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Kymie 6d
Forged in a fire of brotherhood and violence;
Branded and tempered,
you are  called to service.

You step to the front;
relinquishing your home
and dawning the armor of duty and honor.

You feel your heart beat and you know that the tempo does not belong to you.
Your very breath contracted to the country to which you offer your allegiance and life.
Who casts you forth to a world that neither knows or cares who you are.

Who will remember you when this is done?
Who will know what happened here?
You are a piece of a whole;
Parts welded together by the hell that burned you up together and molded soldiers out of the ashes.

And as you kneel before the field of battle;
You take courage in the boots beside you.
You pray because you know that the ultimate sacrifice is not always made by the soldiers who die.

19 OCT 2020

Tizzop Sep 4
3600 seconds, golden rich kids among bottle
scavengers, everybody hustlin', revenge?
the lights of society don't shine bright on them
collected bottles for a meal, irrelevant sunsets

the beauty of life decreased, dependency diaries
let lights loosely shine on these teenage giants
memories are opening up like red clouds, floating
in a time lapse, they will remember, in pride

honor and dignity, the one who splits the ocean
creates a shelter for the brothers and sisters
reckoner: burnings sandstorms, playful twisters
the one who smoothens a path to golem land

honey, milk and fruits, get rid of urban metal
come to us, be with us and stay with us
infinite loopholes, adults, kids and groups
the holy swoosh of a curl, your healing, stay

as you are walking through the ocean
as your brothers and sisters are with you
whiteblue words, you catch sentences like air
as you become a part of golem land

of us
Golemland for everybody; for a better way of life.
Anais Vionet Aug 14
(a flash fiction piece)

My brother (Brice) left university, 6 months ago, like millions of other students, to shelter from COVID. After years away Mr. Annoying was back in MY world, bickeringly close and way too frequently in my business - like some half-assed adult (he just turned 22).

As school planning recently started though, I awoke one night, unnerved at the thought that he might be leaving. It was a shocking awakening to how much I need him, draw strength from him and shelter in his lee. The heart-wrenching realization of how much I would miss him was breathtaking, like that Disney ride where they suddenly drop you seven stories. I bit off half my fingernails before I finally fell asleep. =/

In the clear light of morning, it's obvious that he’ll leave again at some point and I'm dreading it now that it's flagged my awareness - and I face him with a whole new, creepy appreciation.

Yesterday afternoon...
Brice is on the sectional, with a bowl of pretzels, watching some BORING documentary.
I sneak up behind him and take his drink off the side table.
I plop down next to him - very close, I squeeze next to him, hard, like there’s no other room on the huge sectional. He gives me the side eye.
Me: “What??”
After a few minutes he reaches for his drink to find it missing - he looks around, then at me.
Me: With a mouth full of pretzels, “What??”
He gets up to find his drink (which I put in the kitchen) and that takes about 20 seconds.
While he’s gone, I change the channel to “Miraculous Ladybug”, my favorite cartoon.
When he comes back we wrestle for the remote - it takes him a couple of minutes but he’s too strong and as he begins winning, I yell, “MOM!!, Brice is hurting me!” (which was cruelly ignored).
He finally gets the remote and back to his show - I straighten my hair, out of breath, and wonder how long it will take him to realize the pretzels are missing.
brothers - annoying but loveable
On the stage dancing
With thunderous applause
Not for me either
But for my brother

Hard to swallow that pill
Without having jealousy to ****
Too everything from me
Yet I let him be
Brothers and born to destroy and remake each other...
If life was a career then,
We were at our height
From the hallowed high school hallways
To the Hollywood nights.
Acting like it’s our birthright
Called ourselves “mid flight”.
Destination unknown
It never mattered where we landed
Because Saturday night was our own.

Link up at the skate rink,
I see Teresa, I fake wink
There’s some drama starting in the parking lot
But it’s mostly dudes who just talk a lot.
****, we would show off our fashion,
Posted up on the wall for all the see
They all wanted to show love, stand next to you and me.
But that was never our scene.
Yeah, we had different passions.

Aw yeah, picking up girls to be romantic.
They swore they saw through our antics.
We laughed it off, then trashed the mall,
Then drove to the Atlantic.

Aw, the OC waves.
Those were some good days.
Then it happened in a flash.
Your reign ended in a car crash.
Now I’m smokin’, thinking of the ordeal.
I love you, my soul for real.
The news.
It hit each brother hard.
I received it last.
I was caught off-guard, by the invitation to the church yard.
This was to be the first.
For some this would be the worst.
I felt submersed, as if I’d dove headfirst and now immersed in the tears that burst from my father’s eyes and did not disperse.

