hitler lives on walnut street

hlowsfinal

Hitler lives on Walnut St
in a little clapboard house
The local kids light paperbags
full of dogshit, on his lawn
Hitler comes out and yells at them
but they scatter like birds
on their Huffy bikes and skateboards.

Hitler lives on Walnut St.

Eva left him years ago.
They say she couldn’t stand
the smell of Zyklon B
raw, on his uniform, so he’s
all alone up there, but
he’s an Elk and a Rotarian
so there’s always someone to look in on him.

Hitler lives on Walnut St.

Hitler’s a pretty normal guy
these days, all things considered.
His daughter Clara was a once
Goldwater Girl and he himself
supports conservative causes,
though I find his pro-life bumper sticker
and professed Christianity
hard to reconcile with the
chambers and ovens of
terrible Auschwitz.

Hitler lives on Walnut St.

Wine colored Volvo in the drive, he’s
growing peonies and gerberas
in his sunny little garden.
The only time he is truly
unhappy is after Himmler visits
and tells him
”Man, I don’t even know you anymore”

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This entry was published on 05/24/2008 at 4:08 am. It’s filed under Poems, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

67 thoughts on “hitler lives on walnut street

  1. A repost (and largely a re-write) from 2008.

    • Oh yeah. The touch-ups and the deleted verse really make this work. This was an immature poem when it came out, you were still getting there but this is dead on. The tone is perfect and perfect. Monstrous and mundane singing in harmony.

      • I like how you don’t writer just to be popular.

      • It still has that 2008 clunkiness to it – verse 3 is overlong and the final line could have been recast. It could stand more work, but I am kind of sentimental for this and didn’t want to ruin it;s sense of time-in-the-mind. 2008 poems are generally notable for their wildness and diversity, that lack of focus – a focus which arrived the next year, after “My Wife” rewrote some rules for me. I also really like how it still serves its purpose now. Built for warranty, not just utility.

      • Oh, Naz – I always wrote to be popular. Just not with other poets – unless they were pretty girls 🙂

      • darkeyesblueveil on said:

        Well, there’s a shock!

  2. Pingback: Straightforward Poems for Straightforward People | tarnation and eudemonia

  3. The rewriting renders this much more effective.

  4. The ending is hilarious and sad. But then, he’s Hitler. Would he deserve any better?

  5. It’s good you have this here – I always get sad thinking of all the millions of wonderful poems that got buried when MySpace died. Meanwhile, there’s such an off beat charm to this it somehow makes Hitler seem all the more monstrous because he appears to be one of us and if he is one of us, isn’t our normalcy to us mean his monstrosity is normal to us to?

    • I think you hit the veins of the poem well, Annie. There’s another one I’ll put up somewhere down the track which deals much more directly and less sarcastically with what we call the “mundanity of evil”. We are so terrified by what is not us, we have corralled ourselves up in this pen of mutuality and, as long as we consider them, for whatever reason “us”, we sweep ’em in and shut the gates.

      It might amuse you to know, the Writing and Poetry top 10 for the day this came out was:

      Me
      Cheryl’s Pals Collab
      Stephanie (one of the rare occasions she posted in W&P. Between Hitler and Stephanie we had the batshit crazy racist demographic in a lock that day!)
      Navworks Press (those guys never liked me Why? WHY??)
      Shotgun Poetry
      Legacy Writers
      Inspiration is MY Goal, with Poetry for the Soul
      Pyjama Poet
      Blackbird (hot damn, here was a poet!)
      Shirley

      Maybe not millions of lost poems there, but a large number of damn fine ones lost, nonetheless.

  6. It’s cold the way we rationalize evil. Cold.

  7. i wonder if he sometimes wished to be able to draw back the clock – and i sometimes wonder if he ever really got what terrible, terrible things he has done…

    • No and No, I should think. Fuhrerbunker Hitler is an unrepentant asshole who was also as mad as a poke full of badgers. Walnut St Hitler is too but knows we all love the sinner who scan at least fake contrition.. We’re not in the habit of pointing out the specks in our neighbour’s eyes, on account of more local motes, I think 🙂

  8. He’s older and wiser.

  9. Is he unhappy that he is not what he once was or does he still seek Himmler’s validation? Does Himmler represent some kind of paragon of will which Hitler has deviated from in seeking his comfortable bourgeoisie existence?

    • Himmler’s Himmler. He’s an asshole. He wants Lebensraum on the western side of the Cabrillo Freeway and has made territorial claims over the southern part of Capitola, Watsonville and most of New Brighton. The Panzers cross the Soquel railway at midnight!

