My mother took me from Israel to Europe in 1950; I was five. She wanted to see about her father’s grave in Vienna. He had died there before her mother was deported to Theresienstadt.

Tourists could only take out a bit of money, so she smuggled black market American dollars, some rolled in a fountain pen, others folded neatly into chewing gum papers, the sticks removed. I carried these hidden dollars in my pocket. They suspected her and she was stripped naked.

Afterwards I asked, “Can I have a stick of mastic (gum)?” “Yes, Mirale. Once we’re on the ship.”

Miriam Frischer cooks, writes, and collages in the Hudson Valley (and is grateful to wake up to its beauty every day).

Our neighbor Richard Riley died yesterday. Since they were both railroad men, I asked my dad how Richard lost his leg.

“In 1940, halfway between New Lisbon and Necedah, on the Valley line to Wausau, a steam locomotive’s boiler exploded and killed the engineer, the fireman, and the brakeman. The explosion hurled boiler and engine parts hundreds of feet ahead of the blast and blew the shoes off their feet. Inspectors determined that the train crew had been drinking and forgot about the boiler. But the boiler didn’t forget. She blew.

“Richard, the switchman, had been riding in the caboose.”

 

–Jim Krotzman is a retired English teacher at Watertown (WI) High School. He is a struggling haiku poet and fisherman.

Henry Ekstein, 40 years old, stood in a queue on the edge of a forest that bordered an open field. The quiet queue was forked. Some people plodded right in the direction of the field where machine gun fire resounded, and some went left where no sound was heard. The people were dumbfounded by fear. When Henry got to the front of the line, four soldiers, two on each side of him stopped him. Their eyes swept up and down his body. One soldier peered into Henry’s face, into his eyes. Henry’s eyes were blue. “Go left,” the soldier pointed.

–Jim Krotzman is a retired English teacher at Watertown (WI) High School. He is a struggling haiku poet and fisherman.

We’d only driven 200 miles since sunrise and had stopped often. Something about the Angler, though, the faded sign maybe, or the way evening mist dipped close to the motel, required documenting.

The night clerk, a young man lost in a game on his phone, agreed to be filmed. He began, pointing to a photograph taped under the glass countertop. The Polaroid’s edges were scalloped, a black and white image faded into smoky hue. Two women leaned on a shiny 1960’s sedan.

“My grandmother and her sister the day they bought the motel,” he said. “Make sure you mention them.”

–Sharon Rousseau is a writer and photographer living in New York City.

Visit Sharon’s Website Here

My friend went crazy today. We watched her pick up garbage from the street.

“The FBI & CIA are listening in.”, she whispered in a paranoid tone.

In the hospital, she said, “There are dead mosquitoes on the sheet.”

She was my rock, telling me to marry myself.

Which one of us was crazy?

Women are often thought “mad” and why not? This world is so hard on us and sooner or later we will all slip slowly out of sanity, waiting until she gets back to hear what we are hearing here – the sounds of mosquitoes coming alive.

Visit Pat’s website here.

Pat Horner is a painter/collage artist and writer exhibited and published in the US and abroad. A publisher and editor at the “The Woodstock Guide.” Pat’s also writing fiction and memoir from Woodstock, NY.

He hates things. That’s what he says every time she gets him a new T-shirt or a mug that will make him laugh. But things are your job she says. Most days they deliver a package for him. Something new, expensive, niche. He knows the courier guys by now, makes a point of explaining that he doesn’t buy all this stuff, that in fact he hates stuff but he’s paid to write about it. He writes things like ‘Buy. This. Now.’ and ‘Enter the Lowe-Pro Ranger Pro.’ He’s got cupboards full of gear and boxes of overflow on the floor.

–Nick Dall is a freelance journalist and author who has lived in Italy, Argentina, Bolivia and Vietnam. He’s now based in Cape Town, South Africa.

Visit his website at: http://nickdall.co.za

Looking out the high-rise window into a fog so dense that it blurs an afternoon sky deep into the thawing river, that wash of gray as far as everything, a world of gray, except for the squares of snow, which from above in high-rise relief appear as boxes of city park and tree guard and trash bin, you think about leaving.

Tomorrow isn’t different, except the sun shines, and the banks of the river suddenly appear, and you see the place on the cliffs where you went on that day trip—back when every rattling bus ride was an adventure.

–Sharon Rousseau is a writer, photographer and poet living in NYC and the Hudson Valley. Visit her website.