the ellis island viper room

15 May

maybe it always was a museum;
the immigrants surrendering their long names and smells,
but i love free libraries in anywhere and
pigeons still hang like cement gargoyles under overpasses
and i don’t notice,
but then i look up for whatever reason and i do see them looking buddha still
and i feel naked and ashamed
but that smell of piss rescues me
back to life insurance and what i’ll do after 4 pm punch clock.
drink beers is what i’ll do and not think about any of this.
i guess immigrants had no choice;
shrouding their deepest desires in poetry;
to make it more universal and accessible
so all could sing to it or be stirred up by it
just another nazi dagger i thought
another step towards annihiliation extermination final solution,
but those lines from Rafi Aaron’s poem “My Bubby’s House,”
those lines about the ritual washing of hands
“that distanced her from the long journey”
sound like medicine
slamming her into the fabric of this world:
the meats and pies and scraped knees
the book shelves and dancing and drunkenness
it was always about this world
with the gilgulim just another word,
just reincarnation;
a discussion for a summer saturday shabbat
when the fucking sun would never go down
but it did and round and round and so forth and so on
until the house is clean or dirty in preparation
like we humans really know the damn difference between the two.



2 Responses to “the ellis island viper room”

  1. kvennarad May 16, 2015 at 4:22 am #

    “the immigrants surrendering their long names and smells”

    I knew by there this was going to be a good one.

    • steve May 16, 2015 at 11:03 am #

      so much for suspense

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