24 April 2010 | Vol. 10, No. 1

Duck Rabbit

This is the story of my grandfather Benjamin Simonds

who survived Auschwitz. He kept

a scrap. Torn label of a can of con-

densed milk. He took dictation. He

dictated. He flipped the dialectic flapjack. He was

a gambling man. People think prisoners don't gamble.

Gamblers are always and only prisoners.

Once he told me that the spine is a prison.

To gamble, he said, you need to lose

your spine.

The following is a translation of that scrap by his wife of over fifty years, Nellie Simonds:

November 8, 1944.

"Background works at sawing off my right foot, my foot

a growling ground down

to bits of Timbuktu. It is full of sun, this slit into the

out there. Duckrabbit.

duckrabbit. duckrabbit. Into is so bright it will make

you vomit. I am the figure, a

screwed figment, a reckoning shade, life's filaments, spare

time's fashion

statement. I've been working on my tunnel

vision morphs portals lined with dried corn."

The entry abruptly cuts off here.

Sandra Simonds, his granddaughter

(who also happens to be a corrections officer in Macon, Georgia) decides

to continue the family saga.

She spends many a night

in the attic. She takes dictation. She

dictates. People think poets

don't gamble. Poet are always

and only gamblers.

The following was translated back into German by Sandra Simonds, the author of this poem.

November 8, 1988.

"Across from Auschwitz they are building a mall. Upon entering the mall

trees form completely

from the air-conditioning system. Perchance you'll purchase a

Duckrabbit duckrabbit duckrabbit?

I was square dancing to depression, screwing

around with the century's broken links when, all of the sudden,

because man can only be one

animal at a time and because one animal

can only be two men

at a time and because we take one eye

from an animal and one

eye from man, I was ordered to build

a figure

who recedes into the ground down

background from a can of condensed milk and dried ears

of corn."

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Sandra Simonds at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 10, No. 1, where "Duck Rabbit" ran on April 24, 2010. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

copyright © 2001-2011
XHTML // CSS // 508