Family arrived.
Gradually at first,
Then all at once,
Our garden was filled with cousins, uncles, aunts.
Some the brothers knew, others they met.
As each one told them it’s okay to be upset.
But none of the brothers’ eyes were wet.
Not yet.

The black cars arrived.
And they all piled in. We seemed to talk about everything.
Except about him.
We got to the place.
Friends had come, so them, we embraced.
Then filled with grace,
One brother turned and tripped on his shoelace.

The brothers laughed
But there was no malice in it.
Just a moment of joy in all of this.

It was lighter than expected.
The weight shared between 6.
The brothers, their father, and his sis.

Two generations,
Carried in a third.
As the congregation stood,
With their cries unheard.
The ceremony started,
Hymns were sung.
The four brothers, right at the front.

Their father rose with a wobble,
To speak his piece.
He looked small to the boys,
But he never looked weak.
Following him,
One of the brothers shall speak.

I tapped my pocket,
Checking it was there,
Knowing too that my brothers had spares.

I stood.

I took the steps towards the podium.

I stood.
Ready to begin.

Ready to speak for my brothers
and say goodbye to him.
Arthur Vaso May 3
I walk in museums
I see all the pretty pictures
hanging like dead dolls
on many faces
sadness within the walls
in a wheelchair
over there
he cant even stare
but he sees me I know
I smile
the painting was hidden
not framed
yet still within these halls
Nicholas Feb 28
My hearts been on the fritz,
It’s been bleeding from all the slits
from taking one too many hits.
this must be as good as it gets
when you lie in your own ****,
this life isn’t one I’ll miss.

You know I never got that kiss
I’ve lived one big swing and a miss
cause I never learned how to mix
that well with others,
just ask my brothers
I fit in with the suckers
living life in the gutters.

Here there aren’t many colors
and even fewer lovers.
First they came for the Muslims
by Michael R. Burch

after Martin Niemoller

First they came for the Muslims
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Muslim.

Then they came for the homosexuals
and I did not speak out
because I was not a homosexual.

Then they came for the feminists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a feminist.

Now when will they come for me
because I was too busy and too apathetic
to defend my sisters and brothers?

"First they came for the Muslims" was published in Amnesty International’s "Words That Burn" anthology and is now being used as training material for budding human rights activists. My poem was inspired by and patterned after Martin Niemoller’s famous Holocaust poem. Niemoller, a German pastor, supported Adolph ****** in the early going, but ended up in a **** concentration camp and nearly lost his life. So his was a true poem based on his actual life experience. Keywords/Tags: Holocaust, genocide, apartheid, racism, intolerance, Jew, Jews, Muslim, Muslims, homosexuals, feminists, apathy, sisters, brothers, Islam, Islamic, God, religion, intolerance, race, racism, racist, discrimination, feminist, feminists, feminism, sexuality, gay, homosexual, homosexuals, LGBT, mrbmuslim

Epitaph for a Palestinian Child
by Michael R. Burch

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.

I Pray Tonight
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

I pray tonight
the starry light
surround you.

I pray
each day
that, come what may,
no dark thing confound you.

I pray ere tomorrow
an end to your sorrow.
May angels’ white chorales
sing, and astound you.

Such Tenderness
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers of Gaza

There was, in your touch, such tenderness―as
only the dove on her mildest day has,
when she shelters downed fledglings beneath a warm wing
and coos to them softly, unable to sing.

What songs long forgotten occur to you now―
a babe at each breast? What terrible vow
ripped from your throat like the thunder that day
can never hold severing lightnings at bay?

Time taught you tenderness―time, oh, and love.
But love in the end is seldom enough ...
and time?―insufficient to life’s brief task.
I can only admire, unable to ask―

what is the source, whence comes the desire
of a woman to love as no God may require?

I, too, have a Dream ...
written by Michael R. Burch for the children of Gaza

I, too, have a dream ...
that one day Jews and Christians
will see me as I am:
a small child, lonely and afraid,
staring down the barrels of their big bazookas,
knowing I did nothing
to deserve their enmity.

My Nightmare ...
written by Michael R. Burch for the children of Gaza

I had a dream of Jesus!
Mama, his eyes were so kind!
But behind him I saw a billion Christians
hissing "You're nothing!," so blind.

For a Palestinian Child, with Butterflies
by Michael R. Burch

Where does the butterfly go ...
when lightning rails ...
when thunder howls ...
when hailstones scream ...
when winter scowls ...
when nights compound dark frosts with snow ...
where does the butterfly go?

