Sunday, May 24, 2009

Jews On Catherine Wheels

I
Not even tumbleweed
rolls as well as certain Jews, partially dissected,
vilified, pinned by their points, like high school butterflies,
to Catherine Wheels. Torture. Fireworks.
Their brown liquid, beagle eyes glimmering,
they shriek. They ululate. Each remembering how
they were warned by their Yiddisher mammas,
warned in cheder, warned by Paddy Chayevsky. Skidding
noisily down Wall Street, scratching
the snowy surface of the pounded pavement,
too raucous to avoid the obstacle
of the bull’s hacked-off balls.
Ahoy! Hey, I recognize that nose
Alan Greenpan, Louis Ruckeyser,
the giggling ghost of Arnold Rothstein.
You can run baby, but you can’t hide!

II
And: Speaking of clich├ęs:
Meanwhile, back at the Connecticut Country Club prison:
Bernie Madoff is being blown by two toothless lifers.
He is contemplating upon the sticky-fingered Swiss.
Stagnant calm, television, the bull’s mutilated torso.
Propaganda. Anderson Cooper.
News: an endless wire of suicidal aristocrats,
spluttering octogenarians, bereft celebrities.
The oligarchic All-American rabbi, broke,
down to his tzitsis,
down to his gatkes, shrugs.
“Bernie,” he says, winking, “made off mit mein money.”
--DRUM ROLL--
On the wall,next to the door of Bank Leumi
Someone has spray-painted: 'Madoff is a Jew!'
Well, that much is true, but the street is vacant
and the writer and his subject are gone.

III
June, 1990. On his deathbed
My father was not amused.
What with the Wall falling down and all.
"They'll open the Gulags," he said.
"And the speculators will speculate!"
Seventeen years for his prophecy to take, but
that's like an atom within a grain of sand
in suffering Jew time. The Thing is:
Well, He's not making Yids like he used to, Dad.
Saul, David, Spinoza, Lepke, Shecky, Heine and You:
These were a few of my favorite Jews.
On the the turning Catherine Wheel,
it's the spokes that break you
'cos the ashes from the crematoria were
long ago inhaled into the opened nostrils
of a grateful Polish population like so much cocaine.
Catherine Wheels. Torture. Fireworks: We love it!


—Ivor Irwin

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