Job To Do

Defrock me you brute.
Swim hither and love me wrong.
Slide open the sluices of my waters;
My gates will control the flow.
Up and down goes the lock.
Ram your cargo through my depths
And cruise on home.

Swim, swamplike, under my reefs renewed,
Through my bold new coasts of you.
Fashion love totems for history to behold;
To stand erect
On my islet of
Sated lust.

Grab the backside of my sea’s skin.
Cast off windward-inward, but not too far.
Surrender and swallow in gulps
Toward my meridian –
My axis –
Toward my hot southern pole.

Go north, young buccaneer, yes that’s it.
Your light will penetrate that far.
Coo my dear.
Give way and swoon,
And croon to our aqueous island lullaby.

Aaaa

Okay buster.
1) Time’s up. That’s it.
2) Get off me and pay up.
3) Gotta light?
4) I said time’s up.
5) Go back to wifey.
6) I gotta job to do.

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Cold War

Son viewed dad through angry eyes. The two of them were at war, though dad didn’t, couldn’t, understand why or when the war began. Was it when the adoption occurred, or did the war start later when son realized that there were requirements associated with this new family? Did the war begin when son realized that he had it good with his new family, but that he couldn’t live up to their expectations, or the expectations he thought he was supposed to live up to? You see, there’s only a war when two sides are fighting, and dad was not fighting, had no intention to fight, and didn’t even know how to bear arms. Days, weeks, months, and years went by, and the nothingness of son towards dad caused dad to build his own wall between them; a lack of reciprocity in a relationship tends to cause this natural reaction. When it became clear that nothing dad said mattered, that what dad did in his life didn’t either, and that dad himself was, for son, more an annoyance than anything else, the battle began to feel more like a cold war; no open warfare, only simmering hostility.

POP 2018 Report

This is a very important report about the state of things in northwest Bosnia. Most Mira (Bridge of Peace) is doing great work there to bring children together, and to combat nationalistic tendencies.

Project on Peacebuilding - Bosnia 2018

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This year’s Project on Peacebuilding consisted of participants between the ages of 17-35. This group was filled with thoughtful individuals who listened to one another as they learned about the war in Bosnia and its effect on the Prijedor municipality. Group members created space for processing the events of a difficult past and worked together towards a future filled with acceptance and peace for the communities of Prijedor, Omarska, Trnopolje, Kozarac, Kevljani, and Lubija. The project studied the concentrations camps of Trnopolje and Omarska in the context of the Bosnian War of 1992-1995. Participants had workshops on peace building, listened to survivors’ stories, collected community surveys on the area, and collaborated on memorialization for the areas. As the week progressed with workshops and seminars, it became apparent that the politics of memory came to the forefront of most of our major discussions.

Memory shapes our relationship to the past and…

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Putting Myself Out There – Singing in Public

Putting myself “out there” is something I’m doing now with my singing. I sang a lot as a young man, and then put it on the sIMG_6441helf to do the responsible thing and build a career. Back in the day, I didn’t see myself pounding the pavement to audition; I wasn’t good enough, and I was far too sensible to do that, so I moved in a completely different, and more realistic, direction.

So now, at 54, married, retired, and a grandpa, I’m pushing the envelope by really trying to break out of some of the patterns and ways of thinking that I’ve been stuck in for so many years. My return to singing has helped me to re-think who I am in some fun ways. I’m even tentatively allowing myself to think of myself as a performer. I’ve performed in public several times recently, and it’s really a blast. I’ve been doing this with some of my fellow Bello Voice Studio students, most of whom are old enough to be my children!

As always, I’m working hard to be better and to improve. Only now, I’m focused on something that feeds my soul, and from what I can tell, people seem to appreciate. So yes, I’m putting myself out there, trying to literally “live out loud” to the best of my ability.

