Poetry: Avery E. D. Burns

from August

new to the city
he rode BART
in all directions
ending in each
cardinal point

an X
whose hidden
lies in
time &

“I’ll never do
that again”


flying over the
poetry reading

cawing &

make of it
what you will


now you say
says it
but then
you talk
around it
and it
shoots out
the window
like a bee
in a way
we’d call
if we

<<<<<< Can you sleep now? head setting on the pillow the lights out only the spin of the dryer humming not too distractingly fall into that big dark box


The sequence of 30 poems eponymously called “August” were composed in anticipation of a reading at Moe’s Bookstore 8/30/11. Given the daily constraints of a busy job, family and a dog who doesn’t get walked enough, poems occur few and far between. I’ve long felt a connection to WCW scribbling a lyric on the prescription pad between patients, which contributed to length and mode a good deal no doubt. As the content of some of these poems describe, they were written late at night after everyone, including the dog, went to bed, or while riding to work on BART. Compositionally I felt a strong sound component to them partaking not only of word relationships but of coversationality, and consequently the poems actually look a little strange to me in print. You can judge for yourself with a listen to the reading at Moe’s that occasioned the poems.

Click here to listen to the Moe’s reading.


Avery E. D. Burns lives with his family in Concord, CA, and works in downtown San Francisco. After a long hiatus, he has returned to hosting the Canessa Park Reading Series located in the Jackson Square District of SF. He edits lyric&, whose most recent publication is Colleen Lookingbill’s a forgetting of (2011). Avery has one full length collection The Idler Wheel (Manifest Press 2000) and numerous chapbooks with the most recent for (g.e. 2010). Poems have appeared; the most recent publication being a chapbook length selection from ambulatory refrains posted at the Italian poet Nanni Cagnone’s web-site.