REPRESENTATION
PILTCHARD & WREN LITERARY AGENCY
 
San Francisco        Portland              Los Angeles        Palermo

Frank Piltchard

Senior Agent

piltchard(at)piltchardandwren(dot)com

Richard Wren

Senior Agent

wren(at)piltchardandwren(dot)com

Paula Duckett

Agent

duckett(at)piltchardandwren(dot)com

Olympia Luciana

Agent

luciana(at)piltchardandwren(dot)com

Site content, written text, audio and video files © 1980-2019 YU News Service, a professional parody news and information syndicate,

Est. 1980. All Rights Reserved. Satiric material on this site can be used against anyone in the court of public opinion.

YU News Service. Yossarian Universal News Service (YU) , News from Outer Space, The Broadsider, Giuseppe Magazine, Universal Times, Poetry Hotel,

The Bulitzer Prize, Poor Souls Press, The Minderbinder Review of Books, Johnny Get Angry, and The One Minute News Hour are SM and TM of YU News Service . 

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey RSS Icon
  • Grey Google+ Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon

    Room 61 • Poetry Hotel 

Four Poems / Bill Burns

 

CATCHING BEES

Just me

and maybe one or two of my sisters

running through dew damp lawns

of neighbors gone.

Each of us

or just me

carefully holding the clean washed

Best Foods mayonnaise jar

label washed off…not even a speck of paper left…

with nail holes punched in the top for air

to keep our catch alive.

Jar in one hand

lid in the other

running carefully on tiptoes

silently

cautiously

easily…easily…sneakily

slowly…now…

no need to scare them…

don’t break the glass…

do not disturb too much

the other creatures there.

We just want to catch one

and see up close

those things that sometimes stung

and where their stingers were

and what other weapons they possessed

that violated our summer skin.

You see one…

sneak up close…

slowly, slowly,

carefully

ease the clear glass jar over busy worker

then down

capturing the creature

who seems to help by flying up to glass.

Quickly we cap the jar and take our treasure home

to do our real work,

but first we sneak in bits

of ripped up grass

to ease the subject’s brief hiatus in our glass.

-------------------------

BUS HOME FROM CAMPBELL HIGH 1958

 

On an early summer afternoon

as if propelled by screams of teens inside

the school bus bolts down Bascom Avenue

pouring out raucous kids at several stops

on two land orchard roads:

Williams, Moorpark, Freestone and Fruitdale.

Kids squirm, baking in the heat of summer sun.

They look out of the windows and see ripened fruit,

smell its sweet scent and scream: "Cherries are ripe!"

At the next stop they flutter out -

ravenous birds of prey descend on unsuspecting trees.

They attack - climbing, grabbing picking, gorging, stuffing

cherry after cherry into mouths that cannot get enough.

Sometimes clutching three and four at a time

they yank, then stuff, lips red, tongues cherry black,

stopping only to spit out pits,

and then resuming their feeding frenzy.

Suddenly, sprinklers attack.

Someone shouts "Go".

Kids drop from trees to grab mud-spattered books

from the soft soil where they were abandoned.

It's a long walk home, but no one notices

as they laugh and jab, scrambling down the dusty roads -

dreaming of summer afternoons

of no more school.

 

-------------------------

AGAMEMNON

 

Not one who tasted agony at Troy 
Questioned the pride that brought me to my knees. 
We suffered, all as one, without a cry; 
And even when the gods ignored our pleas, 
We carried on the fight alone. We warred 
As men--as Greeks, ate Trojan dirt, and paid 
With blood the ransom for our honor. Gored 
But glorious, we staggered then to ships, made 
As we could the journey back to Greece, and shared 
The one brief hour we'd fought ten years to win. 
No one who knew Troy wondered why I dared 
To taunt the gods. Give me that day again! 
Give me a hundred purple paths to try 
For but one Troy and I will stride them all. 
My bloody sandals thrashing to the cry 
Of women, I will sneer at heaven, call 
Upon the gods, and damn them in my yell. 
I asked a moment's glory, nothing more, 
As payment for those ten long years of hell. 
Instead, I found my wife a faithless whore, 
Who with her lover had prepared for me 
A bloodbath--my reward for victory! 

 

-------------------------  

OUR DAD

 

would drink

whatever booze was in the house.

Then…he’d quote his own version of famous poems

and tell long drawn out jokes

more often than not forgetting or mixing punch lines.

But he still won us

with his Irish twinkling smile

that wink and grin that forced us

somehow to forgive him.

He was always seeking forgiveness

and praise…

or at least some warm acceptance.

He seemed a boarder in his body

and as a boarder

he felt lucky just to be there.

We were the ones who had to pay the rent.

-------------------------

Bill Burns used his Teacher Corps experience, 1967-1968 teaching inner-city youth in Indianapolis, Indiana to earn a job with San Mateo County

Office of Education (CA) in 1969 helping non-graduates attain GED equivalency certificates. After five years of teaching he became the coordinator of

the Career Preparation Center helping at- risk youth get their GED and find jobs. In 1982 he worked with education and probation departments to create

the county’s first Community Schools Program for wards of the court. In 1997 he was hired by Project READ of the Redwood City Library and

became a part-time jail instructor teaching parenting skills and a poetry writing course to the men and women in the county’s jails where he continues

his teaching while still finding time for writing poetry, baseball, and family gatherings with his wife, Peggy, their five children and mates, and seven

grandchildren. Bill is a resident of the San Francisco peninsula.

Acknowledgements: “Agamemnon” previously appeared in Reed Magazine (1966). 

  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey RSS Icon
  • Grey Google+ Icon
  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon