April 8-14, 2002: 4th Annual Yom Hashoah Issue

week of April 8-14, 2002

Our fourth annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) issue

Kaye Abikhaled
Jim Bennett
David Gerhsator
Mike Katzberg
Michael Levy
Sharose Niedelman
Lew Schneider
T.LStokes
Yonatan Zukowsky

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Kaye Abikhaled
abikhaled@mail.utexas.edu

Bio(auto)

Kaye Voigt Abikhaled, born in Berlin, Germany, a 1950 Kiwanis foreign student high school scholarship award winner, immigrated to the U.S in June 1960, attended college at night and worked during the day Kaye’s poetry has been published in state, national and international journals and on the internet A finalist in the 1998 Poetry Category of The William Faulkner Creative Writing Competition, she is the editor of A Galaxy of Verse, was appointed Councilor for the Poetry Society of Texas, Austin area, in 1999 and attended the Paris American Academy’s Intensive Writing Seminars 2000 and 2001 She was the first runner up in the 2000 Fernando Rielo Mystical Poetry Prize in Madrid, a first such distinction of a manuscript submitted in English in the Foundation’s 20-year history Her first book, an epic poem entitled, Childhood in the Third Reich: World War II and Its Aftermath was published by The Mellen Poetry Press in October 2001 and is available from the publisher or Amazon.com Kaye lives in Austin, Texas.


The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Kaye Abikhaled and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Manhunt

Aberrant sound roused deep sleep,
hair rising in terror unknown Sound, inhuman
made by a human
father pacing
steps thudding around and around
the dining room table
an animal caught, insane Screaming on top of his voice,
mother soothing, warning
“neighbors will hear
don’t wake the children”
on he screamed and thudded
mother talked, talking I heard fragments:
“there is nothing you can do
must do what they say”
but my math professor, for God’s sake
“you can’t go against the Reich”
“we are in danger”
“think of the children”
she died in 1912, when I was ten
how can they hold that against us?
And he thudded and thudding his voice
slowly lowered and lowering finally broke
and came in hoarse half whispered shouts
as a life loosing grip, slowly dying
My father had been met by a group of SS and Gestapo
at the Munich rail station who were to give him a tour of Œsafe&Mac226;
locations for transfer of the Messerschmitt plant

A cold November morning
sleeting rain hampering visibility They walked a barbed wire fence
along deserted property Lone figure dressed in prison black-white
standing motionless inside its divide Emaciated, motionless in sandals sunk
into mud Mounting consternation,
recognizing him, his respected math professor
at the University of Berlin Agitated,
father asked what this facility was Prison camp for political offenders I know this man, he is not an offender, why is he here?
It would behoove you to remember the reason
for the trip and not concern yourself with
what is none of your business Heated argument, cut short when told:
We can easily make arrangements
for you to join your friend, also for
your four children and wife, whose mother,
we happen to know, was American?

The beginning of the end for my father
who that day and that night
lost belief in his country, its leader and minions
as he realized what political insanity
was schemed and knew
that the war had to be lost
and would most certainly be lost Never again himself, he put on the blindfold
of work uninterrupted, care unfelt, and
from then on meted punishment with vengeance
at real or imagined infractions In silence we suffered and began to hate

Source: Abikhaled, Kaye Voigt (2001) CHILDHOOD IN THE THIRD REICH:
World War II and Its Aftermath,
pp 11-12 The Edwin Mellen Press, Lewiston, NY.


Jim Bennett
Jimbennett11@btinternet.com

Bio(auto)

Jim Bennett-Was voted PSH Favourite Featured Poet 2000, and has never stopped telling people how pleased he was He lives in Liverpool in the UK and teaches Creative Arts at several Universities
The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Jim Bennett and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Keeping Count

death met them as they left the train
kept the count
as it strode along the platform
in its sharp creased uniform

it sat at tables
in a white coat
making a selection
it gathered in the clothes
it mounded up the glasses
extracted teeth
poured in the gas
pulled out the dead
burned up the corpses

death kept count
of the soon to be dead
till they became
more marks on a sheet

it filled up graves
with them
and with the dust of millions
as it tried to keep the count

afterwards death said
it had just been
obeying orders


David Gershator
gershator@islands.vi

Bio(auto)

