Sunday, November 29, 2015

After Paris

Night comes even
with evening.

Our cat lies

a supplication.
We will try to say

a prayer
for the cold rain,

for the trees
going skeletal.

Jack Ridl
Douglas, USA
Donated to the International Red Cross

Paris,mon amour

Paris,my Paris
City of Love
Where have all your tears gone?

Paris,my Paris
City of light
Where have all your stars gone?

Paris,my Paris
May your wounds heal
May you spread love and hope

Paris,mon amour

Judith Essani
Donated to the Red Cross

I’m With You

In better days I walked your cobblestone streets 
hand in hand with you, my lover 
and we wandered aimlessly
through your spiraled neighborhoods 
admiring the historic and weatherworn
buildings as we explored places you had seen before
as a soldier guarding the gates in Orleans against marauders
your love of Paris in every breath as you played tour guide
to my tourist and what would you say tonight as this 
breathtaking city lies in the throes of destruction
it’s sanctuary destroyed by the vicious actions 
of those who selfishly decided
to obliterate some they had
never seen and who were innocent of usual crimes
eating dinner, watching soccer,
enjoying music and now were
plastic covered bodies with
soldiers surrounding the
aftermath of senseless 
bullets and bombs
and they are an invisible 
enemy striking with precision
their only goal to bring down
the ones who they believe
are their enemy
To mow us down and replace
us with themselves with 
religion being their reason.
Faith is their sword
and not their peace.

Barbara Ehrentreu
Stamford, CT USA
Donated to Secours Populaire Francais:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

always city of light

we passed through the city of light
on our way to a London flight
going to the land of the free
my parents, my brother, and me

nineteen-forty nine was the year
released from the nightmare of fear
the streets of Paris were bright
recovered from the Nazi blight
on a recent Friday night                                                                                   
evil minds made Paris the site
of brutal carnage undeserved
of a public cruelly unnerved
the world is no longer blind
to killers of radical mind
to those who kill to incite, to
prove to the world they are right

the path of free nations is clear
to refuse to tremble in fear
to refuse to be cowed                     
to stand strong, to stand proud

flowers, candles bright in the night
Paris always city of light

Ellen Lawrence
Long Island, N.Y. U.S.A.
Donated to Secours Populaire Francaise    


      People are screaming into the night,
      As they run so full of fright;
      Everyone is simply terrified,
      As they search for a place to hide.

     I see people shooting, I know not why,
     All I know, is I don't want to die;
     So I dive onto the floor,
     Not even knowing what's in store.

     People are getting hit,as they fall to the ground,
     I scan for better cover to be found;
     And right before my eyes, I see lots of blood being spilled,
     And the fear in me, is now completely fulfiled.

     People all over are dying,
     And so many Mothers are crying;
     Another senseless real sick act,
     Has left such a tragic impact.

     Once again innocent people are no more,
     And you have to ask yourself, "what was it all for?";
     Why was their innocent lives taken in vain,
     Why was the world again inflicted with so much pain?

    So tell me Lord, why do you continue,
    To let evil, do what they want to?
    Why are terrorists allowed to run free,
     And continue to destroy humanity?

    Just because today leaders are weak,
    And against terrorism too afraid to even speak;
    Too afraid to make a bold plan,
    Even to save their fellow man.

    You Lord, cannot stand on the side,
    And just continue to watch and hide;
    You know which of your people are evil,
            and which are good through and through.
    And protecting us, is what you should do.

    So use maybe some fire and brimstone,
    Or maybe you have a plan of your own;
    That's fine, but it is the world's foremost wish,
     That you get serious, and make these terrorists,
             simply vanish.

    You have done it before, and you can do it again,
    For these are truly very very evil men;
    Like Hitler and Stalin and monsters of that kind,
    When you rid the world of them, your planet here,
              Will be better you'll find.

Bob Baker
Hicksville,NY, USA
Donated to the World Jewish Congress 


From beneath a layer 
of black so dark
it could only be pitch, 
crept the tiniest bits 
of something hopeful—
What is the light
around the edges
of the slate horizon?
Could it be possible,
after months 
of downturned smiles
which are after all, 

Was it the dawning 
of not only a new day 
but something else?
After so much mourning 
and desperate dark,
what could this be coming, 
what could happen now?

