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Juliana Apr 4
Oh, how a little ripple in the ocean
can create the biggest of tides.

I was never one for the water.
I was doing just fine on land.
But you,
you made me
an oceanographer.

You showed me to the fish,
and one by one,
I wanted to collect them all.
One by one,
I became addicted.

It was nuclear.
Like an atomic bomb,
you changed my world.
For the better. For the worst.

My exoskeleton was shattered,
and I was left to pick up the pieces.
I’m still here,
putting myself back together like a puzzle,
covered in grains of sand,
finding myself among the coral.

I’m hidden. I’m broken.
But you gave me my glue.
You fill up my seams.
You’ve taught me wrong from right,
you’ve left me more questions
then I could even think to answer.

I’m now a politician,
having to choose
which lies I believe,
which lies I want to believe.
What do I want to be the truth.

Because of you,
I’ve fallen into a world
I can’t get out of,
I’ve been thrown into
a wormhole I never thought possible,
like a dung beetle
I’ve had to scrape through ****
to see the other side,
and I’ve had to flush
my former self down the toilet.

But maybe I was never her.
Maybe I have always been me.
Maybe this is who
I’ve always meant to be.
Maybe I haven’t
even been found yet.

But I thank you,
I thank you so much
because now I’m on that journey.

I am on a ship
that is going to sail me
away to my future.
My neverland.

I, thanks to you,
will find neverland.
I’m so glad I lost the boy.
Man Feb 6
far off
the jets are being gassed up
preping for launch

far off
the infantry train
in anticipation, for the battle sure to come

far off
the navy men scan the seas
waiting for a blip on the radar

far off
a marine is receiving shock training
and practicing what it is to be dead

far off
icbms with nuclear payloads are capped
their ignition sources itching for flight

far off
but not so much
Tumblin’ Bi-latterial bumbkins
Smirk of untrustworthy salutations
Tribes with terabytes of tirades
Engaged in bipartisan relay races
Delay until faces grimace

They really forced our hands on this one

The fat men falling from heights
False winters
And radiation reproduction
Healing blemishes of backwater beasts
Who’ve grown oh so much since
And now silence for ***** sake

Foreign plants and fibers
No more human hands
to tear and manufacture
For cheap and foreign brands,
Granted,
She won’t care we’re gone,
She’s always been
Will be
Back to a blue blip
Little blue dot
On a mat black background
Grant no sound to the camera
Watching while zooming
Slipping and tumbling
Lonely but still working
Sending pitiful postcards
Of galactic grasses
To a dead receptor
Whose data’s been full for eons
Further and  

Each day
Carlo C Gomez Aug 2020
St. George, Utah, 1953
Look out your window
What do you see?

***** Harry
And winds that mean no harm

Nice big mushroom cloud
Gonna dust your farm

ee-I-ee-I-o
During the early 1950s, St. George, Utah received a majority of the fallout that occurred at the Yucca Flats northwest of Las Vegas during the nuclear testing period of weapons development. The winds routinely carried the radiation to this area, resulting in a significant increase of cancer in the general population.
Chris Saitta Aug 2020
Maybe the darkest things are the truest things,
Death, the redoubtable lover of all, the atom bomb
Burns beneath cherry blossoms of closed eyelids,
A magnolia grove of forever fasting lips of the dead,
Pompeii and Hiroshima, twin lovers of rupture,
Graves of the wind now, keepers of nothing and all.
Tony Tweedy Jul 2020
Far across the water sits a little Chinese man,
who has his own ideas of life's most desired plan.

On the other side of the ocean is yet another guy,
whose plan doesn't agree with a Chinese minds eye.

Petty is their game but they just don't see it so,
and so they push each other in a destructive to and fro'.

Two school boys being bullies is the policy that they choose,
Both belligerent and stubborn, both determined not to lose.

Surely they must see that the other guy wont ever give in.
Preferring total destruction over allowing the other guy to "win".

They cant see that neither side will ever accept to give,
Both intent to destroy it all than allow us all to live.

All can see it coming but no one dares make a sound,
until the mark of mankind's passing is just craters in the ground.
Xi Jinping... Donald Trump... for **** sake... grown up. The world is reliant on you guys being sane and sensible. You must know there is only one place the road you are currently following leads. Losing for everyone isn't the right course. Reach out a hand and change the future.
Michael R Burch May 2020
Hiroshima Poems

Let Us Be Midwives!
by Hiroshima survivor Sadako Kurihara
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Midnight . . .
the basement of a shattered building . . .
atomic bomb survivors sniveling in the darkness . . .
not a single candle between them . . .
the odor of blood . . .
the stench of death . . .
the sickly-sweet smell of decaying humanity . . .
the groans . . .
the moans . . .
Out of all that, suddenly, miraculously, a voice:
"The baby's coming!"
In the hellish basement, unexpectedly,
a young mother has gone into labor.
In the dark, lacking a single match, what to do?
Scrambling to her side,
forgetting themselves . . .

