Thursday, April 29, 2021

New e-book edition of "The Rainy Bread: Poems from Exile" with 30 new poems!

 

ISBN 978-1-945938-01-6
Enlarged edition, April 2021

The Rainy Bread: Poems of Exile, a poetry collection by Maja Trochimczyk has been enlarged by 30 poems and reorganized into six parts. An updated e-book is available. The book now includes 60 poems about forgotten stories of Poles living under the Soviet and German occupation during WWII, especially in the Eastern Borderlands of Kresy. They were killed, deported, imprisoned, or oppressed after the invasion of Poland by Germany on September 1, 1039 and by the invasion by the Soviet Union on September 17, 1939. Some of these brief portraits capture the trauma and resilience, ordeals and miraculous survival stories of the author’s immediate family. Their experiences of displacement, hunger, cold, and poverty during the war are typical of Polish civilians. 

Author's Grandma Maria Anna Wajszczuk, b. Wasiuk (1906-1973)

These fictionalized fact-based memories are coupled with depictions of survival of other Poles deported to Siberia, the Arctic Circle, or Kazakhstan; those left the Soviet Union with the Second Corps of the Polish Army under the command of General Władysław Anders; those who were transported to refugee camps in India or Africa; and ended up in Argentina, Canada, Australia or the U.S.

A monument to Polish civilians shot by Germans during Warsaw Uprising.

The book is a companion to “Slicing the Bread” (2014), with which it shares some poems, including vignettes from the author’s childhood in Warsaw. Organized into six parts - Destinations, Nowhere, Hunger Years, Resilience, There and Back, What Remains, the updated book follows a trajectory of descent into the hell of deportations, imprisonment, hunger, mass murder, and ascent into resilience and survival. The dark rain of sorrow changes into the diamond rain of delight with life.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Maja Trochimczyk, Ph.D., is a Polish American poet, music historian, photographer, and author of seven books on music, most recently “Gorecki in Context: Essays on Music” (2017) and “Frédéric Chopin: A Research and Information Guide” (co-edited with William Smialek, rev. ed., 2015). She currently serves as the President of the California State Poetry Society, managing editor of the California Quarterly, and President of the Helena Modjeska Art and Culture Club in Los Angeles, promoting Polish culture in California. Trochimczyk’s nine books of poetry include “Rose Always,” “Miriam’s Iris,” “Slicing the Bread,” “Into Light”, and four anthologies, “Chopin with Cherries” (2010), “Meditations on Divine Names” (2012), “Grateful Conversations: A Poetry Anthology” (2018) and “We Are Here: Village Poets Anthology” (2020). This is her ninth poetry collection.

Nike - Monument to Warsaw Uprising, Warsaw, 2014.

SAMPLE NEW POEMS

≡ PANI BASIA ≡

~ in memoriam Barbara Wysocka, “Irma” soldier in the Warsaw 

   Uprising, prisoner of Stutthof Camp (1927-1997) 


Who was this stranger at Christmas Eve dinners? 

A tall, stern lady who did not smile or talk to children. 

Distinguished. Distant. Too stiff for hugging. 


She looked at us as if from another planet. 

She ate her food slowly, methodically,

relishing each sip of the hot beet soup, 

gingerly picking fishbones out of carp in aspic. 


An aura of loneliness spread out around her. 


Why did Mom take her for vacation to Abu Dhabi,

on an exotic adventure, to see red sands, palms, camels?


The answer waited for decades in packets 

of old letters, medals earned during the war. 

She was “Irma,” a teen liaison for Division Baszta 

in Mokotów. Fought to the end, Warsaw’s fall. 

Imprisoned in the Stutthof Concentration Camp. 

Her whole family perished. All alone.


Never married. Wrapped in her grief 

like a cashmere shawl.


On her vacation in Persian Gulf, she saw 

wobbly camels race – and finally laughed. 


A monument to Polish civilians shot by Germans during Warsaw Uprising

 ≡ THIRTY SIX ≡

The number is thirty-six. Not thirty and 

Not thirty-seven. Thirty-six. That’s how many 

lives they saved, sheltering them in secret, finding

more food, more clothing for the ghetto escapees. 

