Pale though her eyes, her lips are scarlet from drinking of blood, this child, this harlot
born of the night and her heart, of darkness, evil incarnate to dance so reckless,
dreaming of blood, her fangs—white—baring, revealing her lust, and her eyes, pale, staring...
born of the night
Originally published by Scarlett Memories, then performed on YouTube by G. M. Danielson
Like Angels, Winged by Michael R. Burch
Like angels—winged, shimmering, misunderstood— they flit beyond our understanding being neither evil, nor good.
They are as they are... and we are their lovers, their prey; they seek us when the moon is full and dream of us by day.
Their eyes—hypnotic, alluring— trap ours with their strange appeal till like flame-drawn moths, we gather... to see, to touch, to feel.
Where in their arms, enchanted, we feel their lips, young/old, till with their gorging kisses we warm them, growing cold.
Originally published in Monumental Moments by Eye Scry Publications
Vampires by Michael R. Burch
Vampires are such fragile creatures; we dread the dark, but the light destroys them... sunlight, or a stake, or a cross—such common things. Still, late at night, when the bat-like vampire sings, we shrink from his voice.
Centuries have taught us: in shadows danger lurks for those who stray, and there the vampire bares his yellow fangs and feels the ancient soul-tormenting pangs. He has no choice.
We are his prey, plump and fragrant, and if we pray to avoid him, the more he prays to find us... prays to some despotic hooded God whose benediction is the humid blood he lusts to taste.
Originally published in Monumental Moments by Eye Scry Publications
Solicitation by Michael R. Burch
He comes to me out of the shadows, acknowledging my presence with a tip of his hat, always the gentleman, and his eyes are on mine like a snake's on a bird's— quizzical, mesmerizing.
He cocks his head as though something he heard intrigues him (although I hear nothing) and he smiles, amusing himself at my expense; his words are full of desire and loathing, and while I hear everything, he says nothing I understand.
The moon shines—maniacal, queer—as he takes my hand whispering Our time has come... And so together we stroll creaking docks where the sea sends sickening things scurrying under rocks and boards.
Moonlight washes his ashen face as he stares unseeing into my eyes. He sighs, and the sound crawls slithering down my spine; my blood seems to pause at his touch as he caresses my face. He unfastens my dress till the white lace shows, and my neck is bared.
His teeth are long, yellow and hard, his face bearded and haggard. A wolf howls in the distance. There are no wolves in New York. I gasp. My blood is a trickle his wet tongue embraces. My heart races madly. He likes it like that.
Published by Dowton Abbey, Aesthetically Pleasing Vampires, Into the Unknown, Since Halloween is Coming and Poetry Life & Times
Sometimes the Dead by Michael R. Burch
Sometimes we catch them out of the corners of our eyes— the pale dead. After they have fled the gourds of their bodies, like escaping fragrances they rise.
Once they have become a cloud's mist, sometimes like the rain they descend; they appear, sometimes silver like laughter, to gladden the hearts of men.
Sometimes like a pale gray fog, they drift unencumbered, yet lumbrously, as if over the sea there was the lightest vapor even Atlas could not lift.
Sometimes they haunt our dreams like forgotten melodies only half-remembered. Though they lie dismembered in black catacombs, sepulchers and dismal graves; although they have committed felonies,
yet they are us. Someday soon we will meet them in the graveyard dust blood-engorged, but never sated since Cain slew Abel. But until we become them, let us steadfastly forget them, even as we know our children must...
This poem imagines a modern-day 'Goth girl' as a vampire...
Dark Gothic by Michael R. Burch
Her fingers are filed into talons; she smiles with carnivorous teeth... You ask, 'Are there vampires? ' Get real! (Yet she has my belief.)
The Vampire's Spa Day Dream by Michael R. Burch
O, to swim in vats of blood! I wish I could, I wish I could! O, 'twould be so heavenly to swim in lovely vats of blood!
The poem above was inspired by a Josh Parkinson depiction of Elizabeth Bathory up to her nostrils in the blood of her victims, with their skulls floating in the background.
