Thursday, May 12, 2016

Relief....and yet....

The woman walked toward the doorway of the now-frequented building...

stopped to "Purell" her hands....

(Somewhere in the recesses of her mind,
she realized that she had NEVER actually done the "Hand-Scouring" thing before....)

that, if she were being honest, she was somewhat offended when she saw others doing it...

It was as if they were trying to WASH the "Elderly" entirely from their beings...
like an infectious disease or something...

In any case, as the door opened,
she was quite stunningly taken aback by the MAGNIFICENT, sunlit day outside....

She realized almost instantaneously, that it was LESS about the GLORIOUS DAY....

and really ONLY about the visit to her MOTHER  ...

And in that moment, the TRUTH came spilling in with the rays of sunlight....

as if it were boiling tea being poured from a teapot....

TRUTH TEA...

Here's the thing:

It could have been TORRENTIALLY RAINING outside,

and she STILL would have experienced that VERY SAME feeling.....


The feeling was.....
to put it simply,

RELIEF....

(although what she was experiencing was FAR from "simple"....)

What was the relief about ?


Herein lies the REASON for which I'm compelled to tell you this story....


The woman actually DREADED going to see her mother...

SHE DREADED IT....

Why?

It was NOT because she didn't LOVE her mother......

AU CONTRAIRE...

It was because she LOVED HER MOTHER SO MUCH....

that the pain and bewilderment of the Alzheimer's Disease ....

the UNILATERAL PIRACY of her REAL MOTHER'S BODY by this villainous, dark scoundrel....

was SO DEBILITATING to her....

that she had boldly donned a cloak of INDIFFERENCE ...
an indifference SO CONVINCING, that even SHE herself was fooled by it....

She missed her mother SO MUCH....

The talks...the laughter....the arguments.....

This shell of a woman who could barely carry on a rational conversation ...

this could NOT really be her mom....

But the sad reality was....

THIS is who was left in her MOM's place....

an old, confused, slow woman....

who had sparkling moments of being her sassy and energetic self....

But those moments came less and less frequently now.....

Having said all of that....

being a committed daughter, a good Jewish girl, and really CARING.....

she came regularly and sat with her SHELL of a Mom...

holding her hands..... showing her pictures from her phone..... kissing her head...

And there, in the now-glaring sunlight of TRUTH....
she realized in VIVID COLOR,
that the reason for which  she was absolutely TERRIFIED to come here....

was the PARALYZING FEAR that HER OWN MOTHER WOULD NOT RECOGNIZE HER......

It hadn't happened yet....

But one day soon it would, to be sure....

And THIS fact of life ..... this inevitable "TURNING of the corner".....
CUT HER SO DEEPLY....
both literally and figuratively...
 that she had, somewhere along the way, unknowingly feigned "INDIFFERENCE"....
just in order to be able to survive the pain....
in order not to bleed to death....

Hence....

the GARGANTUAN  FEELING OF RELIEF every time that her
LOVELY MOTHER RECOGNIZED HER
came upon her swiftly and absolutely....
allowing her to feel, somehow, MOMENTARILY COMPLETE....

And so it went.....











Monday, August 17, 2015

A Subtle Shift....

She could barely decipher it....
The subtlety was, in fact, shrouded in subterfuge and fog...
And yet, her senses were wildly awakened by it....
That feeling of "Anticipation"....of "Satisfaction" even....
enveloped her in its warm, pink, fluffiness....
And as she stood there.....STILL...... SILENT....
it occurred to her, ever-so-delicately....
and with heightened INCREDULITY ...............
that she was.........

Wait for it...........

"""HAPPY""".
And so it went....
 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tisha B'Av

On Tisha B'Av we mourn, yet again, the Destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.(Holy Temple).... Tonight , as we begin our 24 hour Fast, we are reminded, so unfortuna...tely, that we are a People who are historically,continuously,
placed in Precarious positions... Unfortunately, the state of the world today resonates in all too familiar ways... Wishing you a Safe and Easy Fast..... and continued strength in times of Oppression....
Toby Gotesman Schneier



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Bits of Nostalgia Floating in the Atmosphere...

It's no big Epiphany on my part...
that we, as human beings, are HIGHLY susceptible to moments of
 REVERIE...
MEMORY...
LONGING.....
Deja vu...
We can SMELL the aroma of Apple Pie and be lifted back to a long ago scene in our Mom's kitchen...
We can hear the slight hint of a Melody, and without even being cognizant of
 WHAT the actual song IS,,,,,,,
 we are suddenly 16 years old again, with a pack of our girlfriends, driving through the streets of Portland on a Saturday night...
We can see a COLOR even,,,,, and have a STRIKING moment of unbridled sadness about a parent who is no longer with us....
a parent who wore a SHIRT of that PRECISE BLUE.....
The aforementioned are PURE, MUSCLE MEMORIES...
Completely uncontrollable....
Impossible to Eradicate, even IF we wanted to do so..
So ART is simply, at least from my abstracted perspective,
the NOTION that we can SOLIDIFY these moments in some kind of encapsulated way...
so as to SHARE them somehow....


 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Frank Note....

