up right.
     They’re still in school from eight to three
     With homework every night.”

     “I won’t let them see me begging here,
     They think I go to work.
     Still to that job I held so dear
     Until fate’s awful quirk.”

     “So help us now, a little, please
     A quarter, dime (or dollar still better),
     It’ll go so far to help to ease
     The chill of this cold winter weather.”

     “I’ll walk the car now, hat in hand
     I do so hope you understand
     I’m really a proud, hard working man
     Whose life just slipped out of its plan.”

     “I thank you, you’ve all been oh so grand.”


Yer ona Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Dis is 14th Street, Union Square, change for da 4 and 5 Express, the N and the R.   Astor Place is next.  Watch out da closin doors.


     The hours are long, the pay’s no good
     I’m far from home and neighborhood.
     All day I work at Astor Place
     With sunshine never on my face.
     Candy bar a dollar, a soda more
     A magazine’s a decent score.
     Selling papers was the game
     But at two bits the Post’s to blame
     For adding hours to my long day.
     All the more work to save
     Tuition for that son of mine: that tall,
     Strong, handsome, American son


Dis is a Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Yer at Astah Place, Bleekah Street is next.  Watch out da closin doors.


     Summer subway’s always hot, AC’s busted, like as not
     Tracks are bumpy, springs are shot ‘tween the cars they’re smoking
     ***.

     To catch the car you gotta run they squeeze you in with everyone
     Just hope no body’s got a gun 'cause getting there is half the fun.

     Packed in this car we’re awful tight seems this way both day and
     night.
     And then some guys will start a fight.  Subway ride’s a real delight.

     Danger! Keep out! Rodenticide! I read while waiting for a ride.
     This is a warning I have to chide:  
     I’m very likely to walk downtown, but I’d never do it Underground.

     Took the Downtown by mistake.  Please, conductor, hit the brake!
     Got an uptown date to make, God only knows how long I’ll take.


Yer ona Brooklyn Bridge bound Numbah 6 Train.  Dis is Bleekah Street, Spring Street is next.  Watch out da closin doors.


     The trains come through the station here,
     The racket’s music to my ear.
  &nbs
Images, overheard (and imagined) conversations.  @2003
Alice Burns Sep 2013
I know you are part of my destiny
So I haven't cried as much over our separation
True, I did cry an ocean of tears
But not so many to drown the grounds I stand upon

I said words of frustration
And whispered cries of surrender and desertion
But I am open to emotions and those words allowed release
-But- what I suggested in heated state of mind was just that
Suggestions, not proclamations nor plans

You know I tend to submerge myself in evil waters
In order to rise from them with strength even greater
Those shouts you may or may not have heard were the waters I was wading
And now, I am back to the heavens with a heart more unbreakable

Refreshed and replenished with the purity of home air
I remain sure of the decision I made that day
Don't worry, I am still certain of my true love for you
No-  More certain of everything

I guess it took all those months to realise it
I needed to break down in strengthening
To lead the way to the point of exhaustion
Because now, it's your turn to stand ahead

As I deep down predicted, my words did not gain action
Although reactions were clearly achieved
Though words were controlled and questions avoided
Your eyes that trick you, are as always unable to deceive me

I guess what I am trying to express
Is my undying true love for you
My heart is unbroken, despite what I said
Still holding you within, still cradling our infants to come
palladia May 2014
[northern hemisphere: on a beach above the 50th latitude at the end of winter]

(Winter-export), the beach frosted by fingers of polar constellations. It’s too cold to walk without huddling, but we do it nonetheless, because we only have one more night together. Your frothy hydro-rhythm spears into pith, irradiance; I breathe again, deeply. (Thick lips; quick still-hunt.) I rivet fronds of dependence into the seams of your boreal palms, never planning to return the floating colony of barnacles I promised I’d throw back; you, never planning to catch the sun bored through salt spray, clasping crisp foreheads, stitching on glistered lips and froze-shut lashes. And on a day when you didn’t rise early enough, I was left out in the water until my chest was steeped deep in ice over the thought of losing you. (Glimmering isle); my hair disheveled in sea-foam. Annular light. You pushed me in, and I relented. My isotherm sent chthonically. But you, in your legendary mantle, adapted my eyes to see the light hidden deep within your belt; such pinks and fuchsias I have never seen before, suddenly inverted. At absolute velocity, I cut my foot on sea-glass, bleeding blueshift, aligning to the colours of the zenith. You take me back to the starry house and we struggle with your parallax, a nadir inseminated on the celestial pole. (Parsecs quaking.) You whisper, I’ll heal you. I’ll heal you, only if you let me. Only if… you let me…  Over and over and over until it’s as mundane as the crashing coast, and unrivaled, I concede to everything and wake up deep in redshift, the whole universe escaping, warmth-ribbons suffocating the abyss: without you, alone on the ecliptic at last. In the spring-sinking, you order me a silver sword, sharp in starlight; to remember you. You stand a guardian, beyond the sun, flinging tiny ice-hot rocks (freighting gemstones); King of the Heavens. I submerge myself into the bathic depths, skulking in aestival despair, as you trade the night for day. Little do you know, my resurgence is also in your hands.

