Sunday, December 29, 2013


The best thoughts
are the ones that form
along the edges after years
of de and re composition dark
and savory their histories
no longer discernible


is two lovers
knowing they look
out their windows
at the same moon

is two estranged
persons knowing
they pray toward
the same God

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Winter wondering

Each placement
of foot on icy
path a hesitant

Gloved hands at
the ready tongue
between teeth eyes
downcast thoughts

of Maybe I'd have
tread upon you
a bit more

would've been more
ginger with what
I was doing
to you had I

realized it's not
only when I'm
afraid of slipping

that I need to look

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Can't see

My skin glows like the lake at nightfall
My hips are round and
smooth as riverstones my
hair is like gazelles like
waterfalls my elbows
like swans' curved necks

My hands have turned to
furled blooms my lips
to moonbeams and what
have you done with my
eyelashes so dark and
velvety I can't see
anything but your

Strip the animals the
plants the nature
from me let me be
human to you
Put away your pen

It is not necessary
not here
not now

(after reading the first two chapters of
Shir haShirim, the Song of Songs)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Keep me aware

Keep me aware of your presence
Make me talk to you as if I took
Benadryl and should not be allowed
to fall asleep Keep me awake with your
Praises keep my hands busy on the
timbrel tie Bells to my feet so I will
move and Remember you do not lose
me to my own Music Do Not Lose Me
to my Dreams Keep me here
put the words on my lips

Monday, December 2, 2013

Hanukkah Night 6

A nostrilbreath sigh
flicks the flames a-
dance they are seven
hummingbird wings

Sunday, December 1, 2013


As we stand on the porch
saying goodbye I look up

and see the slender cylinders
of the wind chimes moving

in the breeze never quite
enough to sing with

each other and I ask
how is it that you can be

so fine with this how
can you keep from reaching

Hanukkah Night 5

I promise
that I'm not
using the light
of the Menorah

for your face
would be just
as beautiful

to me your
eyes just as
lovely if the
candles weren't

gleaming on them

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Affectionate token (if it remains so do we)

The common vow for times like now is this:
that "Never shall I wash the blessed hand
upon which in a trick of fate did land
your e'er-elusive, e'er-remembered kiss"—

But friends we are, and happy in our state,
and precious as this moment is between
the two of us, your lips upon my skin
is not the way today to venerate—

A pigeon shifts above us and we see
that it has kindly solved our quandary.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Steely Inspiration

"I need to focus now on Kierkegaard,"
in vain I say 'fore Poetry's narrowed eyes.
"Oh no," she says, "Although you ill regard
submission to my ruthless enterprise,

The path from kitchen table to your bed
will open only once I've had my way.
You must release what I've put in your head.
Until you do, your sleep I'll hold at bay."

And so I sit and think and feel and write
and hope someday she'll let me say goodnight.

Momentary Life

Prancing to stretch my legs
Outside of a Burger King
I too quickly remove myself
And enter the warm bright

And even in the reflective
Afterglow of my joyous
Exploration of my muscles
In the parking lot waystation

I forget to return to the bus
In similar exultation

Monday, October 28, 2013


Just so you know it'll
probably take me some
time to unsteep
from where I just was

to have the dye of there
fade from my thoughts
like the freckles from
my skin in the winter

Until then I'll
probably be blinking a lot
and speaking in hesitant
tones as if I can't quite
focus on you or verify your
existence to myself

or really the existence of
anything outside of the
book I've been reading so

the book
whose last page
I turned before finding
my seat on the plane whose cover
I thought I'd shut whose words
won't stay put

defiantly uncoiling
from the perfect loops
into which I'd coiled them

like an unruly set of tefillin

Monday, October 21, 2013

reblogged--"Unrequited Love Letters"

"What does one do with the detritus of unrequited love?"

Unrequited Love Letters

Monday, October 14, 2013

thanks but I'll stay cracked a little longer

I am sorry I can't go
out with you tonight for God
heals the broken-hearted and

binds up their
wounds and I'm not
ready to get a clean bill

of health God's signature
on a prescription order in my
hand as God exits through the

curtain separating me from God's
other patients and leaves me alone

to change back into my street clothes

how about you try me again in a couple weeks


Henna II

Swirls and flowers mark my movement
from one life to another

Pungent black the first day
soon a brick-brown stain
is all that is left of

a change a moment a
feeling I try to hold on to
as tan streaks fade

into the barest blush
that threads along my
skin cracks until it is

and who I am now
is all I can remember

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

July 7 2013

The softness of the carpet feathered between my toes and I reached arms up until my shoulder blades opened. Why these shorts? This shirt this bracelet? May the window open and my Muse come through may the window open and the one to whom I am Muse come through

Friday, August 30, 2013


I remember Musa
prefers not to play
for mixed dancing

but we are behind the curtain
and already started and
we aren't really what he's
talking about

right? In any case this
is not a regular makom
dancing so we don't need

a mechitza and if you want
I will rule that it is fine
as long as we make sure

that four amot remain between
us 66% of the time and in any case
people are watching
and I want to