Having grown up in a home where both parents were Auschwitz Survivors,
I am ALL too aware of the Gargantuan Losses and Upheavals that our people have endured...
We Speak about it, Write about it, Paint about it....Light Candles about it,
Create Staggering Film about it....
We BREATH , SLEEP, & EAT the HOLOCAUST....
We OWN it....
To the extent that I'm beginning to sense a kind of perverse PRIDE around it....
As though, somehow, those TORTURED, CALAMITOUS YEARS are being held up as a BANNER of sorts....
In fact, in some VERY DRASTIC cases, I'm relatively certain that there are people in MY generation who have somehow convinced themselves that it is THEY whom actually SURVIVED THE CAMPS...........
I am 150% with everybody about NEVER FORGETTING and keeping the STORY ALIVE and FLOWING to our children...
However, I fear that we may have lost site of JUST PLAIN, OLD "LIVING"....
We CANNOT ONLY LIVE, BREATH, SLEEP, EAT, PAINT, FILM, & WRITE about the HOLOCAUST!!
We MUST LOOK and GROW and FOCUS FORWARD.... We MUST...
If NOT, the NAZIS continue to WIN OVER AND OVER....
Ecclesiastes said, "For every thing there is a SEASON..."
I, for one, CANNOT and WILL NOT be SAD ALL THE TIME....
Life has many startling and magnificent layers....
Yes, the PAST is EVER-PRESENT in our lives....
But the PRESENT and FUTURE are EVER-PRESENT as well.....
Maybe just kick it down a notch or two ?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Never Forget...

Never Forget....

Holocaust Remembrance....
We remember the plague of German Reach to exterminate and annihilate our people...
The unimaginable reality that this Evil Force had such power...such legs beneath it...
We remember that MILLIONS of innocents were heaped in piles as though they were old, stained burlap...
ready to be burnt as a result of only their uselessness...
We remember that our simple ability to "trust" was forever lost during these calamitous years...
We became something MORE than a "PEOPLE"...
We became a "CAUSE" somehow...
Indignant...Defiant....
Our innocence was buried along with our families beneath the rubble of bodies there in the
notorious "Camps"....
We now are forever saddled with the almost insurmountable MISSION of
"moving on"....of "living well"....
of attaining success...happiness...even freedom ....
while all at once "putting history aside" and "NEVER FORGETTING"....
And we SHALL BE TRIUMPHANT ....
for ultimately...
This is our destiny....

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Liberation from Auschwitz...

As the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz draws near,
I find myself in an unusual kind of  'vortex' of Emotion & Sentiment & even of Longing...
It is as if I am floating above myself somehow....
in a kind of ethereal mist...
The mist is Citrine in color....Drab in a way...
Somewhat acerbic to the tongue ..
I am WATCHING....
GUARDING....
REMEMBERING...
DIS-MEMBERING...
ALL in the 3rd person...
And the Black & White Stripes are undulating and OOZING in gelatinous form.....
through the broken wires of cyclone fencing...
The stripes are dancing actually....
And I find myself TRAPPED in the citrine bubble above myself....
Knocking MADLY.....Trying desperately to GET MY OWN ATTENTION...
And my Parents are there...
Digging a hole in the dirt beneath the fence...
with their torn and bloody hands...
And the color of the RED blood, as seen through my GREEN mist is STARTLING in its utter subtlety...
And I can see, as clear as day, that there is an ANGEL sitting on the branch of an apple tree...
And she is feeding my parents bits of apple soaked in honey and wine...
The wine is RED....just as the blood....
And somehow I KNOW that THEY are indeed FREE...
But I am not...


 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Elephant(s) on the Screen...

The woman sat in deep contemplation , reflecting on the peculiar happenings of the day before...
She was a painter....a good one....dedicated to her craft...
She painted 8+ hours per day and had been doing so for over 15 years..

The attack was BRUTAL...  SUDDEN....
She was completely thrown off her game....

2 Female "Elephants" had shown their tusks in a most deliberate fashion...
They HATED her....DESPISED her...
But the peculiar thing was that SHE HADNT EVEN KNOWN THEM...
One of them, the MOST VICIOUS, was a complete stranger...
And the other one, oddly, had offered MUSEUM INTRODUCTIONS only a short while before said incident took place...

Being ambushed was not completely new to her...
I mean.... HIGH SCHOOL, right?
She chuckled...
She stood 5 feet 9 inches in stocking feet, had never been too bad on the eyes, and was used to a certain amount of envy or indignation or whatever it was...
After all, she'd been in public life forever....

So WHY did THIS thing trouble her SO MUCH ?
She'd been CYBER BULLIED...Badly, to be sure....
And after all, this was not only ILLEGAL, but potentially HARMFUL to her business...to her life...

So she could ROCK THEIR WORLDS APART with lawsuits....
or she could issue a threat of legal action were they EVER to mention her name again under ANY circumstances...
She certainly wasn't shy...
or she could "TURN THE OTHER CHEEK"....
lol
She was pretty sure that her people never did that! 

But aside from all of the above-captioned HOOPLA, there was a bigger issue at stake ...
She had felt warm and cozy and understood in the group....
(foreign feelings for her to be sure!)
And the Mistress of the Group was a FINE, almost ANGELIC woman....
a real TZADEKET....as were some of the people...

The fact was that she had simply been asked by SO MANY people for the prices of her art...
and she was SO uncomfortable sharing this kind of black and white minutiae anyway...
....(which was ABSURD..)
and the Mistress had kindly and gently prodded her forward,
in order to "CELEBRATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS" and REVEL IN COLOR"...
And so she had done so...
Shared the colors and shapes and internal meanderings of her soul, only to then be THWARTED and HUMILIATED by the 2 Elephants...

But HERE was the REAL PROBLEM:
The people had remained SILENT while watching the debacle unfold...
It was as if they were SWITZERLAND during that cataclysmic war...
Parve...Quiet...  Unhelpful...
The only ones who came to her rescue had been the Wonderful Mistress and one close friend...
THIS fact she found to be DEVASTATING, UNFORGIVABLE even...

Re-Entering the scene would be somewhat awkward and even clumsy...
So the woman decided to blog about it in order to assuage and even buffer her disconcertion....

And so it went...