|The Bio of|
On March 2, 1987 Gershon Fraenkel was born with black skin to two white Ashkenazi Jews of the Chassidic Lubavitch enclave in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. After a fortnight of hurtful and extremely loud rancorous confrontation, shell shocked neighbors forced the entire family to become the subjects of a DNA exam which proved Mr. Fraenkel wrong, that he was in fact the boy’s father. Theories surrounding the young child’s racial anomaly burned through the Yeshiva world in a way not seen since Rav Moshe Goldstein’s unexplained thirty-minute levitation in synagogue back in 1973. In the end it was young Gershon who suffered, unable to leave his room for the weight of all the community’s projections was just too much for his little soul to bear. After a torturous childhood of dull tutors and censored Internet surfing, one sleepless summer night Gershon nervously scaled the three stories from his bedroom window to the world of the street. Once there, he ran down Kingston Avenue crossing Eastern Parkway, making his way deep into the Jamaican section of Crown Heights. As it turned out, the only thing going on at 3am was a small twenty-hour hour Caribbean joint packed with stoned teens. Greeting Gershon in a laughing frenzy, they generously offered him some of their late night dinner. Not more than nine seconds into his Jerk chicken with rice and peas did Gershon’s skin and hair begin to boil and dance, emitting what one adolescent reported as “the bass line from Bob Marley’s Zion Train compressed under 40,000 gallons of beer.” When all the smoke and applause cleared, young Gershon’s skin had morphed into an amazing spiral of bright violet and lime green. Not surprisingly, his hair had spontaneously dreadlocked and his old musty dark suit had been replaced by blue jeans and a Che Guvera t-shirt. Utterly confused and elated, Gerhson spent the next two years living in doorways, begging for spare change and attending poetry slams. His memoir, written entirely in poetry, Immaculate Candy Cane is set for publication by Soft Skull Press in 1971.
Opening poem of Immaculate Candy Cane
Announcing prelude to impigmentation
The furnace verses have won
like this one little thing that
no matter how many “human” times
I told my Tata that at the ledge of mother’s womb
You will be the prison of my skin prism,
like how I heard mother shrieking,
still shrieking as I tore across her
I’m falling and I begged God
please don’t let me fall,
Don’t make me sit in
He plunged me down in!!!!
Nubian dirt mother angel throne
JAW (Can you face the hot tooth?)
That Judah Lion Jaw, but what?
God said, I said I command you…..
I am not asking!
Then silence at the Nile basin bleeding Eden’s ink
into the cracks of these dry palms, twisted
and raised up in a dove’s languorous ascension.
Tell you of this life drawn into the
of the race tale.
Tata I will tell you,
God said. Are you confused yet?
God I insist on what God said.
Listen up God,
I’m going to tell you Whaaaaaat!
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