Nelli Gervaise back of pic reading:  To my dear husband Tommy, my uncle

Nelli Gervaise back of pic reading: To my dear husband Tommy

WRITERS NOTE:  I have discovered, just now, the difficulty of writing biographical fiction.  I mean, when it gets personal it gets tough.  I’ve spent a lot of time on the Last Polack, ten times the time I spend on other writings. Maybe this is why it’s so tough on poets/writers, the personal aspect making it hard, emotional.  Whereas if you’re more of a reporter/observer, just reporting and observing it’s so much easier, at least for me.  Who knows?  Frank Pulaski…

Black women
called her an uppity
high yellow bitch
that wild one
Nelli Gervaise
my aunt through marriage
she said
these women were jealous
of her high Sicilian blood line
Long after her beauty had faded
she baby sat me and my brother
in a run-down mansion
on Chicago’s near south side
making us macaroni and cheese
running out of the kitchen
sixteen inch blade in hand
enacting dramas of mayhem and murder
showing us how she fucked up
and would fuck up again
all those dirty motherfuckers
that did her wrong
especially that grease ball
that wop
Tony Pallano
“When I shot the motherfucker, honey,
i swear he squirted oil”
then there was the Chinese boxer
Bob Chan
calling him the little yellow man
who promised the moon
but only got knocked on his ass every fight he fought
“I chopped that little Chinaman up, honey,
threw him out in the street
chop chop chop suey
and I ain’t ate no Chinese since”
but the best shit
the greatest of Nelli Gervaise
where she’d take that butcher knife
swirl and twirl it
in a trance almost
in a frenzy
in a rapture
like a Japanese Samurai swordsman
and cut my uncle Tom up to pieces
stabbing him again and again
that no good fucking Polack
1001 fucking Polacks!
the last fucking Polack she’d ever marry
“all the lies hunger loneliness!”
she couldn’t cut him up enough

(including my father in this narrative as
the worst fucking Polack of them all)

The name Pulaski is not only a Polish name
but amongst the greatest of Polish names in all of history,
indicative of upstanding-ness, honesty-ness hard working-ness
a list of good-ness running on and on for miles and miles
so Nelli believed
envisioning a life of security
and Tom Pulaski drove a yellow Lincoln Continental
had a construction company office
right dead center Chinatown
for all to see
and Nelli
telling them all
that they could go kiss
her royal fucking Sicilian ass
on Cermak and Wentworth Avenue

In reality
the Pulaski brothers were swindlers
safe-crackers cheats boozers gamblers
whore mongers
and more
so deadly because of their charm
likability affability oh what fun guys
choosing a life of dramatics over mundane-ness
and if her heart admitted honestly
so did she
just as charming and as likable
why no one grew angry at her rants and raves
her being such an entertainer
for one can only imagine
a life in Chinatown
so very colorful…

(to be continued)
Frank Pulaski


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