Poetry: Michael R. Burch

Michael R. Burch
Michael R. Burch’s poems, translations, essays, articles and letters have appeared in TIME, USA Today, BBC Radio 3, Amnesty International’s Words That Burn, Writer’s Digest–The Year’s Best Writing and hundreds of literary journals. His poems have been translated into eleven languages and set to music by the composers Mark Buller, Alexander Comitas and Seth Wright. He also edits www.thehypertexts.com and serves as the international poetry editor for Better Than Starbucks.


Palestine
by Mahmoud Darwish
translation by Michael R. Burch

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
April's blushing advances,
the aroma of bread warming at dawn,
a woman haranguing men,
the poetry of Aeschylus,
love's trembling beginnings,
a boulder covered with moss,
mothers who dance to the flute's sighs,
and the invaders' fear of memories.

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
September's rustling end,
a woman leaving forty behind, still full of grace, still blossoming,
an hour of sunlight in prison,
clouds taking the shapes of unusual creatures,
the people's applause for those who smile at their erasure,
and the tyrant's fear of songs.

This land gives us
all that makes life worthwhile:
Lady Earth, mother of all beginnings and endings!
In the past she was called Palestine
and tomorrow she will still be called Palestine.
My Lady, because you are my Lady, I deserve life!

Advice to Young Poets
by Nicanor Parra Sandoval
translation by Michael R. Burch

Youngsters,
write however you will
in your preferred style.
Too much blood flowed under the bridge
for me to believe
there’s just one acceptable path.
In poetry everything’s permitted.

brrExit
by michael r. burch

what would u give
to simply not exist—
for a painless exit?
he asked himself, uncertain.

then from behind
the hospital room curtain
a patient screamed—
"my life!"

thanksgiving prayer of the parasites
by michael r. burch

GODD is great;
GODD is good;
let us thank HIM
for our food.

by HIS hand
we all are fed;
give us now
our daily dead.

amen

(p.s.,
most gracious
& salacious
HEAVENLY LORD,
we thank YOU in advance for
meals galore
of loverly gore:
of precious
delicious
sumptuous
scrumptious
human flesh!)


Unwhole
by Michael R. Burch

What is it that we strive to remember, to regain,
as memory deserts us,
leaving us destitute of even ourselves,
of all but pain?

How can something so essential be forgotten,
if we are more than our bodies?

How can a soul
become so unwhole?


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