Scott Krane
a baal teshuva and self-proclaimed dilettante

Private Kappalman’s Purple Heart

US General George S. Patton ('Old Blood and Guts') (1885-1945); 1944-08-25; (Wikimedia Commons)
US General George S. Patton (‘Old Blood and Guts’) (1885-1945); 1944-08-25; (Wikimedia Commons)

Private Kappalman’s Purple Heart  (for my grandfather)

France’s sky is low today.

Say, eight feet of black smoke off the

sand — where squirming bodies cover

the sand, the field; broken brick in the cities.

Had ol’ Patton

seen this, he’d a-just shrugged and

shouted some order:

“Set up more barbed wire! Dig a trench, boys!”

Or, that would be left for

the lesser-ranking brass.

 

There’s a sharp hunk of metal in

my back. I’ll just lay here (in the exploded bunker) with poor

Mantia’s blood on my face; my

eyes wide-open — pretending to be a corpse.

 

Count Basie plays on

the gramophone. Ah, heck, I

don’t care what, just to be slow

dancing and comfortable

in each other’s arms, at your parent’s place

in Manhattan…her holy hell

 

Levin and Grossman are sore with me for

not shootin’ stick with them in

Washington Heights. I could drink three

cold ones and still hussle those

schmucks; but I just wanted to

be with you tonight.

 

…”Amerikaner. Hut! Lebend oder gestorben?!”

says a babyface dressed in greyish green.

No one hears but me; he kicks me

with his right jackboot. I’m looking right at this

Nazi kid—his eagle badge is shiny,

silver and crooked.  He sniffs his

nose twice and walks

off to the next body.

 

Stay down, boychik; dream about

her and wait for help to come.

Drops of dirt, sweat and blood roll into

my eyes. I’m going home, but

a lot of these men ain’t.

August 28, 1914 – January 10, 1996
About the Author
Scott Shlomo Krane has been blogging for TOI since 2012. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, Tablet, Ha'aretz, The Jerusalem Post, the Daily Caller, JazzTimes and he will be the host of a forthcoming blog on AllAboutJazz.com. Scott was a columnist and breaking news editor for Arutz Sheva (2011-2013). In addition to holding a degree in Judaic Studies and a Master's in English from Bar-Ilan University (for which he wrote his thesis on the poetry of American master, John Ashbery), he has learned Judaism at Macon Ha'Gavuah L'Torah in Israel and Hadar Ha'Torah Rabbinical Seminary in Brooklyn.
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