am disturbed by reminders -- in the many selections submitted for
this week's featured theme, The Holocaust; in the
electronically-circulated "Anti-Hate Crime Law" petition
spawned by the murder of 21-year-old Mathew Shepherd in October; in
Ciro's "Casting the first stone" posting on the slam family
list serve -- that human intelligence has yet to vanquish man's
inhumanity to man. To the many whose intent it is to prevail through
your art, your words, your good examples, your deeds of kindness and
compassion, I dedicate this issue to you.
week's theme: The Holocaust
to all who generously offered your work.
for #56: Return of the lost sonnets
for #57: There's no place like home for the holidays
to this week's theme, The Holocaust.
100 years ago, Heinrich Heine, a Jewish poet from Dusseldorf, wrote:
"...where books are burnt/Man will soon burn human beings."
In May of 1933, more than 25,000 books were burned in Berlin alone,
including works by Helen Keller, whose response was, "Tyranny
cannot defeat the power of ideas."
I visited the U.S. Holocaust Museum in D.C., I copied this headline
from a Nov. 11, 1938 reproduction of The Dallas Morning News:
"Hysterical Nazis Wreck Thousands of Jewish Shops, Burn
Synagogues in Wild Orgy of Looting and Terror. Policeman Refuse to
Halt Organized Riots in Germany". The nationwide pogrom became
known as "Kristallnacht", the Night of Broken Glass.
weeks ago I attended a commemorative service of Kristallnacht at
Texas Hillel. Guest speaker was Margret Hofmann, an eye witness. Ms.
Hofmann wrote: "...between the burning of the books and the
burning of the people, the Nazi government instigated the notorious
Kristallnacht, the 'Night of Broken Glass'. It was this event which
set the stage for the fulfillment of Hitler's predictions..."
are the featured poems
Frank C. Edwards III wrote "One Little,Two Little" after an
incident at his place of employment. When he slammed at the Electric
Lounge recently, I scored him a 10 and asked him to send it for the
Little, Two Little
pull the images out like redwood splinters.
camps. Walking skeletons. Final solutions.
minds wrestle with broken glass,
wire. Human ash snowflakes. Straight-armed salutes.
what category do you put atrocity?
lexicon defines it, contains it,
it well enough to allow sleep?
cruelty. Human experimentation. Ethnic purity.
Little, Two Little, Three Little Holocausts.
hate-crime. Holocaust fourth-quarter playoff game. Holocaust ice
it metaphorical, comfortable,
for those under 13.
a way to make it uplifting. Salable. Tasteful.
a hero. Salvage human dignity every 7 minutes or so.
makes repeats impossible, right?
it for your own crime.
it ever happened.
the victims - use Jew as a verb.
an infant torn ankles-first from her mother and ripped in half.
the quicklime hole, filled with water
naked faces built like yours, boiling alive.
to collect empty clothes, shirts on the right, pants on the left,
are scheduled later.
the parallels, efficiencies, congruent trends.
it Holocaust, Shoah, Ancient History.
it away carefully. Mention it to vacant God.
the video, on sale everywhere.
© 1998 by Frank C. Edwards III
Frank Pool, AIPF Chairman, visited the U.S. Holocaust Museum in D.C.
recently. One of the exhibits is a bin of shoes.
shoes were made to endure, but not to last
many years. The old leather sags into a softness
animal origin. Wasn't it Einstein who said a physicist
be a cobbler, one who should theorize at the last
punching with his awl? What a Jewish science
would make, humming in the shetl, smelling bread
in the ovens across the street, little gingerbread
in there, philosophizing. I have seen the pictures,
and moving, and wound my way in slow progress
mostly silent crowds. The energy in a mass
old leather sucks light from the white corridor. Brown
mostly, made for concrete streets and bare floors,
for endurance in ghettos, in dim poverty--
the open-toed summer sandals, the girls' shoes,
elegant ones, gleam a muted white in an expanding
of brown. The photos keep their sepia tones,
cosmos of black and white, and black and white,
brown shoes, and brown shirts, and black ashes
in the continuum of time. I have seen many
these images before. But I can smell the shoes,
reek of slaughtered cattle, fashioned for the feet
walked this earth, our moral planet, coming now
rest in their pairs, in their mountains of silence.
every shoe, an emptiness, a man or woman or child
out, absent to the very last, to their Jewish souls.
