Three Poems by Michael R. Burch

Painting: Marylin Nelson

By Michael R. Burch


is the ability
to disagree
but always agreeably.


Apni Marzi Se

by Nida Fazli
translated by Mandakini Bhattacherya and Michael R. Burch

Apni Marzi se kahan apne safar ke hum hain,
Rukh hawaaon ka jidhar ka hai udhar ke hum hain.
Waqt ke saath mitti ka safar sadiyon se,
Kisko maaloom kahan ke hain kidhar ke hum hain.

This journey was not of my making;
As the winds blow, I’m blown along…
Time and dust are my ancient companions;
Who knows where I’m bound or belong?


Excerpts from “Travels with Einstein”

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.

Mandakini Bhattacherya is a multi-lingual poet, literary critic and translator. Her poems have been published by journals like Better Than Starbucks, The Dotism Journal, The HyperTexts, Poetry Nation, Hayati, Sahityanama, Different Truths and LangLit.

Michael R. Burch has over 5,000 publications, including poems that have gone viral. His poems have been translated into fourteen languages and set to music by seven composers. He also edits The HyperTexts.


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Read the latest issue of Cafe Dissensus Magazine, “Poetics and politics of the ‘everyday’: Engaging with India’s northeast”, edited by Bhumika R, IIT Jammu and Suranjana Choudhury, NEHU, India.

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