Learning to Hate Culture


When I was six My Mother enrolled the two of us

In a course in BrooklynCollege.

“Mothers and children learn French together”

How faggy can you get


So she ripped me out of the womb

of Saturday Morning Cartoons

And pretended that she was Jackie Kennedy

(My Father and JFK had just died)

Having Pate on a Bagel in Flatbush


And when She practiced French

She sounded as if she were having a bowel movement

Her vowelled histrionics urging and purging

Regurgitating like a parody of Edith Piaf

Compensating for constipation

Exhaling aroma of goyische French cheese

All day long


The final consonants were like little kids

To be seen and not heard

Looking pretty, languishing at the end of a sentence

While four vowels:

A blooming bellied pregnant O

A fallopian U

A busty A

And an engineering E

Got together and made one vociferous roar



And then it was time for the babies to sing:


After mommy and her fat pals had an hour of

Voweled hallelujia Catharsis

We children were supposed to sing

Something called Frarer Jocker

That’s the best spelling  I can think of

I didn’t know what a Frarer was

But I could tell he was a Fairy


Then the babies came to the City to See Culture


Something silly and frilly like Caroline in a fluffy

White Dress in Hyannisport

A punch and judy show

Where we were supposed to believe the puppets were real

To cry and go ooh and ah for a wrinkled, tattered cloth

To suspend all logic and act

Like a little girl



And I never could tell why the audience had to pay

To be forced to keep quiet

While Actors got to have temper tantrums on the stage

Their Loud make-up glaring at me like neon signs

The actresses a tribe of loud witches

The actors underemployed castratos who learned to sing

Frarer jocker


But nothing was as horrible as Opera


Viking vowelled Empresses Marching from Berlin

Or Rome, or some other place where they killed Jews


They hold a note for seventeen excruciating seconds

Screaming:  Suffer and keep on suffering we won’t let you go

(Nu, so what’s intellectual about this)


And so I learned to hate all forms of culture except

The written word


Copyright, David Gottfried, 1999


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