Mike Cluff of So. Cal. read this poem at Nap Jam 2.
TECHNIQUES: SUNDAY MORNING
the Nazis at Buchenwald,
was no other way out,"
Polish-Ukranian, this assualted
I hearing right
my grandparents' past
alive here in Bastrop,
half hour or so southeast of Austin
friend, chin now clutching the ever-so-slightly chipped
in an accented whisper,
is good you are not
people would not accept
we needed to do back then."
do, hindsight is too judgmental
and the other he
what they had to do
myself clean in
let myself continue living
is it really?)
have a friend in Fresno,
pathetically, pathologically, politically correct
his So Cal days,
I had lived in Hilter's Germany,
would have never accepted
would have died instead."
has always been the Zionist
will refuse to be
the visual epitome
the Aryan race.
I will internally disagree
never vocalize this thought around him
oppressed's need to live----
skin is important,
you blame a breast-flat mother
a corpse's purse
the option is to have your own thumbs
off by skittish horses
out in four different directions
gas ...gypsies, Cathoilic, homosexuals
1998 Mike Cluff
From Alan Kaufman of San Francisco, who notes "my mother was a
Mother Doesn't Know
Allen Ginsberg Is
she asks by phone "Is that your friend from Israel?"
a famous poet" I explain. "I've been invited with
and Kathy Acker to a Jewish festival in Berlin."
says my mother, her voice cross "This is a Jewish name?"
Mother doesn't know
Allen Ginsberg is.
doesn't know who Anne
is, or Charles Bukowski.
mother doesn't know that I make
kind of living on stages
my heart out
strangers at five hundred dollars a pop,
that there's some debate about whether
not what I and others like me do should be considered
My mother was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942.
was 12 then. She's 60 now. She lives in Florida,
every so often a German tourist gets shot.
my mother, that is poetry.
mother doesn't like the idea of a Berlin
festival. She cannot understand what
feel festive about over there.
what is this 'celebration' for?" she asks coldly.
changes the subject before I can answer.
what will you do there?" she asks "Give lectures?"
read our works" I say " talk in panel discussions."
she says "In English, I hope!"
mother doesn't like the sound of German.
a funny thing" she says "I see the tourists
the beach, in their bathing suits... what could be more
But when I hear them speak I
them in uniforms, and become afraid."
mother sees Germans in bathing suits
into Germans in uniform,
my mother fears that having once
missed killing her they might yet succeed
killing me. As a child in war she saw such things
babies tossed through the air and shot.
crying angels, they looked" she says.
mother doesn't know who Allen Ginsberg is.
watches German tourists sun themselves
the shore. Sometimes they don uniforms
German language, march to her condo,
up through the intercom and order
downstairs with one suitcase con-
6 kilos of clothing, and food
a journey of three days.
mother doesn't know who
I wonder if she knows who
any Jew would ever
to go to Germany
mother doesn't know who Allen
looks older than her years
younger than the death she
manages to escape
retirement on the beaches
Florida where there are not too many
for the camps, and one is safe,
speaking, if one stays indoors,
not to be a Jew, even
mother doesn't know
Allen Ginsberg is
has tended to regard most
a kind of Disneyworld
intelligent people --
her, the 3 bolt locks
her door are more important
the collected works of Shakespeare
knows that she's supposed
appreciate books and pretends
but my mother doesn't know who
Mailer is, she doesn't know who
Angelou is, she doesn't know who
On The Road or Leaves Of Grass or The
Rowing Towards God
has seen six million of the best minds
her generation gassed and burned
is making baked fish
the oven tonight, regardless of what
father says about the smell
tossing a nice salad,
goes into the livingroom, sets down
meal on the T.V. tray, and as she eats,
through the big plate glass
filled with night, measuring the
between herself and the sprawling,
lights out there, humming the
in her throat, the prayer for the dead,
so many, many illusions dressed as life.
Note: Space shortage prevents me running other works for this week's
theme. Well, I laugh at space shortage. I'm devoting issue #58 to The
Holocaust sequel. (No more submissions on this theme, please.)