Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Collage

Where the sea
becomes the night sky
and the sky the sea

and pairs of boots
turn into the stars

and cologne the comets

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Kholem: A Concert in Celebration of Adrienne Cooper
/ Erev Aseret b'Tevet

Oh God, don't you see Daniel Kahn
touch his knuckle to the tears in his eye
and don't you see me shuckle in time
in my seat near the back pleading
sholem please sholem oh please
oh dear God please sholem

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Underneath

Her eyes track my finger as I reach out
and trace a line down the front
of her buttoned shirt

If she's anything like the paper
they gave us in art class
I'll find a rainbow

Movement

I thought I saw your fingers
but it was just the edges
of my scarf

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Struggle

I sit up in bed and
look at my bookshelf and
feel that it needs just
a little adjustment and
think of a stanza re:
how I'm resisting but
then I walk over and
scootch it away from me
and to be honest,
I feel better now

Friday, December 14, 2012

Parshat Mikketz

Six minutes about Pharaoh's chief cupbearer!
Click here to download the podcast.
Check out www.mechonhadar.org for podcasts by my peers!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Still frame

I look up to think while
writing an email
to Grandma

I already told her
about the hurricane
and this boy and that one

and about Thanksgiving
with my mother's family

I could tell her about
the light that comes through

and brightens one bold stripe
of color on each of
three chairs

that face toward the kitchen

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A million tomorrows / Yeshivat Hadar #3

Today while the blossoms
still cling to the vines
I'll taste your strawberries
and drink your sweet wines
A million tomorrows
shall all pass away
'Ere I forget
all the joy that is mine
today

- lullaby my father sings


Jewish Home Lifecare. Listening to stories, bits of biographical information on repeat. Five or more times within a conversation. Where am I? What's your name? Then right back into the meager slideshow. A reflection on her parents. A story about her son. A statement about why people die. A description of her home city. A reflection on her parents. A story about her son. A story about her son.

If I were to someday lose my awareness of what I've said, what I've not yet said. If I were to someday lose most of my memories, to have my mind siphon off the things it decides are superfluous to my sense of self, my sense of narrative, my sense of meaning, of relationship, of connection. If I were to someday lose everything but that upon which I've dwelt, those hubs at the centers of thoughtwebs, those times that I circle back to, replaying, whether recapturing their happiness or seeing how things could have been different.

What would be the moments I would play over and over again to anyone who would listen?

What would I want to communicate? What would be the emotional tenor?

What can I do now to make sure that the dominant tropes are love, gratitude, meaning, joy, a sense of peace, and all of the ideas and landscapes and beliefs and people who give me these feelings? Are these what I want the dominant tropes to be? In any case, how much control do I have over which aspects of my being, my experiences, will demonstrate staying power?

Cleanse before sleep each night. Be passionate. Breathe in, breathe out, and live.

V'shavti b'veit Hashem l'orech yamim



(Ties in with this, written a little over a year ago.)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Prayer for Comfort

I wish you
a roof
I wish you
warmth
I wish you
hugs
I wish you
sleep
I wish you
marshmallows

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Literary empaths

You keep your poor and your hungry
We'll sit here aching
to remove errant apostrophes
from non-profit websites

All over the world paragraphs are suffering
from improper spacing and all other sorts
of preventable illnesses

We hereby deplore
the injustice dealt to homophones, the disregard given
to commas, the ways in which modifiers
are just left dangling

We're not trying to cause any ripples
Activism has never been our raison d'être
really we'd prefer to keep a low profile

It's just that we can't sleep at night
when sentences are languishing
on personal blogs

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Dry raincoat

(partly fiction)

The storm will strip away the last leaves. Throw them high in the air along with the plastic bags and cigarette butts and flatten them on the pavement. They were going to fall in the next few days anyway, and there’s nothing wrong with change coming a little sooner than expected. Like when you’re thinking of breaking up with someone and then find out they’re cheating on you, or moving across the country. You get a clean, fresh start, none of this gradual messy business, holding on to your milk past its expiration date, smelling it every now and then to see if it’s gone sour and then getting too scared to even open it so when you finally work up the courage you find that it’s curdled to the point where you can’t pour it down the drain, you have to throw the whole thing out, recycling be damned.

That’s what it was like with Mona. Recycling be damned. I always wondered what would’ve happened if we hadn’t waited for those final leaves to fall, if we’d cut things off before that point, if we’d left each other still able to imagine the green buds of spring, still able to locate the nubs on the branches where they would, could, appear. But instead we watched as we ground ourselves into the drenched pavement, as we stepped on ourselves, as we became the bare trees, haunted, unable to remember what it had been like before, in the good times.

A couple of hours until the subway and buses shut down, until each of us retreats into an apartment building full of people we have never had cause to address except to ask permission to scoot around each other in the laundry room. The mayor has declared the city comatose until further notice, aware that a body can’t function without proper circulation. With the exception, of course, of the emergency workers, those who pump blood slowly, slowly, who make the lungs swell and contract just enough to keep oxygen traveling to our communal brain. Emergency workers will go to work. Who knows who keeps their blood flowing.

I want to bend my head against the wind as I head down the street for my last essentials, to huddle my arms against my chest with my scarf flying out behind me and leaves skittering past, but the storm isn’t here yet, and the wind will probably blow in the other direction, leaving my hair and scarf to tangle unromantically in front of my face. So I walk with a straight back and a brisk step in my dry raincoat to purchase cans of peas and carrots at the grocery as well as some toiletries at the convenience store next door. Only back in the elevator do I realize I forgot to get tampons. Hopefully my uterus, in solidarity with the city, will decide to postpone my period’s start date until schools and libraries reopen. Although it’s more likely that it will get carried away by all of the reports of flooding.

Back in the apartment, my roommate and I stand on opposite sides of the kitchen island, hands on hips, mentally shaking our heads at the odd assortment of non-perishables and other counter-safe foodstuffs we have collected in our multiple shopping trips. Five oranges. Twelve donuts. Couscous. Prunes. Tomato sauce. We’re so clearly in our early twenties, so clearly unused to being the ones responsible for emergency preparation. We celebrate our last night of certain electricity by running the dishwasher and eating brie cheese and crackers. I revel in the ridiculousness while missing the power outages of my Baltimore childhood, with dogs crawling into my bed at night and seemingly endless cribbage games. Four thick candles stand sentry on the marble countertop, waiting to burn in the darkness.

