Saturday, November 12, 2016

The Song of the Pomegranate-Eater (2)

"Wall of Light" © 2016 David Prashker
To listen to an audio recital of the poem, click here

Awoken by a worm that nestled on my temple
I reached out for mere breakfast
and found
a fruit soaked in pesticide

And I ate the poison
was condemned to live and die
was cast bellywise
out of the garden of my own naivety

So I set out on my journeys
(inward journeys, outward journeys -
all journeys should be explorations
of the hinterland, the viscera of Man)

dust in my fingernails
the assignation 20/06/19/Sch/J
branded on my soul
like an inverted Mark of Cain
or an item in a Nazi catalogue

(the history of my people
is a far stronger call to arms
than prayer)

Such was my thirst for knowledge
my mouth drained the sap from every stone

Such was my desire
to lay my heart upon the mat
and to display it
thread by each worn thread
that I knelt down and confessed
to every crime I had and had not committed
arguing “Man has done these things
and I am Man”

Like Jacob my forefather
I counted the stars of night
counted the grains of sand
in the hourglass of my nation
and in the desert of its wandering

until I knew the sum of each configuration
the number of the stars that tumbled
each into the same black hole...


But now the sky is closing in again
The mountains are full of rain
Clouds tear the moon’s edge ragged

So I will build my ark of coffin-wood
build it for myself alone

So I will sail off when the time comes
dreamless of Ararat
needless of rainbows

When the time comes
I will take my brushes and my rifle in my hands
unhinge the mezuzah from the doorpost
and depart

Bernhard-Ari’s arm was indeed branded with a number, as were all occupants of Auschwitz. This was not it, however. This was his own invention, “branding” his own birth-date, June 20th 1919. Sch/J indicted a political prisoner.

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Copyright © 2016 David Prashker
All rights reserved
The Argaman Press

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