MAP 58

This week's theme: The Holocause: the sequel.

Submissions for Issue #55 theme: The Holocaust, were just too voluminous to include all the many good works, too important to waste. You poets are totally awesome, and I thank each who submitted. I still don't have the space to print all submissions. For possible poem placement related to this theme, check out the "Nazi Hunter" website in "Cool Web Sites section VI.

Upcoming themes:

Issue #59 - Ars Poetica: Poetry about Poetry

Issue #60 - What are you doing New Year's Eve?

Issue #61 - New Years Resolutions: Honey, I promise to change my lowdown ways.

Issue #62 - Cartwheel-Challenged Poets (All submissions eligible for anthology: "Why I Wasn't A Dallas Cheerleader or It's Hard to Write When Spinning")

And now, on to the featured poetry.

1. The first poem is by Jeramiah Frick, of Houston. Jer's father was among the American soldiers who liberated Buchenwald.

From, "Unspoken Dreams Recalled:

The Fields of Buchenwald".

To: Papa Edward, the gentlist man

I ever knew.

Around the tender age of five,

I remember the first time.

Your horrific night screams

Stirred me from innocent slumber.

Mama would comfort me and say,

Your Papa has had a bad dream,

We are here for you, we will always be

Here for you.

As young boy, I didn't really know much

About my father, in his crisp military uniform.

I knew he stayed at our side when the

Measels & Whooping cough wracked my tissues.

I knew he was fun when he took us

Into the yard and spun us around airplane style.

Papa always provided the sense

That he would be there for us.

Only when I became a man, and still heard

Those night screams & fearful muffled mutterings,

Did I understand Patton's Mission for him;

To verify a Nazi's hidden atrocity...

When His MASH unit was sent...

In the horror of war enthralled

Years later

His unspoken dreams recalled

They had harvested the Fields of Buchenwald.

2. And from Alan Kaufman, of San Francisco - and PLEASE see Alan's letter in the announcements section.

WHO ARE WE?

Into the past

I go like a stranger

to discover why at night

I lay alone as a child

waiting for the front door

to slam, my father gone

to night-shift work,

and my mother, Marie, to enter,

unable to sleep, and tell me

tales of childhood

war, pursued by those

who, as she spoke,

seemed to enter the room,

Gestapo men in leather coats

who ordered me to pack

and descend to a waiting truck,

for I am still going to Auschwitz

though a grown man in 1998

I am still boarding the freight,

crushed against numbed, frightened

Jews and Gypsies and Russian

soldiers and homosexuals

crossing frontiers to be gassed

I am her, in my heart,

though I am six feet two

and two hundred and ten pounds

and have played college football

and served as a soldier

and have scars from fights

with knives and jagged

bottles smashed on bars

I am still her, little girl,

hiding in chicken coops

and forests, asleep on dynamite

among partisans

I am still her, brushing teeth

with ashes

from the ruins of nations

gutted in war

I am still her brown eyes

and black hair of persecution

foraging scraps of thistle soup,

a star-shaped patch

sewn to my shirt

I am still my mother

every day in the streets

of New York or San Francisco,

the chimney skies glow and swirl

with soot like night above

a crematorium, or the Bronx

incinerator chute where I

threw out trash in a brick

darkness shooting sparks

I am still her in the streets

of Berkeley, walking among

sparechangers, dyed-hair punkers,

gays in stud leather, Blacks,

Mexicans and Asians

I am still her rounded up

among poets and thieves

and politically incorrect

social deviants

on sun-drenched sidewalks

in the Mission and the Haight,

Greenwich Village, the Lower

East Side, or anywhere the weird

congregate in tolerance

And every day in this age

of intolerance,

in a mental ghetto

affirmed by the homeless,

I pass the dying

with the loud ring of my boots,

ashamed to think that perhaps

my heels are the last thing

they heard

Every day I am a

survivor of AIDS and poverty

Every day I sit in cafes

watching tattoos turn to numbers

and I grow angry

I want America back

I want America to be

the home I never had

And you, who are you

if you hear my voice?

Who are you, stranger

if you read these words?

Who are we

who stand threatened

in these times of darkness?

Who are we, condemned to die,

who do not know ourselves

at all?

3. From Jerry Shepperd of Austin

AFTER SEEING PICTURES OF AUSCHWITZ

Wire-strung posts curve elegantly skyward,

Tuned to unspoken sounds of suffering.

No need to pluck or strum these strings: The groan

Of unending time forces its tune from

Instruments of hollow, empty bodies.

Corpses walk among the buildings. Where are the

Laughing children, the sounds of play? No cries

Of pain, rage, frustration identify

These as living, breathing humans.

Guards, equally empty,

Silent, are changed into something less,

Before invoking the final solution.

4. From Ian Reed of West Yorks, England

Tears for Primo Levi

====================

Fifty-three years and language separate me from history; his story.

Language had no words for the damage done to a whole people, only to

individuals.

They invented a new terminology in Auschwitz-Birkenau,

Buna, Belzek, Sobibor, Treblinka, Chelmno, Majdanek, Buna and Dachau,

a new way to chronicle the abomination of desolation,

the darkness foretold in the scriptures and realised for successive

generations

to wonder at, to study in school, to say never again. Until the next time.

Yet, separation aside, his writing still has the capacity to move me, stay

me, bring me to a tear filled halt;

Those foreign sounding words, now so frighteningly familiar, cry out with an

appalling beauty

Musselmann, Kapo, Wstavac, Prominenz, Häftling, Selection, Shoa.

Words for concepts in cruelty,

lessons in violent aberration,

propositions in mass hysteria,

which this survivor could only paint a word picture of.

A terrible, gentle, cruel, reflected image of what men become

when they cease to be men and become instead, numbers. Six figure numbers.