Birkenau

world
war[m] bloodb
eating a
crack of yellow a
sliver
s[train]ing
again [st
a [res]]
stomach
[g]rumbling
smoke
[stop
[s]tart
s]tacks. engine th
Rom fortune-telling.

the opened do[horr]or.

g[r]ay men
[p/h]unching
gunbutts

all divided
sonderkommandos
[a sh]ambling [jews] guards think

what[?] a g[h]as.t


This is the poem for which I requested primary sources. I ended up reading Maus and rewatching Triumph of the Will. Maus filled my need to some extent and Triumph acted a bit as a springboard to allow me to extrapolate that pomp into pathological hatred, but was ultimately ineffective. So here is the poem as it stood when I first asked for help. Mainly what I’m trying to do is use the same letters to represent the forced intimacy of the prisoners with their captors and show how forced intimacy is dehumanizing. It is also an experiment with form, which gets too busy I think. I wonder if Fiat Tabula Rasa is going to be the only one in that sort of form that sort of works for me.

If you’d like to read something good, read this: Persimmons by Li-Young Lee