“Golem Emet,” my first published poem, appeared in the online journal Oddball Magazine on September 24, 2020 [Poem by Jackie Oldham – oddball magazine]. I needed a way to process the sudden death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg six days earlier, at a critical point in the 2020 Presidential Election campaign. Then-President Trump had “led” the nation through the first nine months of the Covid pandemic while running for reelection under a “nationalist” agenda against a huge slate of Democratic candidates.
I felt like the world as I knew it was crumbling, but I couldn’t express my distress in a direct, political way. The timing of Justice Ginsburg’s death on the eve of Rosh Hashana, combined with my sense of Trump as evil, brought to my mind the specter of the Golem, a man-made monster who needed to be destroyed [in Jewish folklore, a being created from inanimate matter; golem emet has been brought to life; a golem met has been deanimated]. The resulting poem is a loose variation of an allegory or fable.