Doctor Alicja and Mr. Marian Burakowski at your service. 


Unsung heroes, nearly forgotten, except for 

that tree planted in Yad Vashem’ garden in 1983. 

Righteous among the Nations. No. 2480 on the list 

of the bravest people the world has ever known.


Think of the sheer audacity of what they did. 

The number is thirty-six. Not thirty and not thirty-seven. 


How many Jews would you have saved, if your own life, 

and that of all your children, your whole family, were at stake? 

Germans declared a mandatory death sentence, 

for this crime, if caught. 


Do not forget their names, then, Alicja and Marian

Dr. and Mr. Burakowski at your service.

The number is thirty-six.

 


≡ THE GREATEST SONG ≡

       ~ for Hanka Ordonówna, a humanitarian star (1902-1950)


Miłość Ci wszystko wybaczy… Love will forgive you everything. . .

The refrain of Poland’s most famous song

echoes through her memory, as she listens 

to the stories of war orphans – covered in

wounds and lice, starved to skeletons, yet

finding time to play. They asked her to sing. 


Ordonka, she used to be in another life, 

on a different timeline, another planet, perhaps – 

its very existence impossible to believe in, here 

on the train with orphans, on the way to a refugee

camp in India – in a coarse military uniform instead 

of silks, pearl strings, shawls, and ostrich feathers.

Champagne for the greatest star! Balls and revues

for the beloved singer of perfect Love! Such charm! 


She found refuge in Beirut, her final stop, Paris 

of the Levant. There was no Poland to return to, after 

Stalin’s tanks rolled in to stay for 45 years. She did not 

make it. She did not feel like wearing silks, feathers, 

pearls – after the orphans that survived their odyssey 

went somewhere else to become someone else – not 

her lost Polish children, smiling with delight as she sang.


Miłość ci wszystko wybaczy… bo miłość, moj miły, to ja!

Love will forgive you everything. . . for Love, my dear, I’m Love!

 

NOTE: Read a summary of her story by Irene Tomaszewski, "The Cabaret Star and the Orphans: From Warsaw to IndiaCosmopolitan Review, vol. 5 no.2 (June 2013). http://cosmopolitanreview.com/hanka-ordonowna/


≡ A PILOT IN PAKISTAN ≡


~ for pilot Zofia Turowicz (d.1980)


She learned to fly to have wings —

to look down at the rolling waves of mountains, 

the geometry of fields outlined by rivers, 

dotted by lakes. She longed to see where clouds

were born, and where they were going.


Today, she teaches soldiers of a foreign army

how to fly and kill, kill and fly away, unharmed.


They call it the dogfight, as in, dog 

eats dog, the bigger dog,

the faster dog, the dog 

with sharper teeth. 

The dogs of war.


Six years was enough. 

Enough of this war.


She lost her home, her house, her childhood.

She has no future. Alone, wearing blond curls 

and the tight, belted uniform of a pilot

she’s teaching soldiers in a Muslim country 

how to fly to war. 


NOTE: Pilot Zofia Turowicz was the wife of Władysław Józef Marian Turowicz (1908-1980), commander of about 30 Polish pilots that trained the newly formed Pakistani Air Force since 1948. He remained a PAF officer, and became the founder of Pakistani space program. https://www.compasstravelguide.net/curiosities/the-polish-pakistani-air-force/




Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Flying Kites Is... Pure Joy and Laughter in the Sun


It is an amazing experience to fly a kite... A month, two months passed, and I'm still playing with kites at least twice per week, every week. In my previous post, I showed you my six kites and what they could do. Some had issues, were unbalanced and crashed too frequently instead of soaring high above. 


First, I worked on the butterfly a bit and cut its streamers in half, adding a central set, as well as two googly eyes, so the weight would be distributed better, with more weight in the center, and the extra streamers to stabilize the flight. And so they did. The blue Butterfly stopped flipping over and crashing within 10 seconds of lifting up, instead, it soared towards the sun. 

The Blue Butterfly 1: https://youtu.be/IknSaGveNHo

The Blue Butterfly 2: https://youtu.be/OqBDIPHCIWE




The Butterfly soared next to a column of light, a huge ray shining straight down, so dazzling bright! The sky was clear of any chemical garbage that day, and brightened by light at one p.m.

