The Swastika Clock
Holocaust Poems

Paperback: 86 pp.
Published: 2011

Price: $15.95




In The Swastika Clock, Louis Daniel Brodsky writes the daily log of his passion, his anger, his desolation, his entrails-deep pain. In the ticking darkness of the Holocaust, in which we have lived, these past 70 years, and driven by his unremitting war against forgiveness and forgetting, he hurls rant after rant at us, his amazed and chastened readers, giving full rein to his Diasporan anger over what was done to his people, the Jews of Europe, during the Shoah decade, when millions were not merely murdered but mortified to the quick, mutilated beyond recognition, massacred in nearly unimaginable ways. In this book, which packs the wallop of a centuries'-long scream, Brodsky refuses to mask the occasion by singing of reconciliation and healing, and yet, at key moments of this late hour, his raging words modulate, to deliver demolishing insights to our shattered hearts.

—Charles Fishman, author of Chopin's Piano and editor of Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust

This collection deserves a place of honor on the shelves of anyone who wants to come to grips with the Holocaust's overpowering challenges and who appreciates the work of a splendidly gifted poet.

St. Louis Jewish Light


The pains of tragedy can be renewed by reminders of the past. The Swastika Clock is a collection of poetry from Louis Daniel Brodsky, as he presents his own recollection of the tragedy, its events, and the pain that has followed in the past century. The Swastika Clock is a strong recommendation for poetry collections with a focus on history.

Midwest Book Review


Zyklon B Dreams

Something stinks,
Over in the far corner of the attic of his predawn dream.
It could be a ring-tailed apparition or skink,
Whose rotting carcass is a compost heap of maggots,
Or a thousand starving rats eating themselves
In a cannibalistic frenzy
Tennessee Williams could write into his next play,
As a symbol of seething humanity.

He gropes through a charnel-strew of boneyard memories
Knitted into a net of spider webs,
Wades through two feet of dust
Accumulated, in his brain’s shower room,
Over the past fifty-five years of his refugee life.
It’s like trudging barefoot,
Through his cranial tundra’s black snow,
From Nome to the moon’s dark side and back.

Inexorably, the snow melts to a pool of vomit or shit
(Whose, he’s not too sure),
In which he’s sunk to his chest, his neck.
It could be latrine effluents from Auschwitz or Buna
Or waste from a St. Louis sewage-treatment substation,
Pumping tons of human feces into his psyche.
Offal-odors coat him, in a slimy skin,
Until he’s indistinguishable from the reek —

A vapor, a disappearing whiff of existence
That finally rises over his lips, eyes, head,
A state of inanition so peaceful
That he makes no effort to send up a Mayday or SOS.
Yet a redolence from his dawn dream
Reconnects him with sleep’s prussic-acid putrescence,
Which almost awakened him to its presence,
And he recognizes it as death’s asphyxiating breath.




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