Reflections on Auschwitz

I recently shared the experience of my visit to Auschwitz on December 31, 2005, with a friend of mine. It was snowing, and a fresh blanket of snow covered the landscape with a sereneness that only happens in the heart of a muffled and frigid winter. The weather made for a particularly poignant visit to an already poignant place, as I hope the photographs below will show. It was so quiet there, not very many people in attendance, and those who were, speaking in whispers so as not to disturb the past. I recall thinking that the atmosphere at Auschwitz was very peaceful.

I reflected today that my description of Auschwitz as ‘peaceful’ might have seemed a bit odd, but I said that because I think all those lost souls there have a sense of peace in seeing that there are so many people who come visit that place in order to learn, to try to understand, and to leave with a sense of hope for a better future.

Europe’s Jewry, et al.,  were betrayed by their fellow men on such a profound level, and one is reminded of the denial that was consistently waved as a false white flag for the early part of the war, because people could not believe that humans could be so cruel and so treacherous. People ostrich all too easily, when faced with uncomfortable truths, as is the wont of human nature, but they do come around eventually.

And examples such as the attempted genocide of the Jews in the Second World War is why war is a necessity at times, in order to fight the evils of the world and keep the whims and delusions of madmen at bay.

Autumn Haikus of Hope

Breath forms in the air,
Picked up by Pacific wind –
Whispered sweet nothings.

stormStorms rage on the horizon.
Hot tea warms my heart
and hands, and thoughts of you.

One apple

An orchard empty of fruit,
Save one ruby red apple
That hangs in the balance.

 

Carry On My Wayward Son

Kailua and WaimanaloMy Dear Boy.

I realized after I called the world a pregnant bitch,
That I was being profoundly selfish,
Thinking of my own needs and wants,
And my own feelings,
Neglecting the crux of the matter:
Namely, that you are on a path
That you must see through to the end.

The fear and loneliness,
Which you must be feeling right now,
I can only imagine.
And perhaps anger at those
Who would send you off,
After so many years of service,
When you were already thinking
Of a future, basking under a warm sun,
Of gin and tonics on weekends,
Of a life that would mean a home to return to,
After a long day’s work,
Year in, year out.

All that best laid plan,
thrown askew by a single email:

Dear {First Name} {Last Name}:

You are going to A-.
Thank you for being a man.

Sincerely,

The Detailer.

The walls of a cozy reality,
Came crashing down, like Jericho,
After being marched around for 22 years,
Upon reading that hateful message.
No, I cannot imagine how you must feel.

And I am sorry that I have reacted so poorly,
As to be an unsupportive friend.
My hand is still held out,
to hold some of that fear,
Confusion,
Anxiety,
Misery,
Guilt,
Failure,
And ease those burdens from your tired shoulders,
Because I cannot take them away.

But I can be a walking staff,
That, you, my wayward son
Can carry,
And help you find peace,
When you are done.

*here’s to positive thoughts, faith, and hope, that all is well in Guam*

 

That pregnant bitch of a world

I’m in a cocoon, wrapped in self-doubt and misery,
Wondering why everyone tells me to give up on you,
That one year is too long to wait,
That you never felt anything for me,
That it all was just a pipe dream,
Something that the Caterpillar made up
To distract Alice from her task at hand.
(I thought, nay, I know, my task is you…
and a Pandora bit of hope still has faith in that, in you)KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Waiting for you to come to a decision is sheer hell.
I am completely immobilized by waiting to hear from you.
Wanting to hear from you.
Missing you.
Missing our games of Scrabble,
While discussing the finer nuances of kitchen bitching,
And games of 52 pick up with wasabi peas and chopsticks.

What happened that everything came to a full stop,
When things were rolling merrily along?
They’re going like a bloody nose now,
Fast and furious,
And twisted pieces of tissue stuffed up nostrils.
I feel like a bloody walrus.
Why did one piece of news suddenly narrow in your world,
So that you felt your future rapidly diminish?
The only certainties that I can offer are support, friendship, acceptance, and trust.
And aren’t those enough?

I am sacrificing chickens to the gods,
So that you have the courage to accept those certainties,
And I am turning sacrifices into stews
Meant to be slurped in cold September rains.
I won’t really eat them in the rain;
No, I’ll sit and slurp, and watch the drizzle
Wash the pigeon shit off of my patio,
And wonder whether I can still wriggle my toes,
When my soul seems to have succumbed to frostbite.

You are making me re-evaluate everything,
this very moment in time.
I want my future twinned to yours,
strands of a silken rope tied to a bed,
in a nautical knot,
bodies writhing in ecstasy.
And if that is not meant to be,
Then I must go forth into that pregnant bitch of a world,
And look for meaning in the cups of old men,
Whose beards bear the mark of the last dregs of wine from the vat.

But before all that,
Before I kneel at the altar of remorse and self-pity,
Bedecked in withered roses,KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA
Smelling faintly of the salty tang of the sea,
I will keep faith,
In you,
That all that excrement and misery,
Will be staid by your hand,
At your command,
And I will be for you,
And you for me.