22nd Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue


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

Alan Walowitz
Alex Chornyj

Alex Andy Phuong
Alyssa Ahle
Betsy Mars
Carol Dorf
Carrie Magness Radna
Dan Fitzgerald
Daniel S. Irwin
Daphne Milne
Dave Ludford
David Supper

Dennis Bernstein
Diana Rosen
Donald N. Krieger
Doris Fiszer
Fred McIlmoyle
Hanoch Guy
Howard Gerald Comen
Howie Good
I.B. Rad
Ivan Klein
Iris Levin
J de Salvo
Jan Chronister
Janice Alper
John Anthony Fingleton
John Guzlowski
Judith R. Robinson
Karren LaLonde Alenier
Katherine L. Gordon
Kathy Lundy Derengowski
Katrenia M. Busch
Leonard Kress
Linda M. Crate
Lucio Muñoz
Luna Maluna Gri
Maria DePaul
Marianne Szlyk
Marsha Markman
Michael H. Brownstein
Michael Salcman
Morris Dean
Pamela McMinn
Partha Sarkar
Richard Kalfus
Rifkah Goldberg
Robert Knox
Rosemarie Krausz
Sarah Prindle
Stacey Zisook Robinson
Stanley H. Barkan
Stefanie Bennett
Sujoy Bhattacharya
Susan Olsburgh
Susan Beth Furst
Susana H. Case
Sy Roth
Tina Hacker

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


Alan Walowitz
ajwal328@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Alan Walowitz, from Great Neck NY, is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook, Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press, and his full-length, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Alan Walowitz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Meditation on Survivors, 2020

Here, the place I call home,
adds four-thousand deaths to a too-long list–
on it a few I personally know,
some teachers, some old as me,
some Jews, maybe poets, mostly good folks
and the others, surely, meant the world no harm.
But here we are New York, New York
leading the league already,
and may we get to another spring,
with baseball and magnolias weeping.
So, what’s another one or two to swell the total
beyond any accounting?  Someone on TV–
maybe the president–called this a war,
someone else a holocaust–maybe a plot
to do us in? OK Boomer, some more
out-of-kilter comeuppance
to make us surer there is no God.
Still, the virus has its work to do if it wants
to rival Rwanda, or Cambodia, not to mention
the Shoah, six million or more,
even the Germans, good bureaucrats though they were,
couldn’t really keep count.
Here in the age of computers and distance-learning
we don’t know who’s been tested,
much less dead, or suffering.
Makes my blood boil and run cold, all the same,
when I learn what I should’ve figured:
some of the newly dead–Survivors–
left alone on Pesach or, if lucky, resigned to Zoom,
heating the meal left for them at their anonymous door,
in a microwave they sometimes remember
how to use.


Alex Chornyj
Alex.Chornyj@ontario.ca

Bio (auto)

Alex Chornyj is a poet from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada. He has been writing for the better part of forty years. He has been published in online publications such as Poetry Super Highway, in many books, magazines and journals. His writing has a celestial and transcendent influence being connected to his inner spirit and earth’s elements. In 2020 he has published two poetry books with Cyberwit called Vincelles and Little Angels. He has published a third book with Cyberwit which is a childrens’ adventure book called The Chosen One. The unique aspect about the childrens’ book is that every illustration comes from pictures he has taken in which spirits display their esoteric images. These three creations represent the culmination of his lifelong dreams and persistence. His books are available at amazon.com and amazon.ca.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Alex Chornyj and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shadow In A Line

The stains in the streets
The cries and the screams
From young to the old
Victims of anti-semitism.
To be caught in this vice
A sweeping net
Meant certain finality
An end to what we cherished.
That being family
The love between
The air that we breathed
The lives that we shared.
Snuffed out like a candle’s wick
A flicker burning brightly
Then came this siren
Warning of impending disaster.
As all the lights went out
One after another
From those who went into hiding
Or ones found unawares.
With no second chances
As once you were there
Behind the iron fences
You fell into despair.
Stripped of your dignity
Right to the bone
Losing face with humanity
With the name you were born.
Branded with a number
To be catalogued
Only seen as
A shadow in a line.
An image of your former self
An identity stolen
Bereft of all hope
From walls of blackened soot.
A time in history
When even war
Was devoid of honour
Salvation came by passing to the next existence.


Alex Andy Phuong
alexandyphuong@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University—Los Angeles in 2015.  He was a former Statement Magazine editor who currently resides in Alhambra, California, and writes passionately.  He has written film reviews for MovieBoozer, and has contributed to Mindfray.  His writing has appeared in The Bookends Review and The Society of Classical Poets.  He writes with the sincerest hope to inspire readers, and fully supports those who dare to pursue their dreams.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Alex Andy Phuong and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Friend Frank

A young life
Taken away
As a teen
I had struggled
Yet continue to endure
For my heart is pure
I express gratitude
Despite my ineptitude
And I write
To add beauty to the world
Before my own end
No need to fear death
Fear not being remembered after death
Thank you, Anne Frank


Alyssa Ahle
ahle101@mail.chapman.edu

Bio (auto)

Alyssa Ahle is an author and playwright from San Clemente, CA. Her work has been published in the anthology book series America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers: California; America’s Emerging Science Fiction Writers: Pacific Region; California’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction by Z Publishing House. Her work has also appeared in Germ Magazine and The Calliope Art & Literary Magazine. She co-produced her full-length stage play, Lost and Found, at the Chance Theater in November of 2017. As a writer, she aspires to draw attention to the beauty and humor of life. Visit her on the web here: https://alyssaahle.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Alyssa Ahle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

1942

I feel the wind
Through my skin
It rattles the bones
They let me keep

My arms are fragile
Breakable
Toothpicks

If you saw me
From far away
You might think
Me a skeleton
Escaped
From the grave
I did not

I am a Jew


Betsy Mars
marsfish@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Betsy Mars lives in Torrance, California where, before the current pandemic, she worked as a substitute teacher, exam proctor, and essay scorer while focusing on poetry. She is also a photographer and an occasional publisher. Her works have recently appeared in The New Verse News, Sheila-Na-Gig, The Ekphrastic Review, and The Blue Nib, among others.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Betsy Mars and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yom HaShoah While Touring Colleges
With My Son

A litany of names fills the air like smoke,
the fire place lit after a last springtime storm,
taking the remnants of the heat, a last gasp,
the end of the line – each name
chimes like a dirge, the ghost of a purge.

Two students with megaphones huddle over lists
outside the Student Union: call and response,
the pause between, each breath, a passing,
making history living.

A type of schooling, this marking: remembrance
of the dead, of atrocity – no room for denial,
undertaking not to bury but to raise
the spirits, solemnly, in long-awaited praise.


Carol Dorf
carol.dorf@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Carol Dorf has three chapbooks in print, “Given,” (Origami Poems,) “Some Years Ask,” (Moria Press) and “Theory Headed Dragon,” (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry also appears in “Unlikely Stories,” “Shofar,” “The Reform Jewish Quarterly,” “About Place,” “Great Weather For Media,” “Slipstream,” “The Mom Egg,” “Sin Fronteras,” “Scientific American,” and “Maintenant.” She is poetry editor of Talking Writing and lives in Berkeley, CA.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Carol Dorf and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Our Dictator

When the young ask “Why
did you let it go on so long?”
they have forgotten

an essential fact — he was
our dictator— small fingers,

and disconnected
speech rhythms of our crazy
uncles raging on.


Carrie Magness Radna
ambikamag@msn.com

Bio (auto)

Carrie Magness Radna is an audiovisual cataloger at New York Public Library, a choral singer and a poet who loves traveling. Her poems have previously appeared in The Oracular Tree, Mediterranean Poetry, Muddy River Poetry Review, Poetry Super Highway,  Shot Glass Journal, Walt’s CornerPolarity eMagazine, The Poetic Bond (VIII & IX) and First Literary Review-East. Her first chapbook, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press) was published in January 2020, and her second chapbook, Remembering you as I go walking (Boxwood Star Press) was published in August 2019. Her first poetry collection, Hurricanes never apologize (Luchador Press) was published in December 2019. Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she lives with her husband in Manhattan.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Carrie Magness Radna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author..

The sick ones

A month into international seclusion:
we may be still too soft—

compared to the Frank family in Amsterdam
and others hiding in cellars, attics & trees
during the Second World War

for months & years, in hiding
from tricksters & charlatans,
who wished to be pure,
without any sickness.

These Ayrans, they tricked a whole
“race” of people, their train stops
became death camps, with “showers”
poisoned with carbon monoxide

they tried to convince others
Jews were the sick ones—
They were the sick ones!

