Wayne F. Burke

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the lion roared into
the hearts of everyone
in the theaterArtwork by Gene McCormick
and the movie began,
Elvis, or The Three Stooges,
or, once, The Naked Prey
which scared me
Friday night
I had gone to meet
my new Junior High School friend
who did not show
and I sat by myself
in the dark
as half-naked dancing girls
shimmied on the screen
in coming attractions
that did not attract
but terrified me
I felt an aura of evil,
of adult-somethingness
beyond my seventh grade
and then the movie
which featured the torture
and mutilation
of white men
who intruded
darkest Africa,
and I stood and
went out to the concession
run by the theater-owner's kindly-seeming
only she was not as kindly-seeming
as on Saturday afternoons
she seemed Gypsy-like and strange
dressed all in black
and part
of the evil
I had stumbled into
and was in danger
of somehow
becoming a part of.


Drying October leaves likeArtwork by Gene McCormick
clenched fists
holding onto the trees...
I am coming to the end of
Celine's NORTH
his tragic-clown-chronicle
of his post-collabo days when
he, his wife Lilli, his friend
and fellow fascist Le Vig,
and Bebert the cat, also
fascist, fled France and lived
as “Franzosen” in Prussia,
protected by remaining Nazis,
ones not dying in Berlin, 1944.
Quite a trip...the good doctor
Destouches...the racist Celine...
his apocalyptic style of three
dots...three Franzosen...they've
kept me company...800 pages...
me, alone in Vermont...I'm not
complaining...not at all...just a
fact...like the leaves...dying,
clinging to the trees
with my fingertips.


Wayne F. Burke's poetry has appeared in a wide variety of publications. His three published poetry collections--all from Bareback Press--are Words That Burn, Dickhead, and Knuckle Sandwiches. His chapbook Paddy Wagon is published by Epic Rites Press. He lives in Vermont.