After Rev. Dr. Stephanie Paulsell's
"Devotion in the Study of Religion"

"Devotion in the Study of Religion:
Address for the Convocation of Harvard Divinity School
at the Opening of the 198th Year"

My face is made of angles
and your teeth gleam in your face
and my skin shines like moonbeams
and your lashes are of nightsbreath
and my hair curls around your fingers
and your hair curls around your hat
and your hand closes upon my shoulder
and my eyes close upon your shoulder
and your smile is behind my eyelids
and I drool in my sleep I and do not know
what you do in yours

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


fish food one flake
each morning
under stove top dairy
bottom meat washing:
1 = hottest dryer-
better to line dry
"the world is not really
like it appears"
June 25, 2010
1 more cucumber?
1 red bell pepper
"friction creates energy"
birth || prayer
give into it
"an active vessel"
Isaac coming down
from the altar
intersection - tzomet

Tuesday, August 27, 2013


in the night
is the door that
is the corner
of my bed that
is a suitcase
That is your back
under fumbled
clothing these
are my arms!
Crazy dreams
of fumbling dark
corners suitcase
beds clothes
that scatter
in the night

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Deconstructed poem

To write a deconstructed poem
first I should probably deconstruct myself
My belief in God should be separated
into its constituent components and next
I'll take this love and put the neediness
over here the truth over there and the joy
well actually the joy goes with the truth

Love is so deep loooove lurve I lurrve you
I lurve this world its soft skin its velvety


What is my head
doing over there?
And someone has decided
to arrange my finger bones
in size order on that table
My insides feel all
I don't even know their functions anymore
And what are you doing here?
I haven't seen you outside of my heart
in years


Wait! Wa-
wait! I'm not
finished with
you come back
here your arms
are out of reach


"They've either gone to bed
or they've disappeared"


are these hands
on my arms
I don't
remember them

De construct

Can we unbuild it?
Yes We Can!

De Construct

I miss you
you light forest
grey city
gay neighborhood


is my arm
the fingerrrs
this email
from you
my arms
wanting more
wanting north
norwhals (?)

Tilted ground

I lie on the tilted ground in my melancholy
God walks up and sits down beside me
arms wrapped around knees
Nu, this day,
not to your liking?
I don't know how to reply
and God is silent, gazing over the water.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

1st of Elul / Rosh Chodesh Elul II


I know a place is good
for singing when I find
that I am singing in it

and by good for singing
I mean empty so my voice
can ricochet back to me

maybe I should avoid stairwells
the way others avoid mirrors
you know, as a spiritual practice

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

30th of Av/Rosh Chodesh Elul I

The month's begun and I don't hesitate
to start it right. I say the evening prayers,
though starting at this moment is too late,

since I, though having time, procrastinated
til today to straighten my affairs.
The month's begun so I don't hesitate

to put in Google Calendar "create
a place for You." My frightened heart declares
that starting at this moment is too late.

Although I cannot hope to vindicate
myself—for I was certainly aware—
the month's begun. So I don't hesitate

to reassess the way I live but hate
that Elul was the push for me to care,
that starting at this moment is too late.

My credibility is gone. My wait
proves piety a fabric that can tear.
The month's begun, and I won't hesitate,
though starting at this moment is too late.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Faucet's turned on but wait
I've gotta take out my bobby pins

Finger and thumb tug on the first
as I watch my reflection in the mirror

A bunch of missed classes and a tambourine
fall to the floor followed by some anger

Next fall the witch-shadows from my bedroom
and a shower of tiny dried purple flowers

After the fourth I start using my foot
to nudge everything off the braided rag rug

Around the eighth I start wondering
how many are left and turn off the water

You're in there, of course, clinging to
the tenth and I have half-expected this

although I am surprised by how light
everything is with you gone fallen

forgotten away like angel wings

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


It's coming toward August
and I'm not sure
who is left

so it would be great
if we could work this out

Also, can I keep
your wallpaper up?

I know your former tenant
didn't like it but I
find it really pretty

Thursday, July 25, 2013


The rain falls
upon the burnt house

I'm so sorry
to hear of
your loss,
it says

Feel free to
drop by for tea
anytime really I'm

here for you

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


The sky opens
with no sound
except for what
falls from her

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Returning to my music my self you

I remember from another year
how my old joy might seem
foreign to me

Might clash on my ears
the tone bright and
far too loud

It might have been too long
too much time too full
of a gap to step over

so I fix my hair
in the mirror in the hallway
with those first date heartbeats

hoping that you’ll still find me
attractive hoping that

I still like you hoping

that you won’t hug me closely,
not yet

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tisha b'Av III

The Temple
is done burning
so I
can play guitar again

I forgot
that the strings
were broken

Tisha b'Av II

I'm confused
by that I can
bless you

Isn't it you
who has to open my
lips that my mouth
declare your praise?

