Rain and shine,
Day and night,
Anger and hope,
Thick and thin,
I don’t even know,
where to begin.
Chap stick, toothpaste,
spiders and bears.
Silly snakes slither and slide,
grilled, boiled, cooked, and fried.
All your thoughts, emotions, feelings,
falling down like orange peelings.
dolphins and dogs.
Just this way,
around the bend,
this is it,
this is the end.
~ Sara Buklan
In a still black room, filled with the soft breathing of two sisters
Each sleeping in a soothing, unhurried, utopia,
With lids innocently closed and creases smoothed,
A vibrant enemy reigns.
It slithers through the darkness.
Then with the burst of banging metals
My stomach crumbles into
A pile of old autumn leaves.
My lids stay sealed, shading the dazzling glow
As groans reach my ears; a body flips over.
Lazily a finger triumphs over the foe
And I awake into a world where the lack of sleep cannot be forgotten.
~ Frumi Cohn
This poem was inspired by a different poem I wrote while at the USHMM in Washington, DC. In the museum, there is a room with a pathway down the middle. On each side is a pile of shoes taken from people as they arrived at concentration camps. This was inspired by my journey through that room.
At the top of the pile-
Little black flats with little leather caps
On the toes. Just like mine.
They must have gleamed like stars at midnight
When she slipped them on her feet
In the store.
She must have twirled, a dancer with
Tip-toes extended, catching the light
In the mirror.
Their little leather tips must have twinkled
In the sun, wet with rain, black in night
On her journeys—
—til the last—
“Take off your pretty shoes, my dear;
Put them here, together, so they don’t get lost-
My shoes feel strange on my feet.
~ Chani Grossman
Old, new. Stop, go.
Turn here, turn around
What used to matter before
Is dead. Buried in the ground.
Beauty, pain. Colour, stone.
Buses intertwine with cars
Count to three and it’s gone
You’ve forgotten who you are
Stop, then continue to go
Start from the start
Intertwine the new and the old
To repair your broken heart.
~ Anna Shapiro
Broken windows in the dark–
Torn apart by lusty needs.
Does the pagan thirst succeed–
Or does it crumble into a used up heap?
Does it glisten like the sun–
Tempting those who have not won?
Where do these dead men go–
On the shores of milky bays,
Or do they scurry through lonely ways?
What becomes of the sharpened knives?
Are they thrown or do they die?
Where does this vicious cycle end–
In a friendly fire or a peaceful land?
~ Ariana Spalter
It started with a knot.
And over time a rope was formed
Strengthened by my toil,
Thickened by my hope.
And the grip got tighter.
And just when i thought i finally had you,
the blade hit the rope.
And you were lost.
I love that feeling that comes
During the longest night
When tiny white angels
Begin to take flight
They parachute ever so softly
Landing with barely a sound
Slowly forming a blanket
Of soft white upon the ground
But it doesn’t last for very long
This magnificent show
Because sooner or later someone walks by
And makes footprints in the snow
She was never called The Woman, only, A Woman. Her locks were long and shining and her face was pure as snow, her lips the color of berries and her eyes wide and blue. She was the one who every night took the husbands to bed and showed them what a true dance of the spirits could be. She yelled in song and praised in plenty and never knew a slap or a whip or a curse. Her needlepoint was precise and intricate and her fingers were still soft because a needle never pierced her skin. She was the one who joined the twelve of them in harmony and peace, and the jealous wives tales became untrue when she was around because they were all the same, and how can you be jealous of a woman? Her children were bright and playful and she stayed young through the fretful winters and broiling summers; her hair never grayed and her skin never creased. They wondered about her but she only lived in this town, among these twelve, silent as a whisper. She was the one they turned to when there was nothing left to put on the table, no crumbsleft in the fridge, when their men had hit them and their children misbehaved. She was there when they were mocked because they didn’t know how to add or spell or read and write, and when their backs broke from the weight of sorrow; when their mothers died and they got feverish and black. She was there most of all when they looked in the mirror, a crack splitting their faces in two and she was between the crack and holding them together tight. She would whisper in the ears of the twelve and remind them of their beautiful locks and berry lips and the songs they sang together like birds going south. They would look into the mirror, straight into her eye, and they would know who they were. They would know that they were the thirteenth.
The whole world spins around me.
faster, faster, faster.
my mind claustrophobic,
My vision is blurred
by the fog of my confusion
on the window to normality.
My only way out,
isn’t one at all.
because ropes are binding me
chaining me down,
Freedom is a fairy tale,
tasted only by those who can afford it.
But this is real life.
We’re chained to our habits
Trapped by ourselves.
To the world, we are flawless seedlings.
But through the eyes of our own,
we are scarred.
We are the slaves,
the slaves who created the fairy tales
that the worthy live in.
While we sit inside broken vessels,
susceptible to falling right through the cracks.
we are holding on.
Not to a rope.
Not to our past.
Not to our fantasies.
But to each other.
I nod my head and smile again,
The burning creases brand my skin
A scar I will forever wear,
There’s nothing left to talk about
Pretend to hear, pretend to care:
I fear my words have all run out.