John Guzlowski's Blog (81)

Spring Poem

Spring Poem

My Polish father spent five years in the German concentration camp system. He was captured by the Germans in fall of 1940 and finally liberated by the Americans in spring of 1945.

During those five years, he saw men crucified and hung, castrated and…

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Added by John Guzlowski on March 20, 2017 at 10:57am — 7 Comments

Theresa's Blues, Chicago 1969

I used to go to Theresa's, a bar on the southside of Chicago where the music was always great and the dancing wild.  Most of the time, me and my friends were the only white guys there, but we didn't care.  

The music was hot.

I'm in the middle of writing a sequel to my murder mystery…

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Added by John Guzlowski on February 14, 2017 at 11:29am — 6 Comments

A Valentine's Day Poem and the Story Behind It

My Polish parents met in a concentration camp in Germany toward the end of World War II.

My mom had been brought to Germany by the Nazis to work in a slave labor camp. The day she was captured she saw her mom and her sister and her sister's baby killed by German…

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Added by John Guzlowski on February 12, 2017 at 3:30pm — 2 Comments

Green Cards

Green Cards

America has always been hard on refugees.

We were Polish refugees who waited for 6 years while America decided if it would take in any of the 12 million displaced people left behind by the German carnage of WWII.

Finally the USA agree to take in 275,000 of us.

That's right, 275,000.

We were the lucky ones.  We came here.

The unlucky ones went back to their home countries, now controlled by the Russians. My uncle went back. After 3 years…

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Added by John Guzlowski on February 2, 2017 at 10:54am — 5 Comments

My Father's Birthday

My Father's Birthday
 
My dad Jan Guzlowski was born on Dec. 11, 1920, in Poland on a farm north of…
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Added by John Guzlowski on December 11, 2016 at 3:25pm — 2 Comments

Outside. Leaves. On the ground

Outside. Leaves. On the ground.

My granddaughter Lulu was over, and we went outside and gathered a pile of sumac leaves, and then piles of twigs and walnut shells.

We dug a small hole and buried them.

It wasn't a funeral, and so we sang "someone's in the kitchen with Dinah" over and over.

Then we found a couple of brooms and swept the leaves away.

She was hungry then and we came back in and ate some yogurt.

Added by John Guzlowski on November 29, 2016 at 9:24am — 8 Comments

ELECTION DAY POEM

Election Day Poem
 
I wanted to post a poem today about the America I know and love.
 
It's an America of refugees and immigrants, people who came here with nothing and struggled to get the things they had.…
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Added by John Guzlowski on November 8, 2016 at 12:52pm — 2 Comments

Wood

Wood

Emerson in my favorite essay "Nature"

says that words ultimately

come from the objects they describe. 

If you could trace the word "wood"

down through its linguistic DNA,

you would find some piece of wood

at the beginning of that journey of tracing. 

The piece of wood…

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Added by John Guzlowski on November 4, 2016 at 7:35am — 6 Comments

My Mother's Dreams in Wartime

My Mother's Dreams in Wartime

The world burns before our eyes,

and the smell of everything red

is on our skin.

We wait in line for bread

that never comes. We speak

to…

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Added by John Guzlowski on October 28, 2016 at 8:23am — 3 Comments

My Mother's Dreams in Wartime

My Mother's Dreams in Wartime

The world burns before our eyes,

and the smell of everything red

is on our skin.

We wait in line for bread

that never comes. We speak

to…

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Added by John Guzlowski on October 28, 2016 at 8:23am — 1 Comment

Audible Version of Echoes of Tattered Tongues

My book Echoes of Tattered Tongues, a memoir about my parents and their lives as slave laborers in Germany and as refugees, has recently been published as an Audible book.

There are some free samples at the link below.

For me the most interesting thing was how the actor Jon Brandi made the book feel like a…

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Added by John Guzlowski on October 14, 2016 at 8:30am — 2 Comments

ME AND THOREAU AND MY DAD AND MOM

Thoreau is an author I love. 

 

When my daughter was a kid, I would reel out these Thoreau quotes on every occasion whether we were making vegetable soup or going to a…

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Added by John Guzlowski on October 13, 2016 at 9:52am — 10 Comments

UK CELEBRATES NATIONAL POETRY DAY

UK CELEBRATES NATIONAL POETRY DAY!
 
Today is National Poetry Day in the UK and I figure I ought to help my brother and sister poets in the UK celebrate this celebration.
 
Here's a poem I wrote about one of my favorite British poems by one…
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Added by John Guzlowski on October 6, 2016 at 11:17am — 5 Comments

Dreams and Poems

 

DREAMS AND POEMS



Scream…

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Added by John Guzlowski on October 4, 2016 at 11:30am — 2 Comments

TODAY THE GYPSIES ARE BURNING

My poem "Today the Gypsies are Burning" was recently featured as the poem of…

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Added by John Guzlowski on September 19, 2016 at 8:43am — 10 Comments

WHAT MY FATHER ATE

My father survived almost 5 years of slave labor in Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

He worked 12-14 hours a day and 6 and 7 days a week, and lived on about 600 calories of food a day.

Once he complained that he was starving to a guard, and the guard clubbed him repeatedly across the…

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Added by John Guzlowski on September 15, 2016 at 10:00am — 6 Comments

9/11 -- 15 years later

 

One of the things that the past teaches us is that there is really no end to the past.

I saw this in my parents. For them World War II never ended -- even after liberation, even after forty, even after fifty years. The war and the camps my parents suffered in…

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Added by John Guzlowski on September 9, 2016 at 12:33pm — 1 Comment

Labor Day Poem

My parents were both hard workers. They grew up on farms in Poland when much of the work was still done by hand.

Then there were the years they spent in Germany as slave laborers. In Buchenwald, the camp my dad spent almost 5 years in, whether you worked or not was never a choice. As my…

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Added by John Guzlowski on September 6, 2016 at 12:43pm — 5 Comments

Soup Recipe for a Hot Day

Back in the old days before anybody had air-conditioning, my mother, a Polish woman from the old country, felt that the surest cure for hot weather was szczawiowa zupa, shchav, swiss chard soup.

She’d get up early on a day that promised to be in the high 90s, and she’d fix shchav. It wouldn’t take long and it didn’t require a…

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Added by John Guzlowski on August 21, 2016 at 1:04pm — 9 Comments

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