David Gershator lives in St Thomas Artist/poet/songwriter, he has written several childrens books: Bread Is For Eating was a PBS Reading Rainbow featured selection Moon Rooster is the latest from Cavendish Titles available @ Amazon com Former editor Downtown Poets Co-op, NY Translated Federico Garcia Lorca: Selected Letters (New Directions) His chapbook Elijah’s Child (Cross Cultural Communications) deals with Israeli and Jewish themes
The Akiva series is an interconnected biographical sequence based on a relative,  Akiva Gershater .one of the few who survived W.W II in Vilna He wrote Bleter Vegen Vilna (Pages About Vilna) published in Lodz, Poland, in 1947
Yivo Institute has a pre-war film in which he briefly appears I used whatever facts I could gather to construct these poems I never met Akiva Though he lived till 1970 in Holon, Israel, I did not learn of his existence until 1979 Many unanswered questions remain .at times I push the facts over the edge into probabilities

The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by David Gershator and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Akiva

You were an Esperantist
a booster of a language
based on hope
a language invented
by another hopeful Polish Jew
but you spoke more than Esperanto
when there was no hope
was there a prayer?

I can’t imagine your words in the dark
when you were hidden
by a Lithuanian scientist
until it got too dangerous
then you were out on your own

Whatever I imagine
can’t be more than a shadow
of some complicated and simple truth
somehow you survived as a shoemaker
I picture you with nails
between your lips

Amazing you weren’t nailed
by a customer

Akiva’s Birthdays

Akiva .you took it upon yourself
to launch a post-war rescue operation
rounding up hundreds of Jewish orphans
hidden in Polish homes and sent them
to Palestine
you, an Esperantist
Internationalist
anti-Zionist
ended up in Zion
invited to birthdays
nearly every day of the year

Those you rescued grew up to celebrate
their children’s birthdays with candles
and you the surrogate savior
the parent for those without parents
watched so many candles burn
rescued and rescuer
reflected in the glow

What happened
to your own wife and child
you never told

You Say Nothing

Akiva, you say nothing
about your family
your wife your young daughter

In the cool objective eyewitness report
published in Lodz two years after the war
you chronicled events in Vilna
but there’s no mention of family

What happened to you and yours?

What you don’t say speaks more
than compacted ice on the Vilya river

What you don’t say speaks
a language all its own

Impossible Odds

Impossible odds
in Judenrein Vilna!

you must&Mac226;ve been
a great actor
you had to be

an intellectual armed
with hammer and nails
you beat the odds
by fixing shoes
you beat the criminals
the informers
the collaborators
you beat the Poles
Germans Lithuanians
working on heels and soles so many shoes survived the war
so many more than feet

wife killed daughter killed
still you walked away from the war
with your shoes on

Postwar Mission

After the war
you were possessed
you criss crossed Poland
on a personal mission
gathering up Jewish children
foundlings orphans
prying them loose
from their adopters, foster parents
risk takers, simple folk
peasants or city people
saviours or bounty seekers
you used persuasion
pleas and bribes
to save the children
from Poland
and send the remnant
the saving remnant to Palestine
(you a one time Bundist
who had no use for Palestine)
you knocked on so many doors
you only regret
the doors that didn’t open
the children too young
to know their own name
the children baptised
in the waters of amnesia
the children born to oblivion
the children lost and found in Poland
the children of Poland
lost to Poland
lost to the mercy of Poland

An Orphan’s Tale

It was around Easter
you appeared at the doorway
of my Polish parents’ house

Winter is over
soon there will be wild strawberries

You speak of an exodus to the Holy Land
and what my parents would have wished

I listen to your words at the door
you seem to be an emissary
from another world
the world of some other people my people?

