Michael R. Burch

1958
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Epigrams by Michael Burch (II)

These are epigrams and epigram translations by Michael R. Burch, along with puns, quotes, quips, etc.



Old age, believe me, is a blessing. While it’s true you get gently shouldered off the stage, you’re awarded such a comfortable front row seat as spectator. — Confucius, loose translation by Michael R. Burch



Pablo Neruda Translations

You can crop all the flowers but you cannot detain spring.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation by Michael R. Burch

Every Day You Play (Excerpt)
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Every day you play with Infinity’s rays.
Exquisite visitor, you arrive with the flowers and the water!
You are vastly more than this immaculate head I clasp lovingly
like a cornucopia, every day, with ecstatic hands ...

As if you were set on fire from within,
the moon whitens your skin.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The Book of Questions
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Is the rose nude
or is that just how she dresses?

Why do trees conceal
their spectacular roots?

Who hears the confession
of the getaway car?

Is there anything sadder
than a train standing motionless in the rain?

Please understand that when I awaken weeping
it's because I dreamed I was a lost child
searching the leaf-heaps for your hands in the darkness.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love Sonnet XI
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I crave your mouth, your voice, your hair.
I stalk the streets, silent and starving.
Bread does not satisfy me; dawn does not divert me
from my relentless pursuit of your fluid spoor.

While nothing can save us from death,
still love can redeem each breath.
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Love Sonnet XVII
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I do not love you like coral or topaz,
or the blazing hearth’s incandescent white flame;
I love you like phantoms embraced in the dark ...
secretly, in shadows, unrevealed & unnamed.

I'm no longer in love with her, that's certain ...
yet perhaps I love her still.
Love is so short, forgetting so long!
—Pablo Neruda, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I will write the saddest lines
by Pablo Neruda
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Tonight I will write the saddest lines.
I will write, for example, “The night is less bright
and a few stars shiver in the distance
as I remember her unwarranted light ...”



Leonardo da Vinci Translations

Once we have flown, we will forever walk the earth with our eyes turned heavenward, for there we were and will always long to return.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The great achievers rarely relaxed and let things happen to them. They set out and kick-started whatever happened.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nothing enables authority like silence.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch

The greatest deceptions spring from men’s own opinions.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch

There are three classes of people: Those who see by themselves. Those who see only when they are shown. Those who refuse to see.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Blinding ignorance misleads us. Myopic mortals, open your eyes!—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It is easier to oppose evil from the beginning than at the end.—Leonardo da Vinci, translation by Michael R. Burch

Small minds continue to shrink, but those whose hearts are firm and whose consciences endorse their conduct, will persevere until death.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I am impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowledge is not enough; we must apply ourselves. Wanting and being willing are insufficient; we must act.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Time is sufficient for anyone who uses it wisely.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Where the spirit does not aid and abet the hand there is no art.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Necessity is the mistress of mother nature's inventions.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Nature has no effect without cause, no invention without necessity.—Leonardo da Vinci, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Did Leonardo da Vinci anticipate Darwin with his comments about Nature and necessity being the mistress of her inventions? Yes, and his studies of comparative anatomy, including the intestines, led da Vinci to say explicitly that "apes, monkeys and the like" are not merely related to humans but are "almost of the same species." He was, indeed, a man ahead of his time, by at least 350 years.

Excerpts from “Paragone of Poetry and Painting” and Other Writings
by Leonardo da Vinci, circa 1500
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Sculpture requires light, received from above,
while a painting contains its own light and shade.

Painting is the more beautiful, the more imaginative, the more copious,
while sculpture is merely the more durable.

Painting encompasses infinite possibilities
which sculpture cannot command.

But you, O Painter, unless you can make your figures move,
are like an orator who can’t bring his words to life!

While as soon as the Poet abandons nature, he ceases to resemble the Painter;
for if the Poet abandons the natural figure for flowery and flattering speech,
he becomes an orator and is thus neither Poet nor Painter.

Painting is poetry seen but not heard,
while poetry is painting heard but not seen.

And if the Poet calls painting dumb poetry,
the Painter may call poetry blind painting.

Yet poor is the pupil who fails to surpass his master!
Shun those studies in which the work dies with the worker.

Because I find no subject especially useful or pleasing
and because those who preceded me appropriated every useful theme,
I will be like the beggar who comes late to the fair,
who must content himself with other buyers' rejects.
Thus, I will load my humble cart full of despised and rejected merchandise,
the refuse of so many other buyers,
and I will go about distributing it, not in the great cities,
but in the poorer towns,
selling at discounts whatever the wares I offer may be worth.

And what can I do when a woman plucks my heart?
Alas, how she plays me, and yet I must persist!

The Point
by Leonardo da Vinci
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Here forms, colors, the character of the entire universe, contract to a point,
and that point is miraculous, marvelous …
O marvelous, O miraculous, O stupendous Necessity!
By your elegant laws you compel every effect to be the direct result of its cause,
by the shortest path possible.
Such are your miracles!



Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller Translations

#2 - Love Poetry

She says an epigram’s too terse
to reveal her tender heart in verse ...
but really, darling, ain’t the thrill
of a kiss much shorter still?
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#5 - Criticism

Why don’t I openly criticize the man? Because he’s a friend;
thus I reproach him in silence, as I do my own heart.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#11 - Holiness

What is holiest? This heart-felt love
binding spirits together, now and forever.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#12 - Love versus Desire

You love what you have, and desire what you lack
because a rich nature expands, while a poor one retracts.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#19 - Nymph and Satyr

As shy as the trembling doe your horn frightens from the woods,
she flees the huntsman, fainting, uncertain of love.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#20 - Desire

What stirs the virgin’s heaving breasts to sighs?
What causes your bold gaze to brim with tears?
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#23 - The Apex I

Everywhere women yield to men, but only at the apex
do the manliest men surrender to femininity.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#24 - The Apex II

What do we mean by the highest? The crystalline clarity of triumph
as it shines from the brow of a woman, from the brow of a goddess.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#25 -Human Life

Young sailors brave the sea beneath ten thousand sails
while old men drift ashore on any bark that avails.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#35 - Dead Ahead

What’s the hardest thing of all to do?
To see clearly with your own eyes what’s ahead of you.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#36 - Unexpected Consequence

Friends, before you utter the deepest, starkest truth, please pause,
because straight away people will blame you for its cause.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

#41 - Earth vs. Heaven

By doing good, you nurture humanity;
but by creating beauty, you scatter the seeds of divinity.
―from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Euripides Translations

• Love distills the eyes’ desires, love bewitches the heart with its grace.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Fools call wisdom foolishness.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• One true friend is worth ten thousand kin.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Not to speak one’s mind is slavery.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• I would rather die standing than kneel, a slave.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Fresh tears are wasted on old griefs.—Euripides, translation by Michael R. Burch

Euripides was pretty good, wasn't he? I try to translate him in as few words as possible, hoping to stay out of his way.—Michael R. Burch



