Every night was Kristallnacht

in my Maspeth neighborhood,

turning my town upside down,

a replica of life in Poland in 1938.

Swastikas rained down from the sky,

on spray-painted stores owned by Jews.

Grossman’s Five-And-Dime, Albert’s Hardware

and my grandma Sophie’s Dry Goods Store,

all defaced,

except when Sophie brandished her cutting knife

and chased the hooligans away.

Bands of Bundist thugs searched for Jews.

Hoisted in the air by my collar, and asked:

“Are you a Jew?” I’d answer: “No, I’m a Greek!”

Leaving Hebrew School one Sunday morning,

goons chased me down Polack alley

and sprayed a swastika on my loden mackinaw.


After the War, I learned Hitler was addicted

to daily injections of methamphetamine,

and while dreaming of world domination

he ignored the stench from the crematoria

by watching Mickey Mouse cartoons.