Those who believe they are better
& purer, & more worthy
to live, to breathe, to rule, to conquer
others who are not them,

no matter the time or place,
the nationality of victims,
their religion, their sex, their gender,
who they choose to love,
their looks, or disabilities—

Those who choose to hate are sick—
only by changing their mindset,
they will be cured while cursed,
even while in hiding.


Dan Fitzgerald
dfitz467@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Dan lives quietly in Pontiac, Illinois, tending to home and garden. His poems have been published in The Writer’s Journal, Poetry Super Highway, Nomad’s Choir and many others.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Dan Fitzgerald and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Photograph

I found an old photograph
in a suitcase at a thrift store.
A happy family picture, it seems,
with some writing on the back.
Someone told me the writing was German,
someone else thought it was Polish.
The date is marked clearly,
the year before the second war.
I wish I could read it,
then maybe I could find out
who they were.
I like the smiling faces.
I like the old clothes.
I am going to get it framed,
and hang it on this wall.
So many people come this way,
maybe somebody will recognize them.
I know it was taken long ago,
but it is such a nice picture.
Surely someone will remember.


Daniel S. Irwin
niwrid@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Daniel S. Irwin, artist, actor, writer, soldier, scholar, priest, lives in Sparta, Illinois, just east of St Louis, Missouri. He has been published in over one hundred magazines, journals, and anthologies worldwide. He has traveled extensively thru Europe and the Mid East. A graduate of Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), he has taught poetry/publishing at Soutwestern Illinois College.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Daniel S. Irwin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Hero In The Great War

He was a hero in the Great War.
He proudly wore his medals.
His scars proclaimed his courage
In his fight for Kaizer und Vaterland.
He was a soldier among the best.

So much for that, now a new regime.
The warrior mocked by brown shirted bullies.
To be a good German was now not enough.
Once the whole city was proud of him,
Now he was shunned as vermin for his blood.

Good neighbors laughed as the family left
For a train ride on to Hell.
Why them?  Why anyone?
God knows but doesn’t tell.


Daphne Milne
dvoncornwall@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Daphne Milne now lives in Fremantle, Australia. Her pamphlet The Blue Boob Club is published by Indigo Dreams Press. Her uncle served with the RAMC in WW1, was too old for service in WW2 but was with the first civilian medical team that entered Bergen/Belsen

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Daphne Milne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Repairman

White coat + stethescope = PAIN
Needles and knives — tools
of the torturers’ trade
Just a little prick and your blood will boil
nothing but lab rats — non human flesh
and when we’ve done with you
you will burn

He gentled them with his voice
until their terror subsided
enough for him to start
to repair   perhaps to heal them

For him the nightmares start


Dave Ludford
dvoncornwall@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Dave Ludford is a poet and short story writer from Nuneaton, England. His work has appeared at a variety of locations in the US, UK and India.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Dave Ludford and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hatred

“Hatred. So many people clasp that vile serpent to their breast
As willingly as a dancer might a floral accolade.
Its poison seeps through the strata of their souls
To lodge within a cold, dispassionate heart, too
Deep for the light of love to penetrate. But
Why are their voices always louder than ours?”
The old man spoke before he passed gently
Into the welcoming darkness, and I,
Struggling, grasping for an answer, failed.


David Supper
davidmsupper@aol.com

Bio (auto)

David is a retired teacher living in Nottingham, UK. He has been writing poetry since 1999 and has been lucky to have many of his poems published in various anthologies. He was also poet of the week on Poetry Super Highway in 2018 and recently had his first book of poems published by Cyberwit entitled Lady Bay Bridge and other poems. This is available through Amazon.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by David Supper and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hell

Hell isn’t brimstone and fire in the dark
nor is it devils with tails and horns,
hell isn’t an inferno in some deep abyss.

Hell is right here wherever you look,
in a Polish field, grass covered in blood,
the ash on the ground from Trebinka’s fires.

Hell is the Jews’ bright star of hope
rendered right down to turn into soap,
the screams of the children breathing their last.

Hell are the tears such a long time to shed,
enough to douse fires in the hearts of Mankind,
if we should forget them, then they die twice.


Dennis Bernstein
dennisjbernstein@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Dennis J Bernstein’s latest book of poems is Five Oceans in a Teaspoon, with visualizations and musical animations by Warren Lehrer. Bernstein, who grew up on Long Island, now lives in San Francisco. He is the award-winning host/producer of Flashpoints, syndicated on public and community radio stations across the United States. Bernstein is the recipient of many awards for his work, including the 2015 Pillar Award in Broadcast Journalism. In 2009, Pulse Media named him one of the “20 Top Global Media Figures.” Bernstein’s articles and essays have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, Newsday, The Nation, Kyoto Journal, Der Spiegel, and many more. Bernstein  produced the first complete live, 35 hour broadcast of James Joyce’s Ulysses in the U.S. He is also the author of the poetry collection Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom, which won the 2012 Artists Embassy International Literary Cultural Award. His poetry has appeared in The New York Quarterly, Bat City Review, Texas Observer, ZYZZYVA, and numerous other journals. Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple, writes that Special Ed “is art turned to us through the eyes of love.” Carol Smaldino says in The Huffington Post that the poems remind us how “we are all connected to the sorrows as well as to the grandness of being human.” Five Oceans in a Teaspoon was Published last Fall by Paper Crown. fiveoceansinateaspoon.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Dennis Bernstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Mother and Her Sister Shari

1. The Rabbi’s Daughter

The wind lifts her house-dress to reveal a badly bruised ankle and thigh.
It’s the fifth fall she’s taken since she refused my help: Mama is a modest
woman. Her father was the Rabbi; he blessed matzoth and wrote prayer.
He married and buried his congregation–all of them refugees from the Third
Reich:He Held the Torah closer than he ever held his kids or wife.


2. Aunts with Numbers

Aunt Shari had seven blue numbers
tattooed under her left forearm.

When I was eight, I tried to add them up
to see what their sum total was.

She stopped me in the middle
and paused: “these are the numbers

that taught me to count on nothing.”


Diana Rosen
dianalrosen@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Diana Rosen’s essays, poems, and short fiction appear or are forthcoming in The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Jewish Literary Journal, Potato Soup Journal, and Pif Magazine. Her hybrid work, “Love & Irony,” is forthcoming from Red Bird Chapbooks. She lives in Los Angeles where she provides content for food and beverage web sites. Please visiwww.authory.com/dianarosen to view more of her work.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Diana Rosen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Paris Story

On our way to somewhere else, noon time
Gregorian chants draw us into Notre Dame
another mystical moment possible only when
you leave the guidebook in your hotel room.
We light candles, “just in case,” then visit
Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation
the cryptically-named homage to 200,000
martyrs deported from Vichy France
to the Camps of Cruelty to The Other.
It’s silent, somber, as stark and simple
as a shroud. Stepping down the narrow
hallways, we find irony everywhere:

in the chilling floor plaque:
“They descended into the mouth
of the earth and they did not return”

in the land under the monument:
that once supported a morgue

in the exit sign:
“Forgive But Never Forget”

in the names of those camp, but
no mention of who was sent there:

not the Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses,
political dissidents, the disabled,
homosexuals, Resistance fighters,

nor Jews.


Donald N. Krieger
kriegerd@upmc.edu

Bio (auto)

Don Krieger is a biomedical researcher whose focus is the electric activity within the brain. His full-length collection, “Discovery,” is forthcoming from Cyberwit. He is a 2020 Creative Nonfiction Science-as-Story Fellow. His work has appeared in Hanging Loose, Neurology, Live Mag!, The Raw Art Review, Seneca Review, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Asahi Shimbun, and others, and has appeared in several anthologies in both English and Farsi.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Donald N. Krieger and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Breendonk Generations

1.
Anna and Isaac met in an orphanage
where they were hidden as Catholics.
They married in Antwerp. The house door
was six inches thick. Two great bolts
shot into the frame. The floor safe held half a million.

Their son, Len, drove me to see Breendonk,
Belgium’s first camp, a feeder for Dachau,
dorms filled with wood bunks, a museum,
gallows outside.

I felt only faintly what it was to live there;
I will not visit another.
Len waited for those hours in the car.

2.
An hour after Leah gave birth
her room was filled as they do in Belgium,
eating and laughing.
She lay in exhausted sleep.

Bobby was in an anteroom
absent fingernails and eyebrows, asleep like his mother,
too small to be held, they felt. Knowing no better,
I was the first, held him with these hands.

