Thrilled my poem “New House” earned special merit in Comstock Review’s 2017 Muriel Craft Bailey Poetry Contest, judged by Ellen Bass, and now rubs shoulders with the work of poets I’ve long admired! Just got my copy – here’s a pic (it’s a good old-fashioned hold-in-your-hands journal):
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.
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!
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:
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!
“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:
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,
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”!
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.
Mist trails the moon’s departure,
tracing an absence through
the precisely ordered landscape
to the brim of the water, edging
toward the face in the river,
circles it and slips away.
Like the moon, and by its light,
my face is a silver coin tossed
into a dark well and wished on,
its frame of long hair
a rippling shadow of leaves
pointing the way to a peace
I can only imagine,
the eyes seeing beyond
the ghostly grandmother
willows and elms,
beyond the standing flesh of me,
the mouth – the missing line
of a poem. I want to kiss it.
I am no Narcissus, but I cannot stop
looking at my shimmering other.
This liquid face has no age that matters,
no sex that specifically appeals.
It is a painter’s first brushstroke,
bold and horizonless.
I bend close and closer,
almost falling in.
More than my known face
I want that one –
a moon sailing
through rivering stars
on a bright path
This poem was first published by the Pedestal Magazine and was
later included in my chapbook “Stealing Eternity”.