Bertolt Brecht Translations

Everyone chases the way happiness feels,
unaware how it nips at their heels.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The world of learning takes a crazy turn
when teachers are taught to think and discern!
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Unhappy, the land that lacks heroes.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Hungry man, reach for the book:
it's a hook,
a harpoon.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Because things are the way they are,
things can never stay as they were.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

War is like love; true ...
it finds a way through.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

What happens to the hole
when the cheese is no longer whole?
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

It's easier to rob by setting up a bank
than by threatening the poor clerk.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Do not fear death so much, or strife,
but rather fear the inadequate life.
—Bertolt Brecht, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Dante Translations

Little sparks may ignite great Infernos.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
She made my veins and even the pulses within them tremble.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Love commands me by determining my desires.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
In Beatrice I beheld the outer boundaries of blessedness.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Her sweetness left me intoxicated.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
Follow your own path and let the bystanders gossip.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
The devil is not as dark as depicted.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
There is no greater sorrow than to recall how we delighted in our own wretchedness.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
As he, who with heaving lungs escaped the suffocating sea, turns to regard its perilous waters.—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
O human race, born to soar heavenward, why do you quail at the least breath of wind?—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
O human race, born to soar heavenward, why do you nosedive in the mildest breeze?—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Midway through my life’s journey
I awoke to find myself lost in a trackless wood,
for I had strayed far from the straight path.
—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

INSCRIPTION ON THE GATE OF HELL
Before me nothing created existed, to fear.
Eternal I am, and eternal I endure.
Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
—Dante, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

More Dante Translations by Michael R. Burch



Paraphrases

What you
do
to
the refugee
you
do
unto
Me!
—Jesus Christ, translation/paraphrase by Michael R. Burch



Miscellanea

Critical Mass
by Michael R. Burch

I have listened to the rain all this evening
and it has a certain gravity,
as if it knows its destination,
perhaps even its particular destiny.
I do not believe mine is to be uplifted,
although I, too, may be flung precipitously
and from a great height.

"Gravity" and "particular destiny" are puns, since rain droplets are seeded by minute particles of dust adrift in the atmosphere and they fall due to gravity when they reach "critical mass." The title is also a pun, since the poem is skeptical about heaven-lauding Masses, etc.

Reading between the lines
by Michael R. Burch

Who could have read so much, as we?
Having the time, but not the inclination,
TV has become our philosophy,
sheer boredom, our recreation.



One-Liners and other Jokes

• If the US consulted a competent headshrinker, it might boil down to nothing more than hot air and delusions.—Michael R. Burch
• Thanks to politicians like George W. Bush, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, Steve Bannon and Donald Trump, we now have a duh-mock-racy.—Michael R. Burch
• Teddy Roosevelt spoke softly and carried a big stick; Donald Trump speaks loudly and carries a big shtick.—Michael R. Burch
• Under Trump American democracy is going the way of the dodo. — Michael R. Burch
• Trump has no more use for democracy than Al Capone had for law and order. — Michael R. Burch
• I call the GOP under Trump the "rise and fall of the third retch" and "the rise and fall of the re-flub-lycans." And I'm a former Reagan Republican. — Michael R. Burch
• Trump is the American Gaffe Spree and also the American Graft Spree. — Michael R. Burch
• Trump is a walking, talking Kinsley Gaffe. — Michael R. Burch
• The truth always comes out in the end. Trump wears Depends. — Michael R. Burch
• Trump will shill no whine before its time, but then it’s always time to whine according to Trump. — Michael R. Burch
• Trump shits on the Constitution, the handicapped, women, minorities, POWs and wounded veterans. But now, shitwrecked by the laughter of the gods, it turns out that Trump shits himself, literally. "Diaper Don" is not just a nickname, it's reality. — Michael R. Burch
• One can smell the stench of Trump’s diaper through the ether. And the odor cloys and lingers like 'skairt skunk.' — Michael R. Burch
• The GOP has become a confectionery where conspiracy theories are baked, then sold to the half-baked. — Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"
• If you believe Don's cons you must be using Giggle rather than Google. — Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"
• These days Trump's fraudian slip is always showing. — Michael R. Burch
• Don the Con put the “con” in “conservative.” — Michael R. Burch
• Trump put the “nut” in peanut gallery. — Michael R. Burch
• tRUMP is the butt of many jokes. — Michael R. Burch
• Hell hath no Fury like our furry Führer. — Michael R. Burch
• Ron DeSantis is tRUMP LITE. He's just as big an ass, just as evil, just as loony, but has a cult of one. — Michael R. Burch
• After watching Ron DeSantis try to "smile" one feels the need for a shower. A very long, hot, cleansing shower. — Michael R. Burch
• Will the Bar Association bill and bar Bill Barr? Will Trump then declare Colludy Rudy Giuliani his new Detourney General? — Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"
• After Bill Barr is disbarred, will he end up behind barrs, or will he find employment as Trump's personal barrtender and anal barrometer? — Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"
• How can we predict the future when tomorrow is as uncertain as Trump’s next tweet? — Michael R. Burch
• Sarah Palin is truly unique: she alone can make us appreciate Dubya's vastly superior intellect. — Michael R. Burch
• I believe God is using Michelle Bachmann to conclusively prove that human beings did not evolve. — Michael R. Burch
• Mitt Romney could suck the joy out of a lucky Irish rainbow, and the pot of gold at the end. — Michael R. Burch
• Floriduh is the perfect state of residence for Trump. After all, Trump is florid in both face and speech, and he favors duh-mock-racey as his political system. Also, thanks to the warm Florida sun, the Great Trumpkin can now save tons of money on that ghastly orange pancake makeup. ― Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"
• Now that he's relocated Donald Trump should run for governor of Florida. After all, he was voted "most likely to secede." — Michael R. Burch
• If Minnesota were to secede from the United States, they would become Minnie-sota. — Michael R. Burch
• If Texas were to secede from the United States, they would become Tax-us. — Michael R. Burch
• If Mississippi were to secede from the United States, they would hardly be missed. — Michael R. Burch
• Ted Cruz will launch his new Texas senatorial campaign to the strains of Coldplay's, "When you try your best but you don't secede." — Michael R. Burch
• The enemy is not without, but within our gates; it is with our own complacence, our own folly, our own cutthroats and criminals that we must contend. — Cicero, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
• Trump is the American Nero. Trump, like Nero, set his capitol city aflame, then fiddled as his countrymen died. Nero played an actual fiddle, while Trump fiddled with his TV remote. — Michael R. Burch

Trump’s real goals are obvious
and yet millions of Americans remain oblivious.
—Michael R. Burch

Poets laud Justice’s
high principles.
Trump just gropes
her raw genitals.
—Michael R. Burch

Apologies to España
by Michael R. Burch

The reign
in Trump’s brain
falls mainly as mansplain.

Adam’s Rib vs. Women’s Lib
by Michael R. Burch

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all women were created sequel ...