[i watched Orion slip from view every night this spring. No doubt he’ll return next winter... it’s sad losing a friend like that, for so long]
Sienna Luna Nov 2015
Dear, let me tenderize you like meat slap the silliness from heat bubbling bubbling bubbling to a boil.

Dear, let me technically arouse you by letting each word escape like exasperation, a depletion of the senses as every finger or pressure point examines your body from head-to-toe.

Dear, let me be no longer ashamed to touch or hold you close, let our breathing and beating submerge into higher thinking.

Incinerating flames that lick the grate.

Dear, let me dive deep into the crevice of your brain, all mushy grey matter, all the same.

Dear, let me slice it open and **** out all the juices, licking licking licking each curve and crevice,

My supple pink snake-like tongue reaching deeper deeper deeper into your mind.

Dear, let me sink into your reality, bit by bit, and piece by piece until cohesiveness lays its eggs inside the deep hole within you.

Dear, let me scratch the surface, trading dimes for dust and pecs for fluff.

Let me swim in the depths of your hectic personality.

Let me get to know you and all your originality.

Let me breathe in your values and slurp up your mature decisions.

Let me caress your life like two bulbous lights that hang from the existence of time.

Let me illuminate you, serenade you, quiz you while ******* your sense of self-esteem.

Dear, let me dream your dreams.

Dear, let me sink my ***** mind games into your wet social brain.
Don’t let the pressure get to you.

Passion may play a key part in the sway!

Let me suckle your sweet thoughts, play with your deriving initiatives.

Let me hold your ideas in the sweat of my thighs, burning with desire to see myself through cobalt eyes.

Let me feel the hot ***** of your ethical intentions and clear apparitions.

Let me analyze your prerogatives and **** with your distribution methods.

Dear, let me fiddle with your political views, (in the “other room”) and tickle your soft solutions on creating a world of doom.

Let me ****** your sustainability, flirt with your progressive mindset, and squeeze your plump ambitions until they burst!

Dear, let me push gently on your sensitive issues with your parents until they become less apparent.

Let me stroke your disagreements with foreign policy until they shriek with mercy!

Let me take you further and touch your blind senses to a pink paranoia of retentive defensive pretenses.

Let me cuddle and snuggle your sense of self-worth and pleasure your brain with mind-bending words.

Dear, let me dance with your intelligence
until we sink into oblivious mind-*** bliss…….
Melanie Kate Feb 2011
There’s a gentle sway of tenderness in the eyes of the Stranger;
Matching the rhythm of the vast blue waters stretching,
a panoramic view:
I glide across their surface,
peacefully soaking up the pleasure of their pulsation.

I push myself under the wave,
gripping the shifting sands,
blindly releasing all my life force;
I balance my mortal body beneath:
The silence rescues my heart’s noise,
making it easier not to breathe.

My eyes squeeze shut in this vacuum.
But all the while light dances like a flapping butterfly in shock:
Displaying colours erratically behind my eyelids.
The world we cannot see, simply cannot exist.