And isn't today
when instead
of me deciding
not to ask
you decide
not to answer?

maybe the answer
is that you opened
my lips yesterday

maybe that was how you
prepared for the fast

Tisha b'Av

Right before the fast
I sat in Arabic class
peeling what I thought
were hardboiled eggs

Both smushed under my fingers
and I realized that neither
was cooked nearly enough

and I thought to myself,
Man, I can't even
mourn properly

Maybe that
is our new mourning

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

the construct state

my Arabic textbook tells me

(With the sole exception
of the demonstrative adjective
(to be introduced in #17))"

(for example:
"I wish I could forget
the existence of
between us")


Passing a man and a child
on the path between buildings
I say "Hello" and then
"It's more comfortable out today"

Commenting on the weather
is something to do
when you can't think of anything else

And it's kind of obvious
that that's what you're doing
because everyone does it

Maybe we should comment
on other things we all share
like "Egypt, crazy, right?"

and "Don't you sometimes wish
that you didn't still get angry
at your exes?"

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Inside out

I've been watching the color
on my leg shift from blue
and maroon back to skintone

Non-bruise reappeared
at the center first,
worked its way outward

and today all I see
is half of an outline
of a dark pink circle

How do I identify
the center spot
from which my own healing
will come?

Friday, July 5, 2013

What's always been

I put away my phone today
and occupied myself with song

Swallowing song hurts my throat
so I sang to a brick wall

Distance held and closed
as I walked toward it singing

and I thought

so too I'll sing to you til I reach you

and when I reach you
my song will be
what's always been

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Long pink dress

I dreamed I was late
to Rosh Hashanah and
the candles were being lit
without me

I could join later of course
but there was this fear
and I was running,
running, running

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Three weeks since Shavuot

I had
some poems planned

Helicopters above Amsterdam

A twig cut me
about a month ago

I watched, fascinated,
as the foot skin parted
and the blood welled up

I liked the reminder
of how fragile my body is

but when a car
kills a 4-year-old—

I like nothing about this

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The strong one here

Hey New York
sixteen days left
til I head to Boston
and you know,
that’ll basically
be the end
of us

I mean
there’s a chance
that I’ll be back
in a few years
but long-distance
just isn’t my speed

I’d prefer it
if we didn’t let
the me leaving thing
affect our relationship
for the next two weeks

let’s make sure
to get some froyo
and hang out with
your buddies
and go out dancing
and stay up late

remind me
what was
your favorite movie?

let’s watch it tonight

There are a few
weekends this summer
where I’ll be around
so I should ask
how do you feel
about the whole
friends with benefits thing

but let’s be careful
because I don’t want
to hurt you and
any affection I show
from here on out
shouldn’t get your hopes up

maybe we should set
boundaries, like no overnights
or walks along the Hudson
although knowing me
I’ll have some trouble
not crossing those lines

cuz even though this
breaking up thing
was my decision
that doesn’t mean
I don’t want you

so you’re gonna hafta be
the strong one here

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Packing poem

I didn't realize
that belongings
are called so not
because they belong
to you but because
they make you feel
like you

at least
that's what it feels
like from within my shell
of glow in the dark stars
and wall-prayers and drawings
and a blue paisley comforter

turtles get to take it all
with them in one fell swoop
never living in the empty space

maybe insects feel differently?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Rose-tinted plastic

I wonder if the message
is that I don’t cry enough

or maybe I need to confront
the crying that others do

Either way, water won't stop leaking
into the bottom of my left goggle lens

Friday, May 24, 2013


First attempt at a CD cover for my friend Joshua's band.

Bashert on Myspace
Bashert at Asheville Street Music

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cleaning #2

My floor feels dusty
even though I just swept

I cast about in anger
before realizing the dust
is on my own feet

and I wasn’t feeling the floor at all

I muse upon “Resentment”
and “Transference” and
“The Feelings We Carry With Us
After We Thought We’d Taken Care Of Them”


I’m no longer
in love with you

at the same time
this Starbucks receipt
that I keep on my desk

tells me I’m over you but

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tornadoes in Oklahoma

My mother tells me
that I should be judicious
about what I take to Boston

I make piles on my bed
of the books I want with me

and head to the wine store
for cardboard boxes

That Tingly Feeling

Monday, May 20, 2013



I tell my teacher
that I’ve figured it out!

I can blame my lack
of awareness of doubt
on my Quaker schooling!

For a belief in continuous revelation
is sort of predicated on the assumption
that there is revelation to begin with!