The Laughing Dolphin soared in sunlight, too. How light, how beautiful. The wind was dying out, though, so the Dolphin landed while I filmed it. Pure joy of flight. 

Laughing Dolphin 4: https://youtu.be/wsv8V77H4gc


Later, I replaced the very long and heavy tail ribbons, so it could be easier for the kite to take off. Taller than me, and narrow,  the dolphin does not have enough wing "acreage" for proper lift-off. However, once up in  the air, it flies around, swooping and diving, making huge circles above the ground. This means, it is not  stable and well balanced yet. More work on the ribbons, then.  When the moon is out at daytime, the dolphin laughs right next to it.  So cute! 

Laughing Dolphin 5: https://youtu.be/uZOdkTaqTts, dance around the moon.


Two weeks later, I went to Hermosa Beach with kids and had not one, but three kites in the air at the same time.  The ocean breeze blows steadily inland, much stronger and steadier than the twirling winds in the foothills, affected by the topography of the hills and valleys. My diamond rainbow kite, the simplest one, was accompanied by the sharkie with geometric patterns, and the blue butterfly. After I tied them up to our beach tent, they were up in the air for several hours, floating this way and that... 


https://youtu.be/g6XXJTEu7t0 Three kites in Hermosa Beach

https://youtu.be/sdmvgIIlyfY Three kites in Hermosa Beach 2

https://youtu.be/moww1KD2xGs  Three kites in Hermosa Beach 3

When the wind got too strong and the butterfly wings bent too much,  it started veering to the right and threatening to crash among the beach-goers. So, I had to take it down, and replaced it with the swirling circle, thinking that its stronger wiring would withhold the gusts of wind. Alas, it did not fly too high either. .  . 

After getting back to my favorite kiting grounds on the Trail of the Valley in Big Tujunga Wash, I played again with the dolphin. The long, heavy, plastic ribbons made it hard for the kite to take off, so I replaced them with bunches of semi-transparent fabric ribbons, sparkling in sunlight.

Finally, I was able to write a poem about flying kites. I will add it to my "The Rainy Bread" collection of war-themed, tragic and dramatic poems. It will provide some uplift at the end. With a bit of thin paper, string, sticks and glue, you can fly a kite even during the worst times, and it will take your spirit soaring among the clouds...



≡ FLYING KITES... ≡


My kites respond faithfully to each tug of the string, 

like pets on a leash. Sometimes, they wantonly resist 

the pull, to crash-land on brush-covered hillside. 




The strange, geometric delta champion, with black-and-white

checkers on its chest, rainbow wings and tail, flaps its fins 

as a flying fish that floats higher and higher, into the azure.


The swirling circle, a tribute to the ingenuity of unknown

engineers, is an air turbine, turning so fast that it seems ready 

to power a lightbulb or open a portal to another universe.


The green baby dragon with red wingtips and streamers 

capriciously turns here and there. Unstable, garishly bright, 

it falls suddenly onto a thicket of dry chaparral bushes. 




The golden macaw, enormous and silent, is so different 

from its loud, obnoxious cousins. My parrot blissfully swings 

from left to right, in an ethereal waltz of gold and red ribbons. 




The laughing dolphin soars straight up – I look up to follow 

the pathway of this magnificent guardian of the world, 

crossing the ocean of air, so alive in oxygen blue.




Flying kites is defying gravity. Flying kites is pure joy. 

This is freedom itself, soaring towards the Sun, 

circling around the Moon, tracing patterns among clouds. 




My favorite is the simple diamond of colorful squares –

red, yellow, green, blue, violet – that shines in sunlight,

twirling on the end of its string, pointing the way home. 





We used to make such diamonds of thin balsa wood

sticks and light parchment paper, our hands stained by glue. 

The tail, a row of paper bowties tied to a string, undulated 

above dark soil of potato fields, stretching to the horizon. 

  


Flying kites is like love making to the air –

a dance of give and take – moving, shifting along

air currents that swirl above the hills at sunset.


Flying kites is an apology for years lost to not being 

little children that skip along the path, straight to heaven.  

