Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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A Jewish Childhood - Reflections to Honor Yom Hashoah - Part 3
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 19:27

This Jewish Childhood blog would not be complete without my poem written in 1990, after my birthday trip to Paris, my love-hate relationship with Paris revealed. And yet, now each June I go there, and walk around the Marais and remember. The saying is Never Forget. I post this now to honor all of those who didn't come back.


What is this that whispers to me on a still day in Marais?

I detest Paris for this smallest part of her frayed like a prayer shawl,

crushed together and seized.

My mother yells don't go to Marais

there are bombs at Deli Goldenberg.

I go anyway.

I'm Russian, Jewish, from the Crimea.

I worry about gathering from my grandparents,

this part of me I can't understand.

Goldenberg: the rabbi, the grocer

with working cat prowling downstairs, sleeping up

just like grandpa.

After Schrachrit he writes prayers for sabbath, bar mitzvah and weddings.

Stoic and solid Queens of France freeze

encircling gardens, sixteenth century vestige, markers, icons.

Yet just blocks away not even fifty years of rains coming down

can efface blood, where screams are herded into streets toward boxcars of slaughter.

Marais, I will capture what I crave and exorcise camps, dragging of bodies, burning of dreams.

Give me back more than those names written on walls,

Memorial of rows in a mosque hidden behind Notre Dame.

I catch a sign: Goldenberg in neon; Goldenberg in paint.

I soothe that voice echoing, my mother telling the past, a gypsy playing all her cards.


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