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May I find myself in nearness to your stories, and be changed by your memory

November 2023

When your very life is an affront on those who do not want you to exist

Keep surviving 

As best you can

This is no time for fatalism


Share your bread

Wash your face

Find community

Fall in love

This is the anthem of hope

That sings out into the future

Into anyones ears who might be tuning in

For wavelengths that sound of testimony to life

As smoke continues to rise

And death at the hands of another is still incomprehensible

But happens now and now and now.


Remember these words: Survive and make the world better. 


This whole thing will one day be over and we will all be free.


July 2023

I am sitting adjacent to you and your story, proximal to your memory, so I form my own, behind my camera, with photographs, with facts, with a tour guide who is pleased to find an artifact in the archive that you had signed, with your grandson who is the age you were at liberation, with my own understanding of freedom, with rocks placed on the stump of the Goethe oak. I imagine you saw it burn, the tree. Its smoke an indication that the end might be near. Its smoke a loss of a singular shady refuge. Its smoke tangled with the smoke of so many other burning things. I wonder how you did it, stay alive, beat the odds, walk away, find life again. We sit here now, holding each other, me with your memory, you with my future. As we meet here in this moment, we seek to find the tendrils that stretch in both directions.

April 2018 

I am taking it in, the mossy color of this land

Fertilized by ash

From death comes life, one might say, but i won’t

Many Aprils have passed since he was here

Down behind the kinderblock 

Hidden in a garbage canister, under leaves and branches 

Holding on to the idea of freedom

For just one day more


I wonder if they recognize you,

The beech trees and dandelions and ghosts all around us,

In your gait, your awe, your concern for the world

A daughter made possible only by hope

Whose life is creation

A grandson made possible only by joy

Whose life is healing

And me, here, to witness, to relay, to connect this memory to the unconnected rest

April 2018

We came here to celebrate surviving life meant only for death

We brought your favorite brandy and bread and chocolate to sit in ceremony

With what and who you loved, sitting where you could only stand

To reincarnate this place as it revealed itself to us

To sit in the shadow of grief, and claim life instead

On the stone with the flowers breaking fertile ground

At block 22, with what was left

of where you were captive

With a circle of men, many who you came to love

Who kept you alive, whose lives kept life possible

A toast to them, to you, to the sun breaking through and the wind slowing down


But we were told to put it all away

By a faceless guard who had been watching us

From the towers

From the perimeter

From the control room


We were breaking the rules

Stupid Americans,

no respect.

A new hole in my chest grew

As I realized that remembering, honoring, commemorating might look different 

for all of us


July 2023

I struggle to find words without them being gaudy or translucent. Without pretending to have answers or succumbing to knowing nothing. So I listen for four hours, and wonder what you’d think of the world today.


What comes after postmemory? A degree removed from atrocities of the past, a degree closer to the atrocities of now. This is the moment of connection, where we sit adjacent but not touching. Where we look backward and forward together and decide what actions we might take right now, to practice active remembering and to promise to let those memories guide us. I am not lost in direction, but lost for words. This is too big. Too hard. Too necessary and complicated to over simplify, but you distill it for me:

Lead With Compassion. Always Remember. Stay Vigilant. Never again for anyone.


July 2023

We remember

And get close enough to be changed by something that may not touch us skin to skin, but heart to heart, or conscience to conscience.

So easy is it to turn away when we are far enough to do so

When we get lost between what we witness and where we stand

But not now. Now we see. 

We look we listen we remember and are changed.

April 1945

We do not speak of god

or the people we've lost

But we sing, and speak lovingly about the theater and our favorite books and museums, and the meals our mothers made with sugar and decorations

Our intellectual and cultural lives are untouchable

Stowed away in the gullies of our memory

Where life is still sweet and green 


And this is how we survive. Together.

00:00 / 02:52

July 2023


What lasts in a memory

When the infrastructure of change can’t bear the weight of forgetting

But the details are tattered and voices are fading


A new vision comes together

As we talk and write and go through photographs which inform but do not recite


With hints of what is alive in us now

In color

With space for what is lost to remain here


May the certainty of these artifacts echo in the canyons of your heart

So that your blood memory flushes through your body and mind, oxygenated and red

So that these images are not of battlefields but of revelations.

So that we might find our way again


In loving memory of Kurt Baum, who always found a reason to sing


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