Jack Hirschman

The Nora Arcane, The Gaza Arcane: Jack Hirschman


I can’t begin writing
this poem about you,
Nora, without wanting
suddenly to write a

Hebrew letter.

I’m a rather militant
anti-zionist, as you know,
and will have no word to
say to any opportunist

who makes

a religion of the holocaust
and says, “Karl Marx was
full of shit.” I know your
jewishness verges on


that Israel for you in your
days is Israel more than
five thousand years ago,
that you don’t see the


as the real jews of today,
that you keep to Israel
in living memory and
that is something after

the bestial

holocaust I understand,
even though politically
it’s engendered reciprocal
evil. Yet thinking of you

makes me want

to write or draw a Hebrew
letter—any one of the
Aleph-bais: I’ve learned
them all through my 82
years alive

because I’ve always adored
their shape, the way you
always adored me, dearest
cousin, perhaps through

my father, Sheppy,

for his having always made
you hysterically laugh with
his hundred jokes, and though
you never knew David, my son,

who died

at 25 of cancer in California,
you planted a Tree of Life
in his name in Israel
the following year, and for that

what might

an old communist kabbalist
say except: may you be the
thunder that rumbling says

that announces

the rain of the tears that wash
away the pain of the fears



Shema here,
shema hear me,
a child born
and raised originally
in Superman’s
capitol of Death,
whose rule is trumpery.

This stack of
matzos I fling
one after another
across your Rosh
Hashanah clear
to your Yom

like a paroxysm
of memory,
a matzography
of unforgettable
irony of ironies:
you, who were
so holocausted

by the nazis
have created
the largest
concentration camp
in the world,
in Gaza, yes
we in Gaza,

when Sari Shobaki 18,
Amir Al-Nimra, 15,
Louay Kahn, 16,
Kami Halas, 14,
Nasser Shurrab, 18,
Louay Hasan, 13

a series of non-violent
protests calling for
the return
of Palestinians
exiled all
over the world,
you murdered them

in cold State blood
or sniped their
legs or slingshot
arms off and—
irony of the ovens
where the nazis

so many of
your families—
those New York
settler thugs
celebrating a
wedding were
crying out:

“Ali’s on the grill”
referring to
Ali Dawbsheh,
whose 18
month-old body
they’d burned
to death.


Dilapidated shacks
or even tents
in which we live
all crazy now
without a capitol
and filling with

Gaza, we’re Gaza
who may rainbow:
Dareen Tatour,
you magnificent,
“terrorist” poet,
and you,
Ahed Tamimi

who physically
Took on a couple
of Israel’s cops,
you of a family
of grassroots

of Razan Al-Najar,
that glorious
21 year-old
who gave her
life helping to
nurse the wounded
in the protests.

We don’t hole up.
We stuff malice,
be terror cool,
steer no one wrong,
even as arms are torn,
even as wounded legs
are smoking.

The Nora Arcane was first published in The Arcanes (Multimedia Edizioni, Salerno, Italy, 2019) The book is available from the author. Write to him at aggiefalk@hotmail.com.

Jack Hirschman, b. 1933 in NYC. He is an emeritus Poet Laureate of San Francisco (2006-2009). a founding member of the Revolutionary Poets Brigade of San Francisco (RPB), the World Poetry Movement of Medellin, Colombia (WPM). His masterworks are three, thousand-page (each), poems published in Salerno, Italy in the American language.