Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vilde Chaya



image borrowed from bing

Vilde Chaya
Max sat in the darkness on his bed in his small room chewing on the black feather boa he had borrowed from his mother’s closet to pin on his butt as the luxuriant wolf’s tail for his homemade wolfen-suit, finding as he wore it that he seemed to disappear as his lupine-soul took control allowing him to leap from the backs of couches, over tables, slide down bannisters face forward howling all the way, push Sparkie aside to lap from his chrome water dish until his mother became so angry at his canine mischief she had pulled him by his pillowcase ears upstairs, locking him in his kennel, telling him he was a very bad wolf-boy and that he did not deserve any dinner; 
but soon sitting there in the semi-inkness he could hear them again, first faintly, free-floating, then coming out of the wall-speakers, those children from the death camp, Theresienstadt, singing the Hans Krasas propaganda children’s opera, Brundibar--in Czech that means bumblebee said Emile, children singing soprano lyrics about a fantasy world as their parents were lined up and shot or marched naked to the showers and gassed then carried carelessly like split wood chunks to the huge Backofens as the SS shadow soldiers with no faces were busy flashing their swastika armbands, collecting mountains of gold teeth, eyeglasses, hair and leather dress shoes in vast warehouses, punctuated by Emile saying remember we must sing for our supper just like those boys from syracuse, and Moishe saying Vilde Chaya in Yiddish, we are now the wild things, the singing orphans of the blood storm--gotten himmel, you must keep your American Nazis in their cages in Madison’s square gardens;
No, no, no, nein, nein, nichts zu danken--Max covered his eyes, clenched his lids, forcing the barbed wire fences to become a delicious dark forest, making the guard towers into lighthouses, changing the muddy stretches between the stalags into clovered-meadows and the killing zones on all perimeters into a sweet green sea, making that bloody washtub into a magical sailboat with himself as Captain holding a beautiful map painted on doeskin, sailing bravely through bright light bouncing off the backs of dolphins, and when the sleek craft stalled in the eerie stillness, a flock of happy albatross would hover near the sail letting the frantic flapping of their great wings create the loving breeze necessary to successfully propel him to the Land of the Wild Things, where he would find his own versions of Tzippy, Moishe, Aaron, Emile, Bernard, and Maurice, and like Peter Pan he would become their boy-king, creating a decree immediately that a joyous “wild rumpus” was the royal order of the day--and they would dance and sing until the singing would mantle the thumping screeching death camp choir harmony that still clinged in sad sound bites around his tail, until just like all those other times he would suddenly become too lonely, and he would sail home on a prodigal wind, navigating on the sound of his mother’s voice,
“Max, Max, alright already, enough is enough; come out and get your plate before the food goes cold--and leave the wolf upstairs.”
Glenn Buttkus

May 2012

Posted over on dVerse Poets-Poetics

Would you like to hear the author read this poem to you?

7 comments:

Claudia said...

oh dang.. this brought tears to my eyes glenn...lost for words...an excellent and moving write

Aaron Kent said...

This was remarkable, I loved every moment of it, and even returend a few times! Thank you so much for joining the wild rumpus.

Brian Miller said...

a rather sobering take but beautifully rendered man...having just been to the holocaust museum this year its all too real for me....

Diane Jensen said...

I'm speechless (and that rarely happens). This is indeed an appropriate sendoff for Maurice Sendak . Thank you.

ordinarylifelessordinary said...

I didn't expect this at all, and I love that! So glad you took me on this very poignant journey, amazing how the mind of a child can construct safe places when there are none.Very powerful. Thanks for your hard work on this, happy to have you share it.

manicddaily said...

Hi Glenn, oyou took this to our most terrible wild places. Very interesting, sad. Well-done. K.

Anonymous said...

Excellent tribute

Each time I read this it gets better and better, so much so the tears welled up