You want to take me away
My Polish parents
want to take me to church

You promise me an unknown land
as if you were Moses

I’m torn
I want to go I want to stay
you can’t promise me
my parents back again
why do you want me to follow you
you’re not my relative
you’re not my father

Where do you want me to go
why should I miss the holiday
I hear the bells of St Stefans how can I belong to you

And yet .I answered the door
and you took my hand and led the way
so here I am your follower
speaking now in the tongue of Moses:
Hinéni

A Child Asks
Who Am I, Akiva

Who am I
I can hardly imagine
let alone remember my parents
maybe some Hannuka candles
some Sabbath lights
I didn’t know who I was
and even now sometimes
I don’t know who I am

How can I abandon
those who saved me
from Passover slaughter
from the German Angel of Death
from Christmas to Christmas
from Easter to Easter

They tell me the angels of death were Polish
but the angels of mercy were Polish too!
I spoke Polish not Yiddish not Hebrew
I was divided by birth
and several loyalties
Did I choose the right one
Is there only one
what would Solomon say?
can any man fill Solomon’s shoes?
can a cobbler do it?

Akiva, what’s your shoe size?

Next of Kin

Uncle or cousin
I don’t know
can’t know
will never know
those who could make
the family connections
were killed

but since you were
an intellectual
a photographer
with a good eye
for framing a picture
then I’ll call you next of kin
why not

it’s easy to see you
as a shadow
since I collect shadows
for a family of shadows

since I will always belong
to a shadow generation


Mike Katzberg
mkatzberg@yahoo.com

Bio(auto)

I have had numerous poems published over the years, in newsletters, over the web, and primarily in “The Carillon”, a student-run newspaper where I spear-headed and edited for the Poetry Corner: a regular column, from 1996-1998 I am currently involved with some local performance groups: “Fishmole”, and “Urban Monkey Market” I have also recently published a short story, and co-wrote a tour book which won the Saskatchewan Heritage Award for Education in 1998 — among other projects
I received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English with a minor in Computer Science from the University of Regina in 1998 I was very active in the poetry and oral performance scene at the university More recently, I have continued on with some post-graduate literature courses at the U of R
My goals for the future are to continue creating and publishing quality fiction, non-fiction and poetry, to enhance as many lives as possible through my work, and to continue to find as much and more happiness and contentment on the road I have chosen as I have in the past


The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Mike Katz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

just how far can this poisonous world take you?

when the bite is going down farther
than the speed of light
rededication against ego life
words splattered comatose again and again
demonic in a tide eternal bile

a sea of faces, voices with unreason and come up
for breath is what we need is what we seek
this love she cares for me
in the recesses of time standing sentiment
white town houses, tin plate roofs, the porticoes
near Southern France we were newly Jewish together
to be wrong and young and beautiful and bound and I
loved
the secrecy
the madness of the needlework we prevailed until
the end when it all seemed insincere
the way your blonde tresses shrugged me off
like so much sticky renegade cum against
the turbulent rationale of a mindless situation

to a uniform looking better by disabandonment
your nazi vizer the way your perfect sultry compliment
strange vixen of the unrepentant
I caught you beneath the drunken mistletoe
passionate lung gasps into a silent night
in solo gorgeous, though bottomless volunteer
I contort the virtuous wavery of your legs
blonde and flowing like your short-cropped
gray uniform squeaks and the stern faÁade repeated

you’re impossible to feel you it all exactly all of
you tell you now
but I was crying inside every day I made love to you
and everyone knew they were all dead
you hypocrite commandancia of the ricochet

how spent is a young life in tragedies
European influence the decadence of machine guns
stucco left me reeling while the smuggled celluloid
impasto
tossed me soaring though torn away and shredded
in the end of life there is no reason and
we swore to treason by the peace ensignia
Hitler crushed it out of our guts
the contemplation of genocide, a murder
of friendly families out for cold
reason’s stoney face was railed abutment
to the injustice of the momentum

I guess she was right after all, my distant widow
through the eternal unknown will again
I kiss your smile lost on that white windowsill
with tears in your eyes how I’d wish
we’d never fought at all and you were still
wrapped in my arms living the luxury propaganda
would bring us through the freedom of speechlessness
superficially omnipresent past the barrier of
lifetimes
I can see the loaded railcannon of a gun rack railroad
station
and our final episodic victory that would send
me virtuously crackpot unallied into the heart of the
beast

with three heads he comes
with Seven crowns the Seven princes
the sins of all humanity upon his scarred and tawdry
soul
and the one thousand will rise up against him where were you then my friends?

