Solid Quarter

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Visit New Orleans Poetry Fest for the annual 4 day poetry festival directed by Bill Lavender and Megan Burns.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

"Live Art"

"Losing control is the worst thing that can happen."

"I never saw a host of angels mowing down my lawn. I don't even have a lawn. 
It just seems like I do sometimes." 

-Laurie Anderson

"Live Art" 

an angel will destroy you. 
and call it love because that's all it knows. 
an angel fits into a glove
an angel fits into a shoe

the voice inside me sd: i am older than love 
    what you seek at the end of the great tap root, always hungry, love concepts
sieves the heart, who wrote its coding, & i am. 
                    assigned a task. a mapping, could fold wings down 
travel so deep. you will keep: 
  what is older than love, i was designed to get close enough to call back

inside sound. 
aware & unaware of the plurality. 
                    i was not pretending
madness. i was not performing 
        (of course, i was performing) i went intothecracks

in thru the breaking, you have to mine: light meets light in the darkness 
to say i was a poem, & so fly 
dissociated inside the puzzle, you can solve a maze from above
watch me 

because she could not rewrite 
            the entire story, i wanted to throw
                                                                 it all away 

 i was so ashamed of my mind 
     i was so in love  (terrible&brilliant) i... i was trying 

to not be infection:  (you can't talk to the echthroi that long, tell her) 
they say angels are notorious liars. 

it's when i can't feel the words i am saying: language plummets
it all hits the same
inside the dreaming of can we survive
& i did not: i watched her die
i saw them bury her
 i stretched out that last breath into 6 years so thin i could see: make me believe 
              be a door. transit a sacrifice you can't touch here. 
do you exist when i close my eyes. i call out in the dreaming & i'll come, he says. 

the point is: you made something beautiful. hold on. 
 you made something beautiful - tell me how you could lose a miracle

the best thing i ever did in my life was i built a net
i knew i wasn't safe alone. so i built a net of people 
                                 who could choose to hold this. 
 there is nothing easy about holding a person 
              don't kid yourself: there is nothing easy about holding a person 

if a person is easy to hold, then question why your hands are so light. 
for we get away with secrets, for we lie & lie 
but none of us get out just being "easy" 

i would never trade madness for easy, i would never trade 
being touched for happy, 

in the sound experiment of being human: I watched you all 
make yourself small for love. 

i do it too. we think maybe no one will notice, i don' t belong here. 

            where love would have bloomed, i addict control. and the flow
was sound, i was that wilderness, what draws and repels
the cannot tame. somehow i created the perfect life: 
no one can touch me, the bargain i made to stay safe. 

an angel will destroy you. 
and call it love because it’s all there is.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Dear Sylvia

Dear Sylvia,

i read your life so carefully
i tried to navigate the death drive
tried to squeeze love from what was not love

& survived, the stop point of my life
i came so close i could taste it, licked the echo
chamber where dying was desire’s great wing
it has only been my mind i have been afraid of
here in this place of: the great stones stacked
so we room & who owns us now

to say i have tombed in the maw of surrender
a stacking of bee wings collated to glisten
under dew, the harping of sound we caught breeze
whispers so true, my heart leaped, and i am

i am unaware of how to travel
forward in time any longer
when coiled to the back of me remainders
once i was ordinary, oh a woman hollows

you told me to sing until my voice hoarsed
under a gritting & the world now it is
none of us can pretend, every stain

doom mark, more terrifying, we spell
till love’s shadow creeps upon the ledge
where we still, where we teeter, i had thought
to throw this life away

i had thought: all night it seems natural
and the blades tumbled into my tongue
lilacs of shame color the dreaming, and the stars
sway slightly in the breeze of never was

& that is the gift, i was given
by sibling, to be amid the hectic fire

and to not be the one who burns

Thursday, February 06, 2020


Body Count

once we sang bones build the house
i have rivered long in a city haunted
like a poem littered—the word body
submerged like a lie under tongued

i bring to your mouth a basket of echo
new orleans tied bodies to stop signs
a slipping occurs in water like a dream
wecitywecitywecity, clipped wing

after the storm, do you remember the count
continued to rise and fall so they built
a million dollar morgue in Carville, LA
to collect the unnamed, when we name

a body we become enamored of its keep-
ing, outside the frame of papers kept
to round the systems that hold us to be-
ing human, i held my brother’s face

in the body bag i called last glance
into being sibling, but imagine with me
the breath it takes to hold love suspended
above a city while the traffic flows by

a river of lethe is america, and is any-
one unloved so much they disappear into
bricks and beams, winked out like a super
nova, bright burn & you don’t have to con-

vince me that art does nothing, art does
nothing to conquer the fear of wreckage
plane of rebuilt city, strings and parades,
water fractals to the sound we call up, listen

closely: i hear the under carriage rolling
cobbled line of continuity, history seeks
its own tamping down: we traveled so far
failing we found a way h(H)e(O)r(M)e again

Wednesday, February 05, 2020


"see you had a lot of moments that didn't last forever"
-Lil Wayne

"Everyone wants a performance from the people they consider brilliant." 
-H. Abdurraqib

i tell her my heart has a hole bottomed, a rot larger than the mouth
a lipping i tongued so you try to outline, i reuse words so much i am
nothing outside repetition: tell me is that love

someone will love you then love nothing, i lay down 
to sleep, pray to take, down on my knees
pray to take, when i wake you are are gone 

my childhood bottled, my city smashed the globe of falling 
gently what is the debris of drowned bodies floating, what of bodies
in my city held suspended, your body lay me down on the porch

of abandoned houses, tell me is that love

can you hear me sobbing through sound, slipped
the anchor called "other people" onto your tongue 
is that love, i thought i could hold, hold the lens up 

what is the trespass, do you gamble with breaking
how netted to surfacing, draw me monstered
enough to terror part human, part dream

whisper, new orleans, do you know the cost 
of dancing in the streets while the dead unrest 
memory of bodies anonymous collect at my feet

you can wade into death so deep the smell
leaves, hard rock in the palm, so we tread miracle
i have seen what cannot be cloaked in this time

blocks of prayers fallen debris, a do not touch
me kind of song that starts: is there love
enough in the world to call me back home
its stain: she says, you have so much trauma 

you lifetime, hold the barrel of the gun up to your mouth
i microphone the harbor of desire where no one can reach 
tell me love, we are not the same. write my name on the bullet

pull it like a kiss, throw it against my body, throw it 
against the soft spaces i made syllabic as punch 
syllabic as what is beautiful will stay in a way you could 

not, tell me is that love: still frames amuse
i was never part of the view, this theater i constructed 
set design of artifacts writing out from under you
& then saw finally that none of it was true

Monday, February 03, 2020

[redacted] is my l_v_ language

i mask so fine the brittle hinges

the hand that sweeps it letters and the voice says to me

a window opens, i forget time moves               i'm writing just to you

tell me i'm not insane. i think about a day & realize i am hardly

i was wearing this mask all the time          for you

i'd cease to live but there's the pain, i'd have to hand it all to you

i think maybe you feel the same

instead we write these routes to clues

tell me you understand the song: under every gesture i was wrong

                   [don't say this part out loud]

i must be in love with suicide because it's all i think about

           be in love with suicide               it's all i think about

                in love         suicide               it's all i think

                    love         suicide                          i think


to pull her up to speak [we must]  be that sick, we must be that sick
tell me how you border the safety of a mind always at work to undo
so you talk to me about love,

                   she doesn't exist her[e]      i couldn't feel     i t    anyway

and now you couldn't hear me too

      there was nothing i could write that would ever reach into you