It appears that my translation above has been used by Hiroshima University in a new field of study called International Peace and Coexistence. I found my translation on the university’s Peace and Coexistence Facebook page. Being a longtime peace activist, I am particularly happy with the name of the course!



Now the remaining Hiroshima survivors are aging, and they must wonder what the world has learned from their harrowing ordeal:

See: whose surviving sons
visit the ancestral graves
white-bearded, with trembling canes?
―Matsuo Basho, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



We should always consider the fates of innocent children:

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.
―Michael R. Burch, "Epitaph for a Child of Hiroshima"



The intense heat and light of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bomb blasts left behind ghostly silhouettes of human beings whose lives were erased in an instant:

Hiroshima Shadows
by Michael R. Burch

Hiroshima shadows ... mother and child ...
Oh, when will our hearts ever be beguiled
to end mindless war ... to seek peace,
            reconciled
to our common mortality?



Poets remind us that we all share a common destiny:

Grasses wilt:
the braking locomotive
grinds to a halt
―Yamaguchi Seishi, loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch



Something
by Michael R. Burch

Something inescapable is lost―
lost like a pale vapor curling up into shafts of moonlight,
vanishing in a gust of wind toward an expanse of stars
immeasurable and void.

Something uncapturable is gone―
gone with the spent leaves and illuminations of autumn,
scattered into a haze with the faint rustle of parched grass
and remembrance.

Something unforgettable is past―
blown from a glimmer into nothingness, or less,
and finality has swept into a corner where it lies
in dust and cobwebs and silence.



Frail Envelope of Flesh
by Michael R. Burch

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 ...



Lucifer, to the Enola Gay
by Michael R. Burch

Go then, and give them my meaning
so that their teeming
streets
become my city.

Bring back a pretty
flower,
a chrysanthemum,
perhaps, to bloom
if but an hour,
within a certain room
of mine
where
the sun does not rise or fall,
and the moon,
although it is content to shine,
helps nothing at all.

There,
if I hear the wistful call
of their voices
regretting choices
made
or perhaps not made
in time,
I can look back upon it and recall,
in all its pale forms sublime,
still
Death will never be holy again.



The day the Cloud reigned
by Michael R. Burch

The sky was clear on Hiroshima,
sealing her fate.
The report of the weather plane,
neither early nor late,
was certainly plain.

The few innocuous clouds did not refrain
from abandoning the city.
Only the silence, monstrous in its complicity,
regarding man’s error
acknowledged the horror.

Only the small, astonished victims
understood the immaculate heavens:
the inconceivable light
igniting their bones;
the Cloud, all of a sudden,
billowing unbidden,
and then the apocalyptic rain
descending again and again.

So that where white chrysanthemums
had once whispered with bemused tongues
instantly only ashen ruins remained
the day the Cloud reigned.



War Close Up
by Hiroshima survivor Kurihara Sadako
loose translation/interpretation by Michael R. Burch

Stirring bugles! Rousing martial music!
The announcer reporting "victory"
like some messenger from on high,
fanning, fanning the fervored flames of battle!

Masterful state magicians materializing
in a wizardly procession,
spreading cleverly poisoned words
to bewilder reason!
Artistic expression abracadabra-ed into state-sponsored magic!

The sound of boots, guns, bombs, cannons
as our army advances, advances, advances toward the enemy!
The thunder of our invincible tanks advancing! Alleluia!
The sudden, sweet gurgles of drowning enemy ships!

The radio broadcasts the sounds of battle:
A war hymn resounding to the skies,
sung by courageous men and women
who worship this cruel idol, War.

Oh, so powerful the merest whiff
addles even the most independent spirit―
the ***** of patriotism!
the religion of race!

While on scenic islands
scattered like stepping stones across the globe,
and on farflung continents,
driven by boundless avarice,
the landlords rage and rave again,
instilling hatred in indigenous populations
then prodding, driving them into battle.
Full of high-sounding pretexts
inevitably adapted to expediency
they raise indisputable banners―
God is on our side!
Righteous war!
Holy war!

"Right" becomes the password of thieves.
They square their shoulders:
"To secure world peace
annihilate
the evil opponent!"

They bark commands:
"For ten years, a hundred years,
fight to the last man, the last woman!"
The master magicians' martial music
resounds magisterially;
fanatic bull-mad patriots
roar and run amok;
completely bewitched, the people carol in unison:
"O, let me die by the side of my sweet Sovereign!"

Keywords/Tags: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, atomic bomb, Japan, Japanese, translation, nukes, nuclear weapons, nuclear war, epitaph, child, children, mother, mothers, father, fathers, WWII, apocalypse, Armageddon
Michael R Burch Apr 2020
Nuclear Winter: Solo Restart
by Michael R. Burch

Out of the ashes
a flower emerges
and trembling bright sunshine
bathes its scorched stem,
but how will this flower
endure for an hour
the rigors of winter
eternal and grim
without men?

Keywords/Tags: nuclear, winter, radiation, ashes, life, reemerges, without, men, Armageddon, Apocalypse, extinction, event
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