Dear Elie Wiesel,

Hello, Mr. Wiesel! My name is Adam Rokhsar, and I am a tenth grade student from Long Island. Recently, as part of our English curriculum, my class read your book Night. Although I had read the book before the class, I figured that I might as well read it again. As it turned out, reading the book a second time was a very good idea. The reason is rather simple. I'd like to thank you. I'd like to thank you for opening my eyes to the real world. When I first read Night, it left a lasting effect on me. However, through faults of my own, I felt pressured to read it in a rather short amount of time (don't ask why -- I'm not really sure myself).

The second time I read it, something different happened. I'm not quite sure why, possibly because I'm older now, and maybe a tiny bit wiser, but for one reason or another, the book struck something inside me. It was a nagging feeling, one which I couldn't put my finger on. It eluded me for days after completing Night.

Then, one night, while lying in that period of time between sleep and consciousness, it dawned on me. This feeling, which had been lingering this entire time, finally showed its true self. This feeling was, in fact, that somehow, someway, I had not noticed the world. I know it seems hard to believe, almost ridiculous, but it's true. I got the feeling that I was going about life in a little universe of my own creation. There, I lived, went to school, and learned everything I'd do in the real world. Except that there was one thing missing: awareness, awareness that I did exist at the center of the world, like I thought I did for sometime in my universe. In fact, in the whole grand scheme of things, who I was really didn't matter.

Now, you might think that this is a bad feeling, but there's more. I realized that I didn't matter, not because I was just no one, but because I never tried to be anyone. I never once helped the homeless or gave to charity. Not that I was a cruel person. I did my best helping friends, trying to be nice, polite, and all that other stuff your parents teach you. But, I guess what I'm trying to say is that all that "stuff" is what vanished in your ordeal. All the intangibles, the random acts of kindness, that was what really happened. And I learned from your book that if we continue to act as if only our little world is what matters, then perhaps history will repeat itself. But if we learn from your experience and the experiences of others, then something like the Holocaust won't ever happen again because people will care enough to stop it. Thank you your lesson.


Adam Rokhsar


Aborted Entry

In an attempt to ward off loneliness we make certain choices.

Right now the sun is setting over Manhattan.

I will go outside.


Good Little Soldier

Sally writes a poem in class and it is called Waiting. I am waiting, she says. We all laugh and make fun of her and tell her she wrote a stupid poem. I am waiting, we mock. There are five of us and we are all holding hands and celebrating the birthday of our nation. We have such a great nation, Rita says. It is raining outside because of your stupid poem, Mark says. He gives Dave a high-five. Nobody high-fives anymore. The rest of the day is spent like that and then the day is over and we all go home to different homes. It is not raining anymore and Sally is walking by herself holding a flower. She is petting the flower and she is singing to herself: I like sunflowers, I like sunflowers. Such a stupid girl. Hey, Sally, you are a stupid girl. Sally doesn't say anything but I know that Mike and Dave would have given me high-fives and would have laughed too. Hey Sally, your poem sucked,I say again and I am thinking that Rita would have told me that I was a good soldier and a good addition to our group. We only have five members in our group. But we are all very close and we do everything together except the other ones live on the other side of the river with the big houses and the long driveways and I live on this side of the river with Sally and with the little short driveways and the small houses. I think it is on the wrong side of the tracks except it isn't tracks at all it is a river. I bet Dave and Mike are giving each other high-fives right now, I think. I wonder what it is like living on the other side of the river. Hey Sally, why'd you write that stupid poem. Sally is still singing and petting her flower. Stupid girl, she isn't listening to me. Hey Sally, why'd you write that poem? Leave me alone, Roger, she says. I am going home. Rita says I would make a good lookout man when they build their fort. She thinks that I have good eyes and that I could see if anybody was coming and then I could do something about it. You could throw a stick at them or chase them away. You would be a really good soldier. Mike and Dave are smiling, too, because they know I'd be a good soldier. I could do all kinds of things to protect the fort, I think. You know that is a stupid flower, Sally. Everybody thinks so. Sally stops singing and looks at me. You're such a jerk, she says and she turns to run away but I can see she is crying and I stop her. Why are you crying stupid girl? Never mind. She turns to run again but I have grabbed her backpack and I won't let her go. Let me go. No, why are you crying? I would never run from anything, I know I would never cry either, no I would never cry at anything or run from anything because that would make me a bad soldier. Let me go, she says. Sally wiggles out of her backpack and runs down the dirt road. Hey, wait up, stupid. Leave me alone. She is running as fast as she can. I can tell she is running as fast as she can but that is not that fast, not really fast at all. Hey, stupid, stop running, I say. Sally runs off the dirt road and into the woods where there are branches and holes and all kinds of animals. Sally, don't go into the woods. This is stupid. Sally ducks under branches and keeps running. Here, take your stupid backpack. I don't want to keep running after you, stupid girl. I'll give you the bag and you can go cry in the woods. Stupid girl. Sally, I don't care anymore, take your bag. But Sally won't stop running. By now I can see that she is still crying very much, she is crying all over her face and all down her neck. She is crying quite a lot, I think. Just leave me alone, Roger, she says again. I wish I was on the other side of the river, I think. There are houses with yards as big as the playground there. And the kids all sleep over at each others houses and tell stories and I can never go because I live over on this side of the river. It just isn't right, Mike says. No, Rita agrees, it would be wrong for you to come. You're a soldier. Sally doesn't stop running until she is in the clearing by the tire factory. Then she falls to the ground, out of breath. Her legs are all cut up. Here's your stupid bag, Sally. Sally doesn't say anything. She is crying and looking at her legs and she is out of breath. I turn to walk away. You know, she says and she is almost smiling, I don't think the river is really the reason they don't let you go over there. I look at her and I know that my face is turning red. You're a stupid girl, I say. I am suddenly very warm. Besides, I mutter, I am just waiting for a chance to go. I know, Sally says. You don't know anything stupid girl, I think. I am a good soldier, I think.



"Fuck em all."

The decision was easy. Malthus clamped his hand over the holes in the phone. "Fuck em all," he said again.

Outside his window gulls moved slowly in the air.

The sea moved down below, behind the buildings, and did not object or say anything at all.


you get what you want when you want what you get

we take the crooked arm of the river and bend it straight. there is more than one way to be a kindandloving animal, and we have moved between the forested banks, leaves big as hands, always stepping over the bones of dead. they wanted a straighter river, a better life, to be better lovers. we decide to believe they tried their best. if not then our parents and parents parents were no different from the river rats and the mute dumb leaves, who never get better. Who blow in the wind and let go.


I beg = a glance

No, no, alas, the animal is gone from me. Still, I do propose to ache. I propose to regret and to roar at the skating mice in my skin, to unveil the vibrant and lurid pose of my own animal in full hunger, insatiable, un-owned by the rigorous matrices, the unfounded and incomplete rational constructs. No, I will not regret my denial of her inclusions, her innuendo. Ah, but an animal, but ever an animal. I, in complete denial, exist beyond temptation and beyond the living. I beyond the living. Ah, such as it seems, I have come to a quite terrible pass. She is but a ghost and my fingers are checking the boxes and writing the orders of industry, of social order, of the most important of missions—ah, of what I cry each day and no longer demand to know the lines of my own hands! I cry each day in the ever starvation of my skin. No, I will not begrudge him, not ever. He the purposeless collector, collector of all things. No, I expel this future and this life from me. Even in segregation my skin will not permit a life in hibernation and desperation.

I renounce you, father! I will not serve.

She, she her animal, she her temptress acceptance, she her will to un-skin my throne that is my very pulse.