Mouthpiece May 2015

It's cold here, and the other children are very poorly;
But I think I'm ever so lucky
To have my Uncle Mengele looking after me;
He gives me lots of smiles and things to eat;
He makes sure my bed is warm when I sleep;
In the winter, I have shoes on my feet.

I'm only six years old, like my brother Christi;
He looked at us and said 'you are so sweet'
When we arrived here; he came along to meet
Me and my brother, so he could complete
His studies. He said that we looked a little green,
So he'd change that to his liking.

Sometimes, he likes to things that are quite silly
To other boys and girls that are naughty:
He keeps them outside at night when it's freezing --
But not me, 'cause Uncle Mengele loves me;
He's almost like an Angel, or so it would seem;
He's not like the other men -- they're just mean.

He took us to a room, and talked to a baldy
Man in a language that was quite funny.
He said me and my brother were sick, and need
Treatment that would be over quite quickly;
And because we both miss our mother quite dearly,
He said he won't hurt my brother and me.

Uncle Mengele has just gave me bad news: sadly
My brother died just after surgery.
This is even worse than the pain I feel in my tummy.
Uncle Mengele said 'you must forgive me.
I'll make all your problems go away with Zyklon-B.
We'll take you to the shower to be cleaned'.

Things are about to get very dark, very quickly. The 'educated' can be misguided unbeknown to them; so what's to say we can't be either?
Scarlet Keiller May 2017

He was kind to me
Got me a special box
Just for me to sleep in

Gave me sweets

I called him Uncle

He cut my mummy up and
Experimented on my baby brother
Growing inside her
But Uncle said she had to die

The other kids were sent away
To the gas chambers
But Uncle liked me
Because I was blonde and pretty
And he was going to teach me
How to be a doctor like him

I'd have my tools and I
Could put other people's brothers
In jars to keep
Like he did with mine

He said I would be the first one
To have twins planted in my belly

Would they sprout like trees
In my stomach?

We had tidy beds there
And it smelled nice

My mummy and daddy are dead
And I loved my uncle
But it smells funny in here
And everyone is coughing

I think I can hear his voice
Calling me
And I want to run
But there are walls surrounding me
And I can't escape

His crazy eyes are following me
Until I collapse on the floor

~~ Putting myself in the shoes of one of Mengele's victims. ~~

When Van Gogh cut off his ear
It was for reassurance that the rest of him could disappear

That illusion of ownership that nerves create
Should have faded with each baby tooth I lost
It didn't though, contrariwise I worried I would extend
Into roads or trees and then feel the tire's friction or the elm's blight

Empathy is a bitch of its own
I pray I never wake up with a Siamese twin
I'd have to care, lest we lapse into mutual sadomasochism
That hilarious territory of bored lovers

The Thalidomide kids might get a kick
out of feeling new arms attached to other people
but that's the exception that proves the rule

After the Vietnam war, some men believed Agent Orange
Had followed them home, alive in newly discovered nerves
Now what odd god must be behind that shit!

Mengele often awoke from dreams sweating and sure
That his patients would learn a trick to generate biological anesthetics
He needed the feedback of sound to really understand the human body
“Prayer or pleading” he used to say with a wink to his bartender after work

Sometimes I worry that my nervous system
Might have a Mengelian agenda of its own

That I am woven into a potential torture chamber seems clear
but then I remember that I can always pull the tooth or cut off the ear

Tommy Johnson Apr 2014

Winnie the Pooh is trying to think
As are Plato and Socrates
While The Little Rascals get rambunctious
And The Marx Brothers cause calamities
Jim Jones stirs the Kool-Aid
And Georgie Porgie makes his move
Bo Peep and Miss Muffett start to blush
Red Ridding hood just swoons
The Muffin Man does a deal
With Johnny Apple seed
These beings and people our real
In our Surreal Reality

Pollock lets the paint splatter
And Moses parts the sea
Belushi buys an eight-ball
Bruce is on trial for obscenity
Rorschach is on the case
Right behind Sherlock Holmes
John the baptist goes for a swim
Along with Brian Jones
Jack and Jill meet Hansel and Gretel
They're hungry, they're thirsty
These figments of imagination do exist
In our Surreal Reality

Rasputin was so evil
As bad as Captain Hook
Now was it Ho Chi Minh or Nixon
Who said "I am not a crook?"
Mao Zedong looked at Stalin
With a shared murderous grin
Booth stormed the Ford theater
And shot President Lincoln
Kennedy and King we're both casualties
Of the process of the deciphering
Of our Surreal  Reality

Zeus said to Aphrodite
"Wow, you look real good tonight"
And Handel says "Hallelujah!"
As the Wright Brothers take flight
Baby Face Nelson
Teams up with Dillinger
Moe, Larry and Curly
Mengele, Mussolini and Adolf Hitler
Three bears, three little pigs
Along with three blind mice
Sit together, while Maurice Sendack
Cooks them chicken soup with rice
Charlie Bucket had a buy out
Wonka gave up his factory
Fiction or nonfiction it's all a apart
Of our Surreal Reality

Chicken Little tried his best
To warm The Little Red Hen
Of the sly trickster
They call Rumpelstiltskin
Rimbaud applauds Leonidas
And his 300's final stand
Da vinci  paved the way
For both Newton and Edison
Folklore and war heroes
And those with intellectual mentality
Are all just pieces
Of our Surreal Reality

Wee Willie Winkie's scream
Wakes up Rip Van Winkle
But not Sleeping Beauty who's been asleep for thirty years
But has no acquired a single wrinkle
Caligula has lost his mind
And Nero's lost his fiddle
What does Beethoven's hearing aid
Have to do the March Hare's riddle?
Abbie Hoffman fights for civil rights
Thomas Jefferson for democracy
Products of the conceptual
In our Surreal Reality

Berryman writes an ode
To Washington's wooden teeth
Manson speaks of Helter Skelter
Neruda damns the fruit company
Charles Schultz frames the story
And Seuss gives it rhyme
Some where far, far away
Taking place once upon a time
And the villagers all had omelettes
Thanks to clumsy Humpty Dumpty
It's all food for thought
In our Surreal Reality

Santa brings us presents
And Cupid bring us love
But we can never get back
The members of the 27 Club
Warhol makes his movies
And Buddha meditates
Joseph Smith reads the golden plates
Mohammed and Jesus save
Theses figures bring people hope
In life's dualities
Trusting faith
And our Surreal Reality

Han Solo is in carbon freeze
Don Juan's preoccupied
Sinbad sets his sails
Simple Simon didn't get his pie
Caesar looked at Brutus
Brutus looked at Saddam Hussein
Hussein looked at L. Ron Hubbard
Who prayed to Eloheim  
Dionysus can out drink us all
We cringe at Achilles fatality  
As Ra soars through the skies
Of our Surreal Reality

Aristotle says to Shakespeare
"Well Billy you old bard"
Frodo trades the ring of power
To Fidel Castro for a Babe Ruth Baseball card
Biggie and Tupac write their lyrics on paper
Ted Bundy is put in jail
They're making another skyscraper
For King Kong to scale
Hemingway is too far gone
Kant's take on morality
Einstein says it's all relative
In our Surreal Reality

Churchill said victory
John Lennon said peace
Judas gave back the silver
Then hung himself in a tree
Tojo and Kim Jong-il
Wanna be as cool as Brando and Dean
George Carlin warned us all
Now Hermes leaves the scene
So do the butcher, the baker and the candle stick maker
Followed by Old King Cole and his Fiddlers Three
As they make their way to find
A sense or Surreal Reality

Odysseus pines for Ithaca
Paul Bunyan chops the trees
The Jersey Devil has not been found
Noah herds the animals by twos not threes
Anubis wraps the mummies
And Augustus leads Rome
Bugs Bunny laughs with Pryor
All at the expense of Job
So what can we all make of this
Is this all actuality?
Symbolism or nonsense?
Realistic Surrealism or Surreal Realty?

I: Introduction—A History Lesson
The word swastika was derived from the Sanskrit
meaning good fortune,
or well being.
The shape is a monogram,
the interlacing of two Brahmi words,
a hooked cross which, over 5,000 years ago,
represented the rays of the sun,
the four directions of our natural compass,
and the four elements of our world.
Earth, wind, fire and water,
the symbol was balanced,
sitting firmly on its base
like a poised animal
on its haunches.
In other interpretations,
the symbol was a sacred text
explaining, “here is how the sun moves across the sky.”
A map of the heavens,
a lesson in astronomy.
The swastika, when standing on its base,
is still sacred today
in many religions.
It is
the Buddha’s footsteps,
the seventh saint in Jainism,
and the four possible places of rebirth
in animal and plant world,
hell, earth and the spirit world.
In the 1870s the swastika was changed forever.
An archaeologist engrossed in discoveries
from ancient Troy and Mycenae,
Heinrich Schliemann,
found the symbol likeable
and claimed it,
because as a man he had the power to define.
He designated it
the symbol of his people—the Aryans—
and soon this is what it became.
By 1907 the swastika was turned at an angle
becoming a hooked cross precariously balancing
on its side.
Its meaning, however, was turned upside down.
The cult of Aryan supremacy
claimed it,
and finally Hitler adopted the
bedraggled image
as the symbol of the Nazi party
marking the beginning of its legacy
as an image of hate,
a harbinger of genocide,
and unthinkable atrocity.
In the course of twenty five years,
under the direction of Hitler and Himmler
and Heydrich and Daluege
and Jeckeln and Prutzmann
and Eichmann and Mengele
and countless other men with vacant expressions
and the ability to spell death with pointed fingers
the swastika came to mean loss
of integrity, of citizenship, of basic rights,
of personal safety, of property,
of an untarnished image of humanity
of hope.
Under the swastika
unraveled a calm, coordinated,
and systematic extermination
of 6 million Jews
200,000 gypsies
70,000 handicaps
and unknown numbers
of people of color,
political prisoners,
and deportees.
Under the swastika,
there were gas chambers
and the burning of children’s bodies.
There were prison-like ghettos,
and there was no humanity.
Part II: A lesson in Linguistics
First, language is meaningful only
because of shared understanding.
Words mean nothing,
symbols are vacuous
unless we share recognition
of the things that they signify.
All language is arbitrary
if we cannot agree on what object,
or emotion or event in history
are called forth by the words that we say.
Second, to be able to change meaning, you must have power
and you must have time.
Trust me,
if I could rewrite the meaning of every blood-soaked word
I would.
I would scrub them clean of their histories.
I’d redefine them,
make them useful,
maybe even kind.
But I can’t, and neither can you.
At least not alone
and not on command.
Because I’m sorry to say
that that’s not how language works.
I’m sorry to say
that a symbol made synonymous with hate
cannot be used innocently,
cannot only mean what it meant before Hitler
and Himmler
and Heydrich and Daluege
and Jeckeln and Prutzmann
and Eichmann and Mengele.
Even if you claim to redefine it,
even if you claim to only use it for what it once was
even if once it was beautiful,
like the stalwart path of the sun,
the swastika has innocent blood on its hooks
and it eyes us sideways like a crooked lamppost
burdened with memories we cannot dismiss.
We remember.
As a society, we remember,
because pain is a finicky creature
that will not be reasoned with,
or re-defined out of existence.
We cannot use the swastika without remembering the pain
how it was ironed onto the starched coats
and painted on the national flags
of those who murdered
6 Millions Jewish men, women and children,
200,000 gypsies
70,000 handicaps
and unknown numbers
of people of color,
political prisoners,
and deportees.
Even if you say so.
Even if you claim to only use it for good.
We remember,
we remember.
Part Three: A Story
In elementary school my Hebrew teacher was Mrs. Wygodski.
When I was ten she seemed ancient.
I remember her shaky hands, but the steadiness of her voice.
Most of all I remember the numbers on her forearm
from when the Nazis decided she was no longer a girl,
but a numerical value.
I remember her telling us about the concentration camps
when they shaved her tiny girlish head
and gave her dirty, ill-fitting clothes,
when they took her arm and erased her
like a message in the sand,
and she became a number.
In elementary school someone wanted to play a joke
so they scrawled a swastika
on its side
in large black ink on the white board of class.
The symbol was the first thing you saw
when you entered the room.
I remember
when she came in she was smiling
as usual
her grey hair down, her kind, open face,
a miracle of a woman,
to withstand the darkest night and still smile.
I remember that Mrs. Wygodski said it is important to forgive
but I could never understand how she forgave the Nazis.
She would look at us and say
“hate is the darkest tunnel,
and harder to climb out of
than forgiveness is to bestow.”
The day she walked into the room with the swastika
looming large on the white board
I will never forget the look on her face.
As the symbol spoke to her directly
it unearthed everything she spent years flattening down,
memories she sifted through for decades with trembling fingers,
images she shelved in the recesses of her mind
to make room for the possibility of tomorrow, and the warmth of smiling children.
For a moment
that symbol broke her,
and in that moment, the swastika once again stole her humanity,
and turned Mrs. Wygodski into the number
they once told her she was.
Part Four: Land of the Free
Today thousands of hate groups continue to use the swastika
teetering sideways
the way that Hitler intended it.
Once a symbol of good fortune,
it is now the most widely recognized symbol of hate
the world has ever known.
Used in the United States
the swastika has opened its claws
and staked claim to the beating hearts,
and hopeful sovereignty
and promised dreams
of countless African Americans,
who became the targets of the same bottomless hate
that engulfed millions in the holocaust.
Under our star spangled banner
the swastika has overseen
thousands of racially driven lynchings,
ongoing police brutality
the imprisonment of one out of three black men
and the bombing of black children in their Sunday school dresses.
In Oregon,
the swastika celebrates the sealing of borders,
is embraced by the very groups
who once outlawed black existence
in our very own state constitution,
the same groups
who once dictated the state’s refusal
to ratify the 14th amendment
of equal protection,
and the 15th amendment
giving African Americans the right to speak
at the ballot box
and be heard
by their government.
In the land of the free, the swastika
is still tattooed on chests
and ironed to coats
and scrawled on the walls of my classroom.
In our communities
there are
the European Kindred,
the Northwest Hammerskins,
the National Socialist Party,
and the Ku Klux Klan.
And they wear the swastika
because they recognize its meaning,
the meaning we all know
the meaning imbedded deep
by the pointed guns of the Einsatzgruppen
they wear the swastika because they want to swallow the world.
Part 5: In Conclusion
To whoever drew the swastika
last week,
last year,
in every year before that
in the bathroom, in the hallway, on my classroom wall and desks.
I forgive you.
Not because I want to
but because Mrs Wygodski would.
I will give you the benefit of the doubt.
I will believe you didn’t mean it.
I will believe you didn’t know.
I will still have hope in your humanity
because what choice do I have?
This is my refusal to become what the Nazis wanted,
what hate groups still want.
That is how I resist.
I refuse to hate you,
I refuse
to hate.
However, now that I’m addressing you directly,
I want to take this moment to make clear
that when I see the swastika
this is what I see:
I see Mrs Wygodski,
with her kindness that was like a spring
flowing from somewhere dark and unseeable
and I see her face when she walked into a room with that symbol
and I see the colors of her world bleed out.
I see my missing family members,
who I never actually had the chance to really see.
So I imagine them,
my grandfather’s aunts, uncles and cousins
from a shtetle somewhere in Poland,
erased completely from history, from record, from existence
by swastika wearing men
who forgot how to be human.
Finally, I see my students.
The rest of them,
with their still young impressionability
and their beautiful array of skin colors, backgrounds, ethnicities, cultures
and their intact understanding of love.
They are the hope that our grandparents thought was lost,
and this swastika is their antithesis.
It is the undoing of their sanctity,
it is you spitting in the face of everyone who is not you.
And if you do that intentionally,
if you do that knowingly
and with purpose,
well, that
is unforgivable