That tRUMP’s a liar is obvious
to all but the oblivious.
—Michael R. Burch

tRUMP should work for tASS:
they both kiss Putin’s ass.
—Michael R. Burch



Two-Liners

Fierce ancient skalds summoned verse from their guts;
today’s genteel poets prefer modern ruts.
—Michael R. Burch

Q: What do you call it when a Man-Baby takes over the American government?
A: Coup d'Tot.
—Michael R. Burch

Love should be more than the sum of its parts—
of its potions and pills and subterranean arts.
—Michael R. Burch

I sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle.
—Michael R. Burch



Three-Liners and Four-Liners

There’s no need to rant about Al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The cruelty of “civilization” suffices:
our ordinary vices.
—Michael R. Burch

To be or not to be?
In the end Hamlet
opted for naught.
—Michael R. Burch

Fleet Tweet: Apologies to Shakespeare
by Michael R. Burch

a tweet
by any other name
would be as fleet!
—@mikerburch

Fleet Tweet II: Further Apologies to Shakespeare
by Michael R. Burch

Remember, doggonit,
heroic verse crowns the Shakespearean sonnet!
So if you intend to write a couplet,
please do it on the doublet!
—@mikerburch



The Complete Redefinitions

Faith: falling into the same old claptrap.—Michael R. Burch
Religion: the ties that blind.—Michael R. Burch
Lingerie: visual foreplay.—Michael R. Burch
Salvation: falling for allure—hook, line and stinker.—Michael R. Burch
Trickle down economics: an especially pungent golden shower.—Michael R. Burch
Canned political applause: clap track for the claptrap.—Michael R. Burch
A straight flush is a winning hand. A straight-faced flush is when you don't give it away.—Michael R. Burch
Lust: a chemical affair.—Michael R. Burch
Believer: A speck of dust / animated by lust / brief as a mayfly / and yet full of trust.—Michael R. Burch
Theologian: someone who wants life to “make sense” / by believing in a “god” infinitely dense.—Michael R. Burch
Skepticism: The murderer of Eve / cannot be believed.—Michael R. Burch
Death: This dream of nothingness we fear / is salvation clear.—Michael R. Burch
Insuresurrection: The dead are always with us, and yet they are naught!—Michael R. Burch
Marriage: a seldom-observed truce / during wars over money / and a red-faced papoose.—Michael R. Burch
Is “natural affection” affliction? / Is “love” nature’s sleight-of-hand trick / to get us to reproduce / whenever she feels the itch?—Michael R. Burch



Puns and Wordplay

A tweet by any other name would be as fleet.—Michael R. Burch

"Epigram" means cram, then scram.—Michael R. Burch

The expanding pop-u-’lation explains the rise of false celebrity. — Michael R. Burch

For artists success can be a collection of artfully-dodged problems.—Michael R. Burch



More Prose Epigrams

• Once fanaticism has gangrened brains the malady is usually incurable.—Voltaire, translation by Michael R. Burch
• Unsurprisingly, narrow minds have trouble grasping larger subjects.—Michael R. Burch
• We can't change the past, but we can learn from it.—Michael R. Burch
• We can't rewrite the past, but we can read and learn from it.—Michael R. Burch
• Intolerance is unsuccessful because one cannot argue successfully against success.—Michael R. Burch
• Justice may be blind, but does she have to be deaf too?—Michael R. Burch
• I'm an optimist until everything goes wrong, then I'm just miffed. — Michael R. Burch
• Wayne Gretzky was pure skill poured into skates.—Michael R. Burch
• Joe Montana was Joe Cool, but he was also Joe Clutch.— Michael R. Burch
• The Big Dipper’s “dips” were better than most centers’ peaks. — Michael R. Burch
• One man's coronation is another man's consternation.—Michael R. Burch
• Neither the leaf nor the tree laments karma.—Michael R. Burch
• The best time to plant a tree was in your youth. The second best time is now. — Chinese Proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
• As a general rule of thumb, ignore naysayers unless you agree with their criticism.—Michael R. Burch
• Skill is the product of aptitude, application and experience.—Michael R. Burch
• A good timeline brings order to chaos.—Michael R. Burch
• We should do the best we can with the talents we were given and the time we have remaining. — Michael R. Burch
• Love is exquisite torture.—Michael R. Burch (written after reading "It's Only My Heart" by Mirza Ghalib)



Longer Prose Epigrams and Epigram Collections

The editors of Poetry know no more about poetry than I do about basket-weaving, except that I know a good basket when I have it in my hands.—Michael R. Burch

The craziest fantasy of all is that human beings will ever act in the planet's best interests. Or their own.—Michael R. Burch

When I was being bullied, I had to learn not to judge myself by the opinions of intolerant morons. Then I felt much better.—Michael R. Burch

The world is not flat, tomatoes are not poisonous, and the “common wisdom” is sometimes more like “whiz-dumb.” — Michael R. Burch

I've come up with a simple solution to global warming: paint the entire planet white!—Michael R. Burch

Improve yourself by other men's writings, attaining less painfully what they gained through great difficulty.—Socrates, translation by Michael R. Burch

Why did I do it? Why did I bother to become a poet? Perhaps out of a desire to leave something when I’m gone: a trail of bread crumbs leading back to a being named Michael R. Burch.

TALLULAHMANIA!

I’m in the same camp as the campy and vampy Tallulah. After all, what’s good for the gander must also be good for the goose. We can take that to the bank(head). If not, she’ll slap us all silly and spit (or piss) on our graves. — Michael R. Burch

Tallulah was an expert cartwheeler and exhibitionist. She would cartwheel on stage, whether the script called for it, or (most likely) didn’t. Thus she would give appreciative audiences a glimpse of her undies, if she happened to be wearing any. When Tallulah wore panties it was undoubtedly to appease the censors and certainly not her preference. — Michael R. Burch

Tallulah’s voice and her vices were the inspiration for Disney’s notorious Cruella de Vil. — Michael R. Burch

Tallulah was “incomparably foulmouthed,” exceeding Cruella in at least one vice — thanks to Disney’s censors, no doubt. — Michael R. Burch

Tallulah was the faery godmother of all the "I'll reveal whatever I like" actresses and models who followed her lead: i.e., pretty much all of them these days. — Michael R. Burch

By the mid-1920s normally sedate Britons were in the grip of Tallulahmania. It was like Beatlemania with crotch-flashing cartwheels. — Michael R. Burch

FASHION

My opinion on see-through clothing? What’s good for the royal goose should be good for the commoner gander(ers) too! — Michael R. Burch

SPORTS

Father Time is undefeated, true, but mortals have a much higher “degree of difficulty.” — Michael R. Burch

Johnny Bench was the benchmark, pardon the pun. — Michael R. Burch

Showtime Ohtani puts on a show and people show up to see him perform. — Michael R. Burch

The Dodgers are indeed very dodgy with their trillion dollar payroll. But as Robert Burns observed, “The best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.” — Michael R. Burch

It seems “Iron” Mike was a bit of a softie when things didn’t go his way. — Michael R. Burch

If we compare Sudden Sam McDowell to the Hall of Fame’s lesser lights, he should be in, but there’s no rhyme or reason to how the voters draw their erasable lines in the sand. So he probably doesn’t make it. But we can always raise a toast to Sudden Sam’s great gift to the world, Cheers!” — Michael R. Burch