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Remembering the Bosnian Genocide

We must never forget the #genocide that took place in #Bosnia in the early nineties. Remembering is critically important, as is memorializing what happened, something deniers in the region do not allow to happen. Omarska, Trnopolje, Keraterm were all concentration camps where former friends turned against each other thanks to a never-ending onslaught of propaganda and lies. Peaceful coexistence in the region continues to be difficult, with rabid nationalists still at the helm in leadership positions. This is why stating that one is a nationalist – as Donald Trump recently did – is not something to be proud of. Kemal Pervanic is an Omarska survivor who has retained his dignity in the face of indignities he suffered then, and ones he continues to experience even today. That’s why his proposed Most Mira Peace Centre – that will bring youth of different ethnicities together from the Prijedor region – will serve such an important role for northwest Bosnia and beyond. Most Mira is already providing this important programming, but seeks to do so in a fresh new centre.

Project on Peacebuilding - Bosnia 2018

By Nejra Lilic

Even before the start of the peacebuilding project my brain and heart were already struggling with tragedy in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina. As my roots are from Srebrenica, I left a deep pain there and I keep it just for myself. I was really afraid that I would simply have a logical understanding of events that happened but would not experience it emotionally in a deeper way, although it seems unlikely because of the personal loss of closest family members.

We began the program with a screening of a very emotional film. There were tears but still not the deeper feeling that I needed to experience. Maybe it sounds strange that I wanted to feel pain and deep sorrow, but I need a powerful emotion in order to embrace and associate this tragedy almost as I did with Srebrenica.

Through second and third day, we were collecting surveys…

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Up and Down: Sophomore Year at College

And he went up and down and up and down.
And she went up and down and up and down and down and up right along with him.
They went down and up, and back and forth.
But the night was still so young,
So they repeated it again and again.
And again. And then once more.

Until the condom broke.

So down the stairs they ran
Up the street to the drug store, then down the aisle
Straight to the condom section.
Looking up and down at the many options, they made their choice.

Satisfied, they ran down the street toward home.
Then up the stairs they ran, then down the hall to their room.
To their bed.
Where up and down could begin again.

Ireland – A Visit to a “Quiet Country”

We just returned from a trip to Ireland. We wanted to visit a place that’s easy to get to and to get around, and is “quieter” than our own country. What a beautiful place it is, and the people are so kind and “lovely” as they say there.  Dublin is quaint, yet cosmopolitan, more like Amsterdam than say Paris or Berlin. Here’s Tom in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, a vibrant and historic section of town full of pubs, restaurants, and shopping. We had a lot of fun roaming around this section of town.1002181810

Our Dutch friend, Leonie, flew from Hilversum, The Netherlands to visit us in Dublin for a day. She and I have been friends since 1980, and our friendship is as strong as ever. We had fun laughing, catching up, and sharing in life’s heartaches and joys. We had a pint at Slattery’s north of the Liffey, and cocktails and dinner at Sophie’s in the Dean Hotel. She returned home to her three lovely kiddos, and her wonderful husband who owns Bar Boon.1003181736b

We rented a car, and drove the 3.5 hours west to Killarney to the Lake Hotel. The hotel adjoins the Killarney National Park, and is positioned along Lough Lein, Killarney’s lower lake. Here’s a shot of one of the hotel’s main sitting rooms.

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A bucolic scene in Killarney from our hotel into town.

We paid a visit to Muckross House and Gardens, where we learned how the term to “save face” originated. At the time, women wore wax makeup, and the household fires got hot, so they’d protect their faces from the heat – and their makeup from melting – by using a small stand up shield. This would often occur when they would withdraw from the room of men to their own “drawing room,” another term whose meaning we now understand.

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Muckross House and Gardens
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Torc Falls in Killarney National Park

A few more images from around the Killarney area:

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A church at dusk in downtown Killarney
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Lough Lein located behind the Lake Hotel

After a few days of rest and fun in Killarney, we drove back to Dublin before returning home. Having been raised Jewish, I had always been connected to my eastern European roots. It took a trip to Ireland to connect me with the Irish roots of my great grandmother Lula Curran. It somehow made me feel more complete having traveled to the land of my non-Jewish ancestors.

We ate at Pizza Yard in the Ranelagh section of Dublin. Their yard-long pizzas are delicious and are a real feast for the eyes.

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A yard of three different pizzas at Pizza Yard.

We took a pre-departure selfie at our hotel, the Maldron Kevin Street, and took a final walk around Dublin before our departure, knowing that we would be back again.

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