Man’s Search for Meaning

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I am number 119104

Moses told me to stay, his word echoing across centuries

Honor thy father and thy mother, declared the stone words-which,

Eternal; prophesied my long days on earth.

We, humans, departed, carted, from possessions parted

To hell by another name not so sweet, Auschwitz

We were concentrated-crammed into tiny train cars headed to concentration camps

Lined, searched and stripped—then teased and stripped naked,

The only relief the water pouring from the faucets as we stand completely naked

Our friends are smoke, bitter acrid acid smoke floating to the “Heavens,

Smoke is death and death is cigarette smoke floating to the heavens.

We, blank, battered, broken, beaten by baseless banalities-

Life meant nothing, corpses are gory rag dolls unwanted

Dragged bump bumping on the cold earth, earth so cold that we are numb,

Toes blackened, no scream as gangrenous black toes are torn

I am number 119104

 

Human no longer, but masses of bodies clumped nine to a wooden pallet

Shaking in nightmarish throes because it is better to live in a nightmare than wake,

To the living hell, our skeletal bodies clicking and clacking caricatures of death coming closer

Psychics all we could see death, coming closer. Nothing mattered, nothing but preservation

Of self, even biting bloodied lips to hold in bloody laughter as the bloody Capo conjures pathetic poetry

We, baser creatures, dropped into hellish nightmares break, but not all for

Et Lux In Tenebris Lucet-and light shines in the darkness and so fated,

We, cows, cowed by constant callousness head to Dachau aboard a train

Each straining to glimpse a future through small windows, I strain to see my home in flashes

Seeking salvation but the words beat me back and the past is swept away

But we dance, for the train is not headed to slaughter and we will not die today

Et Lux in Tenebris Lucet- light shines in the darkness

 

But even battered, broken, beaten there is still beauty.

For, we said “how beautiful the world could be” when blessed

With a solemn sunset splattering the red blood, blue veins,

 purpled bruises and angry black hate across the skies

like some maddened painter splashed us across the skies.

“How beautiful the world could be…

Be my wife, I remember asking her to be, to say I do,

I due to death but no longer as she rescued me

Giving me life and reason though her life is uncertain

We commune as one and my wife and I are become one

She is my tree of life, giving me the courage to face the world

Like the dying woman smiling silent tears streaming as she goes,

Her only friend her hallucination in which the tree talks

 

Doctors of death, dealing in denial we can’t escape our patients

Patiently planned escape not fated but ended with rotten potatoes

not freedom, but freedom found bound within barbed wire confinement

Suffering acquiring meaning and life becoming purposed, fated

No longer disease wracked suicidal starvation but rather sacrifice,

Bleeding heart no longer numbed but raw, reality rapidly realized

Endless hate in sadistic flesh sacs, demons walking in flesh of capos

Brothers in race but venomous snakes measured against momentary

Kindness in soup from the bottom or saved morsels of bread broken

The very best of us did not survive.

 

 

Then suddenly, Freedom.

Nothing.

Faltering steps through fields of flowers…

Nothing

But slowly we wake wondrously to reality,

The nightmare is over for most,

No more “Soup from the bottom please”

Or “Attention, Attention” and alarms

No more death smoke rising silently

I step, after faltering step

Through a field of flowers and fall.

“I called to the Lord from my narrow prison and he answered me in the freedom of space”

“I called to the Lord from my narrow prison and he answered me in the freedom of space”

“I called to the Lord from my narrow prison and he answered me in the freedom of space”

I am human again.

Subspecies aeternitas.

The future has finally arrived.

 

 

 

 

Destined to Fly

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She is a hawk, fierce and proud and free.

Light as air but her gaze is heavy.

Plumage perfect, the sunlight seeing

the subtle selection of her colors.

Her wings, long and graceful—

 

But clipped.

 

Flight feathers torn by invisible ghosts.

Body chained by devilish doubts,

that send her crashing down.  

Each time she leaps and drowns,

sinking, sinking, sinking.

