The statue of starving, granite figures
grasp against the Bavarian blue sky.
I stop there, pause,
can't go on any longer,
Germany glides past me.
Tall, long-storied houses
line the banks of the Danube.
We drift, at night,
I imagine I live long ago,
and that I row a boat with my goods
past houses shuttered to me.
I can't look anymore.
Download, then hit delete,
usually I check, look one more time,
but not this time.
Days later, and I can't look.
I thought it had not affected me.
Walking around, taking notes for a story,
taking photos of a place that is not beautiful,
listening to a guide tell us of the horrors.
Only once, alone in the cement corridor
of the VIP prison unit did I feel
what went on here.
And I almost ran towards the light
coming from the door ajar at the end of the corridor.
Even at night, alone in a hotel room
with the TV in German for comfort
and an empty bowl of tomato soup,
I did not feel it.
Then aboard a luxury river liner,
with too much food served and prepared,
I can't look.
Months later, the words still won't come.
The article is unwritten,
there are too many words to express it.
By day you feel the long forgotten brown buildings,
long torn down,
at night, one can only imagine what you'd feel.
Churches, a synagogue line the end of it,
prayers for peace, prayers to cleanse the ground.
There's a statue, yet another, of a prisoner,
skinny in his garb of oversized coat:
'Den toten zur ehr
Den lebenden zur mahnung'
A homage to the dead,
a warning to the living.
Hit delete, once, over and over again.
The brown buildings exist.
The houses glide past.
I imagine I'm a man in another life.
(Published on Big Bridge 2009 issue)