Alice Burdick lives and writes poetry in
Burdick has been involved with the small press community in
Her most recent publication is Flutter (Mansfield Press, 2008). Her previous full-length collection, Simple Master, was published in 2002 by Pedlar Press.
Box of sand (from Flutter)
I draw your attention
to the drop in obedience,
you stinky follower of friendly treasures.
Why not drop
the glistening portrait
of insects and flowers?
Still life in a way, being life
that is still here, somehow.
How do you see this empire?
Nice teeth; the farmers walk
over the sidewalks, go crazy
with exercise. A fundamental trucker
stops in to have moisture.
You’ll find your grass melted back
into the bottles and tins of old-fashioned
insecticide. The way of all wire cloth.
Shake it, go ahead and move
the box of sand.
Don’t feel bad,
it’s just the road and its folks.
You know when you need to change needles,
and it’s so close, so deep into a project known
as forced hands. Every day it’s almost all right.
Wood covers the passageway of dust,
and that holds the molecules pretty.
As you surely can guess, it’s a mystery,
this corny tragedy. Eyes are not only
partly inside, they are partly outside and so
let things pass, or greed or crass
dimensions of tea and speedy neglect.
So amazing how quick it comes down.
The deaf hear selectively
but don’t exactly choose.
You never know what’ll make it.
You treasures make the boy’s hair go backwards.
Awkward as it sounds,
it’s the truth.
Highway Pentecostal Assembly (from Flutter)
Sure we like cotton.
It breathes like a mammal. No open,
we close back in five. Play something
that greets the chime: battle of the welcomes.
Slowpoke designation — that’s where
you should stop. Standing out of fences.
Remember how she couldn’t hear?
Serious unlike the popular,
humorous unlike the popular,
no gravity to worry about.
Tragic dawdling. The fear of muscles
dancing to no feet. Dangerous
cretins make long shirts that shadow
fresh bellies. Squash the cigarette
into the historical gutter.
Who wants to lose a tooth every day? (from Flutter)
you got caught.
Always waved in the wood box.
Held in place by sand and its glare,
its effect. A moving thing shakes the floor. Boy,
it’s an interview with dead flowers.
Daisies they be,
and so the water
is the impeccable killer.
She’s some forced songstress.
She helped me not know which path
is fake. I fell and the bike fell.
A track opened, the past fell
and streamed into the furrow.
Slip a dream and wake the old days,
a comfort for handsome slow dots.
If you say so;
if you say so.
Being old time ain’t natural.
Who will come to grab the bucket?
We’ll not laugh again
at the world’s slipped history.
Saint of the spot (from Flutter)
The sky is shaking up the water;
or water shakes the sky.
The pond shoots fish
up onto its banks, sick
of the man-made hole.
We were dropped here
like the carbon in your future.
Simply we grow large and eat the others,
in good time. Like you hold us
and scale our spirit, as it’s a carriage
for our meat. The shore is not so far.
I breathe like you
with your rake and tools.
I’m never home, you creature
who needs to know.
We are the residents (from Flutter)
Conquer the crevice; the road
coils up and strikes the residents.
We live here and have nothing to say.
Our houses sit sly, and creep
us out when we sleep.
Burgundy thighs roll. Now’s much later
than before. We take a class
to embrace the inner businessman.
The spiritual side of torture.
We own our fortune,
it is so little.
We shadow our creature doubt,
feed it a love that grows stout,
and we go lean.
Sewing machine hides in the guise of table.
All our heads roll to one side,
and we hear this:
Do not read silence for silence.
How pleasant it is (from Flutter)
The church was built in one day.
But not the bodies.
The cemetery is on full-tilt alert.
It may accept us
as it’s not yet full.
Two crows eat a constant pull
to and from the melting ground.
People are speed-walking
so as not to see, but learn breath, or try.
Lean mean unconscious machines.
AA Shitting Poems (from Simple Master)
A big storm moving over, going by with a restaurant statement
struck out, shitting poems. Sitting here, I can feel the weather
and hear the cat eat food from a dish.
Move me through its tunnel.
I’m “on the mark,” spattered with grease,
dough out of my nose. So many people have words
and then use them, like that’s what they’re for.
Excuse me, but I don’t believe in watermarks
or stopgaps or infections that take an ear, a heart,
a whole body away. Forest me for the trees.
Don’t molest truth or handicap its step.
A woman who can’t move so quickly on her feet
still has a network of nerves and blood and ideas to work with.
That’s what I say when her weight is thrown up.
in some situations, body weight is a medieval thing,
Torture and glory to fight your own butt. I don’t know.
She spent time with her mind. A big mind
so time became endless, each day timeless until that death notice.
I like a smooth walk through Disco Park. I dislocated my wiggle there.
I got discarded there, near the fountains, where a bird shat,
and the tour bus got a flat tire or blew up, whichever sounds worse.
Some guy got the street into his speed, and moved with it, till it got too fast, and
This clear day will come again.
It will repeat with care and light.
I will have a word with the day, later.
This dead day will come again, with clear light.
Fact (from Simple Master)
An apostrophe of faith
is asking what I believe,
what I want to know,
and the space within the question
left free for fear. Or unconscious thought,
not remembered after the fact.
The golden boy hunches in the gallery,
a fellow of the myth. Explicit as a winged warrior,
mantra in the war chest.
Crouching in a cell, padded with some history.
Masonic pederasty, lost in a corridor.
Instant mysticism. It’s a mysterious underworld
we all know is hanging out downstairs.
I feel something profound;
it’s a block of chambers in my sandal.
Stop trying to steal my kidneys.
How high now must I leap?
Nature at night is neat!
All day an order to repeal;
keeping mellow. Money found me over
out on the path where the shrubs grew rabid.
If you knew the one who made it all go,
you wouldn’t avoid words.
It would be your walk, too,
or work on the eyes, a lash
till it doesn’t hurt.
Firefly lies down,
a light still going,
but no moving after the wind,
the motor, the wheels.
a three-quarter view
Big voice into the hollow square.
Pants get bigger,
sweat smears vinyl.
frogs squat under water.
The pond loses ice
in small round shards.
Ships free air,
salt on the road
climbs our legs.
We walk like spoons
stuck in mud.
Gracious lemon juices
Traditional text of
one woman in line,
holding out her candy,
torch of sugar. She doesn’t eat light.
Trickle fire on the power line
made of wind and rodents.
Truckers turn wide,
buddy, it’s a long haul up into sleet.
Send me up in a sardine can.
Small me in the way of small babies,
spawn of delicious waves.
stench of grand passion.
grabs the pulley
and shades the bulb.
It’s easier to see hard edges
in strong and reverse light.
It’s sleep that makes medicine useful.
Shammy for the soft whale
heading up some sad narrows.
Ditch the space and bale water.
Mediate the ptarmigan,
delineate the potty mouth.
Sorrow in the pharmacy.