Poetry: Karen Alkalay-Gut - Confessions of an Apicorous - C-c-c-c-c-c-c-c - 1957 - Links

Posted by ricardo marcenaro | Posted in | Posted on 17:07






Confessions of an Apicorous

My brother leads the seder, and we
become as little children
asking, reciting, doing our shtik
in turn around the room.
I stretch out my neck, turning a bit
from the table, wishing even the liver,
matzo balls, all the afikoman
eaten, digested, the Israelites freed
As a child
I’d refuse to read
except for the chant of the goat song.
Not the wicked son
who asks what does all this
mean
to you
But the fifth one
who must get up from table
walk out the door
when Eliyahu comes in,
just for a breath
of fresh air
Go on without me
but consider me there





C-c-c-c-c-c-c-c

“Spit it out Moses,” I tell him impatiently.
“Give me the whole word at once!”
“It isn’t stuttering, you know,”
He says, suddenly clearly.
“Every letter could go, on its own,
Many different ways.”
“I have to be so careful
Not to say something
That those Israelites
Will interpret
In some extreme direction.
“That’s why I needed to get the laws
Etched out for them
In stone.”

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1957

We were slaves
to Pharaoh in Egypt,
we sang extempore —
each with a different tune
each with a different memory.
Born on the outer edge of war,
I envisioned only Cecil B. DeMille
and the myriads of extras drowned
behind a trick glass wall.
(No. That isn’t true.
Years before,
when we were in our old home
—flimsy and small—
I would fear
that when we opened the door for Elijah,
Hitler and his men would push in,
destroying all, but my consciousness.)
In the new house
with the massive cherry dining set
my father and I bought secondhand
and the flowered gilt dishes
my mother saved all year,
we were our own leaders.
Our guests leaned on their pillows
and admired the oversized turkey
(symbol I see now of America—
freedom and relief)
the tsimmis, the compote,
and all the extra courses
—fish, liver, soup —
they had only dreamed of
even before the war.
And while I focussed
on the Hagada drawings of Moses,
with his strong, Heston chin,
did my father
think of his years in prison?
Did my mother
recall the boat
that took them back
from the Promised Land to Danzig
on the eve Hitler came in?
On this night of nights
we sang together offkey
that once we were slaves
that now we are free

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Poetry: Karen Alkalay-Gut - Confessions of an Apicorous - C-c-c-c-c-c-c-c - 1957 - Links









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Gracias :)











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