I bought a crib, clothes, everything
the next day, as they do in Belgium. That evening
we sat together, new family, full with each other.
Anna, Bobby’s grandmother, showed an old picture,
her father and his 5 brothers
murdered when she was a girl.

Bobby is 18 now,  his sister, Amy, 10.
Leah and Len are divorced.
We’re all on Facebook.


Doris Fiszer
dorisfiszer@rogers.com

Bio (auto)

Doris Fiszer is a Canadian poet living in Ottawa, Ontario. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications including: PoetrySuperHighway.com, bywords.ca, Juniper: A Poetry Journal, Motherhood in Precarious Times, Demeter Press 2018, Tamaracks Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century, Lummox Press 2018 and is forthcoming in ottawater. She is the author of two chapbooks: The Binders which won Tree Press’s 2016 Chapbook contest and was also shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award.  Sasanka (Wild Flower) was published by Bywords in 2018. Her poem, “Zen Garden” won the 2017 John Newlove Poetry Award.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Doris Fiszer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I Knew

The events of childhood do not pass
but repeat themselves like seasons of the year.
—Eleanor Farjeon

Even in this fresh landscape
shadows veiled the sun,
wild flowers burned to ashes
overloaded plates of perogies,
pickled herring and sauerkraut
covered our table
rows of Maxwell House jars,
tins of Habitant pea soup
crammed our basement shelves
dresses, price tags still attached,
hung like war-starved ghosts
in Mother’s closet.


Fred McIlmoyle
freddiemac@tiscali.co.uk

Bio (auto)

Fred McIlmoyle is a retired sociologist and Technical Author who lives on the East coast of Northern Ireland. He has been writing poetry for over sixty years and now spends winters charging his battery on Spain`s south coast where the days are longer and brighter.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Fred McIlmoyle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Meeting

A small brown bag – that’s all she had.
In it the remnants of yesterday’s dreams
Along with a few of today’s necessities.
I thought it sad and watched a while.
She turned and caught my eye;
Seized with guilt I tried to smile –
To empathize with her grief and pain.
A tyrants malice and lust for power
Had brought the girl to her fateful hour.
Where were those who should be near
To comfort and stem her anguished tears?
They prodded her down that wretched line
Where yellow stars marked a lethal shrine.
Suddenly she broke away
Dashed back to me and hunkered down.
Grasped my hand in both of hers.
Instinctively I stiffened –
Then unwound and listened,
Captured by her words,
“Don’t grieve for what you seem to see,
This is just a shadow of that girl who once stood free.
Look into my eyes and see, reflected there,
Past cherished dreams that keeps me sane
Through incessant days of care”
Then a rifle butt blacked out my brain ……..
When I came round the girl had gone.
I heard the whistle of a leaving train
And saw it steaming far down the track.
Her small brown bag lay at my feet.
But I knew she wouldn’t be coming back.


Hanoch Guy
hanochkguypoet@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Hanoch Guy Ph.D,Ed.D spent his childhood and youth in Israel. He is a bilingual poet in Hebrew and English. Hanoch taught Jewish and Hebrew literature at Temple University, and mentored at the Muse house center. Hanoch is the author of eight poetry collections in English, and one in Hebrew.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Hanoch Guy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Terra Treblinka

Terra Treblinka
crushes puny inmates on its tracks,
terrifies skeletons on its platforms
tears mothers’ bellies,
throws torn toddlers into burial pits.
Terra Treblinka
traps frozen Katzetnicks in its claws.

Mammoth fiery pagan mouths open.
Burn rotting bodies in its fiery Terra Treblinka
thriving on musslemen’s flesh,
trickling blood for a hundred years into Europe’s rivers.
Terra Treblinka
promotes Germany’s trash to
swastika monsters and
master meat processors.
Terra Treblinka:
Wagner’s crescendo to Hitler,
rewards its excelling S.S. officers,
treats them to thick beer, knoblach and sausage.


Howard Gerald Comen
comendetec@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Howard Gerald Comen is named after an Uncle and Cousin killed fighting for Freedom in World War 2. He has a Political Science Degree from the University of South Carolina. He resides in Charleston South Carolina. He holds South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Private Detective License #30.  He conducts investigations worldwide and has on the ground in South Africa, Nigeria, England, France, Canada, Mexico. Comen has investigated public officials from small-town Mayors to the President of the United States. He has spent all of his life since his college days trying to bring about Interfaith, Racial, Tribal, Ethnic and Gender Equity. He has been published in the NY Times, Washington Post, and many other publications. He even was published by both Hasidim’s Concord and The Muslim Journal.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Howard Gerald Comen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Size of the Human Heart

Death brings with it a New Beginning
A departure from what we know
In Heaven there is no evil, just being
And from Heaven, we can defeat and foe

Preparing for a remembrance
On a national radio show
I went to beyond ground zeroes fences
And the cops drove me around real slow

Looking for a sign of 9/11
As I was driven around the Towers sacred ground
I saw painted on a building straight from Heaven
That I am sending Holocaust bound

“Don’t Measure the Human Spirit by the size of the Act
But by the size of the human heart”, I immediately react.
by seeing the  spirits as they entered Heaven and look back
Shaking their fists yelling back “Evil, You better pack.

Evil men will always descend straight into the fires of hell
While their victims reach heaven and ring freedom bell
So from the Holocaust and 9/11 spirits and me
Hell has no fury like God and  humanity


Howie Good
goodh51@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Howie Good is the author most recently of Stick Figure Opera: 99 100-word Prose Poems from Cajun Mutt Press. He lives most of the year on Cape Cod.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Howie Good and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust Train

We were put into open train cars
and huddled together to keep warm.

When it snowed, we collected it
to drink, because they didn’t give us

water. We were in such complete
solidarity that when one of us fell

asleep standing (there was no room
to sit or lie down) none of the others

would steal the snow that accumulated
on her. That snow belonged to her.

source


I.B. Rad
IBRadeck@aol.com

Bio (auto)

I.B. Rad is a New  York City  Poet whose  work  is widely available on the internet. He believes  that there is no one correct way to write, but that “form follows function” (which still leaves “more than one way to skin a cat” -a rather disgusting thought!)

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by I.B. Rad and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Dark Adaptation

Blinded
by their “otherness”,
we couldn’t see
any conceivable humanity
until, gradually,
after a frenzy
of tribalistic fury,
our marred vision’s aftermath
came into view.
Confronting our sight
lay a Boschian nightmare
of gutted hellscapes
featuring hemorrhaging rivers
gushing red, disgorging
disjoined heads, limbs, torsos,
with torrents of refugees
streaming toward
the borders;
while raised, on a pedestal of ruin,
above those Hadean heights,
Madonna and child
huddle, transfixed
by shooting stars
bursting bright
– though none
to steer us
by…

First published in the Canadian journal
“Fleas on the Dog”


Ivan Klein
starfirepress@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Ivan Klein has published Toward Melville, a book of poems, from New Feral Press in July 2018. Previously published Alternatives to Silence from Starfire Press and the chapbook Some Paintings by Koho & A Flower Of My Own from Sisyphus Press. His work has been published in the Forward, Urban Graffiti, Otoliths, and numerous other periodicals. Published in three recent annual Yom HaShoah compilations. A regular contributor to the online arts magazine Arteidolia, most recently in the March 2020 issue. He lives in New York City.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Ivan Klein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

To Shenkin Street & Back

A broken down old Jew played a slow blues in the midday sun
on Shenkin Street in Tel Aviv,
filling the air,
pervading all & everything – El & Elohim & Adonai –
the whole universe & all that which is within it.
And I wondered how he got there,
The path that he took
to that particular spot
known in the guidebooks for its restaurants
& smart shopping
as I dropped a handful of shekels into his guitar case.
We nodded to each other, no longer quite strangers
after 2000 years, now that there was a blues
beyond annihilation between us.
Beyond humiliation, the denial of our existence
& the crouching enemy at the gate;
Beyond the good hearts all around that needs
must deny themselves.
With the real & true blues, you know,
it’s a matter of feeling everything’s going to be all right.
_______________________

Aspects of these very same blues
float over the Judean hills
to the Mount of Temptation
overlooking the River Jordan as it flows into the Dead Sea;
Float to the Wailing Wall where I remembered
the suffering of my father & grandfathers
& what it means to be a Jew before & then
after we stop kidding ourselves.

