The Goethe Bop

Hi Jewsters,

So, I went to a reading at Boston University the other night. Twas by the incomparable poet David Blair. In addition to being funny, wise and way cool, David warmed the cockles of my JewPunk heart by reading something titled Goethe Bop. Neatly conflating the famous German poet with those adorable Ramones, GB defied description -- and I mean that in a good way.

Afterward, over beers, beers and more beers, David discussed his origins in Pittsburgh, a town that sounded strangely like my own Atlanta in terms of its race relations. In other words, it was a funky stew of black and white, with a few Jews (like me) and Catholics (like him) thrown in. His poem about graduation (fittingly titled Graduation Poem) ended thusly:

Grandmothers rose in purple and orange crepes and waves
that washed this way from other big events,
the bat mitzvahs and confirmations and birthdays.
It was graduation for plastic combs and afro picks.
There were rolling mists from aerosol cans
at five p.m. in beauty parlors all over the city,
an attentive patting of so many hands and textures.
And now, pure nothing, the moon and stars out
through the crinkling cellophane of white sprays—
graduations are arisen like fireflies from grasses
in the smoke of backyards and embankments.

Yes, I remember afro picks and rolling mists and bat mitzvahs attended by girls named Coco. In fact, Coco's full name was Qua Vadis Amour -- Go Forth With Love, a mixture of Latin and French. Coco was tres frigus, even if she did tease my ninth-grade adenoids for bringing forth sounds like that most annoying of Little Rascal's. "Froggy, stop talking! STOP!! You making my ears hurt!!!"

Thanks David for bringing this all back. And thanks to Coco for joking me through the worst of adolescence.

Yours boppily,

S. Ramone


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