Jay plays the vibraphone and I dick around on my computer as we wait for the storm to hit. The night progresses and I go out to the balcony every hour or so, stand by the railing and put my hand palm up over the edge, find the rain has not yet reached us, although the sky to our right, the western sky, bears some green among the clouds. The wind blows without howling. Maybe I’ll come spin around out here in a day or two, safe in my fourteen-story concrete birdhouse in the midst of God’s fury. I’ll dance a dance of exuberance, of giddiness, of cabin fever, of rain exhaustion, hyped up on donuts and prunes and tomato sauce. For now, though, I retreat each time from the limp breeze and dark sky, settling back onto the futon, drinking cup after cup of chamomile tea until my yawns and my roommate’s retreat into his bedroom convince me to shut down Facebook and go to sleep.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Instinct

I untwist the connecting belt between two queue-marking poles, releasing the tension. The man in front of me says, "You must be a mother." I respond, "Someday, God willing." He says, as if I hadn't spoken, "That's something my mother would do."

Calm

the whisper of fingers
brushing over fabric

A lesson from YKVK

I can't name it (you)
If I name it (you)
the stars will align
and freeze
and I will have to deal
with their positionings

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Time to get in the zone" by Laura Beth

[Let me re-introduce you to the awesome Laura Beth Resnick, a farmer whom I have had the honor of knowing since 2003. She keeps a blog called veggieadventure about farming, plants, and food; her blog is a fun and insightful record of anecdotes, facts, and recipes that both provides a window into the life of a farmer and strengthens the reader's connection to what we consume on a daily basis.

Laura Beth just wrote a post about USDA zoning with regard to average minimum winter temperature. And I illustrated! Check it out!


(I last contributed back in February to a post about plant sex.) I also recommend reading the whole blog, of course.]
 
Note: Laura Beth is continuing her blog under a new name due to her work starting Butterbee Farm in Baltimore! I have changed the links above so they point to the correct posts. --May 13, 2013

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yeshivat Hadar #2

The three-sided mobile hanging in my bedroom (a triptych of sorts, you could say) depicts a group of people (a kehila? an am?) standing on a cliff above a grassy land with a river running through it. I just realized while reattaching one of the chopsticks serving as a hanging post that I made the dirt of the cliff and the faces of the people out of the same sandpaper.

The first Hadar Shabbaton took place (took time?) in Washington Heights Sept. 7-8. That Shabbat already feels so long ago--I was still having "first conversations" with some of my fellow fellows. I guess it was technically last year. We talked Torah and life stories, caring for others and how we make decisions within and/or outside of a halakhic framework, Yiddish and interpersonal connection. We prayed and sang and ate and napped on various pieces of furniture. We learned. We were comfortable.

Fort Tryon is one of my favorite places to daven in New York, and I invited a friend to join me there after Shabbat to experience Selichot (a series of penitential prayers and verses that started, for Ashkenazim, the night of Sept. 8 and continued through this past Tuesday morning). We prayed in a small room, the same place we had inhabited for Friday night services, and the sound filled. I remembered the loudness from last year. A space and a group of people that invite you to sing out, to add harmonies that expand, that deepen and darken and create bells, vessels, simplicities of speech, communal speech, a community speaking.

There is a drawing or a poem I have been thinking about for months and months. A morning service at Fort Tryon. Silence, the Amidah. Silent figures wrapped in tallitot, tallitot over heads. Back and forth, the bending. Silent figures, upper bodies bend, back and forth. And young children weave around them, run around them, playing among the silent swathed benders, the ivory-swathed trees, the old trees, a forest of them and the children play, burbling water coursing around old old stones.

"I felt joy out of my fear and fear out of my joy"

Classes over the second and third weeks of yeshiva incorporated a mix of straightforward, philosophical, and personal discussions. Under Devorah Zlochower's guidance, we charted the ordering of sacrifices on Yom Kippur in the Temple. Rav Shai spoke of various ways of thinking about awe, including the connection between awe and humility--awareness of our own smallness and simultaneous internalization of grandeur (with significant input on this particular point from Laynie). He commented that the presence of God means that "all these things that seem private are not private." Dena Weiss led a discussion about mercy, judgment, fairness, showing favor, forgiveness, cleansing, restoration, reconciliation, vindication, etc. with specific attention to the phrases "nesiat panim" and "nesiat avon." (Is mercy fair? Is this a paradox? If so, how do we get out of it? What is the mechanism involved in "nesiat avon," the lifting/cleaning/concealing of guilt/sin/punishment of iniquity? When our punishments get lifted, what happens to our sins?) Rav Aviva helped us tease out an argument regarding the placement of declaration/remembrance of God's kingship within the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. Dori reminded us of what was beautiful in the cores of our conversations. Rav Jason challenged us to look more closely at the passage in the Torah that describes the 13 midot, the 13 attributes of God.

Rav Shai gave us the space to discuss whether or not--and in which cases--forgiveness is a moral as well as a religious obligation, reminding us that this involves "talking about some of the deepest hurts and wounds that people are carrying around." "Do we believe that emotional decisions are possible?" Is forgiving an act, a process, or both? When might it make sense to forgive but not reconcile? "The moment you condone you can no longer forgive....Excusing actually makes forgiving impossible...superfluous." Like the teasing out of knots.

Rav Eitan spoke about the need "to build...communities...that are radiant." His shiur on tefilah, prayer, delineated parameters and qualities to consider when constructing or fine-tuning a prayer community and its services: choreography, sustainability, constituency, and the balances between charisma and predictability, excellence and democracy, and poetry and prose.

I took pride and joy in the way that my classmates, having learned certain material in pairs together for an hour, then cited each other in the concluding shiur (group class) and resolved to bring observations made by my chevrutah to the larger group more often.

The other fellows continue to be one of the highlights of the year program. Each of us has introduced ourselves to the group through teaching something, or about something, dear to us:

An introductory--and immersive--Yiddish lesson
"The Six Steps of Nonviolence"
The prophetic nature of science fiction
Drumming patterns
Her family
The creative self
The Theater of the Oppressed
A poem she wrote
Three stories from her life
The importance of learning/knowing a foreign language
Silence and calm and the connection between Quaker Meeting and graphic novels (me)
Theater, including Shakespeare and directing/stage management
Rosenzweig
Awesomeness
Two yet to come!

On October 15 we will start our primary learning projects for the year. Soon, I will write Hadar #3 in order to elaborate upon the above, which currently contains too much listing and not enough thinking, and to share a few more experiences, such as our first visit to Jewish Home Lifecare.

