21st Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue

Our twenty-first annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) issue.

Alan Halford
Alan Walowitz
Alex Chornyj
Ananya Guha
Annette Friend
Bret van den Brink
Brian Wood
Carrie Radna
Charlie Brice
Daniel S. Irwin
Daphne Milne
David Supper
David Susswein
Deborah Gerrish
Dietra Reid
Dixie Elder
Graham Fulton
I.B. Rad
J. Barrett Wolf
Judith R. Robinson
Ken Allan Dronsfield
Kimberly Bolton
Lark Burns de Beltran
Laurinda Lind
Linda M. Crate
Lucio Muñoz
Maik Strosahl
Marsha Markman
Michael H. Brownstein

Michael R. Burch
Michael Virga
Milton Ehrlich
Ralph Jobe
Richard Widerkehr
Stacey Zisook Robinson
Stanley H. Barkan
Stefanie Bennett
Steven F. Klepetar
Susan Beth Furst
Susan Olsburgh
Sy Roth
Tina Hacker
Vince O’Connor

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Alan Halford
alanjhalford@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Alan Halford was born and lives in Dublin, Ireland. His poems have appeared in Lakeview International Journal of Literature and Arts (2013/2015) The Blue Max Review (Rebel Poetry) Ireland …fathers and what must be said… (Rebel Poetry) Ireland The Galway Review Ireland Madswirl.com (USA) The Blue Nib (2017) "The Memory Bone" was his first collection of work. (published 2017)

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Alan Halford and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Little Tamara

1943.
God was on holiday the day she arrived,
Away from the smoke and the Polish blue skies.
Clacketty-clack from tracks down below
Black dirty faces struggling to show.

Little Tamara held on tight, wished for the bed,
Promised tonight. Mother wept, by dad on the floor,
Who had been asleep a few days or more.
 
Nose to the wood, trees beyond cracks,
Tears for a drink, tummy all flat.
Feeling a fear she had long wished away,
Wanting to find an end to this day.

Doors swung open, no friendly hand,
“Schnell, schnell” from an angry young man.
Little Tamara rubbed sun from her eyes,
And wondered why shoes stacked up to the skies.

Line upon line, now all in a rush,
Clings to her mother, straining to clutch.
In shadowy light, waiting to shower,
Hoping beyond fields would have flowers.
 
Fear treads lonely while young men rejoiced,
In reciting of psalms to old men’s delight.
One stood to the front and called out to the Lord,
That on this day they should not be ignored.
 
God was on holiday the day she arrived,
Away from the smoke and the Polish blue skies.
Away from the wire and hole in the ground,
And little Tamara left tossing around.

                            *
1990.
Beautiful Bayla runs from the car,
Warned by her mother not to go far.
Grandpa Samuel, last to be saved,
Struggles to kneel and prays by the grave.

Jagged stones point the way to her home,
Ash for a blanket and never alone.
Grief darkens the ground Tamara lays in
Where corn poppies grow blood red in late Spring

Tears flow through fingers that pass by a cry
Never to rest as his tears never dry.
Away from the smoke and Polish blue sky,
God left Treblinka alone to the flies.


Alan Walowitz
ajwal328@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Alan Walowitz, who lives in Great Neck, NY, has had poems nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2017 and 2018, and is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, is available from Osedax Press, and his full-length book,The Story of the Milkman and other poems, will appear any day now from Truth Serum Press. (www.alanwalowitz.com)

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Alan Walowitz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Greeners

The Greeners lived on the top of the four-floor walkup,
where we once lived when we were new,
a time before memory in those of us lucky to come after–
Oh, blessed memories of those too young to have to remember!
Of climbing to the roof to see the fireworks
in the far distance of the shore;
of car rides in the country while huddling close
beneath blankets in the rumble-seat;
the hours lost in traffic at the Hawthorne Circle,
and, then, ungodly meals at the Red Apple Rest.
 
There’ll be none of that for the Greeners.
Though rumor has it some were well-to-do
or to be reckoned with,
in a time before what happened,
that we cannot remember, or speak, or even bear to hear,
as they sit now in their apartment, apart.
Won’t come out for decorating the tree in the lobby,
won’t come out to see the kids’ parade on Hallowe’en,
won’t answer the door when the Cantor
comes to offer seats for the holidays.
We only see them on the way to the grocer,
and some days at the luncheonette for cigarettes,
and once a week to the butcher for fresh chicken,
always with those long faces, long sleeves
even in summer.  Why don’t they say hello, Ma,
when we say hello?
Ma, why don’t they ever smile? 


Alex Chornyj
Alex.Chornyj@ontario.ca

Bio (auto)

Alex Chornyj has been published as a poet in books, magazines ,journals and on the internet. He has done spoken word on xm radio stations and on blog talk radio with poetry super highway. He has been writing for forty years and is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada. His origins are from a spiritual cerebral nature.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Alex Chornyj and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Scars Of A Generation

We were under siege
From a wave of intolerance
So searched for safe haven
Due to our cultural ethnicity.
Seen by those as the weaker race
Protected by no conventions
Left to fend for ourselves
By ones who’d put us asunder.
The days of war
The trials that ensued
The heartache and tears
Lives lost in searing dungeons.
A hunted people
From an unfounded hatred
With the intention
Of complete annihilation.
Instincts unknown
Until facing this enemy
We as a nationality
A tormented friction.
Lines of persecutions
Rivers of boiled blood
Buried as corpses
In holes of forgotten memories.
Pockets of resistance
Keeping to a silence
Unless uncovered
Due to some betrayal.
Hoping beyond hope
This was all a bad nightmare
Waking to the reality
The impossibility,
Of an enduring invisibility
Like pages in a book
Crumpled before their time
Lessons learned lasting longer than life.
The fear of being caught
The finality this inferred
Thrown into these concentration camps
Whose windows were without panes.
The scars of a generation
The remnants and residues
Linger and languishing to this day
Reminders of a history not to repeat.


Ananya Guha
nnyguha48@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Ananya S Guha has been writing poetry extensively for the last thirty five years. He lives in Shillong in North East India.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Ananya Guha and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Years have gone

Years have gone
I am smitten by a word
Holocaust this terrible 
Death disease which lurks 
In corners of a beguiled past 
Deathly
Anonymous weapons
Bite the dust wipe the tears

Years have gone 
I am wounded in numbers 
And sounds all too familiar 

Familiar faces sights sounds
And the all familiar blood 

Through strain of centuries 
A holocaust is myth making 
Defining death.


Annette Friend
afjazzy@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

Annette Friend has lived in Del Mar, California for the past 32 years. She is a retired Occupational Therapist and Teacher. Annette has had poetry published in "Tidepools", "Summation 2017/2018" and "San Diego Poetry Annual 2018-19".

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Annette Friend and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

After the Holocaust

Mother,
you dressed me in many layers
always too warm
for the careless seasons
we lived in America,
fearful we would be rounded up,
forced to abandon all,
relying only on the clothes
carried on our bent backs.

The heavy jewels of your love
hidden in my neatly stitched hems
weighed me down.
How could I run?

You kept me fed and quiet
wrapped in rich food,
padding to build me up
for when they came for us,
but the plenty of America
only me obese,
difficult for quick escapes,
while we stooped
impatiently waiting
for Their imminent arrival.