Thanks to his use of PEDs, Jose Canseco’s baseball career is a chimera, a grinning (or leering) Cheshire cat. — Michael R. Burch

UNEXPECTED/SLASHERS

Magic Johnson didn’t slash with great speed, leaping ability, or athleticism. He did it, of course, with magic! — Michael R. Burch

Larry Bird wasn’t a great leaper, nor was he incredibly (or even credibly) fast, but he could get to the hoop, making him a great slasher according to results. — Michael R. Burch

Kevin McHale was nicknamed the “Black Hole” because when he got his hands on the ball, it wasn’t coming back out again. McHale was a great slasher due to his height, length, footwork and elasticity. Like the smaller Pete Maravich, Man-Mountain McHale was incredibly flexible and never seemed to have trouble getting his shot off from any angle. Thus there was never any reason for him to return the ball! — Michael R. Burch

HUMAN NATURE

We only know the pieces of others they choose to share. — Michael R. Burch

And how much have you shared lately? — Michael R. Burch

GOLDEN RULE

Be as golden within as without.—Michael R. Burch, "Suntan lines"

The Golden Rule is much easier to recite than observe. — Michael R. Burch

We are all better at preaching the Golden Rule than observing it ourselves. — Michael R. Burch

The Golden Rule is much easier to recite for others' benefit than to observe oneself. — Michael R. Burch

Consider a Golden Mean with the Golden Rule: Why be harder on yourself than on others? — Michael R. Burch

ARTS & LETTERS

Poetry should be better than prose, not more convenient to write. Clumsy inversions and archaisms are like water wings on an Olympic swimmer. — Michael R. Burch

What is the future of poetry? I think the cream will rise to the top in the future, as it has in the past. — Michael R. Burch

It is very difficult to write capital "P" Poetry, and beyond the ability of most poets, but that has always been my goal. Like trying to climb the highest mountain because it's there. As a beginning poet in my early teens, I would destroy poems when they didn't pass muster. Once, I destroyed them all. But I always understood the GOAL, at least. — Michael R. Burch

Modern editors know too much about poetry to recognize it when they read it. — Michael R. Burch

There is no reason to fear criticism. If you agree, use it. If not, ignore it. And feel free to pick and choose.—Michael R. Burch

A. E. Housman was a great poet who with his direct statement poems single-handedly disproved claims that poetry requires imagery, metaphor, "no ideas but in things" and other similar much-parroted nonsense. — Michael R. Burch

Winnie-the-Pooh is a series for the ages (and all ages). — Michael R. Burch

John Bunyan wrote the second-most-unreadable novel of all time, Pilgrim’s Progress. I would slightly revise the title to Grim Pill’s Progress. The book is a lengthy sermon told through mind-numbingly boring allegories. Will the protagonist make it through the Slough of Despair? Will he be lured from the path to salvation in Vanity Fair? Does anybody care? It was the most laborious read of my life, and a book I would never crack again. The most unreadable book of all time is, of course, James Joyce's aptly titled Wake. — Michael R. Burch

Aretha Franklin has been called the Queen of Soul but in reality she was the queen of whatever she sang, from "Nessun Dorma" to the bluesy "Summertime" to gospel to harder fare. — Michael R. Burch

The natural response to Dimash singing "SOS" is to become a puddle of tears, shot through with lightning bolts of awe. — Michael R. Burch

Eartha Kitt Cat had the purr-fect name to play Catwoman. — Michael R. Burch

Batman didn’t know if he was going or coming when Michelle Pfeiffer played Catwoman. — Michael R. Burch

Milli Vanilli seemed like two singers who could have been models, but turned out to be two models pretending to be singers. — Michael R. Burch

Paula Cole’s semiliterate “Say a little prayer for I” takes the MacArthur cake for bad songwriting. — Michael R. Burch

The three towers of English Language Modernism peaked by 1915, then left most of us piqued thereafter. — Michael R. Burch

(Ezra Pound published his magnificent Kensington Garden poem in 1913. James Joyce published Dubliners in 1914. T.S. Eliot published "Prufrock" in 1915.)

Nonsensical literary theories have been the death of poetry. — Michael R. Burch

POETRY WARS

I have been attacked by a large group of poets, The Society of Classical Poets, who regularly publish wretched poems, some of which would fail a fifth grade English class. Hence I redubbed them the Keystone Scops. One of the scops said in a despairing poem that "all" the scops were afraid to reply to my criticism. Why? Because I might quote them, resulting in "untold embarrassment" for those being quoted!

According to the Keystone Scops, I'm just a hillbilly poet. Imagine what a major poet could do with this Dunciad! — Michael R. Burch

Laconic Reply to a Scop
by Michael R. Burch

You flatter yourself that anyone cares
about your "Society" and its airs.

To prove that no acclaim is due,
I mostly just quote you.

So why is your temperature rising?
Who objects to free advertising?

The Scops Are Whining Again
by Michael R. Burch

The scops are whining again:
“How can you be so mean?”
Who cares if we stammer
and suck at grammar?
Why don’t you just let us preen!”



SNAPSHOTS: THE BEST IMAGERY OF MICHAEL R. BURCH

• The petal-scented rainfall of early spring. — Michael R. Burch
• Ivy laureling erudite walls. — Michael R. Burch
• The last gasp of a gassed canary. — Michael R. Burch
• Elderly sunflowers: bees trimming their beards. — Michael R. Burch
• The raindrop that overflowed the river’s banks. — Michael R. Burch
• Flushed with success the toilet gurgled happily. — Michael R. Burch

Have you tasted the bitterness of tears of despair?
Have you watched the sun sink through such pale, balmless air
that your soul sought its shell like a crab on a beach,
then scuttled inside to be safe, out of reach?

Here the hills are old, and rolling
casually in their old age;
on the horizon youthful mountains
bathe themselves in windblown fountains . . .



Prose Epigrams about Poetry and Poets

• Poetry is the art of finding the right word at the right time.—Michael R. Burch
• If you want to be a poet, find the best way of saying things.—Michael R. Burch
• I will never grok picking a picky rule over a Poem!—Michael R. Burch
• In poetry, minor details can make a big difference.—Michael R. Burch
• In poetry, small changes can make a big difference.—Michael R. Burch
• Poetry moves the heart as well as the reason.—Michael R. Burch
• The best poems delight us into wisdom, or at least its consideration.—Michael R. Burch, paraphrasing Robert Frost and Horace
• Love and art are balancing acts, with a lot of self-inflicted wounds.—Michael R. Burch
• Poetry is the marriage of ideas and emotions, begetting music.—Michael R. Burch
• I take really good poetry as a challenge and try to avoid "genius envy."—Michael R. Burch
• Adam Gopnik called Randall Jarrell the “best-equipped” American poetry critic of the past century; he may have been the “best quipped” as well.—Michael R. Burch
• Why am I scrolling through oceans of spam to make sure I don’t tweet the same poem twice?—Michael R. Burch
• Writers must avoid weaker and weakening phrases. Relentlessly remove words that detract rather than add.—Michael R. Burch
• Some poets should be called Form-u-lists rather than Formalists because they latch onto formulas like babies slurping lukewarm milk from disposable bottles.—Michael R. Burch
• I dislike stupid rules and refuse to abide by them.—Michael R. Burch
• Irony of ironies! Could there be a less poetic term for a poem than “poem” — whether pronounced “pohm,” “po-um” or “poym”? And what the hell rhymes with “poetry” — “knowitry? showitry?” —Michael R. Burch
• The most common cliché in contemporary poetry is: "Show, don't tell / no ideas but in things / fear abstractions." Unfortunately, someone forgot to inform Homer, Sappho, Dante, Shakespeare and Milton!—Michael R. Burch



