“In the ruin, history has physically merged into the setting. And in this guise history does not assume the form of the process of an eternal life so much as that of irresistible decay.”
So in “Allegory and Trauerspiel” Walter Benjamin explained the complex, romantic appeal ruins hold for us. New York poet Pinny Bulman, dreaming and reminiscing in a decaying shul he’s known since childhood, finds himself in nothing other than a temple of imagination and prayer. Only more spiritual and beautiful in its decline, the shul sheds its concrete features, merging its history with that of its inhabitants, as it too becomes somehow human.
Pinny Bulman has published a poems in Mimaamakim and co-edited “a man in a room with a tallis on: selected poems” by Aaron Bulman (Flannel Press). Pinny works at a nonprofit mental health agency and lives with his wife, two children, and memories of growing up in pre-gentrified Washington Heights.