New Poems

Between Tears

Between tears
Room for unbridled fears

A change of gears
Open ears

Seeing with mirrors
Doubt reappears

The unruly crowd leers
There are facetious cheers

A cascading veil of years
A quiver of spears

Between tears
News smears and confusion interferes

Alienation among peers
Rumors that no one and everyone hears

Still, we dream of deers
We reach frontiers

We are brazen cavaliers
We enter far out spheres

The rent is no longer in arrears
Time for starry premiers

More promises from pamphleteers
More conversions from profiteers

New bridges from engineers
Let’s head to the Berkshires

There will be souvenirs
There will be mutineers

Between tears
Love adheres

Before the Birds

Up before the birds
In the milking hour
Quiet night free hand
Poems like rocks fall
From the boulders that roll me
Over in my sleep

A poem is not a poem
First, you hold the piece
You feel its heft, its pull and pulse
You weigh tossing the pebble
You want to give it
Back to the river
Back to the night

Do you think a poem
Is a fragile thing?
A literary object
Under glass?
Words like wings
Lift the burdens of sorrow
In the poem we rise

The composer’s notes
Are incomprehensible
On the page
The composer’s music moves
People in waves
Rhythmic, steady

Here you have truth
Grenades for the fibs
You tell yourself
Something stronger for the lies
You are told
Boom bah
Boom bah
There was nothing
Now there is something

Pieces put together
Universal order
Stars beam bright
Debris fields become
Fields of inquiry
Fields of golden maize
On our plate
Gathered appetites fed

Code Won’t Save You

Active hypertext reference is a Nor Cal smoke signal
A “This Way” sign to another related place

A place stuck in time, forever eternal
As long as circuits connect and the juice is live from the wire

The Peninsula Boys love to say code is poetry
I love to say they’re right, once a day, when code makes you cry

Redwood Trees can live for thousands of years
Trees as old as Ovid and his verses about transformation

Trains tracks and telegraph wires brought vice to the west
Connections and dollars were made, promises and boundaries were broken

What has the Valley given you? A machine that you can talk to?
What Google says is not law; put down the Black Apple

And nature must obey necessity
What powers must the coders obey?

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold
Veils are torn from the rails

Always the mountain, never the view
Let the switchbacks lift you

Right now, do you know where your water comes from?
Earthquakes happen so fast

The imperfect machine does not know
Like a lioness, you must know

Elemental man buried in a grave of silicon wafers
Remade in the cave, restored on the trail, ready

Do you hear the distant drumming, do you see the scout in the tree?
Your ancestors are here, breathe the air of continuity, bake the bread of life

Eye Glue

Stuck behind the screen
Transfixed in the smartphone posture
Fingers in formation
Eyes glued to the distant action
To all the fascinating things happening elsewhere
Happening anywhere but here

Welcome to the Scrolling Society
Bow your head
Now, repeat after me…
I love my phone
My phone lets me be me
My phone doesn’t judge
My phone belongs
And I belong to my phone

Games to play
The ‘gram
Face Tweet
Slack time
This is the digital diet
This is how you lose the plot
This is how you forget to remember

Eye Glue right before bed
Eye Glue when you wake
The kids need food, you need Eye Glue
The cat purrs affection
You tilt your head forward
With your thumb, you apply more Eye Glue

Nature’s Way

The deer and antelope are gone.
On four legs, fast they fled.
We don’t fish crappie from the man-made lake.
We don’t grow corn, soybeans, or wheat.
We stopped sending the kids to school.
The teachers never returned from war.
The stock market continues to soar.
Who are you for?

Bloated men stir the hatred cauldrons.
Careful, their suit buttons spontaneously burst.
Can you smell the foul nature, the rich rot?
No book burning, that is the culture’s compost pile.
A new mound where the great works mingle into mush.
The Bill of Rights never made it this far.
Where there was freedom, now there’s a scar.
You bring the feathers, I’ll bring the tar.

The Greeks and the whales recorded their discoveries.
Now, their libraries are ash.
The Roman builder, the Chinese sage, the Mesopotamian trader…
The Dark Ages, The Enlightenment, the ever-expanding now…
Stories fold into chapters, native tongues are cut.
Human ants crawl together, carriers of vanity and waste.
Make haste, make haste.
A self alone, the new distaste.

A witch wind blows.
We carry our screens to the edge.
We make the night sky bright white with light.
The Imperial King appears from his space house.
Tonight he sings the people’s favorite lullaby.
No matter the song, the people sing along.
When the power goes down, wolves and bears come back.
A return to wildness, the final hack.

Read more Poems by David Burn

“Like Lichen” and other early poems