Irresistible

“Bride Drowns While Modelling Wedding Gown Near Rawdon”
CTV News Montreal – Aug. 24, 2012

First a coquettish dip of toes in the shallows, then a saucy
wade, the mud bottom making it easy to balance.

The Oureau River glinting, hurrying out of sight. Just Maria
and the photographer, before she consigned the dress to a box.

What next but to lift her veil, unmoor a few minds?—
swim a little, where it was deeper…not knowing

how thirsty that dress was: how it would drink and drink
and drink, until its weight was unbearable,

no Houdini to hold open the elevator door long enough
to uncuff her from all the snug finery, the lacy squeeze

of her lungs, irresistible pull to the river’s bed.
How her heart surely sank before she did, gonging

regret and betrayal. Sounds like a Stephen King story—
a gown with vows of its own. No, the horror’s more

the slippery ease with which vanity slides under our skin,
looks in the mirror, one way or another does us in.

This is the title poem from my new chapbook – just out from Finishing Line Press hooray! https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/. If you’d like a copy and don’t use this link and search instead, best to search the bookstore under the title “Irresistible”.

It is now also available on Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/IRRESISTIBLE-Lynne-Burnett/dp/1635344425/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1523920109&sr=1-1&keywords=lynne+burnett . If you don’t use this link and search instead, it’s the opposite – there are so many books with “my” title, it’s best to search by my name.

Customer reviews are most welcome and greatly appreciated on both sites, should you be so inclined! Many thanks for reading, and more poems to come!

SHINE – Shortlisted for Arc’s Poem of the Year Award!

Not only is ARC a beautiful journal that I have subscribed to for years, it’s one I’ve always wanted to be published in – and now I will! Regardless of results as to the Grand Prize winner and Honorable Mention, all 10 finalists receive paid publication in the summer issue. And this poem has been shortlisted many places many times without that added bonus. You can probably see the smile on my face wherever this note finds you! Anyway, for the first phase of final judging, ARC invites the public to vote on their choice for Poem of the Year, and that winner gets the Reader’s Choice Award. If any of you are so inclined to vote for the poem you like best, this link showcases all 10 poems in full and also the link to cast a vote: http://arcpoetry.ca/2018/04/09/vote-on-poem-of-the-year-2018/

It’s not easy to wade through so many poems, especially long ones (mine’s short) so a big thank you to the brave ones who do! And thanks for following this blog!

Against Certainty

for Brenda

I saw you early today in the window
of your den that overlooks the street,

no doubt googling the latest treatment
options in a blur, while a Howe Sound

wind held office among the skyscraping
trees, rifling through the leaves like it

was looking for something, someone
and I dared to hope that far from the

finality of a label, written or spoken,
your body could soar in the open air

of its dreaming places and be nameless,
ageless, free again of any diagnosis, and

that behind the pane you too could hear
birds now shuffling through their notes

as if in concert with lifting the dark
sentence from that tiny cell of a word.

I am happy to say that so far, 8 years later, the birds have worked their magic! This poem is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, coming any day now from Finishing Line Press, copies of which can be purchased here:https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

 

After A Health Scare

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

after Cecilia Woloch’s “Blazon”

Him I love, with hair like saltmeadow rush,
eyes that beach me on unexpected shores,
mouth of a wild and generous sea

Under whose spell children have flown
to the moon, from whose lips the secret
lives of teddy bears told

In whose hammock of shoulders my heart swings,
his moonlit back a white bench, buttocks smooth
as ancient boulders

In whose countries of hands I am born again,
whose tongue is both midwife and stirring
anthem

Him I love, whose ticklish feet like gold bricks bank
on never being touched, legs of a mustang,
rain in the wind

In whom has lived the grip, the gale, the gall
of a thing, who as the world turns
is my world turning

Upon whose sun-blessed chest I lay my head,
hear the hammering, thank again the small
gods at work in their chambers

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, due out any day now from Finishing Line Press: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

Night’s Good Pupil

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

Variable, the pastures hooved by lives
in full gallop, unbridled by time:
beneath the immutable drift of the sun
move the rounded and risen,
the angled and gleaming, the limbs,
wings, fins sweating with use.
Unstoppably given to their one life.

As the light gives unstoppably—
teacupped in petals, glowing
in a green persuasion of leaves,
slipping through salt-licked grains
of sand, lifted high on a spread
wing, in the flash and splash
of a salmon’s fin, between a deer’s
leap and a dog’s outstretched paw.

