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Night Vigil

My darling dear;

The darkest hours of night
are when I fear for you the most;
knowing his smarmy touch
seeks your skin and
he seeks to isolate you from
your rightful place at my side as Queen.

And yet here,
locked away on my mountain,
so far away from you
there is so little I can do.
I hammer at the gates of heaven
with incense and prayer.

I am trapped without you
held in my arms
in a world lit only
by candlelight and dreams.
of a future just an instant away;
so close, our fingertips brush
against it;

A world soft and fine as silk,
where we stand tall against the sky
drinking deeply of one other
like the desert in the monsoon rains,
of the love we have for one another,
and walk hand in hand.

I worry his words will tear down
all that we've risen up to build
in the light of the Resurrection,
and his indifferent clumsiness
will lead you to that fatal knife...
And I'll be too far away

To save you
from Yourself.
But I can't say this to you.
Because you need me to be
your mountaintop fortress;
the lighthouse in stormy seas.

And so I throw my prayers
at the gates of heaven
like a battering ram in a siege.
Christ once said that
The Kingdom of God
shall be taken only by force.

I used to wonder
what that meant.
in my terror, I ponder this no more.
I look forward to the age yet to come
where we can hold vigil in darkest night
together, with your hand in mine.


The Deep Watches of the Night

In the deep watches
of the night
I prayed for you
As the rich scent of
beeswax and incense
Filled the darkness in my life
And the omnipresent wind rustled
Outside, like whispers.
I worried about cutting words
And the attack of your enemies.
While brooding with my mind
Perched upon worries.
Lord, set a watch over my lips
So that my tongue speaks
no fearful words.

For the world is arrayed against
Those who seek us.
Tonight was bad,
But remember:
Tomorrow is a
whole other country.
And we will walk it together.

"shitty sangiovese"

On nights like this
with bitter sangiovese in the glass
as I sit waiting for your replies
I realize when I fall in love
I sometimes fall too hard.

I fall like a thunder from the sky
obliterating everything
and driving those away whom I love
and if I don’t I still fear it anyway
for when i feel, it’s intense.

sometimes too intense for words
and it manifests as me worrying
about every little thing
and misinterpreting based on past lenses
kind of like how I

assumed that this sangiovese
would be delicious because,
hey, who ever encountered a bad wine
made with the blood of jove?
well, shit. it’s as acidic as my past.

all i ever do is screw up good things
because I’ve had so many bad things;
bad romances in my life
that I don’t know how to react
when someone actually cares for me

and isn’t using me for some purpose,
like a pawn in some sort of game.
and now I worry that all I’ll do is
make you cry and hurt you
just like all the others

and what i really want
to do is hold you in my arms
and heal all your wounds
in a way I can’t do with this wine.
I want to tell you every day

that it is going to always be okay.
But we are going to be drinking
an entirely different vintage together.
I’m going to pour this wine from my deck
and grab a seyval blanc from the cellar
for the promise of better nights.


Willcox Days

Willcox days are
like Willcox nights;
Filled with wine,
But the harsh sun on the high plains
Illuminates all flaws,
And drives away hopes
With the brightness of reality.
While stars bring comfort,
The day brings harsh truths.
Nobody wants me in their co-ferment.

We seek to blend, toil,
taste our alchemy at the end,
seeking perfection,
With enzymes and additives
and other grapes
To achieve perfection.

But that best wine
at the end of the day
Was a viognier.
All alone.
No additions,
No modifications.

Just on its own,
Toughened up by
a little new oak.
Just like how life has
beaten me up a little
around the ears.

Maybe after all
I shouldn't seek you
Or anyone else as a companion.
Maybe I'm best on my own after all
With all my hurt, my pain, my sorrow.
As much as I love you,
I know the ending--
you'll leave me in the night
Finding me lacking.
Unwanted. Unloved.

You speak of tenderness now
But how do I know that your words
Have True Meaning,
and aren't just said
Because you know what I want to hear?

Every time I declare
That i am all in
I am cast out back
Into the darkness.

Maybe I should tell you to go away now
And leave me alone
So I can nurse the pain alone
Like I always have
Under the harsh sun of Willcox days,
Before you cast me aside to drift
In the high desert breezes
Like tumbleweeds into oblivion.

But maybe I misunderstand
As my heart tries to
slam shut gates in terror of the siege.
I can't flee, despite my fears,
For I am dug in too deep
My roots reaching
Towards distant water tables
Within the bones of ancient seas.
So I wait for you to bring the pruners
And cut me out of your life...
Just in case you decide not to.


Great Unconformity

"Great Unconformity"
I look, and see a pale rose
pleasing to behold
from a distant land
growing in a crack of stone
that spans a billion years
of deep time, lost memories,
and forgotten landscapes,
and I wonder how this will end.

Because as a rule I either
fall in love quickly
Like a meteorite
Plummeting to earth
from on high,
Destroying myself in the process...

Or not at all:
as resistant as the Matazals;
Those thrice-island
quartzite mountains
almost as old as time,
Lashed both by monsoon storm
and ancient wave,
And she breaks...
and leaves in silence.

And when I fall
it's usually for those who
plot to destroy me
and all I stand for,
Who seek to manipulate me
into oblivion, killing me slowly and
I end up writing angry poetry
At the end of all things,
adding them to the list
of those who have come before:
A litany of damnatio memoriae.

Now I stand at the edge,
staring at this Great Unconformity
of thought between my two reactions,
At this lovely pale rose
in an unexpected place.
I feel abject terror, unsure,
uncertain whether to reach or run,
nervous about endings while
butterflies wielding wings
of obsidian knives
are fluttering in my stomach.
Why her? Why me? Why now?
Why... anything?