But of course, 
she knew it all the time...
When you have endured
so much time
stumbling as if blind 
in dimness so black 
as to be ebony, 
as to be soot,
it had to follow,
it had to be
the crack under the door, 
the flash along the horizon.

Her heart swells as she recognizes 
the most lambent lights of all.
With Christmas, only breaths away,
it is indeed inevitable, 
she spend it atop the highest hill
in the City of Light.
Her eyes grow wide as the plane sets down, 
she's home:

Edmonton, Alberta Canada
Donated to the International Committee of the Red Cross

Paris, I remember

Oh, I remember, I remember
The golding leaves of past September
Blaze orange, yellow, yellow-red

Until, wind-felled, their final embers
I remember to this day
This woolly gray November day

(Le treize novembre
Je m'en souviens)
Je m'en souviendrai

Kevin J Taylor
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Donated to IAS

(Le treize novembre // November 13th
Je m'en souviens) // I remember
Je m'en souviendrai // I will remember [this]

Winter in Paris

Blackened tree limbs 
bare against the setting sun
mark the death of green summer
speak an alternate beauty

Stark geometry
patterns hidden from everyday life
only known in the season of death

I am grateful for even this terrible beauty

Joseph Coen
Valley Stream, NY, USA
Donated to Catholic Relief Services 

The last time I saw Paris

Okay so like ok cupid's asking me
Do I like to sleep spoon position
And I'm saying whoa saying
Way whoa
Way too you know
Way too dumb
But oddly enough I answer the next question
How many times do you prefer
To you know do it a week
But today when OK Cupid
ten questions later asks
 do I think the world would be safer
If there were more guns
I pause
I mull it through
And I think like in the concert hall
When the fiends shot each victim one by one point blank range
Like the mass killings Nazi-style
In the beginning
World War Two you know
Dig a trench
No have the Jews
Dig the trench then
Line them up then shoot shoot shoot shoot
Mull over the question more than I would have otherwise
Because we have Paris
We'll always have Paris
Rick and Elsa did, Casablanca

Although one question
I do answer roundly roundly
I the lover of the greater quantity
Of humanity still:
No Republicans please
or as my mother would say
In Yiddish. Ois. Ois.

Ellen Pober Rittberg
Long Island NY USA
Donated to Jewish National Fund.

Liberty's Light

It's hard to know
The words to use
For the people of France,
So I will choose
To only state
The sorrow we feel.
May your broken wings
Begin to heal.

From the land
Of Lady Liberty,
We stand by you,
In unity,
As our lady's torch--
A gift from you,
Keeps shining bright 
And pulls us through.

May you feel her light
And find your way
To peace and hope,
In clouds of gray.

Stacy Savage
Anderson, Indiana USA
Donated to Paris relief fund (


I will die in Paris on a rainy day,
the wet, the only thing I feel.
I won’t know what to do
with myself, lost
and alone, my drowning
feet playing tour guide
through the city,
the streets
my only friends.
For when I die in Paris
on that rainy day,
you will have been dead
two years too late
for me to tell you
that I like
the rain in Paris.

Linda G. Hatton
Newhall, CA USA
Donated to Secours Populaire Francais

Seeking Refuge

Somewhere around 
the know-it-all years,
my American shoes
stepped on a midnight train
to see the countryside,
except another side
stepped in front of me.
Riding a refugee train
to wherever,
a soiled schoolboy
with sunken lips and no home
to call his own, gripped
his mother’s dress, in search
of a warm place to sleep, hot
meals, freedom—stuck between
the pages of Europe
Through the Back
Door and their lifetime of
having no door, front
or back, anymore.

Linda G. Hatton
Newhall, CA USA
Donated to Friends of Fondation de France

our paris

our paris
was not the technicolor gay paree
of gigi and maurice chevalier
of woody allen’s midnight in paris
of moulin rouge! and paris je t’aime

our paris was brooding
dark and damp …
a four-day late november
whirlwind visit …
we stayed in a double standard
at a tiny hotel on boulevard de strasbourg
amidst stores selling wigs
but not the sheitel kind
where my wife minutely examined
the sheets before pulling them up

our paris was a shabbat evening dinner
at the beth loubavitch chabad house
near the arc de triomphe
whose address was on the champs-élysées
but whose entrance was hard to find –
purposely perhaps –
where orthodox men
wore baseball caps and nondescript clothing
because of wanton antisemitism

