Prose Poem in the Wake of Charlottesville

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Prose Poem in the Wake of Charlottesville

By Brett Ashley Kaplan

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The forgotten stone memorials awaken and remind us of the confederate glories the ubiquitous cross-hatched flag celebrates slavery repression pain racism is as apple pie as baseball and in the mix is the Jewhatred why is the left surprised?

Seriously, the marching torches aren’t resonant enough with Triumph of the Will the will to overcome difference to erase difference to wash everything Aryan whiter than the white KKKsheets and purer than melting icecaps of dubious snow purity and danger the danger of impurity and the call to get rid of the Jews get rid of the blacks get rid of the immigrants get rid of

In the night unseen but with great force the stone statues of the confederacy topple

Somewhere in the country people play at the civil war

Reenactment as a game of chance…who wants to be a union soldier when a confederate soldier is so much more fun so much more pure so much more American? The side that lost forever wanting to ride again on those stone statue horses to victory a victory that would have ossified a plantation economy

The south under water now no power

“Jews will not replace us”

hand raised aloft “The Jewish Media is going down”

the jews control hollywood the jews control hollywood the jews control hollywood—how many times I have heard that shit? When I heard it in one of my own graduate seminars I was shocked I shouldn’t have been it is everywhere this claim of control

tensions, anxieties, zero-sum competitions for memorial resources between blacks and Jews jews are white jews get white privilege yes, yes, many of us do tensions anxieties we are lumped together unite the right bonds antisemitism to racism expulsion of all of us purity and a straight up nostalgia for desire for love for Nazism not masked just their “Sieg Heil” those fuckers even said do they know fully know about genocide? Do they care? Can they really celebrate the genocide of millions of Jews, communists, queers, Jehovah’s witnesses, resistance fighters? Do they celebrate the enslavement and murder and rape of millions of black women men children…

the stone statues to the confederacy are alive now their horses gallop through the south through the world they have always trembled at the edge of awakeness and they are here in the present the civil war is still being fought

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About the Author:

Brett Ashley Kaplan is the Director of the Program in Jewish Culture & Society, Director of the Initiative in Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, and Professor and Conrad Humanities Scholar in the Program in Comparative and World Literature at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her first books, Unwanted Beauty: Aesthetic Pleasure in Holocaust Representation (2007) and Landscapes of Holocaust Postmemory (2011), examine the Shoah’s intersections with art and space. Her newest book is Jewish Anxiety in the Novels of Philip Roth (2015) and she is working on a project tentatively entitled jewblack is blackjew: tensions, intersections, and interactions among Jewishness and Blackness in Contemporary art.

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