Blood Red Tears

It wasn’t a hard choice
either the east
sloppy Russians
exporting our men
to Siberia
or the south
clean, regimented
Germans, Nazis
price to be paid
the killing of the Bolsheviks
business thieves
stealing our lifestyle
foreigners in our land

So, searching for the lesser evil
we decided to trade in foreigners
for foreigners to protect us from

We mercilessly
slaughtered our Jews
each one of them individually reflecting the sun
like glass bottles on a wall
as we lined them up in our village squares
and shot them down
shattering them into anonymous
mounds of brokenness
we dragged them out
into the countryside
buried them with our consciences
in shallow graves
and covered them with infertile
listless earth

Hitler was welcomed by the cover of night
and there on the coast
he annexed our land
with one long rant
he gave us occupation
he gave us peace
freedom from Russia
freedom from Bolsheviks
and baptised our native land
with the witheredness of our souls

But bombs fell in the peace
dead Jews started talking
calling from their graves
voices from the silence
were heard from across the sea

The bombs continued to fall
like sweet spring rain
flooding our emotions
with fear and hope

The west ended our occupation
liberated and sold us out
sold us out to Russia
Molotov, Ribbentrop
shaking hands with Stalin
sealed our fate before we fell into it
Roosevelt and Churchill
slept in the ruins of their victory

Peace, freedom
silenced Jews
tanks on our streets
USSR, Red Army
cold Siberia
and the familiarity
of Gulags

We called it occupation
we called it peace
we resisted
while the wounded sleeping West
watched the Moscow Circus
purchased Ladas
called it a war
a cold war
but we were the only ones cold and dying
dying for peace, dying for freedom
falling on the fresh graves of dead silenced Jews

Glasnost, Perestroika, Gorbachev, Reagan
poured words on our suffering
drew back the Iron Curtain
now our nation could be heard again
tanks on the streets
as we sung and held hands
death and freedom
war and peace
from a rusty curtain rail
that left nasty shards
lodged in our bloody hands and feet

Our fathers
our grandfathers
walked the fields and roadsides
home from Siberia
but only their bodies arrived
their minds never returned
it was called peace
these men never experienced it

From their graves
the Jews’ voices were heard again
singing for freedom
by day we have Nazi-hunters prowling our streets
by night we have neo-Nazis desecrating graves
and in the morning the dawn greets us with blood red tears
falling upon our torment and shame

Peace, they call it
my dad is drunk
has been for twenty years
the shuck of his Dad returned
from war
and promptly disappeared into
the blissful haze of alcohol
Mum is bruised and beaten
living in a concrete shell
of a communist apartment building
and me
I am searching for peace
working in Düsseldorf
for a Russian company.


~1st Place Editor’s Choice Award

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