Bill Burns: Five poems

The Old Man

He bragged about
    beating Death at its own game
His sweat mixing with the soap
        as he washed the car
His ratty T-shirt
    showing his freckles and moles
        on his back
And the scar of the man
    that tried to kill him

Dark Echoes

I lay
    head under covers
Loud and angry men in the hallway
I hide here
    pretend to sleep
        they will go away

There is a loud thud on the door
    and a pleading desperate voice
The sound of footfalls
    and thunder in the night
I swallow hard
The silent darkness
    is crushing

Night Animal

In the darkness of the night
I told myself
    that my eyes had adjusted
Told myself
    the ebon landscape
        had become my turf

Then you opened
    that damned door
Your jet black silhouette
Framed in searing white light
    etched itself on my retinas
And I could see only your darkness

I had to scream
There was no choice


The ivory Madonna
    dressed in black
Fine pale pages
    trimmed in jet

I have no dreams
But to open her
    read her
Know her in every sense

The nubile
    snow-flake princess
Vapor seed
    from another place

I have no hands
But to touch her
    melt her
Mixing her with my tears

Dark Lover

Your eyes
    black obsidian

The past moves through your mind
    disturbing the deep deep
        waters in your eyes

The black ice
    slices through your heart
        leaving your hands cold
        and your lips blue

The reflections of your image
    skip across the mirror of jet
        between us
Leaving holes in the walls behind me