Inspired by Sylvia Plath’s poem “Daddy”

 

 

I always wanted to have an illness

Just like my Aunt Trudy.

Nothing serious, just a fat lady illness that lets you

Kvetch to get special favors.

She worked a few hours a week for her brother, a doctor,

And he gave her enough money and free time to be chosen

“Abraham & Strauss shopper of the Year” and be

a big shot in Brooklyn Democratic politics.

 

Where she was True Blue.

I knew her as

True Bitch, TB,

Insinuating herself into my Father’s lungs

Like the asthma that killed him

When I was six, two days before JFK died.

 

And when I was five or six

And Herbert Marcuse posited a correlation between

Polymorphous sexuality and socialism

Trudy sat in the bathtub

Nude,

And I washed her hair and body.

Her breasts

looked like drooping, rotten water melons

And her Ass

Looked like the tire on a big ole bus

Taking Blacks like Little Richard and me

To a chain gang

In Selma, Alabama.

 

When I was seven, and she was forty two,

She was the President

Of Brooklyn Young Democrats For Lyndon Johnson

(It made her feel young again)

And I licked the dried juices

And slits of thousands of envelopes,

And Trudy

Who always told me that I would be crazy because my

Mother was crazy

Voted for Barry Goldwater

 

When I was ten

Her bloated body

And cragged, manly face

Made her Lyndon Johnson raging at Bobby Kennedy

Supporting the Vietnam War

Because it would draft the shvatzas

And take them out of Brooklyn

 

And when Bobby Kennedy died she radiated the happiness of

the nukes she wanted to drop on Hanoi

(This isn’t poetic invention:

When Mickey Cohen,

Her arch nemesis in a world of Brooklyn Jewish matrons,

Got bone cancer,

Trudy was ecstatic)

 

When I was eighteen

And my best Friend, Ernie, died

She laughed, “He was only a shvatza”

And Little Richard started screaming

And I raved and ranted with joy

When she died the very next year

 

And she watched me from the planet of witches

Someplace more august than Heaven Or Hell

And she gave me AIDS

 

Copyright, David Gottfried, 1997

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