Thin Kin by Michael R. Burch
Skeleton! Tell us what you lack... the ability to love, your flesh so slack?
Will we frighten you, grown as pale & unsound, when we also haunt the unhallowed ground?
Siren Song by Michael R. Burch
The Lorelei's soft cries entreat mariners to save her...
How can they resist her faint voice through the mist?
Soon she will savor the flavor of sweet human flesh.
Ghost by Michael R. Burch
White in the shadows I see your face, unbidden. Go, tell
Love it is commonplace; tell Regret it is not so rare.
Our love is not here though you smile, full of sedulous grace.
Lost in darkness, I fear the past is our resting place.
The Werewolf Forsakes Humanity by Michael R. Burch
What I ache to say is beyond saying— no words for the horror of not loving enough, like a mummy half-wrapped in its moldering casements holding a lily aloft.
No, there are no words for the horror as an arctic wind howls through the teetering floes and the cold freezes down to my clawed hairy toes...
What use to me, now, if the stars appear?
As I moan the moon finds me, fangs goring the deer.
All Hallows Eve by Michael R. Burch
What happened to the mysterious Tuatha De Danann, to the Ban Shee (from which we get the term "banshee") and, eventually, to the Druids? One might assume that with the passing of Merlyn, Morgan le Fay and their ilk, the time of myths and magic ended. This poem is an epitaph of sorts.
In the ruins of the dreams and the schemes of men;
when the moon begets the tide and the wide sea sighs;
when a star appears in heaven and the raven cries;
we will dance and we will revel in the devil's fen...
if nevermore again.
The Wild Hunt by Michael R. Burch
Our Halloween is an inheritance from the ancient Celts. The Celts believed that the 'otherworld' can sometimes merge with the 'real world, ' so that elves, fairies, witches, warlocks and other fantastical entities are able to either help or harm human beings.
Near Devon, the hunters appear in the sky with Artur and Bedwyr sounding the call; and the others, laughing, go dashing by. They only appear when the moon is full:
Valerin, the King of the Tangled Wood, and Valynt, the goodly King of Wales, Gawain and Owain and the hearty men who live on in many minstrels' tales.
They seek the white stag on a moonlit moor, or Torc Triath, the fabled boar, or Ysgithyrwyn, or Twrch Trwyth, the other mighty boars of myth.
They appear, sometimes, on Halloween to chase the moon across the green, then fade into the shadowed hills where memory alone prevails.
A Lyke-Wake Dirge anonymous medieval lyric (circa the sixteenth century) loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch
A Lie-Awake Dirge is "the night watch kept over a corpse."
This one night, this one night, every night and all; fire and sleet and candlelight, and Christ receive thy soul.
When from this earthly life you pass every night and all, to confront your past you must come at last, and Christ receive thy soul.
If you ever donated socks and shoes, every night and all, sit right down and pull yours on, and Christ receive thy soul.
But if you never helped your brother, every night and all, walk barefoot through the flames of hell, and Christ receive thy soul.
If ever you shared your food and drink, every night and all, the fire will never make you shrink, and Christ receive thy soul.
But if you never helped your brother, every night and all, walk starving through the black abyss, and Christ receive thy soul.
This one night, this one night, every night and all; fire and sleet and candlelight, and Christ receive thy soul.
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?
Reclamation by Michael R. Burch
after Robert Graves, with a nod to Mary Shelley
I have come to the dark side of things where the bat sings its evasive radar and Want is a crooked forefinger attached to a gelatinous wing.
I have grown animate here, a stitched corpse hooked to electrodes. And night moves upon me—progenitor of life with its foul breath.
Blind eyes have their second sight and still are deceived. Now my nature is softly to moan as Desire carries me swooningly across her threshold.
Stone is less infinite than her crone's gargantuan hooked nose, her driveling lips. I eye her ecstatically—her dowager figure, and there is something about her that my words transfigure
to a consuming emptiness. We are at peace with each other; this is our venture— swaying, the strings tautening, as tightropes tauten, as love tightens, constricts
to the first note. Lyre of our hearts' pits, orchestration of nothing, adits of emptiness! We have come to the last of our hopes, sweet as congealed blood sweetens for flies.
