by JL Wall

I have a conflicted and complicated relationship with Yom Hashoah — it’s a lot easier just not to go into it here.  But that’s why I decided against writing something about Adam Kirsch’s poem, “Past the off-duty NYPD guard…” (it’s technically an untitled poem, I suppose) which I considered.  I find the poem rather true, and rather moving nevertheless.  Lately, though, I’ve been thinking a good deal about Leonard Cohen’s “All There Is To Know About Adolf Eichmann.” It isn’t much in the way of a poem, but it drives its point home.  The closing lines:

What did you expect?
Talons?
Oversize incisors?
Green saliva?

Madness?

And that’s the political lesson, I believe, of the Holocaust.