With the weight of history on my shoulders,
It was cool to the touch of my forehead
& fingertips.
Not just a pile of Roman fortress stones to me
& even if they are,
it still exists,
I still exist,
Our blues are our blues & exist.
_______________________

Fresh from the memory of Jerusalem
& the narrow lane through the Damascus Gate
with feral cats everywhere, a testament to
the feelings of the people for the helpless
living things among them.
these blues are dangerously close to unlocking
my closed old heart in this very moment;
dangerously close to taking me into the
empty unclaimed space in which resides
the truth.
On Shenkin Street, the blues wafting over me, I was wandering no more.
God Almighty,
by whatever name or silence
you choose to be known,
how is it that there is not a place on
this earth for everyone?
By what law of being must we give up
our humanity?
How dare they?
__________________________

Think of the hot little mommas on the streets
& beaches of Tel Aviv, cute as can be,
with the reckless courage of their lives.
There is the truth of being beyond words,
the stars up above
& the freshly rained on streets
down below.
Get ready to meet your maker
If you can find Him
I tell myself,
The low dark clouds moving slowly north
over New York City
after the shrouded sun has mysteriously arisen


Iris Levin
idlevin@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Iris Levin from Rockville Centre ,New York   is a retired teacher currently  working at archiving old Long Island photographs. As those old photos tell stories, her poetry, snapshots of life, tell stories. Her work has appeared in Long Island anthologies

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Iris Levin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

They Came For Us

I sit in bed
Alone in winter’s darkness
Wrapped in the words and memories
Of the boy with love in his eyes
Of me his willing partner
Of unforgettable truth
Of our life before they came for us

And when they came
no knocks on the door
No time to pack
Just the shove from the bed
To the snowy bleak street

Two lines
Me to the left
You to the right
A final glance
And like a white bird in the blizzards
You disappeared


J de Salvo
thebicyclereview@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

J de Salvo was born and raised in Los Angeles. His fiction, poems, articles, and essays have been published extensively in print and online. She is the author of “The End of Ambition: Selected Poems 2000-2013” (Leaf Garden Press) and “Maria’s Notebook,” (the Gorilla Press.) He is an editor and curator at the Pedestrian Press, an independent publisher of literature and art. She lives in Oakland, CA.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by J de Salvo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Confessions of the Son of a Holocaust Baby

1

Sometimes I just say “Yes, I am
Italian,” when
someone whom I am not
likely to see again asks

It’s simpler that
way for both of us, they
don’t have to feel awkward and
I don’t have to hear yet
another person tell me, insistently, how
much they “love the Jewish people,” in a
tone that seems to
imply that
it’s quite normal not to
love the Jewish people and
that they deserve a lot of credit for
being such a
beacon of liberalism and humanity

2

We don’t know if my Father was
born in 1942 or 1943
or who my real Grandparents are, hell,
we don’t even know if my
father is “really” Jewish, could be an
Ishmael got mixed in with the
Isaacs, “by mistake”

“White” is such a funny
concept, we don’t even know if
he was that—if he was
Italian, he has been granted retroactive
whiteness, if
ethnically Sephardic or Arab, then
a “non-white Caucasian”

I do know that I am white, because,
People treat me a lot better than they used to
Treat him

3

I’ll just come out and say it, it is
weird to know that
if not for one of the most
efficient and brutal
genocides in history, you
wouldn’t be alive

4

My Grandma…
yes, I consider her my Grandma,
…without her adopting my Father, I wouldn’t
be here, so you could say it was
no accident if you prefer a
loose truth, she,
lost most of her family and friends and if
she hadn’t been in Sicily, where
people are a little darker skinned and
married to an abusive Italian that
I never met, she
might have lost herself and
my Father and I as
well, on the one proverbial
hand I sometimes wish I had
asked her more about what
happened, but on the euphemistic
other, like most who
narrowly escaped or
survived, she didn’t like to
talk about it

“Read, learn,”
she would say
“but please…don’t ask me.”


Jan Chronister
janchronister@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Jan Chronister’s poems have appeared in over seventy online and print journals and anthologies. She lives in Maple, Wisconsin and is serving as president of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets 2015-2021. Her author website is www.janchronisterpoetry.wordpress.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jan Chronister and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Captains of Industry

Watching old Westerns
I wonder about the company
that made the jail cells.
Those metal bars that
show prominently when
girlfriends or lawmen
visit prisoners. They must have
done pretty well for themselves
since every town had to have
a place to keep the criminals.

I wonder about the company
that made ovens for Auschwitz—
clerks processing orders
warehouse bosses shipping them out.
Did the workers carry lunch pails
home at night empty, or full of
gorge they could not contain?


Janice Alper
janicealper@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Janice Alper, has had her poems published in the San Diego Poetry Annual, Bards Against Hunger and Active Voices and a personal essay published in Shaking the Tree, Volume 2. A retired Jewish educator and communal worker, Janice is active in her synagogue, the Birch Aquarium and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UCSD. She resides in La Jolla, California.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Janice Alper and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Remembering Kristallnacht

The Psalmist said,
“By the rivers of Babylon
we wept for Zion.”*

We were not defeated
We returned to Zion
and became a light unto the nations.

The Romans destroyed our temple.
We dispersed
all over the known world.

The Inquisition sent us under cover
made us swear by the cross.
We were Gentiles on the outside
Jews on the inside.

We were not defeated.
We fled to Amsterdam and Italy
and Poland and Russia.

Hitler called us swine.
Sent us to camps
Annihilated millions.
We rose from the ashes,
built a new Zion.

Remember Kristallnacht,
the Night of Broken Glass,
Mourn
for Jews killed in a synagogue
for young people line dancing to country music
Muslims gunned down in a mosque.

What is happening in our country,
Our world?
Shootings, shootings, more shootings.
Where does it end, how does it stop,
Who is next?

Sadness, anger, fright overwhelm me.

I survey the shards of glass,
I want to laugh, dance, sing,
Pray with you, hug you,
But I can’t.
Cut with splinters of glass
I bleed heartbroken,
and remember Kristallnacht.

Santayana said,
“Those who cannot remember the past
are condemned to repeat it.”

Remember.
Please remember.

*Psalm 137


John Anthony Fingleton
johnanthonyfingleton@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

John Anthony Fingleton: Was born in Cork City, in the Republic of Ireland. Now living in Paraguay South America. Poems published in journals and anthologies in Ireland, UK, USA, India and France as well as three plays produced. Poet of the Year (2016) Destiny Poets International Community. Poems read on Irish and American radio as well in Spanish on South American broadcasts. Contributed to four books of poetry for children. Has poems published in numerous national and international journals, reviews, and anthologies. Poet of the Month (March 2019) Our Poetry Archive. Poet of the Month (April 2019) The League of Poets. First solo collection ´Poems from the Shadowlands´ was published in November 2017, ‘Words That Found Me‘ December 2019 ‘Poems From The Banks‘ January 2020 and ‘Poems from a Restricted Place‘ April 2020 which are all available on Amazon.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Anthony Fingleton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Virgil’s Spark

The birds don’t come here anymore,
Now silence fills their space,
A sharp reminder to us all,
That God can be replaced.
The signs where Hell had visited,
Are scattered all around,
Although the Devil took the last train out;
When the fires were dampened down.
A sign inscribed above the gate –
Gave false hope – of freedom soon,
Ironic in its disillusionment –
Instead of Dante’s words of doom.


In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Virgil is the guide who takes the reader through the author’s examination of the afterlife, which travels through the Inferno (Hell), (Purgatory), and the (Heaven). The words inscribed over the Gates of Hell : ‘Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’  The inscription above the main gate of Auschwitz concentration camp and others camps read: “ARBEIT MACHT FREI” (work makes you free).


John Guzlowski
jzguzlowski@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

John Guzlowski’s writing appears on Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac and in Rattle, Atticus Review, Joyce Carol Oates’ Ontario Review, North American Review, and many other journals. His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in America appear in his memoir Echoes of Tattered Tongues. It received the 2017 Ben Franklin Poetry Award and the Eric Hoffer Foundation’s Montaigne Award. Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz – in a review of one of Guzlowski’s poetry books – wrote that Guzlowski’s writing astonished him. Guzlowski lives in Lynchburg, VA.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Guzlowski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

What My Father Ate in the Camps

He ate what he couldn’t eat,
what his mother taught him not to:
brown grass, small chips of wood, the dirt
beneath his gray dark fingernails.

He ate the leaves off trees. He ate bark.
He ate the flies that tormented
the mules working in the fields.
He ate what would kill a man

in the normal course of his life:
leather buttons, cloth caps, anything
small enough to get into his mouth.
He ate roots. He ate newspaper.

In his slow clumsy hunger
he did what the birds did, picked
for oats or corn or any kind of seed
in the dry dung left by the cows.

