Door de tien plagen, stroomde de Nijl-rivier rood van bloed een gedicht van Jill Bialosky Door de tien plagen,stroomde de Nijl-rivier rood van bloed, vee werd ziek, sprinkhanen, steenpuisten, hagelbuien, drie dagen duisternis, iedere eerstgeborene belaagd door een wrekende engel - je moest de deur met bloed van een offerlam markeren zodat God die voorbij zou gaan. Om degenen te identificeren voor deportatie naar de kampen in Nazi-bezet-Oost-Europa, waren zij verplicht een gele Joodse Ster te naaien op hun jas. Later in de kampen, een witte armband met een blauwe Joodse Ster rond hun linkerarm gebonden. Ook baby's in koetsen moesten ze dragen, zuigelingen in de lucht gegooid en als doelen gebruikt voor machinegeweren. O, heilige oorlog. Omdat iemand een Swastika schilderde op de deur van een slaapkamer waar drie Joodse studenten huisden, Joden zullen onze plaats niet innemen, omdat in het complex, alleen de appartementen van minderheden tekens hadden die hun deur markeerden. Omdat op een college-campus, een Swastika was gesneden in de zuiverheid van wit gevallen sneeuw. (Excerpt from Asylum c. 2020 by Jill Bialosky, by permission of Alfred A Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC New York.)
Because of the ten plagues, the Nile River ran red with blood. A Poem by Jill Bialosky Because of the ten plagues, the Nile River ran red with blood, livestock diseased, locusts, boils, hailstorms, three days of darkness, every firstborn threatened by an avenging angel—you had to mark the door with blood of a sacrificed lamb so that God would pass over it. Because to identify those when deported to the camps in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe they were required to sew a yellow Jewish Star on their jacket. Later, in the camps, a white armband with a blue Jewish Star bound on their left arm. Babies in prams, too had to wear them, infants tossed in the air and used as targets for machine guns. Oh, holy war. Because someone painted a Swastika on the door of a dorm room where three Jewish students reside, Jews will not replace us, because in the complex, only the apartments of minorities had signs marking their doors. Because on a college campus, a Swastika was carved into the purity of white fallen snow. (Excerpt from Asylum c. 2020 by Jill Bialosky, by permission of Alfred A Knopf, a division of Penguin Random House LLC New York.)
Her poems and essays have appeared in Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, O, The Oprah Magazine, The Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, and The Paris Review, among others. She coedited, with Helen Schulman, the anthology Wanting a Child. She is executive editor and vice president at W. W. Norton & Company. Her work has been a finalist for the James Laughlin Prize, the Patterson Prize, and Books for a Better Life. In 2014, she was honored by the Poetry Society of America for her distinguished contribution to poetry. She lives in New York City.
The Mothers We loved them. We got up early to toast their bagels. Wrapped them in foil. We filled their water bottles and canteens. We washed and bleached their uniforms, the mud and dirt and blood washed clean of brutality. We marveled at their bodies, thighs thick as the trunk of a spindle pine, shoulders broad and able, the way their arms filled out. The milk they drank. At the plate we could make out their particular stance, though each wore the same uniform as if they were cadets training for war. If by chance one looked up at us and gave us a rise with his chin, or lifted a hand, we beamed. We had grown used to their grunts, mumbles, and refusal to form a full sentence. We made their beds and rifled through their pockets and smelled their shirts to see if they were clean. How else would we know them? We tried to not ask too many questions and not to overpraise. Sometimes they were ashamed of us; if we laughed too loud, if one of us talked too long to their friend, of our faces that had grown coarser. Can’t you put on lipstick? We let them roll their eyes, curse, and grumble at us after a game if they’d missed a play or lost. We knew to keep quiet; the car silent the entire ride home. What they were to us was inexplicable. Late at night, after they were home in their beds, we sat by the window and wondered when they would leave us and who they would become when they left the cocoon of our instruction. What kind of girl they liked. We sat in a group and drank our coffee and prayed that they’d get a hit. If they fumbled a ball or struck out we felt sour in the pit of our stomach. We paced. We couldn’t sit still or talk. Throughout summer we watched the trees behind the field grow fuller and more vibrant and each fall slowly lose their foliage— it was as if we wanted to hold on to every and each leaf. (Jill Bialosky, "The Mothers" from The Players. Compilation copyright © 2015 by Jill Bialosky. Reprinted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint off Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.) Source: The Players (Alfred A. Knopf, 2015)
Fathers in the Snow 2. After father died the love was all through the house untamed and sometimes violent. When the dates came we went up to our rooms and mother entertained. Frank Sinatra's "Strangers in the Night," the smell of Chanel No.5 in her hair and the laughter. We sat crouched at the top of the stairs. In the morning we found mother asleep on the couch her hair messed, and the smell of stale liquor in the room. We knelt on the floor before her, one by one touched our fingers over the red flush in her face. The chipped sunlight through the shutters. It was a dark continent we and mother shared; it was sweet and lonesome, the wake men left in our house. (From The End of Desire: Poems, published by Alfred A. Knopf, 1997. Copyright © 1997 by Jill Bialosky.)
‘Poems for me are often vehicles for private arguments. Mostly these arguments have to do with the dichotomies within us as individuals: the pulls between desire and stability; safety and danger; emotion and reason. I’m very interested in these ideas and in my poems I find ways of addressing the questions in a way that interests me and I hope will interest my readers. I’m not aware that my poems seek resolutions per say, but perhaps suggest how we might live in confusion and how this state might be what keeps us most alive.’