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Charles Rammelkamp: Two Poems
Moon | Isaac Rosner and the Christian Horde, 1469


The moist star hangs in the heavens,
a cool tear poised to drip down
the face of the night sky.
Off to the east, in another part of town,
a man has been holding three people hostage
since Saint Patrick's Day.

Tonight the Vernal Equinox,
the moon still full,
a pregnant woman nearing her term:
a swollen expectation,
something soon to be born.

The man is obsessed with the girl who left him.
He says all he wants
is to talk to his estranged girlfriend.
Then everything will be all right.
He holds her parents and younger brother
in the palm of his hand,
a pale moon color,
clutching a gun.

Isaac Rosner and the Christian Horde, 1469

Oh Lord, it's when they're swooning with the swill,
still drunk on the story of Jesus they've seen—
Jews in horned caps goading their suffering savior,
up on a cross, writhing in pain—
I pray most fervently for guidance,
what I can do, how to endure.

They rip through our streets like a hurricane at sea,
tearing open our doors,
destroying whatever comes into reach,
like a whirlpool snagging flotsam,
striking whoever's nearest at hand.
Intoxicated with righteousness,
the brew they've drunk only makes them bolder.

Next door at Eisenstein's I hear
the shrill scream of terror
stretching Rachel's vocal chords
just as I imagine those men
pulling her daughter's legs apart,
swarming all over twelve-year-old Leah.

Poet's Biography:
  Note: The Passion play—which deals with the dramatic events of Holy Week, and depicts the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ—flourished in Europe from the late fourteenth to the early sixteenth centuries. They gave rise to horrible acts of torture and genocide over the years.

Rammelkamp is an adjunct English professor at Essex Community College. He has published poems in many small press publications, print and online. His two poetry chapbooks, i don't think god's that cruel, and Go to Hell, are available from March Street Press.

© 1999 - 2003, by the poets featured herein.