Une fois que je su qui j’étais

It unspools at her feet,
a late night sky, clouds risen,
of ribboned fabric.

Names and titles stitched
line by line, needle-pricked
fingers spilling blood,
infusing the weave,

Your name, caught up in there.
Mine entwined with it,
curving behind and along,
shaped like lovers –
shaping a tree embracing another –
roots and branches wrapping
shoots and leaves that tremble,

Now, give rise again –
to her eyes trace lyric,
her reading fingers, their manic passage –
tracing songs that cannot ever be sung…

Whispering names
that can never come together,
save in some fevered stitching,
on darkened sheets,
where fingers clutch and beat,
tear and wrap.

Where names and cries wrap
like branches.
like leaves.
like writhing trees,
bending together in the night.

-martin burns

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At the heat

is a major achievement.
The heat
furnaces, white hot
molten ore, flowing metal
that’s oozing, surging, reforming,
informing heat, building

The sweat
and burnt flesh,
smelters and stokers.
The bent, and arching backs.

The sinews, and the heat.

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A harbor, tide and fog – some
blue and yellow painted houses
obscured, fading, across the water.

A hammering
echoing, repeating
across the way.

Woman calling out
“are we going/
in the water?”

“Yeah, go in. I want…”

“You’ll hear me say ‘whew!'”

“I don’t mind….
I heard she said:
‘fuck you’,
then she jumped in…
eyes open…”

There’s a foghorn. Atmosphere.

…”…she was naked… I heard it…
I liked it”

A pontoon boat emerging,
dog at the bow.

The women are silent.

Bare wood along the dock,
a splinter sliding into bare flesh.

Legs over the side,
wet, salty harbor nursing
a puncture.

The voices in the fog.

A heron striking water.

Gobbling willing flesh.

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A Moment

it is pushing midnight,
and I am sitting at the picnic table
in the yard behind our home

wisps of white cloud scud above.
the moon higher now – earlier
it hovered over the delta,
light rippling from it:
a yellow road rippling down
from the edge of the Atlantic,
following the Merrimac,
across the chop,
wavery highway, a rougte towards the harbor.

the stars are echoes of past light.
cold air around me,
hair blowing.
thoughts blown by other winds,
pushed by other hands.

I am alone, behind this house.
I am quiet under this canopy I cannot fathom.







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dim lit

there’s this moment when things just

come forward,
like stalkers emerging from the fog

and you don’t really want to see them but they are ineffable

it is all in the moment

It is You in the moment

and your mom wanted better for you

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Winter Drift

Across the way,
thickening winter fog
obscures the moored craft
in the harbor,
muting this watery, drifting place.

Skeletal trees
stand clustered on boulders
along the shore –
thrown up by
some past trauma or another.
A lazy ribbon of snow
snakes down beside them,
fading as it nears the lapping sea.

A cold rain mixes in,
gale warning up
as the coast draws in,
preparing its body for a sudden blow.

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The Eighth

This kiss, that story
whispered to David, under the hanging gardens –
the promise Heloise made to Abelard,
the crowning of Ines as Peter wept.
Life lost willingly, always a fleeting thing.

Time’s lash, barbed fingers drawing blood,
the groaning underneath, movement within,
this kiss, that story.
Time over time
body over body.

-Martin Burns
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the map of the geography of desire,
revealing a hidden world.
traces the geographic coordinates of
love|lust –
their intersections.
the meridians pulse with energy,
sweeping across equators,

where careful choreography
becomes necessity,
the tracing of a finger
along a beloved throat,
the sound a murmuring heart,
the sudden catch
in a soft cry.

the small things –
the devotion to place,
not time.
the deeper knowing
that comes with devotion,
every inch mapped –
fixed, learned, and seemingly eternal –

the scent that lingers in their leaving.

the known and unknown,
worlds of dragons and lost ships –
this churning, human world.

-Martin Burns
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The Seventh

This shared kiss, one body, one mouth,
exclamations and proclamations, this tumbling tumult.
This shared kiss, these shared lips. This shared breath.
Sinking into verdant land, into this Garden. This shaking Earth.

Writhing groaning gasping life.
Frenzied motion and this quickening, this eternal –
Tree of Life and the sacred fruit.
Cojoined, erupting, ripe flesh and a quaking wood.

-Martin Burns

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