On Everest/ in snow

with children
are sherpa

lost in a blizzard
on slippery ice

where the air is thin
blood vessels leak
and ghosts begin to beckon

-Martin Burns

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White Heron

Sinuous, curving neck,
full breast,
long legs
reach into
the harbor’s edge

Obsidian eyes
bottomless, a tunnel without end


Along rocky shore,
slow filling harbor
a mirror capturing grace,
clouds doubled,
scudding across a fecund sea

You strike, down,
mouth agape,
rippling the mirror,
body shooting forward,
head buried
in sea and sky

You have caught prey
tight within your mouth,

Trapped, engulfed
shaking body now raised,
glistening under a hot sun,


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Fall Into

A path
with people passing
just there, but I cannot hear, I can only
fall into us

And your eyes
are lanterns, guiding me,
beckoning, and I follow,
fall into us

Your kisses
are water moving down my heated skin,
your lips, curl, encompass, your fingers wrapping, as I moan,
fall into us

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The First

The first kiss,
and you as a conductor, your fingers pulling at mine,
onto the train and into the night,
curving over mountains, through tunnels

Steam turning electric,
currents passing through me, burning and blinding
your fingers curled in mine,
a journey without end

-Martin Burns

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Yo Sindo

The dancer
and the piano,
My fingers on the keys

her legs
across polished wooden flooring,

click clack of stabbing, rhythmic heels
reflection up her body:
the once youthful legs,
spinning skirt
blood red dress,
bare arms spread wide
supporting stony face,
dark hair pulled tight

she pivots, struts, strides

to the beat I try to pull back, but…
fingers keying, hammering
strings one by one, faster

(it ain’t my beat at all, after all)

driven by the click clack,

matching the stride, note to note
at first, her heels and my fingers

explode apart, a door opens

and she tangos out, alone
(as always, and better for it)

into dark streets, her own beat

as I break skin on keys,
smear blood in some desperate sacrifice

banging harder, moaning now, lights flickering out

in this room I love

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On Ragged Mountain


There’s a luxury –
a pleasure
really, it’s that more

not like the joy
of an avocado
(not to dismiss that joy,
sliding along the skin,
opening the ripe fruit
to eager hands,

fingers sliding into flesh
to scoop
and taste
and slip along the tongue)

No, not that
but the ecstasy
of the familiar,
the wind rustling the trees
and that caress…

The fecund scent
of spring about to break,
the earth beginning to swell,
already pierced
again and again,
preparing to burst…

And this moment
in the trees,
amongst the trails
in stillness
on Ragged Mountain,
the only track my snow shoe treads behind me,
the slope above me
waiting to be explored,
if never known.

And the birds, the wind, the land
waiting to sing
as they birth
in this strange spring in winter.


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How I Read

When I was a reader,
spine balanced under palm,
fingers trailing along pages.
words that almost moaned and whispered aloud.

Eyes greedy,
seeking understanding
to know the body –
the work at hand,
moving from page to page,
syllable to syllable,
words that almost moaned and whispered aloud,
the whole growth and breadth of song after song,
the rising chorus,

Caroles and chants, hymns to the body,
the trembling page
underneath my roving hands, fingers, eyes….
words that almost moaned, whispered, screamed….

In joy

When I was a reader… with eyes to see

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