And when there was nothing to eat
he’d search the ground for pebbles
and they would loosen his saliva
and he would swallow that.

And the other men did the same.


Judith R. Robinson
alongtheserivers@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Judith R. Robinson* is an editor, teacher, fiction writer, poet and visual artist. A 1980 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she is listed in the Directory of American Poets and Writers.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Judith R. Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

After The Shoah

A young woman found a Nazi’s knife.
She sliced through bags of grain
piled at a forgotten bunker
strange burlaped mounds of wheat
she opened and scattered,
flinging handfuls of the mealy stuff
into the warm, rushing wind.

Each hardy piece pierced
a small spot of ground;
chaff at edges melted away
in every generation;
but the sturdy core was undestroyed.

The hardest nubs
ground into the dregs
climbed and fastened
climbed up buoyant
vines her daughter’s daughters
lived to harvest.


Karren LaLonde Alenier
karren@alenier.com

Bio (auto)

Karren LaLonde Alenier of Chevy Chase, Maryland, is author of seven poetry collections, including Looking for Divine Transportationwinner of the 2002 Towson University Prize for Literature and her latest The Anima of Paul Bowles, 2016 top staff pick by Grolier Bookshop (Boston). Her poetry and fiction have been published in: Mississippi ReviewJewish Currents, and Poet Lore. Her opera Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On with composer William Banfield premiered by Encompass New Opera Theatre in New York June 2005. Visit her blog at Alenier.blogspot.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Karren LaLonde Alenier and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

what was hidden

after “My House” by Claude McKay

in 1959 when I
  was nearing twelve what did I know
           about living free justice the
              American way except dark
        tales from Europe a girl’s delight
  The Diary of Anne Frank full of
            hope and petulance she being
                   prisoner in a secret strange
       living arrangement behind the
                    office bookshelf a penalty
exacting death should workers of
        her dad’s warehouse hear difference
      from expected clatter noise in
            a suspect place alerting the
         Gestapo spies so I would crowd
        in with ironing board and the
            maid to discuss Anne’s loneliness
               Viola learned woman of
               color college degreed wisdom
 my folks high school dropouts among
      her white employers surely fools


Katherine L. Gordon
kanddgordon@porchlight.ca

Bio (auto)

Katherine L. Gordon (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) is a poet, publisher, judge and reviewer, most recently a judge for the Reuben Rose international Poetry Competition. She believes that poetry unites the planet.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Katherine L. Gordon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Why We Survive

——“What is to give light
must endure the burning.”
Victor Frankl

Survivors know the “why “ of life,
lived to write of it,
instruct us all in our value, our personhood.
Enduring the holocaust
made us strong in pride of being,
bequeathed us a generation
of enlightened builders,
pride of place in medicine, literature,
joy of the moment in a country so hard won.
Their sacrifice gave us our triumph.
we endure and overcome, a light to the world,
our past precious , never forgotten,
as we take our place in a planet enlightened,
where all the stars are yellow
reflecting the sun,
a dignity of rebirth, regeneration,
galaxy firebrands of glowing creation.


Kathy Lundy Derengowski
kthderengowski@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Kathy Lundy Derengowski is a native of San Diego county. She is an active member of the LSM Writer’s Workshop. Her work has appeared in Summation, San Diego Poetry Annual and the Journal of Modern Poetry. She has been a finalist in the San Diego book Awards poetry chapbook category, and has won awards from the California State Poetry Society.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Kathy Lundy Derengowski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Travesty

…on the sales of Mein Kampf in Germany
for the first time since the second world war

how many graves did you dig
with your mouth
with your silvered tongue
your hate filled words
flavored with bigotry and racism?

Who digs graves with his open mouth
who bites at the living, chews at the innocent?
Who is happy among tombstones,
makes a living from the dying?

Who swallows virtue,
must gag on the blood of the dying
must choke on the bones of the blameless
If books should be burned
burn this one first.


Katrenia M. Busch
mkrim06@live.com

Bio (auto)

Katrenia Busch from Bay City, MI is a published poet and mother of two. You can see some of her poems in the screech owl, literature today or Riverrun associated with Quincy University. She has published essays on psychoanalysis and spends time as a “peer reviewer” for journals associated with the APA on psychological studies and research. She has an established background in healthcare and law enforcement and has published articles on leadership and the healthcare system.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Katrenia M. Busch and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

All I hold dear

Screaming, noise
all I hear
As sounds destroy
All I hold dear

Lost, confused
Young I am
Being accused
Not giving a damn!

Hatred surrounding
All I hold dear
As it’s causing
Elevated fear

I’m only at the age of ten
Barely a kid
Nor yet a man

Clinging, holding
To my mother
Her arms folding
To one another

Searching, wondering
Where everyone’s gone
Searching, pondering
Feeling withdrawn

Cries and tears
I see and hear
Fear adheres
To all I hold dear


Leonard Kress
leonard_kress@owens.edu

Bio (auto)

Leonard Kress published poetry and fiction in Missouri Review, Iowa Review, Harvard Review, etc. Most recent books—Walk Like Bo Diddley, Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems, Craniotomy, and translation of Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz.  He lives in Perrysburg, OH.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Leonard Kress and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Listening to Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time”
at the Toledo Museum of Art

The audience across from me comprised of Franz Hals
burghers and their wives, ruffled collars and coarse
snoods, who tip their stern heads in rapt
appreciation, as they recognize bird songs
from picnics and country outings within the music.
They all seem ready to flash open their black

gowns to reveal gleaming trumpets cinched to their black
undergarments and blow furiously in this vast hall,
so all four players might cast aside their sheet music
and instruments and dance—with the rest of us, of course.
Though afterwards they’d have to renounce this song
and replace it with silent motionless rapture.

And thus, Messiaen, burghers, all of us, wrapped
and enfolded into eternal blackness
beyond the reach of any song.
For now, though, in this peopled hall,
where measured time proceeds on course,
we let it maneuver through us, this music

composed in a Nazi prison camp, music
that today keeps the museum guards in rapt
forgetfulness of their duty, to kick out coarse
sound and movement, to keep the black
clad musicians undisturbed, to usher from the hall
those mothers whose infants’ songs

won’t be bottled-up. Messiaen’s song
only partially pleases the burghers, for whom music
is only good when it draws huge crowds into the halls
of commerce, and goods can be sold and wrapped.
They emerged after the catastrophe of the Black
Plague and thrived, unmolested in their lucrative course

until the early 20th century. Of course
collapsing when fascist marching songs
and swastikas and black
armbands cuffed and plundered music.
For now, there’s only this rapturous
Requiem, unconstrained in this or any hall.


Linda M. Crate
veritaserumvial@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Linda M. Crate is a writer from Meadville, Pennsylvania. Her works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). Recently she has published two full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020) and The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020).

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Linda M. Crate and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

people aren’t cats or mice

i remember being assigned to read
maus in college,
but i disconnected and disassociated with it;
seemed a mockery to me to those who
actually had gone through these horrors—

i connected more to the diary of anne frank
and to night

my professor seemed to think it far cleverer
than i ever appreciated,
i couldn’t find my way in and break the
glass of disassociation;
it was just a piece i couldn’t like no matter
how hard i tried—

people aren’t cats or mice, they’re people;
and maybe that’s why i just found it hard
to appreciate.


Lucio Muñoz
caringlucio@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Lucio Muñoz is an independent QLC researcher living in Vancouver, BC, Canada who enjoys writing short poems, short stories, and haiku during his breaks.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Lucio Muñoz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The evolution of hope

The seeds buried in the ground one day will become a forest
The forest one day will become the home of happy souls
The happy souls will conquer the world
The world will blossom.

From the seeds came the forest
From the forest came the home
From the souls came a happy world
That is the evolution of hope.


Luna Maluna Gri
maluna.gri@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Luna Maluna Gri is an Austrian poet and artist, who was born and lives in Vienna. Through her artwork she expresses her emotions and herself. Her goal is it to make people feel, make them think and scrutinize the believes they were taught. To broaden their minds and stretch their way of thinking. 2019 her poem “Wir” was published in the Anthology “Ausgewählte Werke XXII” by the Bibliothek deutsprachiger Gedichte in Germany. Several poetry performances (among others VorstellBar – Burgtheater Vienna, Global Earth Strike in September 2019, Kunstkomplott Art Festival, Hear me roar festival).