our paris was remembering
the internment and deportation of jews
by a complicit and willing vichy regime

our paris was realizing
that a government was willing to sell its soul
for the sake of its architectural splendor

but our paris was walking and walking
while i pored over my trusty maps
and taking the metro
to the père lachaise cemetery
to the louvre and to the notre-dame cathedral
to versailles and to le bon marché
whose prices were so high
we walked in and around and out
but then serendipitously
getting on a bus
that took us to the eiffel tower

our paris was having warm bread and cheese
while sitting along a boulevard
on a dreary afternoon

our paris was dining at an outdoor café
huddling next to a heater
whose filament was red-hot

but our paris was having an overwhelming need
to eat kosher food
which we found at la’s du fallefel
in the jewish le marais district

in this fabled fantasized-about
larger-than-life city
our paris was a mix of wonder and awe
but also of disgust …
turnstile jumpers
knocking aside passengers
over-eager souvenir hawkers
blocking exit paths
the squalor and sleaziness
of the porte de clignancourt flea market
… even the glittering strings of lights
alongside the overpriced stores
lining the champs-élysées
could not dispel
our feeling of sorrow and bitterness
that was impossible to assuage

Lloyd Abrams
Freeport, NY USA
Donated to Doctors Without Borders

Eiffel Reflected

She wraps her cloak around her arms­­­­––
a pewter shawl of woven clouds
that drapes across the ville with charm.

Her silver coiffe umbrellas crowds
of tourists queuing up to mount
the puddled iron tower­­––proud

gray dame in stylish mode flaunting
lattice grandeur.  Stilettos click
on cobblestones, a vendor counts

back change while Gauloise ashes flicked
on streets dissolve in rain-splashed slick.

Kim King
Hershey, Pennsylvania USA
Donated to Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders)

Je Suis Paris

Bombs and bullets
falling on Paris–
a hard, metal rain–

streaked red bright 
enough to fade
the stars.

La vie en rose,
la mort en rouge.

The stars still shine
after the fires
gutter in the tears

of the whole world,
falling on Paris–
a hard, metal rain.

Stephanie E. De Haven
Lafayette, LA, USA
Donated to NaNoWriMo Office of Letters and Light

When the Lights Fall in Paris

The lights fall silent,
and the bombs and the bullets
scream like sirens,
drive us into the rocks.

The lights fall silent,
liberty’s torch drowns beside
the children, tempest-tost
and dead on distant beaches.

The lights fall silent,
and the city sleeps uneasy.
We have all shut our gates
and said our prayers.

The lights fall silent,
and the children stumble.
The bombers laugh and smoke,
and we are (all of us) lost

lost in the darkness. 

Stephanie E. De Haven
Lafayette, LA, USA
Donated to NaNoWriMo Office of Letters and Light

Je Suis Paris

I have never been to Paris
never felt cobbled streets
beneath my feet – never 
seen the Eiffel tower bright
or flowers tumbling from
wooden boxes in pasteled
painted buildings – I have 
never stood in a crowd 
held in the lilting lyricism of 
langue or had a croissant
melt buttered between my
lips but the light – the light
of Paris burns, shines and 
glows within me – I too am 
Paris now and always one 
in solidarity and sensibility -
steadfast siblings forever ...

Pearl Ketover Prilik
Lido Beach, NY USA
Donated to Secours Popular Français

Paris Faces

Online, BBC shows
a checkerboard of photos,
the bright young faces,
where I can click on each
to see their short years of life,
their work in the freedom
of design, graphics, theater,
magazines, or driving a coach,
the careers which paid them
enough to buy a ticket  
to a wild rock concert on a mild
November night in the heart
of Paris, a heart throbbing
with energy and happiness,
or paid them enough for drinks
at a sidewalk cafe, a Friday
night of joy for Manuel, Ariane,
Djamila, Cedric, Cecile,
Fabrice, Fabian, Francois,
Claire, Marie, Renaud,
Matthieu and on and on, 
smiles from the screen, 
futures stolen from France.

