Monday 25 April 2022

Four Poems by Wayne F. Burke




thou shalt not steal

or feel

or deal from the bottom

of the deck (no matter

how stacked against you)

so help you

god almighty will strike you

dead, deader

than a doornail

or email never sent,

you will go to Purgatory

and sit, waiting, 20,000 years

with hands in your lap, speaking

only when spoken to, the

magazines on the rack

dog-eared, thumbed through:


(find the hidden items in the

picture: cat, dog, key, mouse,

louse, yourself...) the nurse

will call when God is ready.





a new book out

on Lincoln

I read--

I've read a lot

of them, books

on Lincoln:

not a city lot

or a car lot

but a load of


on Lincoln,

that son of a gun,

that turkey;

his wife was kind of a witch

his son became kind of rich

and he managed

his war better

than Johnson






the table slides into


the booth is a capsule

I am riding into


with the New York Times beside


the waitress,

a distant galaxy


in space/time

arrival with the

check: $5.56,

as Lincoln,

grim as a sailor

in a squall,

takes the scene in

with his green eyes.





August lingers like

an uninvited party


everyone is on vacation

or else they've died and

turned grey as the

statues in the park--

dead as the old days,

as the old ways--

dead as the brain cells

of those who do not

use them; dead

like the moon, like

Latin, like this town,

like my Aunt's stillborn

baby: lifeless, nameless,

almost forgotten.

Wayne F. Burke's poetry has been widely published in print and online (including in LOTHLORIEN Poetry Journal). He is author of eight full-length published collections of poetry--most recently BLACK SUMMER (Spartan Press, 2021), and one collection of short stories: TURMOIL & Other Stories, Adelaide Press, NY,NY, 2020. He lives in Vermont (USA).


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