Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Coda V


            But a new generation of poets sprung up, and Yasha was rediscovered.  He no longer cared about his copyrights, so volumes of his poems and prose appeared in numerous pirated editions.  Some of his unpublished poems, languishing around the offices of this or that literary journal in Odessa, Warsaw or Paris, were roused from the grave and printed.  
            His style was widely copied; his literary mannerisms were aped, like a style of dress or a variety of hat.  A Yiddish newspaper sent a reporter and photographer to find the reclusive genius.  Everyone in the town of Kabstiel was tight lipped about the location of their local celebrity.  After a hefty bribe, a gentile fisherman took the reporter out on a skiff and circled about the Farstuken Swamp to no avail.   
            A week later a letter arrived at the offices of the Yiddish newspaper where Yasha had formerly worked.  It read only:  “Fear G—D and his retribution --- Y.S.”
            So then it was known.  Yasha Schulevitz, effete poet, playboy bon vivant, renowned sodomite, revolutionary agitator, and ace-egotist, had become a pious hermit.  The arch of his life had looped a complete circle.  News of this only fueled interest in the man.  But every attempt to find him had failed.  Like Enoch, Yasha Schulevitz seemed to have been swept up by God Himself.
            This was why Boris Kahanowitz cursed his own bones.  Finding Yasha Schulevitz had become a colloquial expression for any doomed enterprise.  And here Boris had not only announced that he would find him, but haul him back to Warsaw in chains.  Boris would be mercilessly heckled every time he mounted a lectern to read a poem.  He could beat a single taunter into silence, but he could not flog every Jew in Poland?  So Boris Kahanowitz had little choice.
            He changed his vomit stained shirt for one stained with dark red wine, or blood, he could not tell, and set off for the railway station.

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