Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

I Have To Bury the Monster!!!……..by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Jewish Themes,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Poetry & Prose — Bob at 11:44 am on Friday, September 30, 2011

© September 29, 2011

 

“The Monster has Died!!

I have to bury the Monster”

Says the man who keeps the lies

I have to Bury the Monster

The Terrible One who shreds lives

Tears, crunches, slaps, punches, bites

The one who hits with leather belts and buckles

The one who shatters personalities

The Destroyer of Children

The Destroyer of Marriages

I am the Keeper of Lies

I have to Bury the Monster

No one must ever know

About Bonnie & Bobby

Charm

She had Charm

Beauty

Wit

The Life of the Party

She was

 Artistic

Popular

Persuasive

and

In demand

She wore a Mask

The Mask came off

At home

I have to Bury the Monster

To live secretly in terror

Prisoners of madness

No corner was safe in a house

When the Monster went hunting

 Her children her only prey

The Keeper of Lies and his sister Bonnie

Have to Bury the Monster

Have to meet the Rabbi

And tell lies one more time

We speak to the Rabbi

Praise her virtues

Her values

Her popularity

Something begins to crack

Within the Keeper of Lies

The Keeper requests Bonnie leave the room

She leaves, closes the door with a hush

I Turn to the Rabbi

Tell him the truth

The Rabbi’s Professional Mask

Shatters

His jaw drops

My ugly truth not welcome

The Keeper of Lies

Hands the silent

Horrified Rabbi

The final lie

The loving Eulogy

And a large check

The Keeper of Lies says:

“I wrote the Eulogy

You read it

You keep the money

That’s the deal”

Both rose

Shook Hands

A contract sealed

Lies to be buried with the Monster

The Keeper of Lies turned

Left the room

The Rabbi’s wide eyes

Staring at his back

The words were read

The people smiled

They laughed

They cried

The Rabbi was very good

But not as good at lying as

The Keeper of Lies

The Monster is Dead

We have to Bury the Monster

It is almost the end

The Casket is lowered into Concrete

A mound of Black Earth

Piled high upon the ground

A long-handled shovel

Ready for the Mourners

To show their respect

Each Person shoveled 3 times

As tradition dictated

The Keeper of Lies watched the ritual

It was happening too s-l-o-w-l-y

We have to Bury the Monster

Now!!!

The Keeper of Lies stood up

Shaking

A Bleeding Child bursting from within him

Eyes ablaze

Silently Shrieking:

“We Have to Bury the Monster!!!”

And together

The two of them

Grasped the long-handled shovel

From a Cousin

Pushing him away

And began to shovel the dirt

The shovel became a blur

Dirt flying into the grave

Falling like rain on the Polished Casket

As the Keeper of Lies

And the Bleeding Child

Became a Machine

And the Mourners watched the madness

Uncomprehending

Sweat poured into the Keeper’s black suit

Not sweat

Ancient Tears

Drained from his body

Streaming down him

Entering the Earth

He has to Bury the Monster

Bonnie sat like stone

Seeing nothing

Saying nothing

His scars on the outside

Her scars on the inside

A woman hollowed by horror

And as the shovel swiftly dug into

The diminishing mass of Earth

His Aunt moved toward him

The good one

The sane one

The only one

And she embraced him

 

“Bobby”

She whispered

“You don’t have to do this”

“You don’t have to do this”

 But the Keeper of Lies struggled to escape

From her loving arms

 

“We have to Bury the Monster”

Both of them cried

The Man and the Child

But the Aunt wouldn’t release them

“Bobby!”

Cried the Aunt

The Good One

“She’s Dead!!”

“Let her Die!”

