Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Kessler at the Bat

This previously unpublished riff on the immortal "Casey at the Bat" is by Mikhail Horowitz, bon vivant, raconteur, performance artist and, you should be so lucky, friend.

It looked, well, all farcockteh for the Putzville nine that day;
The score—don’t ask—was 4 to 2. You heppy now? Hokeh.
And so when Plotkin plotzed at first, and Schwartz popped up to third,
Already y’hay sh’may rab-boh was in the ballpark heard.

A couple shlumps got up to go, the others shrugged, and stayed
(For box seats on the field, hoo boy! their tuchuses they paid);
They thought, If only Kessler maybe gives the ball a zetz,
We’d shimmy through the shtetl and forget about the Mets!

But Stein preceded Kessler, as did his nephew, Moe,
And Stein a real shmegegee was, and Moe was just a shmo;
So maybe now for Kessler they should bother not to wait—
Moshiach had a better chance of schlepping to the plate.

But Stein, he blooped a bingle, and his mother cried, Mein Gott!
And Moshe clubbed a double, I should drop dead on the spot;
And when they finished running and bent wheezing at the waist,
There was Moe verklempt on second and Stein on third, vershtast?

So now from all those Putzville fans was such a big to-do,
They rose and davened in a wave, a hundred shofars blew;
A host of angels wept to hear a thousand chazzans sing,
For Kessler, Rebbe Kessler, he was coming up to swing.

There was schmaltz on Kessler’s tallis as he stepped into the box,
In his beard were crumbs of matzoh, small piece cheese, a bissel lox,
And when he shook his shtreimel, drenching half the fans with sweat,
No goyim in the crowd could doubt—’twas Kessler at the bet.

And now the mystic, Kabbalistic pitch comes floating in,
And Kessler’s brow is furrowed, and he slowly strokes his chin;
He comprehends that long before Creation had begun,
This pitch existed somewhere . . . but then he hears, “Strike vun!”

From the stands (donated by the Steins) the whole mishpocheh moaned,
A yenta started kvetching and a balabusta groaned;
“Hey, ump!” an angry moyel cried, “I’ll cut you like a fish!”
So, nu? They would have cut him, but Kessler muttered, “Pish!”

With a smile of pure rachmanis, great Kessler’s punim shone,
He stilled the boiling moyel, he bade the game go on;
He yubba-dubba-dubba’ed as the pious pitcher threw,
But he yubba-dubba’ed once too much—the umpire shrugged,
“Vot? It’s not for you good enough? Strike two!”

“Feh!” cried the maddened Hasids, and Elijah echoed, “Feh!”
But a puzzled look from Kessler made the audience go, “Heh?”
They saw his payus rise and fall, they saw his tzitzits twitch,
They knew that Rebbe Kessler vouldn’t miss another pitch.

The smile on Kessler’s punim now is more profound, and keener;
He glows with all the preternatural light of the Shekinah;
And now the pishka-pishka pitch so big and fat it gets;
And now the air is shattered by the force of Kessler’s zetz!

Oy. Somewhere in Jerusalem a grandson plants a tree;
A klezmer band is playing—so, the clarinet’s off-key;
And somewhere else a shmoyger with the rebbetzin has flirted;
But there is no joy in Putzville—mighty Kessler has converted.

(“The name is Kelly, if you don’t mind!”)

2 Comments:

Anonymous LBCjr said...

- Thanks so much for sharing, John.

-- LBCjr (sabr)

1:42 PM  
Blogger Richard said...

Loved Kessler. In return let me share what I consider the greatest "stick on the fridge" poem ever written

c
A Bagel Is More Than A Jewish Donut
by
Richard Marcus

A bagel is more than a Jewish donut,
More than a roll with a hole.
More than a strange English muffin.
A bagel’s got bagely soul.

It is something a baby can teethe on.
The true home of cream cheese and lox.
A bagel is used to tie up a boat,
To keep it from hitting the docks.

A bagel is comfort. A bagel’s a pal.
A bagel never forgets.
Bagels as hard as bricks and concrete
Make wonderful weapons and pets.

A bagel is kind.
A bagel’s well rounded.
A bagel is wholesome and neat.
I’ve seen bagel Boy Scouts on busses and subways
Graciously give up their seat.

A bagel’s profound, the Einstein of bread
The Shakespeare of flour inspired,
The Rolls Royce of noshing,
The Buick of Bulk,
And as chewy as one of its tires.

First given to Israelites fleeing from Egypt,
Who whined, “Enough with matzo, already.
Smoked salmon on manna;
That’s a pox on the lox!
Would it kill You to make something bready?”

Spam and Velveeta are sins on a bagel,
Eggs work, except Sunny side.
Chopped liver’s okay,
If you first toast the bagel,
If not it will squish out the side.

I once saw a man who was struck by a bagel,
It gave him such a “potch” in the head.
Yet I heard him exclaim
“I would rather be maimed
By a bagel than be crippled by bread.”

But bagels today have gone to extremes,
Pizza, low carb; Not to kvetch, but…
Vegan-schmaggegan? tofu-jalapeno?!
For bagels it’s too much a stretch.

Still, in these times we should love all bagels
Like warm, chewy halos we eat.
They fill us with love, they fill us with joy,
Not to mention two pounds of wheat.

So when you’re worried or tired,
Outsourced or fired,
Caught in the grind and the crunch,
Stagger right into your neighborhood bagelry
And take a nice bagel to lunch.

c
Copyright, All Rights Richard Marcus 1975, 1999


7717 S.E. 36th Ave.
Portland, OR 97202
(503) 788-9967
rmarcus8@comcast.net

2:44 PM  

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