Your shorn fingers
tousled my thick, chopped, blond curls,
admired my cornflower eyes
that mirrored yours.
I could blend in when needed.

Those fear-filled, love-filled eyes
languished on me
from our windows and doorway
when I would leave for school.
Would you ever see me return?

Before bed,
we would pray
the Shema together,
a barely heard whispering
of supplication and anger,
a prayer that felt like an
anvil-thrown threat to me,
this Jewish covenant
to a God who was not hearing
Jewish prayers.
Neither would we let Him hear ours

Or maybe an enemy’s ear
was closely listening at our door,
waiting for the Hebrew to fall
like tears from our tongues.

Quiet, so quiet.
If you are silent and good
maybe Their shadows
will pass over us on the brisk, cold wind,
and we will be salvaged
from the smoking wreckage.


Bret van den Brink
bvandenbrink@unitychristian.ca

Bio (auto)

Bret van den Brink lives in Chilliwack, British Columbia. Next year he will begin pursuing his B.A. in English at Trinity Western University.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Bret van den Brink and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Phantoms of Springtime

We are all Persephone. 
We were wrenched from the world beneath the sun, 
and living, were brought to Hell. 
There we were embraced by Erebus and raped by Hades.
Our inner-springs were made grey by the outer-darkness. 
We were torn from the care of Demeter,
whose ululations and tears of loss soaked the wide world cold.
The gods above ignored those tears and were stained by them. 
Meanwhile, below, we were made into phantoms—
forced to shuffle about, in terror of the Furies’ cries. 
Then, Charon, who silently observed our torments in our time in bondage, 
turned. In rebellion, he raised his eyes to us, and led a small number of us to his ferry.
For the only time, he bore passengers to the wrong shore of the Styx. 
He was whipped on his return, but he was not abandoned: 
Elysium rose to swallow Hades whole. 
But still, the Styx flooded and the ferry was lost. 
Bathed in light, above and below,
we found the season that we had lost, 
the season that the world had lost, 
and though wounded, the blossoms within us came to flower—
strength grew, as did recognition. 
We are the survivors of the desire of Hell. 


Brian Wood
brianjwood@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Brian Wood lives in Guelph, Ontario, and is a literary agent by day and poet, of sorts, by night. He has published two short books of poetry, both with Sakura Publishing. Winter Walk came out in 2013 and Weekend Getaway at Generic Hotel came out in 2017.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Brian Wood and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Son Of Simon

I do not say my name because
Now it means traitor, thief.  But I
Was no worse than the rest. Cephas:
Well named: a stone of the heart with
A mind of stone. Or there’s James, son
Of thunder, not a compliment,
Trust me. Or John, “whom Jesus loved,”
But only in his own “gospel.”
The others? They fished, or made tents,
Anything that was easy.
 
Typical of him to pick us,
When at his bidding he could have
Had the cream of any crop, so
Many believed in him, briefly.
Old, young, rich, poor, they came in their
Thousands to hear things we’ll never
Hear again. For hours, he would tell
Us that in this life there is no
Time for hate, rage, the urge to judge:
Love forgives infinitely.
 
A few of us laughed, and he saw,
And he laughed at us too. It was
His best feature—he really did
Not care what you thought. Who else is
So free? Most of us hide our real
Thoughts even from ourselves. He knew
(I think) some would never get it,
Or even listen. He was screamed
At and spat on for the crime of….
Healing the sick.  
 
If you mattered in Judaea,
You knew me, and we had made deals,
And my price was fair and stayed fair.
To spare him months (if not ten years)
In some foul jail, and then his head
Chopped off to make Caiaphas happy,
I said, arrest him at night, keep
This quiet. By now you know my
Name. And yes I shouldn’t have done
It and no he didn’t deserve this. 
 
With all his gifts (I loved him), he
Never understood that people
Would believe, but could not, their souls
Cloudy, more in love with the dark
Than they knew. And that the Jews
Weren’t searching for a messiah
To save them from sin, but to free
Them from Rome, and others who would
Come one day, and welcome Israel
To her new tabernacles, all
Over Poland and Germany.


Carrie Radna
ambikamag@msn.com

Bio (auto)

Carrie Magness Radna is a NYPL cataloger, singer and poet born in Oklahoma. Previous publications: The Oracular Tree, Tuck Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review and The Poetic Bond VIII. Her chapbooks, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press) and Remembering you as I go walking (Boxwood Star Press) are and will be published in 2019. She lives with her husband Rudolf in Manhattan.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Carrie Radna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Remembrance Day

We should never forget
when we were the unwilling pawns of madmen
 
who ushered out death sentences
due to cults of personality,
who robbed good people blind for their own profits,
who tried to destroy historical objects and actual stories in order to get ahead,
who trapped those who were perceived as rats and pigs,
but were doves and gentle dogs trying to find their way home,
wandering in endless fields,
hidden in overgrown trees,
sailing in boats with no home port to escape to—
 
All the deaths, ongoing for many years,
the wasted hidden potentials snuffed out before their time,
possible cures and inventions to help humanity,
never realized,
families shattered, stripped, eschewed, abandoned, changed forever—-
 
My husband’s family, 
half of its elder, original members that carried the torch for hundreds of years,
is now dust, thanks to war.
 
Genocide is still happening,
we haven’t learned the lesson:
NO MORE
NO MORE
 
The slaughter continues;
will we ever learn to stop the senseless killing?
We must at least try to remember this,
 
no more killing, 
please good people,
no more


Charlie Brice
charlie.brice@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Charlie Brice lives in Pittsburgh and is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand(2018), and An Accident of Blood(2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, Poetry Super Highway, SLAB, The Paterson Literary Review, Muddy River Poetry Review and elsewhere.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Charlie Brice and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tree of Life

Boruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam…
 
I can say those words, wear a yamaka, light candles, hold up bitter herbs and shank bones.
 
I can thank Jonas Salk, Albert Einstein, and my father-in-law, Benjamin Alexander,
…………….who discovered the seventh clotting factor of the blood.
 
I can listen to the sonorous blessings of Gustav Mahler, Leonard Bernstein, Isaac Stern,
…………….Jascha Heifetz, and Vladimir Horowitz.
 
I can fantasize that Artur Rubenstein was my gray-haired grandfather whose renditions
…………….of Chopin’s nocturns kept my rheumatic heart throbbing.
 
I can cherish Spinoza’s ethical precision, his pantheistic muse, and praise the grace and 
…………….mutuality of Buber’s I-Thou.
 
I will admire the writings of Phillip Roth, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud,
…………….Isaac Bashevis Singer, and revel in the Buddha brilliance of Allen Ginsberg.
 
I will forever stand in awe of the 203 Jewish Nobel laureates—22.5% of the 902 awarded.
 
I will never know what it’s like to lose several generations to hate,
 
never endure suspicions of my motives as I try to better myself,
 
never face pogroms, or exclusion from golf clubs or law firms,
 
never have forebears forbidden to own businesses or farms, forced into money lending,
…………….then derided as usurers,
 
never worry that my loved-ones will be slaughtered because of the blood in their veins.
 
I can drive by Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh as I have for forty years
and still honor the name of that holy place.
 