Need is reborn; love dies.
No One by Michael R. Burch
No One hears the bells tonight; they tell him something isn't right. But No One is not one to rush; he smiles on a bed soft, green and lush as far away a startled thrush flees from horned owls in sinking flight.
No One hears the cannon's roar and muses that its voice means war comes knocking on men's doors tonight. He sleeps outside in awed delight beneath the enigmatic stars and shivers in their cooling light.
No One knows the world will end, that he'll be lonely, without friend or foe to conquer. All will be once more, celestial harmony. He'll miss men's voices, now and then, but worlds can be remade again.
Deliver Us... by Michael R. Burch
The night is dark and scary— under your bed, or upon it.
That blazing light might be a star... or maybe the Final Comet.
But two things are sure: your mother's love and your puppy's kisses, doggonit!
the Horror by Michael R. Burch
the Horror lurks inside our closets the Horror hides beneath our beds the Horror hisses ancient curses the Horror whispers in our heads
the Horror tells us Death is coming the Horror tells us there's no hope the Horror tells us "life" is futile the Horror beckons, "there's the Rope! "
Belfry by Michael R. Burch
There are things we surrender to the attic gloom: they haunt us at night with shrill, querulous voices.
There are choices we made yet did not pursue, behind windows we shuttered then failed to remember.
There are canisters sealed that we cannot reopen, and others long broken that nothing can heal.
There are things we conceal that our anger dismembered, gray leathery faces the rafters reveal.
Duet by Michael R. Burch
Oh, Wendy, by the firelight, how sad! How worn and gray your auburn hair became! You're very silent, like an evening rain that trembles on dark petals. Tears you've shed for days we laughed together, glisten now; your flesh became translucent; and your brow knits, gathered loosely. By the well-made bed three portraits hang with knowing eyes, beloved, but mine is not among them. Time has proved our hearts both strangely mortal. If I said I loved you once, how is it that could change? And yet I watch you fondly; love is strange...
Oh, Peter, by the firelight, how bright my thought of you remains, and if I said I loved you once, then took him to my bed, I did it for the need of love, one night when you were far away. My heart endured transfigurement—in flaming ash inured to heartbreak and the violence of sight: I saw myself grow old and thin and frail with thinning hair about me, like a veil... And so I loved him for myself, despite the love between us—our first startled kiss. But then I loved him for his humanness. And then we both grew old, and it was right...
Oh, Wendy, if I fly, I fly beyond these human hearts, these cities walled and tiered against the night, beyond this vale of tears, for love, if it exists, dies with the years...
No, Peter, love is constant as the heart that keeps till its last beat a measured pace and sets the fixtures of its dreams in place by beds at first well-used, at last well-made, and counts each face a joy, each tear a grace...
Strange Corps(e) by Michael R. Burch
We are all dying, haunted by life— dying, but the living will not let us go. We are perishing zombies, haunted by the moonglow.
With what animation we, shuffling, return nightly, to worry Love's worm-eaten corpse, till, living or dead, she is wholly ours.
We are the dying, enamored of "life"— the palest of auras, the eeriest call. We stagger to attention... stumble... fall.
We have only one thought—Love's peculiar notion, that our duty's to "live, " though such "living" means night's horrific wild hungers, its stranger dreams.
We now "live" on the flesh of eroded dreams and no longer recoil at the victims' screams.
Love, ah! serene ghost by Michael R. Burch
Love, ah! serene ghost, haunts my retelling of her, or stands atop despairing stairs with such pale, severe eyes, I become another pallid specter.
But what I feel most profoundly is this: the absolute lack of her kiss, the absence of her wild, unwarranted laughter.
So that, like a candle deprived of oxygen, I become mere wick and tallow again. Here and hereafter... gone with her now, in the darkest of nights, the flame!
I lie, pallid vision of man—the same wan ghost of her palpitations' claim on my heart that I was before. I love her beyond and despite even shame.