Epitaphs

My Epitaph
by Michael R. Burch

Do not weep for me, when I am gone.
I lived, and ate my fill, and gorged on life.
You will not find beneath this glossy stone
the man who sowed and reaped and gathered days
like flowers, undismayed they would not keep.
Go lightly then, and leave me to my sleep.

Completing the Pattern
by Michael R. Burch

Walk with me now, among the transfixed dead
who kept life’s compact and who thus endure
harsh sentence here—among pink-petaled beds
and manicured green lawns. The sky’s azure,
pale blue once like their eyes, will gleam blood-red
at last when sunset staggers to the door
of each white mausoleum, to inquire—
What use, O things of erstwhile loveliness?

Dust (II)
by Michael R. Burch

We are dust
and to dust we must
return ...
but why, then,
life’s pointless sojourn?

Untitled

This dream of nothingness we so fear
is salvation clear.
—Michael R. Burch

I have my doubts about your God and his “love”:
If one screams below, what the hell is “Above”?
—Michael R. Burch

Autumn Conundrum
by Michael R. Burch

It's not that every leaf must finally fall,
it's just that we can never catch them all.

Styx
by Michael R. Burch

Black waters,
deep and dark and still . . .
all men have passed this way,
or will.

Here and Hereafter
by Michael R. Burch

Life’s saving graces are love, pleasure, laughter ...
wisdom, it seems, is for the Hereafter.

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

Laughter’s Cry
by Michael R. Burch

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.

Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.

Fahr an' Ice
by Michael R. Burch

From what I know of death, I'll side with those
who'd like to have a say in how it goes:
just make mine cool, cool rocks (twice drowned in likker),
and real fahr off, instead of quicker.

Housman was right ...
by Michael R. Burch

It's true that life’s not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It’s just the bon voyage is hard
and the objections loud.

Long Division
by Michael R. Burch

All things become one
Through death’s long division
And perfect precision.

Grave Oversight I
by Michael R. Burch

The dead are always with us,
and yet they are naught!

Grave Oversight II
by Michael R. Burch

for Jim Dunlap, who winked and suggested “not”

The dead are either naught
or naughty, being so sought!

The Locker
by Michael R. Burch

All the dull hollow clamor has died
and what was contained,
removed,
reproved
adulation or sentiment,
left with the pungent darkness
as remembered as the sudden light.



Native American Poems, Proverbs and Sayings

These are my modern English translations of some of my favorite Native American poems, proverbs and sayings. I translated the first three poems when my father, Paul Ray Burch Jr., made the decision to stop taking dialysis and enter hospice. We believe he had Native American blood―possibly Cherokee. Native Americans were creating poems and songs in pre-Columbian days; Mayan and Aztec literature dates back to the first millennium BCE.

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing I
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

I will extract the thorns from your feet.
Yet a little longer we will walk life's sunlit paths together.
I will love you like my own brother, my own blood.
When you are disconsolate, I will wipe the tears from your eyes.
And when you are too sad to live, I will put your aching heart to rest.

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing II
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Happily may you walk
in the paths of the Rainbow.
Oh!,
and may it always be beautiful before you,
beautiful behind you,
beautiful below you,
beautiful above you,
and beautiful all around you
where in Perfection beauty is finished.

Cherokee Travelers' Blessing III
loose loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

May Heaven’s warmest winds blow gently there,
where you reside,
and may the Great Spirit bless all those you love,
this side of the farthest tide.
And when you go,
whether the journey is fast or slow,
may your moccasins leave many cunning footprints in the snow.
And when you look over your shoulder, may you always find the Rainbow.

Native American Travelers' Blessing
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let us walk together here
among earth's creatures, great and small,
remembering, our footsteps light,
that one wise God created all.

Native American Prayer
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Help us learn the lessons you have left us here
in every leaf and rock.

Sioux Vision Quest

A man must pursue his Vision
as the eagle explores
the sky's deepest blues.
—Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux (circa 1840-1877), loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The Receiving of the Flower
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Let us sing overflowing with joy
as we observe the Receiving of the Flower.
The lovely maidens beam;
their hearts leap in their breasts.

Why?

Because they will soon yield their virginity to the men they love!

The Deflowering
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Remove your clothes;
let down your hair;
become as naked as the day you were born—

virgins!

Prelude to Lovemaking
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Lay out your most beautiful clothes,
maidens!
The day of happiness has arrived!

Grab your combs, detangle your hair,
adorn your earlobes with gaudy pendants.
Dress in white as becomes maidens ...

Then go, give your lovers the happiness of your laughter!
And all the village will rejoice with you,
for the day of happiness has arrived!

The Flower-Strewn Pool
excerpt from a Mayan love poem
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

You have arrived at last in the woods
where no one can see what you do
at the flower-strewn pool ...
Remove your clothes,
unbraid your hair,
become as you were
when you first arrived here
naked and shameless—
virgins, maidens!

Warrior's Confession
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Oh my love, how fair you are—
far brighter than the fairest star!

Native American Proverbs

Before you judge
a man for his sins
be sure to trudge
many moons in his moccasins.
—loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

The soul would see no Rainbows if not for the eyes’ tears.
—loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A woman’s highest calling is to help her man unite with the Source.
A man’s highest calling is to help his woman walk the earth unharmed.
—loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

When you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced.
Live your life so that when you die, the world cries and you rejoice.
—White Elk, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

A brave man dies but once, a coward many times.–Native American saying, translation by Michael R. Burch
Speak less thunder, wield more lightning. — Apache proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
The more we wonder, the more we understand. — Arapaho proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
Beware the eloquence of the rattlesnake's tail. — Navajo saying, translation by Michael R. Burch
The rattlesnake's tail is eloquent. — Navajo saying, translation by Michael R. Burch
Adults talk, children whine. — Blackfoot proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
Don’t be afraid to cry: it will lessen your sorrow. — Hopi proverb
One foot in the boat, one foot in the canoe, and you end up in the river. — Tuscarora proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
Our enemy's weakness increases our strength. — Cherokee proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
We will be remembered tomorrow by the tracks we leave today. — Dakota proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
The heart is our first teacher. — Cheyenne proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
Dreams beget success. — Maricopa proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
Knowledge interprets the past, wisdom foresees the future. — Lumbee proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch
The troublemaker's way is thorny. — Umpqua proverb, translation by Michael R. Burch