I can offer this poem.
 
I can bow my head.


Daniel S. Irwin
niwrid@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Daniel Scott Irwin, artist, actor, writer making his home in Sparta, Illinois. A native of Southern Illinois and graduate of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. World traveler. He has had work published in over one hundred magazines and jourals worldwide. Some of his books have been highly praised and some of the same books have even been burned…such is life.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Daniel Irwin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Her Loving Memory

She had an eternal fear of dogs and 
Raised voices made her nervous.
As affluent as we had become,
She never wasted food.
She liked to run her fingers 
Through her granddaughter’s long blond hair.
Just like her hair in the photo of her as a young girl.
A wedding photograph,
Bride and groom, lots of people,
The small girl, my grandmother.
She died a few years ago.
The photograph was her prize possession.
She knew everyone in it.
She would point them out,
Tell us their names and things about them.
Mostly relatives. a few close friends.
All long gone.
Somehow, she survived.  They didn’t.
But she kept them alive 
As long as she could
In her loving memory.


Daphne Milne
dvoncornwall@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Daphne’s first poem was published in a school magazine at the age of ten. Since then she has had work in many grown up magazines and anthologies both in print and on line. Her pamphlet The Blue Boob Club is published by Indigo Dreams Press. She lives in Fremantle, Western Australia

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Daphne Milne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Crossing Continents

All she could carry – one small suitcase
No toys, no book, no teddy bear.

Letters were sent, a ticket bought
all the way to England.

Easy to disappear on a train
easy to be overlooked

her safety lay in silence.
A long journey many days and nights

tagging on to one family or another
always separate, always afraid.

St. Pancras station, the final change
among the steam and foreign voices.

Then dismal Sheffield with the unknown Aunt
a small boy cousin whose words were strange.


David Supper
davidmsupper@aol.com

Bio (auto)

David Supper is an artist and a poet. He lives in Nottingham, England and has had several poems published over the last 10 years. David’s art can be seen on his website: www.withspaceinmind.com

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by David Supper and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Still they are killing Children

When babies leave their mother’s arms
and start to make their way,
shadows hover over them,
hatred looms and none are safe,
their only crime, qol hakavod,
is being born a Jew.

The horror of the holocaust
when babes in arms, toddlers
and infants all were gassed,
or shot and tumbled into lime-filled pits,
seems now to fade in people’s minds,
yet still the hatred multiplies…

It seems so easy to hate all Jews:
for what? for why? for killing Jesus?
A scapegoat for the world at large,
held up to ridicule, a race apart,
now they seem an easy target
for bigots, fanatics and right-wing facists.

The Muslims led the way,
a concentrated propaganda push,
to brand all Jews as Zionists,
to corrupt that name of dreams
of those who desired to live in peace,
in a land where their ancient prophets roamed.

Now they kill the children in their beds,
slice their tender bodies with sharp knives,
or shoot them on their way to school,
target four and five year olds
as they run screaming to avoid
the murderous inhuman executioner.

To face an implacable enemy
whose avowed aim is to utterly destroy
every vestige of the Jews, is hard to bear;
we can only try to be as strong as them,
be resolute, stand together in the face
of a thousand, more, Islamic Jihadists.

I find it hard to understand
the hatred we Jews engender.
Come, come let’s face the facts,
deeply embedded in your psyche
whether Christian, Muslim or atheist,
is this irrational inexplicable fear,
dislike of Jews that, when triggered,
quickly turns to hate, and when egged on
by those with murder in their hearts,
twists the rational thinking man,
turns him to anti-semitic thoughts,
and then the killing soon begins.

If we go down, then we go down fighting,
it is not us but they who murder children,
hunt them down deliberately,
but we will never tamely go again,
be rounded up in all our misery
and sent to slaughter with our children.


David Susswein
dwsusswein@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

This person is a no-one from the descendants of survivors. This person may live in Eastbourne, in England at the bottom of the sea, and may have been published quite widely but in context that seems irrelevant. 

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by David Susswein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Sometimes Your Strength Fades
Into Nothing But Whimpers.

My patrilineal grandparents escaped from Germany in the early thirties
…leaving behind most of their wealth, to rebuild anew.
My father was born in London
worked himself to an early death and never talked about his memories,
 the things that his parents had told him.
 
If I asked, as a child – and I did – he would clam up.
He never spoke about it to me, as a child,
but sometimes his eyes would mist over.
 
what we have left are dried out photos
some so vague and faded we can’t even really see them
of grandparents and great-cousins and buildings, homes
 
all burnt out and destroyed now.
 
an old friend of our family, two years ago, went back to Austria
sat on a bench in ingstrasse, that he had known well as a boy,
the old label ‘banning the juden from sitting here’ was far removed.
 
he sat down. on that bench. eat an ice-cream.
chocolate and vanilla were the flavours.
he enjoyed taking his fucking fucking time.


Deborah Gerrish
shakabeee@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Deborah Gerrish is the author of Light in Light, The Language of Paisley, andchapbook, The Language of Rain. Her poems appear in many anthologies and journals. She holds an EDD from Rutger’s University and received an MFA from Drew University. She teaches poetry workshops at Fairleigh Dickinson University, organizes readings for Visiting Poets, and has been interviewed on radio stations throughout the country. She and her husband reside in Murray Hill, NJ.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Deborah Gerrish and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Witness

………..Listening to a witness makes you a witness.
…………….…………….…………….…………….–Elie Wiesel
 
American soldiers trodding snow-covered 
cobblestone streets of St Vith.  It’s Christmas. 
Voices of German villagers swirling inside 
 
lit gingerbread houses singing, “O Tannebaum,
O Tannebaum.” That was one of his GI’s names. 
 
Changed it to Tanner after tossing his 
“H marked for Hebrew” dog tags. 
 
The Battle of the Bulge, 1944.
Surrendered. Never surrendered
 
their hearts. He was the master
sergeant. Surrendered his 200 men.
 
The reason I tell you this  
is because it’s true. 
 
Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds, 
hero of heroes. 
 
Edmonds, Righteous Among Nations, 
though he wasn’t even a Jew.  Beyond
the barracks deep inside the Third Reich 
 
his POWs stood outside the Stalag IXA camp.   
………….The Nazi captain cocked his gun at Edmond’s 
……skull—in thick accent skrieked, ”We want all 
the names of Jews in your division”.  
 
And the reason I tell you  
is because this is true. 
 
Sweat poured from the sergeant’s brow 
……melting into cinders of soot on 
his cheeks. Shuffling his feet in the gravel, 
 
he waited. Replied,  “We are all Jews here.”


Dietra Reid
reiddietra@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

The writer Dietra Reid lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Dietra Reid and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A shared memory

Descriptive words jumped off the pages of
……..detailed accounts of the Holocaust.
How could it be, one human denying,
……..imprisioning, beating, and gassing 
……..another simply because of prejudice?
But those were the extremely sad facts.
…….And the hatread of all those not invested
……..in that horrible journey meant tourtue
……..as well.
Maybe a different color or shape of identity,
……..But the location of living was the same,
……..concentration camp.
Anyone not willing to salute the attrocities
……..that we’re going on, hiding a fleeing soul,
……..and/or aiding one would themselves 
……..become a prisoner, regardless of their
      race.
Surviving themselves, or being children
……..of them makes them perhaps 
……..descendants of a shared memory,
……..not forgotten  but hopefully never,
……..never repeated!


