Poetry

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.

OUTWARD BOUND—NO ROOF

 

The way it felt in the hotel

The first night

 

After being in the woods

For a week

 

Sleeping

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.

 

DACHAU

 

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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