Learning About The Holocaust by Jennifer Maloney

Content warning : gun violence, school shootings.

This week’s poem is a very powerful, very difficult read. It isn’t graphic, but it is, in the words of our guest editor Amy Kinsman, “harrowing because it allows the victims to speak for themselves. The dead haunt the living, which is tragedy but also a kind of protest beyond the grave. Why is it that we should have died? Will more die in the future? Sadly, without such events, meaningful change would often not occur. The survivors of the Parkland shooting are models we should aspire to look up to as political campaigners, leading the way with strength, bravery and wisdom.”

Learning about the Holocaust—a found poem
(Texts from Parkland, FL)

I.

Kaitlin
Please call 911
There’s a shooter at school
I’ve got no service I can’t call 

                                                                    Hannah what
                                                                    Are you serious right now
I’m not joking

                                                                    Ok I’m calling
                                                                    They’re on their way
                                                                    Are you ok
                                                                    Hannah
                                                                    Hannah
                                                                    Answer me

II.

                                                                    Matt
                                                                   Are you ok

So far
Just know
I love you forever and you’re
the best brother ever

                                                                   I love you too
                                                                  We’re gonna get outta here don’t worry

III.

Sam
My teacher died
and he’s sitting in the doorway
Sam I’m on the third floor
Do you think I’m ok?

IV.

Kaitlin
I’m so scared
Please call mom and dad
Tell them I love them
Tell them I love them so so much

                                                                    I know you do
                                                                    I called daddy but we can’t reach mom
                                                                   Daddy’s coming
                                                                   Where are you what class
                                                                   What building

Building 1000
Freshman building first floor I’m in
holocaust history

V.

Mommy
My teacher got shot
The door is open
Just know, no matter what
Mommy
You’re the best thing that ever happened to me
And just know.
Keep living life.

                                      No ssssshhhh honey I love you!

VI.

                                                                     Matthew
                                                                     Don’t do anything
                                                                     DON’T DO ANYTHING
                                                                     You understand?
                                                                     Matthew
                                                                     I’m out of the building
                                                                     Have you seen the cops yet
                                                                     Please answer me

VII.

Kaitlin
I’m so scared
I’m under my teacher’s desk a girl got shot
He shot her through the wall
My phone won’t work I don’t know how
these texts are going through

                                                                  Hannah are the police there yet
                                                                  Have you seen them

I don’t know
It’s silent
Now there’s yelling
I’m so scared Kaitlin

                                                                  I know Hannah
                                                                  You’re gonna be fine

I love you so much

                                      It’s building  1000 
                                                                                       The freshman building

I’m in holocaust history
                                                                                                                     The first floor

                  
                                The third floor
                                        
Call the police
                                                                                                                           My teacher died
           I’m so scared

                                               Tell them I love them

I love you too
I love you so much
I love you
I love you
I love

 

IMG_0839
Jennifer Maloney, photo by Gretchen Shulz

Jennifer Maloney is a poet, playwright and author living in Rochester, NY, and is the current president of Just Poets, Inc., a literary organization based in that city. Her work can be found in Aaduna.org, The Pangolin Review, and Memoryhouse Magazine, and has been anthologized in numerous places

5 thoughts on “Learning About The Holocaust by Jennifer Maloney

  1. Thank you so much for publishing this poem, I’m so pleased it’s found a home. I’d like to suggest that this piece is best read on the laptop or PC screen—on the phone the line breaks are messed up and it will take you “out” of the poem and lessen its impact. And I want it to have an impact. That’s why I wrote it.

    Like

  2. Also guys, I’m probably the one that misspelled it, but my photog’s last name is “Schulz”. I hope it can be corrected, thank you and I’m sorry, mea culpa!

    Like

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