Poetry / Poets / Writers

Poems by Brian Burmeister


He wrote, “Not on my watch,”
In the margins of a memo,
Then proceeded not to look.

We took his cue, did the same;
Our news pumped airwaves for months
With Anna Nicole

While slow-motions devils
Rode horses, the mechanized hate
Flying from their hands.

We pretended to complain.

I wrote letters, gave speeches,
Gave up. Turned
My tube back to Britney and Paris.

Sand and sorrow,
It seems,
Have nothing on blondes.

Camp Story

Ahmed arrived in the camp after Janjaweed
attacked his village with sticks, blades, guns.
Their assault came quick,
at night in his own home.

While they beat Ahmed,
his little daughter, son
got frightened, ran away.

The next morning God returned:
he found them on the road to town.

Even with them pressed to him,
he could not escape the past,
the present.

There would be no return,
no going back home,
only miles and miles of fear
and the thought that in Kass
there are forty bodies and no one to bury them.

Djedida, December Morning, 2005

Kneeling, praying, the village’s
Allaabu Akbars echo
in the halls of the small mosque.

Their reply comes in both doors,
East and West,
a flood of men dressed as soldiers

who say nothing but shoot.
The village’s confused stampede
attempts to break past them.

An old man dives
for one of the intruders legs,
knocking him back

and into more,
so that
his two sons might escape.

A bullet enters his eye
and exits
the back side of his throat.

But it works.

The old man’s children and more
race past while many
more find their escape

through small, tunneling metal.

Shouts of “The slaves have left!”
Follow footsteps,
Precede Heaven.


Brian Burmeister is Program Chair of English and Communication at Ashford University in Clinton, Iowa. He earned his MFA in Creative Writing and Environment from Iowa State University, where is was also President of Ames-ISU for Darfur. He co-wrote the play-turned-book, Farmscape: The Changing Rural Environment, published by Ice Cube Press.


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