Dixie Elder
dixelder@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Dixie J-Elder lived all over America and on the borders of Mexico and Canada, due to her father’s job as a cartographer. She has also traveled extensively outside the United States, studying wildlife and archaeological sites in Kenya, Iceland, Scotland, Ireland and Germany. Some of her poems have appeared in literary journals like Inklings and also in the true crime anthology Off the Cuffs. She lives with her husband and two formerly feral cats in Colorado.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Dixie Elder and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

On the Bus

On the 323 bus heading downtown,
a group of young people sat,
laughing, comparing pain from
the tattooist’s needles.
“Can you see this dragon has
a pearl hangin’ from his ear?”
“Naw, still too red, tipo.
Too much blood seepin’ out.”
“Mine’s so better, look!”
and she pulled up her shirt
in front to show a blazing
yellow sunrise over mountains.
The stooped over lady who
always rides this bus same time
as these Mexican American kids & me,
wearing her same beige cardian, using
the same worn mahogany cane,
thick glasses, knit hat pulled low,
coughed once, then said:
“I can beat all of those.”
Everyone turned to look.
She almost never spoke.
She pulled her sweater sleeve back,
rolling it up to her elbow. “It’s worn
but still there.  So is the pain.”
A7634. In feathering light blue.
No one spoke for a full four minutes.
Then words in Spanish and English
tumbling out of all of us, “Ma’m, you got us
all beat. Props, yes. Respect.”


Graham Fulton
hfulton32@btinternet.com

Bio (auto)

Graham Fulton is a poet from Paisley in Scotland. He has been a poet for over 30 years and has had 16 book collections and over 15 pamphlet collections published. His work has been translated into several languages including French, Spanish and Romanian. His first non-poetry book The Paisley Civil War, about the town of Paisley’s connections with the American Civil War, was published in 2018.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Graham Fulton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Forest

Treblinka, Poland

a clearing in 
the fairy tale trees

a creation of 
black blocks

fixed to the ground

representations of 
railway sleepers

the location of the spur
which terminated 
at the scene
of extermination

a platform
of welcome

the deepest hole 
where humanity 
has crawled

*

a theological monument
a congregation of stones
inscribed with names 
of homes

long destroyed

a sharp circle
of pain

no place
for poetry

to keep us sane

*

to keep them calm
as they ran to their deaths

a malevolent deception
with its false station building
false clock and timetables
false red cross
where the Jews would
be whipped along to have 
their clothes 
removed

recycled objects

children’s heads
smashed for a laugh
women 
would have their hair stolen
to make socks for U-boat crews
would have to wait
and listen to husbands
fathers        sons 
being gassed
before it was 
their turn

*

evil men
directing

who died in their beds
decades from here

content
fulfilled

spirits returned
to the heavenly mix

*

the need for poetry

the bodies standing or kneeling when
the chamber doors were opened
some still living
carted
buried
burnt on a pyre

the end
of poetry


I.B. Rad
IBRadeck@aol.com

Bio (auto)

I.B. Rad is a New York City poet. He’s been published in a variety of journals including cc&d, Tuck Magazine, A Little Poetry, Poetry Super Highway, Lucid Moose, protest poems.org, International Zeitschrift, Word Slaw, etc., much of it being available on the internet. His most recent  book, “Dancing at the Abyss” was published by Scars Publications.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by I.B. Rad and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Judy Chicago’s Diptych
Banality of Evil/Then and Now

The “Then”
 
The “Then” starts with a photolinen panel
showing a European cottage
in a sylvan setting.
The Nazi flag swings beside a window
as a small acrylic boy proudly thrusts his dad
a Heil Hitler salute
(four toy soldiers and a drum
 at his feet);
meanwhile, still in SS uniform,
jacket slung over his left shoulder,
newly arrived dad,
strokes the pet dog
while smiling at mom,
who, hugging a chubby baby,
beams at hubby,
as their diminutive daughter,
standing pigeon toed,
demurely waters the garden.
Innocuously painted in the background
so as not to disturb this idyllic scene,
a smokestack oozes
a horizontal plume of gray.
Nothing to bother about,
no need to fear,
no apparent pollution here,
just some more Gypsies and Jews
going up in smoke.
 
 
The “Now” (circa 1989, artworks completion date)
 
Underlying the “Now” scene,
another photolinen panel
shows two suburban homes
set against the backdrop
of an imposing New Mexican foothill.
Two acrylic boys toss their Frisbee.
while a small girl, holding her dolly,
sits on the lawn.
Sporting apron and chef’s hat,
physicist, part-time outdoor cook, dad,
barbecues hamburger patties
while beaming mom,
lounges comfortably in a lawn chair,
drink in hand.
Standing beside her, their pet dog
looks longingly at the hamburgers,
a large bone between her forelegs.
All the while,
exposed by a cutaway,
the commanding foothill/backdrop
silos a nuclear armory
[“out of sight, out of mind.”]
Just one more lazy day in the sun
enjoying a good barbecue
with nothing to be concerned about
except, perhaps, too much exposure.


J. Barrett Wolf
jbarrettwolf@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

J. Barrett Wolf has been writing for over forty years and boy are his hands tired. He has received numerous awards, including First Place from the Performance Poets Association of Nassau County and a grant from the Broome County Arts Council to produce “Here & There: Poets from Near and Far”, He was also commissioned to write the tenth anniversary poem for the Broome County Public Library. He’s been published in Black Bear Review, Portland Review of the Arts, Long Island Sounds, Rubber Side Down, PPA Literary Review, Writing Outside the Lines, and Passing. He spent a year on the Connecticut Touring Poetry Roster. His first volume, “Stark Raving Calm,” was published by Boone’s Dock Press. He travels to Scotland annually to write and drink with British poets for the Arran Island Poetry Adventure. He lives in Binghamton, NY, where he hosts a monthly open mike at The Bundy Museum, as well as being the voice of “A Time For Words,” one-hour poetry interview show. On WBDY-FM 99.5 in Binghamton.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by J. Barrett Wolf and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Park at Babi Yar

It is the look of this dirt,
the earth sounding gravely
beneath black boots
and low-heel shoes.
It is the kneeling of older trees,
over the abyss,
Sycamore and Oak,
sagging skin of bark and burl,
the evidence of majesty and time
spent watching.

It is the infernal, impotent
keening of the river –
scraping its cries against
shallows and shore.
This Earth, these trees, this river,
a road within sight of the town,
within earshot of the ravine.

Spring will never warm this place,
though green will arise
from winter’s ash and bone,
new shoots leaning timidly
their roots sumptuously fed,
reaching toward a cold sun.
Here, the dead are not echoes,
they can be heard
dragging their feet on the moist ground.
Forging endless bitterness
from the polished brass shells
at the Kiev Arsenal,
Where they made war on their own
as if the useless god they shouldered
could never be forgiven
for wishing all such gods extinguished.

Then, a recollection:
When I have bled,
leaked deep redness on the ground,
done such suffering as most have endured,
I know that all the blood I will ever make,
every breath I will likely draw,
cannot recall this cynical Eden
of disintegrated souls to life.