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Luna Maluna Gri and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Grave in the air

You were choked to death
and burned alive
by a toxic cloud
who threatened
to eat you all alive
They burned
your whole body,
your hands,
who held so many people
and wrote so many words,
your feet,
who have walked already
so many miles on this earth,
your hair,
which the wind loved to play with,
your loving heart,
which touched so many others,
and your powerful eyes,
who have seen so much
and which will be telling the truth
forever

They made sure
nothing of you
will be left
They wanted to extinguish you all
So they
refused to give back
your bodies
to the earth
and made you
a grave in the air
instead

But I received something from you
The wind brought your voice to me
and it told
your story
and those of so many others
Who were murdered
innocent

For this to be never forgotten
They may have taken you everything
but they can never take you
your voice


Maria DePaul
marial.depaul@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Maria DePaul is a Washington, DC-based writer whose work has been featured and is forthcoming in a variety of publications, including Haikuniverse.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Maria DePaul and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yizkor

Every candle
A remembrance
Of a light
Extinguished
A Brother or Sister
An Aunt or Uncle
A Grandparent
A beloved
Or a dear friend
Sometimes never met
But never forgotten
We miss you


Marianne Szlyk
marianne.szlyk@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Marianne Szlyk lives in Rockville, MD and teaches at Montgomery College. There she has helped to facilitate poetry workshops inspired by Portraits of Life, an exhibit of photographs of Holocaust survivors living in Montgomery County.  These poems are from the workshops.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Marianne Szlyk and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Of Blessed Memory

After photographs of Holocaust
survivor Flora Singer

The sun bleaches the slats
of a black and white fence.
Small statues bask

in sunlight, not too warm
on this October day
just before leaves turn.

You stand in the space
cleared from matchstick woods,
a place far from home,

the woods you looked out to
from the Catholic orphanage,
the woods you wandered

while in hiding.  Surrounded
by the frog musicians
of Grimm’s fairy tales,

your back to the ash leaves
about to turn
the color of old bruises,

you have no more stories to tell.
You look out to the camera.
Now you are home.


Previously published in
riting in a Woman’s Voice


Marsha Markman
marshamarkman@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Marsha Markman, Professor Emerita of English at California Lutheran University, is co-editor of, The American Journey (Vols. 1 and 2); Writing Women’s Livesas well as, “Teaching the Holocaust through Literature” in New Perspectives of the Holocaust. She Contributed to, If We Dance . . . A Collection of Poems and edited and wrote the “Introduction” to Piri Piroska Bodnar’s, Out of the ShadowsMarkman lives in Woodland Hills, California.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Marsha Markman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Never Again

Never again will I travel by train
listen to the shrieks of its wheels
grinding to a halt at hell’s gate
rifles drawn, bullets fly, tormentors gleeful

nor will I forget the death camps
their crematoria spewing ashes
of human remains
noxious snowflakes dusting
hardened soil
hardening human hearts

Never will I scoop soil from my garden
without thinking of Malkah, Schlomo, Dovid
and nameless numbers
scooped onto backhoes
forever entwined
in countless quarries

Nor will I forget the beatings
freezing winters   humid summers
paper-thin dresses
no shoes   no undergarments
no dignity

Never will I commit the sin of forgetting
by removing the numbers
tattooed on my arm
nor forgive them  their transgressions

“Some things are unforgivable,”
I tell my grandchildren
as we light a candle
on this
Day of Remembrance


Michael H. Brownstein
mhbrownstein@ymail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love? (2019), were recently released (Cholla Needles Press).

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Michael H. Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tattoo

The tattoo on my wrist
no longer a curse
but a memory
I pass on so you,
my beloved great grandchild,
will never forget,
will never allow forgetting,
will always remember
to never forget
and you will always be the tree
blossoming into perfection,
strength, wisdom, my child
of everything possible–
this tattoo from a time impossible
makes everything for you
a brilliant light of possibility.


Michael Salcman
msalcman@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael Salcman isthe son of Holocaust survivors, five of his immediate relatives survived the concentration camps and he was born (1946) in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia right after the war and came to the US in 1949. The poem below is from his poetry collection A Prague Spring, Before & AfterEvening Street Press, 2016, the 2015 winner of the Sinclair Poetry Prize.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Michael Salcman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Cousin Magda

 —for M.M. (1931-2013)

My older cousin Magda who knew Mengele
who made me home-fried potatoes
just like my mother’s and my mother’s mother.

My first cousin Magda who had a dark helmet of hair
and a great bosom the shape of Europe
filled with the milk of Europe and lactic acid.

My cousin Magda who tasted of tears, always
with the soul of a Hungarian gypsy grieving
for a twisted son she never bore.

And cousin Magda who married Tibor who cut
garments for chairs and couches in the Fifties
upholstering America with his simple hopes.

And especially because my cousin Magda loved
my father more than anyone else the esteemed uncle
who’d rescued her brother from the cauldron.

That cousin Magda was the queen of woe
and her easy anger saved her for a while.
I never caught up with any of her worries but one—

I removed a tumor from her brain and she died
twenty years later and was twenty years older than I am.
So we never wed; and this was Magda’s only luck.

First published in the journal Fledgling Rag.


Morris Dean
moristotle@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Morris Dean (also known as Moristotle) is the editor-in-chief of Moristotle & Co., a blog for art, poetry, story, and essay. He lived the first half of his life in California, and is living the second half in North Carolina, where he resides in Mebane, near Chapel Hill.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Morris Dean and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yom HaShoah

Remembrance of the holocaust
stops my tongue, hushes my thought,
drives my senses into silence,
to try to think, to say, to know
how men could do what all they did
and think it was right to do it.
But though I cannot think or say,
I won’t forget to remember
the innocents all was done to.


Pamela McMinn
pmcminnmcgready@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Pamela McMinn is an unknown poet from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Pamela McMinn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Remembering Winter Trains

these winter trains crowded
while snow lay in silence,
click clack…click clack..
their wheels on rail joints
roaring silently into the frozen
dark of night, chugging,
gathering speed
as they raced away from discovery.

whistles blew – deep shrill foghorns
at each crossing
a sound – that went unheard,
but unforgotten.

silence was everywhere,
across the straits, the borders and oceans-
some say, snow kept the birds from singing
and blamed the ice broke boughs and limbs
of mighty trees,
yet along the tracks,
truth was known – feigning winter chills…
while they wrapped themselves in disbelief.

silence rendered them deaf
and a blizzard of horror blinded them
this cold heartedness of winter souls
trapped millions in boxcars
ten meters long as they
click clacked…click clacked…
into the junction of earth and sky
under a cold receding moonlight
met across European soils … and
no one to stop the trains from becoming ashes.

snow melts    –     birds return to sing
that a prayer of hope
reminds our children not to forget
the winter trains…
click clack click clack.


Partha Sarkar
parthasarkar091267@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Partha Sakar lives in Kolkata, a city of province of West Bengal in India. He writes in Bangla and English to protest against social injustice and crime Against nature.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Partha Sarkar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The level-crossing still remains upward

Remains the distance same
Even after the death of red blood cell.
Where is the cruel bloodshed
Despite an indifferent crowd
Throngs in the shade of the butcher’s shop?

Throughout the morning there being a want of oxygen,
Pants every cell,
Dies every root of the man-tree.
Yet, where is much indifference?

And I have got upset
Finding
No more deaths of the red blood cells,
No disappearance of the man-tree
No further bloodshed
And despite finding  a free access of goods,
The level-crossing remains upward.


Richard Kalfus
rkalfus@charter.net

Bio (auto)

Dr. Richard Kalfus is a retired Professor of Holocaust Studies from Sunset Hills, MO.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Richard Kalfus and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

We The Second Generation…..

We second generation survivors of the Holocaust
meet once a year remembering November 9, 1938,
when synagogues were torched.
When Jews were forced to leap from their windows.
When neighbors looked on in silence.

Today we can never forget,
the loss and grief
of our Holocaust pas.t

Each of us has a story to tell:
………….A mother beaten to death.
………….A smiling guard overseeing
………….emaciated Jews as many fall
………….to their death
………….in a day and night roll call.

………….We were seen as mere numbers
………….in their relentless, murderous task.
………….a starving Jew, my uncle,
………….steals food from a dying Jew,
………….and other frightening Jews look on in despair.

………….We had a bond, thinking “Oh’ how unfair
………….that we were able to go on living everyday lives,
………….in the grip of our Holocaust past.


Rifkah Goldberg
rifkahg@netvision.net.il

Bio (auto)

Rifkah (Rita) Goldberg writes poetry and aphorisms, and is a long-time oil painter.  She has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cambridge University, and worked as a freelance writer and editor. Born in London in 1950, she has been living in Jerusalem since 1975, has two sons and eleven grandchildren, and is married to the writer Shalom Freedman.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Rifkah Goldberg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust Survivor?

