Marta Luzim’s Writing The Wave: I, Woman, Still Stand Among My Tribe

There I learned: from the edge of the rails, the ocean’s roar, the slaps of cutting waves, she sailed across from Poland, a cold place, a hard place where she escaped from the camps. There her mother died, her sister and brothers, disappeared into the dark forests of blood, where bodies lay topside, no graves, no burial rites. I learned how to survive the generations of women, the insane, the insane asylum. How the hand of G-d and the belly of the Goddess births a people, a nation, and spreads them like salt across the world and gives them a life that is challenged by displacement, estrangement and isolation.

A death of a self that emerges from the ashes, of black hearts, dirty minds, and filthy souls that tear out hearts of families, children, mothers and fathers leaving the women empty in her womb, waiting for a seed to birth a new beginning. And then, after the tears, and grief, and swollen stomach of the dying young, after the stench of death and the screams from behind the jails, I see a tunnel of light. I see the entrance into an angelic realm. Gabriel blowing his horn, Miriam playing her tambourine.  I am here to witness how life can distort us into suicidal thoughts, to hate ourselves. And then realize that it is the only life that we have and we have a choice. I am here to watch the thousands walk across the continents, at first one in spirit, then split apart like the atom and exploded into separate tribes, separate nations, separate countries. I am here to hear the call of the wild, the women waving from afar, waving to come home, come back.

My grandmother crossed the ocean in a pickle barrel. She left behind everything, every picture, fork, spoon, tear, touch and connection to her roots. My mother swam in her grief. The women of my family fought to stay alive, fought to find love, fought to forget that there was a past to their beginnings. But they couldn’t wipe it all out, couldn’t forget. They tried, with fancy cars, large diamonds plucked from the sky, gambling junkets and big brick houses with mezuzahs attached to the door, where they kissed G-d’s lips every time they entered the house.

This is their remembrance. The witness of a people who survived but didn’t know quite what it meant to be happy, or alive, or satisfied; an insatiable lust for life that never quite got quenched. I learned so much from these women, these people of the desert tribe, this world I live in because of their courage and valor. I witness being human, being afraid, being torn apart and sewn back together. I have no way of knowing anything except to see that I stand on the earth, sun shining, oaks swaying, moon behind the rim of the stars–and down below is me–watching, waiting, delivering the past from my womb to reinvent the secrets that are encoded in my cells.

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4 Comments on "Marta Luzim’s Writing The Wave: I, Woman, Still Stand Among My Tribe"

  • What a courageous journey you have been on and what a blessing that you want to help others with theirs. The depths of the darkness with a glimmer of light brought you to your true self. It is so heartbreaking to read your story but at the same time I am amazed at how the women in your family tried to survive. From physical survival to emotional survival over 3 generations. Everyone tried to find their way. You did it when it was your turn to figure out how to survive the agony of the past. You allowed yourself to go so deeply into the process of finding your true essence. I am proud to know you and humbled by your experience. It is time to celebrate

  • I feel very awed and honored to receive your deeply felt insight and connection to the women in my family and my family’s journey to find their true spirit. I do feel blessed to connect to the courageous woman that you are and all the courageous women on this path and it is truly time to celebrate all that we have gone through. Thank you, with love and gratitude, Marta

  • marlene klotz says

    I had a woman in my writer’s workshop who is still alive and recently celebrated her 102 birthday. Ruth Greenstein’s story is so very much
    like the one above. I recall how I cried when she told me the story of the last time she ever saw her mother at age 14. Rather than continue with a description of similarity between this writer and Ruth, I canonly say that the dark days of the Holocaust continue to shock, all
    because they happened in the 20th century, supposedly during a time
    when people were civilized and humane. Amazing that the country
    that gave us Beethoven also gave us Hitler!

  • Thank you for your compassionate and caring words…I still continue to honor and pray for the souls of my ancestors.

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