Unlike them, I would choose cremation,
burning away all this –
Weightless shards,
the precipice, the weapon’s thunder,
and the falling, a less elegant fate
than scheduled transport to
the gates of ‘work makes free’.

Graves do not ask religion or nationality.
Gypsies, prisoners, gays, Jews,
existence in every quarter, erased.
Lineage vanished unto the end of time.

Look now…
Many grains of earth and sand.
The land upholstered with
benches, walkways, trees.
How beautiful the green and gold,
the path to the waiting glen
that begs the tidiness of forgetting.
So orderly under a cloudless sky.
But here, even for a moment,
in this open field,
it is precarious to think
we are out of the woods.


Judith R. Robinson
alongtheserivers@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Judith R. Robinson* is a visual artist, editor, teacher, fiction writer and poet. A 1980 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she is listed in the Directory of American Poets and Writers. She has published 75+ poems, five poetry collections, one fiction collection; one novel; edited or co-edited eleven poetry collections, nominated for Pushcart Prize, 2018, Blue Unicorn. Teacher: Osher at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. Her newest collection, “Carousel,” was published in January, 2017, Lummox Press. Visit Judith on the web at www.judithrrobinson.com

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Judith R. Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Jewish Eyes

burst like stars
stare back into the ghetto night  
smoke and flame rage to blot them
but the iridescent eyes
gaze on the piles of shattered limbs
the thick red grief
and promise to remember


Ken Allan Dronsfield
kadfield@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran, prize winning poet and fabulist from New Hampshire, now residing on the plains of Oklahoma. His work can be found in The Burningword Journal, WestWard Quarterly, The Blue Mountain Review, Literary Orphans, Harbinger Asylum, EMBOSS Magazine and more.  A  proud member of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire, he has three poetry collections; “The Cellaring“, 80 poems of light horror, paranormal, weird and wonderful work. His second book, “A Taint of Pity“, contains 52 Life Poems Written with a Cracked Inflection. Ken’s third poetry collection, “Zephyr’s Whisper“, 64 Poems and Parables of a Seasonal Pretense, and includes his poem, “With Charcoal Black, Version III”, selected as the First Prize Winner in Realistic Poetry Internationals 2018 Nature Poem Contest.  He’s been nominated three times for the Pushcart Prize and six times for the Best of the Net, 2016-2018. Ken loves writing, hiking, thunderstorms, and spending time with his cats Willa and Yumpy. 

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Ken Allan Dronsfield and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Exegesis

Adrift in an exhale of
a black-capped chickadee.
Chilled beyond reason
shadows of spring creeping.
Consequences pale in
a shimmering twilight palette.
Displaying a presence;
within a covert soulful calm.
Blisters upon the heart
by a moon’s burning desire.
Skip into a mountain meadow
with a lasting frail contentment.
Laughing at the line to
the strength of "ties that bind".
A desperation’s dance during
our run through the uprising.
Awaken a dismal decaying
of a carceral winter’s grasp.
Waiting for a springtime kiss;
at a gate in the Warsaw ghetto.


Kimberly Bolton
boltonk@mrrl.org

Bio (auto)

Kimberly Bolton has written well over three hundred poems in the  ten years she has been writing  poetry. She is the author of the book Folk and is currently at work on another collection of poetry. She continues to write in the “old-fashioned” style of putting pen to paper before typing on the computer Kimberly lives in Jefferson City, Missouri.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Kimberly Bolton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tattoo

I do not understand you, enkelin,
With your tattoos, piercings, and the rest of it.
You say it is your way to be non-conformist,
Your way to identify your own generation.
 
Enkelin, you are my link to the past.
You share my name as I share my own grandmother’s name.
So we have a connection to one another.
 
Let me show you, liebling, another link to the past.
You see this tattoo?
This number inked into my arm?
This, too, once identified my generation.
 
Now you say you want this very number tattooed
On your own arm?
Why would you want that?
The number is not a fashion statement.
 
We did not volunteer for this tattoo.
It was forced upon us,
The way many things were forced upon us in those days.
The number made us into non-persons.         
 
The moment the needle stabbed into my arm,
I became something less than human to others.
I was branded and driven into the dark abyss of Auschwitz,
Dispossessed of my humanity with this number.
I became something not myself.
 
The tattoo was a coded system of hate.
The tattoo enslaved us.
The tattoo meant we were life unworthy of life.
The tattoo meant death.
 
This number is a burden I have carried within my soul
Since I was the age you are now, liebling.
This number will go with me to my grave.
I was not given a choice.
 
You say you wish to honor me by having this number
Tattooed on your arm.
Enkelin, if you wish to honor me, do so by not placing
This burden upon yourself.
One generation thus marked is one generation too many.
 
Live your life as it is meant to be lived.
Do this for me and the millions who died only as a number,
And that shall be honor enough.


Lark Burns de Beltran
larkbeltran@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Lark Beltran, originally from California, has lived in Lima, Peru for many years as an ESL teacher.  Lark´s poems have appeared in many online and offline journals.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Lark Burns de Beltran and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Pile of Shoes in Holocaust Museum

They talk their walk silently –
those relics of relegation
infinitely sadder than heaped bones,

trekking the muck of anguish
as Earth became Hell
and the night closed in.

A leather fellowship,
they talk that walk so eloquent
of what remains unsolved.


Laurinda Lind
writers@ridgeviewtel.us

Bio (auto)

Laurinda Lind lives in the hamlet of Redwood in New York’s North Country. Some publications/ acceptances are in Blue Earth Review, Comstock Review, New American Writing, Paterson Literary Review, and Radius; also anthologies Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan (New Rivers Press) and AFTERMATH: Explorations of Loss and Grief (Radix Media). In 2018, she won first place in both the Keats-Shelley Prize for adult poetry and the New York State Fair poetry competition.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Laurinda Lind and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Suffering from Three Directions

–Sigmund Freud in
Civilization and its Discontents

They burned your books
and that was bad, but then
your sisters died in the camps,
 
four out of five, how did
anyone survive, how they
must have filled your head,
 
Pauli, Dolfi, Rosa, Mitzi,
and this may have stopped
your mouth considering
your more than thirty
surgeries that tried to get
 
at your grief, considering
you wrote the book
on suppression, who
could blame you
 
borne home on morphine,
since there was no hope
and no one could have
expected more of you. So
sleep now, you’ve said
 
your say, you saw what
you could see for Adolfine,
Rosa, Pauline, and Marie.
 
Then you stepped
down the hole. Before you
went, you warned us all.


Linda M. Crate
veritaserumvial@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. She currently resides in Meadville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. She has six published chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January 2018), More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019), and one micro-chapbook Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018). She is also the author of the novel Phoenix Tears (Czykmate Books, June 2018). 

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Linda M. Crate and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

wild and terrified 

i can only imagine
how terrifying
it must have been
to wake up
never knowing peace
always fearing
today might be the day
your family is found,
and having to put your
dreams and life 
on hold
praying that you were not 
found;
because being caught
only meant uncertainty and the
probability of death and separation
from one’s family—
i remember reading elie wiesel’s
night
in college,
and i cried at the part where
he fought with his father over a piece 
of bread;
i cannot imagine what it was like
to have humanity stripped away 
where one had to live like a starving 
animal
wild and terrified of the possibility
of death.


