Disappointment

disappointment

In January, my daughter, Olivia and I visited the Holocaust Museum in Skokie. We are both history and World War II buffs. The tickets were her very thoughtful Christmas gift to me.

Seeing my Facebook post as we waited for the museum to open, a friend directed, “Give me your thoughts.”

Here they are:

The God of the Judeo-Christian tradition created humanity in His/Her/Its image. I believe in that God, whose faith in us has traditionally and theologically far outstripped our faith in Him/Her/It.

However, as I walked through the Holocaust museum, struggling to hold back tears over example after horrific example of the worst kind of inhumanity (thankfully, darkness enshrouds many of the displays), the thought occurred:

Having made such a life-giving, loving, humble gesture, God must be terribly disappointed in us.

To be clear: the historical “Holocaust” — Nazi Germany’s systemic extermination of millions of Jews, Poles, Gypsies and others who did not fit their social/cultural/genetic/political ideal — inspired this poem.

However, it is written in the present tense because the same impulses that fueled the Holocaust of the 20th century are not new and, worse, seem to continue today.

***PLEASE NOTE: I wrote this several weeks before last week’s school shooting in Parklands, Florida. But, if the poem fits…

HOLOCAUST

Am I angry?

How can you even ask when

I see walls painted black with hatred

Brick upon brick built to separate

Cemented with ignorance

Turned out by factories of arrogance

Chimneys that once belched ashen souls

Again spewing red death, choking

Everyone who would try to breathe free

I hear profiteers selling prosperity

At all cost (as long as it isn’t theirs)

Preaching false fantasies of glittering gold

Willing to ransom their souls for much less

Than thirty pieces of silver

I gave everyone a spark of the Divine

A sliver of the holy Soul

Yet you willingly, gladly

Bind yourself to the anchor of rotting flesh

Happily trading Eternity

For a second of passing pleasure

You choose to allow this to be

None of this –

Fear

Suspicion

Bigotry

Genocide

Despair

Division

Self-interest

Greed

Would happen otherwise

You all say Yes!

Or, at least, you don’t say No

You pretend like it will never happen again

Then stand by and look away when it happens again

You are all guilty — if not by decree

Then by complicity

You do all of it in my name

The gall! The hubris!

How dare you claim

To know anything about me

When you ignore

My heart

My tears

My blood

My love

You have monetized and weaponized

Pain and darkness and shame and guilt

Using each to draw apprehensive lines

Creating “Them”

Where only “We”

Existed before

I made it so easy

All you had to do was

Just accept

Just welcome

Just protect

Just care for

Each other

Instead you inflate your ego

Writing my words – then rejecting anyone who doesn’t speak like you

Building my house – then locking out anyone with a different key

Clothing me – then stripping anyone with newer threads

Claiming me – then silencing anyone who dares try to share

Yes! I am angry

How can I not be when

My heart is broken over and over

By the reality of a dream

smashed among the stars

You are not what I hoped for

When I sighed into the heavens

You are not me, nor do you even try to be

Rather, you sing phony Hosannas and

Wave insipid credentials in my face

Too cowardly to look me in the eye

And wipe the tear from my cheek

 

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