These are humorous epigrams about love, sex, procreation, politics, God, the Bible, religion, life and death.

Less Heroic Couplets: Midnight Stairclimber
by Michael R. Burch

is at first great sweaty recreation,
then—long, long after the sex dies—
the source of endless exercise.

Published by: The HyperTexts


Less Heroic Couplets: Liquidity Crisis
by Michael R. Burch

And so I have loved you, and so I have lost,
accrued disappointment, ledgered its cost,
debited wisdom, credited pain . . .
My assets remaining are liquid again.

Published by: Asses of Parnassus


Biblical Knowledge or “Knowing Coming and Going”
by Michael R. Burch

The wisest man the world has ever seen
had fourscore concubines and threescore queens?
This gives us pause, and so we venture hence—
he “knew” them, wisely, in the wider sense.


Less Heroic Couplets: Fahr an’ Ice
by Michael R. Burch

with abject apologies to Robert Frost and Ogden Nash

From what I know of death, I’ll side with those
who’d like to have a say in how it goes:
just make mine cool, cool rocks (twice drowned in likker),
and real fahr off, instead of quicker.

Published by: Light, Famous Poets & Poems, Poetry on Demand, Poetry Life & Times, Fullosia Press, Inspirational Stories, Litera (UK), Poems About


Piecemeal, a Coronavirus poem
by Michael R. Burch

And so it begins—the ending.
The narrowing veins, the soft tissues rending.
Your final solution is pending.
(A pale Piggy-Wiggy
will discount your death as no biggie.)

Published by Heartfelt Death Poems


Donald Disgustus
by Michael R. Burch

It’ll be a cold day in hell
when I wish The Donald well:
was there ever a bigger liar
than President Pants-on-Fire?

Trump says he “loves” his supporters. How much does he “love” them? Apparently, to death because he packs them together like sardines in the middle of a pandemic!—Michael R. Burch aka “the Loyal Opposition”


"Lu Zhai" ("Deer Park")
by Wang Wei (699-759)
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Uninhabited hills ...
except that now and again the silence is broken
by something like the sound of distant voices
as the sun's sinking rays illuminate lichens ...

Wang Wei (699-759) was a Chinese poet, musician, painter, and politician during the Tang dynasty. He had 29 poems included in the 18th-century anthology Three Hundred Tang Poems. "Lu Zhai" ("Deer Park") is one of his best-known poems.

Keywords/Tags: epigram, epigrams, Wang Wei, Chinese, translation, nature, animal, deer, park, hills, silence, sound, voices, wind, voice, sun, rays, illuminate, peace, growth, wisdom


Eerie Dearie
by Michael R. Burch

A trembling young auditor, white
as a sheet, like a ghost in the night,
saw his dreams, his career
in a poof!, disappear,
and then, strangely Enronic, his wife.

Fortune named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years, but the company went bankrupt and vanished after its accounting practices were determined to be fraudulent.


Snap Shots
by Michael R. Burch

Our daughters must be celibate,
die virgins. We triangulate
their early paths to heaven (for
the martyrs they’ll soon conjugate).

We like to hook a little tail.
We hope there’s decent ass in jail.
Don’t fool with us; our bombs are smart!
(We’ll send the plans, ASAP, e-mail.)

The soul is all that matters; why
hoard gold if it offends the eye?
A pension plan? Don’t make us laugh!
We have your plan for sainthood. (Die.)

NOTE: The second stanza is a punning reference to the Tailhook scandal, in which US Navy and Marine aviation officers were alleged to have sexually assaulted up to 83 women and seven men.


Gore-dom Boredom

There once was a candidate, Gore,
whose campaign had become quite a bore.
“He’s much too stiff,”
sighed his publicist,
“but not like his predecessor!”


Why the Kid Gloves Came Off
by Michael R. Burch

for Lemuel Ibbotson

It's hard to be a man of taste
in such a waste:
hence the lambaste.


Housman was right ...
by Michael R. Burch

It’s true that life’s not much to lose,
so why not hang out on a cloud?
It’s just the bon voyage is hard
and the objections loud.


Critical Mass
by Michael R. Burch

I have listened to the rain all this evening
and it has a certain gravity,
as if it knows its destination,
perhaps even its particular destiny.
I doubt mine is to be uplifted,
although I, too, may be flung precipitously
and from a great height.

"Gravity" and "particular destiny" are puns, since rain droplets are seeded by minute particles of dust adrift in the atmosphere and they fall due to gravity when they reach "critical mass." The title is also a pun, since the poem is skeptical about heaven-lauding Masses, etc.


Reading between the lines
by Michael R. Burch

Who could have read so much, as we?
Having the time, but not the inclination,
TV has become our philosophy,
sheer boredom, our recreation.

Published by: Asses of Parnassus (as Kim Cherub)


Less Heroic Couplets: Mate Check
by Michael R. Burch

Love is an ache hearts willingly secure
then break the bank to cure.


by Michael R. Burch

cries the Heart.

replies the Brain.

Originally published by Light


Grave Oversight I
by Michael R. Burch

The dead are always with us,
and yet they are naught!


Grave Oversight II
by Michael R. Burch

for Jim Dunlap, who winked and suggested “not”

The dead are either naught
or naughty, being so sought!


honeydew, honeydont
by michael r. burch

I sampled honeysuckle
and it made my taste buds buckle.


