by Louis Daniel Brodsky
When he finally returned home,
From his journey around the world beyond his fears,
He was drained, deranged, estranged, mind-blown, lonely.
After all, undertaking a crusade of such magnitude
Required the guts of an audacious man of faith,
Someone willing to place his head in the jaws of an alligator
And wait for the beast to snap it off,
While he prayed for a deus ex machina in absentia
To save him from sifting to the bottom of the cosmic food chain.
For years, he recuperated, as best he could, out in life’s barn,
Competing, with the chickens, pigs, horses, and cows,
For a patch of unsullied straw
On which to sleep away the benign, ambiguous hours,
Allowing his psychic wounds to seal their fates,
Before setting off, again, for terror incognita.
How many days, decades, eons he languished there,
He couldn’t begin to say,
Nor could the chickens, pigs, horses, and cows.
All he knew was that his recuperation was salubrious,
Because, eventually, anxiety and abject horror forsook him,
Left his essence to survive by eating barnyard feces,
Which, except on a few really awful lightning-storm nights,
Failed to remind him of his time in the camps,
Gave him a feeling of anesthetic healing and quietus.
While Mein Kampf is about Adolf Hitler's struggle, Unser Kampf focuses on the victims' efforts to come to terms with the Holocaust — the genuine struggle survivors face, as they fight to understand what it means to have outlasted the Shoah , and the struggle endured by those who didn't live through the Holocaust but contend, daily, with its horrendous legacy. In the fifty poems of Unser Kampf, Louis Daniel Brodsky bravely portrays these victims of the Nazis' genocidal fury, in all their confusion, desperation, and poignancy, with whom every one of us can identify and empathize, making it clear that their struggle is indeed ours.
To read Charles Adès Fishman's interview of Mr. Brodsky, about his Holocaust writing, please click here.
This book is available in Kindle, Nook, Sony, Kobo, and Apple E-book formats, for purchase, and through public libraries' Overdrive account, for loan.