It's Halloween! by Michael R. Burch
If evening falls on graveyard walls far softer than a sigh; if shadows fly moon-sickled skies, while children toss their heads uneasy in their beds, beware the witch's eye!
If goblins loom within the gloom till playful pups grow terse; if birds give up their verse to comfort chicks they nurse, while children dream weird dreams of ugly, wiggly things, beware the serpent's curse!
If spirits scream in haunted dreams while ancient sibyls rise to plague nightmarish skies one night without disguise, while children toss about uneasy, full of doubt, beware the Devil's lies...
The Revenge of the Halloween Monsters by Michael R. Burch
The Halloween monsters, incensed, keep howling, and may be UNFENCED! ! ! They're angry that children with treats keep throwing their trash IN THE STREETS! ! !
You can check it out on your computer: Google says, "Please don't be a POLLUTER! ! ! " The Halloween monsters agree, so if you're a litterbug, FLEE! ! !
Kids, if you'd like more treats this year and don't want to cower in FEAR, please make all the mean monsters happy, and they'll hand out sweet treats like they're sappy!
So if you eat treats on the drag and don't want huge monsters to nag, please put all loose trash in your BAG! ! !
NOTE: If you recite the poem, get the kids to huddle up close, then yell the all-caps parts like you're one of the unhappy monsters, and perhaps 'goose' them as well. They'll get the message.
Medusa by Michael R. Burch
Friends, beware of her iniquitous hair— long, ravenblack & melancholy.
Many suitors drowned there— lost, unaware of the length & extent of their folly.
Originally published in Grand Little Things
Goddess by Michael R. Burch
for Kevin N. Roberts
'What will you conceive in me? ' I asked her. But she only smiled.
'Naked, I bore your child when the wolf wind howled, when the cold moon scowled... naked, and gladly.'
'What will become of me? ' I asked her, as she absently stroked my hand.
Centuries later, I understand; she whispered, 'I Am.'
Circe by Michael R. Burch
She spoke and her words were like a ringing echo dying or like smoke rising and drifting while the earth below is spinning.
She awoke with a cry from a dream that had no ending, without hope or strength to rise, into hopelessness descending.
And an ache in her heart toward that dream, retreating, left a wake of small waves in circles never completing.
Originally published by Romantics Quarterly
Heroin or Heroine? by Michael R. Burch
for mothers battling addiction
serve the Addiction; worship the Beast; feed the foul Pythons, your flesh, their fair feast...
or rise up, resist the huge many-headed hydra; for the sake of your Loved Ones decapitate medusa.
The Octopi Jars by Michael R. Burch
Long-vacant eyes now lodged in clear glass, a-swim with pale arms as delicate as angels'...
you are beyond all hope of salvage now... and yet I would pause, no fear! , to once touch your arcane beaks...
I, more alien than you to this imprismed world, notice, most of all, the scratches on the inside surfaces of your hermetic cells...
and I remember documentaries of albino Houdinis slipping like wraiths over the walls of shipboard aquariums, slipping down decks' brine-lubricated planks, spilling jubilantly into the dark sea, parachuting through clouds of pallid ammonia...
and I know now in life you were unlike me: your imprisonment was never voluntary.
Published by Triplopia and The Poetic Musings of Sam Hudson
Water and Gold by Michael R. Burch
You came to me as rain breaks on the desert when every flower springs to life at once, but joy's a wan illusion to the expert: the Bedouin has learned how not to want.
You came to me as riches to a miser when all is gold, or so his heart believes, until he dies much thinner and much wiser, his gleaming bones hauled off by chortling thieves.
You gave your heart too soon, too dear, too vastly; I could not take it in; it was too much. I pledged to meet your price, but promised rashly. I died of thirst, of your bright Midas touch.
I dreamed you gave me water of your lips, then sealed my tomb with golden hieroglyphs.
Published by The Lyric, Black Medina, The Eclectic Muse, Kritya (India) , Shabestaneh (Iran) , Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry, Captivating Poetry (Anthology) , Strange Road, Freshet, Shot Glass Journal, Better Than Starbucks, Famous Poets and Poems, Sonnetto Poesia, Poetry Life & Times