This was a powerful poem written by my teacher, Sam. I really loved the power of her words and the mental image it left in my head. Enjoy!
Mateuš Conrad Jun 2017

oh, i don't really have a problem with them
                    it's only when they start babbling
about a necessary correlation between art
and morality,
              how being "moral" allows you to
construct meaningful narratives,
  where, either someone is good
            and descends into being bad
or someone begins by being
                good (ascends).
         that part about art, could piss anyone off,
whether left-wing, or right-wing...
  you can ascribe a moral dimension toward
art...   would a sober edgar allan poe
have written what he wrote?
well, sure... perhaps if hitler drank a few whiskeys
a day, and ate some meat, he wouldn't
have crafted the holocaust;
what the fuck is with these stale housewife myths?!
this sort of talk can really get at your
           bone marrow...
and make it rot, and give you stomach cramps...
art... & morality?
           so being a moral artists allows you a coherent
access toward providing an educational
form of narrative that can be easily repeated?
          william burroughs... can you recreate
his technique?
              if you can... you're in the pile of:
complete failures;
                               oh, but i guess in the current
right-wing category, homosexuality is moral,
because: you're going to get a baby pooped out
from a gay's ass...
                           that's a very moral stance with
regard to the general cause of humanity.
             i already said, it's a dodo project incubated
by right-wing politics...
                                 as a child i actually thought
about impregnating human semen in wolves,
or vice versa...
                oh look, a crazy scientist in the making;
but the shit you do with monkeys, or rats?
why not try to impregnate a man's sperm in
a wolf, or a monkey's sperm in a woman,
           or whatever acrobatics you can think of?
by now, the "angel of death" of auschwitz
                                                (josef­ mengele)
     has become really, really fucking boring to me...
as usual, sadists have no imagination
        they only have the capacity intra-species
                        me? if i had the chance?
          inter-species curiosities...
             what would happen if you impregnated
a sheep with bull's semen, or like i already said,
impregnated a woman with wolf semen?
        see how josef mengele's experiments
with twins, look, rather pale?
             ah... isis and chopping of heads gets boring,
i'm looking for someone brave enough to
do these experiments.
   you can't ask of art a morality,
            as you can't ask of morality, an art-form;
oh sure, because you might as well stumble
upon something akin to voltaire's
        pangloss quote regarding tending
to your own garden (affairs), or dumas'
  athos quote: the best advice, is to give no advice;
as with listening to in extremo's song der galgen,
and turning into a berserker,
  as a glaswegian might turn into
(according to gavin mcinnes) with adelle's song hello.

— The End —