Don’t worry,
I’m fixed now


It’s amazing that the whole thing
didn’t come crashing down on me
when a teacher flicked the lightswitch

and I realized that the brightnesses
and darknesses in the Meeting House coves
were created and managed by humans

Go on, keep pointing at the outlets and wires
my stage was set and I’m’a keep on dancing

"Radical amazement"

My walking partner and I run into a friend of his
and I make myself busy examining the clovers
in a wooden half-barrel on the side of the road

While they talk about India I squat down
searching for a plant with four leaves
before realizing that I could instead

be marveling at three, three, three,
three, three

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

49 toward the Omer

1. Come
2. come now
3. wash your clothes
4. refrain from having sex
5. don’t you know it’s time
6. to go appear before our Creator
7. at the foot of the mountain together
8. yet separate each of us destined to hear
9. the Kol call on a different frequency so let’s
10. stand here holding hands so we don’t lose each other
11. in the particularism of the holy moment for it will try
12. to knock us off of our feet but we must ground ourselves
13. in each other and not succumb to the desire to unite with God
14. in a way that tears us person from person for the way of Enoch
15. is not the way of all the children of Adam and we must continue living
16. right here even it can be very hard and God is kinder than we are sometimes
17. and it may seem that we will be less lonely with God than with our fellow humans
18. but our lot is to be the water that falls from the sky connected to bits of dust
19. in separate drops where first we are unwilling to be away from the cloudsource but then we run forward
20. occasionally colliding along the way such that we cleave and part and dance the merry dance that we call living
21. until we reach the destination that we want less and less as we accelerate toward it although in meeting that end
22. we will return to what we once desired so ardently never to have left behind and since this is the path ahead
23. as well as behind it makes sense to cling tight to each other while remembering that we are not all that there is
24. but this notion of us and God is necessary but not sufficient for God is not just a source and an end destination God
25. is both then and right here both waiting for us in the distant futures and in our most immediate presents which brings us right back
26. to this particular present where we are looking toward the moment of Revelation while simultaneously recognizing that we are already exactly when we need to be
27. so be disturbed and happy and calm and never complacent and make sure that your preparations include donning your fears and your smiles for both are you
28. and it is exactly you who is supposed to be here so look around isn’t it great that we’ve finally arrived and not one of us is missing

29. No one ever told me that trying to approach you again after having left once would at times feel like walking up an asymptotic curve toward the y axis
30. and at other times take no effort at all as if I were a particle forever forbidden from entering a black hole except for those moments when a wormhole opens
31. and I can leap across to Gan Eden for a brief bath in the spring of togetherness before the muffling blanket of adult-onset doubts pushes me right back through again
32. and while I can recollect what those moments are like I have no proof for the nature of black holes is not to let any sound or light escape so it is memories
33. to which I hold fast although I know it is the Torah that is the tree of life I am supposed to strengthen myself by but I am yet afraid of the chasm
34. that yawns between my childhood notions and this set of stories and strictures that contains your breath in its warp and weft just as I do so I sing into the universe for this
35. does not require me being in any particular place as long as I think that you are able to hear and upon reflection I know that I never doubt you when I speak to you
36. which seems to mean that if your praise is on my every exhale then I will always be sure of your existence and maybe that’s why King David is so focused on calling out to you
37. with all of his bones all of his soul all of his self it’s really handy to have this method of jumpstarting the knowledge of you when I don’t just look out in the world and think
38. of course God is here right now it’s so obvious as I look out from this picnic table and feel the air on my face and watch Etta shooting hoops in her flowing white sweater and long black skirt

39. I think I recognize you in the swirling mass of people shifting in huge whorls and eddies around the foot of your mountain maybe you thought I wouldn’t notice or maybe you were just waiting to be found out
40. because isn’t it true that you felt a sharp pang of something when you created a second person to keep that first person company for how else would you know that it was not good for man to be alone
41. if it were not that loneliness strikes you just as deeply if not more so how about this God I’ll take a turn at being big spoon tonight and we can watch a movie have some quiche and you can rest
42. even if you will never consent to sleeping and I will look out the window and see the stars and count them even when you are not looking because I know it brings you joy and you will quietly murmur their names
43. and we’ll set an alarm rise in the morning early enough for you to take your place and call out in lightning and thunder and great tremblings and I will nestle within myself the knowledge that you and me, we got something special

44. how is it that I’m choked up at the end of my journey isn’t this what I came here for but now I’m attached to this feeling of wandering I’ve gotten used to calling out to you in words and dances and I know
45. that there will be more dancing when we meet I know because I’ve seen the timbrels I’ve been preparing for this role my whole life ever since before you split the sea for us ever since before I knew that my feet were for walking
46. but that doesn’t mean that I am ready and at the same time I am more ready than I’ve ever been and it really just gets back to that sense when you’re kissing someone and don’t know when it’s right to move forward because moving forward
47. means letting down my guard and while my favorite way to be is open I know that the final openness means that I will lose the sense of there being a me and a you and it is this separation that allows me to enjoy you so
48. or so I think and maybe I have always been confusing awareness of you with you so I think I am ready to take a break from my anxiety and go change into my red dress which is good because it’s about time and the people are gathering
49. I’m not ready to leave you is the phrase in my head and my heart but I know that leaving you was never something I could do consciously even if I wanted to which is never true and since I’m conscious of you now I will see you tomorrow