In my ears there lingers no thought,
My heart feels no fear in this.
All my limbs are lifted from me,
And there is a Stillness all around:
Beneath this rocking sheath
My secrets to the world I give to keep.
(c) Mel D. 2011
KM Ramsey May 2015
how easy it is to write a poem
of unrequited love
an ode to that insatiable hunger
that lives unwelcome in the pit of
my stomach
and slowly eats away at me
gnawing a black hole into that space
an emptiness i couldn't look at
its darkness burned brighter than
the eclipsed sun
who always called with the most
beautiful voice and promised that
if i simply stopped averting my eyes
i would most certainly become one with you
and i forsake my sight
to have your heat
your radiation from all parts of the spectrum
to burn my traitorous eyes right out of their sockets.

how different it is to write
of contentment and perhaps even
a love that i can reach out and touch
without having it sublimate each atom of my being
and reduce me to a radioactive ash
scattered to the wind.

it's a love that i can submerge myself in
it presses in all around and the
mega-Pascals of pressure simply reach
a placid equilibrium with my porous skin
i breathe it in and my lungs
somehow learn to pull the oxygen from
the molecules of liquid desire and vitreous joy
and it fuels my body
infiltrating and inhabiting every cell
feeding my muscles as i
sensuously move my body
fluid as the frigid water around me.
this might be getting out of control.
Poetry First Sep 2017
submerge their trembles
     the intoxicated stars of the night
 into the arresting allure
 of moonlit seas

    under the shimmering cloak
           primal flames of passion lovers invoke
     revel stars in moonbeams wet
   yielding liquid baroque

        crash silver waves
        on compliant sands of submission easy
        gather bliss-tinted surfs
        in starry ecstasy

         flow tranquil waters
        in the envelope of dawn's golden fill
           glow in embrace of gratitude
         souls two in fulfill
When I woke up to my sobriety, I found the people drunk
I tried to love and be romantic, I appeared as a punk
They say there are many fish in the sea, maybe the ship has sunk
Maybe the wine spread all over and left them all drunk...

And now to eat fish you have to drown it, submerge it into alcohol
Having no money to purchase alcohol leaves you in a dark cage; without sol
In this cage you attempt to distill yourself so to love again but no one comes along
You are left with melodies blue; lonely songs...

Sing your heart out until the tears gush
You are alone, no one there to brush
The tears fall down on the hard ground with vehement boiling touch
And you see yourself, pitiful and wounded hoping for lightning
Praying for the hope to grow like flowers of spring

But you cannot wait, you must get laid
So you find a means to an end and get paid
Only to have them laid
Trying to play on both sides of the fence to find the balance
But you lose a sense of purity, you've been played
You were falling in line with the rest of the herd
But this doesn't heal the places where you've been hurt
But sail on, you go for there is no one to hold
You try not to think about your broken heart or blackened soul
You submerge yourself in the loudness nonsensical and girls coiling poles
Wherever you look you find the hollow
you feel alive only when asleep for dreams reel you in the deep
You try your luck at hotties and find them shallow
You are stuck, half fastened and cuffed
So you begin to investigate the truth
you find myth and evil facts
you search for magic you see long-bearded men with pointed hats
you learn that the participants of the game are unaware of the game
And in time you identify the source
Where the strings of rivers are
where the squashes and foams of waterfalls reach
as you witness manipulation down the coral reef
who are these men, malevolent men or thieves?
Stealing pure bliss and romance
Denying the chance for love to soar to mountain top and have chieftain stance
and then you're back at the mirror...
You see the dirt on your hands
that you aren't as innocent as righteousness demands
so you think back to when you've been wrong
All the lies you've told, the people you've robbed
the hesitations, the sudden stops
The denials, delusions and proud decisions
And you find comfort in the fact that there is no perfection
Only moments just, and bonds of trust
overshadowing the appeals to heal when bowing to lust...

And that's when you know that you continue to journey to the beautiful
Cowards would have no claws, to hold on, the fake perfect people no flaws, to hide their true nature
At the center of it all, ****** and coarse artefacts, all you think of -
is what you've seen. You must be mad if it's not a dream.

You row with oars, on a small humble boat, you start anew
knowing that the wise can be fools
and that the minds of fools can be liberated with learning tools.
EC Pollick Oct 2012
Inhale. Hold. Submerge.
This is all the grandest illusion
that’s one disappointment away from shattering.
Take a deep breath
feel the pain in your chest.

Every night
I drown in a wine glass
Dive off the ledge with such fever and ferocity,
The splash of a cannonball--
No high marks from the judges.

When you look at me,
I know now it’s irreverent.
We are a lie.
In the deep end, where I can’t touch anymore.

Time to wash away this sin
Hurt doesn't go,
It just lingers
Like our ghosts, lurking behind closed doors.
I can’t be rid of you
Because I don’t want to be.
Go on,
Haunt me until the end.

