Category Archives: Poetry

Kalman Lis: World Why Are You Silent

When you have not the right words yourself, share the words of another. -hrg

I know this will be no more than a poem,
a poem formed in rhythm and rhyme,
perhaps it will speak to the spirit
and not be just a poem wasting time..

For can there be any sense and worth
in the wielding and clashing of swords,
bloodied again and again
cutting wounds in the heart of earth

But still a force in me drives to act
like the eagle tears cages to fly to the field
a wolf fights his trap to flee to the forest
and the trunk of the oak sends blossom to branch

cell_block_11
Cell block 11 at Auschwitz Concentration Camp. (Photo Credit/H.R. Gordon)

Where is your heart and your conscience world?
Give heed to the beatings of killers!!
See the Jew for he has planted your field
with growth of love and spirit.

The Jew because he’s just a Jew
and not German, -not Aryan pure
but he whose child’s sign is Semite
has dared to birth God himself.

Oh world why are you silent, come and see,
the Hun going wild on your lap,
who has after one thousand years of cultural age
revealed he is Woton in savage rampage.

So what if he presents himself now as refined
and instead of animal pelt he wears clothes,
a brown buttoned sleek uniform
he spreads hate speech to poison minds?!

So what if only yesterday he was

work-sets-you-free
The gates to Auschwitz read “Work sets you free.”

a Goethe, Beethoven and Kant,
toda he is a wild fire that burns
Any trace of free spirit in the land.

Oh world I call to you and I will not tire,
though I’m a fool to hope for your help –
I am after all no more than a Jew
with faith in more than the strength of himself

See the boots of the brute that trample on him.
and where there’s a whip, it falls on his skin,
Yet one thing I still own and believe in –
my faith in the red dawn of tomorrow.

But my faith defies reality
which beats hail on me in this life.
Oh world, I might as well tear out all my hair
and run wild like the gone-crazy wife.

Who one night on the way to “no man’s land”
driven by a pack of brown dogs,
with her own hands inside her womb
tried to tear out the child from herself

Oh horror – she could not tie the cord,
attached to the navel, carried in terror
and finally with curses from her mouth
fell dead on the unknown road

Oh world forgive that I now sing so gray
and draw scenes for you gruesome, and dark.
I wanted a song – but these words are true
just now come from my crucified heart.

 

This poem, and my others, can be found on Poetry in Hell. The website is filled with poems from the Warsaw Ghetto and elsewhere that was collected by the “Oneg Shabbat Society” under the leadership of Emanual Eingelblum. They were secretly preserved and buried in the Warsaw Ghetto during Nazi occupation. 

Day 4

Tonight you said you were glad it’s over.
I got in the bath and when it was time to get out, I watched the water chug down the drain—slowly.
I wonder how long we let ourselves chug towards a cliff—seeing the end but not believing it and refusing to jump off the train because we already laid the track so far ahead.

I only wish we had laid more tracks.

A Pause in Thought

I’ve hit a bump in the road
A brick in the wall
A fork in the path,
If you will.
I’ve sacrificed my creative tongue
For an early nights sleep
Maybe I’m finally just too happy.
My words are accustomed to
A cynical tone, sometimes defensive,
Often in pain.
But I’m happy now,
And I can’t seem to channel
The way I used to feel into
Words worth reading
And now I’m stuck.
I will not pen poems of roses and rainbows—
No. that is not who I am. That is not my poetry.
My voice pulls out the harsh reality.
But somewhere between falling in love and moving to a beautiful place,
I have lost my sight, my vision so clear of the pain and suffering so many endure—what I used to feel daily.
So I write.
I write now in hopes of bringing a voice back.
In hopes of channeling my inner monologue to say something profound…
Or worth reading at the very least.

-HRG

NaPoWriMo

So I just found out about NaPoWriMo, and I’m wondering how I came this far in life without knowing it.

I know I’m five days late, but I think I’m going to participate. I’ll try to step up my game and double up on five days so I end up with 30 poems at the end of the month.

So follow for some intense poetry this month!

HRG

Ordinary

It was all very ordinary. 
We’re all just breathing in and out if time with each other hoping that someday someone takes our breath away.

He was certain he would fall asleep next to many beautiful girls time and time again, but he was also certain that they wouldn’t be her

He told her he missed her. Her heart was preoccupied missing the place she hadn’t left yet.

Travel

Going away should be easy
After all, I don’t care much about anyone else.
I’ll have the time of my life
And blow all my money
And when I’m good and done,
I’ll come home and he’ll be waiting
for Me. because he loves Me.
Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.
Except when I go out, He never
leaves my thoughts and
When I lay in bed, on the verge of tears,
It’s because I miss his touch.
And when my friends speak to me
and interrupt my thoughts of him, I get
angry and defensive,
As if they knew he was occupying every speck of brain power
I held.
They didn’t know.
How could they?
Young fools who know nothing of true love.
I can’t hold it against them, though.
I knew nothing not to long ago.
And then He kissed me, and my days
of ignorant bliss and selfishness were over.
All I’ve wanted since that first kiss was his lips on mine. Forever.
But that sensation is still 80 days away.
And my heart continues to ache.
HRG

I am yours

I want you to write your thoughts on my body. I’ll be your journal.
Tattoo your words on my skin with stained fingertips
Carve the words I love you with your lips
Dream your dreams across my face
And when you need a break, scribble on the tops of my feet,
The bottoms are reserved for your innermost secrets that you don’t want to see the light of day.
Project your life story onto my shoulders and I will carry it as my cross to bear if only to relieve you of the burden.
My body is your canvas.
Your tongue is the pen.

HRG

You’ve got too much on the line

Don’t mind the man behind the pen
He’s only got what you can’t have.
Blank pages are filled
With the words of this poet,
Words of disparity and love,

The black lines dripping from your eyes
Say that I’ve missed so much more
Than you let on.
Don’t cry, baby, don’t cry
You’ve got too much on the line.

Hold back the tears with those
Bloodstained hands
And the will to fight back
If you only can.
And the love from him will slip, slip away

Into the world of politicians screaming
“We’re waiting for a change.”
And each pin-up girl stuck to the
Decrepit walls of the backstage.

Send the men to their deaths.
It’s coming soon no doubt.

Jump off the cliff into the sky,
Free fall.
But don’t cry
Baby, don’t cry.

-HRG

A way to kill her: painless or not

Where the wall meets the pane
No one can explain
The crack running down the side
We’ve all just lied.

Send the children off to bed
Before everyone’s dead,
Before the virus meets your head.
This is what you dread:

Friends become your foes.
You’re just another Jane Doe.
Killed, dropped down
To the undertow.

-HRG

Human

Sometimes it takes
A knock down
A rejection
A twinge of pain in your cold, steal heart
To remind you that you are human and there is no denying it.

-HRG