Flying kites is prayer, supplication, hymn of praise. 



Flying kites is defying gravity. Flying kites is pure joy. 

This is freedom itself, soaring towards the setting Sun, 

circling around the Moon, tracing patterns among clouds. 


It is like swimming in the air, below a violet butterfly 

with outstretched wings, ascending into the purity of distance, 

along the pillar of light that connects the Earth and the Sky.










 





Saturday, January 23, 2021

Let's go, fly a kite... up in the bluest, clearest California air!

into the blue
above the blazing sun -
my diamond kite

 I live in Los Angeles - one of its most remote subdivisions which is called Sunland and therefore full of sunlight. I admire the azure skies above brush-covered mountains from my sofa, from my kitchen window, from my bed... These are not mountains, but hills actually, worn a bit by the eons of time, wind, rain... and still eroding. Covered with green grass and yellow flowers in the spring in February, turning golden brown by the end of April, they change colors with the sunlight: sometimes misty, pale, at other times bright gold, and burnt orange turning into purple as the sun sets. 

"let's go!" says my path
a secret joy waits around the corner -
Rim of the Valley

I recently rediscovered the joy of flying kites. . . I bought a dragon kite for my grandson, and loved playing with the kite so much, I got some more for me, too... At first, I thought I could only fly kites on the beach, where the wind is strong and steady. But I found a spot here, five minutes from my home. 

burnt orange of grass
welcomes deep purple shadows  -
canyon sunset 

Half-way up the slope there is a pathway called Rim of the Valley, it turns 90 degrees at the edge of the canyon and creates a marvelous spot to fly a kite, or kites. The wind moves long the slopes, down the canyon, and turns where I stand. It may change direction frequently at lower elevation, but if the kite goes high enough, it says up there, supported by nothing but air and held in place by my string. 

if I had wings
would I be a parrot kite
soaring in the skies?



high in the azure
a child's soaring memory  
the rainbow diamond

I play with a classic diamond, a parrot that I improved by adding ribbons to the tail, and a "sharkie" of checkerboard geometric design. I think I should get more kites! If the wind is steady, I can tie them to a bush and fly several at once! If not, I just hold one and counter its moves and countermoves by tugging on the leash, it feels like having a pet that has a mind of its own and goes where it likes to go.

faster, faster
two kites race in place 
the brambles win

The checkered rainbow "sharkie" has a 3-D "chest" that helps it fly, long and wide tail to keep the balance. Due to the loss of one stick that held the wings apart, and was replaced with a plastic coated wire from a fake flower, the kite has a softer, more pliable support across its wings, that allows them to flap in the wind. It looks almost alive as it changes direction and dances with joy in the sky. Alas, on the day this brief video was filmed, the sky was full of chemtrail stripes... 

https://youtu.be/YJuFji99JY8 Delta Sharkie in the hills

my delta kite soars
above orange delta hills 
before the sunset


The first three kites were so much fun, that I decided to get more and added a laughing dolphin, a huge blue butterfly, and a twirly circle to my collection.  Each has its quirks. So far, the dolphin is by far the best flyer. 

My dolphin is the most aerodynamic in shape and flies as if swimming in the vast ocean, with amazing grace soaring above me. The two streamer tails are very, very long, adding to its stability.  Here are some videos from my February 2021 kite-flying afternoon:
 
Laughing Dolphin 1: https://youtu.be/BtXErYfMxuE (skies covered with chemtrails, brief)
Laughing Dolphin 2: https://youtu.be/-Vj7DEXVZSs (skies covered with chemtrails)
Laughing Dolphin 3: https://youtu.be/_i2HaGGGoyU (blue skies with one chem stripe)

even after sunset
the dolphin high in the sky
laughs at me

Another new kite is a butterfly, so incredibly beautiful with its blue wings and colorful "eyes" at the edges - but this beauty does not fly well yet, tends to crash suddenly, just like my yellow-red parrot did when I first got it. I cut the streamers in half and added a set of streamers in the middle for the tail. After this change of design, the parrot flies beautifully. The butterfly has to have this "surgery" done, as well. Then, it will become a champion flyer, of incredible grace and beauty.  Right now, I could not keep it in the air long enough to film it. Crashed within ten seconds! 


