Friday, March 25, 2016

105th Anniversary of the Triangle Shirtwaise Factory Fire

On the 105th anniversary of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist factory, where the bosses deliberately locked the exits to prevent breaks and 146 Italian and Jewish workers (mostly young women) died in the blaze or jumping to their deaths, I will share my favorite poem written four days later:

Neither battle nor fiendish pogrom
Fills this great city with sorrow;
Nor does the earth shudder or lightning rend the heavens,
No clouds darken, no cannon’s roar shatters the air.
Only hell’s fire engulfs these slave stalls
And Mammon devours our sons and daughters.
Wrapt in scarlet flames, they drop to death from his maw
And death receives them all.
Sisters mine, oh my sisters; brethren
Hear my sorrow:
See where the dead are hidden in dark corners,
Where life is choked from those who labor.
Oh, woe is me, and woe is to the world
On this Sabbath
When an avalanche of red blood and fire
Pours forth from the god of gold on high
As now my tears stream forth unceasingly.
Damned be the rich!
Damned be the system!
Damned be the world!
Over whom shall we weep first?
Over the burned ones?
Over those beyond recognition?
Over those who have been crippled?
Or driven senseless?
Or smashed?
I weep for them all.
Now let us light the holy candles
And mark the sorrow
Of Jewish masses in darkness and poverty.
This is our funeral,
These our graves,
Our children,
The beautiful, beautiful flowers destroyed,
Our lovely ones burned,
Their ashes buried under a mountain of caskets.
There will come a time
When your time will end, you golden princes. Meanwhile,
Let this haunt your consciences:
Let the burning building, our daughters in flame Be the nightmare that destroys your sleep,
The poison that embitters your lives,
The horror that kills your joy.
And in the midst of celebrations for your children,
May you be struck blind with fear over the Memory of this red avalanche
Until time erases you.
--Morris Rosenfield, yiddish slum poet, 1911

Check my other post on Yiddish radical songs for a song about the fire:

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

My mother is one tough cookie

I dont know if my mom is reading this but I just wanted to express relief that after my dad's passing, she was so vigilant on mamograms, because it saved her life.  By having early detection, she was able to discover breast cancer early, get the tumor removed, and get started on radiation.

She did all of this with record speed and without falling apart, getting chromosomal tests, testing her lymph nodes, and spending several days at different doctors offices.  The same mother who is afraid to pull off a band-aid, look at a needle, and who gets shivers even thinking of a tattoo was willing to get a double mastectomy if she had to.  It is hard to express the feeling of loss with one parent and I feel very fortunate that my mom will stay with us.  <3 <3

So I thought to celebrate I would share a picture of my mom from 1969.  Shes the one on the right.