did you die in the walls of mayhem fists clenched
and blood streaming over clay macaw
chirping perhaps mowed down by
pre-concussion winged knock-down
of artillery, mortars, machine-gun fire
exploding lights of your grounded universe
a monument of Zionistic triumph
overshadowing wing
in the spell of eruption
the stone edifice fell over
the spray crushing everything

did you lead the sheep?
against us now, but reconstituted in terror?
was the au revoir-de-chez victorious in
disenfranchising your salvation?
another victimized criminal of the war?
a flier, a shooter, a rebel, a looter?
will you gather against the stream, non-?

all of us blind can hear the blank cacophony of so
many lost amniotic souls
imploding

bombastic blast last heard
by plotters shadow-lit for weeks
explosion cast metal casings
interred, a life too close to concealment
behind crates with the ammo dump
final fire’s remnants
echoes empty

too bad the Yanks stormed in too late
last night the bombs were floral beauties
and the torrents of dead poppies are painless
loose blood seeping over fingertips.


Michael Levy
MIKMIKL@aol.com

Bio(auto)

Michael Levy’s poetry and essays can be found on many websites, journals and magazines He is a renowned guest speaker on finance, wellness and inspiration He has appeared on TV in the USA and UK and hundreds of radio stations throughout the world His New book “Invest With A Genius” is now available from all bookstores world wide See his website at http://www.pointoflife.com


The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Michael Levy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The Psalm of the Soul

Disclose no secrets oh! woeful burdens mine,
Because a mortal is only a vacant fantasy entwined,
The shams of each battle takes us on our singular way,
But it is the delights, not heartache that light our path,
Preordained by diamonds in Spirits mystical, multi-facet array

Behold; behind the heart lives a soul that sleeps in the dark,
And will kindle its light of grace when we become aware,
of magnificent illuminations in the spark
Life is authentic but the ego is a masquerade,
Life is a pledge but the intellect can breach the promise,

Somber is not our meaning and our fate is but a dream,
From ashes back to ashes, our facade our gloss from dust to dust,
Nevertheless the psalms of the soul is eternally contained,
In Gods legitimate trust.


Sharose Niedelman
iwunder@artnet.net

Bio(auto)

Sherry Niedelman, AKA Sharose, lives and writes in Southern California


The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Sharose Niedelman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author .

The Killing Tea: A Recipe

Homebrew
ancient chinese
handpick one herb
sift seed
dig root
ground-up spice
gather the holes
to magic elixer
mix with (10) parts
steam the water
pour luck cups
inhale, inhale, inhale
vapors to soothe
clean the skin
of all trouble
unwrapped silk cocoon
born from womb

great grandma ghost
ate her charcoal cake
with all the cousins

gas sponge swept bones
in bonfire bags
her killing tea

slip tooth
behind sacred walls
now silence

great grandma ghost
tomb tatoo sleeve
crack her knuckles

sing song campfires
virtual bombs
in our cookie jar

skip screams
the ways of a scream
in your reach

great grandma ghost
sipped deep,  so slow
the killing tea

wind-up the vats
sit down and gaze
at skinny sheep

the seeds they string
plastic beads to glue
hung our bones

great grandma ghost
ate her charcoal cake
with all MY cousins

sipped deep,  so slow
our killing tea
face caved history

handpick a soul
sift
dig
ground-up
gather
elix
mix
steam
pour
inhale, inhale, inhale

vapors to soothe
clean/cleanse the skin
of all trouble

womb to tomb
womb to tomb
womb to tomb
and marigold rising.


Lew Schneider
scribblew@starpower.net

Bio(auto)

I’m a late comer to the poetry scene, the first 64 years of my life unrelated to the literary arts Hopefully, I’ve made up a little bit for “lost time,” qualitatively if not quantitatively Most of my opi is on the website “Israel Lewis– Poetry and Some Prose” Amongst the prose are two autobiographies of Holocaust survivors that I helped write The poem here derives from Ana’s Story– My Life: A Holocaust Memoir I live in Rockville, Maryland.


