Passover After the Death of Vampire Mike

I was at a seder you gave once,
it was as if God had just graduated high school
and you were sure he'd have a great career.
You're a nice Jewish boy.
But now you're dead.  It changes things.
In my passover you find the hidden matza
and hide it where your heart used to beat,
none of the children can find it.
You jump out at each child and go boo! and wink
but they don't see you.
When the youngest child asks
"why is this night different from all other nights?"
you sing out "because I'm here" and do a soft-shoe shuffle.
Of couse you know all the right answers
but you left them behind.
In my passover you'd be trying to make
the spinning wooden dradles into sex toys.
In my passover when we chant Dyanou:
If God had only taken us out of the land of Egypt
and not led us to the red sea, Dyanou (it would've sufficed us).
If God had led us to the red sea and not parted the waters,
Dyanou (it would've sufficed us).
But you'd be going "No, no, nothing suffices, nothing's enough.
I want more tender worlds like matza balls in that chicken soup,
there's nothing like death to make a man hungry."
In my passover when we talk of the pascal lamb's blood on the doorposts
that made the Angel of Death pass over
you start talking about the Angels of Death's troubles with women,
all these centuries and he's clueless.
It's a good thing you came along to set him straight.
In my passover I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
We praise God but you drank the wine left out for Eligah
and now you're giving the bird
with the empty glass balanced on your head.
I don't know what'll happen if Eligah catches you
and I wish all this were true.

© Julia Vinograd



Going Through Vampire Mike's Poems After His Death

We were going thru bags and boxes of your writing
rescued from your room
when you asked from behind my shoulder
"Any spirits for a new spirit in town?"  I jumped.
Tom was reading aloud one of  your better pieces
and my sister was laughing.
All I could see of you was a cloud of cigarrette smoke.
"There's a corner store that specializes in Cuban cigars
and I'm thinking about them," you went on.
"But there's no hurry, so far I'm sticking to
my old reliables.  Now, about that drink?"
"Beer in the fridge," I stammered.
When you got back I took a deep breath and blurted
"Mike, where you are, what's it like?"
I heard an amused snort.
"Well, you living are so limited.
Do you know every inch of spirit is an equally errogoneus zone?
And the flesh doesn't get tired afterwards.
When the spirit is willing it's like the energizer bunny,
it keep going and going and going;
I can't wait till I get my haunting license."
Tom was making a pile of your song lyrics
and my sister was looking up a piece to see
if it had been published.  "This isn't haunting?" I asked,
realizing I wasn't saying anything out loud.
"Nah," you blew more smoke,
"just a dry run around the parking lot.
Nobody reads my work like me but it does stand up
on it's own, don't it?  Well, gotta fly.
Thanks for the beer."
"Did you hear that last poem?" my sister asked.
"I felt he was talking right to me."
"Yeah," I said, "me too."

© Julia Vinograd
Berkeley, CA

Books by Julia Vinograd
 "Berkeley Lifetime Achievement Award"
Also by Julia Vinograd
For Allen Cohen, a Poet Who Died

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