Mizmor L'David Anthology 


Poetica Magazine: Contemporary Jewish Writing

Kaddish for Abie
Marty Levine

Ginsberg’s Village is a dream now:

bohemia, the beat generation, weathermen,

hippies, the Stonewall and working artists have run

through the rooms of SoHo, TriBeCa, and time,

through the light on the top of Manhattan

past the streets of the Lower East Side and across

the Williamsburg. The trolleys of your youth

gone from the span that rose over what was left

of the immigrant’s Russia your mother held

like the petals of memory that die with us

at home in the hours between potato soup

and the sweat shop. Pitching pennies, playing

poker, hustling for Ben and Eli the furriers

who paid you the fifteen dollars a week, that won

the war between work and college; tenements,

walk-ups and pictures of America’s promise

on the cover of Life. The backroom bookie joint

on Avenue B with Fred Capossela on the radio,

the long lamp lit nights with a bisel tea

crunching the rent numbers over and over,

and Marty needs a new pair of shoes. Belmont,

along the rail, cigarette in your right hand

the Racing Form tucked under the left, looking

for an answer in the daily double. And God

was the silence in the mists on the Minisink

and Yiddish graffiti on the Forvitz building.

When you died, I dusted off the old Mussorgsky

records, took walks every night through the empty

cemeteries of my love, and wept Kaddish every day

in shul for eleven months, to cover your bets.