Peter Burzynski

Oriflamme

A battle is bitter
no matter what
side you fall
on. A banner

burns bright
with your enemy’s
fuel. Orange-
red silk screams.

A patriot is not
always a partisan.
A commander
is often charlatan.

Fearsome masks
tend to be worn
by the fearful flesh
of a young man

waiting for old age
telling him to die.
Death is imminent;
manner of is clearly

the question. I elect
to die by anvil,
by pit or pendulum,
by pen or pestle.

Perhaps rope
or regimentation.
Obscurity, obfuscation,
libation, bloviation.

Bring flame, axes,
poisons, prophylaxis,
powders, potion, practice.
Carcinogenic catharsis.

Mortar or murder.
I choose mortality
because forever
stops mattering

when it clings
to days, when
it breathes but
forgets still-born

indulgences, eccentric
praxis. Forever
is simply never
with more taxes.

Leda Needs a Gun

A ballerina sits in dark light. She eats
the syrupy fog yawn of morning clouds.

Opaque skin at dusk. A swan. Her shoes
neither walk nor run, but dance and leap

flapping like hard bird feet—cracked
yellow, corn cobbed on a string.