(In memory of and with great thanks to my very special uncle,
Prof. Kopul (Ernest) — August 13, 1931 to December 10, 2018)

Told how half of your parental home
In Alba Iulia was taken over by Nazis
When you were a young boy

How your father was beaten twice
By the Iron Guard on the soles of his feet
But refused to sign a paper admitting treason

How you were once attacked by older local children
At the castle where you often went to play
But rescued by Jewish Russian soldiers passing by

How the family fled twice for months at a time
Living in hiding with friends in uncertainty
Until probably safe to go back

How your bar-mitzvah was not held in your own
Synagogue with war damage left unrepaired
But in the smaller one opposite

How soon after the war as a teenager you accompanied your father
To one of the finest synagogues in Budapest to find it gutted by fire
With all traces of its illustrious history removed

How when you went back after many years to your birthplace Satu Mare found
Family graves of four generations and the rabbi who ordained your father
But no trace of the Royal Hotel owned by your family
How you went back to the ancestral home of the other side of your family in Acs
Located and restored the grave of your great grandfather
Whose name you carried later passing away on the same Hebrew date as he did
Told about how close family members
Were dragged away to Auschwitz some never to return
Your Acs grandparents at over ninety taken on a wagon
Eyewitnesses also saw a mother of a cousin
Murdered by Mengele because she tried to help
Another woman with four small children
One of the many “unofficial Holocaust survivors”
You struggled always with all these memories
While making a good life for yourself and those around you


Robert Knox
rc.knox2@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, and Boston Globe correspondent.” As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal, Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, New Verse News, Unlikely Stories, and others. His poetry chapbook “Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty,” was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. He was recently named the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Robert Knox and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

They Came

First they came for the immigrant children
And we looked away
Because the Leader’s toady told us, “Those are not
our children”
And we looked at our own children,
and were reassured

Then they came for the people who cover their heads
or pray too much
And again we looked away
Because we were not Iranians, or Iraqis, or Gazans,
or children of the West Bank detained indefinitely without charges
And, as the man said,
those are not our children

Then they came for the abused, and those who accused their abusers,
and for the accusers’ advocates,
and for those who fought against their abusers,
breaking into their hidden armories to take away their guns
…………But we looked away, and jested at the comedie humaine,
because we were not ourselves the victims of abuse
or the advocates for the abused,
and, after all, we are “not his type”

Then they came for the ones who would never
play ball with Der Leader
The ones who would always be trouble
because they were cheated out of their land
or, perchance, had been enslaved
or who had once owned a country that the slave-owners wished
…………to possess for themselves
or who, we feared, were willing to work
…………for too little money
or who loved the wrong people
or who were unwilling to remain in their positions
…………and to perform the tasks
for which they had been created by the distant Creator —
those varied and disobedient creations
of that stable genius
…………somewhere in the sky

And then because no one else remained standing
…………in our diminished patria,
neither advocates,
nor scribblers with their pencil over the ear,
nor Enemies of the People with their hand-held devices,
nor party of the workers
nor defenders of the beaten, humiliated and disappeared

able to kick the ball from his feet,
nothing was left for us to do
but to lay our own bodies before His feet
…………As the painted, spiked, and horny-headed demons of extinction
cheered, and drank, and laughed, and danced upon the bodies
of their victims
and ran up history’s score

 

“They Came” previously appeared in TheNewVerse.New on July 6, 2019


Rosemarie Krausz
rosemariekrausz@icloud.com

Bio (auto)

Rosemarie Krausz lives in Ottawa. She is a retired psychoanalyst with a Ph.D. in psychology, who has published in professional journals.  She is finishing up a low-residency MFA in poetry at Drew University, so that she can spend her retirement with her first love—writing poems.  A child of two Holocaust survivors, she has completed a chapbook titled i, child of survivors and a larger collection, Black Milk, that serves as her MFA thesis, both of which she hopes to publish.  She has published one poem, Post Shoah Glosa, online at the Poetry Super Highway, in their 20th Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Rosemarie Krausz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Black Milk

I was only the war, always the war,
nothing but the war—when they raised me.

Night was a theatre of cruelty
the air I breathed—my blanket at night.

My mother fed me milk that coursed
through melancholy ducts—curdled

as poison percolating through shower nozzles
in the gas chambers at Auschwitz.

My father fed me death stories from a camp
called Theresienstadt. I grew and I grew

within the blackness of their losses
trusting their version of the dangerous world—

a world they were terrified
to inhabit. I was to touch the world for them.

Everyone except survivors might cheat them.
They wanted me to negotiate the rent increase,

keep the landlord from being angry with them
so they wouldn’t be transported to another camp.

She told me the searchlights at the top
of the SunLife building in Montreal

were always looking for German planes—
to protect us. He told me that all his bosses

had tried to cheat him, keep him a slave.
He told me to keep going to university

until I could be the boss. She told me,
if I married a goy he would call me

dirty Jew the first day dinner was late.
Black milk force-fed by the Nazis

who fed them nothing else.


Sarah Prindle
saprin@ptd.net

Bio (auto)

Sarah Prindle received an Associate’s Degree in English from Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania. She loves reading everything from historical fiction and memoirs, to poetry and mysteries. She hopes to someday publish her own novels and poetry collections on these different topics.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Sarah Prindle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Forest of Ponar

At first glance, the forest of Ponar is
wild
beautiful
magnificent
a palace of towering trees under a blue sky.

But it has a history
dark
evil
inhuman
invisible to the naked eye.

The Nazis took their victims into these woods
men
women
children
lifted their guns and shot them to death.

The shootings lasted for hours
dozens
hundreds
thousands
of innocents were killed day after day.

One hundred thousand victims in total,
families
friends
neighbors
all murdered in the forest of Ponar.

By the war’s end, the loss of these 100,000
lives
souls
voices
left us with one message: never again.


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

Bio (auto)

Stacey Zisook Robinson is a poet and essayist who uses her writing to search for meaning, relevance, and God in the modern world. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her son and her cat. She blogs at staceyzrobinson.blogspot.com and is currently working on her third book tentatively titled In the Beginning: a Poet’s vision of Genesis.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Stacey Zisook Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

7000 Pairs of Shoes

I remember once
standing in a museum
at the edge of pain –
that deep well of dark
that hides so well,
and has tattered edges
that threaten to crumble –
all metaphorically, of course –

a mountain of suitcases,

all that was left of some
ghosts of Auschwitz or Dachau;
Treblinka, perhaps,
or some other abyss
of unallegorical
non-metaphorical pain.

A reminder,
a quiet chant:
Never Again.

So you’ll excuse me, I pray,
my reaction today
from all of those shoes
laid out so neatly,
in all those very straight lines:
empty,
lifeless,
as lifeless as luggage,
an abyss of pain.

A reminder
silent accusation:
The journey continues.
The march must go on.
Not one more shoe
Not ever again.

Never again is Now.


Stanley H. Barkan
cccpoetry@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Stanley H. Barkan is the editor/publisher of Cross-Cultural Communications that has, to date, produced some 500 book titles in 59 different languages. His own work has been translated into 28 different languages and published in 20 collections, several of them bilingual (Armenian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Persian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Sicilian, Spanish). His latest books include: As Yet Unborn (2019), translated into Dutch by Germain Droogenbroodt; Pumpernickel (2019), translated into Persian by Sepideh Zamani; From Rhythm to Form (2019), complementary poetry with the paintings of Marsha Solomon. Barkan was the 1991 New York City’s Poetry Teacher of the Year (awarded by Poets House and the Board of Education) and the 1996 winner of the Poor Richard’s Award, “The Best of the Small Presses” (awarded by the Small Press Center), for “25 years of high quality publishing.” In 2016, he was named “best poet” in China. In 2017, he was awarded the Homer European Medal of Poetry & Art. He lives with his artist-wife, Bebe, In Merrick, Long Island, near his son & daughter and their children, his five grandchildren.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Stanley H. Barkan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Scapegoat

Why me?
Why is it my fate
to be in place
of his son?
Am I not flesh
as he is?
If I’m cut,
do I not bleed?
If hurt,
do I not cry out:
Baaaaaaa!
I am father
of my own kids—
who will provide?
Already I hear
the stacking
of the wood
placed near the altar.
Already, I smell
the strike
of blade
on firestone.
Here on this high place
above the valleys,
almost touching the stars,
I am caught in the brambles,
by the horns
that were meant to protect me.
Oh where oh where
is my angel, guardian of goats?
Oh when oh when
will I and my progeny
cease to be his sacrifice?