What is life?
The flash of a firefly.
The breath of the winter buffalo.
The shadow scooting across the grass that vanishes with sunset.
—Blackfoot saying, translation by Michael R. Burch



More Athenian Epitaphs

Be ashamed, O mountains and seas: these were men of valorous breath.
Assume, like pale chattels, an ashen silence at death.
Michael R. Burch, after Parmenio

These men earned a crown of imperishable glory,
Nor did the maelstrom of death obscure their story.
Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Stranger, flee!
But may Fortune grant you all the prosperity
she denied me.
Michael R. Burch, after Leonidas of Tarentum

I am loyal to you master, even in the grave:
Just as you now are death’s slave.
Michael R. Burch, after Dioscorides

Having never earned a penny,
nor seen a bridal gown slip to the floor,
still I lie here with the love of many,
to be the love of yet one more.
Michael R. Burch, after an unknown Greek poet

I lie by stark Icarian rocks
and only speak when the sea talks.
Please tell my dear father that I gave up the ghost
on the Aegean coast.
Michael R. Burch, after Theatetus

Everywhere the sea is the sea, the dead are the dead.
What difference to me—where I rest my head?
The sea knows I’m buried.
Michael R. Burch, after Antipater of Sidon

Constantina, inconstant one!
Once I thought your name beautiful
but I was a fool
and now you are more bitter to me than death!
You flee someone who loves you
with baited breath
to pursue someone who’s untrue.
But if you manage to make him love you,
tomorrow you'll flee him too!
Michael R. Burch, after Macedonius

Dead as you are, though you lie still as stone,
huntress Lycas, my great Thessalonian hound,
the wild beasts still fear your white bones;
craggy Pelion remembers your valor,
splendid Ossa, the way you would bound
and bay at the moon for its whiteness,
bellowing as below we heard valleys resound.
And how brightly with joy you would canter and run
the strange lonely peaks of high Cithaeron!
Michael R. Burch, after Simonides

Yes, bring me Homer’s lyre, no doubt,
but first yank the bloodstained strings out!
—Anacreon, translation by Michael R. Burch

Here we find Anacreon,
an elderly lover of boys and wine.
His harp still sings in lonely Acheron
as he thinks of the lads he left behind ...
—Anacreontea, translation by Michael R. Burch

I am an image, a tombstone. Seikilos placed me here as a long-lasting sign of deathless remembrance.—loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



More Translations

She says an epigram’s too terse
to reveal her tender heart in verse ...
but really, darling, ain’t the thrill
of a kiss much shorter still?
―#2 from “Xenia” by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Friedrich Schiller, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Just as I select a ship when it's time to travel,
or a house when it's time to change residences,
even so I will choose when it's time to depart from life.
―Seneca, speaking about the right to euthanasia in the first century AD, translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Ironic Vacation
by Michael R. Burch

Salzburg.
Seeing Mozart’s baby grand piano.
Standing in the presence of sheer incalculable genius.
Grabbing my childish pen to write a poem & challenge the Immortals.
Next stop, the catacombs!

Biblical Knowledge or “Knowing Coming and Going”
by Michael R. Burch

The wisest man the world has ever seen
had fourscore concubines and threescore queens?
This gives us pause, and so we venture hence—
he “knew” them, wisely, in the wider sense.

Less Heroic Couplets: Midnight Stairclimber
by Michael R. Burch

Procreation
is at first great sweaty recreation,
then—long, long after the sex dies—
the source of endless exercise.

Snap Shots
by Michael R. Burch

Our daughters must be celibate,
die virgins. We triangulate
their early paths to heaven (for
the martyrs they’ll soon conjugate).

We like to hook a little tail.
We hope there’s decent ass in jail.
Don’t fool with us; our bombs are smart!
(We’ll send the plans, ASAP, e-mail.)

The soul is all that matters; why
hoard gold if it offends the eye?
A pension plan? Don’t make us laugh!
We have your plan for sainthood. (Die.)

NOTE: The second stanza is a punning reference to the Tailhook scandal, in which US Navy and Marine aviation officers were alleged to have sexually assaulted up to 83 women and seven men.

A poet births words,
brings them into the world like a midwife,
then wet-nurses them from infancy to adolescence.
—Michael R. Burch



Doggerel

There's a bun in auntie's oven,
and soon you'll have a cousin!
―Michael R. Burch

Woeful Waffles
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Thomas Moore

I think it’s woeful
and should be unlawful
to eat those awful
tofu waffles!

a poem in which i a-coos Coo & Co. of being unfairly lovable

Coo & Co. are unfairly lovable!
their poems are entirely too huggable!
for what hope have we po’-its,
we intellectual know-its,
or no-wits, when ours are so drubabble?

While not written in German, Italian, French, Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and hieroglyphics like T.S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land,” but merely in less-than-the-Queen’s-English, this poem may also require copious footnotes. The “unfairly lovable” poems I had in mind were, particularly, “Learning Barn” and “Grebe barcarolle,” but also other adorable Coo & Co. poems reminiscent of Lear, Carroll, A. A. Milne, “The House on Pooh Corner” and “Yellow Submarine.” The contraction “po’-its” stands for “poor its,” as in destitute non-entities, which we other poets are in danger of becoming when compared to the adorability of Coo & Co. How can we possibly hope to compete? The coinage “drubabble” means “someone in need of a drubbing for babbling on when they should be reading Coo & Co.” With which I must lapse into silence ...

aka "His Last Confession" by Michael R. Burch

(We have narrowed down the authorship of the the poems of Coo & Co. to either an Einsteinian colombine named Coo or a mysterious poetess who goes by the names F.F. Teague, Felicity Teague, Fliss Teague and FT.)



Politics: Political Epigrams

Nonsense Verse for a Nonsensical White House Resident

Roses are red,
Daffodils are yellow,
But not half as daffy
As that taffy-colored fellow!
―Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

The Hair Flap
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

The hair flap was truly a scare:
Trump’s bald as a billiard back there!
The whole nation laughed
At the state of his graft;
Now the man’s wigging out, so beware!

15 Seconds
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Our president’s sex life—atrocious!
His "briefings"—bizarre hocus-pocus!
Politics—a shell game!
My brief moment of fame
flashed by before Oprah could notice!

Not-So-Heroic Couplets
by Donald Trump
care of Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

To outfox the pox:
kill yourself first, with Clorox!

And since death is the goal,
mainline Lysol!

No vaccine? Just chug Mr. Clean!
Is a cure out of reach? Fumigate your lungs, with bleach!

To immunize your thorax,
destroy it with Borax!

To immunize your bride, drown her in Opti-cide!
To end all future gridlocks, gargle with Vaprox!

Now, quick, down the Drain-o
with old Insane-o NoBrain-o!

Tea Party Madness
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

Since we agree,
let’s have a nice tea
with our bats in the belfry.

Donald Disgustus
by Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

It’ll be a cold day in hell
when I wish The Donald well:
was there ever a bigger liar
than President Pants-on-Fire?

