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First they came for the Muslims
after Martin Niemoller
by Michael R. Burch

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 is an "updated" version of Martin Niemoller's famous Holocaust poem. Niemoller, a German pastor, actually 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.
ollie Feb 2019
I haven’t looked at the stars the same way in quite some time
They were always above me in their shining hues
And I suppose the yellow stars are duller now in the fabric
But still above my own, nonetheless
Don’t we all wear the black and white stripes?
They mark us by crime and by prison number
But my pink triangle puts us beneath the yellow stars
They have marked us by faith and things beyond our control
They have marked us with our overlarge striped clothing
We are all prisoners
We are all prisoners
We are all prisoners
So why am I beneath the stars once again
In a place where it is considered a luxury to sit and stare at them
Why
Even in war
Must I be considered beneath just another criminal
I used to find the stars beautiful
But that was before they all came in yellow
Reminding me that even when we are all persecuted
My people will always be on the ground
Staring up at all the others
As they take a rightful place among the stars
a poem about the holocaust i had to write for my english class. ended up having a lot more feelings about it than i thought. i’ve always had a lot of feelings about the holocaust but i didn’t think i’d enjoy writing the poem
Brent Kincaid Sep 2015
There was an elegant *****, from New York City
Or maybe Rome or New Orleans.
He was a spectacular ***, but didn't do drag at all;
Falling somewhere in between that category
Of glorious ladies and men of the day.
A queen with no throne nor entourage scene,
Camouflaging himself in skin-tight trousers,
Spectacular coats and jackets,
Packets of sachet in his pockets
To give him a scent of an unusual gent.
As if he had a choice in the matter.

He had a delicate way with his manner,
His hands and his eyes touching gracefully
As if not to disturb the dust on the mind,
Often very unkind, he used his tongue slicing
And dicing those who offended his senses
When such dared to step on his train
Invisibly dragging behind him, around him
Keeping his visitors at bay, a few feet away
Like proper subjects, courtiers to his grace
His face locked in a grin; hiding all within
The secrets protected by laden witticisms
Criticisms if you misbehave, saving smiles;
Handing out compliments like cookies.

There was always a waving of hands,
The arms caught in the wind like cornstalks.
For a moment. Then catching, ending like feathers
Settling together, resting as if cradling a baby
One hip thrown out, the head to one side
As if listening; hearing a devil's good joke,
Smoking a constant cigarette, the ends never wet
Laying the tip on the lip like a kiss
His face slightly lifted so the smoke will drift
Away from his half-lidded cynical eyes.

The talk could be varied, of Tom, **** or Harry
He would call women men and vice versa
Saying, Robert is a ***** woman is she.
He then waiting your laughter, hesitating
Seldom laughing himself, having said it all
Heard it all, done it all, had them all

No fertile male soil left unspoiled by his touch
Just entirely too much for one man to handle,
No woman to compare, he lived alone somewhere
Coming to the bars each night, a familiar sight
Drinking, but not seeming drunk,
Never sunk so low that he staggered,
Still swaggered after hours at the trough
Not so much as a slur or a cough.

He knew all the jokes that could be made
From a seemingly innocent mistake
Taking a word here and there and trading
Raising a regal eyebrow, somehow changing
Restating the meaning leaning it toward the crotch
Watching the listener's face, sensing the disgrace;
Granting himself the luxury of the infrequent howl
His majesty could keen like an un-oiled machine
Setting his victim's nerves and gooseflesh to snap
Giving his udderless chest a slap, he would go on
Make more of the jest, leave his victim no rest
And the mourners to offer their apologies.
Words such as that are not for ladies
Such as this infamous old queen.

The old spirit held on after the body was near gone
Propelling it nightly to appear on the scene.
Mean children would taunt him, just as he taught them
And waving their arms like cornstalks, cackle like hens
And tease him again, then resume cruising the men
Hurting the once regal spirit more with their disdain
Than beating him, or cheating him; ignoring him,
They dealt him a blow he never could abide
That fear he kept inside, all those years, the tears,
Still left un-cried, after he died, in his room somewhere.
He has left to be shared, the way he fluffed his hair,
The off-color joke, spoken in a strange lady's voice
Something like a boy's, not like a man's;
That flutter of the hands and the stance
Still copied today, by the splinter-group gays
That straight people think we all are
Is all that remains of a star once seen;
The seldom lamented, well-imitated, eternal queen.

— The End —