The ‘Tears of Hate’ Arcane

 

In Memory of Roddie Edmonds and Heather Heyer

1.

My tears last night
seeing my brothers
and sisters in GI Jews
were not only theirs
shed 73 years ago
outside liberated nazi
concentration camps,

—my uncles Boro,
Meyer and Nathan,
my cousins Sonny
and Seymour among
the liberators—, were
tears of sorrow and of
joy and, as the soldier

rabbi said, “tears of
hate” as well, after
beholding the pits
of masses of bones,
eye-socketless spaces,
the ovens with still
smoldering skeletons.

My brothers and sisters,
500,000 of Jewish origin
who’d fought as GI Joes
finally (if they’d had any
doubts before) understood
what the war was all about,
what they were fighting and…

2.

You’d be closing down
the doors of your mind
if you didn’t recognize
those nazis marching in
Charlottesville, Virginia
shouting, “Jews will not
replace us”, already are

envisioning those ovens
and mass pits here in the
U.S.A., and those “tears
of hate” on my part contain
the urgent warning that the
arrogant thug President,
like any nazi, has neither

doctrine nor principle, only
lies, domination by division
and violence and, if allowed
to continue nourishing his
bigoted base, what Sinclair
Lewis meant when he wrote
It Can’t Happen Here

not only will happen but
has happened, so get off
the numbskulls you’ve
been warming your asses on,
brothers and sisters. In this
war, as Roddie Edmonds,
Protestant from Oklahoma,

who captained GI Joes
imprisoned in a nazi camp
near the end of the war—
when the nazi commander
demanded that all the Jews
in the company line up the
next morning—had the whole

company line up and said,
“We’re all Jews!” Because
in this war, if you think
anything different, and that
includes the color of your
skin, you can be certain
Nazism’s winning.

—Jack Hirschman, former San Francisco Poet Laureate

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