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Free Verse III

Salve by Michael R. Burch for the victims and survivors of 9-11 The world is unsalvageable ... but as we lie here in bed stricken to the heart by love despite war’s flickering images, sometimes we still touch, laughing, amazed, that our flesh does not despair of love as we do, that our bodies are wise in ways we refuse to comprehend, still insisting we eat, drink ... even multiply. And so we touch ... touch, and only imagine ourselves immune: two among billions in this night of wished-on stars, caresses, kisses, and condolences. We are not lovers of irony, we who imagine ourselves beyond the redemption of tears because we have salvaged so few for ourselves ... and so we laugh at our predicament, fumbling for the ointment. The Secret of Her Clothes by Michael R. Burch The secret of her clothes is that they whisper a little mysteriously of things unseen in the language of nylon and cotton, so that when she walks to her amorous drawers to rummage among the embroidered hearts and rumors of pastel slips for a white wisp of Victorian lace, the delicate rustle of fabric on fabric, the slightest whisper of telltale static, electrifies me. Retro by Michael R. Burch Now, once again, love’s a redundant pleasure, as we laugh at my childish fumblings through the acres of your dress, past your wily-wired brassiere, through your panties’ pink billows of thrill-piqued frills ... Till I lay once again—panting redfaced at your gayest lack of resistance, and, later, at your milktongued mewlings in the dark ... When you were virginal, sweet as eucalyptus, we did not understand the miracle of repentance, and I took for granted your obsessive distance ... But now I am happily unbuttoning that chaste dress, unhitching that firm-latched bra, tugging at those parachute-like panties— the ones you would have gladly forgotten had I not bought them in this year’s size. Psycho Analysis by Michael R. Burch This is not what I need . . . analysis, paralysis, as though I were a seed to be planted, supported with a stick and some string until I emerge. Your words are not water. I need something more nourishing, like cherishing, something essential, like love so that when I climb out of the lime and the mulch. When I shove myself up from the muck . . . we can . East End, 1888 by Michael R. Burch He slouched East through a steady downpour, a slovenly beast befouling each puddle with bright footprints of blood. Outlined in a pub door, lewdly, wantonly, she stood . . . mocked and brazenly offered. He took what he could till she afforded no more. Now a single bright copper glints becrimsoned by the door of the pub where he met her. He holds to his breast the one part of her body she was unable to whore, grips her heart to his wildly stammering heart . . . unable to forgive or forget her. Open Portal by Michael R. Burch “You already have zero privacy—get over it.”—Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems While you’re at it— don’t bother to wear clothes: We all know what you’re concealing underneath. Let the bathroom door swing open. Let, O let Us peer in! What you’re doing, We’ve determined, may be a sin! When you visit your mother and it’s time to brush your teeth, it’s okay to openly spit. And, while you’re at it, go ahead— take a long, noisy . What the he|ll is your objection? What on earth is all this fuss? Just what is it, exactly, you would hide from US? Artificial Smile by Michael R. Burch I’m waiting for my artificial teeth to stretch belief, to hollow out the cob of zealous righteousness, to grasp life’s stub between clenched molars, and yank out the grief. Mine must be art-official—zenlike Art— a disembodied, white-enameled grin of Cheshire manufacture. Part by part, the human smile becomes mock porcelain. Till in the end, the smile alone remains: titanium-based alloys undestroyed with graves’ worm-eaten contents, all the pains of bridgework unrecalled, and what annoyed us most about the corpses rectified to quaintest dust. The Smile winks, deified. Revision by Michael R. Burch I found a stone ablaze in a streambed, honed to a flickering jewel by all the clear, swiftly-flowing millennia of water... and as I kneeled to do it obeisance, the homage of retrieval, it occurred to me that perhaps its muddied underbelly rooted precariously in the muck and excrescence of its slow loosening upward... might not be finished, like a poem brilliantly faceted but only half revised, which sparkles seductively but is not yet worth ecstatic digging. They Take Their Shape by Michael R. Burch “We will not forget moments of silence and days of mourning ...”—George W. Bush We will not forget ... the moments of silence and the days of mourning, the bells that swung from leaden-shadowed vents to copper bursts above “hush!”-chastened children who saw the sun break free (abandonment to run and laugh forsaken for the moment), still flashing grins they could not quite repent ... Nor should they—anguish triumphs just an instant; this every child accepts; the nymphet weaves; transformed, the grotesque adult-thing emerges: damp-winged, huge-eyed, to find the sun deceives ... But children know; they spin limpwinged in darkness cocooned in hope—the shriveled chrysalis that paralyzes time. Suspended, dreaming, they do not fall, but grow toward what is, then grope about to find which transformation might best endure the light or dark. “Survive” becomes the whispered mantra of a pupa’s awakening ... till What takes shape and flies shrieks, parroting Our own shrill, restive cries. Keywords/Tags: free verse, world, bed, love, body, bodies, touch, kiss, kisses, desire, together, war, despair, human, human condition, humanity, love, heart, hearts, forgiveness, relationships, solitude, distance, stranger, strangers, kin, kindred, kindness

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020

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