 

Bruised brittle bones threaten to break

but she struggles and falls, and then again

never stopping, always leaping, reaching

slowly building faith, until finally—

the chains break, the heavy doubt, dust

her earthly prison no more

 

She is a hawk, proud and free

Born destined to fly

The Runners (Partner Poem)

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Co-written with hastywords

 

The phantom highways

Stretch before us

High speed, racing towards
A destination we can’t see yetOur feet are weightless,
each step covers miles
and yet we are going nowhere
endlessly running

Weariness threatens us
On our endless destination
Urging each other forward
Holding each other up

We are so real, so poignant
but only paint brushed on canvas
bursting with life and color
an endless moment captured

The earth under our feet
The sky our sunlit canopy
Never a more beautiful picture
Captured, a living symphony

She strokes our surface, lovingly
as she paints our moment, her dream
Her wheelchair creaking softly
as her brush dances
and a tear traces a path
to her smiling lips

 

Chapter One-The Nightmare

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The room was filled with balloons and the floor was carpeted with bubble wrap. The balloons looked like normal balloons but seemed to bob strangely in the air, as if filled with something. A small child is huddled in the corner of the room, fearfully facing the only exit to the room; a large red door. The door begins slowly begins to open, creaking loudly in the process but  no one but the small boy seems to notice. The door then shuts and the balloons and dancing guests part as an invisible force makes it’s way towards the young boy, the bubble wrap crackling with each step. The small boy whimpers and his lips can be seen mouthing “Stay strong my boy, Stay strong my boy”.

His lips quiver as he keeps muttering the mantra under his breath, eyes fastened fearfully on the advancing force. Then clenching his fist, he resolutely faces the creature as if determined to face whatever challenge comes his way. Suddenly the balloons start exploding violently, spewing puffs of color into the room. POP! POP! POP! Each pop shattering the silence like a shotgun blast. The colored fog that billows from the balloons eats up the air in the room and transforms it into a mystical shadow land, the chairs, tables and people acquiring almost ethereal qualities as they are consumed by the fog.

In the fog that is created, a silhouette can be seen. A blank area where the fog can con penetrate, and it is advancing on the young child who is now standing, fist clenched and face scrunched in concentration. The crowd, oblivious to the action bursts into song “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday dear Kevin…” The happy joyous song striking a sour chord, each burst of merriment underscoring the young child’s advancing death. The irony of a celebration of life on the eve of his death seemed to register on the young child’s mind. He glances fearfully at the incoming  menace and then with a shout charges into the mist hoping to get lost in the crowd and make his escape through the door. He moves faster than he has ever moved before, running as if he has gained wings, but before he can even reach the edge of the crowd the shadow is upon him. He can feel the cold clammy hands gripping his neck and drawing him back as if by sheer force of will. He struggles, his legs pistoning and arms flailing but it’s as if the very air is against him and he is drawn back inexorably to his doom.

His flailing starts to slow and his body begins to grow limp. There seems to be no escape. Then from the resounding silence that had come after the balloon explosion and songs, a voice booms out, filling the room with sound.

“Boy! The whistle, blow the whistle boy! Remember what your father said, when facing death, blow the whistle!!”

The boy, moving as if through thick jello reaches for his chest where the whistle hangs. His hand rests on his heart for a moment and he can feel his heart trying to rips it’s way out of his chest. Grabbing the whistle and struggling to bring it to his lips even as the invisible hand crushes is throat, he blows with all the air left in him. The whistle’s piercing scream fills the air and the room is consumed by it. Time stops and the room is silent it the midst of the sound, each person frozen as they were. Then the aura of death, darkness and confusion is shattered and so is the room and everything else in it.

Still screaming, the echo of the whistle still ringing in his head, Kevin lurches upright, hitting his head on the top bunk. Panicked he looks around, eyes darting from place to place, thoughts running rampart in his head like stampeding buffalo. Where am I? What’s going on? Who…?

The realization hits him as he look around and sees the walls of his room and the scrunched up sheets laying in disarray and his bed that looked as if it was the victim of an aggravated assault. Sweat drips from his face and he rolls over and wipes it on his pillow in disgust and whispers “Why does this keep happening?”

