John Guzlowski (USA)

 
John Guzlowski (USA)
 
John Guzlowski’s writing appears in Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac, North American Review, Rattle, Ontario Review, Salon.Com, and many other journals. His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in Chicago appear in his award-winning memoir Echoes of Tattered Tongues (Aquila Polonica Press). He is also a columnist for the Dziennik Zwiazkowy (the oldest Polish language daily in America) and the author of Suitcase Charlie and Little Altar Boy, noir mystery novels set in Chicago.
 
 
Our Silence
 
My silence and your silence
speak a language
we learned long ago
in a world where silence
moved the waves
and every sparrow
flew on wings of silence
into our eyes
 
And every word
we learned to speak
is part of a prayer
connecting us
to all the words
spoken by all people
everywhere
ever
 
This silence and these words
invented love
 
Taught us to whisper
Hello
Taught us
To open our eyes
 
Taught us
To enter the woods
And fields
And learn the meaning
Of everything
 
 
 
The Lives of Trees
 
It’s easy for trees
 
Leaves
and then no leaves
year after year
Us?
 
The slow growth of our children?
 
Their early deaths?
 
Our early deaths?
 
Our fears and dreams?
 
Trees have it easy.
They are like god —
 
Indifferent
Breathing in & out
Blind to longing
 
and love and loss
 
Blind to those living
Only with hope
 
 
 
Love
 
Find a man or a woman
and tell this person
who you truly are
and have this person
tell you truly
from the gray essence
of his or her heart
who he or she
truly is
 
And that –
if you survive it –
will be love
 
What I talk about here
is nothing more
then smudges
on a page
 
 
 
What’s in My Hands
 
I open my hands
And see only my hands
The lines in my palms
That some say speak of fate
And love and misery
And the wonder to come
Some quiet morning in December
When the cold will silence the birds
And the asking in my palms.
 
And I close my hands
And see only my hands
The palms lost in them
The fate and love and wonder
Lost in this quiet December morning
As I turn to watch the leaves
Moving slowly in the wind
 
The birds are silent
The crows here last week are gone
Gone to the Carolinas
Where they hope to find some sun
 
I sit and watch the trees
As if they were my open hands.
 

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