Words to music

Your shoes
drumming up dust
shoes drumming up dust on this dance floor
dust
on this dance floor
this dusty dusty dance floor
drumming
drumming
drumming
Your shoes
drumming up dust
shoes, dust, dance floor

Give me your shoes
your shiny shoes
your drumming shiny shoes
give me your shoes
your shiny shoes
your drumming shiny black shoes
I want those black shoes on my feet
let me feel my feet
in your drumming shoes
in your elegant
masculine
humming drumming shoes

KlezKanada, "Poetry and Music" workshop, 8.23.2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Raindrops

Collecting on the windowsill collecting on the sidewalk collecting in my eyes my eyelashes on my lashes my cheekbones

Dust to dust little specks of dusk in my eyes my eyelashes on my lashes my cheekbones

Water runs down to the ground the ground water water run go leave the dust the dusk on my cheekbones

spatter me with sprinkles with finger flecked sprinkles red dusky dusk cheekbones

as the water runs down down to the ground the water ground water from the sky

from the sky to the ground the water by way of cheekbones of dust of dusky red collecting

collecting on the windowsill collecting on the sidewalk collecting in the clouds collecting in my eyes

eyelashes flecked with cheekbones red dusky dust blushing blood rushing from the sky to the ground dust to dust with water collecting spreading dropping binding cleaving stretching bunching holding falling

falling to the ground from the sky the water cling to each other! cling to the water bring the dust closer bring the water closer make a drop a drop that drops holding holding to itself holding to the water the dust the water dust water soul water dust water dust body cleave cleave hold tight let the molecules work let the bonds stay let the charges meld oh soul water oh my soul

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rediscovery

Rediscovered the journal in which I recorded notes during the summer of 2010, when I was studying at Pardes. It has been sitting on my shelf in New York for months, but I did not take the time to look through it until I was preparing for my running-through-a-fountain-with-a-friend visit to Washington Heights this past Friday and decided it had enough blank pages to be appropriate notebook to carry along. There are some true journal entries, some email addresses that I was happy to remind myself of, some shuk grocery lists (at least one written by someone else who had a much better sense of menu and proportions), some thesis thoughts, many quotations from classes (generally marked by quotation marks), and the occasional prompted freewrite. Twice, our teachers asked us to write prayers. Or at least to start. To try, to see.

The cymbals hang in the stormy wind and they clang G-d! G-d! Let His name be part of everything! Bed squ[e]aks and rattling chains, the song of stars and the rustle of footsteps, let all praise G-d and be part of G-d's ways. How can You know all? But it is so. With every moment the universe rings; with every blink it all becomes clear. It is to G-d that we must turn our eyes; it is to G-d that we must turn our ears. How good it is, that melody in the air! Let us match it with our lips. G-d on high has released my lips, that I may sing of G-d's glory forever. How you shed light upon the world and unto the innermost parts of my soul! Knower of secrets, my light reaches to your light, aching to bask and rejoice in your presence.

July 12, 2010:

"Where do I begin?" "If you want to start somewhere...start with the one-line blessings....One word is important: Ata....the word that makes or breaks the blessing." -Mike Feuer/Tovah Leah [Perhaps I didn't remember who spoke this.]

"The essence of the words...the word to emphasize is Ata."

"Prayer is new every single day."
 -relationships being new every single day


  my life reaches out to you and the blue pen writes. the lines gray and straight dictating the forms of my praise. How to praise? I will tell you a story. This chair, right here, once an old man sat in it. He furrowed his brow and hrrumphed, then smiled, let his shoulders relax and his eyes open. In this moment he praised G-d. Where are the words? With what words can I praise you? What has not already been said, should I just switch into Russian, how can my words merit reaching you? do they need to reach you? Perhaps not. Ata ata ata ata ata

                                                                                            אתה
                                                                                            אתה
                                                                                        אתה פה
                                                                                            אתה
                                                        אתה
                                              אתה
                                                          אתה
                                                                               אתה  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Faya found me

Faya, someone I have been trying to reach for years, just found me on the Russian version of Facebook. She no longer lives in Saint Petersburg. She got married. Maybe I'll still bring her flowers someday.

Blessed day, today

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ti'ta'nu (We have led astray)

I apologize,
girl
on the platform
who looked at
me
in terror
through the closing
subway doors
you
on the side
I
had indicated
me
on the side
I realized
we
both
needed
when it was
already
too late
to save
you
from my advice

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Yeshivat Hadar #1

On Wednesday (i.e. yesterday), I started studying at Yeshivat Hadar, an egalitarian place of Jewish study on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. I will be there for the duration of a school year, studying traditional texts, engaging in communal prayer, and working to spread learning and kindness in the city.

Topics so far have included teaching (in particular, the situations in which one does harm by teaching when not ready or by not teaching when ready), biblical passages relating to teshuvah (returning/repentance) and viduy (confession), obligations incumbent upon a community as well as upon the person/people making rulings for the community, and reflections upon the connections (and, it may feel, tensions) between what feels moral/ethical to an individual and what halakhah (normative Jewish law) seems to say. We have also discussed the mission of Mechon Hadar (the institution of which the Yeshiva is a part) in depth and distributed "toranut" roles--the tasks that we will complete in order to ensure that our space stays nice and that our meals take place.

Today felt great. I have not engaged in sustained chevruta study (i.e. with a partner) since the summer of 2011 at the Northwoods Kollel of Camp Ramah in Wisconsin, and I rediscovered how much I appreciate this particular method of exploring a text, giving voice to thoughts and feelings that arise, and considering the insights and connections the other person brings to the conversation. My chevruta and I both expressed appreciation for the other's comments and questions.

Which brings me to one of the aspects of my new learning environment that struck me as most definitive. On Wednesday, we sat in a circle while discussing the commentary on a passage in Mishlei/Proverbs that tied the passage to the harm caused by teaching or not teaching, and I realized at some point that I respected everyone else in the circle intellectually and personally. No matter who spoke, I found myself approaching their suggestions with curiosity and, every once in a while, a bit of admiration. This should be my general way of existing in the world--never being impatient with someone's reflections, never judging someone's character or output in a way that shuts off my ability to pay further attention. May it be so.

My favorite part of yeshiva so far, actually, has been communal prayer. We engage in whichever of the three daily prayer services we are present for; once our routine regularizes, there will be two days a week that we will be at Hadar for all three. Our voices meld well in a way that also keeps each one distinct, as if there were a river made of bright and pastel ribbons. The fact that the time is built into our schedule means that we do not rush through in order to get to something else; there is likewise no use in waiting for it to end. There is just the space to stand, to think, to speak, to bend, to nod. To raise noise. To put forehead on forearm. To breathe.

It was actually when attending a prayer service last spring at the yeshiva that I finally realized that this is where I belong.

I'll draw your attention to the first of many classes at Hadar that will be open to the public this fall:

"To Dwell in God's House All the Days of My Life:" Exploring the Psalm for Elul and the Days of Awe
Rabbi Shai Held
Over and over again during this season, we declare that God is our "light" and our "salvation," and pray for the ability to dwell in God's house. But what is Psalm 27 really about? In this session, we'll do a close literary and theological reading of the Psalm and uncover its deeper meanings.

The class will take place at 190 Amsterdam Avenue (69th Street), in the West End Synagogue building. Prayer services are also open to all; feel free to contact me for those times or check out Mechon Hadar's website.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Holy ground



Drawing angels

I bring this feather into existence
and this one
and this one

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sleep

I stretch myself
along the striped couch
and sink into sweetness
and wake three hours later
to accompany the dog
upon a curved beach
where puddles reflect
the varied colors
of the eastern sky

Friday, August 24, 2012

Wedding

Hand meets hand meets hand meets hand and I
constantly monitor each finger's straightness
to keep them from bending and clasping tight
or, G-d forbid, moving over yours
Better to sweat with the strain
than to show a hint of caring
that our hands are pressed against each other
palm to palm and feet step and glide
our bodies face inward our toes point around
At least you are next to me, not opposite
for surely then I would spend the night waiting
wanting not wanting wanting not wanting
to catch your eye. But back to our hands
I have not forgotten
Now they are parting parting parting
parting and we lift hands up and oh the joy
for we bring them to rest over shoulders
Arm meets hand meets arm meets hand
bodies ever slower, ever statelier
your hand ever so light
mine ever so conscious

8.21.2012-8.24.2012
KlezKanada Poetry Retreat

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Aerial yoga

Lion's breath, she says,
tongue out. No one can see
into my sturdy blue womb,
my opaque shelter wings,
my upside-down tallis,
my reversed tarot card
hhhaaaaaa

Friday, August 17, 2012

Returning

Sitting next to my cousin
on the way back from Starbucks
with a drink in my hand
of dubious status

after passing a cyclist
who does not wear a helmet
while paused at a stop sign
the last before home

I find that I'm still
a believer in angels
and conclude in the abstract
that God exists too

for while humans could be here
without a Creator
my logic informs me
that angels would not.


Other mentions of angels

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A blessed life

I just had
my third peach
of the day

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tactile love

A human
being
rejoicing
in another
’s
being

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Prompt: Life is

Life is breathing on your back
with arms spread to the grass
and eyes closed with the light
of the sunset on their lids
and lips curved to the knowledge
of the well-being that leaves
you gasping for air as if
the completeness of the moment
means you must reach for
something to reach for.
And you learn to relax
into the feeling of peace
as one hardened to cold
learns to lie down
in a bath of warm water.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Rubber band

aware of a pull
sitting three chairs away
waiting to return
to a resting position
relaxed,
no movement necessary
on a bench
by the campfire

Prompt: "Dear __, what I want to tell you is"

Dear Faya,
  What I want to tell you is
    I'm sorry. I tried to call you,
but only months after I got your
number, and I fear it has changed,
even though the voice on the other
end only says     temporarily unavailable.
   You were my companion in a cafe
 in Saint Petersburg
   wearing a uniform and speaking
   quietly, haltingly
   in your second or third language
  as I sat and missed home
   and ate Greek salad
  and helped you fold napkins
  into triangles that could fan out
  in groups of thirteen
   at the centers of tables.
  I am sorry that I only took
  you to a museum once
   that I was only a brief window
  into a life outside of your poverty.
    I hope
    that you continue to enjoy
                Bollywood movies.
   I hope
    that your hair still falls
     down your back
    straight to the waist of your jeans
    if you so choose.
  I hope
    that someone brings you flowers.
  Faya,
    teach me your language
   I would like to stumble over
     the strange words
    and put a smile on your face.
  Others are listening
    but I hope that you hear
                   that somehow
     my words can cradle you
    even if my affection
   is beyond your frame of reference.
  Soon it will be time for you to sleep
  and one benefit to being
       on the other side of the world
   is that I can
                in full consciousness
          whisper to you
                   Sweet dreams
       And again, fully awake,
             welcome you to
                 the next morning.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

"What makes my life my life?"

At the Seeds of Peace International Camp the past few days, I have been helping to lead a Slam Poetry special activity for six campers. We freewrite and share and even perform each other's work. Sometimes we work off of prompts; other writings are unguided. This is the rough product from one such prompt: "What makes your life your life?" Revising, perhaps, to come.


My father is colorblind.
Reds and greens blend with browns and grays
and his teacher noticed in lower school
when he drew a landscape that was particularly...artistic.

I can live with seeing differently from most people.
This means I have thoughts to contribute.
And I can live with my life being mine
because it gives the world soul another place
to store a fragment
a shard whose glimmer meets with experiences
and times of beauty and sadness.

But I fear to be alone in me
and in my life
to know the uniqueness
that keeps me apart
no matter how long I stay in the arms of someone
to whom I am dear.

I remember a time
when I danced in the street
full of other people's observations
about myself.
I danced as a joyous, glorious woman
whose main gift to the world
was happiness.

And I thought, if I am so happy,
I must not live a long life.
And that night I took some comfort
with another human being
whose presence surrounded
but did not unify with mine
and I made it be enough.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Prompt: (one of) the five senses

When I come to new people, one of my first questions is, How long until I cuddle again?
How long before I can put my arm across your shoulders,
lean my head against your chest?
How long before I can take care of any of you,
soothe you with the beating of my heart
the sure stillness of my hand
the rise and fall of my breath?
How long until we can rest like sleeping puppies
nestling against bodies that are just like ours
with warmth and fur and tiny twitches
but are always not ours, definitively the essence
of those who can give us company
in our solitude
of skin permeable to some things
and not to others.
Sometimes I think of my atoms
rubbing off on the air and grass around me.
Every time there is touch
there is transfer.
If you let me in,
my love will move mountains.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Great Anon (another freewrite, same day)

My life is goodbyes
as I let my hand fall by my side
watching them fade into the Great Anon
from which they might come back,
I would hope to say,
but I know it is I
who must go after them.
But I only have two feet
and even with two feet
I can only walk in one direction
so I stay on the balance beam
ignoring the strings that would lead me forward
because even a turn
becomes a turn to a forward
and I would love to tumble on those paths
break them out of freeze frame
with no need to put a name to this
this feeling that we can be in perpetual motion
and go about our lives
with the knowledge that a person
has knowledge
of the knowledge.
I imagine thin arcs of knowledge
crossing the Great Anon
but there is no echolocation
to verify
that what I believe
is more
than what I want.

Freewrite

A place of rest
Leaning against the tennis fence
that keeps balls from flying where
they're not supposed to go
Once I sent a ball flying high
over the tall metal piping
and I sent myself to find it.
The grass waves here.
I know to fear ticks
but this sun is so hot
that I know I have a few hours
before they crawl on me
and before then
I'm going to rest here
with my butt on the dirt
and my shoulders unclenched
and see the trees move in the stillness of the heat.
There's a breeze up there
and every once in a while
it is also on my forehead
and I hope that it smoothes the wrinkles
and leaves the laugh lines.
Although those, too, can be lost in the stillness
when I step out of myself and can't sense the tremendousness
of this existence.
But for now
the red ant crawls on the ground
and I, too, am here
breathing
this is
it really is.

(with a nod to Mary Oliver)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Hickory


A youngry girl wallows in her freckles with sunlight dappled on the leaves of her fingers and the blue blue white blue lilac shirt drapes cotton on her shoulders

The images pour through arms and the veins connect to stream in one direction only one direction ever only one

Sunday, June 17, 2012

May poems

It is 4:50 a.m., so of course I am packing, so of course I am reading.

May 23, 2012 (12:29 a.m.)

(Shavuot thinking)

Overslept.
Just the most important day of my life, and I overslept.
Dreamed too much. Imagined all kinds of wonders.
Didn't want to appear before God with bags under my eyes.
I overdrank of rest. Didn't stay empty enough,
needy enough

Next time I will sleep with the scroll under my pillow
and wake up knowing it.


May 21, 2012

Why do poems/have to be true?

Why does this poem
have to be true?
Why can't you believe
that I don't really love him,
the one with the hair
and the sad smile eye dances?
Why can't I speak of God
and have it just be speech,
talk of sex and
have it be someone else's?
Why do line breaks
reinforce your faith
in my sincerity?
Why won't you let me hide
behind these words

Friday, June 15, 2012

KHORIKOS in Battle of the Boroughs!

(We won Manhattan! Brooklyn won NYC.)

My singing group, KHORIKOS, is in Battle of the Boroughs....
WQXR has also posted a video of our performance on YouTube that you can watch here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQmTn2obXTw&feature=plcp

In other news, my mandolin arrives tomorrow. In other other news, I leave for Maine on Monday in order to work at the Seeds of Peace International Camp for the summer. More on that soon.

And now we'll return to our regularly scheduled programming.

in 3/4. (Probably.) From Shavuot.

c--|e--|efd|e--|efd|e--|gfe|d--|f--|fed|dfe|d--|def|e-d|c--|---|
c--|e--|efd|e--|efd|e--|gfe|d--|f--|fed|dfe|d--|def|e-d|c--|---|
g--|gfe|egf|e--|egf|e--|gfe|d--|f--|fed|dfe|d--|def|e-d|c--|---|
g--|gfe|egf|e--|egf|e--|gfe|d--|f--|fed|dfe|d--|def|e-d|c--|---||

Friday, June 8, 2012

Tracy Chapman Time

Many thoughts this week. For now, though, a Tracy Chapman cover. I recorded a different version months ago, but that was before I could fingerpick consistently at 70 bpm. Progress....



More songs here.

Monday, June 4, 2012

מחיה המתים

You have returned
and the universe breathes

בוא נא בשלום
ממעמקי חלומות

Rise now to meet me
and sit down beside me

הרופא לשבורי לב
ומחבש לעצבותם

In naming the holy
the lonely find solace

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Yonahs

A few years ago, I started writing a story about two different Yonahs from Tana"kh: Yonah the dove, from Noah's Ark, and Yonah the Prophet, more commonly known in English as Jonah. I thought Yonah the dove would have much wisdom for Yonah the Prophet, but I have recently started thinking more about unsettled feelings and thoughts that the dove--as well as the dove-partner it presumably left behind--might have. And I realized that another Yonah should enter the picture: one of the lovers from Shir haShirim (The Song of Songs). The woman is called "yonati", but seeing as doves seem to come in pairs (which poses an interesting question for Yonah the Prophet), I figure that the woman's lover may also be classified as such.

All three share a fleeing, a leaving, a come-and-go relationship. The dove leaves the Ark and comes back, leaves the Ark and comes back, leaves the Ark and never returns. Yonah the Prophet tries to escape God's mission for him with regard to the city of Nineveh. And the lovers in Shir haShirim tear each other's hearts when a brief coyness results in the other's withdrawal.

I want the three to meet. For now, though, a drawing related to the one whom I, for now, label Yonah 2.

Monday, May 14, 2012

West 81st and Columbus, 10:05 p.m.

Light from two streetlamps
yellows small sections of each
curved metal armrest

The roads are still wet enough
that the cars are making rain sounds

People walk by at calmer paces
than during the daytime

Wind catches bits of hair, skirt
while the rest of me sits breathing
because that's all I have to do

Who will share
this God moment

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Tunes on the 2/3 to Brooklyn

Nign 1

|g a b a |g aba |g a b c |d ded |g a b a |g aba |g a b c |d ded |
|d e f d |e gfe |c d edc |c edc |d e f d |e gfe |c d e fe|d cqa | (q=b flat)

Nign 2
Quick.
|----a---d-------|c-ded-c-d---a---|g---c---b-cdc-b-|a--ba-g-a-------| (unfinished)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tefillin shel yad

I adjust the scarf on my shoulders
revealing a silent upper arm
A child stares deep into a book
as the nurse prepares the shot
A mother exposes her breast
to an audience of one

When Soap Runs Out

Seven pumps in rapid succession
result in a paltry piece of foam
that barely covers one fingertip.
Come on, soap dispenser,
can't you muster a little more?
Please? For me?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Here There Here

When years pass
and I don't write a letter
and I keep a necklace
in exchange for a dreidel
how do I write a poem

how do I write a poem

when I plan to send art supplies and don't

how do I write a poem

when a beret sits on my shelf

how do I write a poem

when I suspend my dedication
when we see other people
when I wear the necklace


when we sat on a seesaw
the impact of each landing
cushioned by rubber tires
and we searched for balance
in the garden dedicated to children

how do I write a poem
when a poem she sent
is on the wall that I see
when I stand facing East
and a note expresses
that she hopes that I find it
all right

when halva and half-eaten chocolate
wait in my cupboard
for me to get over my fear
and attend to them


how do I write a poem


it was such a dinky dreidel
drab yellow and plastic
although it was placed in my hand
by a professor with bold glasses
who is waiting with pride
for my first published collection

such a little dinky dreidel
stained drab green on the drab yellow
as if a vat of drab green dreidel stuff
had contaminated a vat of drab yellow dreidel
stuff
a dinky drab dreidel that compelled her
to remove the necklace from her neck


I brought here there
with a there dreidel



how do I write a poem
for a girl whose eyes
teach me what it means
when an author describes
someone's eyes
as liquid

liquid and smiling
dominating a face
whose lips smile
while drinking chocolate milk
out of a packet
through a tiny straw

whose eyes duck away
from a photograph
at a restaurant
in Jerusalem

whose cell phone alarm clock song
plays on my iPod
as I walk in Manhattan
to take me to a place
of calm and morning and waking up


how do I write a poem
when I should be singing the Song of the Sea
as she requested
the song sung by a little girl
in The Prince of Egypt


here hangs from my neck here
the here of there
the here of her

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sticky

I'm sorry, subway traveler
trying hard not to fall over.
It was I who made the pole sticky.
The pomelo was so good, though--
Surely you understand.

- on a train to Washington Heights
with a nod to W.C.Williams

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Привидение / Ghost

Привидение

У меня есть привидение.
Оно живёт за моей дверью
и только показывается
когда я одна.
У него тайна моего желания
и оно порхает надо мной
роняя листья бумаги
чтобы они тихо падали вокруг меня -
большие квадратные хлопья -
а я продолжаю
свою работу,
готовясь наконец-то
спать.

Ghost

I have a ghost.
It lives behind my door
and only shows itself
when I am alone.
It has the secret of my desire
and it flits above me
tearing up sheets of paper
so that they fall quietly around me -
big square flakes -
and I continue
my own work,
preparing eventually
to sleep.

- written Friday, March 12, 2010; translated into English Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Petals

White petals fell from the trees today
and I so wanted one to fall on my hair
so that I could look at you with that look
that starts with a blink and ends with a blink
and it would be so beautiful.

Friday, March 30, 2012

empty hands

open arms

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My spurned ones

I stroke their backs
before I start speaking
dreading the distance
the distance that I
that I now will create

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

וַיְשַׁלַּח אֶת-הַיּוֹנָה

The dove did not return.
Was her mate waiting?

(Did she have a mate?)

Monday, March 19, 2012

The calm place

He takes my breath when he holds me in his eyes.
This room is not for us. We sense we are fidgeting.
Can I show you somewhere?
The trees shelter the bench where we will sit.
Let us go where the wind is, in the twilight.
Take my hand and lead me there.
We will arrive at the calm place.
There, when the time is right,
I will rest my head on your shoulder.

-at Hadar, as part of a class on Shir HaShirim taught by Alicia Ostriker. Parallel to Chapter 7:11-13

Sunday, March 18, 2012

שיר ליום השבת

Fall 2009

שיר ליום השבת

השמש רואה את הירח
סבא שלי רואה את סבתא שלי
הם רוקדים בלילה בגן
רגע אחד בארץ של תות גינה

אמא מספרת לי על השמש
אבא מספר לי על הירח
הם רוקדים בצהריים בבית
רגע אחד בארץ של תפוחים

אני מכירה את השמש
ידיד שלי מכיר את הירח
אנחנו רוקדים בבוקר בדרך
רגע אחד בארץ חלב ודבש
רגע אחד בירושלים

To be self-contained

Maybe it's best
to be self-contained,
words wrapped in body,
memories in photo frames
made of femur bones--
laughter in storage
in deepest recesses,
dances in stasis
beneath placid skin--
to leave my walls stripped
of their posters and poems,
my head of its hair
my gait of its bounce
and my neck of its necklaces-- 
to rip the heart from my sleeve
and stuff it back
into my stolid ribcage.
So put your hands on my breast,
push hard
to help the latches close.
Take care not to catch your fingers.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A note to myself, 10/14/2009

life of a piano tuner
spending all the time making sure each individual key sounds good
and good in relation to all the others
but never playing.

each of us working on one note
preparing for our souls to be played

Monday, March 5, 2012

I seek water from the vines

Winter fragments stream around my face.
Bits of earth careen through the air. My breath is dry.
I seek water from the vines, taste for a drop.
Secret, secret water. Secret drop. I cannot find it.
But then--a grape. It bursts in my mouth. Juice.
It does not feed me. But I have no more thirst.
I settle down and wait for daybreak.
My beloved will come from the West.

-at Hadar, as part of a class on Shir HaShirim taught by Alicia Ostriker. Guiding word per line: winter, earth, vines, secret, grape, feed, daybreak, my beloved

Friday, March 2, 2012

Henna

If we could just share in the smell of the henna
breathe it in deeply and nestle in closer
trace with our fingers the lines of the patterns
whose color is close to the hue of my freckles

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Beat

Pale, pale hair, spiked hair, paler skin. A short black jacket bearing the word Corrupted.
Passed him as I walked to the spot that I had chosen.
He waited for the train a yard or two away. Waited behind me. Waited next to me again.
We walked toward the train when it came. I looked at his profile. His nose had a bump. Not as big of a bump as I remembered, but it was enough. We ended up next to each other, in the center, on either side of a pole, facing the same direction.

You remind me of someone I used to know, I say.
A couple seconds pass.
Where are you from? I ask.
Sweden, he says.
The train moves with us, and I look toward the window.
Was he a good person or a bad person? he asks.
Beat.
A good person.
Slight pause. He inclines his head toward me, leans closer. What?
A good person, I say louder, more distinctly.
Silence. I hook my arm around the pole, rest, one leg braced, the other bent, content, rocking forward and back. He holds on with one hand, above my elbow, below my head.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tone poem

Blue blue blue blue blue blue blue blue blue Flying Angels blue Flying blue blue blue Flying Angels blue blue blue blue

Flying Angels blue

blue Flying Angels blue spread wings blue blue blue blue

wings blue blue spread wings blue blue Flying Angels spread wiiiiiiiiings

blue blue blue blue

WINGS! blue blue blue they spread WINGS! blue blue blue blue



flying angels

blue wings fly fly fly (fly fly)

soar flying angels soar Soar flying angels soar Soar flying angels in the

flying angels in the

flying angels in the blue blue Blue blue blue blue Blue blue skyyyyy

COMFORT ME! flying angels in the Blue! blue blue blue


Flying! in the Blue!

Flying!

Flying loooooooow. Flying looooooooow. ww. w. wrrhrrrrrhrhrhrhrflyingHIGH! in the blue blue blue blue blueHIGH!flyingHIGH! COMFORT ME!


I miss you

miss you

flying angels

I

miss

You

flying angels

You flying angels in the blue flying angels in the blue


in the blue flying angels in the blue flying angels in the blue

flying. spread wiiiiiiiiingsssssssspreadwiiiiiiiiiingsssssssssspreadwiiiiiiiiiiiiingsssssssssssspreadwiiiiiiiiiiiiingssssssssspreadwiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiingssssssssssssssss


s

flyyyy y

Monday, February 13, 2012

Plant Sex

Let me introduce you to the awesome Laura Beth Resnick, a farmer whom I have had the honor of knowing since 2003. She keeps a blog about farming, plants, and food at http://vegetarianadventure.wordpress.com/; her blog is a fun and insightful record of anecdotes, facts, and recipes that both provides a window into the life of a farmer and strengthens the reader's connection to what we consume on a daily basis.

Most recently, Laura Beth has started writing about GMOs--Genetically Modified Organisms. A sequence of blog posts will take readers through various topics related to plants and how humans influence their growth and reproduction. And I am illustrating!

Read away!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad

Happy birthday to my truly amazing father.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tu biShvat poem

The pitless pit

In softening skin
thick unfertile darkness
waits for something
some thing

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sunday night poem

I got out of the shower today.
Water beaded down my forehead.
I looked like a princess.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

I stood by

Personal Statement, application to the summer Tikvah program, spring of 2011

     I stood by.
     My Jewish sisters gathered at the Western Wall, and I stood by.
Stood by and watched as they sang their prayers on Rosh Chodesh Av, praising God and defying the shouts they provoked. I had written about these women, described and extolled their fight, their desire to be unmarked, undivided, uninhibited in speaking to God as they wished, where they wished. I believed in their mission, was personally distraught over the crowdedness of the women’s side of the mechitza, over the restrictions I felt upon my chanting, my expression, my being. I supported their call for religious freedom. I had come to see them, to maybe add my voice to theirs. But I found, that day, that I could not stand with them.
     I was uncomfortable, afraid, agitated. Prayers were protests; what was meant for God was directed instead against detractors. The Torah became something to possess, to display. Hallel became a freedom march, a production for video cameras. Judaism became a battleground on the first day of the month dedicated to remembering the dangers of turning against each other. I did not come for battle. I came for worship. And so I stood by, watched as others fought my battle for me. But I am ashamed to say there was another reason I stood by.
     I did not respect them. I did not respect myself.
     These women were united in their struggle but somehow I saw them as motley, mismatched. Many were not Israeli. Many were not Orthodox. I did not believe that others would consider their claims or their methods traditional, within the bounds of the system. I did not want to be on camera with them; I did not want other Jews seeing me with them; I did not want to associate with these women, to have my face next to theirs. I shied away from allying with the subversive, the rag-tag, the eternally outside voices of change.
     I wanted to be normative.
    All of the labels that I had managed to accrue over the years – female, pacifist, bisexual, idealist, tallit-donner, kippah-wearer, storyteller, song singer – all of these liberal, freeing things boxed me in, made me a ‘type,’ made me feel I needed to prove myself in order to be respected. I might be egalitarian, but I better not play guitar on Shabbat. I might consider laying tefillin, but I better do so in my own bedroom. I might lead Neilah, but I better not make a fuss if a man is always chosen to lead Kiddush in my own home. I might feel the call to learn and counsel and teach and, gosh knows, even prophesy, but I better not become a Rabbi. I could not be a hippie, I could not be loud, I could not be joyful, I could not be defiant. I could not cut my hair. I could not be one of ‘those women.’ I needed to make myself generic, not cause a stir, not isolate myself. Of course, even in my most restricted moments, I was far from being a conformist. But I did not always broadcast the ways in which I did not quite fit in.
     Only in that way would I be taken seriously. Only by operating within law and custom, only by dressing smartly, behaving modestly, studying sources earnestly, would I encourage others to respect me. 
     Only then, I reasoned, would my views ‘count.’
     I reflect on that day, and I remember another time, a very different time, the first time I met with the Wall, about six months earlier. I had thought of wearing a skirt. Instead I approached the Wall as myself, in jeans and hiking boots. I walked closer, looked up, considered the division between light stone and dark sky, walked closer, closer. This is me, I declared. And I brought my ancestors with me, all of those who had not been privileged to reach the spot themselves. They did not mind my jeans, my boots. They did not mind my queerness, my silliness, my feminism, my doubts. They also did not care about my observance of Shabbat, my resolve not to show cleavage during services, my refusal to listen to music for three weeks out of the year. All that mattered was that I was finally bringing them to the Wall. I was their descendant, their passionate, devoted, intelligent, proud, questioning, fiery girl-child. 
     I think back on this earlier meeting between God, the Wall, my ancestors, and me, and I am suddenly tired of the struggle to be seen as authentic, to ally myself with those who are seen as authentic. I do not know what to make of my own dismissal of my kin that day in July. In my fear of ostracizing myself, I had ostracized them. 
     There are many ways in which I need to grow, many things I need to learn, many decisions I need to make. But I now know that I already have a place among those who matter. Maybe it is with the Women of the Wall. Maybe it is not. 
     But I will not stand by again. 
     I will simply stand.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I think I'm glad

I was riding the express train back up north. The 1 train started off going slightly faster than us, and I watched the people in the other car as they passed us by. Then their train slowed down to make a station stop, and we seemed to go faster and faster, and the people passed by me in the opposite direction, and I could see the outlines of the train cars, could see how strange it was that we were in these massive mechanical train cars, and I could also see bits of the station through three sets of windows, and then the people were gone and we were hurtling through the near darkness alone again.

We were already past 72nd Street. At one point I stumbled, caught myself, looked up at the man standing closest to me, hoped I hadn't run into him. Our coats were poofy enough that I might not have noticed. But he was not paying any mind.

He started singing ever so quietly. Humming, perhaps. Wordless, but I knew it.

Some...times in our lives...we all have pain...we all have sorrow....