From the book “The Sacrifice”


Stefanie Bennett
suneagle@bigpond.com

Bio (auto)

Stefanie Bennett has published 16 volumes of poetry, 2 chap books, a libretto & a novel. She has tutored in the Institute Of Modern Languages – James Cook University – & worked with Arts Action For Peace. Of mixed heritage…… [Irish/Italian/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Queensland, Australia. Her latest poetry title ‘The Volatile Principle’ is published by Cyberwit Net* to be launched later this year. Stefanie is currently residing in Sydney, Australia.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Stefanie Bennett and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Historic Vernacular:
Eastern Europe

I folded the colours
in your
multilayered backpack

(as if you hadn’t
noticed…)

still here, tirelessly
refiguring

the immediate
butterfly’s wing

amid the pots’
and pans’ desolation…

calling the kettle
black.


Sujoy Bhattacharya
sujoy06021959@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Sujoy Bhattacharya is a poet of India. He loves to write on the strangeness of human psychology. He worships humanity and adores poetry as a living deity.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Sujoy Bhattacharya and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Morbid Sun

I came out of the den.
Who is there?
No sound reflected on the frozen body of the mountain.
Pale and palsied meadows welcomed me with insipid hospitality.
Three sparrows engaged in garrison games chirped a note of pungent repugnance!
I bowed down my head swallowing insolent attitude of decaying dignity.
I looked up and the copper sky made a queen gesture.
My heavy eye lids hurled a salubrious. sigh!
A boulder came rolling down with feline alacrity to exile the only perishable being to the debris of human race!


Susan Olsburgh
olsburgh.susan@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Susan Olsburgh has lived in Netanya, Israel for the last nine years. She taught literature and British culture in schools and universities in the north east of England. Susan has served five years as president of Voices Israel and coordinates the Sharon/Netanya group. She also voluntarily facilitates a poetry appreciation group, Poetry Please, at AACI Netanya. The group is now in its ninth year. Susan has served on the editorial team for the Voices Israel Anthology. She has had poetry published on Poetry Super Highway, in Cyclamens and Swords, and Voices Anthologies and newsletters. Her recent publication is “Susan@70 – Memories and Musings” a collection of poems.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Susan Olsburgh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Contrast

As I lay uncomfortably on the MRI table
trying to comply as best as able,
contrast fluid injected in my arm,
vivid thoughts caused this number alarm.

My ‘teudat zehut’* was politely requested
and gladly given – a number to appreciate
in this 71 years young State.
Contrast now and then – tattoos with a number,
a token betokening no worth, a dreadful fate.

MRI machines use applied science,
medical physics, to diagnose and identify.
Contrast with the science of Zyklon B
pursuing the Nazi’s final solution,
the eradication of Jewish identity.

I am reflecting again on these contrasts
this International Holocaust Commemoration Day.
How heartwarming to welcome
dear cousins making Aliyah this very eve
each their own ‘teudat zehut’ to receive.

Contrast these positive numbers
with those on victims’ arms tattooed,
a few survived, most condemned to die
in those horrific not to be forgotten times
of eighty years or so ago.

Now these “teudat” numbers  keep in place
an individual’s valued database
which no enemy of our people shall ever erase.

*Teudat zehut Israel’s National Identity Number
27 January 2020

International Holocaust Commemoration Day


Susan Beth Furst
sfurst14@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Susan Beth Furst is a Touchstone Award-nominated poet and author. She writes haiku, haibun, and children’s picture books. She is passionate about remembering the Holocaust, and her hometown of Pittsburgh. Susan’s picture book, The Hole In My Haiku, based on her mother-in-law’s experiences during the Holocaust, will be available in the Fall of 2020. You can find Susan on Instagram @susanbethfurst. She lives with her husband Herb in a third-floor apartment overlooking the Potomac River in Woodbridge, Virginia.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Susan Beth Furst and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

When the time comes…

hospital bed
you remember
the straw mattresses
in barrack 22

we discuss heaven but you don’t believe

at a loss for words
the Scrabble game left unplayed

Doris Day
on the radio
Que Sera Sera

how purple the African violets are on the window ledge

blowing kisses—
I leave a bag of Hershey’s
in your drawer

long distance…
on the phone the sound
of your breathing

sunrise at Stutthof
falling leaves drift like snow

Mother
10/1/1921~11/30/2019


Susana H. Case
susana.h.case@me.com

Bio (auto)

Susana H. Case is the author of seven books of poetry. Dead Shark on the N Train is due out in 2020 from Broadstone Books. Drugstore Blue (Five Oaks Press) won an IPPY Award in 2019. She is also the author of five chapbooks, two of which won poetry prizes, and most recently, Body Falling, Sunday Morning, from Milk and Cake Press. Her first collection, The Scottish Café, from Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press. Her work has appeared in CalyxThe Cortland ReviewPortland ReviewPotomac ReviewRattleRHINO and many other journals. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City, where she lives.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Susana H. Case and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Stop on the Rail Line

There are the bones of jumpers
all along the rail track
north from Lvov on the way to Belzec
because Lvov is the processing stop on the line
it is a fundamental part
of why Steinhaus continues to hide
why Kac is relieved to have escaped to America
why mathematics in Poland
has become clandestine activity
Lomnicki–Saks–others–dead
why deportees continue to jump
relentlessly off the train
Lvov has a camp of its own on the outskirts
but Janowska remains a labor camp
a technicality that vanishes
once Soviet bombs drop
the smell of burning bodies in Lvov
the destruction of the evidence
of liquidation in Janowska
a reminder that Germans are still furious
at the ambush and death of a few of their own
Belzec
where only two of over six hundred thousand
will survive
where carbon monoxide
from an ordinary diesel engine
will render resistance moot
where the door to the gas chamber
is draped with synagogue curtains
in an attempt to soften
any hesitation to enter
where bodies are packed
so tightly that the dead
–five thousand a day
most gassed upon arrival –
have no place to fall
and where reception is crowded
with grief and resignation
with room for only twenty rail cars at a time
Belzec is straining–
the first place in history
to use permanent gas chambers
is running out of room for corpses in the ditches
where graves will later have to be reopened
to burn the bodies–to hide the traces
where soon there is nothing but
weeds
birch trees
some crumble of concrete
a statue of the Virgin
the cold granite of memory


Sy Roth
sydad@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Sy Roth is the child of Holocaust survivors and his life has been circumscribed by their scars. Much of his poetry deals with the personal visions of that time and his inability to erase the visions that they engender.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Sy Roth and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Director

The directors–
For want of a nail
They were not wanting

So many nails,
A cache of nails
To drive into their coffins

Paid in jiggers of vodka
They would slog the miles
To the pits.

Surround them,
The innocents,
Choreograph their end

A Twyla Tharp ending
Accordion accompaniment
Played to a defunct Mahler

To keep them mollified.
The nails see only vermin
In their intoxicated vision

Smell their fear
Before a lightning crackle
Marks crescendic endings.

Poor naked souls stack themselves
like cordwood
On top of yet, still-warm bodies.

Melodic line met–
Last look before the darkness enfolds
Those who will entomb them

Lamblike creatures align at the flag
They queue from right to left
A Hebraic arrangement

To a two-shot tango–
One reserved for the child held aloft
By a resigned dame who sees no exit—

Child held aloft
Limp in naïve trust
To be followed by the second crack

Then hustled into the pit to join the others.
Swim in their own river of blood
The stagehand obeys the director’s cue.

He rolls them into the abyss

New cast assembles
Take their place at the flag
Unclaimed trash

While the director trods on their backs
To dispatch those who dared to live,
Souls forgotten

Sinners in the hands of an angry god.


Tina Hacker
thacker1@kc.rr.com

Bio (auto)

Tina Hacker lives in Leawood, KS, with her husband Lynn Norton who is a sculptor, editor and poet. Tina’s full-length poetry book, Listening to Night Whistles, was published by Aldrich Press, and her chapbook, 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. Since 1976, Tina has been poetry editor for Veterans’ Voices, a national magazine of writing by military veterans.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Tina Hacker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Watching Jojo Rabbit

Small
theater
packed full.
Women and men.
Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z
taking a chance on a quirky little movie.
The story reveals a lonely child and his imaginary, mostly bumbling friend, Hitler.

Occasional
chortles,
moderate laughter
could be heard,
mostly at the Führer’s expense.
When the child’s beliefs about Jews were exposed
through drawings of scales, tails, horns and Jews hanging from ceilings to sleep,

the
audience
grew quiet.
Some people gasped,
others hunched down. No laughter
except from two guys sitting in the back
who hooted loudly, raucously hailing image after image on screen as a triumph.