For comparison, here's the golden Macaw Parrot, in flight, with its magnificent colors and three sets of streamers. Alas, the sky is all dirty off-white, covered with artificial chemtrail clouds.




The colors are lively on the parrot, and it looks very elegant with its three streamers. Holds beautifully onto the breeze and soars to the end of its very long line. Sometimes. 


The rotating circle is the strangest design of all. The circle holds the oval "wing" that turns on its axis very fast. Interesting. Yes, it flies. No, it is not fun to hold the string. The rotating motion causes it to shake and vibrate. Feels like a machine generating electricity. Or something. 

I later took it to Hermosa Beach, and had a better view on how it flies. 
https://youtu.be/OB27nE1uFIs



So, it is back to my favorite kite shape from my childhood, a simple, colorful diamond with a tail. It picks up the wind current very quickly, just wants to go up to the sky. I once tied it up and left it to dance up on the breeze, while setting another kite to fly. It was up there for 10 minutes, but when it came down, its tail ribbons got hopelessly tied up with the string and I will have to cut off some of the streamers with rough edges.

the moon blinks with joy -
a visit, flying rainbow,
heavenly delight



Why is flying kites so important? Pure joy! Up in the hills, with golden sunlight, azure skies, solitude, except for the hikers, bikers and dog walkers, one every ten minutes or so, some filming the kites with glee... And why is pure joy so important?  

Let me quote a fragment of a book in progress by Eric Raines, energy healer and spiritual seeker who can teach us all a lot about choosing Love over Fear. Called "The Etheric Alchemist's Handbook," it will teach us how to transmute Fear into Love, Darkness into Light. An excellent idea. 

"All positive and negative emotions stem from the foundations of Love and Fear. No matter the nuance of emotion whether anger, sadness or shame builds up to create an unpleasant emotion that does not feel like Fear, when disassembled, the sensation boils down to Fear of not having enough, of going without, of not being loved, of not belonging, of not being good enough, of not being successful, etc… 

No matter what emotion, the swirls of passion, belonging or excitement that build up to create a feeling much different than Love, when picked apart, it boils down to a Love of creating, of belonging, of being capable, of providing, of nurturing, etc… 

Vast tapestries of incredible Light Language poetry are capable of spreading throughout the sparkling jewels of a life’s timeline, creating such intricate, beautiful sensations, memories and emotions that harmonize, resonate and build to a crescendo of transformative Light.

Vast webs of sticky, violent swear words in Light Language are capable of spreading throughout the heavy, dark spaces of lifetime regrets and grudges, building raw, wounded symphonies of discordant pain and escapism. This is a very dark, heavy space for the Soul to exist in.

Both life paths are possible for the same person, even if that person has gone through incredible amounts of pain and trauma on any of the mind, body and spirit levels. The difference is that in order to create a timeline of Light, Light was chosen. Love was cultivated. Negative “words” were transmuted with joy and laughter and the opposite was chosen for the lifetime of negative Soul resonance."

Find out more about Eric and sign up for his workshops here: https://www.unleashingnaturalhumanity.com/ 


at the string's end - 
"can I go any further?"
my kite asks the sun


look at us!
we are both so rich in colors
Sun and kite delight

I like the diamond a lot, it is the size I used to make them, of think rice paper and balsawood sticks, glued carefully, with a string attached. Not as colorful as this one, the kites we made with Mom and Dad and went to fly in the fall in the fields nearby, were as much joy as the colorful diamond above setting sun in Sunland. 

i
white, yellow, rose
violet, periwinkle, sapphire -
the kite's rainbow

"let me go!"
my kite tugs on the string
we dream of freedom


catching gold sunrays
my kite floats in indigo sky-
the day's last hour

In any case, it feels like I'm flying up there with my kites, up in the clearest, bluest of skies above my So Cal valley. Big Tujunga Canyon, if anyone asks... And when the sun starts setting down, straight ahead of me, I can take a nice shot of the kite above the sun, or within it. UFO, anyone? 

evening's perfection
 diamond aligns with sun's circle -
copper in indigo

two suns above
the valley folds quietly 
into night's sleep