Marilyn Peretti
Illinois, USA
Donated to UNICEF


Stripes of lights  
blue white and red
project upward
around the free world
the world wounded
and numbed
by suicide bombers
in the City of Light
the sparkling city
of freedom
a city and nation for all
even for their mothers
and fathers

Marilyn Peretti 
Illinois, USA
Donated to UNHCR 

Non-Judgement Day

Who will come to judge
the quick and the dead?
A sea of hands waving goodbye
The teenage anti-government spray paint artist
The family burnt out of homeland
85% of livestock drought bone dead
The battered women run out of choices
the young who love to dance and love and love
Bubbling up over the seafront
Desert to the South
Ice melt to the North
This life raft of the Western frontier
Who will smile?
Who will draw
A gun or a hand of welcome?
Who will seed bomb the deserts’
Sand duned beaches
Before your toddler of Humanity
is washed ashore like
suffocated fish?

Sarah Pritchard
Manchester, UK
Donated to the Malala Fund

Ville de Lumière

I still have old postcards from Paris
written in hurried, jagged script,
from a man who’s barely a shadow,
a faded smudge on my heart.

But the photos of La Tour Eiffel
and Arch de Triumph, rising from the
glittering streets, glow as the day
they arrived in my hands.

For years I dreamed of
the City of Light,
immersed in the music of
its shimmering tongue,

wrapped in perfumed evening air
under elegant architecture
and stars, savoring the flavors
of a moveable feast.

This is the city of Bogart
and Bergman,
where poète chien Max
fell in love, and the Louvre

raised a crystal pyramid.
This is where my longing takes me--
over the rooftops of Montmartre,
down the boulevards of blooming trees

where hope flourishes
in a palette of gardens, and candles
flicker outside cafes and concert halls
to honor the dead, remind the world:

No one will diminish your illumination.

Mindy Kronenberg
Miller Place, NY, USA
Donated to the American Red Cross

The light from Saint-Denis

The Dionysiens of Saint-Denis are the inheritors
of a radiance in stone and glass built by Abbot Suger
to flood the Basilica of Saint Denis, giving nearby Paris
a greed for light and raising the towers of the Gothic.

The burial place of kings in Saint Denis was looted
and the bones scattered and confused in the long
years of revolution. Today the ossuary grows with
a new terror. These acolytes carry a new thyrsus.

No madness of maenads was as ravaging as this new
cult of faith with staffs of nail bombs and stabbing knives.
Diderot, Voltaire, Descartes told us of order, wit, and mind.
Franklin and Lafayette once taught us friendship of cause.

Paris arose from the sins of ninety-three, greeted
the new century with industry and later a tower of iron.
Eiffel and Edison met in that tower taller than any basilica,
as friends exchanged civilized unities of height and light.

Below schools and libraries told of man and the moral gaze.
In the Louvre the Winged Victory inspired awe of approach.
The café society of a Paris bold and modern sparkled
an address of radiant gaiety to the world then and forever.

The avenues of Paris reappear all over the modern world
in cities heady with freedom and song, with sporting contests
and the bite of cartoons. We dance and cavort unchained,
we are Parisians of mind and we revere towers of light.

Virginia Walker
Shelter Island, NY
Donated to Secours Cathalique 


forboden  forbidden forsaken forgotten
strewn stuttered syllables
litter upon
the Seine

Terrence Sykes
Virginia  USA
Donated to the International Red Cross

Slept with Paris

slept with Paris 
last night 
city blooming 
like a flower 
in the darkness
in my garden
hollyhocks are 
in bloom 

Terrence Sykes
Virginia  USA
Donated to Secours Populaire Français

It Won’t End This Way

It won’t end on that bed of nails.
It won’t end in that pit of hell.
There are too many songlines
in the wilderness
sung by messengers
from a far off light
in the night sky.

There are too many succulents
in the wild barren wilderness
offering nourishment to angels
and activists of the Spirit.
There are too many candles
in the dark night,
and there are too many hands
that are strengthened by this pain.

The walls of hate
do not eclipse the rising light.
If you look gently in the street
you may see the glow
reflected in the eyes of the souls.

Jack Zaffos
Donated to Jewish Distribution Committee

Where Evil Lies

The chain moves on.
The guns are ablaze,
there is a desert in hell.

Powerlessness corrupts absolutely
and the fragrance of death
is so enticing to the impotent.

Guns ablaze,
bombs blast,
souls are murdered
and someone feels alive
for a moment.

There is a desert in hell
where blood is dried up,
where compassion is disemboweled 
and the day heat fuels a frenzy.

The smoky cloud of zero
asphyxiates the soul
and religious rage explodes.