Where does the rose hide its bloom
when night descends oblique and chill,
beyond the capacity of moonlight to fill?
When the only relief’s a banked fire’s glow,
where does the butterfly go?

And where shall the spirit flee
when life is harsh, too harsh to face,
and hope is lost without a trace?
Oh, when the light of life runs low,
where does the butterfly go?

Published by Tucumcari Literary Review, Romantics Quarterly, Poetry Life & Times and Victorian Violet Press (where it was nominated for a “Best of the Net”), The Contributor (a Nashville homeless newspaper), Siasat (Pakistan), and set to music as a part of the song cycle “The Children of Gaza” which has been performed in various European venues by the Palestinian soprano Dima Bawab

Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

for the mothers and children of Gaza

Frail envelope of flesh,
lying cold on the surgeon’s table
with anguished eyes
like your mother’s eyes
and a heartbeat weak, unstable ...

Frail crucible of dust,
brief flower come to this―
your tiny hand
in your mother’s hand
for a last bewildered kiss ...

Brief mayfly of a child,
to live two artless years!
Now your mother’s lips
seal up your lips
from the Deluge of her tears ...

Published by The Lyric, Promosaik (Germany), Setu (India) and Poetry Life & Times; translated into Arabic by Nizar Sartawi and into Italian by Mario Rigli

Note: The phrase "frail envelope of flesh" was one of my first encounters with the power of poetry, although I read it in a superhero comic book as a young boy (I forget which one). More than thirty years later, the line kept popping into my head, so I wrote this poem. I have dedicated it to the mothers and children of Gaza, who know all too well how fragile life and human happiness can be. What can I say, but that I hope, dream, wish and pray that one day ruthless men will no longer have power over the lives and happiness of innocents? Women, children and babies are not “terrorists” so why are they being punished collectively for the “crime” of having been born “wrong”? How can the government of Israel practice systematic racism and apartheid, and how can the government of the United States fund and support such a barbaric system?

who, US?
by Michael R. Burch

jesus was born
a palestinian child
where there’s no Room
for the meek and the mild

... and in bethlehem still
to this day, lambs are born
to cries of “no Room!”
and Puritanical scorn ...

under Herod, Trump, Bibi
their fates are the same―
the slouching Beast mauls them
and WE have no shame:

“who’s to blame?”

(In the poem "US" means both the United States and "us" the people of the world, wherever we live. The name "jesus" is uncapitalized while "Room" is capitalized because it seems evangelical Christians are more concerned about land and not sharing it with the less fortunate, than the teachings of Jesus Christ. Also, Jesus and his parents were refugees for whom there was "no Room" to be found. What would Jesus think of Christian scorn for the less fortunate, one wonders? What would he think of people adopting his name for their religion, then voting for someone like Trump, as four out of five evangelical Christians did, according to exit polls?)

Excerpts from “Travels with Einstein”
by Michael R. Burch

I went to Berlin to learn wisdom
from Adolph. The wild spittle flew
as he screamed at me, with great conviction:
“Please despise me! I look like a Jew!”

So I flew off to ’Nam to learn wisdom
from tall Yankees who cursed “yellow” foes.
“If we lose this small square,” they informed me,
earth’s nations will fall, dominoes!”

I then sat at Christ’s feet to learn wisdom,
but his Book, from its genesis to close,
said: “Men can enslave their own brothers!”
(I soon noticed he lacked any clothes.)

So I traveled to bright Tel Aviv
where great scholars with lofty IQs
informed me that (since I’m an Arab)
I’m unfit to lick dirt from their shoes.  

At last, done with learning, I stumbled
to a well where the waters seemed sweet:
the mirage of American “justice.”
There I wept a real sea, in defeat.

Originally published by Café Dissensus

Starting from Scratch with Ol’ Scratch
by Michael R. Burch

for the Religious Right

Love, with a small, fatalistic sigh
went to the ovens. Please don’t bother to cry.
You could have saved her, but you were all *******
complaining about the Jews to Reichmeister Grupp.

Scratch that. You were born after World War II.
You had something more important to do:
while the children of the Nakba were perishing in Gaza
with the complicity of your government, you had a noble cause (a
religious tract against homosexual marriage
and various things gods and evangelists disparage.)

Jesus will grok you? Ah, yes, I’m quite sure
that your intentions were good and ineluctably pure.
After all, what the hell does he care about Palestinians?
Certainly, Christians were right about serfs, slaves and Indians.
Scratch that. You’re one of the Devil’s minions.
Look to your mother and brothers
Forewarned from forward form
Learned reflective thought
As above so below, fed by another
(@PoeticTetra - instagram/twitter)
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