A Jewish Poem with some Yiddish words

    April 2010            
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Joe and Paul

By Marvin Blaustein

One of the joys of the Jewish men
was to take their children like their fathers did
to buy some clothes and shoes.
And sometimes when he was happy
my father used to sing:


Joe and Paul, afargeneegan’ (Translation: a wonderful thing)
Joe and Paul, ihr kent a bargain chreegan, (Trans: will give you a special bargain)
a suiyt, a coayt, a gabardine,
Brengt aran der klaynum zeen. (Trans: Bring around your little son)


She was in the hospital in intensive care
with empyema and pneumonia
and we feared she’d never wake again,
tubes everywhere, on her face, in her throat,
in her chest, her arms black and blue.
A week maybe, maybe ten days,
maybe more, just laying there
frail and drawn and lifeless.


Then one day she stirred.


Ma,    I said.    Listen
And I sang quiet-like:
Joe and Paul, a fargeneegan,
Joe and Paul, ihr kent a bargain chreegan,
A suiyt, a coayt, a gabardine,
Bengt aran der klaynum zeen.


She looked up and smiled weakly.

Then she got well.

In Memory of Sylvia and Joe Blaustein

According to Joe Silver, of Brooklyn, NY, Joe and Paul was a clothing store on the lower east side of Manhattan. In the thirties, when he was a teenager, he’d listen to their advertising on WEVD.


from the April 2010 Edition of the Jewish Magazine

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