[NetBehaviour] Rosh Hashonah, Mother's Birthday, Grey Skies, Nowhere

Michael Szpakowski m at michaelszpakowski.org
Sat Sep 19 00:54:15 CEST 2020

Absolutely transfixing. I wouldn’t wish a ‘late style’ on anyone but there’s a sense of complete purpose and control here allied to an ease in its making, an openness to what comes...

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On Friday, September 18, 2020, 9:55 pm, Alan Sondheim <sondheim at panix.com> wrote:

Rosh Hashonah, Mother's Birthday, Grey Skies, Nowhere

I can't get far enough away from Wilkes-Barre.
We had to dress up to cross the river.
On whatever side of the river, always the other.
I remember general Radio, Wide-Awake Books, and Percy Brown's
Where gourmet food was served in the coal country.
I hung out embarrassed among ham radio operators.
Scared of them I never went back.
Scared of everyone, I was interested in coal.
There were forests beneath the ground.
A fifty-meter high sigillaria on the side of a cliff.
Or some other plant, I almost forget the names
As I remember reassembling the skeleton and learning about death.
I knew I didn't belong in the large world
but only in the shtetl in Kingston Pennsylvania.
There was no large world I was scared of it
looking to New York as the promised land.
Five and a half hours into the city, five and a half out of it.
Always surrounded by gray mountains I want to spell grey
and the inconceivably greyness of the landscape and fierce snows.
In the summer waiting for the winter, in the winter waiting,
allergies and hives, weekly injections, wanting to get out,
frightened of leaving, frightened of staying, my father's anger
everywhere, lengthening this sentence of the poem as I ran back
to the bedroom, trembling, hiding out, to this day remembering
his voice that I'd never amount to anything, don't worry dad I
my sister and I maybe my brother calling them the parents, there
were maybe other names, we had names for each other, I planted
watermelon seeds in my mother's garden they grew covering
everything as if that was that
and nothing was I was always displaced from myself was afraid
what was under the bed nothing nothing nothing what was above
it still less those gray skies I cried away and away and away
shoving myself off to college and always looking back and
see the graveyard of the Jews in the next town over, all of
us buried there, last time I cried in hysterics, remains
of the shtetl where we dressed up to cross the river to the
other city of course on the other side
always on the other side, always and always on the other side,
always one side over

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