Monday, March 30, 2020

POETRY MONDAY: ANOTHER SPACE, ANOTHER PLACE

Gentle Readers  . . . and Maxwell,

Jennie-o of Procrastinating Donkeparticipates in Poetry Monday. She and her poetry pals choose a topic each week. This week's topic is writing. I hope you'll visit Jenny-o to read her poem and enjoy the funnies she posts.

I have shared a poem on Poetry Monday once or twice. I am too tired to try to come up with a poem (Did you notice to try to? To try and is incorrect.).  Jenny-o took writing and managed to come up with a poem about handwriting. I want to take the topic in another direction, so my not-a-poem is  writing, as in writing words that we read. For some reason, after copying and pasting ANOTHER SPACE, ANOTHER PLACE, I could not find it again (I'm holding my eyes open with toothpicks); therefore, I can't tell you when I wrote it. Probably during 2010.

If you're very kind, perhaps you will think that my writing is lyrical enough to be a type of poetry. Here's ANOTHER SPACE, ANOTHER PLACE:


Recently I was standing on line in a coffee shop behind a lovely young man in the uniform of the United States Army. He turned and asked me how I was, and I replied that all was well, so I in turn asked how he was.

He said, "It's always a good day when I'm not in Afghanistan or Iraq."

We chatted for awhile about the military and my own family history with members of the armed forces. Then I told him about my parents' trip to Hawaii and their visit to the USS Arizona Memorial.

My mother told me that soon after they arrived at the memorial, my father became extremely upset over the Japanese tourists smiling and laughing and taking pictures and they had to leave.

The young man told me that when you visit that memorial, it's an awe inspiring experience, that you're surrounded by a special feeling.

I brought up the Vietnam Memorial (The Wall) in Washington, D.C. He said, Yes, it's like that.

Every time I've been to The Wall, at least one veteran in uniform has been leaning against it, sobbing. When you visit The Wall, you're in Another Space, Another Place. It's a holy feeling. It surrounds you the moment you come close to The Wall.

I recommend reading "My Losing Season" by Pat Conroy. The entire book is excellent, but I am especially moved by his description of his visits to The Wall.

Quite a few years ago, my husband and middle-school aged child and I went to Washington, D.C. for an art exhibit. We couldn't get in. We got within six people of the door and that was it - everybody who was getting in for the day was in. I'm glad we did not make the cut because when we returned a few weeks later and were among the first six admitted, I learned that the last people to get inside had to stand on line for hours before actually getting into the exhibit.

So there we were in lovely D.C., and what to do for the day. Said Child wanted to visit the Holocaust Museum. I did not want to go. I have seen enough images of the Holocaust and they frighten me.

Said Child really wanted to go, and I gave in. It's important for us to teach our children about the Holocaust, about Cambodia and Pol Pot, about genocide everywhere.

We went in the museum and I found it to be awe-inspiring. It is beautiful in a way that defies my feeble words.

The most amazing moment of the visit for me came when we entered an area with some actual wooden bunks from Auschwitz. Once upon a time, real people, barely surviving human beings, were packed into those bunks to sleep.

A Woman was leaning against one of the bunks, crying and patting the wood. A tour guide? security person? told her, Ma'am, You can't touch those.

She said in her heavily accented English, You don't understand. I used to sleep in these.

We were in Another Space, Another Place.

For a fleeting second, I was with her in Auschwitz.

My husband left me many, many times, but he always came back. And every time he left, a little more of me died.

Finally, he left me for another woman. I went into shock. I was in Another Space, Another Place, and it wasn't good. It wasn't solemn and holy. It was terrifying and sickening.

He came back, but nothing could ever be right again. I was a fool to take him back, but he was sick and I was in it For Better or For Worse. I'm glad he finally left for good.

Now I'm in a safe space, a safe place. Away from him.


Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

35 comments:

  1. Thank you for this.
    I suspect a number of my father's relatives slept on those bunks - and never returned. I do hope the security person was kind to that woman.
    I am very, very glad that you are now in a safe place. How are the allergies? Better I hope.

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    Replies
    1. The security person was polite. I wish I had gone to her to ask if she wanted to tell me about it. I have doubled up on allergy medicine. It helps. Thank you for asking. I am so sorry to learn that your father's relatives didn't return from the place of horrors.

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  2. You write beautifully, Janie. I had chills reading your account of the woman leaning against the bunk and can vividly imagine what must have been going through her mind. You have overcome a lot in your life too, and I am so happy to know you're safe and well!

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  3. Thanks so much for sharing all of this. You have such an extraordinary way with words. I have never gone to the Holocaust Museum. Like you, I feel I've seen and heard enough (my entire childhood was steeped in that history). But, after reading your experience, if I do again get the opportunity, I will go.

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    Replies
    1. Quite a few cities have Holocaust Museums, so you never know where you might find one. Thank you very much for your kind words about my writing.

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  4. You’re right - they are Other Places.
    I loved this post. You should always whine as you write :)

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    Replies
    1. Whiiiiine? Me, whiiiiiiine? Or did you mean I should drink wine?

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  5. This was so beautiful written! Thank you for sharing it with us.

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  6. This was quite a journey. It touched my heart.

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    Replies
    1. You've had quite a few interesting journeys yourself, Inger.

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  7. Hi Janie - so pleased you escaped ... stay safe now - sad, yet empowering, post to read - take care - Hilary

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  8. You did take me to another space, another place! Oh my!
    I am so glad you are in a safe one now. Love and hugs :)

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Rita. It's too bad you can't be here with Carol and me to ride out the pandemic. You'd have two former healthcare workers at your disposal.

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  9. So many moving lines in this poetic offering, Janie. I'm glad you posted it, and as others have said, I'm glad you are in a safe life now. There are so many tragic stories in this world, both the well-known and the closer to home.

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    Replies
    1. I once saw a Q&A with Joyce Carol Oates at a writing workshop. The interviewer mentioned that Oates' books are quite dark. Her response: The world is a dark place.

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  10. This was a lovely and solemn post, Janie. Thank you so much for finding the words to accompany your emotions.

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  11. This is heartbreaking. I'm glad you are in a better place after husband put you through what no decent person does to another.
    As to the Holocaust museum--
    1. you have an awesome child and
    2. my father, too, slept on those bunks with three others on each. These bunks are a testament of another wretched thing humans beings did to others.

    One one thing we can control: not to be those humans who do thus.

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    Replies
    1. My heart goes out to your father and the rest of your family. The suffering during the Holocaust is still unbelievable, yet it really happened and I despise deniers.

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  12. Another lovely and moving post and so sad as well

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    Replies
    1. For tomorrow I have to come up with something funny.

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  13. When I had a "real" job, I had opportunity to help a factory worker sort out a problem with her deceased husband's railroad pension and a couple other matters. Years later, when I was a working artist, an old woman came to my studio, accompanied by her daughter, to say hello to a woman who had made a great difference in her life. I did not recognize her and was at a loss to understand through her sobs until my glance fell on her Auschwitz tattoo and I knew she was the same person. I was more humbled that day than back in the days I could help her.

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    1. I'm sure you were a great help to her, Joanne.

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  14. Very haunting, Janie. Thank you for sharing with us.

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  15. This is so powerful. To interact with someone that is familiar with your experiences is magical, whether they are tragic, or happy. There were, and still are terrible atrocities happening today, but most of us learn from them and try to be more grateful for our lives, and to be better human beings. You really had me close to tears. The explanation of the memorials, and retired soldiers still showing up and mourning their lost friends just got to me. You're a great writer. I think you should write more. You are a powerful story teller. You evoked so much emotion.

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