“Free Yourself”

 

They let the shovel fall from their hands

The Bleeding Child accepting

Melting back inside the Man

The man straightening

No longer struggling

To be free from his Aunt’s

Embracing Arms

Then

All at once

The Poisonous Lies

Ripped away

From the Keeper of Lies

The Thousand Words

Falling like a

Black Shroud

Into the open grave

Covering all of the soft dirt

 

Separating the Man

And the Child

From the Monster

 

Turning away from his Aunt

Turning away

From his Mother’s grave

No longer

The Keeper of Lies

He had Buried the Monster

About the writer and his other life in Skokie, Illinois:

Twitter: @MagazineMuseum

Bob Katzman’s Magazine Museum: 100,000 periodicals back to 1576!
Wall of Rock: 50 years of cool Rock periodicals on display & for sale
4906 Oakton St. (8000 north and 4900 west) Skokie, Ill 60077
(847)677-9444 Mon-Fri: 10 am to 5 pm / Weekends: 10 am to 2 pm

Katzman’s Publishing Company site: www.FightingWordsPubco.com
Katzman’s online non-fiction stories: www.DifferentSlants.com

Poetry? For me, writing poetry is not an option.
It’s a response to emotion. Like cigarette smoke,
it’s fast-flowing, shapeless and with little time to capture it.
Writing poetry in an imperative. I say what I feel compelled to say.

I sell my five published books via mail order and accept major credit cards.
I don’t use PayPal. I just talk to people on the phone.
Fast, reliable service. Read my stories and see what you think.
I’m also available for hire to read my true Chicago stories to organizations
and answer all questions. I autograph my books when I sell them.

I am currently seeking an agent to do more readings.
Feel free to call me at the number above.

 

11 Comments »

Comment by brad dechter

September 30, 2011 @ 2:10 pm

Bob,
I’ve read your books and know your story. This is a really personal poem- very emotional and well written. My only thoughts, as a different sort of “Keeper of the Lies” is that you are a better person than me, because I do not live the lies, but the feelings and emotions are something that I will never be free of. From that standpoint, I am the keeper of the hate. It will never leave me, much as I wish it would. I will never be free as you indicate above. Mazel tov to you and Shana
Tovah!
Brad

Comment by Bruce Matteson

September 30, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

You have waited a long time for this, and now it is done
you did it well and with grace
enjoy your freedom, B.

Comment by Don Larson

September 30, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

Bob,

Knowing you as I do, I think what you did was right.

From age 7 to about 26 I also kept some “lies” within, but not about my family. It was in connection to my second-grade Catholic school Nun, Mother Superior. At about age 26 I realized I had to forgive or let the terrible feelings consume me.

So I forgave, completely. I don’t forget what happened, but I stopped the anger about 35 years ago.

Every person should work out their troubles. You have.

Sincerely,

Don

Comment by Rick

October 1, 2011 @ 9:07 am

Wow!

Comment by Robert M. Katzman

October 1, 2011 @ 10:16 am

All of your responses matter very much to me.

I had a lot of trouble writing this. It was inspired by an effort on my part, some years ago during a very grave Yom Kippur moment, to attempt to forgive my sister Bonnie, whom I write about in this poem, because of her coldness and indifference towards me.

My decision to change how I regarded her caused no difference in how she treated me, but it did give me greater compassion about how damaged she became because of her terror at my mother’s hands. That helped, but I sure wished I could have had a sister who was loving and interested.

Then Bonnie died last June in 2010 at 62, ten years after my mother died at 80, and is buried next to her. Her early death from blood cancer,is a tragedy I will never recover from.

But then, this summer, her son Brad called me and told me he had been going through Bonnie’s papers and found something he felt I might want. I told him sure, bring it by my store, without knowing what he was talking about.

After Brad dropped off a small box and I hugged him goodbye, I looked through it.

One of those wonderful/terrible moments happened.

The box was full of every birthday card I ever gave her since I was a teenager in the Sixties. Every newspaper article ever written about me, 50 years worth. It was shocking. A box heavy with emotion from a woman unable to display any. I missed her more than ever, realizing what I saw was not actually who she was. She was proud of me, cared for me…from a distance.

This is why I don’t write fiction. The truth is terrible enough without trying to invent something meaningless.

