second landing

Second Landing

So this is where you come from

sad houses in irregular rows


with no consideration

for a place to park the family jalop


those families

never would possess affectations


you don’t need a garage for


so this is where
4th & Mifflin
a time that loudly was
you see the ghosts
you hear the ghosts
when we drive by
that I strain for
speaking in Yiddish
singing in
crying in
a language lost

2)-Assi mi late

from garlic clove to molasses

Assimil ate

we are now this mythical creature called American

Assimi late

alI this sharp-toned beauty


all the unsafe energy


all this strong un shaded sense of self



that lulled by it’s insidiousness

so one danced to it’s falseness

the last note dropped

we are Amerikanski

ne Pyrooski

ne Yiddische

ne anything

As simil late


3)-So this is where I come from

From murdering mother Russia

by way of South Philly

From the Ukraine

From the Pogroms

From the fear

by way of 4th & Mifflin

From one of the 12 tribes

by way of a hot and sweaty ship

that came to the island

new land

where the statue said

Give us your tired

even the Jews

where the statue said

Give us your poor

even the Russians

Give us your yearning to be free

even your poor Russian Jews

who spake Yiddisch, Hebrew, Russian, German

fleeing the Pogroms

of the bold Czarist Army

that boldly beat

the cripple, the women, the children

if they were Jews

that dared to be


son of Daniel

daughter of Esther

Give us your poor unwanted Russian Jews

we will not hunt you here


burn your villages

to see how high the flame

we may amend your Jewishness

we may

swallow your heritage

digest your culture


the purity of what was once your uniqueness

but these mur der ings

will happen



in moderation

by generation

till everything is in translation

from Ellis Island

to Reform Synagogues

where English

only is


4)-So this is where I come from

from you

from your tired desperate flight

frightened 9 yr old child

ship you shared with only a hundred or so

on each deck

and all that I am

all the good that I may do

words that may in some how or way

change, or try,

the rot that lays like seaweed

thick upon this nation now

come from that 9 yr old child

coming to the Gold and

Silvering Paved Streets

No mere mortal poem
There is nothing

No mere mortal poem could ever say it

and you’re no longer here to hear

let my voice form the words

Thanks, Grandma

Bob Small 01/25/83-first version, too wordsome


About bobsmall1

Bob Small has read at Bacchanal, Barnes and Noble, Borders, The Booksource (Swarthmore), The Clark Park Festivals,Community College of Philadelphia Highwire Gallery, The Mad Poets Annual Food Fest Reading, The Middle East Restaurant, Nexus GalleryThe Painted Bride Arts Center, The Philadelphia Ethical Society, Robin's Bookstore The University of Pennsylvania and also in New York City, Trenton, NJ, Washington, DC, and in many Delaware Valley Venues. He is the author of numerous chapbooks, including El Otro Lado (with Maralyn Lois Polak), On watching America Die, Small Steps and Toes (with Lamont B. Steptoe), and The Unapoet. This is his first Reading in over a year. Bob Small was Founder and President of the two decades old Poets and Prophets, which presented Poetry Readings in both Delaware County and Philadelphia. Bob was the Chair of The Delaware County Green Party and was the First Green Party Candidate in Delaware County (2005). He was also a Green Party National Delegate, among other duties. He is the Founder and Facilitator of The Pennsylvania Ballot Access Coalition (PaBac), which is a Coalition of both Independents and Third Parties., seeking to legislatively improve Pennsylvania's Ballot Access Laws. (Facebook) Bob is also a founding member and Facilitator of Democracy Unplugged, and Delco Debates, which has presented Independent and Third Party Forums in Delaware County since 2004. Facebook) He was formerly involved with Cinema Resistance, and Delco Pledge of Resistance. Bob currently lives in Swarthmore with his wife and their menagerie of animals. He is currently focused on writing a Novel and organizing his Poetry, which he posts on his Blog (Bob Small1). He is retired from most of the above activities, except Delco Debates and Poets and Prophets, which he may return to.
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