Ever so quietly. I felt the need to connect, to acknowledge, to put myself into his awareness, his singing. If he had been playing the song on a saxophone in the middle of a train station, I would have stood there a bit and sung along, harmonized. It would have been fine. It would have been fun. As it was, I wasn't sure what to do. Things were too quiet, too personal.

But...if we are wise...we know that there's...always tomorrow....

I went ahead and harmonized. So, so softly. I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted him to notice. He did not, and I think I'm glad. But what would have been the issue?

We got to our stop. He hesitated in front of me, and I asked him if he was getting off there. He smiled faintly and said he was, and then he left the train, and I followed. I became happier with the smile, calmer, more comfortable.

I had been thinking about saying, "Good song." Just some sort of recognition. Some sort of bond. But for whose sake? I didn't say anything. We went up the stairs. One person was between us by the time we got to the turnstiles.

I had started singing again, melody this time, louder than before. With words. Why not, I figured. What was I afraid of? But he never heard, and I think I'm glad.

The song stayed in my head for a while. Maybe I'll pass it off to someone tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Monday, January 23, 2012

A purpose

Are You My Rabbi?
~One Bird's Quest~
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Friday, January 20, 2012

Washing potatoes

I was washing potatoes
and a song came on iTunes
that I didn't think I wanted.
I went to skip the song
and instead started dancing.
I twirled so quickly
that my glasses flew off.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

That kind of hippie

Met new people tonight. The three of us sat in Whole Foods drinking coffee and hot chocolate.
One asked me what I wanted to do in my life. Didn't have an answer at the moment, so I gave one that I was pretty sure about a few days ago: to be a witness to the good in the world.
"So you're that kind of hippie," he said.
I got home and drew.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

It just sort of happened like that


Comrades of a sort

First it was just us two, me and the boy with unkempt dark hair, a backpack, and a slightly feminine face, at the first stop on the 1 train. We were uncertain that the train was running - only saw one person on it - and from that moment of shared uncertainty onwards we were comrades of a sort. An official-looking man assuaged our fears, and we started to settle a train car. He sat down, I sat down on the other side of the car doors, and he moved to sit across from me. We had a bit of a wait.

The boy asked me what I was reading. I said it was a prayer book. Praying is good in subways, I said. There's the time for it. He asked what it was - a "Tanaka"? A Torah? A siddur, I said. Are you Jewish? I asked. Yes, he said.

Before the train left the resting station, a man joined us a few seats down with a mustache and a book. I wanted to ask him what book it was, but I didn't. He was most of the way through it.

The boy had been visiting a friend and watching Nicholas Cage movies. I had been visiting a friend who was about to leave the country. He was going to take a train home from Penn Station.

Fifteen teenagers joined us. They described themselves as drunk. They sang Happy Birthday to two members of their group, adding a remix each time that changed up the rhythm. One girl spat on the floor a bit. A couple of them were quite acrobatic and made good use of the vertical and horizontal poles. The boy and I shared looks - some amiable, some shocked - and smiles. I laughed out loud once. I wondered what the others who joined us on the train thought of the teenagers. I wondered what the boy thought about teenage drinking.

We arrived at Penn Station. I was standing, leaning my back against a pole, facing down the length of the car. Have a good evening, I said. You're leaving? he asked. No, you are, I said.

He stood and said, I'm Matt. I'm Molly, I said, and he shook my hand. It was nice to meet me.

That's my brother's name, I said to Matt as he left the train.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Awww sounds

A fellow woman and I made awww sounds while watching a baby rat try to scramble up a vertical concrete part of the subway tracks below us in order to follow its parent. It succeeded, eventually, to our delight and relief.
- Times Square stop, Q track

Friday, January 6, 2012

To talk

To talk
Press, release
And wait for
Steady light

- Instructions, emergency intercom, 2 train, Manhattan

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Stars

My mood improves dramatically when I eat.

This evening:
1. Dinner with friends
2. Phone calls with friends
3. Michaels arts and crafts store (the name does not bear an apostrophe!!)
4. Returning library books
5. Buying wine (I was called Sir! Because he was still thinking of the person he was last talking with. He was slightly mortified. I was cheerful. He calmed down.)
6. Buying fruits and challah
7.
Stars.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Whole Foods

I picked out tomatoes
and brought them to my face
and their vines smelled overpoweringly
of home.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Questions for Angels

הוא הולך פנימה. בחדר יושבים מלאכים. כמה מלאכים שומעים מוסיקה. כמה מדברים על הכוכבים ועל החלומות של אנשים. כולם מהר שקטים כשהם רואים את הילד. הוא לא מדבר שלוש דקות.פ
אז הוא אומר:פ
כמה דגים יש בים?"ד"
המלאכים לא אומרים שום דבר.פ
הילד אומר:ד
כמה דלתות יש לבית השם בשמײַם?"ד"
המלאכים לא אומרים שום דבר.ד
הילד אומר:פ
כמה דרכים יש לידידתי?"ד"
המלאכים לא אומרים שום דבר.ד
הילד מגיע לסוף השאלות שלו ופונה לצאת. אבל קרוב לדלת הוא פונה ואומר שאלה אחרונה:ס
 על כמה שאלות אתם עונים?"ד"
מלאכה קמה מהכיסא שלה ונתנה תשובה:ד
על שאלה אחת."ד"
המלאכים יושבים בשקט והכנפײַם שלהם גדולות עם צבעים נוראים. המוסיקה שרה ורוקדת, צוחקת ומחײַכת....ד

He walks in. Angels sit in the room. Some angels are listening to music. Others speak about the stars and the dreams of men. All hush quickly when they see the boy. He does not speak for three minutes.
Then he says:
"How many fish are in the sea?"
The angels do not say anything.
The boy says:
"How many doors are there to the house of God in the heavens?
The angels do not say anything.
The boy says:
"How many roads are there to my beloved?"
The angels do not say anything.
The boy reaches the end of his questions and turns to leave. But near the door he turns and says his last question:
"How many questions will you answer?"
An angel rises from her seat and gives an answer:
"One question."
The angels sit in quiet, and their wings are great with fearsome colors. The music sings and dances, laughs and smiles....

- Hebrew B, journal entry, fall 2009 (before I learned past tense). 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Make sure you got your phones

Make sure you got your phones!
Make sure you got your wires to your phones.

For any positive comments, my first name is ____ and my last name is ____....For any negative comments, my first name is Jack and my last name is Frost.

- Bus driver, upon arrival in New York

Ring in the New Year with James Taylor

Something in the Way She Moves

I enjoyed this Sunday evening.
More songs here