fresh in the miracle of birth, your eyes were the universe

Israel – the long version

Veni veni emmanuel. Captivum solvet israel

 

It’s not a religion Moshe told me

It’s a contract

That’s what made the holocaust

So hard to understand

God broke the contract

 

I read about the bomb blast twisted wheelchair and thought of …

 

Long dead Moe rolling down the hospital corridor

Waving his missing leg and breathing on one lung

Son of a rabbi, son of a rabbi’s son

But you went your own way

Big Moe with the little cigars

How god punished you for that

 

Jeff – in stage crew working on the lights

My buddy Pat yelled down

Hey Jeff, why don’t you wet your finger and stick it in the socket

– then I could feel just like Hitler frying another jew

And you called back, hey pass me another box of nails

The fucker keeps movin’ his arm

But you were outnumbered

The only Jewish kid in a hundred miles

 

Sherman, who practically lived at Hillel House. So studious, so principled, so concerned when neither or Chris nor I could speak a word. We were too stoned, our acid thoughts flying so much higher than our too solid tongues. When I finally got out one word – okay! – you looked so relieved I felt bathed in an almost mother love.

 

Bagels. How the room roared because everyone in the cafeteria had taken a deep breath at the same time just as I blurted out over the silence…

What’s a bagel?

 

How I was always threatening to buy a beanie with a propeller on it.

 

Late at night in New York City

After we did the shake rattle and roll

Every time someone read out the name of Haemon

Moe and I, arm in arm

Skipping down the streets of the village singing

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Hopping down the bunny trail

Hippety-hoppety Easter’s on it’s way

 

Chapter two. Golden tongued Robbie Stern at the head of the march, tall and strong and confident, with a deep bass voice leading us in the Black Panther chant

Power…

Power

Power to the people…

Power to the people

The people’s power…

The people’s power

Getting stronger by the hour

Getting stronger by the hour

 

Danny the Red, outside the shipyards

With the Mayday leaflets. You trip over a

Railroad tie and the fascists close in.

I come in between, my hands balled into fists

And they stop, confused – isn’t he one of us?

 

Now I will make my claim. You will not believe, but I grew up without having the least scrap of anti-Jewish prejudice. You were the heroes of Exodus and the Warsaw Ghetto. You fought the Nazi war machine with sticks and homemade bombs. You were Paul Neuman, you were Anne Frank. To hate you in any way would have been to put on the most evil uniform in history. And as I became a man and learned the true story of my “race”, I came to see that Hitler had good reason to fear you. You were there, everywhere, in science, in the arts, but most of all – in every fight against injustice. You had your criminals and monsters, but you more than any other people were the conscience of our planet.

 

Jews taught me to hate racism

Jews taught me to love the Vietnamese

Jews taught me to hate Israel and love Palestine

Jews taught me that

I judge Israel with their eyes

 

Blame it on the Nazis

Blame it on the ovens

That burned even the survivors

Palestinians are the second victims

Jews, again, the third

It’s like child abuse, we tell ourselves

Trying to make sense of the atrocities

That leap up out of the front page every morning

How can this be? Not you. Not you, Israel

Nothing makes me hate my own country more than what it has done to you

Turned you into its whore, armed you and set you loose among its enemies

Psychotic warped and twisted child abuser

Grown up out of your own terrible abuse

But no frail and broken-hearted innocent

No. Strong. With a heart of stone

Nourished on the Red, White and Blue vein

I stare with hatred into the whorehouse window

At the jewel-encrusted pimp’s hand

That caresses your bloodstained cheeks

I hear the wail of dying children

Your laughter freezes my heart

The Midas touch

I loved you so much

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