Date Night

Photo by photo-nic.co.uk nic on Unsplash

Often my husband and I meet for dinner at a busy restaurant.
I’ll ride the bus so we can drive home together in his truck.

Whoever’s there first grabs a couple of seats at the bar,
orders two glasses of Malbec, sips one and waits.

I like to think that’s how it’ll be in the afterlife—

one a little behind the other, the door opening
into the hum of an obviously popular place.

Zigzagging through the crowd—that glad spark
of recognition, both of us brimming with news.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, due out in March from Finishing Line Press. It’s been given a 2 day grace period so YES, pre-orders are still available until Jan. 14th !https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

This Water Knows

Photo by Alex Suprun on Unsplash

Below this whale song of waves: the fin-happy,
sounding through all the dumb canyons
of the sea, coloured crayon-bright in the dark
flooded basement of the earth, shadow-drifted
across aqueous meadows prismed with light,
blending with gray rock and white sand,
knobby coral and long swishy green,
ferned and prickled, smoothed and elongated,
troubled hard, dense, small

but here, and free—
the mute-mouthed, mandibled hungry
and the hunted—to a grotto-chased,
honorable death. Or those given eyes
to see the dangling hook, the silver
door swinging shut before it’s too late.
Those at least, weapons in the hand.
Not a cavernous ground zero.
Not here.

But this water knows, in its reach, how
my bikini got its name. Makes me think
of dreams I barely had, so quickly did they
sink from sight, but whose notes floated
long after, as if there was something
I could yet retrieve. In a tidal lullabye
of voices I cannot hear, the many mouths
of the sea open and close, open and close
lips I cannot read.

Another poem from my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March. Like to read more? Pre-orders (upon which the print run is based) end soon – January 12th!  May this new year be as exciting for you as it is for me!

Morning Blessing

Photo by Joseph Greve on Unsplash

One large glass of water daily
before the endless cups of green tea,

a glass that stood wrapped
a long time in my father’s two hands,

head bowed to it, eyes closed
to the rest of us at the table.

I didn’t know what he thought
or felt or said to himself right then

nor how thirsty I was
for a silence so meant

until I felt it filling me too,
slaking the cracked creekbed

of rushed and ordinary days.
Fifty-five years old and home for a visit,

back in the cradle
of his slow kind hands.

This poem won first place in Pandora’s Collective 2012 contest and is included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”. Only two weeks left to reserve a copy here!

Christmas Lights

Photo by Arun Kuchibhotla on Unsplash

Children grown, two out of three gone,
we drag our feet putting outside lights up,
buying and decorating a tree.

We settle for the bushes, a whimsical snaking
of lit Smarties among leaves, get the smallest tree
nobody else wants. That stormy year

our street lost power as Christmas day turned
to evening, and we had a dozen hungry guests
roaming the house, bumping into things.

Because the gas stove had been cooking a turkey
for hours, it continued, and we cheered
the range burners could be lit with a match.

The two gas fireplaces burned more sedately—
fan flow interrupted—and of course there were
candles on the dining room table anyway.

My husband fired up a generator, plugged in
a lamp, stereo and the bulbous bush lights; orange
and yellow cords extended everywhere.

I imagined our neighbours gazing out
from dark windows at the bright cosmos
of our house, the raucous hum of

determination in the air. If Christmas
was all about seeing the light
in each other, it didn’t fail to surprise:

how happy it made me, having a reason
to move closer, peer and be peered at,
glimpse among flickering faces the child

I was before my heart got wrapped in
scar tissue, who once got a letter from Santa
saying he was on his way, and didn’t I

then on the eve of my seventh Christmas
see him tiptoe past my bedroom door!
I miss the girl who believing, saw.

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Also, my chapbook “Irresistible” is still available for pre-orders until January 12, 2018. Since advance sales determine the pressrun, such purchases make a huge difference!
In the mood? Many thanks – you can reserve a copy here: 

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

 

Such A Blue

Photo by Danilo Batista on Unsplash

I sit down beside my elderly father,
quietly clasp his hand, cross
and then uncross my legs.
Long flight to get here, long
battle with emphysema and
an overworked heart for him.
The hospital door that swings
both ways for me, obdurately
keeps a good soldier in.

Not close enough, this chair,
and impossible for us to hug,
dear dad tied down—
tubes coming and going.
All a man can do to break free
is look out the window,
so I do too, and with him
simply breathe in the blue
of a cloudless sky,

“scattered light,” science says,
that our eyes make into
an unrippled sea—but
there’s never been such a blue
falling through me, so endless
a promise of more
slowly it fills the room,
steadies the listing boat
neaped on a perilous shore.