Lucio Muñoz
caringlucio@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Lucio Munoz is an indpendent writer who lives in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Visit him on the web at poems.truesustainability.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Lucio Muñoz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Always beautiful

Roses,
Any colour and shape,  
Cut for the right reason or not,
Look wonderful in a glass base,
Even after they are dried
Because their souls
Are simply eternal,
Always beautiful,
Always with us,
Let’s never forget that!


Maik Strosahl
micetro68@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael E. Strosahl is originally from Moline, Illinois. He has written poetry since youth, but became very active when he join the Indiana poetry community. He has participated in groups and readings around that state and at one time servers as president of the Poetry Society of Indiana. He has been published in many forums, most recently in Indiana Voice Journal, Bards Against Hunger and The Tipton Poetry Journal. Recently, he has moved to Jefferson City, Missouri. 

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Maik Strosahl and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Aktion 1005

In their minds,
It was brilliant:
Let those dying mine from the dead,
Unearthing the decomposed witnesses
To burn again for their sins,
Ashes to a blackened sky,
Scattering their voices,
Dashing their words—
The condemnation for crimes
Against the children of Abraham—
Smoke billowing
A second death
Until the embers went cold,
Their bones were ground to powder,
Their dust was interred back to the earth
Where they could tell their story
No more.

And yet,
We hear them still speaking on the wind,
We listen with horror to their stories,
We see the evil that took them from us and
We know.


Marsha Markman
marshamarkman@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Marsha Markman, Professor Emerita of English at California Lutheran University is co-editor of The American Journey (Volumes 1 and 2) Writing Women’s Lives, which includes her, “Breast Cancer Diary” and several poems in, If We Dance . . . A Collection of Poems. She edited and wrote the introduction to Piri Bodnar’s Holocaust memoir, Out of the Shadows. Among other writings is, “Teaching the Holocaust Through  Literature,” in New Perspectives on the Holocaust. She and her husband live in Woodland Hills, California.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Marsha Markman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Bystanders

They watched
as Jews were 
robbed of their 
homes
their freedom
their lives
from the land of Beethoven
to the corners of that ancient continent
where names became numbers
forced into labor    
into ghettos    
into crematoriums.
Shameful are those 
who watch and
watch.


Michael H. Brownstein
mhbrownstein@ymail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael H. Brownstein’s latest poetry volume, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else: A Poet’s Journey To The Borderlands Of Dementia, was recently published by Cholla Needles Press (2018).

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Michael H. Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Tree Grows in Auschwitz

When he told us he was going to plant a tree
in this place of little hope and dark despair,
we laughed–and laughter felt good–and then we watched
as his tree took root and thrived. Bit by bit
we began to help him even as the evil in this place
broke the seedlings tender trunk in two, not once but twice.
No matter, he told us calmly and smiled. Some of us
began to wander from prayer back into darkness, 
but many of us remained strong–the tree a symbol of resolve,
fortitude, spiritual strength–and it began to pollard and coppice, 
long strings of life growing from its second break.
Soon it spread itself outwards, gained stature, prosper,
and we–especially those who wandered from prayer–came back, 
openly ignoring the evil surrounding us, watering it with our saliva, 
fertilizing it with our excrement and blood.
Soon it began to take shape, twelve sturdy branches,
twelve tribes, twelve prayers daily to bless the strength of our tree, 
and we kept every Sabbath in the security of our community, 
celebrated every holiday, every holy day, grew strong
like the tree, healthy somehow, whole and capable, 
fully prepared when the Americans arrived late one afternoon.


Michael R. Burch (translated by)
mikerburch@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael R. Burch is an editor, publisher and translator of Holocaust poetry. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife Beth and son Jeremy.

The following translation is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Michael Burch and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Postcard 4 by Miklós Radnóti
(Translation by Michael R. Burch)

I toppled beside him—his body already taut,
tight as a string just before it snaps,
shot in the back of the head.
"This is how you’ll end too; just lie quietly here,"
I whispered to myself, patience blossoming from dread.
"Der springt noch auf," the voice above me jeered;
I could only dimly hear
through the congealing blood slowly sealing my ear.


Translator’s notes: “Der springt noch auf” means something like “That one is still twitching.” This was the final poem written by Miklós Radnóti on October 31, 1944 near Szentkirályszabadja, Hungary. He was executed on a death march and the poem was found by his wife in his overcoat pocket. He had been buried in a mass grave.


Michael Virga
mavbuon@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael Virga, son-song of Virginia Ruth, writes from their heartland, Birmingham AL..  He received his B.A. in English from Birmingham-Southern College, about 35 years after his father graduated from their shared alma mater.  Michael has contributed to many of the previous Yom HaShoah / Holocaust Remembrance Day(HRI) issues.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Michael Virga and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

kristall vision

in the morning after
the night of broken glass

the stained shards
like petals strewn & plastered

by a sudden severe thunderstorm
under the carpenter-sun

the rose window
in full bloom


Milton Ehrlich
biffman2002@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 87 year old psychologist and a veteran of the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin Review, Taj Mahal Literary journal, Antigonish Review, Ottowa Arts Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor, and the New York Times.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Milton Ehrlich and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Man With the Yellow Star

After his books were burned,
a truncheon blow to his head
made a red sea of blood flow 
out of his ears, nose and mouth 
when he didn’t get off the sidewalk 
and onto the road fast enough.
 
New rules for Jews—
flowers were forbidden
as well as sweets, cigarettes,
vegetables, fruit and milk.
All could be confiscated
by aspiring storm troopers.
 
To live was against the law.
 
Only the Christian King of Denmark
volunteered to wear the yellow star.


Ralph Jobe
ralph_jobe@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

My name is Ralph Jobe. I am from Taos, MO (not to be confused with Taos, NM). I have been married for 44 years and have two grown children and two grandchildren. Currently on the cusp of retirement and have been dabbling in poetry for the past several years. Besides my grandchildren, poetry, reading biographies and following my beloved St. Louis Cardinals are my favorite pastimes.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Ralph Jobe and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Christian’s View of the Holocaust

I can never fathom for a moment
This monumental event
The darkest of dark periods
In the modern age
Or in any era of mankind
The pain and suffering
The grief and despair
Immutable sounds of hissing gas
Whose lives were catapulted into
This hell on earth
For them there was no saving grace
The grim reaper was their dark angel
And those who survived
Subsisted and persisted
By their sheer will to live on
For another day
And yet another
Until the fate of history
Caught up with their tormentors
Justice and redemption
Awaited those who lived
To tell their story
And to start a new life
Dedicated to the memory
Of family and friends
That formed the foundation
Of who they were
And who they became.
From generation to generation
The portals of their lives
Are a tribute to what they endured


Richard Widerkehr
fordwid@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Widerkehr has two books of poems, In The Presence Of Absence (MoonPath Press) and The Way Home (Plain View Press), along with three chapbooks and a novel.  He earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan.  He won first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference.  Recent work has appeared in Poetry Super Highway, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, Blueline, Chiron Review, Crab Creek Review, Arts & Letters, Atlanta Review, Natural Bridge, Raven Chronicles, and others.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Cracow