If Trump played basketball he would lead the league in airballs. — Michael R. Burch aka “the Loyal Opposition”

Alina "Habba Dab a Doo-Doo" is the perfect lawyer for ex-president Smelvis von Shitzenpants. — Michael R. Burch

Trump is a RINO, a sheep in wolf’s clothing. — Michael R. Burch

Don the Con put the “con” in “conservative” and his cult provided the “serve.” The term has become a self-fulfilling prophecy: American serfs now serve a con. — Michael R. Burch

It turns out the term was prophetic, since "conservatives" now serve a con. Or should we call them "conswervatives"? — Michael R. Burch

Mister Ed was a stable genius. Trump is a horse’s ass. — Michael R. Burch

All magic, eventually, begins to wane. So too with illusions like Trump's. — Michael R. Burch

Trump is as likely to embrace moderate Republicans as a cobra is to “embrace” mice, and in the same affectionate manner. — Michael R. Burch

Thanks to Trump and his ilk, the GOP’s goose-stepping march toward fascism continues apace. — Michael R. Burch

The only realistic argument against Trump’s cognitive decline is that he never had much cognition to begin with. — Michael R. Burch

Trump's a megalomaniac whose entire life has been a nonstop attempt to con people into thinking he’s the Big Shitz, so it’s amusing to hear he wears diapers. — Michael R. Burch

I do what I can to point out Trump’s inadequacies to be dogcatcher, much less president, but he provides me with so much material it’s hard to take credit. — Michael R. Burch

When MAGA finally wakes up, it will be far too late. Ironically, their only hope for salvation is the “liberals” they despise, loathe and fear. — Michael R. Burch

/bookmark/zzzz/

Abraham Lincoln appealed the to the better angels of Americans. Trump appeals to their worst demons. To the primitive demons of unreasoning fear. Of fearing rather than loving and respecting one's neighbor due to minor shadings of skin coloration and culture. To the primitive demons of cowardice and intolerance. — Michael R. Burch

Tricky Nikki Haley is an expert fence-sitter. — Michael R. Burch

Donald Trump is a reverse Midas who corrupts everything he touches. Lara Trump is his warlock’s apprentice. — Michael R. Burch

Ken Buck bucked MAGA's insanity. Think about it: a Tea Party Republican quit Congress because MAGA is too extreme. The lunatics are running the asylum, led by ex-president E Pluribus Loon 'em. — Michael R. Burch

Cassidy Hutchinson is not only credible, but her courage and poise under fire have been incredible. — Michael R. Burch

Cassidy Hutchinson is a modern Erin Brockovich except that in her case the well has been poisoned for the whole country. — Michael R. Burch

Utopian Tim Scott said, "When I look at our nation, I don’t see division." Apparently Tim Scott has never seen Trump for what he is, despite standing behind him and kissing his reeking, seeping diaper. Ideals are well and good, but blindness is not a virtue. Germans would have benefitted from seeing Hitler for what he really was, rather than fawning over and applauding him. I would like to subscribe to Tim Scott’s utopian view, but the reality of Trump and his ilk prevents me. — Michael R. Burch

If Don the Con were truthful, he wouldn’t need a dime from others, but he’s become the world’s greatest beggar. So sad! — Michael R. Burch

Trump says he “loves” his supporters. How much does he “love” them? Apparently, to death, because he packs them together like sardines in the middle of a pandemic! — Michael R. Burch aka “the Loyal Opposition”

The crackpot Kraken cracked. — Michael R. Burch aka “the Loyal Opposition”

Alas for insurrectionists, the fearsome Kraken turned out to be Flipper. — Michael R. Burch aka “the Loyal Opposition”

Kenneth Chesebro has pled guilty to a felony in Trump's failed coup attempt and will now be singing like a cross between a canary and a stuck pig. — Michael R. Burch aka "The Loyal Opposition"

We need voter equality: get rid of the Electoral College and let every vote carry the same weight. That would also put an end to Trumpian shenanigans in swing states.—Michael R. Burch

Don the Con will con-tinue to con-fuse his cult, whether in the White House or the outhouse. — Michael R. Burch



Light Verse

Less Heroic Couplets: Mini-Ode to Stamina
by Michael R. Burch

When you’ve given so much
that I can’t bear your touch,
then from a safe distance
let me admire your persistence.

Trump’s real goals are obvious
and yet millions of Americans remain oblivious.
—Michael R. Burch

Cover Girl
by Michael R. Burch

Cunning
at sunning
and dunning,
the stunning
young woman’s in the running
to be found nude on the cover
of some patronizing lover.

In this case the cover is a bed cover, where the enterprising young mistress is about to be covered herself.

First Base Freeze
by Michael R. Burch

I find your love unappealing
(no, make that appalling)
because you prefer kissing
then stalling.

Paradoxical Ode to Antinatalism
by Michael R. Burch

"God is Love."

A stay on love
would end death’s hateful sway,
someday.

A stay on love
would thus be love,
I say.

Be true to love
and thus end death’s
fell sway!

Untitled

I didn’t mean to love you,
but I did.
Best leave the rest unsaid,
hid-
den
and unbidden.
—Michael R. Burch

You imagine life is good,
but have you actually understood?
—Michael R. Burch

Living with a body ain’t much fun.
Harder, still, to live without one.
Whatever happened to our day in the sun?
—Michael R. Burch

How little remains of our joys and our pains.
How little remains of our losses and gains.
How little remains except to refrain.
—Michael R. Burch

Sometimes I feel better, it’s true,
but mostly I’m still not over you.
—Michael R. Burch

Don’t let the past defeat you.
Learn from it, but don’t dwell.
Have no regrets at “farewell.”
—Michael R. Burch

Haughty moon,
when did I ever trouble you,
insomnia’s co-conspirator!
—Michael R. Burch

Every day’s a new chance to lose weight,
but most likely,
I’ll
... procrastinate ...
—Michael R. Burch

Big Ben Boner
by Michael R. Burch

Early to bed, hurriedly to rise
makes a man stealthy,
and that’s why he’s wealthy:
what the hell is he doing behind your closed eyes?

Friend, how you’ll squirm
when you belatedly learn
that you’re the worm!

Pecking Disorder
by Michael R. Burch

Love has a pecking order,
or maybe a dis-order,
a hell we recognize
if we merely open our eyes:
the attractive win at birth,
while those of ample girth
are deemed of little worth
from Nottingham to Perth.

Nottingham is said to have the most beautiful women in the world.

Tease
by Michael R. Burch

It’s what you always say, okay?
It’s what you always say:
C’mon let’s play,
roll in the hay,
It’s what you always say. Ole!

But little do you do, it’s true.
But little do you do.
A little diddle, run to piddle ...
we never really screw!
That’s you!

Observance (II)
by Michael R. Burch

fifty years later...

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
majestic to the eye.
Whoever felt as I,
whoever
felt them doomed to die
despite their flamboyant colors?

They seem like knights of dismal countenance ...
as if, windmills themselves,
they might tilt with the bloody sky.

