Dragnet Issue Four contributor Gary Barwin has part of his novel Yiddish for Pirates up over at Joyland. It begins:
Moishe as a child. He told me stories.
Some were true.
At fourteen, he left the shtetl near Vilnius for the sea. How? First one leg out the window then the other. Like anyone else. Before first light. Before the wailing of his mother.
A boychick with big ideas, his kopp—his head—bigger than his body. He would travel beyond the scrawny map of himself. And beyond the shtetl. He’d travel the ocean. There were Jews—he’d heard stories—that were something. Not rag and bones shmatta-men like his father, Chaim, always following the dreck of their nag around the same small world. Doctors. Court astronomers. Spanish lords. Tax farmers. Learned men of the world. The mapmakers of Majorca. They were Jews. Rich and powerful, they were respected by everyone. They could read the sky. They knew what was on the horizon. They knew what was over the horizon. Jews had trickled through the cracks of the world and had rained upon the lands.
The rest is, here!