And our mother?

There’s nothing to add. I am the last one harmed by her, and she will exist as long as I do. I hope that that will be a while longer. A new grandchild, Jericho, is coming this December. But there’s more.

About the Jewish custom of naming new grandchildren after recently deceased grandparents? None of the four are named after my mother, a curse of anonimity worse than I would have wished upon her.

All my children knew her well, even Sarah. If no one else knew the truth, at least they did. That gave me comfort, over the years. Lies are so heavy to keep.

Comment by Vivian

October 1, 2011 @ 1:27 pm

Bob,
thank you so much for sharing your truth, for having the courage to access it and – by sharing it so oppenly and graciously – incentivate other to do the same. The lies and secrets are too heavy. Life does not need fiction, as it dramatic but also immensily beatiful by itself. And embraces so much wisdom – one just has to look with ones heart.
Shanah Tovah to you from the botton of my heart my friend,

Comment by Herb Berman

October 1, 2011 @ 6:01 pm

Wrenching, Bob.

Shalom.

Comment by Gela Altman

October 1, 2011 @ 8:06 pm

Bob,
The Monster will be dead and buried forever and freedom will be your just reward the day you forgive her. Is that too much to ask?
Shana Tovah,
Gela

Comment by aka...Gargi

October 8, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

Hello Mr. Robert Katzman,

I recently read about you via a Reader article, and came to check out your website (because I too, admire “rarities”…and you seem in that genre ;~})

Well, I was stunned at the first page, to find your poem, “I Have to Bury the Monster!!!” * (I know it took a load of courage…and a lot of pain, to write this). Why do I know so surely:

1) In the last decade or so, have been working at getting to the truth of the enormously painful and conflicted relationship between my mother (turning 93 in November) and myself– so the theme of your poem struck home…

2) I soon will be having to do likewise: burying my mother– literally and figuratively (if I’m ever going to find myself fully)

3) During this period, I too wrote a poem about my mother…with a similar title (My Mother, the Monster)

4) The posting date of your poem was my birthday!

* In case these memories resurrectfrom time-to-time, I have found the passionate work– exposing child abuse, “poisonous pedagogy”, and punitive parenting of much of our world culture– of the late Swiss artist/therapist (really, healer), Alice Miller a true god-send for healing:

http://alice-miller.com/index_en.php

P.S. You may or may not be shocked by the number of people from around the world (of all ages), who have had “less than a less-than-loving mother”, and who are still writing in at her website…

I’m glad for having visited yours– the universe gives lots of ‘hints’, doesn’t it?

Comment by Bob

October 8, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

Gargi,
I appreciate you responding to what you read and taking the time to comment. Few do. We both already know about our mothers–mine died ten years ago at 80–so I choose to say no more about that. Poems must stand or fall on their own power.

I have written so many things, so many stories and poetry in my 61years, please don’t let your first impression of me as a writer coming to terms with the horror of his youth (from 5 to 14) before escaping in the middle of the night on June 8th 1964, establish in your mind what I am about.

The stories are all true and while based upon my complex life and Chicago, also travel across oceans. I am in my store every day, where I sell & sign my 5 published books. If you are curious about the store, the books or me, please come visit. Not to talk about our mothers, however.

If you want to read more, the http://www.NewCity.com interview took place a week earlier and was a cover story. If you go there to read it, scroll down on the right side until NewCity Lit shows up. Click on that and scroll down about 5-6 stories until I show up. You can’t miss it. A beautifully written interview. Bet you’ll like it. Please tell your friends about the store & the stories. We are one of only 4 such stores left in the USA. Tell your friends on FaceBook or however people communicate now.

Remember, Gargi, whatever stories you may read on my story blog…are always true. You can visit the publishing site too. http://www.FightingWordsPubco.com Click on the book covers and you can read the reviews.

Nice to meet you, and happy birthday.

Bob

Comment by Bruce Matteson

October 12, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

YES! This is all! You have said it just right now!

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