But I know
You cannot swim
so for now,
I'll sink further and further
into wine so dark
I disappear.
Jacqe Booth Feb 2010
Where to begin
I think to myself as I submerge
my thoughts
In you and what it is that
Gives the tick to your tock.
I think of your eyes
And the depth
That lies
Folded within
Green and brown
Layered
Life
Disguised
And smiling.
Lost glasses
And lager
That comes in pints
Accompanied by
Epic
And
Blatant
Action and statement
Your energy blasts
Fast and furious
Frenzy
I sense more to you
Than what meets my eye.
And in that thought
I lie
Here now
Creased brow
In anticipation of knowing you more.
I think of your nails
And the way they touch
Me deeper than
The welts
That are kissed
Crimson stain
Onto my skin.
Your essence
Seeps inside
Within
And bleeds out of my body
Through my lips
As I savour
The flavour
That makes
You taste
So simply
Divine.
You have this way
Of ceasing time
And pausing
The beat of my heart.
Just a smile
Is all it takes
And your laugh,
The way your eyes
Drop low,
The dip of your neck and
The way you glance up
And out from
Under your
Fringe.
You unhinge
The door
That stands
Shut and heavy
Before
My eyes
Wide open
Surprise
As you storm
Into my soul
And take whole
My delight
And spin its
Weave
Into gold.
I am sold
On you
And your cold hands
Warm heart.
kayla Nov 2014
your hair is unruly and unkempt
and i can't seem to form a coherent thought.

your very being is a colorful illustration
that i could study endlessly.

let me drink you in.

i promise not to leak.

i will savor every drop
and never let you flee.
Keith J Collard Nov 2012
Ting, Tong--ocean is a mason--hear his chisel ring,
deep down, always erasing, with a Tong, Ting.
glassy stone is what his frothy sizzle brings.
anchor lines vibrate like heart strings.

A Ting, and a Pong, no more beloved chiselled font,
those dates gone, because the ocean is a mason,
and when I submerge into his basement,
Tong and a Ting, his craftmanship sings.

and those swings, vibrating anchor strings,
with a pong and ping, bring you to shore
his backswing, causes waves to pour,
bowing prow of windjammer rides contour.

and his distant Ting, commands the wind,
they are bellows for him, but throw your hat,
watch it come back again, a Ping and Tong,
the ocean is a mason, hear his song,
with power to rescind, nothing is gone,
throw your hat to the waves, watch it come back in.
submerge your ears// and hear the Tong and Ting.
Universal Thrum Jan 2014
Unapologetically Human
I am **** on the mezzanine
facing the darkened wet road
illuminated with acrid yellow tube light
better reds and blues surround towering palm trees
wooden fingers of ancient giant hands buried below
growing leafy green nails stretching skyward
little things, orange ribbons, endless cricks and dollops
bobbles and winches

Spirits
Play among the windmills
climb to the top of trees and sing into the warm wind songs of *** and heartache
as the universe ruffles along

Dive head first into the opponents forehead
grind the sand into his flesh with ram like resolve until the skin is red,
determine to die

This life is worth proving,
the stars are worth gazing,
and this body is worth bathing in the Maui air with naked delight

The ocean calls to my heart
water is a true lover whispering, kissing
inescapably feminine
I submerge my soul in joyful waves
always the tides follow the moon
like my silly heart, eclipsing
both light both night both day
simultaneously cycling
fully the light shines and our eyes perceive shadow faces in the dark blanketed clouds
the mountain gargoyles stand as titans, forgotten creatures
shoulders and heads, waiting for the moon ball
the ocean moon, tranquil bays
the air is sweeter with you near, a distant thought
cast about the horizon, the sun melting easy golden into my dreamy eye,
bless my drunken lips
dripping doltish songs into the friendly night

Wrestling with bulls of men
we kept our shirts on this time, yet blood was drawn in the sand
we madly danced in the moonlight to clapping hands,
kicking feet and knees
the ceremonial struggle toasting the stars
bottles were shared, some puffed on cigars

Come surf with me in the morning
or anytime the sun shines
even under moonlight would I meet you and we could paddle
come fill your heart with life and lust and romantic passions idyllic as freshly fallen snow undisturbed by worldly concerns
be not abashed for this embrace is a natural wonder of the soul,
join me,
forget what words of yesterday the prophets of doom chant,
we make our own tomorrow

— The End —