Monday, May 13, 2013

48 toward the Omer

The trip to Sinai checklist must include a sense of yourself and a sense of openness to being not quite yourself someday soon and a realization that the not yourself of your future is still you because learning and change are terms that acknowledge both then and now

we are in that moment where the steps up and across are getting smaller and smaller until height plus length is no longer the correct way to measure the distance and instead we have to calculate the square root of the sum of the other two sides squared

47 toward the Omer

Hod shebMalchut—Humility within Nobility

It has taken me almost twenty-four years but I finally find myself happier singing melody than harmony and I think it’s possible that I’ve actually always found more happiness there but never quite felt that I belonged and therefore chose to separate myself from the other drummers

who were beating out the complex yet unified patterns of community but I also think it’s possible that I found glory in uniqueness and really I’m not sure which came first distinction or alienation hubris or defense mechanism and I remember holding the door for other kids

partly because I was kind partly because I wanted to be seen as kind partly because I could count how many thanked me each time partly because it gave me something to do while they all talked with each other and then it just became my role

and I sometimes wonder how much of my orientation toward other people is based on the fact that back in middle school being the nice girl known for mild friendship with everyone was a pretty stable social position but I also trust that it’s deeper than that

anyhow I fit inside the melody with you all and even when I itch for my cliff in Siberia I usually want to share it with a companion and in any case I know my real home is here and I entrust the harmony to the angels

46 toward the Omer

Netzach shebMalkhut

Ayelet chomps wetly on my fingers during Shabbat services and I am filled with the glory that comes with being able to keep a baby calm and happy and this bliss mixes with a certain serenity as I focus on directing my joy outward to God

and it is tonight that I realize the God I knew in my youth and the God I am praising today are the same God which is something I guess I knew but also kind of forgot or doubted since I encountered them in different settings

and there is a type of knowing that isn’t certainty that doesn’t reach past “this must be true” to “this is true” that is too intellectual to have the parts come together with a profound settling like the snapping of a magnet to a refrigerator door

but there is that snap today and something inside of me that had been like tectonic plates colliding with the occasional earthquake or gush of volcanic tears becomes smooth as glass an ocean of wonder as far as the eyes can see and the feet walk

and the heart breathe and it is different from my discovery of the realness of other people for training my vision on the aspect of individuals that has nothing to do with which colors of light bounce off of them is a task of the conscious

while this discovery of God’s eternal oneness allows me to relax and stop fearing that I’m seeing a new E with every additional lens that I acting as both patient and optometrist flip into place. I’ve actually just been seeing the same E with different clarities

and maybe it’s funny that I say “in my youth” seeing as I’m still young which makes me wonder how I will experience and know God when God willing I am old and this in turn makes me wonder what bifocals mean in this extended metaphor

God You are my God I search for You

Psalms 63 A psalm of David, when he was in the Wilderness of Judah. God, You are my God; I search for You, my soul thirsts for You, my body yearns for You, as a parched and thirsty land that has no water....My soul is attached to You; Your right hand supports me.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

45 toward the Omer

Tiferet shebMalchut

I was sitting having finished my Amidah and you came over and paused before me and I looked up and thought you were going to ask me to open the ark but instead you asked me if I wanted to be the speaking gabbai again

and I was surprised by the question but you had noticed before I did that it would be good for me to be gabbai rishon another time before leaving yeshiva and you told me you would take the third aliyah and that made me happy

for I had noticed that you almost never got an aliyah since you always were the one to call others forward but this time I got to invite you up and it turns out your name is Avraham Rachamim which fits you so well today

Avraham due to your desire to bring others in not just a beckoning hand but an active walking out to greet the traveler seeking comfort even if there are hurts you might be nursing and Rachamim because you give of your self while preserving dignity

44 toward the Omer

Dr. Zornberg quotes Emerson saying “I am nothing I see all I am part and particle of God” Cavell saying “we all know how the world goes away from us” herself saying “the wilderness” is when “the people are left to their own da’at”

One evening while crossing Amsterdam the realization expanded from me with a hollow dark light that I have no God given witnessing mission here and I fell asleep unsure if there had ever been that celestial rung I could no longer find the ladder

“the limits of my grandiosity” correlate with the realnesses of everyone else and I think I am happy letting go of being the reason for the universe if it means I can have some company some intersubjectivity so come let’s have a staring contest

and then blink and giggle and look away unsure whether it’s okay to hold the gaze which actually cannot penetrate to each other’s deepest selves anyway and isn’t that fact just the coolest thing ever once you get over the loss that it signifies

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

43 toward the Omer

Joey Weisenberg playing mandolin rests his right foot on top of his halfturned left foot similarly to the way that I nestle my feet into each other when I am about to go to sleep which is, I’ve decided, a habit from wombtimes

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Next time

The next time you cry try opening your eyes
for the combination of sadness and normal daylight
keeps you from closing in on yourself quite as much

