My Reading for the Upcountry Literary Festival 2021

My Reading for the Upcountry Literary Festival 2021 ~ Presented this year on-line

Excerpts from my new and original book, ‘Silence is the Proper Prayer in the Museum of Intangible Mechanisms’ I am honored to be an invited participant in the Upcountry Literary Festival 2021 by the Upcountry Literary Festival Committee, USC UnionCopies of the book are available at:

The Wolf, the Woman and the Wizard ~ Ansiar

The wolf stalked a young woman named Martel, in an open field, under a pewter night sky. The wind smelled of leaves and coming rain.

She tried standing her ground but often broke into short sprints. Clearly the beast was playing with it’s dinner.

Just behind the woman and to the right a fire leaped up from the dirt, illumining the wolf’s eyes. LiKava stepped out of the light, facing the canine.

The wolf howled. Strangely there was no answer.
The creature snarled and dug the dirt with it’s claws.

LiKava moved to stand between the wolf and the young woman.
The wolf advanced.
LiKava said, “Stop and speak, animal.”
The wolf’s ears flattened, the fire in it’s eyes sparked but it fell back two steps.
LiKava stamped the butt his staff on the ground and lightning leapt for the sky. Electric blue bolts touched stones in the field. “You will speak to me animal.”

The wolf called out, “You know you can’t kill me.”
“Oh sweet pup, I can bite you in ways you’ve never imagined. Trust me, I can make the balance of your life a living hell.” A tongue of lightning licked the grasses between the man and the wolf.

The wolf hesitated a moment then called out to the woman, “You have no idea the bargain you have made little one. That one, he is known. You’d have been better off dying in my teeth.” The wolf turned and disappeared into the darkness. The lightning and the fire in the grasses abated.

She turned to the wizard.

“They are not particularly fond of electricity.” He turned and walked toward the distant hills.
She followed.

New Chapbook ~ The Thirteen Temples of Light and Darkness ~ Shalott’s Sojourn

Get your copy here

Shalott is on her Vacation of Self Discovery on a back country road somewhere in the Appalachians until she stumbles into the Thirteen Temples. Then things get weird.

Hand crafted quality chapbook for those who love to curl up with a good book
Story and art by William C. Burns, Jr.

Review ~ Fast fiction meets the epic: Homer’s Odyssey spans ten years; Joyce’s Ulysses sweeps through 24 hours; Burns’ Thirteen Temples fit between two heartbeats. Even with the breakneck speed of the story, the author’s roots in poetry and engineering collide to produce a clever machine that rings with magical sentences and glitters with winks of humor and hidden allusions. ~ Ian Whatley, Author of ‘Burning Hammers’

Aisling Sky

Itheann grá an bheirt againn
Titeann dhá amadán i spéir an tsamhraidh
Chonaic mé an fhómhar ag tabhairt ór do na duilleoga
Chonaic mé an geimhreadh ag goid gach dathanna
Ní féidir liom an ghaoth a chloisteáil ach anois




Sky dream

Love consumes us both
Two fools falling in the summer sky
I saw autumn bring gold to the leaves
I saw winter steal all colors
I can hear the wind only now

The Stranger and the Gift ~ William Burns

Time coalesces and there he stands (I mean isn’t there always one of these guys in all the stories she likes?). And he is holding something in his hand. He’s smiling one of those enigmatic smiles.
She’s not sure if she trusts him, not sure he’s actually there and then he speaks. His voice is the color of kindness. He speaks of many things in her past and it as if he has always known her.
She still doesn’t trust him, but she wants to see what he has in his hand, so she asks him to show her what is there. His eyes are warm and weathered and he steps close enough to not be threatening.
In his hand is the Antikythera Mechanism, a bronze device the size of a tea saucer and dancing across the facets are all the things that have ever been, all the things that will ever be. And it’s all so much, and it’s all so small that she can’t make out any of it and she certainly can’t see her role in all this.
She says, “I’m not asking which to choose. I’m not even asking for a shove in the right direction. What I want is some clarity. I want to know what I’m choosing between. I want to know what I’m taking with me and what I’m leaving behind in the dust.”
“Young one, you are choosing between the opposites of human existence, and you’ve been choosing all your life. Choosing whether to go or stay, whether to run or play, where to go and what to do. It has always been you choosing.”
He offers and she withdraws her hands. She says, “But some of those choices sucked and things have been broken and face it, I’ve always been stubborn.”
“Strong willed perhaps, but that’s why you never chose drugs or the easy ways that lead to true despair. And yes, you have made mistakes, but you have learned from each of them.”
She indicates he might hold the thing up for her. “Why can’t I simplify all the stuff on that stupid disk? Why are there no equations? Hell, I’d even settle for some probability studies, just something.”
“Some things can be simplified into equations and some things can’t. When you’re looking at the Total Life Equation, it must be expressed with Chaos elements if it is to be Real.”
She is distressed. “I don’t like that. It makes me afraid.”
“No one expects you to like it, but that is the definition of courage, is it not? ‘She was afraid, but she went on anyway,’ and for the most part succeeded.”
“What are my choices?”
“The same as all your life: to go into the next room or stay where you are, to let Love course your veins, or remain pure and chaste. To take a chance on hurting yourself on the thorns that grow along the path to the future, or to play it safe in your room. You know most of these choices are not always in yin/yang pairs, and the odds are you will live through most of your mistakes.”
He pauses. She can’t tell if it was just for effect. He says, “You will choose whether to remain a child or become a woman, whether you face each day as a challenge or a curse. No one can make this choice for you, but you are not alone. You will never be alone.”
The stranger places the disk in her hand, and she tries to give it back. She says, “I can’t take this; It’s much too valuable.”
“I hesitate to say this gentle one, but you must take this. Consider it an offering.”
“Where did you get it?”
His eyes grow winsome and a smile glows at the corners of his mouth. He takes off his hat and bows to her, “Time is not linear, dear one. You gave it to me when you saved me.”



Here in the Half-light
Just before dawn
Things coalesce
Become and resolve into objects

Here in the half-light

There are no memories
only iterated narratives
Loops of altered echoes
Voyager tales of Adventures on Real Life

A Half-life
in the half-light

the silken veil of the Night

In the silence of the orchard
Just before Harvest
She pulls the silken veil of the Night
across her features
Hiding everything but the diamonds in her eyes