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Casey Burchby: The Test of Time


Image: Unsplash, downloaded (https://unsplash.com/photos/zvf7cZ0PC20) 19.9.2021.



Star Stuff


Stone, brick, wood, plaster –

Save minor flood, no disaster

Will they withstand and keep

From rubble, ash, or liquefaction


Our schools and towns

Our stores and towers

Mean to last decades or forever

But fail the test over and over


Institutions, governments

Look like firmer permanence

Cumulative philosophies

The idea-building of centuries

Crushing stray concepts

With immovable math

And all-important Time


Insurance sold by the ancestor

Brought food, cars, a home

To his family –

yet bereft of assurance

Lately, the descendants

Fight the same fight, hope against hope

For crumbs and spectral chances

- - -

What we have is what we think

Though our minds are mere jellies

Molded to skulls

The brain contains

Something between naught

And all; and so fraught

With odd spastic formations

Hard to tell the real from the un-

Should it hold out another day

Thank your lucky stars

As some are wont to say


Those we believe

What we inhabit

How we depend

Illusion is the real social contract

“Castles in the sky”

Is more apt than we know


When all else fails –

Grocery stores go foodless

All of us go homeless

Lies become a currency

Governments break

Their own cherished laws,

Tho’ wealth be preserved


There will always be gravity

Keeping us as honest

As the day is long

Locked down, in our place


But should a new fission be found out

And channeled into a simple app

Humanity will have lost it

Our subatomic powder

Will anxiously rejoin the stars:

Who doesn’t deserve a fresh new start



Stay Low


Summer dies across the west

Air all smoke and no way out


An orange man harangues us:

We should have cleaned our forests

The trees are all horribly broken


Smoke and virus mix and darken

and something long-buried is reaped:

Smallpox blankets, once savagely gifted,

rooted a rich national tradition



About the Author: Casey Burchby is a writer and arts administrator living in the Sierra Nevada. His previous work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, Publishers Weekly, Village Voice, Cineaste and others.


#CaseyBurchby #newpoetry

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