42 toward the Omer #2

Malkhut shebisod

I've tried to stay regal through our times of approach and distance as if my world does not topple when you are silent as if you are not one of the legs I stand on as if I could dismiss your presence

in all the conversations I have with myself and others about connection and calm and silence and kinship but how can the ability to feel intimate ever be divorced from the one with whom that intimacy was discovered as if you were

a person I could just mention on an acknowledgments page right next to God and my family and my teachers just your name and the sentence "thank you for making me who I am today" while the me of today walks onward

this queen is weary of palanquins and graceful pleasantries and practical considerations she is eager to discard the courtly etiquette of measured dispassion she yearns to return to a time when there was no need for us to carry each other's handkerchiefs

she thinks she may have been mistaken in donning the ermine mantle provided by human notions of what is dignified for is not the Shekhina herself a majestic presence majestically present really truly present so radically present that she cries with us

maybe nobility is actually located in opening up in that acknowledgment of vulnerability so hear me now I am naked before you close the gap lift me up by both hands tell me don't worry I'm right here there is no alone

Monday, May 6, 2013

42 toward the Omer

Malkhut shebisod

Sitting on my futon thinking of poem topics I come to realize there is something regal in taking the time to restore one’s foundation and tonight that means caring for my body so I am off to bed good night my dears

Aharon Varady on Rainbow Day

41 toward the Omer

Yesod shebisod

Black sky with bright stars above the dark trees--cool air and the muted sound of distant grownup conversations--us sitting together on the patio broaching the topic of God and existence--the universe encircling our two bodies--a flower opening--

40 toward the Omer

Three adults wrapped in wool blankets wobble forward across the dark field following a skunk heading past the bushes toward our boss’s cabin because we have never seen such a creature before and besides we are giddy with sleep desire

Happiness is curling up on a mattress in a cold room monitoring one’s drift into dreaming while shadowy figures stare into the night through opposite windows to make sure that less mature individuals stay safe from each other from themselves

It was a soul who threw the ball that hit me behind my right ear and another soul who drove us to the train station and yet another soul who did not close the doors until we were on board

Sunday, May 5, 2013

39 toward the Omer

If ever lizards studied Heschel it was me and my friend this past Shabbos lazing on benches basking in the warmth of the sun and the glow of his words on teaching learning change mind heart seeing hearing openness

As we transitioned to discussing souls our tongues flicked out tasting wind carrying the scents of leaf and wasp and teenager and our fingers absentmindedly toyed with the tiny yellow flowers that clung to our clothes and our hair

We images of God change every instant and each frame of animation is its own instantiation we are stop action paper snowflakes flipbooks in time connected to our past and future selves by binding by string by God’s nostrilbreath

Thursday, May 2, 2013

38 toward the Omer

tiferet shebisod

“Like Avishag, caretakers must try [to] achieve…compassion embodied in intimacy. We experience Avishag’s presence in our lives when we provide for the physical needs of others with compassion and gentleness.” –Rabbi Jill Hammer, Omer Calendar of Biblical Women

I still get emotional washing dishes because I have this feeling this ghost feeling of someone coming up behind me and wrapping their arms around me in a hug so my back feels protected and I am loved

in the moment that never happened I set the sudsy plate down on the countertop and lean backward into you and close my eyes for those few precious seconds and the water continues running but I don’t mind

maybe in my next phantom sensation you can be playing with my hair as I fall asleep cuddled in blankets, how about that, parting it over and over again, the sound of the waves rolling in to shore

37 toward the Omer

So I misunderstood my teacher who explains of course I can have knowledge of God just not mathematically not through proofs and all of a sudden my interior landscape returns to calmness and smiles although I wonder

whether one can assert that someone who has proofs of God is incapable of having complex experiences of faith and doubt since God’s existence certainly is not the only God question that one can struggle with and

what does it mean about the relationship between me and God that the words of one person can flip me upside down and just as easily months later flip me right back again and I must conclude

that I cannot blame my teacher at all for it was years ago that I started layering on the paper mache of others’ opinions and at some point I just mistook this coating for the truth underneath

it turns out that it really only takes a few sentences to crack through the stiffened starch and release the candy from its beautiful cobbled exoskeleton but this Molly has forgotten what her own skeleton looks like

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

36 toward the Omer

I told you about how things have been scary for me with religion this year because what people tell me I shouldn’t be able to know about God undermines the foundation of my knowledge of God

we were both waiting for phone calls while walking along Amsterdam and my voice kept rising in pitch and volume but then I came to the end of it as we waited for a traffic light

and I knew and said I know God is here right now and repeated it again and as we got to the other side of the street you said hodu laShem ki tov ki leolam chasdo

we kept walking as I agreed hodu lAdonai ki tov ki leolam chasdo using God’s name because it was a true praise what a kindness to have a moment of settled knowing what a deep breath

35 toward the Omer

Malkhut shebHod

In the Chabad synagogue in Moscow on Tisha b’Av in 2009 a group of Israeli children played games on the landing and one small girl with light hair started twirling and I took a picture

that kept her in my mind paused midspin with a soft blond halo around her luminous face, a beautiful girl child with Hebrew as her mamaloshn turning slow and free until my camera stopped her

the memory card she’s on is still in Russia because I didn’t search for it well enough before getting in the car for the airport and the apartment I subletted belongs to a new person

which is as it should be really since once she noticed me she said no to my photography and I have my ethics but gosh what a knowing little serene one what a breathholding moment