Why not?




Your silence cuts me
like a million grains of sand
whipped to a frenzy
by an ill wind,
cutting down all in it's path
tearing and uprooting trees in
the once lush oasis.

It cuts me like obsidian knives
black as moonlight,
reaching into my skin and heart
like some forsaken priest
of a dead, starving Aztec god
in colors of crows and peacocks.

It sours me inside
like wine in a barrel
gone bad with brett;
dreams of laughter
and the joy of good company
now to be poured down the drain.

Your silence howls at me
like hungry coyotes in the night
and I lay awake, in fear.
I miss your words;
I miss your laughter.
I miss you, my friend.
I am sorry for all I have done.




Driving across the desert at night alone
is like driving with a time machine
Straight lines, straight paths
across billions of years
through tortured Precambrian schists
upon which Miocene fires once uneasily flowed,
and the bones of seas which grew in between,
covered with cacti and memories.

I drive through skies emptied
of friendly stars by a malevolent full moon.
I wish you were with me
--that anyone worthy was with me--
But there is nobody,
and the air lies about the coming spring,
and so I return to my Skellig in the sky alone.

I thought time would heal all my wounds
but I find, the older I get,
and the more time passes,
the wounds just turn into scabs
painful for all to see.
They scar my face,
they scar my heart,
and nobody wants to come close
to see how my eyes view the world.

Not since you left for the sea.
Since you left,
I have tried to fill the void
in a thousand lonely ways
with other people and other things
and all they do is rummage around
in the open cellar
and steal the good wine
which you laid down to age,
leaving me empty and without soul.

I am alone now, upon the mountain
with my glass of bitter Chenin Noir
and the fact is:
I don't know if I can love anymore,
without you; how can the land
fill the gaping hole
left by the abandonment
of the lost sea which
once covered it like a warm blanket
and left it to dream of wonder.

How do I open myself up,
when all those who come seek
to destroy that which I have
laboriously tried to build and maintain?
What was so wrong with my land
that you found you
abandoned me for the sea?


poem snippit

The atheists I've slept with
have all cried out the name of God
in the nights of lovemaking
but such is irrelevant in this tale--

The fact is that
I've kissed a lot of princesses and polywogs,
and only encountered two queens,
and both live in far lands,
by the living seas
beyond the grasp of my desert.
"Thoughts while drinking Petit Verdot on a Fall Night"

The cold bite of fall nibbles at my legs
and the future season is foretold by
the wheeling of the stars
far above my head
While the Petit Verdot
in my glass
swirls like the galaxies
in the abyss of mind
and all possible universes.

The wine is dark as
the sinful hearts of men;
Bitter like a jilted lover,
brooding as a poet,
as tannic as the moonless night.
The grape came from
across the sea from Bordeaux
to grow rich under the
foreign sun of California.

The spices and earth on the nose
make me think of the women
across the ocean whom I adore
and she who lives
across the tombs of the sea,
beyond the mountains,
the ancient land
buried underneath the
dismembered remains of
glaciers and rivers,.
I think of the Lady who is
Queen Across the Skies
enthroned wearing a cloak
crimson as royalty,
red like an Arizona sunset.

I think of the bones of the sea
that reach towards the clouds
to drink their living water,
to quench the insatiable thirst
created by the dark,
never-ending tannins,
Quenched with cassis and cinnamon
intermingled with mullberry, black tea,
and the fertile earth of distant spring.

The finish lasts deep into the night,
with tannins and limestone
drying out my lips
as the minutes pass,
while Orion emerges
above the distant horizon
of the Mogollon Rim.

And I dream of the ebb and flow of time,
of lost seas and ancient mountains
and pillars of fire and smoke,
and your hand in mine someday.

What's in your glass?


"Thoughts upon Diá del Muertos"

I drink Mourvèdre amidst
the ashes and the bones
of the forgotten dead
All buried in the corpse of the lost sea.
The Mountain is crowned
with the first of the snows,
While Persephone's nibbled pomegranate lays upon the ground,
Cast aside like so much trash
as she makes her decent
into the underworld,
casting the harvest aside.

I remember then...
How a man, a writer
far wiser than myself,
and but recently in his tomb once said:
"What can the harvest hope for
if not the care of the Reaper man?"

I thought of his words often,
as I worked in the early sunrise,
with the ancient fountains of fire
frozen in time at my back,
and the last Black Hawks of summer
screaming high overhead in the fall sun,
while petite sirah stained my hands
like sticky black ink.

I found myself wondering if
perhaps we are all
reapers and winnowers,
just not of grape or grain,
but of souls, sorrows, and joy,
and our words for future generations.

I think now
of the joys the souls
buried under my feet
must have experienced in life.
I pour the dregs of my glass
upon the thirsty graves for them
and the dead skulls grin
for the reaper man
under the earth.



cordilleran flycatcher
Cody Vladimir Burkett

Latest Month

June 2016


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  • 25 Sep 2014, 13:05
    I like it! It's a little creepy, a little sad, and a dash celebratory all at the same time.
  • 3 May 2014, 04:17
    glad to see you still post.

    Im working on updating mine more again.

  • 2 Jan 2014, 20:45
    Cody. You are not a failure, but if you continue to address yourself in such a way, you might become one. The only way I can ever see you truly failing is if you completely give up on everything…
  • 13 Nov 2013, 08:38
    When the big picture isn't what we want it to be, those small moments when everything is perfect can do such a good job of helping keep everything together. :)
  • 12 Nov 2013, 14:20
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