Archives for posts with tag: Washington DC

hall of faces, holocaust museum
by Shelly Blankman

Dedicated to the family of my grandmother, Regina Wallenstein, and the millions slaughtered by the Nazis while the world turned a blind eye.

I’ve walked these halls before,
seen the dimmed faces of those
born to die because they were Juden,
Time-tattered images of people
frozen in time, matted on walls
like cheap paper.
Eyes of the innocent open.
Eyes of the world shut.
Now I’m left wondering,
in a world once again
infested by
parasites of hate,
if this could ever happen
We cannot forget
those who now live
only on walls.

Previously published in The Ekphrastic Review.

PHOTO: The Tower of Faces — photographs of Holocaust victims — at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (Photo by D.S. Dugan, used by permission.)

holocaust museum 1
EDITOR’S NOTE: The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) is the United States’ official memorial to the Holocaust. On Nov. 1, 1978, U.S. President Jimmy Carter established the President’s Commission on the Holocaust, chaired by Elie Wiesel, a prominent author, activist, and Holocaust survivor. Its mandate was to investigate the creation and maintenance of a memorial to victims of the Holocaust and an appropriate annual commemoration to them. On September 27, 1979, the Commission recommended the establishment of a national Holocaust memorial museum in Washington, DC.  Nearly $190 million was raised from private sources for building design, artifact acquisition, and exhibition creation. In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan helped lay the cornerstone of the building, designed by architect James Ingo Freed. Dedication ceremonies on April 22, 1993 included speeches by U.S. President Bill Clinton, Israeli President Chaim Herzog, and Elie Wiesel. On April 26, 1993, the Museum opened to the general public. Its first visitor was the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet.

PHOTO: The U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC, with the Washington Monument visible on the right. Photo by Timothy Hursley for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When my family visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC a few years ago, I felt like I was walking in the shadow of my grandmother, whose  parents and siblings had been murdered by the Nazis. They were trapped in a world of hatred, where Jews suffered, were punished, and died for being Jewish. This haunts me even more now, as we see an escalation in this country of anti-Semitism, racism, and every other form of hatred that results in despair and death. I left the museum after about three hours. It has never left me.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Blankman and her husband are empty nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland, with their three cat rescues and one dog. They have two sons— Richard, 36, of New York, and Joshua, 34, of San Antonio, Texas. Shelly’s first love has always been poetry, although her career has generally followed the path of public relations/ journalism. Her poetry has been published by First Literary Review, Verse-Virtual,  and The Ekphrastic Review among other publications. Recently, Richard and Joshua surprised her by publishing a book of her poetry, Pumpkinheadnow available on Amazon.

licensed david evison
American Colossus
by Yvette Viets Flaten

Chiseled out of native rock,
I don’t expect this seated colossus
to spring to life before me.
Not in any mobile way. But it’s as if
the stone catches breath and his eyes
take light, and although I am among
a throng, I am not. Just he and I,
alone, it seems, the tramp of others
tamped across the echoing hall.

I feel I’ve met this man before, have seen
those hands at a feed store or farm supply.
At the farmers’ market, shucking corn,
or setting up a table with his prize honey.
He’ll give you a taste, from a plate, straight
from the comb, and shoo a wandering bee
aside, a gentle sweep.

I recognize the slope of his shoulders
against his seat, a man tired from his day
of work, but not cowed down. In need
of rest, but without defeat. I expect his
chair to rock.

His eyes shake me most. That level gaze.
The steady bead he draws upon my soul.
I hear his mute exhortation, to me, to sort out
what is right, and his incandescent charge–==
to walk down the steps, resolved.

PHOTO: The Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, by David Evison, used by permission.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Lincoln Memorial honors the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Dedicated in May 1922, the neoclassical site is a major tourist attraction, and since the 1930s has been a symbolic center focused on race relations. Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) served as president of the United States from 1861 to 1865. He led the nation through its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis in the American Civil War — and succeeded in preserving the Union, abolishing slavery, bolstering the federal government, and modernizing the U.S. economy. Lincoln is considered America’s greatest president.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In July 2016, my husband and I visited our son and daughter-in-law during the summer they lived in Washington, DC. From their small apartment in Georgetown, Dan and I would ride the Circulator on a daily adventure to discover something of our nation’s capital. Of all the monuments we toured, the Lincoln Memorial impressed me deeply. It was neither as remote as the Washington obelisk, nor as meditative as the Jefferson Memorial. It was vibrantly alive with humanity. And this photo captures it exactly. When I thought of writing about a landmark, the memory of the humanness of that monument and the humanity of Lincoln himself was overwhelming and sparked my work.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Yvette Viets Flaten was born in Denver, Colorado, and grew up in an Air Force family, living in Nevada, North Dakota, and Washington State as well as France, England, and Spain. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish (1974) and a Master of Arts in History (1982) from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. She writes both fiction and poetry. Her award-winning poetry (Muse Prize, Jade Ring, Triad) has appeared widely in numerous journals, including the Wisconsin Academy Review, Rag Mag, Midwest Review, Free Verse, Red Cedar Review, and Barstow and Grand. In May 2020, she was interviewed by Garrison Keillor as part of his Pandemic Poetry Contest. Yvette’s poem, “Riding It Out,” was one of 10 winners. Find her interview with Garrison Keillor here.

by David Lee Garrison

As an experiment,
The Washington Post
asked a concert violinist—
wearing jeans, tennis shoes,
and a baseball cap—
to stand near a trash can
at rush hour in the subway
and play Bach
on a Stradivarius.
Partita No. 2 in D Minor
called out to commuters
like an ocean to waves,
sang to the station
about why we should bother
to live.

A thousand people
streamed by.  Seven of them
paused for a minute or so
and thirty-two dollars floated
into the open violin case.
A café hostess who drifted
over to the open door
each time she was free
said later that Bach
gave her peace,
and all the children,
all of them,
waded into the music
as if it were water,
listening until they had to be
rescued by parents
who had somewhere else to go.
Find the poem in David Lee Garrison‘s collection Playing Bach in the DC Metro, available at


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Lee Garrison earned his PhD from the Johns Hopkins University, taught Spanish and Portuguese at Wright State University from 1979 to 2009, and is now retired. Garrison’s poems have appeared widely in journals such as Connecticut Review, Poem, and Rattle, and also in several anthologies. Two poems from his book, Sweeping the Cemetery, were read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and one was included in Keillor’s Good Poems, American Places. The title poem from his book, Playing Bach in the D. C. Metro, was featured by Ted Kooser on his website, American Life in Poetry.  (Source:

Pearl Before Breakfast: Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Washington Post

The Things We Miss: Violin Virtuoso Plays a DC Metro Station,

Joshua Bell plays a DC metro station (