34 toward the Omer

Find that little root connecting you with the spreading branches and then you’ll raise your eyes and see that your waving fingers look a little like the fuzzballed antennae on top of strange birds

Monday, April 29, 2013

Lag BaOmer

After praying this morning I looked at the dirt path that headed in a direction I had not yet walked and decided not to head that way and was comfortable with that decision

unlike when you leaned forward to kiss me and I turned my head and then always wondered why and what would have happened had I chosen the path I had thought I'd wanted

yes, my decision this morning was good although there’s no real comparison because I really wanted to kiss you and not all desires are equal and neither are feelings about roads not taken

Sunday, April 28, 2013

32 toward the Omer

I feel ashamed of myself when I wonder whether it is the moments when I feel God or the moments when I don’t feel God that indicate the actual truth about God

once when I came back from a time of doubt of God I knew that I had failed. I had been given the opportunity to have faith and did not have faith

and I knew that the opportunity to have faith was now lost to me because when feeling God there is no need for faith in God. Knowledge supersedes the need for faith

but now I know that this is not true because I have come to doubt the knowledge itself even when it exists and that, I’ve found, is the worst of all doubts

for before I just had to wait for the God feeling to return but now it’s here and there’s nothing to wait for and yet I wonder whether it’s just the way

that the air feels against my skin and therein lies the danger of being taught that God is supposed to be beyond my perception because then what becomes of my perception? Falsity

31 toward the Omer

rushing waves rushing water water
rushing waves rushing water water
rushing waves rushing water water
rushing waves rushing water water
rushing waves rushing water water
rushing waves rushing water water

Friday, April 26, 2013

30 toward the Omer

My first chevruta visits and we have a lovely time catching up but it goes beyond that to contemplation of life things and places and people. It’s been so long

that I don’t remember if we used to talk quite this way but I like that we talk this way now. During our first hug I notice our height difference

and during our second hug I remember that we shared a chair once for an Acher lecture and it’s from then that our faces ended up on the Pardes brochures

while it is only as we hug a third and fourth time at the door that I fully realize you weren’t here and now you’re here and now you’re going

Thursday, April 25, 2013

29 toward the Omer

(During the fifth week of the Omer we recall the sefirah of Hod—translated both as splendor and as humility—and today we find lovingkindness and compassion within it)

Be kind to yourself in those moments when you wonder to yourself Maybe I am a Lamed Vavnik and then you think With that thought I invalidate the possibility

I don’t have a Messiah complex I have a Messiah, complex, who is as much me as anyone else, and I’ve made no attempt at saving the world anyway

(even though I dream of doing so. Oh how wondrous to just have everything fixed and all the people fed and no more spilling blood I’d just snap fingers

and sometimes when I pray I consider myself part of what keeps the world turning, like pressing down the knob on a salad spinner or treading a gerbil wheel

(although horrifying crap goes on here, the blood of our brother cries out from the ground and we step forward always forward, so maybe keeping it turning isn’t enough)

and I dream of prophecy, not just having knowledge but standing on a stage with my arms thrown wide and my eyes flashing and people Listening to my Message

(but what this message is remains unknown to me, I just know that whatever I will have to say it will be Important and people will Actually Pay Attention

because I know a lot of my desire to have them hear comes from a deep hatred of being tickled where when you say stop stop they don’t stop

and of dancing in a circle and the acceleration is now something beyond any of us or at least it is not me and I need it to end

there is a book slightly askew on a shelf not breathing but the bookshelf is in a glass case so I can never fix it but I need to

the righteous obsessive compulsive sees you throw plastic into a trash can says stop stop you’re tickling this hurt doesn’t stop please fix the world I can’t reach it))

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

28 toward the Omer

I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York

I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York

I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York I’m not ready to leave New York

Don’t panic you’re just getting your period Molly don’t worry it’s all gonna be fine it’s really fine you’ve done this before I’m not hush go to sleep

27 toward the Omer

if I’d watched my speech more carefully maybe we would never have gotten together maybe we never would have fallen apart but neither of these happened anyway

26 toward the Omer

There’s an unfinished section of the wall in the balcony of the Eldridge Street Synagogue and our tour guide asks us why we think that is

I raise my hand and suggest that it’s a reminder of the destroyed Temple that is not yet rebuilt (I didn’t actually say that last bit)

She tells us actually it’s there to demonstrate what state the synagogue was in before they restored it (really to show that they had restored it

because otherwise someone might walk in there and think it had always been just as beautiful as now but no they worked really hard you see

and there is little as frustrating as when someone sees you and thinks that you are not putting any effort into things but it took me

a long time to get to this place but there is no flap of skin you can lift to see the aged slats of wood underneath