The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Lew Schneider and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

Writing Other Peoples’ Autobiographies

Ana: The Peaceable Kingdom

It was said that an angel flew over Chelm
with a bag full of the souls of wise men
The bag tore and all the wise souls fell out And so (with Yiddish irony) it came to pass,
that from such prodigality of sagacity
the inhabitants of Chelm are famously foolish
Ana was born in Chelm Her name was Chana then The people
didn’t know, nor were they, really different from
any other people, neither more foolish, nor wiser She was happy in the house on Lubelska
But then, drifting across Europe, the slow tide
washed over Chelm: the Depression, Polonization Her father lost his horse, the wagon Unable to endure the shame of coming home
the dread of facing the faces of his wife, six children
without a coin to buy a crust of bread, one day he did not return
Chana learned hunger
the humiliation of poverty,
Mankind’s astounding bestiality
She says, I want to leave something behind,
My story For my children, my grandchildren
Generations to come L’dor, v’dor
We work on the book in her sunlit kitchen She bakes strudel Eat, eat, she urges Wide windows look down on the yard Animals and birds
engorge themselves at feeders– a groundhog, squirrels,
the ubiquitous big crows of Maryland I expect a lion to wander in from the woods
lie down with a lamb

In the yard a small orchard– apple, cherry, and pear trees Birds eat the cherries She puts out a salt block for the deer,
fills the gazebo with carrots for the winter I say, Your neighbors must hate the deer They eat the flowers and shrubs Don’t you mind?

It’s all right, she says.


T.L Stokes
pongee7@yahoo.com

Bio(auto)

T.L Stokes is a native of the Pacific NW who followed rumors of sun to northern California The author’s work has been featured in The 2River View, Stirring, Poetry Super Highway, Little Brown Poetry, Ludlow Press, Ancient Wind Press, etc and in the upcoming Comrades Press Anthology-Uno (UK), as well as honorable mention in the Virginia Adversaria 2001 Poetry Competition.


The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by T.L Stokes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

The sound of white lightning

I don’t remember

when the night came endless for the chosen,
when all the stars were ripped from the carpet
and your tea spilled You kept trying to blot it with a white handkerchief
while the stain turned red, became a stream
curling around the rocker and under the door
The people in the next town walked with horse blinders
and whispered behind their hands All the while the little stain trickled to the street,
and the clinking of falling glasses,
the thudding of shoes–
cast like something children grow out of,
was thunder in the deaf woman’s ear
Now I can’t forget

when the dust lays her blanket down
and we pick through piles of the estate sale
gone terribly bad, gone crackers,
and who’s to sell the gleaning?
How many bones do you need?
Glasses?
Gold?
A watch perhaps?
Careful when you touch them, you’ll hear them scream I breathe with my mouth open
afraid their spirits will enter me,
that I will smell the mother pulled from her baby,
taste the river on her face–
her heart coming apart,
holding the broken tea cup,

and the tea
sinking into the rug
trickling to the street
and staining my hands
while I try to sop it up with my white handkerchief


Yonatan Zukowsky
zuks@matav.net.il

Bio(auto)

Yonatan Zukowsky currently works as a freelance writer and translator and lives in Pardess Hanna, Israel


The following work is Copyright © 2002, and owned by Yonatan Zukowsky and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsover without written permission from the author.

To a Ghetto Poet

To the little boy of the Polish ghetto
Who never saw another butterfly,
I write from a land of milk and honey
A land flowing with the wings of butterflies
To the little boy of the Polish ghetto
Who never saw another butterfly,
You were not a little boy at all
Though I always thought you so
You were a man of twenty one years,
A poet penned up in a ghetto
Sentenced to death by a Nazi fatwa You, who could look at a Shabbat candle
And see the burning bush of Moses You, to whom steam from the tea kettle
Suggested a pillar of fire to hold back Egyptian chariots,
You, who noted the last visiting butterfly to the ghetto,
And hoped for the sun’s tears to sing
Even as love hid her face You, poet of Israel
Became immortal on September 29,1944 at Oswietim
You taught us life – from the ghetto

also appears on the Ludlowpress.com