Two Poems

The following are two poems, “Outward Bound–No Roof” and “Dachau,” I published long ago in a journal called Tiger’s Eye. These versions may differ slightly from the ones that appeared in the journal because I can’t find my contributor’s copy. Enjoy.



The way it felt in the hotel

The first night


After being in the woods

For a week



Under stars and branches


Walls of air

Boulder furniture


How we felt trapped

By ceilings


And walls and doors

To halls to nowhere


Everything was inside out

Safer in the woods.


Perhaps an inkling of what

The tiger feels in his cage.


And we were only out there

A week.


There was a comet streaking

Through the black night


We could see it that clear night

Blurred tail


Streaking but oh so still

Made of ice and rock


But that is not what a comet is

Only what it is made of.




Standing in line to pay

To see a death camp


Reading the historical displays

With a fellow American


Dressed in camouflage quipping

About how all this is exaggerated.


How they were experimented upon

Like we do to rats, injections


Pressures as if humans were not

Were merely substances without soul


Without meaning, merely used

Merely means to their ends.


There was a small wooden bridge

Over a quiet stream


Then came the crematorium

The shower nozzles that never


Tasted water

The cement walls and floors


It was a beautiful fall day

Blue sky, green leaves


We walked back over the bridge

To see the bunkhouses


My sister-in-law, very pregnant,

Was getting tired.


I thought of those photos

The unbearable emaciated men

Scarecrow skeletons looking

Through you, through God


I remembered a black and white

Documentary, body piles pushed


Into holes by bulldozers

Like logs rolled, inert limbs.


There was no way to fathom

How could you go home?


The camouflaged man

Still smirked


German women selling things

Exuded a preposterous air


They did not want to know

How could you know?


What can Zen do

With the Shoah?


We walked up the bitter path

To the tangled sculpture


And then my sister-in-law said

“The baby just kicked.”


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