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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

New Release: Wayne F. Burke Poems From the Planet Crouton (Epic Rites Press, 2017) 26 pages

Wayne F. Burke’s latest poetry collection forms part of Epic Rites Press's 2017 Punk Chapbook Poetry Series. The chap includes 14 of Burke’s poems which provide the reader with a small taste of his stuff. The free verse narrative poems are easy to follow and tend to careen towards an exploration of the underlying sexual tensions, violence and hatred Burke sees in his world.

Burke recently explained to me, “The title refers to a state of alienation—being on the margin—sort of far out—odd even, or at least different from so-called “normal,” the quotidian. Coming from a place on the fringe, personally and aesthetically.” These poems certainly come from the edge- from the homeless, the abused, the young, the criminally insane- those without power and without a heart beat of hope.

The opening poem ‘Slip’ is characteristic of how Burke uses a personal anecdote from his past to rev open- in a splintered way- an obnoxious, drunken night out:


It was Veteran’s Day
and although I am not a vet
(my father was)
I decided to go out for a drink
even though
I was on probation
and not supposed to drink
and I went out to the bar
where I got drunk
and started to insult people,
asking a guy if he was with his girl
or a dog;
calling a waitress “dumb bunny,”
interrupting a conversation between two girls
and when ignored
telling them to go somewhere
and “finger each other,”
after which I was told to leave
but I was not done
and on my way out
grabbed a guy by the collar and
yanked him off his stool
and then found myself in the middle of a pile-up
of people
I had to fight my way through
to get to the door
and out
onto the sidewalk
where a siren I’d already heard
grew louder
and I started to run
like a son of a bitch
down an alleyway
and ran off the top of
a stonewall
and dropped
twenty feet
into the river
cold as ice cubes
and the shock
I swam to the bridge
I hid under in the shadow
until things cooled down
I started to climb out
up the stonewall
but lost my grip
and fell back
into the drink
and got scared
I had to get out of there
or freeze to death
I stated the climb again
my numb hands
the cold rock
almost to the top
the hands would not hold
the wall collapsed
and I landed back in the icy stew
I started to yell “Help!
Help me!”
Lights in an apartment building
over the river
came on
someone shouted from a window
a man and woman
showed up with
a rope
they threw down
and hauled me up
and the woman
asked if she could help
and I asked her to go out
with me
and she said “no”
and I walked away
over the snow-covered sidewalk
and toward my room
to the rooming house,
my shoes squishing with each step.

(reprinted with the poet’s permission)

Find out more information about how to buy Poems From the Planet Crouton as part of Epic Rites Press’s  2017 Punk Chapbook Series here:

Purchase 4 major collections by Wayne F. Burke from BareBackPress here: