Archives

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

CRACKED IN HALF

AT THE NARROWScropped-night-with-moon1.jpg
TEMPLE ATHENA
GOD WILLING
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
IN GLAD COMPANY
A TALE OF TWO DAVIDS
BIRTH SONG
PRIMAL SCREAM
CHINESE FOOD FOR THOUGHT
THE ALMIGHTY

 

Cracked in Half

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

I am nutty, meaty
split in two
half hard hat shell
half kernel of truth

split down a middle
only I can see
wishing nuts wouldn’t fall apart
so easily

wanting to repair the seam
wishing for a cleaner being
begging for a softer shell
finding love the truth to tell

prepared to join together the whole
full attachment, that’s the goal
no more half that, half this
soul unites in coupled bliss

 

At the Narrows

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

At the narrowsTwas at the narrows where my life truly began. That tricky, tortured, desperate spot, that rushing water place where I was bloodily birthed. Where I took my first sustained breath.

Yes, I lived before. I breathed the gas known as air. Been pulled screaming from age to age. Reincarnated over and again, racing pell mell through time. One thing, then the next to hollow me out, scrape me to my core, fill my lungs with junk and sleeze and porn and sadness. And occasional beauty but of the unreal kind.

This time started no different. Who am I to expect anything better? The narrows is an untrusting place where destiny can turn in an instant. A simple disinterested look, better things to do, a glance of rejection will change your course. Self loathing. I should have known. This is no place for me. It is too dangerous, I can’t navigate these choppy waters, this shifting canal. How naïve, how foolish I am to think I can conquer this wild turbulent slide.

I watched in disbelief, feeling my soul rise up and look down on the carnage. There I lay, open, waiting with innocence for transportation to the next realm. Expecting to be welcomed, presuming safe passage. Believing the narrows wanted me. How could that dark exotic place not desire the thrill of my company? Unthinkable. And yet, this portal of trepidation was silent. It craved me not. I might have stayed in the womb forever for all the narrows cared about my deliverance. I sat stunned, unwanted, wishing my next life away. Hoping for death, for miscarriage. Just let me go home. Please, just let me go home.

But as I prepared to slit my throat and drive back to the safety of the static never-changing pool, a miracle of creation occurred. The narrows widened, just slightly. It heaved. It pulled with new found muscles, pushed its cilia and swallowed. Through the treachery, past the vast ocean of regrets, down the cascade of tired resignation and frightened insecurity. Waving me back and forth, inching me along, allowing me finally through.

And I was born once more, this time. Into a revel of love. A journey of joy. First breath.

Temple Athena

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

d2bd9-p1000234

Time change
Athens to Rome
Is it one hour, or two?
Ten thousand hours
Or rocket time
How many minutes to wisdom
Eons to Mount Olympus
Seconds of knowing.

Dry olives, thirsty cypress
Hard rock staging cuts into the hillside
Steep incline steps
White dirt dust howls at the Parthenon
Twenty five hundred years of time
And grit is still grit
Parched throats are nothing new.

Wind of the ancients blows today
Acropolis sand, carved from the rock
Gift of the gods
Limestone harvest, marble dust
Wind
Sand
Time
An immortal Greek chorus
Choked with fossil specks of ancient seas
Hair tangled with abrasive sand
Tiny follicle columns eroding
Goddess-sized pillars alike
Losing definition
Fading beauty
(Too much time is not good for stone statues or shiny hair.
Even the gods understand that.)

And flat sandal feet
Slapping the goddess ground
Slap slap leather feet
Finding purchase on the slippery rock
So worn, so weary
This sandstone perch
Higher than the city
Lower than Olympus
Cast in crippled revery.

Temple Athena
Where time is uncertain
Holding secrets of the ages
How many hours till one grows wise?
Is it an hour, or two?
Confused time
Airport time
Bewildered rock
Timeless hill
Forgotten goddess blowing away
Sad beauty
In a minute or two, featureless
Time change, and gone.

 

God Willing

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

God willing, Nannie would say
I won’t be here next year
God willing, He’ll take me
I’ll rest
You young people can carry on

Make your messes
Find your faults
Scream
Cry
Shout

Or better yet
Don’t talk at all
Kill each other with silence

I’ve had enough, Nannie would say
God willing, take me now
I’ve seen the so called Promised Land
It’s not for me
You young people can have it

Scramble over each other
Dash for freedom
Run
Flee
Trample

Even better
Block all passages
Let no one through

Slavery
Escape
Wandering
Promise

Fight for a new land
Fight to stay alive
Fight to find happiness
Fight
Fight
Fight

God willing, Nannie would say
By tomorrow I’ll be gone

 

 

The Elephant in the Room

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

hanukkah-menorah-2

It’s Hanukkah, the time of year when Christmas is all around us. Some may say relentlessly so. Decorations and lights, music, shopping opportunities are everywhere. They prompt me to think a bit more than usual about being Jewish and what that means. For better or worse, I’ve never “looked Jewish,” and many people are surprised to find that I am. I don’t talk about religion much, and I don’t practice the faith outwardly. I tried the Unitarian Universalist church for a long time, but it didn’t take, not in any deeply connecting way (not their fault – I felt like a traitor to my people, a nice Jewish girl going to church on Sundays. What was I thinking?) Living in an area with a heavy Roman Catholic presence and a tradition of Yankee Protestantism, I simply don’t fit in and never have. At least that’s how I feel. I don’t fit in. Never have. Unlikely that I ever will.

In an excerpt from my novel set in 1968, PERSEPHONE IN HELL, Sammy is Glory’s older brother. He’s had a thing for Denise throughout high school and makes no secret of it. Denise is pretty but dull and unaccomplished. She looks good in tight sweaters; that’s the attraction.

“Everyone knew how much Sammy liked Denise, even though he was going off to college in only a few months and Denise would be left working at the dry cleaner in town.

Denise wasn’t so sure about who she liked, especially as she was an inch or two taller than Sammy. She had wanted a taller beau. But her mother said Sammy was a good catch. A college man, destined for success. Didn’t the paper say he’d graduated number three out of the whole class? A brilliant boy, an Ivy Leaguer, maybe law school after that. Good enough by far for her under achieving daughter.

Then Denise told her mother the truth, that Sammy is Jewish.

“He doesn’t look Jewish,” her mother had replied. “He looked perfectly normal, handsome even, in his tux on prom night. And he was so polite. You must have heard wrong, Denise. You must be mistaken.”

Denise told her mother there was no mistake – Sammy is Jewish. You don’t have a name like Samuel when you’re Christian, she’d said. That’s a Jewish name. And she’d driven by his house last winter and had seen blue candles in the window, but no Christmas tree, no wreath on the door. She’d thought that was oddly strange, but then heard that Jews don’t celebrate Christmas. She didn’t know what Jews do celebrate, but it is some weird thing involving blue lights. They don’t believe in Jesus, Denise had said.

Denise’s mother didn’t know how Denise knew such things, but she was shocked by the report. She instantly reconsidered her daughter’s future. What had been a clear, smart scenario dissolved into a murky, uncertain view. And she wasn’t about to incur the wrath of Father O’Brien. God forbid her daughter date a Jew.”

Now, times have changed…they’ve changed….times have changed….haven’t they?

Best regards to everyone of every religion, race, nationality, gender, age, weight, height, and sexual preference. It is the content of one’s character that matters. And have a very happy holiday season. If it bothers you that I’m using the word ‘holiday’ instead of ‘Christmas’, well, I mean it with all good will and no, I don’t plan to change the way I wish you well.

In Glad Company

AS SPIRITUAL AS I GET

Dedicated to a friend in recovery…

 

In glad company

Where you go, I go
North, south, my map follows you
East, if you desire
West, most eagerly
Up to the heights of joy
And down
Forth, back in time
Side to slippery side
To heaven’s peak, to hellish despair
Through sharp ice
And mellow rain
In sickness
In madness
In addiction
In recovery

Where you go, there will I go
In loving tribute
In misery and hateful expression
In fear
In terror
In peace and calm
In abundance, in poverty
In shame
In beauty
In anguish

Wherever you live, I too shall live
Your existence is mine, and mine yours
In humility
In humble gratitude
In glad company

Where you go, so shall I go.