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In Ein Kerem, watercolor & ink, 16" x 15," $350


COMMENTARY

In Ein Kerem

 

And was I, strutting before the mirror

In my make-up and muttering oaths

To the Senate and Emperor of Rome--

Was I also a fool?  Once when I stared

Into my inky jelly-like eyes

There emerged from the depths of the mirror

A procession of 126 gnome-like rabbis.

These were my ancestors

Photostatted on my cells

In the cryptograms of time.

And bandaged with tephillim

These messengers from the Demiurge

One by one castigated me for my apostasy,

Laughed at my toga, and proclaimed,

"Rome is dead but Israel still lives.

Blessed be the name of the Lord."

And then the pupils of my eyes exploded

And from the archipelagos of limbo

Sticky-winged harpies chaperoned

By an army of North-African troglodytes

Pointed to the stars and on a cloth-of-gold

I saw Moses, the Grand Scoutmaster,

Descending on a tightrope from Sinai

And holding up his index finger he said,

"The people worship the Golden Bull.

Let the Bull be your symbol, Ishmael."

And the stars became discs

And the discs became eyes

And the eyes dancing in the plumb-blue

Heavens lit up burnished minarets

And Byzantium and a vast piano score.

Then I saw goat-faced Herod

Bending his knees to Caesar

And I was on the Palatine Hill.

I was Flavius Josephus, Citizen of Rome.

(c)

 

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