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War Poems

May 01, 2022

These are poems that I wrote when I assembled my father's story of his journey as an immigrant after WWII, as well as poems written during the Russian-Ukrainian war. I wanted to use the theme of home because as an immigrant, the definition of home changes when you are driven out by war.


This is where I live.
The place I work and give
to make this country
Where I feel ALIVE
and connected,
and proud.
I shout out loud,


One day we’re happy,
the next we’re not.
Above there are a lot
    of bombs
    Missiles whistling
buildings and bridges.
Everywhere holes
in cars, in soldiers
    in our souls
We hide down under.
We shake from the thunder
    of more bombs
        more missiles
            more hate.
We wait.
But it still comes.


Hurry! Hurry!
It’s not safe here.
The Enemy is coming.

Open suitcases.
Take clothes, money, memories.
Pack what you can bring.

Goodbye, friends.
One last kiss on family cheeks.
Where are we going?

West, son.
As far away as we can go.
War has changed everything.


We are on the run,
riding trains,
looking for a place to settle.

Get off! said the Enemy.
You, there. You, over there.

We’re sent to one camp.
Jews to another. 

Herded together behind barbed wire.
Watched like prisoners.
Forced to work for the Enemy.

I see things a boy shouldn’t have to see.


The war is over,
millions dead.
We are booted
from our bed.
We hide in the woods
in a rusty shed.
Skinned rabbits for dinner
and stolen bread.
We forage for berries
to keep us fed.



Rounded up and 
housed in barracks 
that survived bombings.
Like we did.
Living in the Enemy’s quarters
among ghosts of war. 
At least there is laughter here.
At least there is music.
And new life.


Which country will take us?
We won’t go back. 
Can you help us, Mack?

America is where we want to live.
Send us across the sea
to the land of the free. 

We board a train,
climb on a boat
and off we float
far away from our past.



We build a home.
A real home.
with a room of my own.

No blankets for walls.
No communal halls.

A kitchen for Mama.
A yard to roam.

Without wires or fences
or soldiers watching over us.
A safe, new home.

We build a life.
A real life.

A safe, new life.


I have a family. 
They look like me.
But they don’t sound like me
or my family from the old country.

They don’t care about traditions.
They grew up, went to college, and moved away.
They started their own families
and are too busy for an old Papa like me.

I feel the tug, tug, tug.
I want to go home.
But you are home, Papa.
No, my real home.
The place where I left my heart.
To the dirt where my people bled.
To my city that rose again.

I want to spend my last years.
Where I began my first.


If you'd like to read about my father's journey while also supporting organizations that are helping the Ukrainian refugees, please purchase this Kindle edition of Displace and I will donate to legitimate non-profits that are serving Ukrainians.

Thank you.


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