The nightmare of childhood
got played out in the schoolyard.

George La Rosa. the biggest guy in class
was a bully, who had his way with favorite scapegoats.

La Rosa wore a swastika
as a member of The Friends of New Germany.

His fascist father gave it to him to wear
at the ‘39 Bundist rally.

He warned me Hitler was on the way
to round up all the Jews.

As the only Jew in class, it enraged him
that I didn’t go to school on Jewish holidays.

Not fair!, he would rant, you dirty kike,
I’ll soon take care of you.

Father signed me up for Gold’s Gym Bicep Builder.
I learned to box three rounds with kids my size and weight.

When he tried to push me down the stairs,
I challenged him to meet me after school.

We squared off in the schoolyard
with classmates cheering wildly.

After striking a brutal blow to my eye,
he thought the fight was over and let down his guard.

Exploding with fury, I summoned all my ten year might
to smash his nose with a pulverizing hard right.

I wore my black eye as a badge of honor.

His broken nose made him look like a Jew.