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Break Time
by Michael R. Burch

for those who lost loved ones on 9-11

Intrude upon my grief; sit; take a spot
of milk to cloud the blackness that you feel;
add artificial sweeteners to conceal
the bitter aftertaste of loss. You’ll heal
if I do not. The coffee’s hot. You speak:
of bundt cakes, polls, the price of eggs. You glance
twice at your watch, cough, look at me askance.
The TV drones oeuvres of high romance
in syncopated lip-synch. Should I feel
the underbelly of Love’s warm Ideal,
its fuzzy-wuzzy tummy, and not reel
toward some dark conclusion? Disappear
to pale, dissolving atoms. Were you here?
I brush you off: like saccharine, like a tear.

Keywords/Tags: 911, victims, survivors, grief, loss, heal, healing, tear, tears, coffee, break, time, milk, artificial, sweeteners
Laughter’s Cry
by Michael R. Burch

(dedicated to the victims and survivors of the coronavirus)

Because life is a mystery, we laugh
and do not know the half.

Because death is a mystery, we cry
when one is gone, our numbering thrown awry.

Keywords/Tags: coronavirus, victims, survivors, life, death, laughter, cry, mystery, numbers, numbering, tears, crying, weeping, compassion, sympathy, empathy, recovery
Mending
by Michael R. Burch

I am besieged with kindnesses;
sometimes I laugh,
delighted for a moment,
then resume
the more seemly occupation of my craft.

I do not taste the candies;
the perfume
of roses is uplifted
in a draft
that vanishes into the ceiling’s fans

that spin like old propellers
till the room
is full of ghostly bits of yarn ...
My task
is not to knit,

but not to end too soon.

This is a poem for the survivors of 9–11 whose families lost loved ones in the terrorist attacks. Keywords: 911, survivors, victims, first, responders, passengers, firemen, police, heroes, terrorist, attacks, World Trade Center, Flight 93, Pentagon, White House
Pfennig Postcard, Wrong Address
by Michael R. Burch

(for the victims and survivors of the Holocaust)

We saw their pictures:
tortured out of our imaginations
like golems.

We could not believe
in their frail extremities
or their gaunt faces,

pallid as our disbelief.
They are not
with us now ...

We have:
huddled them
into the backroomsofconscience,

consigned them
to the ovensofsilence,

buried them in the mass graves
of circumstancesbeyondourcontrol.

We have
so little left
of them

now
to remind us ...

It was my honor to work with survivors of the Holocaust as we translated their poems and prose accounts into English as a way of preserving them and making them available to larger audiences. Unfortunately, time waits for no one and the Holocaust survivors I worked with are no longer with us. But their words and testimonies remain, if we will only take the time to read and consider them. Keywords/Tags: Holocaust, victims, survivors, mass graves, pictures, images, tortured, frail, gaunt, skeletal, emaciated, thin, malnourished, golemic, horror, terror, inhumanity, madness, racism, antisemitism, slave labor, slavery, death camps, concentration camps, gas chambers, ethnic cleansing, genocide, memory, remembrance, memorial, tribute
Osiria Melody Nov 2019
Midnight footsteps of trepidation
Seizes the attention of a salacious man

Heart screams in adrenaline
I quicken my pace in convulsion

He wrenches me by my clothes,
Making me plummet to the ground

Asphyxiation overcomes me
I do not remember anything

I wake to bright lights of hospital's death
I could not believe that I am still breathing

You do not believe me?
Sure, I get it

Was it my fault that I was walking alone?
Sure, I get it

Was it my fault that I got violated?
Sure, I get it

I believe that the world deserves to know the truth

I am human
He was not


Melody
11/15/19
Personally, I have experienced ****** harassment in my lifetime. I put myself through the perspective of ****** assault victims who feel like they are ignored for telling the truth–that they were harmed, that they were ridiculed, that they were blamed for their ordeals. I'm aware that the perpetrators aren't only men and that victims aren't only women.
Mandi Wolfe Nov 2019
I’ve heard it said that love
is friendship caught fire
And while I have often
warmed by bones amid your glow
You have never burned me

Even as coals from our tiny campfire
flung sparks into the air
that would disappear
before touching the ground
or our too near tent
You never burned me

No, I think instead
Love is friendship
which has produced fire

Words matter

Catching fire lends itself
to images of burning buildings
of holes in walls
and little boys falling asleep
cradled in a parents warm embrace
but waking up alone
abandoned
scared.

scary
catching fires are scary.