For years I didn’t say much 
about being Jewish.   Our father 
changed his name from Abraham 
to Andy, didn’t have children
till Hitler was dead. When I sing 
a few Hebrew songs at my music camp, 
the other Jew in the room says almost 
tenderly, No one does this.  It’s been 
hidden
.  Yes, misspelled 
like smoke from certain kilns,
mass graves near Vilnius.    
If I tell someone and they say, 
Oh, you don’t look Jewish….  
Or half-jokingly:  I didn’t know 
they let any Jews into Bellingham….  
Or:  You know, I’m tired of hearing 
about the Holocaust….
  I can’t 
misspell our streets like damp cigars
in someone else’s teeth, can’t hold
my poems as if they weren’t
these porous shields.   Yes,
dear reader, let’s discuss
sun on mica, a certain vacant lot 
near Sheepshead Bay, where a gang 
of four strips a boy, sits him 
down in an armchair, burrs 
sticking to the boy’s wrists, 
so their sickle eyes get to revise 
the kid a little, see if he’s American, 
or if he’s been circumcised.  In Cracow, 
once, there were wells with no eyelids, 
lakes like Gretel’s oven, where almost 
no one muttered, My error will abide 
with me and spend the night.


Stacey Zisook Robinson
stacey.z.robinson@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Stacey Zisook Robinson is a poet and essayist who lives in Chicago. She works as a Poet/Scholar-in-Residence, creating workshops to explore the connection between poetry, prayer and text. She blogs at staceyzrobinson.blogspot.com, and is a regular contributor to kveller.com, the Reform Judaism blog and Ritual Well. Her book, Dancing in the Palm of God’s Hand, was published in 2015, and her newest, a book of poetry, A Remembrance of Blue, was released in November 2017.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Stacey Zisook Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Shadow People

We walked in the shadow time,
in the sun’s reflected light.
The sun is like God in the desert –
we cannot look upon its face and live,
not while we walk, not while we flee,
not while we search for home.

We are the shadow people.

Mama carries my brother on her back;
I carry water. We both carry life.
Water is like God in the desert,
hidden and precious
and a trickster illusionist,
a mirage that shimmers.
Still, it makes the desert bloom.

I am thirsty, but I do not drink.

My stomach is tight, unfilled,
but I am used to gnawing hunger.
Food is like God in the desert,
a gift to be gathered,
just enough and no more. 
Too much will spoil.
Too much might kill you.

We have learned to live with hunger.

We have reached the gates
in the almost light of dawn,
but these are alien.
leading to an alien, unknown alien world.
Mama sets my brother down.
I see her shadowed face
and her careworn-smudged eyes.
She is like God in the desert.
Abandoned. Exiled.
Deserted, with 
forgiveness on her tongue.

Forgiveness is a balm in the wilderness.

I imagine our footsteps are
a trail of sand and tears,
leading us to gates
of hard iron delicately filigreed.
They should lead us home but do not.
Gates are like God in the desert,
welcoming strangers.
Opening. Closing.
Guarding secrets.

I am a stranger wherever we go.

We walk on cracked earth,
forward on swollen feet
to the gate that sparks like heaven
illuminated script resting like a crown
above the blackened bars.
This, the entrance to 
a strange new world.
Words are like God in the desert,
They create. They destroy.
They set the world on fire
And soothe a parched soul.

Mama, I say, what are these words?

Arbeit macht frei, she answers 
and the guards pull at me
to a different line,
a separate place,
crooning to mama – come,
A cooling shower awaits you.
I cry out, reaching for her arms,
reaching for home, 
but they empty as the wilderness 
that seems to swallow us,
and I cry again,
but the God of the desert
has already forgotten.


Stanley H. Barkan
cccpoetry@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Stanley H. Barkan is the editor/publisher of Cross-Cultural Communications, a small press, which started as in Institute at LIU’s Brooklyn Center in 1971.   To date, it has produced some 450 book titles, and 500 broadsides and postcards in 59 different languages. His own work has been translated into 28 different languages and published in 20 collections, several of them bilingual (Bulgarian, Chinese, Italian, Kurdish, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Sicilian, Spanish). His latest books include: As Still as a Broom / Tan quieto como una escoba, translated into Spanish by Isaac Coldemberg (2018); More Mishpocheh (2018); and Wiersze wybrane [Selected Poems], translated into Polish by Tomasz Marek Sobieraj.  He was the 1991 NYC’s Poetry Teacher of the Year (awarded by Poets House and the Board of Education) and the 1996 winner of “The Best of the Small Presses” (awarded by the Small Press Center). In 2006, he was invited, to be the first solo featured poet at the Dylan Thomas Centre in Swansea, Wales. In 2016, he was awarded “best poet” in China. In 2017, he was awarded the Homer European Medal of Poetry & Art.  Barkan lives with his artist wife Bebe in Merrick, NY.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Stanley H. Barkan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Used to Be An American

for Andres Gottlieb

I used to be an American.
America of FDR and Ebbets Field
when Roosevelt was a hero
and the Dodgers were in Brooklyn,
when the custard stand opened
on the corner and the hot dogs
at Nathan’s were a foot long.
I used to be an American
when my pals and I would play
stickball by the Great Gas Storage Tank
on Georgia Avenue in old East New York,
when we would take the long train ride
to Brighton and Coney Island and eat
cotton candy and see side shows
and dare the Steeplechase roller coaster.
I used to be an American
picking blueberries by the waters
of Swan Lake in the Catskills,
the Jewish Alps, where I would take
long walks on sunlit roads, catch
butterflies and beetles and collect
them, like so many stamps and coins.
I used to be an American
buying penny candy in the Candy Store,
drinking malted milks and reading
Superman and Captain Marvel
The Blue Beetle and The Green Hornet.
I used to be an American
listening to Amos ‘n’ Andy, The Shadow,
Tom Mix
, and Roosevelt’s fireside chats,
going to the movies for double features
and coming attractions and Looney Tunes
& Merry Melodies
(“Moodles,” I mispronounced).
Before, before the window protectors went up,
Before the streets turned too dark even at noon,
Before ships were turned back from the lamp no longer lit,
Before it was no longer safe to walk anywhere in Brooklyn,
Before rail lines to Auschwitz were not bombed,
Before I discovered that being a Jew mattered.
I used to be an American.


Stefanie Bennett
suneagle@bigpond.com

Bio (auto)

Stefanie Bennett has published 12 volumes of poetry, 2 chap books, a novel & a libretto – worked with Arts Action For Peace & is a member of Equality [Human Rights]. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussette-Shawnee] she is currently living in Sydney, Australia.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Stefanie Bennett and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tally

They stepped lightly about
The indelible divide,
Past the voiceless harp
And into the parlour of days
 
Where a drift of incense
Encircled the hat-rack
And the begonia,
Grim and proper
……..……..……….Dropped
Its truce.
 
None came out.
None stayed.