And yet their favors gaily fly!

i wrote a giddy little song
by michael r. burch

i wrote a giddy little song,
which u can dance to, all night long;
i wrote a giddy little poem
which’ll tempt a smile, like sea foam;
i wrote a giddy little line,
it’ll tease a laugh, like a dandelion;
I wrote a song and took the trouble,
it’ll make u smile, like a soap bubble;
i wrote a giddy bit of fluff,
now dance to it, get off ur duff!

A Further Farewell to Dentistry
by Michael R. Burch

for and after Richard Moore, from whom I absconded the title, after being initially inspired by a Facebook exchange between Sam Gwynn and Alicia Stallings

Lately I've been eschewing
ice chewing
and my indentured dentist’s been boo-hooing.

Christ!
by Michael R. Burch

If I knew men could be so dumb,
I would never have come!

Now you lie, cheat and steal in my name
and make it a thing of shame.

Did I heal the huge holes in your heart, in your head?
Isn’t it obvious: I’m dead!

Door Mouse
by Michael R. Burch

I’m sure it’s not good for my heart—
the way it will jump-start
when the mouse scoots the floor
(I try to kill it with the door,
never fast enough, or
fling a haphazard shoe ...
always too slow too)
in the strangest zig-zaggedy fashion
absurdly inconvenient for mashin’,
till our hearts, each maniacally revvin’,
make us both early candidates for heaven.

The Humpback
by Michael R. Burch

The humpback is a gullet
equipped with snarky fins.
It has a winning smile:
and when it SMILES, it wins
as miles and miles of herring
excite its fearsome grins.
So beware, unwary whalers,
lest you drown, sans feet and shins!

Apologies to España
by Michael R. Burch

the reign
in Trump’s brain
falls mainly as mansplain

No Star
by Michael R. Burch

Trump, you're no "star."
Putin made you an American Czar.
Now, if we continue down this dark path you've chosen,
pretty soon we'll be wearing lederhosen.

tRUMP is the butt of many jokes.—Michael R. Burch

Erotic Epigrams

Cunt, while you weep and seep neediness all night,
ass has claimed what would bring you delight.
—Musa Lapidaria, #100A, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Movie Criticism of Improbable Sequels

Is it possible there were two Blue Lagoon movies, much less three? — Michael R. Burch

I remember getting up and walking out of Jaws III, vowing never to return to the failing and flailing franchise: a vow I faithfully kept. — Michael R. Burch

The best thing about Austin Powers 3: Goldmember was its cute and provocative title. But do we really want to think about the subject matter, much less explore it? — Michael R. Burch

Back to the Future III (or Suture?). Yes, methinks they went "too far," as the movie’s blurb suggests. — Michael R. Burch

Death Wish 3 was aptly named. One can only long for the demise of this lifeless movie franchise. — Michael R. Burch

Alas, Die Hard 3 was true to its title and showed no signs of life. — Michael R. Burch

The Exorcist should have exorcised its demon of self-imitation. — Michael R. Burch

Jurassic Park has become like an overtold joke when everyone knows the punch line. — Michael R. Burch

The Highlander series should have taken the high road and ended with the original. — Michael R. Burch

I’m a Tolkien fan, but The Hobbit trilogy seems like a real str-e-e-e-tch to me. As in, “How can we turn one story into three movies and make lots more moolah?” — Michael R. Burch

The first two Home Alone movies were classics, but after that, well, it was dangerous to one’s brain cells to be home alone with nothing better to watch! — Michael R. Burch

Indiana Jones has been accused of becoming “Stephen Seagal bad.” — Michael R. Burch

It’s hard to believe there was actually a third Addams Family movie. Are we really that desperate for entertainment? And the original Morticia Addams, played by Carolyn Jones, was much hotter! Give me the black-and-white reruns, any time. — Michael R. Burch

Police Academy: the perpetrators of this horrendous crime should be arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law! — Michael R. Burch

The first two movies were bad enough, but Robocop 3 added insult to injury. — Michael R. Burch

Did we really need a follow-up to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze? Really? — Michael R. Burch

European Vacation fell vastly short of paradise. It was one flat joke after another. I remember getting up and walking out with my girlfriend, maybe 15 minutes into the movie. — Michael R. Burch

Friday the 13th was very unlucky for paying viewers. Jason returning from the dead in 3-D was not an improvement on this failing and flailing franchise. — Michael R. Burch

The Halloween sequels kept getting worse and worse, in a seeming contest for futility with Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. — Michael R. Burch

And thus I have reached the bottom of the briny barrel! — Michael R. Burch



CLOSING THOUGHTS
by Michael R. Burch

Religion was a big part of my family's life — we had missionaries, pastors and Sunday School teachers, including my mother, in our extended family — but I ended up being the black sheep.

Why?

I was a true believer until I read the Bible from cover to cover at age eleven and was dumbfounded that anyone could consider the biblical god "good." I wrote this epigram, my first poem, to express my conclusion:

If God
is good
half the Bible
is libel.
—Michael R. Burch

Many years later as an adult in my mid-forties, I read the Bible from cover to cover again, then at the behest of my mother studied numerous books by Christian apologists like Watchman Nee, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Billy Graham, Lee Strobel and Josh McDowell, only to arrive at the same conclusion. Only more so.

Why?

The Bible says trees grew before the sun was created, that a solid-but-transparent “firmament” in the sky holds back rainwater like a dam, and that stars are tiny pinpricks of light that can fall to earth. Is it a book of science or ancient superstitions? The Bible commands slavery, sex slavery, infanticide, matricide, ethnic cleansing, genocide and the ghastly stoning to death of children for non-sins and misdemeanors. Is it a book of ethics and morality or primitive voodoo? The Bible according to orthodox theology says billions of souls will go to an infinitely cruel and purposeless hell for guessing wrong about which religion to believe. Are Christians wise to believe in such an evil, unjust god?

Surely those who believe in Christ should "rightly divide the word" and give Jesus the benefit of the doubt by not attributing the Bible's satanic verses to him as part of the Trinity. Nothing can be more contrary to both faith and reason, than to claim God is perfect in love, compassion, mercy, wisdom and justice, yet to maintain that he authored commandments to, for instance, stone rape victims to death. If God is good, how is that not blasphemy?

For me the Bible's most inspired passage is Paul's epiphany on Divine Love in 1 Corinthians 13. In his epiphany Paul says that if God is not Divine Love, he is nothing, and all the words of the Bible are so much useless noise: clanging gongs and tinkling cymbals. And Paul tells us that Divine Love thinks no evil, holds no record of wrongs, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, never gives up and never fails. Such love is incompatible with racism, sexism, homophobia, religious intolerance, cherry-picking people to be saved, and with hell.

Christians should use Paul's epiphany as a litmus test, and disregard all biblical commandments contrary to it.

Paul's description of Divine Love in 1 Corinthians 13 is the gold standard, so why settle for less? And why accuse Jesus Christ, if you are going to name your religion after him, of being an atom short of Divine Love?

After all, to fall an atom short of Infinity is to fall infinitely short.
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