Ironic Vacation
by Michael R. Burch

Seeing Mozart’s baby grand piano.
Standing in the presence of sheer incalculable genius.
Grabbing my childish pen to write a poem
& challenge the Immortals.
Next stop, the catacombs!

Published by Certification Magazine and The HyperTexts


The State of the Art (II)
by Michael R. Burch

Poets may labor from sun to sun,
but their editor's work is never done.

The editor’s work is never done.
The critic adjusts his cummerbund.

While the critic adjusts his cummerbund,
the audience exits to mingle and slum.

As the audience exits to mingle and slum,
the anthologist rules, a pale jury of one.

Published by: Brief Poems


by Michael R. Burch

If you trust the Christian “god”
you’re—like Adumb—a clod.


Not-So-Heroic Couplets
by Donald Trump
care of Michael R. Burch

To outfox the pox:
kill yourself first, with Clorox!

And since death’s the main goal,
mainline Lysol!

No vaccine?
Just chug Mr. Clean!

Is a cure out of reach?
Fumigate your lungs, with bleach!

To immunize your thorax,
destroy it with Borax!

To immunize your bride,
drown her in Opti-cide!

To end all future gridlocks,
gargle with Vaprox!

Now, quick, down the Drain-o
with old Insane-o NoBrain-o!


Rallying the Dupes
by Michael R. Burch

after Anaïs Vionet

Houston, we have a problem:
the virus is multiplying;
meanwhile, our Demander-in-Chief
keeps lying, lying, lying.

Houston, we have a problem:
the Astros are now the Nau(gh)ts,
but Tweety will still pack the ’Dome
untroubled by actual thoughts.

Originally published by LIGHT (the first stanza)


Expert Advice
by Michael R. Burch

Your breasts are perfect for your lithe, slender body.
Please stop making false comparisons your hobby!


Less Heroic Couplets: Questionable Credentials
by Michael R. Burch

Poet? Critic? Dilettante?
Do you know what’s good, or do you merely flaunt?

Published by Asses of Parnassus (the first poem in the April 2017 issue)


by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch, and all good mothers

Your love is as delicate
as a butterfly cleaning its wings,
as soft as the predicate
the hummingbird sings
to itself, gently murmuring—
“Fly!  Fly!  Fly!”
Your love is the string
soaring kites untie.

Published by: Borderless Journal


Less Heroic Couplets: Negotiables
by Michael R. Burch

Love should be more than the sum of its parts—
of its potions and pills and subterranean arts.


Less Heroic Couplets: Sweet Tarts
by Michael R. Burch

Love, beautiful but fatal to many bewildered hearts,
commands us to be faithful, then tempts us with sweets and tarts.

(If I were younger, I might mention
you’re such a sweet temptation.)


Less Heroic Couplets: Dark Cloud, Silver Lining
from “Love in the Time of the Coronavirus”
by Michael R. Burch

Every corona has a silver lining:
I’m too far away to hear your whining,
and despite my stormy demeanor,
my hands have never been cleaner!


from “Love in the Time of the Coronavirus”
by Michael R. Burch

Show me your most intimate items of apparel;
begin with the hem of your quicksilver slip ...


The Greatest of These ...
by Michael R. Burch

for my mother, Christine Ena Burch

The hands that held me tremble.
The arms that lifted
Angelic flesh, now parchment,
is held together with gauze.

But her undimmed eyes still embrace me;
there infinity can be found.
I can almost believe such unfathomable love
will still reach me, underground.

Published by: Setu (India)


Wayne Gretzky was pure skill poured into skates.—Michael R. Burch

Irony of ironies! Could there be a less poetic term for a poem than “poem”—whether pronounced “pohm,” “po-um” or “poym”? And what the hell rhymes with “poetry”? Knowitry? Showitry?—Michael R. Burch

I will never grok picking a picky rule over a Poem! – Michael R. Burch

Experience is the best teacher but a hard taskmaster.—Michael R. Burch

Cassidy Hutchinson is a modern Erin Brockovich except that in her case the well has been poisoned for the whole country. — Michael R. Burch



It is the nature of loveliness to vanish
as butterfly wings, batting against nothingness
seek transcendence ...

Originally published by Hibiscus (India)


Less Heroic Couplets: Murder Most Fowl!
by Michael R. Burch

“Murder most foul!”
cried the mouse to the owl.

“Friend, I’m no sinner;
you’re merely my dinner.

As you fall on my sword,
take it up with the Lord!”

the wise owl replied
as the tasty snack died.

Published by Lighten Up Online and in Potcake Chapbook #7


Farewell to Faith I
by Michael R. Burch

What we want is relief
from life’s grief and despair:
what we want’s not “belief”
but just not to be there.


Farewell to Faith II
by Michael R. Burch

Confronted by the awesome thought of death,
to never suffer, and be free of grief,
we wonder: "What’s the use of drawing breath?
Why seek relief
from the bible’s Thief,
who ripped off Eve then offered her a leaf?"

Keywords/Tags: epigram, humor, love, sex, procreation, politics, God, Bible, religion, life, death, Trump, Piggy-Wiggy