Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Death in the Family
by Don Ford (Feb. 2007)
I am wading in the lake with my little brother
On impulse, a dare
"Let's see how far out we can go"
I stop
He does not
I shout to a fisherman
He takes me to our cabin, to my mother
My father rushes back up the mountain
from our home in the city
Mother sees golf clubs in the car
"to play golf up here!"
No one talks to me about the drowning
I do not share my guilt for the dare
"Let's see how far out we can go"
Decades later, a counselor
"What, -- no adult has ever talked to you about
your brother's death?"
Don't you know, all children blame themselves
when there is a death in the family?
A parent needs to talk about how the death happened--
explore the child's fears and loss."
Now--my father talks to me
"I chose to leave our family at the cabin so that I could share
our house with a fellow preacher whose wife was ill.
I set rules, boundaries, for the church, for family.
I set the edge for safety or danger.
When I left the cabin I took the boundaries with me
Mother let you and brother go to the lake by yourselves
no one to shout "Come back! that's too far!"
"Father, we are in this together.
Let's see how far out we can go"
I am in the Captain's Tent, listening to him,
"We are camped close to a concentration camp,
It was liberated yesterday.
We are asking for volunteers to go see it, so
that no one will be able to deny what happened there".
I get on the army truck to go.
These scenes are etched in my mind.
On the other side of a wire fence, standing silently,
are a few emaciated men in dirty clothes, staring at me.
In the barracks, I see many men with sunken faces
lying still,
in stacked bunks some watched me.
I go behind that building.
There -- in the open furnace are charred bones.
Leaning against the furnace, a stack of naked,
starved bodies.
Buchenwald, Germany 1945
Do not deny that it did happen
Do not deny that it can happen again
Do not deny that it is happening, now.
Don Ford, 2007

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Lost Conversations

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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Iconic Bay Trail Markers

Originally uploaded by Cbreaux.
This is one of eight 18' markers that ring the Marina shoreline in Richmond, California. The design features the cutting edge of the bow of a victory ship with the symbolic "V" for victory at the top. The combined markers tell the story of war time Richmond of the Second World War in the words of those who worked on the home front in the Kaiser Shipyard where they launched a ship every five days -- 747 in all.

Friday, June 11, 2004

22 and Counting

22 and Counting

To each of me
to love within the reach of me
and if this love can teach to me
why each of me, in turn,
should torture so the soul of me
and tear apart the whole of me
within life's play, each role of me
must speak to me ... must learn
that blackness and the white of me
are just the day and night of me
are not the wrong or right of me
can't you see -- there's got to be
some answer to this planet's pain
my microcosmic world -- insane!
if only I could make you see
it's here to see -- just look at me
there is within me all of you
from distant lands -- the whole of you
the dreams, the heart, the soul of you
if only you could see
that black and white are part of it
my brown is at the heart of it
and blending was the start of it
and someday it shall be
that blackness and the white of us
will be the day and night of us
and not the wrong or right of us
then we'll be free!

Betty Reid Soskin, copyright 1967
Berkeley, California