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Rejection Slips 3

Rejection Slips 3 Lozenge by Michael R. Burch When I was closest to love, it did not seem real at all, but a thing of such tenuous sweetness it might dissolve in my mouth like a lozenge of sugar. When I held you in my arms, I did not feel our lack of completeness, knowing how easy it was for us to cling to each other. And there were nights when the clouds sped across the moon’s face, exposing such rarified brightness we did not witness so much as embrace love’s human appearance. ### 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-stoned. 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-stoned, 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-stoned, we first proved we had lives of our own). ### The Sky Was Turning Blue by Michael R. Burch Yesterday I saw you as the snow flurries died, spent winds becalmed. When I saw your solemn face alone in the crowd, I felt my heart, so long embalmed, begin to beat aloud. Was it another winter, another day like this? Was it so long ago? Where you the rose-cheeked girl who slapped my face, then stole a kiss? Was the sky this gray with snow, my heart so all a-whirl? How is it in one moment it was twenty years ago, lost worlds remade anew? When your eyes met mine, I knew you felt it too, as though we heard the robin's song and the sky was turning blue. ### Love’s Extreme Unction by Michael R. Burch Lines composed during Jeremy’s first Nashville Christian football game (he played tuba), while I watched Beth watch him. Within the intimate chapels of her eyes? devotions, meditations, reverence. I find in them Love’s very residence and hearing the ardent rapture of her sighs I prophesy beatitudes to come, when Love like hers commands us, “All be One!” ### 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. ### Musings at Giza by Michael R. Burch In deepening pools of shadows lies the Sphinx, and men still fear his eyes. Though centuries have passed, he waits. Egyptians gather at the gates. Great pyramids, the looted tombs ?how still and desolate their wombs!? await sarcophagi of kings. From eons past, a hammer rings. Was Cleopatra's litter borne along these streets now bleak, forlorn? Did Pharaohs clad in purple ride fierce stallions through a human tide? Did Bocchoris here mete his law from distant Kush to Saqqarah? or Tutankhamen here once smile upon the children of the Nile? or Nefertiti ever rise with wild abandon in her eyes to gaze across this arid plain and cry, “Great Isis, live 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. ### El Dorado by Michael R. Burch It's a fine town, a fine town, though its alleys recede into shadow; it's a very fine town for those who are searching for an El Dorado. Because the lighting is poor and the streets are bare and the welfare line is long, there must be something of value somewhere to keep us hanging on to our El Dorado. Though the children are skinny, their parents are fat from years of gorging on bleached white bread, yet neither will leave because all believe in the vague things that are said of El Dorado. The young men with the outlandish hairstyles who saunter in and out of the turnstiles with a song on their lips and an aimless shuffle, scuffing their shoes, avoiding the bustle, certainly feel no need to join the crowd of those who work to earn their bread; they must know that the rainbow's end conceals a pot of gold near El Dorado. And the painted “actress” who roams the streets, smiling at every man she meets, must smile because, after years of running, no man can match her in cruelty or cunning. She must see the satire of “defeats” and “triumphs” on the ambivalent streets of El Dorado. Yes, it's a fine town, a very fine town for those who can leave when they tire of chasing after rainbows and dreams and living on nothing but fire. But for those of us who cling to our dreams and cannot let them go, like the sad-eyed ladies who wander the streets and the junkies high on snow, the dream has become a reality —the reality of hope that grew too strong not to linger on— and so this is our home. We chew the apple, spit it out, then eat it "just once more." For this is the big, big apple, though it is rotten to the core, and we are its worm in the night when we squirm in our El Dorado. I believe I wrote the first version of this poem during my “Romantic phase” around age 16 or perhaps a bit later. It was definitely written in my teens because it appears in a poetry contest folder that I put together and submitted during my sophomore year in college. ### faith(less) by Michael R. Burch Those who believed and Those who misled lie together at last in the same narrow bed and if god loved Them more for Their strange lack of doubt, he kept it well hidden till he snuffed Them out.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2020




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