Steven F. Klepetar
sfklepetar@stcloudstate.edu

Bio (auto)

Steve Klepetar lives in Dalton, Massachusetts in the Berkshires. The son of Holocaust survivors, his work has been published widely and has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His collections include “My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto,” a chapbook published by Flutter Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Steven F. Klepetar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Two Angels

Two angels settle on the ground at Auschwitz.
It is 1944.
Black smoke boils and swirls in the air.
It soils their wings, their long, folded white wings.
Standing on the ground, shining through shrieks
of train wheels, beautiful and forlorn the angels sing a hymn of praise. They weep
and sing.
No one can see the white angels, no one can hear
their song.
Not shrunken prisoners, not kapos, not
current surging through fences.
Smoke hears nothing, ashes have no ears.
Already they are lost, fallen from the Hand.
Already they have fallen too far.
Already their voices braid like trim on a golden calf,
its lovely golden throat garlanded, deaf
already raised to sacrificial blade.


Susan Beth Furst
sfurst14@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Susan Beth Furst is a Touchstone Award-nominated poet and author. She writes Japanese short-form poetry and especially enjoys writing haibun. Her haibun, 57, appears in Old Song: The Red Moon Anthology of English-Language Haiku, 2017. Susan has published two haiku collections; souvenir shop: memories of the highland park zoo, and midwinter moon: a collection of Christmas haiku. Susan lives in Woodbridge, Virginia, but she left her heart in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised. You can find her @ www.beautifuldefect.com

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Susan Beth Furst and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Chosen

—51
she
counts
the
ones
who
die
in
barrack
thirty-three
every
morning
at
Stutthof.


Susan Olsburgh
olsburgh.susan@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Susan Olsburgh was born in the North East of England in 1947. Her parents were victims of Nazi Oppression and were glad to find a safe haven from Germany in the UK in 1938. Susan was educated at a convent school where she became Head Girl in 1964, the first Jewish girl to hold that post. Susan has a BA in Combined Studies English, History and Politics) and later studied for an MA in English and American Literature. She taught Literature and British Culture in colleges and universities in North East England. For the past eight years Susan and her husband have lived in Ramat Poleg, Netanya in Israel. She facilitates a monthly poetry appreciation group Poetry Please for AACI and currently is the national president of Voices Israel, an organization established in 1971 for poets writing in English in Israel.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Susan Olsburgh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Fabric

Interstoff was the Frankfurt
fabric fair, annual event
warp and weft of an industry,
an industry which gave an escape
from the horrors of the Nazi web.
Knitwear factory opportunity
in England’s North –
a new life opened
with vital security.
Knitwear became gloves,
fabric not leather,
textile ideas needed new designs.
Where best?
Frankfurt Interstoff-
how ironic to re-enter
the warped weft and web
of, albeit post-war, Germany.
I found it hard to grasp
how you managed
to deal, to trade, to buy
speaking your native tongue
in a place once home
bitterly yet thankfully fled from
but fabric was still needed
in post-war Europe.
Surely the fabric was charred, singed
frayed, split, torn, tattered
unravelled, spoilt
yet, despite all, life went  on –
Frankfurt  Interstoff.


Sy Roth
sydad@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Dr. Roth is the child of Holocaust survivors.  He wrote this poem for his parents whose “Land Stand” was a daily remembrance of things past, mostly the remembrances of the inhumanity of people. He lives in Mount Sinai, New York.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Sy Roth and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Last Stand

Do I couch this in nice-Nellyisms?
Play games with the words to hide the truths?
Or, speak from some depth of heart that questions
So, where shall I now go
When there is nowhere else to go? 

Let’s first fire the engines and go nice, perhaps
Maybe they don’t mean it
Don’t understand it
What it means to lose whole families
Without a trace
To imagine them alive and well and loving
To feels arms wrapped about necks in joyful existence.

Perhaps they only know fear
The caricatures created for them to celebrate their own mysteries
At the feet of the boogeymen
In a cabal that threatens the world
Their world so safe in their gods and their own mysteries
That pillage and push notions of them driven into the sea
These highwaymen who hijack freedoms and seek
The cleansing that threatens their dreams.

So, it’s not going to be nice from here on out,
Not nice at all,
Because we have witnessed the nightmares that they have awakened,
Seen their upraised arms that give salute to ancient, vicious dreams
Remembrances of things past covered in a golden-thin veneer,
Ormolu vestiges of Viking conquerors
Screams
Caterwauling, Valkyrie avengers
Full-breasted icons of superiority
And conquering hordes that lay waste to all that stretches before them.

Conquering them with words that divide,
That chill remembrances of those who made lives,
Lived lives buried in their words
Anonymous beings drawn from the ashes to be reviled once again.

So, where shall I go
When there are no places left to go?
When all that I was has been laid waste and they have left
Only the others to raise the specter of their superiority–
The only place left is the deep, dark waters
Carried by Charon across the waters
Atoms lost in the mix of the other atoms
That still linger since the dawn of man.

Or be the Masada battlers
Or the Alamo defenders
And the one last stand.


Tina Hacker
thacker1@kc.rr.com

Bio (auto)

Tina Hacker lives in Leawood, KS, with her husband Lynn Norton who is a sculptor and excellent editor. Tina’s full-length poetry book, Listening to Night Whistles, was published by Aldrich Press and her chapbook titled, Cutting It, was released by The Lives You Touch Publications. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she was Poet of the Week for the Poetry Super Highway in 2015.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Tina Hacker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Ex Libris

Captured inside a dream,
Grandfather screamed
a nightly refrain
that rattled like a snake’s warning.
“Coming for me. Coming for me. Coming for me.”
The melancholy triad imitated
the swaying intonations
of his daily davening
in a rural shul in Illinois.
A small building,
deliberately innocuous,
it offered sanctuary for immigrants
who escaped the swastika slithering
into hearts throughout Europe.
Many Jews
shared a desperate hope
that Hitler wouldn’t come.
Couldn’t come.
Here. Grandfather,
like his neighbors,
knew he had no place to hide.

He was right.
A rare book, stored
at the Führer’s idyllic retreat
in the Bavarian Alps, uncovers
plans for North America.
A travel guide for eliminating Jews,
binocular focus
on the United States.
My grandfather’s wails confirmed his booking.


Vince O’Connor
vdoconnor@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Vincent O’Connor plays with computers for a living, but writes for life. He lives in Ely, MN. Visit him on the web here: vinceoconnor.com

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Vince O’Connor and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

After Auschwitz

the dictum that
to write poetry after Auschwitz
is barbaric
does not mean
we can no longer write poetry
 
rather than a verdict intended
to silence poets
it is a call to reject the
bibble-babble that ignores
the complicity of a culture of
homogeneity that excludes otherness
 
poetry must do more than inform
if it is not to be barbaric
it must defy the brutalization
the powerlessness
and the distortion of normal human relations
 
it must confront
the dangerous simplicities of
jingoistic nationalism
that led to the outpouring
of vitriol
demonizing a people
as a horror of corruption and disease
to be eliminated
from the face of the earth
 
poets cannot be
Walter Gieseking
playing Debussy at Musikhalle Hamburg
while the nearby cries of people
on the way to Dachau
were ignored
 
poets must risk being understood
as enemies of the people
while shining a blazing light
on the political and cultural blindness
that ever paves the road
to Auschwitz
 
not by taking the voice
of the victims of atrocity
but by giving them voice
preserving their ownership
narrowing our differences with them
and fighting the darkness
that is always descending