Continuing my musings on Poland, memory and what we owe the world as citizens, I took a walk through the Kraków today focusing on Jewish quarter, and all that could be learned and experienced there. I had no idea it would be such an altering experience and one wherein I had to use writing not to fall into despair. What I’ll share in this post is the raw writing that came out of today. If any of this is good in retrospect I’ll return to it and give it a good 5-10 edits, but these are my thoughts:
Galicia Contemporary Art Gallery and Plac Bohaterow Getta
We are everywhere confronted by our willingness to elide, to gloss, to make entertainments of tragedy in order to make it more palatable. How do we allow for these beliefs when we know their effect? Why is history such a liability when progress is impossible without it? I take that back, this image of progression implies a linearity of time, when it is quite clear that there is a helical nature to the logic of human interaction. We collapse upon ourselves in most cases because our language and ability to interact is forever changing. How can a neo-Nazi still exist? How can the police still act as tools of supremacy? These are remnants of past ages that consistently remind us of their existence, and beg for us to finally learn from our mistakes.
How do we erect memory? Did I truly know until I was here? How do we all see and remember? Chairs all a reminder of 1,000,000. How long do you interact with memory? How do you make it a part of yourself?
Fabryka Emalia Oskara Schindlera
This is you, this is me a rupture
a tear in the iron seal of our collective will
I surround you with the fabric of our children’s dreams
I send you away so that you may remember me
please don’t lose me They will attempt to rewrite me
please don’t lose me They will recreate me in their image
please don’t lose me They will erase my words from the stone
please don’t lose me My voice still calls
Please still love me
We are all prisoners, and you smile as I hang; my flesh a new commodity.
I wonder if you hear me across the water and through time, we can not help but be brothers, they’ve taken everything.
But we still live on- as the smoke curled I inhaled your atoms, and you became the water that I drink.
Oh, how we were plundered, a symbol taking place of your name, so many chains, so many children.
Getto we were put in the same place, and I still have the phantom memory of my chains.
Even my heaven has been bricked in
My beauties you are now plaster,
your intimacy is on display.
I can not take in all of your names,
but your graves form the sky, and the ground is a repository of your memories.
Rema Synangogue and Cemetary
I walked through the land of the dead, and saw prayers left by your sons.
I left a pebble as a sign of my acknowledgment,
though I forgot how to read your name.