This poem is included in my chapbook “Irresistible”, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in March, 2018, and available for pre-order  here until January 12, 2018. Since advance sales determine the pressrun, my thanks to all who take a leap of faith and buy my book!

 

 

 

Hunter and Ziggy,

Photo by Ken Reid on Unsplash

a rascally lab-shepherd
and grumpy old cat
didn’t much like each other;
both bristled to share
the same family,
same house.

After the fire,
finding them:
curled up –
for the first time,
together
under the upstairs rug,

the cat that couldn’t
swat death away,
gathered into
the dog’s clumsy paws.

Photo by Cat Mapper (Max Ogden) on Unsplash

These few lines pretty much describe the real Hunter and Ziggy and noonday electrical fire when their family was out. It’s included in my new chapbook “Irresistible”, available now for pre-order from Finishing Line Press at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/

As pre-sales determine the pressrun, early ordering makes a huge difference and is much appreciated! Many thanks to those who’ve already found this opportunity “irresistible”!

My New Poetry Chapbook!

Now available for pre-order from Finishing Line Press at https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/irresistible-by-lynne-burnett/
As the pressrun is determined by advance sales, reserving your copy between now and January 12, 2018 would make a huge difference! My book’s actual release date is March 9, 2018.

What they’re saying:

Lynne Burnett is astonishing. I cannot think of another poet who writes with more humanity. Wisdom is a word we seldom associate with poetry, but she reminds us that simply seeing the world the way it is can be a profoundly moral and life affirming act.  It’s what happens when compassion marries irony. The love child is this wondrous little book.” —D.G Geis, author Fire Sale (Tupelo Press/Leapfolio) and Mockumentary (Main Street Rag).

The poems inside Lynne Burnett’s chapbook live up to the collection title. Irresistible. Here is a poet demonstrating her considerable talents. There is much music and rhythm in these pages, and keen insight to the ebb and flow of relationships and heartbreak. I was particularly taken by the deft handling of the near miss in “Mute with Thanks.” And I was moved by the poignant stories in the title poem, “Irreplaceable” and “On Hearing That a Friend’s Husband Has Died in His Sleep.” Even the table of contents in this lovely book is a form of call and response. Her imagery and language resonated with me long after I finished reading. –Devi S. Laskar, Author of “Gas & Food, No Lodging” (Finishing Line Press, 2017) and “Anastasia Maps” (Finishing Line Press, 2018)

Lynne Burnett takes us deep into the world of what is, what isn’t and what might have been, of accidents and unplanned incidents “where we fall without falling,” and death rings “a bell that won’t stop singing of loss.” Love is coupled with death here, and life is “an unfinished dream.” Burnett pulls us into the flow of the inevitable, where we feel the unheard and hear the unmentioned in the in-between, with powerfully rendered, beautifully phrased and sonically perfect observations. Irresistible is just that – an irresistible, stunning debut. –Robert Okaji, author of From Every Moment a Second (Finishing Line Press, 2017)

Here is a sample poem from the book, with an audio recording:

GLASS SLIPPERS

Walking barefoot
across the dewy lawn,
the grass riotous with light
that began its journey toward her
over four billion years ago,
light that will burn five billion
years more after she’s gone,

like candle to candle lit
my pixie daughter’s a thirsty wick
for joy, sure any life glad to be
is all that matters,
and I want to tell her yes

while light is leading her heart
out its small window
of time, and blade by blade
from beaded grass her
own glass slippers made,
yes
before gravity weighs in.

Over the next couple of months I will continue to post samples.
Thank you to all who find my happy news “irresistible”!

 

Game Changer

Photo by Eduard Militaru on Unsplash

Once, numbed and split apart
with all the casualness of a letter-opener
firm against the fat contents of a long-awaited envelope,
my body revealed a face,
the face of my son about to be born.
The doctor was startled to see his eyes,
already open, intent upon him,
eyes that spoke of other worlds,
of a reason for being, being here, being now,
his seven pounds a screaming missive from most high.

For ten years past, night after night,
he keeps his eyes open as long as he can,
thoughtful dots in the dark, for the day
could never extend itself enough to please him
nor to hold his magical masterly plans
and too, there are worries: of earthquakes,
a friendship gone wrong, a love that might
disappear unintentionally, like a mom
mowed down by a car or a dad who worked
too hard, a stammer that won’t, and more.

Eventually, my own body weary from the effort
of imposing a sleep he does not want,
I come to turn out his light and find
his eyes closed at last, limbs limp, seeming
grateful for the slow and slower breath, the
weight of them against the hockey stick
sheets like four pucks landed in their nets.
Sometimes the curtain lifts a little, letting in
the gasp and sigh of the world he’ll inherit,
and out skate his dreams.

This poem was first published in an earlier version
under the title “My Son, Unable To Sleep” in CV2 in 2001.