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Aloha Shirt Finds a Copy of Mein Kampf Among the Books in His Library

Michael Brockley

For J. L. K.


Aloha Shirt Man discovers the book at the bottom of a stack of banker’s boxes. A paperback copy of the blueprint for genocide. In his haphazardly-shelved library, he stares at the black cover with the infamous red title. The tome crammed in among Atlas Shrugged and Wealth of Nations. One of the assigned readings from when he took summer school in 1970. The class boycotted the book. Afterward, he tossed it onto a pile of unread volumes with a few Ayn Rands and, still later, the Rush Limbaugh a bookstore clerk gave him as a Secret Santa gift. Who will ferret through these boxes after his passing? How will the stories from this inventory enlighten his survivors about his lifelong loneliness and his eccentric and unkempt ways? About the stain of malevolence among his last effects? Aloha struggles to his feet from where he’d knelt to thumb through the unmarked pages. As a young poet, he translated Bertolt Brecht’s Die Bücherverbrennung for a workshop at IU. The Burning of the Books. And ended the draft by repeating Burn me. Burn me. Now one of his friends seeks out history’s most reviled texts to redact into found poems. While a  woman he once dated, the first one to ask him not to touch her, threw her son’s Of Mice and Men into the trash because she believed tart, hell, and crazy bastard were blasphemies. In the world he inhabits, no one will know the choice he makes. Still, Aloha hefts the encyclopedia of mankind’s screeds and hatreds, as he weighs what to do before his final loneliness begins.

Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana. His most recent poems have appeared in the on-line Tom Waits anthology Whiskey Mule Diner, Down in the Dirt, and Wordpeace. Poems are forthcoming in Vagabond Dissent, Jasper's Folly Poetry Journal, and Last Stanza Poetry Journal. 

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