A Poem For Faith (My Sister)

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Sometimes life hits you hard, 

a sucker punch right to the heart

Sometimes the sun dims

and your nightmares come true

Sometimes your eyes are screaming

but no one can hear

Sometimes you look down and only

your steps mark the sand

Sometimes all you can do is cry

and hope for a better tomorrow

 

But remember you are never alone

 

Remember we only fall to remember

why standing is so sweet

Remember that all nightmares

must end when the sun come out

Remember who you are 

and what it is you believe

Remember that it is OK to cry

but never to give up hope

Remember your name

Remember above all else,

you are loved

I want a Name

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Where do names come from?

When the storks drop perfect babies fresh born at where the road of life forks

Do they come with perfect baby labels that grow up to be names?

If so how does the stork bear the weight of a name, a name with all the history and power?

And how do they choose which heavy name to put on which baby as they lay cradled by clouds

Each face cherubic and soft, their spirits naught but a whisper in the wind of time

How do these storks know to give one a soft name like Isabelle and another a hard name like Richard

Though both are identical in perfection

Or maybe the babies choose in their blind curiosity as they crawl and giggle in the unknown, their chubby fists clutching forever clutching until they find a name

I wonder how do the storks carry such a heavy weight and travel through the world of impossibility and brave the winds of time to reach the forks of life’s road

But we all know that storks don’t exist except for in our minds where we conjure them to explain away the things we are too young to grasp

So now I ask like when I asked my mother where babies came from and she told me that one day she felt sick and threw up and there I came

But even then with my infantile mind still a landscape of bizarre colors and fantastic imaginings that I can now only reach through the release of my dreams I knew there was more

Even then I knew that there was more than a simple purge to bring me into this world screaming

In the dark recess of my mind I had a shadow of the memory of the shadow of the memories shadow of the pain of birth

Now with science and teachers I know what happened though I may have known more as a child who believed that his mother threw him up into the world and tried making his own babies but they would only splatter the ground in a mess and never rise to speak

So now I ask again, where do names come from?

But I am afraid that maybe we are too young to understand our human minds still too infantile to grasp the concepts and so we say only that God one day felt bad and puked out Abraham, Faith, Enoch, Moses and Joseph

Our black and white minds straining to recapture the dream within a dream that is the creation of our name of ourselves but the colors are too bright and we can not grasp it

So we create storks in our black and white worlds to carry our black and white names and miss the beauty of what those names are

We forget that lurching stumbling search of our birth as we looked for a name in that formless darkness before we were

The pain of the battle we fought to be who we are our toddler fists bashing into toddlers faces as we grasped in that darkness for a self

And when we grasped it and became Jack, Jill, John or Jacob that exquisite release of self and presence and knowledge of who we are

But then we were dropped by the stork and born to the world and in the blood, pain confusion we lost our name and we lost our color

And we gooed and gaaed in a blank black and white world crying for something we can not remember to miss or forget to remember, the ember in our hearts hurt

Burning with the desire for our names and ourselves that we fought for and won for

That name that whispers dirty secrets in our souls and is who we are and where we are going

We can not understand nor can we stand it, so we kill ourselves and each other in search of our names hoping that fighting like we fought before time was born will help us remember to forget

But even as we paint this black and white world red with the blood of our crying children we can not capture the names because we still think that one day God felt bad and threw up our names

So we fight on and on puking and puking trying to make our own names with the blood but it only splatters to the ground again and again

And we like the child that could not understand why he couldn’t make babies of his own to love and cherish can not understand why we can not make names for ourselves

Just as a mothers screams stirs the shadow of a memory of the pain of birth so too does the beautiful agony of music whisper the memory of our names to our souls

And art is the painting of the reflection of a shadow’s reflection of our names painted in a moonless midnight but with just enough light that we can almost see the colors

As I write now my fingers pulsing with blood and my eyes dancing and blurring on this page I can almost see my name

My name and my pain and myself given birth to by God, ripped out of the substance of the universe and bound to my corporeal self making me immortal

So that when my blood is spilt and my body is a memory of ashes floating through an imaginary wind I will still have my name to remind me who I am.

Maybe then after thousands and thousands of years of existing as a memory as a name passed down through the ages and gaining in wisdom I will finally be old enough to know

And then I too will scoff and laugh at the thought of God one day feeling bad and puking out my name

Then I will realize that spilling blood in a killing flood is not how to remember

Or maybe just maybe the next time I am born and bear this name that will last forever, maybe, just maybe, I will forget to forget.