And this, the monopoly of earth’s
home star: a bright creeping
into the rooms behind closed doors.
This is night’s good pupil, daily bent
over the riveting texts of our world,
whose gaze, upon turning
a sudden last page, stays warm
on the straightening back of a man,
warm on his unstoppable hands.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press this spring. Copies still available to purchase: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

Mute With Thanks

Photo by Anastasia Taioglou on Unsplash

Had she jumped with him
from their small boat
into those wind-walling waves
in the Bay of Banderas,
to cool off that cloudless afternoon—
like he asked, like they’d done before—
long-marrieds straddling sixty:
he in his element, proud swimmer
reborn every hot holiday,
and she, fearful of surf, actually preferring
the freefall into deep water;

had she also been fooled
by the wind—travelling a whole knot
faster than they thought, making
any progress incremental, quickly lost,
no matter one’s muscle or desire—
the boat slowly drifting away
until he had to tread water,
water too deep to anchor in,
water slapping his face,
no one else in sight and he
like a man betrayed, frowning;

had she said yes feeling no,
who could have asked the next question?—
and start the engine
when he nodded in disbelief,
backing up the boat until the swim ladder
was within reach, and as the water surged
and pushed him hard against it, help
pull him sputtering from the great
mother sea, naked as at birth,
and wrap him in a towel, her arms.
Suddenly as old as their children
already thought they were.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible” – originally scheduled for release today, now delayed a few weeks. Still available to preorder:https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

Tandem Hang-Gliding Incident

Photo by Anton Darius | @theSollers on Unsplash

An anniversary gift, her first time doing it
Lenami Godinez-Avila, 27, hugged the pilot
from behind as instructed, ran with him
awkwardly to the edge and stepped
into the wind-tug beyond anyone’s reach—

her harness not clipped on. She fell
like Icarus a thousand feet, melting
from sight with the pilot’s shoes
into a sea of limbs webbed with leaves
down, down to the forest floor.

Her boyfriend, filming it,
stopped. Love screamed
through the air as he ran down
Mt. Woodside to find her.
Until he did, there was hope.

The pilot glided back to an open
mouthed crowd, to his twelve
year old daughter watching,
and swallowed the memory
card onboard. His fiftieth birthday.

Who hasn’t known each of them
in dreams?—where we fall without
falling, see what can’t be happening,
get to creatively escape a bad scene.
And wake relieved, our lives still

hanging by a thread of assumptions.

This poem won the 2016 Lauren K. Alleyne Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize. It reads like fiction but is completely factual – sadly so. I received the news New Year’s Eve and it appeared in IthacaLit early January, 2017. An auspicious start to the year! This poem is also included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press this spring. Copies are available for preorder here:  https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

Raccoon

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Mid-morning along the winding coastal road,
snout pressed to the pavement: a large raccoon.
No swerving – I stop and pick it up
with an old towel from the trunk of the car.
It is heavy, striped fur soft, still warm,
little hands so like mine.

Carefully I lay the body in a ditch
thick with the honeyed leaves of autumn
for I, too, want to die untrampled.
Turning to go, I see a family
of eyes intently watching
from the light-soaked foliage
on the other side of the road,
eyes that look directly into mine.

Like any good mother, she led the way,
taking the unstoppable car’s blow,
last night’s quiet masked bandit,
locked out of our world, shuffling
empty-handed back into hers,
heaped love that padded by, unrevered,
whose conversation with this earth
is now done, opening wide
the mouths of her young.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible” forthcoming from Finishing Line Press this spring. Copies can be reserved at: https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

It Rains For Him

Heavy Downpour
Heavy Downpour — Image by © Anthony Redpath/Corbis

who loves it more than sunshine,
the streets so wet tonight, they are tongues
babbling in the dark—glossolalia—
they gleam baptismal, it’s like
the slosh of good wine in the mouth,
how many ways can it be praised? and
how auspicious!—easier to leave the house
he was born in twenty-one years earlier
when drop by drop it taps on every window
calling his name, and out he goes for a walk
(like having a bath sprinkled with Dead
Sea salts, he can’t help but wallow in it)
such a glad soak, hair dripping, shoes
squishing already reaching the corner
and look, the light is with him,
the interminable traffic has stopped,
the next step beckons—that wide avenue
known to swallow a man whole—
now’s when a mother crosses
her fingers—momentum will carry him
curb after curb walking on water like this.

This poem was first published in the Taos Journal of Poetry & Art in 2017 and is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March. Copies are available for preorder here.