Produced fires are intentional
they are tended and protected
secured against the elements
boundaries placed around
to enjoy the benefits of the product
while limiting the potential harms inherent to
fire
love

The fire produced by our friendship
has warmed our children
has given them light to learn by
and best
a beacon home

Precious needs met
after years in the nuclear winter
that came after the flash and burn
of friendships CAUGHT fire

Victims of traumatic house fires though
rarely go on to become pyromaniacs
Hearts -both big and small
stamped forever with a warning label:
“This item may cause fire which can result in personal injury and even death”  

Caution is a virtue
Just Ty Oct 2019
Is it just me or maybe it’s that I am just a different breed
For there isn’t anything I wouldn’t do when it comes to my seed
I would walk the distance just to be able to put food on the table
I go by many different names but bad father isn’t one of those labels
I don’t understand how parents are ok with just getting by
Because I would do anything for my kids to touch the sky
Maybe I’m wrong and maybe they are doing all that they can
But perception is reality so you have to understand,
Where I am coming from for Im not trying to be the bad guy
I am just asking the questions that we all want to know; why?
Why is it that you have enough money for your drugs
While your children’s stomach is the only thing they’ll hug
These children are walking around with holes in their shoes
All while every Friday night your cabinets are stocked with *****
Isn’t it annoying to see all these dead beat
dads
But dead beat mothers isn’t a conversation to be had
Doing more than what we are doing for our children is my only wish
Because they are the victims here for they didn’t ask for any of this
Elizabeth Zenk May 2019
when the hands of a chosen,
gentle lover
are not the first you have felt.
you flinch at the signs of intimacy.

because we are animals
with broken bones
mended with welded thoughts
and who cower at the idea of fracture.

because we are flowers
with plucked petals
striking with jagged thorns
and whose blossoms are choked by thistles.

because we are butterflies
with shredded wings
hesitantly fluttering with fear
and who are bodied by the terrible wind.

and alas
we wander
we grow
and we fly.
we may be broken, plucked, and shredded,
but we live on.
Anne J May 2019
Time prickles its victims
Death spikes out families and
Life gives no retries
Another poem for my final project for art journaling class
zee Mar 2019
Blood spilled
Tears streamed
But no matter how much you beg on your knees
That’s what war can be

The child cried as his mother’s body lied
With the building burning to ashes
Ashes to the ground, as you hear the child plea
But alas that’s what war can be

The man strangled out cries
As his dying breaths suffocated
Underneath the collapsed building, trying to flee
But alas that’s what war can be

Remember the father who starved himself so his children could eat?
Who had been stripped from his luxury?
His happiness, his love? Who wanted to be free?
Is that what war can be?

What about the brother?
Who lost his leg, saving his sister from a shooter?
What about the sister?
Who died so that her brother could survive his gun inflicted blister?

What about the children?
Who think the parents went to the store?
Only to have the parents in a Ranger’s view
Lying on the ground, blood seeping through

What about the men and women?
Lined up, not knowing their final words
Tears prickling, not being able to see
Is that what you want your people to see?

But that’s all fine
Get the victims in a line
For it’s all for honor
For it’s all for power

What do you think
Goes through the people’s heads?
Oh how great is our country,
For being torn to shreds?

Or oh it’s fine your son died,
Even if you had cried
All this bloodshed is just insignificant clatter
to such an elite matter

What about the bloodshed?
The dead families?
The orphans?
The starvation?
The pain, the agony?
The tears?
The lost homes?
The children living in fear?
The bonds broken?
Is it all worth ego?
While you bet the lives like a gambling casino?

Imagine suffocating slowly and painfully, still having so much to do
Imagine watching your mother die, right after she attended the stew
Imagine holding your child, trying hard to erase all doubt
Imagine living a life, where nothing goes right and about
Imagine seeing your school friends cry
While blood trickles from your thigh

So go on with your slaughter
But remember the mother
Every eye you made shed salty water

The sister
The brother
The father
The farmer
The doctor
The peasant
The teacher
The student

So hold your ****** weapons up high
But remember
That once blood is on the hands
it never fades or becomes dry
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