Poetry By Michael R Burch
THE CENTURY’S WAKE (Lines written on New Year’s Day at the close of the 20th century and introduction of the 21st century) Take me home. The party is over, the century passed—no time for a lover. And my heart grew heavy as the fireworks hissed through the dark over Central Park, past high-towering spires to some backwoods levee, hurtling banner-hung docks to the torchlit seas. And my heart grew heavy; I felt its disease— its apathy, wanting the bright, rhapsodic display to last more than a single day. If decay was its rite, now it has learned to long for something with more intensity, more gaudy passion, more song— like the huddled gay masses, the wildly-cheering throng. You ask me— “How can this be?” A little more flair, or perhaps just a little more clarity. I leave her tonight to the century’s wake; she disappoints me. (Originally published by The Centrifugal Eye) PREMONITION Now the evening has come to a close and the party is over ... we stand in the doorway and watch as they go— each stranger, each acquaintance, each casual lover. They walk to their cars and they laugh as they go, though we know their forced laughter’s the wine ... then they pause at the road where the dark asphalt flows endlessly on toward Zion ... and they kiss one another as though they were friends, and they promise to meet again “soon” ... but the rivers of Jordan roll on without end, and the mockingbird calls to the moon ... and the katydids climb up the cropped hanging vines, and the crickets chirp on out of tune ... and their shadows, defined by the cryptic starlight, seem spirits torn loose from their tombs. And we know their brief lives are just eddies in time, that their hearts are unreadable runes to be wiped clean, like slate, by the dark hand of Fate when their corpses lie ravaged and ruined ... You take my clenched fist and you give it a kiss as though it were something you loved, and the tears fill your eyes, brimming with the soft light of the stars winking sagely above ... Then you whisper, "It's time that we went back inside; if you'd like, we can sit and just talk for a while." And the hope in your eyes burns too deep, so I lie and I say, "Yes, I would," to your small, troubled smile.
Michael R. Burch’s poems have been published by hundreds of literary journals, taught in high schools and colleges, translated into fourteen languages, incorporated into three plays and two operas, and set to music by seventeen composers.
PLEASE NOTE: ARTICLES CAN ONLY BE REPRODUCED IN OTHER SITES WITH DUE ACKNOWLEDGEMENT TO BORDERLESS JOURNAL