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Larry Jaffe
Bio: For his entire professional career Larry Jaffe has been using his art to promote human rights. He is a distinguished poet with a tremendous following who prides himself on his community involvement and care. The former poet-in-residence at the Autry Museum of Western Heritage, Jaffe has been hosting and curating poetry readings while editing Poetix Poetry Magazine (a guide to Southern California Poetry). He is the co-founder of Poets for Peace (now Poets for Human Rights) and spearheaded along with Rattapalax Publisher Ram Devineni the United Nations Dialogue among Civilizations through Poetry project which incorporated hundreds of readings in hundreds of cities globally. Jaffe is an official Ambassador for Youth for Human Rights ( Recently, he toured the Czech republic bringing his message of human rights to a variety of venues including the Jewish Museum and the Museum of Literature in Prague. Of course, as he said, he also read in a variety of bookstores, coffeehouses and bars to keep his roots in tact. Larry’s dynamic work integrates a strong sense of humor along with his tough stand on human rights and freedom.

He has featured at numerous readings and poetry festivals throughout the United States and abroad including the Hammer Museum, Japanese American National Museum, Dylan Thomas Centre, Comedy Store, University of Texas, UCLA, UC Northridge, Los Angeles, Austin International, San Luis Obispo, London and Bristol Poetry Festivals.

Jaffe's work can be found in numerous publications and anthologies like Short Fuse, Off the Cuff, 100 Poets Against the War, Urban Spaghetti, Saturday Afternoon Journal, Web Del Sol,, Will Work for Peace, The World Healing Book, The Book of Hope, etc. Jaffe's books include Jewish Soulfood, Unprotected Poetry CD, his book of poetic noir L. A. Rhapsody and the recently released The Anguish of the Blacksmiths Forge.


In May of this year Larry visited the Nazi Concentration Camp at Terazin in the Czech Republic. He wrote a series of poems called Terazin Blue, these are some of them. -editors


When I visited Camp Terazin
he children called to me
they left ethereal homes
dropped blankets
and held out their tiny hands
for me to lift them up
and hold them close.

I hugged every one of them
as they told me 
of Terazin and how
their fairy-tales kept them
alive until story time was over.

I hugged every one of them
as they told me how
they painted pictures
with their fingers
dipped in their mothers’ blood.

I hugged every one of them
as they sang songs
and told me nursery rhymes

           there was an old man
           who lived in a camp
           a place cold and damp
           he never went home
           he gnawed on a bone
           they lived unhappily after

I hugged every one of them
as they told me about
the playground of graves
how they played hopscotch
over tombstones
and ring around a rosey
was truth

            ashes ashes
           all fall down

only when they fell down
they never got up.

I hugged every one of them
even the lost soul
who crossed himself
like a gentile
when he cried.

I hugged every one of them
because the children of Terazin
no longer wait for their mothers
to call them home

today they have been set free.


In Terazin
the souls so broken
they are afraid
to go home.

In Terazin
the souls so terrified
they cannot
recycle their goodness.

They fear there are insufficient
new bodies to accommodate
them and recycle their goodness.

They wonder in disquieted enlightenment
should they stay in Terazin as reminders
or reemerge in corporal form.

A mixture of dread
of not wanting
to be forgotten
yet afraid
to remember.


The train was built before WW I
the color of rust
the ride was
the longest of its kind
two gnomes shared
the sleeper.

I slept on a shelf
no wider
than the abridged
version of Webster.

My feet sought sanctuary
dangling appendages
leaning on air
and depending on gravity
to draw me to sleep.

Before dawn
door swung open
with gestapo urgency
guttural tones roused
me from fettered sleep
I understood nothing
but imagined
“Papers. You have Papers!”

My passport was dissected
sealed with oblivion
expecting a strip search
I was happy to get by
with just a stamp
on my sleepy forehead.


I sleep with the memory
of barbwire
its grizzled surface
wrapped round
my limbs
spires of pain
erupt from thoughts
retrieved from gallows.

I will never forget
forgive you.

I once loved
but you journeyed
with another
left me
an open grave
without choices.

I was once was patriotic
believed in my country
right or wrong
but it smelled funny
like something
the cat left behind
after midnight murder.

The barbwire
curls around
my testicles
there is no
dull pain.

I believe
in the innate
nature of goodness
hope it spreads
like holy butter
on hot toast.