A Thought on Syria

I have to say something about this whole situation on the Syrian refugees. I just read an article that claims that Syrian or Muslim refugees are not like Jewish refugees during WWII. Their claims are that 1. there was no threat of Jewish terrorists during WWII.  I will give them that claim. However, I feel like this is such a hypocritical statement. (by default they are insinuating that these refugees are terrorists or we will let terrorists in by letting refugees in) I know, that one ideal that Jews want people to believe is that over in Israel it is only the extremists are the ones bombing Muslims and vice-versa. So, how can anyone claim, that by letting in refugees, we are letting in terrorists. Are you saying that all of these people are extremists? That is ludicrous.

Furthermore, the article claims that these people have multiple Muslim states that will take in these refugees. Whereas the Jews had no state to take them in. While that may be true that the Jews had no state to take them in, the states that these people can go to are just as bad. I HAVE worked with the children from these war torn countries. The things that they have been through and seen is horrendous. If they have the ability to come to our country or any country that is not in the Middle East, safely and legally, why deny that opportunity? When you hear these stories, about how their little sister was killed while in her school. Their father was told if came to get her body, he himself would be killed. Then, they were chased by their own army while being shot at, into Syria. When Syria became unsafe, they tried to go back to Iraq and were almost killed. Does this sound like Muslim countries they should be forced to live in? I think not.

So no,  they may not be in the exact same situation as Jewish refugees during WWII, but it is pretty damn similar. And, I feel just fine making that claim as a Jew myself. So, they have other countries, so there are extremists on their side. But, there are also humans, men, women, and children, being killed, tortured and thrown from their homes with no place to go. It is our job as humans on a side that can help to do just that, help. It is not our place to judge every person for their religion, race, or country of origin. They cannot help that they were born in Syria just as we cannot help that we were born in whatever country we originate from. And if America, or England, or some other country was in their position, I know that we would want help from whomever would offer it to us.

 

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”

~Martin Miemoller

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The Punishment House

April is National Poetry Month. So, I am going to try and write as many poems as I can. I am not promising one a day, but I will do my best.

 

The Punishment House

Tear drops spill

staining her cheek

screams reverberate

through the kitchen

hot air slices across

her back

a raised hand

she ducks

too late

a red print stamps

her shoulder

anger spews, painting

walls of-

the punishment house

 

 

Circles

I don’t think I will ever understand this thing we have come to call life, or the people that inhabit it. Three days into this new year and another precious person has been taken from this world. What I don’t understand is not the death. That is part of the life that we live. But, how so many can choose to make a mockery of this life when there are those that will never have that opportunity.

Society sings about “dying young” and fills the young ears with echoes of “get high all day”. People drive at 75 miles per hour (drunk out of their mind) smashing into innocent victims, stealing their lives, without a care in the world. (This was in our local news yesterday and is separate from the above mentioned person.)

Not only are they teaching children to devalue the only life they have, but we are making fools of those who don’t have a choice. Who were not gifted with health, and opportunity. Who are fighting with every last breath to stay alive past the age of four, twelve, twenty-eight, thirty, forty-two. Why should their lives be of any less value than others?

It is time we take a look in the large mirror of society and ask: What kind of imprint do we want to leave on our children? On the world? From where I stand the life my mother fought for, my friends fought for, and that most humans want to live every day is made a mockery by the words that we allow to be exploited in the media everyday and ingrained into young minds.

Life is not about, “Living fast and dying hard,” but rather, “You must live in the present launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment,” as Henry David Thoreau stated. Only then can we truly be happy. When we simply stop and enjoy each other, remembering the moments, not the race to the end. We will get there soon enough, some far sooner than others. Why teach children to throw it all away before it’s too late?

 

The First Bike Ride

I like empty parking lots

after fall storms.

Humid air clings to clammy skin

hard breaths puff from lungs.

Like mirages,

miniature puddles gleam in the

peaking sun.

Rays poke through-

left over clouds hanging

low,

for that last chance

shower.

Training wheels and two-wheelers

cycle ’round my memories-

shadows,

in empty parking lots

dancing after fall storms.

 

The Treasure Map

It was lost, she thought

there was no absolution.

Rippling waves-

delving deep through

glinting sand.

                                from the shadows, He spoke:

   “follow me”

   “follow me”

              corners upturned

Across August into

November

chasing casualties and

empty chests.

Locked in a labyrinth

formed from

dashes and Xes.

and

                                        from the shadows, He spoke:

          “follow me”

          “follow me”

                  pages unbound

Amongst a cascade

of willowy branches

beyond the year

and past forever.

