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First they came for the Muslims

First they came for the Muslims 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 Hitler in the early going, but ended up in a Nazi 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, feminists, apathy, sisters, brothers, Islam, Islamic, God, religion, faith, intolerance, race, racism, racist, discrimination, feminist, feminists, feminism, sexuality, gay, homosexual, homosexuals, LGBT, USA, truth 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 might 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? 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 ... 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?” 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. 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 tied up 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.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2019

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