This desert is around us.
It’s a desert of fear,
a desert of desperation
that leads to a place of desolation
where evil lies on a bed of militant ignorance.

 Jack Zaffos
Contribution to American World Jewish Service 

November 13, 2015

“As you sow, so shall you reap.”
          – Galatians 6:7
"If you do good, you do good for yourselves; and if you do evil, [you do it] to yourselves."
          – Holy Qur’an 17:7

We are linked
By the collective Super Soul.

They slithered into Paris
With death in their eyes
And hearts no longer beating
To the rhythms of life.    
Dark dreams hatched in a den of lies, 
Destined to drench blood and flesh  
Upon tear-stained cobblestones.

We are linked
By the screams that rose to heaven.

Jeanne D’Arc’s golden statue stood witness.
They twisted Allah’s voice to demand     
That all infidels must die.
In his name they launched their attacks.
 In his name . . .?
 Their crimes were blasphemy.  

(Nothing can be done to stop Fate
 So do not pray for Paris –
 She has carried the blood of her people
 And cradled those who have died,  
 For centuries.)

We are linked
By the radiance of transformation.

Call upon love to light your heart,
Cleave through clouds of fear and grief
    and vengeance.
Do not pray for Paris.
Instead, rise from despair and dread. 
Walk into the green forest of your soul’s spring.
Call upon Love to color the world’s darkness
    with its luminescence.
Sit within yourself and feel all that vibrates
    to a higher wisdom.

We are linked
By the collective Super Soul.

All is healing now. 
Toni Barca & James Gonda
Schenectady , NY USA
Save the Children
Schenectady Food Pantry

Found in Translation

She raises her hand as something 
is announced on the radio, motions 
me to listen as she turns up the volume.

Being in her country, not at all fluent
in her tongue, no trace of comprehension
as I stare between her and the radio dial.

Turning the volume back down, she repeats
slowly, distinctly the same words heard,
yet still I fail to understand their meaning.

She tunes the dial to an English-speaking station. 
I hear the report. Paris is under terrorist attack.

Our tears speak a language we both understand

Carl "Papa" Palmer
University Place WA USA
Donated to the USO

Horror Movie

This crazed planet
murders the simpler times
the good guys

Perhaps they never were
but I remember
and I weep
The dead are sacrificed
The evil celebrate

Blood boils as it spills
Tears etch faces
Horror blinds

What were once hopeful hearts
lose their way
stop beating

Revenge seems sweet
It is nothing
Death is empty

Take this broom
Sweep clean the hatred
A child is born
cries for a safe world

Death’s scythe has murdered again
Tonight we mourn
and wait for/hide from

Dd. Spungin
No. Woodmere, NY, USA
Donated to American Jewish World Service

Dear Paris

3,606 miles away
your tears fall like raindrops
from our shared sky
your grief grey on wounded clouds
blend across a field of blue
bright white stars twinkle
on a darkened backdrop
a shared distress, you are not alone
a code of solidarity after terrorist attacks
streams of red sorrow will fade in time
in dawn’s healing opal rays

my psalms strung from cumulus
across  heartbroken continents
from suburban East Meadow 
to City of Lights Paris
across the North Atlantic Ocean
strength sails on jet wings
speedier than a near 7-hour flight 
from JFK to Chas de Gaulle
we meet on streets swept with candle flickers
flower petals calling out for mercy

our same world, our same prayers
for peace, for unity
for I understand
when you look up
our eyes face across the miles
when your hand rests on your breast
our hearts beat together
our same hope

for peace to reign supreme

J R Turek
Nassau County, NY USA
Donated to CTM  Prayers For Peace

Roots of Evil

All evil in this world
-war, murder, oppression-
comes from one source.
Ego obsession,
a false sense of separation
and superiority,
of the Self
from the Whole.

We are all part of the ONE,
and when we realize this,
we will embrace
the universal law of love,
and feel the unity
of being part of

Gene McParland
North Babylon, NY USA
Donated to the North Babylon Food Pantry

City of Light

Light has broken
on the bridges of the Seine.
Piercing phantoms
of sound remain.
We struggle to breathe
in the stillness, decimation
Let our tears cry down
the sun
the stars
the pain
till luminescence afflicts our hearts
and we are struck
by the gift of life
still here
in wounded memory

Sally Kahn
Suffolk County, NY USA
Donated to the International Red Cross