A mahogany chest

sat patiently.

there, she thought

    in the silence

                             from the shadows, He spoke:

“follow me”

“follow me”

life unseen

Latch released, and

emptiness consumed her.

The journey forgotten,

in the end

there was

nothing.

There will be no absolution.

Sunset

I held out the flower, petals glowing like warm, melted butterscotch in the sunset-a brown chocolate center. She took it in her hand looking back at me the rose and violet from the clouds, swimming in her pale sky eyes. “Sunflowers are for girls.” She dropped it on the ground, crushed the flower with her shoe and ran off toward the darkening street. I was in love at eight years old.

 

It had come slowly to begin with. Crept in the crevices and hid where no one could see. Marie never knew what was waiting to attack her own body so deviously.  Disease is like that, it is calculating, cold, it shows no mercy, until the day it makes its presence known. Marie clutched her side, doubling over; having been in perfect health she had no thought as to what could be wrong. She lay in the hospital bed awaiting her test results, her husband at her side. Next to him stood her daughter and grandson (named for his grandfather).  By the time the doctor had returned with the results, Marie was disappearing. Cancer.

                By high school she had come into her own, although, there was still a bit of that wild girl I had met in the second grade. I still loved her. Unruly copper curls hung down past her shoulders, she stood in the hall, whispering with a girlfriend; I stared, not too discretely.

“Just ask her, man.” My long-time pal Charlie, he was encouraging me to ask her to the winter formal. I was trying to muster the courage. I searched for my eight-year-old self once again. Where had he gone? Probably playing cops and robbers somewhere, laughing at the fact that my seventeen-year-old self had become so self-conscious.  I dragged my feet forward; they suddenly felt like two ten pound weights at the bottom of my body holding me down. Her friend looked up and saw me; she whispered something, they both giggled. My stomach flipped.

“Marie?” I said barely above a whisper. I looked up at her, catching her eyes still the color of the sky, they hooked me in like a fish on a pole, and I was stuck.

“Elliot?” She looked at me.

“Will you go to the formal with me?” It came out like river rapids, way too fast and all over the place. I was sure I would be misunderstood.

A small smile crept across her face, “Alright.”

 

Marie disappeared. Way to quick some would say. But then, cancer is a monster. A beautiful, silent, killer. The perfect disease. They buried her. The cemetery was small, quiet, a private place where they could have their moment as a family. Little Eli ran around the grass in his bare feet letting the earth hold his heavy heart. He knelt down and put his head to the ground listening, “Grandma? Are you in there? Can you hear me?” His mother scooped him up. His grandfather took them both in his arms tears welling in eyes.

 

“Marry me?” It was sunset again. I liked that time of day; it felt like mine, mine and Marie’s. We had been out of high school for four years now, and I had just been accepted to law school. Waves plunged onto the shore and then said farewell. It was a sad affair, but part of the cycle of things. We sat half buried in the sand on an empty beach. It had been a nice holiday weekend, though I was keen to return and start the necessary arrangements for my law work. I looked over to her; she was still quiet.

Finally, she looked at me and said, “Why?”

I thought to myself for a moment, before speaking, “Because, with you, I am the best version of me. I don’t want to be anyone but you and me, forever. I love you.” I watched her watch the waves and the vibrant violet, goldenrod sunset.

She looked over, kissed me on the nose and said, “Yes,” a smile spreading across her face. I smiled too.

 

Kidney stones. Heart Attack. Pneumonia. (The doctors tried to label it.) There was really only label to give. Love sick. Elliot may not recover. How do you recover from losing the love of your life? He looked so small lying there in bed, shriveled. She would have been able to go on. She had been the strong one; the flower crusher. But, from the beginning, he had been the love sick puppy. Elliot knew he had been here to do one thing, take care of Marie. His job was done. His will was failing. Eli looked at him, eyes wide, as he sat next to his grandfather. Elliot took Eli’s hand, “Love someone Eli, love them with your whole being, and don’t be afraid to make yourself the fool.”

 

Jaqueline Marie. Marie gave me the second love of my life. That day in the hospital, I was a nervous wreck, bumbling around, practically stumbling over anyone and everything. When the nurse came out holding Jackie, my breath stopped, the world ceased for a moment. It was just us, and I held her. A little pink bundle of uncertainty, of possibilities. I wanted everything for her, but most of all I wanted her to have a sunset with us. When Marie was well enough we took Jackie out into the evening air and watch the earth paint the sky on fire.

“See the red, orange and pink,” I whispered to Jackie, though she couldn’t understand just yet. I held Marie close, and I knew that our daughter would come to love the beauty of the world as much as we did.

 

Elliot Cooper

Husband, Father, Grandfather

Sunset Lover – Marie’s other half