Poetry from Sam Burks

The Stagnant

What death or sudden
stop of the tides
could feel worse than this?
and back again,
eternity in a man’s body
hanging from the sun
the sun doesn’t move much anymore.
Nothing moves
except cargo trains
like endless vipers
carrying away my belongings
and the homeless ghosts
of my friends.
Our shadows remain behind
in a swarm of locust
eating the buildings of our city.
Nothing lasts forever
except for this


Autumn in the Winter

From atop the hill
over my house
I watched the summer
fade into winter.

There was no fall,
except for the sensation
in my stomach
where I felt it all
fall away, towards somewhere
deep and foreboding
inside of myself.
A whole season
no one noticed,
no one saw or felt
the hot air
turning the trees
into skeletons,
no one caught the sound
of windows shuttering
against the cold.

No one
was prepared
to bundle up.

We would all soon
be wrapping ourselves
in an early twilight,
deaf to the season
that we were too blind
to see

Look now:
the geese fading
into auburn sunsets,
the sweet rotting flesh
of jack-o-lantern faces,

the limbo between summer
and winter
has found a place
in the dried leaves



Cold and calculated,
a flick of the wrist executed,
a sleight of hand
and all the cards
on the table
have been taken off
and pinned
to the ceiling

from across the table
behind a thick veil of smoke
two sets of eyes
stare away
from the prize;
a new and different
treasure is sought

I make a move
among the statues
and granite pillars
juxtaposing a movement
without heartbeat
cheating, killing, stealing,
in the name of
my profit

A cold and calculated move
winning only to lose
a tact of mind
leaving only the heart
on the table


Sam Burks is from the San Francisco Bay Area, in California, and can be reached at srburks@gmail.com