I open the door and look at my watch. It’s 12:35 a.m.
My six cats greet me, mewling, in need of dinner.
The apartment is a mess; cluttered with books,
papers, notes. It looks like a bipolar librarian stole a
collection of lugubrious literature and has been hiding out here.
I rummage through my stacks of books: Louis-Ferdinand Celine,
T.S. Eliot, Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound.
Anti-Semitic authors piled on top of one another,
an antique menorah sitting atop Pound’s ‘Cantos.’
Chanukah is months away, but it’s been over six-years since
I’ve lit this damn thing, so I decide to light it. I grab candles
out of the drawer, some beer out the fridge, light the menorah,
and watch wax drip and stain Pound’s book.
Throughout my apartment, Swastikas and crudely sketched
Iron Eagles are drawn on my walls. I also have an SS Bolt
necklace lying in my ashtray. I don’t want anyone to know
about my Bar Mitzvah, my circumcision, or any of the nasally,
Eastern European laughs echoing from my study where I’ve
hidden my Jewish identity. When I have visitors and they ask
about the menorah, I tell them, “I got it at a garage sale. It
makes a great paper weight.” I do whatever I can to avoid
the question, “Are you Jewish?” Even going as far as planting
flags of an off-color German heritage to ward off curious intruders.
I spent middle school, high school, and college being
mocked for something I can’t control; a genetic accident (as
George Carlin would say).
My cat Axel jumps on the couch and
sits next to me, staring and crying. I have to feed my cats
and all I have is three-week-old Gefilte fish in the fridge.