- Danville, Virginia, USA
- June 22
- I was born in a refugee camp in Germany after World War II, and came with my Polish Catholic parents Jan and Tekla and my sister Donna to the United States as Displaced Persons in 1951. My parents had been slave laborers in Nazi Germany.
Growing up in the immigrant and DP neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, I met Jewish hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead horses, and women who walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. I write about these people.
MY RECENT POSTS
- My First Christmas in America
December 28, 2014 10:20AM
- Thoreau and Me
December 17, 2014 10:31PM
- I Like William Faulkner
December 10, 2014 04:24PM
- Poet Laureate Mark Strand
November 29, 2014 01:30PM
- Transcribing Notes while
Waiting for Fedex
November 26, 2014 04:48PM
MY RECENT COMMENTS
- “Tom, sure, happy to pass
it on. It's a piece of a
in Lightning and
December 18, 2014 03:52PM
- “Tom, yes, I know about
how old men can still do the w
yearn for some
December 18, 2014 11:22AM
- “I know I could never
live on a farm. Not now. It's
for old men. I
December 18, 2014 06:44AM
- “Dr. Stuart, yes, I love
the hard work too. I came from
family of slave
December 12, 2014 08:40AM
- “JMAC--he had a couple of
styles. The stream of
made him famous
December 10, 2014 09:48PM
John guzlowski's Links
- MY LINKS
I spent my first Christmases in a refugee camp in Germany. I didn't learn what Christmas was until I came to America.
We were living in an apartment with 4 other families.
One night an old man in a red suit came to the apartment. None of the… Read full post »
I hear a lot of complaining about one of my favorite writers, William Faulkner, and I think 95% of it is undeserved.
I've read all of Faulkner--some books more than 4 times. Most of the books are straight forward reads. There are probably 3 that are difficult: S… Read full post »
Mark Strand, a former poet laureate, was one of my favorite poets.
Here's one of the first poems I read by him.
Ink runs from the corners of my mouth.
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry.
So I'm staring out the window waiting for the Fedex guy to show up and pick up this case of wine we never ordered and didn't want, and I'm wondering what can I do while waiting. I don't want to do anything where I have to focus too much… Read full post »
I wrote the following poem to thank my parents and all of my relatives who suffered in World War II. Some like my parents survived and others didn't.
Thanksgiving Day Poem
My people were all Polish people,
the ones who survived to look
in my eyes and touch… Read full post »
Landscape with Dead Horses, 1945
In the end Hitler sat
in his cold bunker
and asked his soldiers
about his horses,
“Where are they?
Where are my horses?”
And no one dared
to tell him,
“They are dead
in the fields
with the Poles… Read full post »
Continuing my occasional posting of poems from Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust (ed. Charles Fishman), here's Jerome Rothenberg's Dos Oysleydikn (The Emptying), a mediation on Poland after the Holocaust.
Here's a link to Mr. Rothenberg reading the poe… Read full post »
My friend Anglo-Polish artist Mieczyslaw Kasprzyk posted some of his family photographs on Facebook recently and wrote some remarks about them. Originally, he planned only to post 5 photos and his commentary, but the project has expanded. At this point, he has written about more… Read full post »
End of Summer:
Summer comes early to southside Virginia. I start mowing usually around the start of March. For me that's the official start of Summer. The calendars tell you it's sometime in late June, but don't believe them. Calendars are created b… Read full post »
I watched Kerouac: the King of the Beats, a documentary on Kerouac and 10 minutes of a movie based on K's novel Big Sur this morning, on Netflix. In the 60s I was a big Kerouac fan, read my first Kerouac novel as I was walking home from finding… Read full post »
I first heard of World War I when we came to America as Displaced Persons in 1951. We were refugees after World War II, and we moved into a basement apartment on Hamilton Street in Chicago.
Our landlord was a veteran of the First World War. He was a… Read full post »
I first saw him in front of the barracks. He was walking with six other prisoners, a German soldier behind them pushing at them with some kind of rifle. Your father wasn’t how he is now. He was skinny then, like two shoelaces tied together.
I was not… Read full post »
The Day My Mother Felt Good
Monday she’d been crying a lot
thinking she’d never walk again.
It was the Jerry Lewis Telethon
that did it to her, listening to him
talk about the kids who can’t walk.
She felt he was talking about her.
My/… Read full post »
Dreaming in Buchenwald
The world burns before our eyes,
and the smell of everything red
is on our skin.
We wait in line for bread
that never comes. We speak
to strangers thinking they will
tell us where our lives are.
We pray in the barracks
and the fields for the mi/… Read full post »
The Coming of Columbus
their slow growth
upward and outward
and leaves stopped
the waiting air
In the tallest branches
their crooked beaks
into the wind… Read full post »
He stood up and braced himself against a crate and unbuttoned his trousers. He had to relieve himself, and this was a good place. Even though it was cold in the bus, he could smell that other men had done the same thing here, and for the same reason. It… Read full post »
When my mother was dying, she insisted for a long time that she could beat death.
She had survived the murder of her family by the nazis, years in concentration camps, living from hand to mouth in America, an alcoholic husband suffering from PTSD, two cancers, arthritis that crippled her… Read full post »
Road of Bones: That's the title of my forthcoming novel (ÄŒervená Barva Press) about two German lovers separated by war. It's set in Berlin and the Russian Front during one cold week in January of 1945. The main characters are Hans, a soldier, and Magda, a w/… Read full post »
I first heard about Janet R. Kirchheimer and her project to make BE*HOLD, a documentary focusing on poetry dealing with the Holocaust, this last summer. I was immediately interested in the focus of this work and the possibilities that it raised for understanding how people respon… Read full post »
We are in our bodies and not in our bodies.
We are not where we say we are and we are where we say we are.
The truth is always the truth and not the truth.
If it wasn't, it wouldn't be.
I'm a wave and… Read full post »
He was born in a refugee camp in
Germany in 1945.
He was 1 pound 8 ounces.
He was a leaf of grass. He was lovely.
He was born dreaming his
of flying like a robin through the sky
and eating everything
that was pure and good and golden.
And… Read full post »