  10. Evil is fascinating and it cannot be hidden behind the mask of civility.

  11. Anything that keeps him from bombing Liverpool, I guess.

  12. franczeka on said:

    Hitler? I hate that guy!

  13. lindastoria on said:

    This is an improvement on the original. for sure and it does have some pleasant memories about it – but I do find it sad you are so unwilling to share new work. What is it? Writer’s block?

  14. marekofpoznan on said:

    I am disappointed you offer redemption to the rapist of Poland.

    • I don’t offer him redemption, Marek. Nowadays, redemption is just about appearing less evil than whatever the bogeyman de jour on Fox news is. Anyone can just take it.

  15. We all have our little Hitlers on our Walnut streets, I guess.

  16. Perhaps a fate worse than death 🙂

    • Well, Soquel ain’t Capitola, but it’s hardly a fate worse than death 🙂

      • You made me realize I think death is a sweetness next to the mundane Soquel fate, but I only have my pinky toe in this swimming pool life, myself. Admire your words, though would enjoy them closer together in time!

  17. audreyhipbone on said:

    Do you live on Walnut St, by any chance, Seb?

    • There is, I found out later, a Walnut St just about a mile from my place, on the other side of California 1. But it ain’t me, babe,

  18. Myke Todd on said:

    He never signed off on any of the orders, and if he had, he’d assume we would forget. Never one to proclaim, “Who? Me?” I doubt he is weighted by an ounce of regret.
    He’d have you believe, that guy, like those days and ways have all ended.
    He does not share Himmler’s drive and desire that the reich be extended.

    Now, I am left wondering, which is longer ago, 1941 or 2008? They both seem like an eternity, past and gone…

    • That rationale is where a poem I have picks up – what really is the quantum of evil in the world? Is it the hand that signs the paper, the finger that pulls a trigger, the pen that writes a cheque?

      Some parts of 2008 are a lifetime ago for me Myke, and some parts are right in the current lifetime. 8th May 2008 is the dividing line. Life before, dim and distant. Life after, darker but clearer. May 19411941, my dad was in Bremerhaven Germany and my Grandad was getting ready to ride on a tank across the steppes of Russia! How’s that for timely? 🙂

  19. Fantastic. I’m just glad Himmler and Mr. H didn’t sit down on the porch, chug a few bears, and chew on meat sticks.

  20. maxibigcee on said:

    Why doesn’t he drive a Volkswagen? or A Tiger Tank? Seriously, I love this – it’s so out of whack, like most of society’s perspectives on what is decent and moral and normal nowadays.

  21. …and when children accidentally throw a football, into the yard of “old-man-Hitler”, no one will try to retrieve it. (They say “that mother f#%@er’s crazy!”)

    • NotResponsibleAmy on said:

      No, they just make some spurious territorial claims, stage a border incident and march right in. The other neighbors just sit around waving treaties and hoping to pacify the kids. Hitler fails to see the irony! 🙂

  22. I did Nazi that coming.

  23. NotResponsibleAmy on said:

    p.s. You new profile pic looks utterly evil.

  24. liverloverlass on said:

    When the monsters become indistinguishable from ourselves, then what? Even Himmler couldn’t recognize him. What a polite society we have become!

  25. You’ve changed your layout Seb! I like the clean black text on white page effect better I think. As to the poem – ah yes, dark and sad and witty as ever… 😉

  26. marlamountp on said:

    Just an everyday monster on an everyday street. So casual, so nonchalantly tossed together. Well done.

  27. funny how mirrors are never where the need to be anymore………. love this, seb

  28. yoko1ohno1 on said:

    He’s gone from the paragon of evil to a punchline. If we can’t beat ’em, we let ’em join us. This has a lot in common, in a way (not an overt way, but thematically) with Luis Silva’s recent poem – our great terrorists infiltrate us by looking normal. And paying cash.

  29. You know who I blame/. FEGELIEN!!

  30. thatbiatch1982 on said:

    Such a pity MySpace is gone and we can’t go back to the original and see the comments from everyone then – I wonder how this was received “in the day”. I wonder if the more mature poetry community here sees it differently from the old brash and excitable one on MySpace

  31. If Hitler were here that’s what he would be doing alright! HA! Now I’m curious as to what Himmler is up to? (I love Hitler’s senior picture.)

  32. I understand you.

  33. spunkbubbs on said:

    You have a dry, very sardonic sense of humor. And a very warped sense of irony.

  34. Evil never seemed less extraordinary

  35. isiscambassassassassian on said:

    I wonder what became of Eva?!?

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