I am no destroyed holy house nor will I be rebuilt I am no not yet what you see has always been my offer to you

Sunday, April 21, 2013

25 toward the Omer

The shadow from the lace mechitza falls across my open siddur so the apparatus separating me from everyone else creates at least one beautiful thing

Men together sharing a joyful purpose is also something beautiful and I observe maybe like God watches when two people find company in each other

My feminine presence once filled the whole room and so did God and then we did tsimtsum. Occasionally we regret it, wanting to mingle

but even though we want to take care of people sometimes it is more important for them to learn to seek and give comfort internally

Friday, April 19, 2013

24 toward the Omer

A bottle of hard cider sits on my counter
   Thinking of Noah and Aharon,
       I resolved not to drink when sad
          so it waits

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

23 toward the Omer

I am tempted to postpone writing for Day 23 until I have actually displayed some discipline and endurance but writing this solves it

22 toward the Omer

It is a tough week
with a kind interlude of chili and popcorn and friend and futon and The Secret of Kells

21 toward the Omer

I looked at the sky through my legs today
and ran across the grass with my arms spread as plane wings

Maybe some angels zoomed along with me
There’s a movie, Angels in the Outfield,
so I bet they’d’ve felt at home

20 toward the Omer

Getting enough sleep is essential
to functioning during halakha shiur
but prayer can be enhanced by a bit of tiredness

Like at Shavuot Shacharit when all I ask God for is a short Musaf and a bed waiting for me

That’s not true.
Last Shavuot I did not ask for those things
although Musaf was ridiculous
and I exhausted laughed

Even so nothing pulls me like my desire to return to sleep does
other than my desire to keep reading

I think of those who heard and felt the explosions this afternoon. May compassion reign supreme soon in our days

Sunday, April 14, 2013

19 toward the Omer

I hope you and I would still have become friends even if I had not been lonely freshman year

We had an agreement that I could chatter nonstop and you would only listen to thirty percent of it

You surely paid more attention than that while I skipped in order to keep up with your long strides

18 toward the Omer

You tell me about the day
when your son
                        went into the kitchen
                                    and you realized he was crying

            you quote him to me,
                        For what do people get born
                                    when no matter what they die?

God made it
            so people died,
                        you tell me you told him,
                                    else the next generation
                                                wouldn’t fit!

You tell me this story
            about eight times
                        in the course of an hour
                                    so I still remember

Thursday, April 11, 2013

17 toward the Omer

Tiferet sheb’Tiferet: Hannah (Omer Calendar of Biblical Women)

There are times
            when I wait
                        for someone who isn’t God
                                    to appear and keep me company

Other times
            I sing to God in private
                        and really would prefer
                                    that the door stay closed

One time
            you opened the door
                        and I shut up
                                    and was silent around you
                                                all afternoon

It was kind of like when that boy in middle school opened the bathroom door on me
I was horrified that he saw me naked staring at myself in the mirror but thrilled too

My beauty
            should be for God
                        and for my husband?
                                    My beauty
                                                should be for
                                                            the universe

16 toward the Omer

A pause as compassion
        starts its journey toward you
                Billows expand then contract
                        It leaps upward,

reaches hands forward, diving
        between the reefs of vocal chords
                where it gets trapped
                        and thrashes

Its struggles set the mucous membrane
        into nervous flutters
                that lend shape
                to its dying

Lame and faint
        the breath releases itself
                through dry parted lips
                        “I’m sorry
                        to hear that”

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

15 toward the Omer

She offers Neil Gaiman nosh            that has been waiting patiently by            while he enthralls us
Neil Gaiman tells her       "I would love a strawberry"       "I will definitely take some     strawberries"

14 toward the Omer

I draw myself up                to my most regal height              in my best Shabbos clothing
There is majesty in my posture         and in the narrowness        emphasized by my skirt
Gliding across the room              in the Chabad school building             is one of my joys
For I love       being taken        for a kind person       of grace      and unmarred elegance
Though I wish      that kind elegant unmarred graceful persons     weren’t hit on as often

Monday, April 8, 2013

13 toward the Omer

How happy it is to exult in front of an ark on Shabbat!
How glorious it is to sing with others in praise of our God!
How calming it is to know that our dancing has a holy purpose!
How worrisome it is to learn that a mouse died in the sink!

12 toward the Omer

I look down at my boots in the back of Naftali's truck
while I lounge on tarps next to a table that we're moving

There is no seatbelt and every once in a while I worry
that either I or the table is going to slide too much

but I think of the New York City subway and feel calm

11 toward the Omer

When considering, today, the natures of aloneness and companionship
I wondered how each of my cells feels among the rest

Is there a way to express the opposite of being alone
that doesn't make mention of the existence of other discrete entities?

I am not sure that there is companionship except in knowing
that the person standing next to you is also alone here

Black holes have event horizons and we too have a point
at which we'd just become each other and be alone together

There is the beginning of healing in recognizing our semipermeable membranes

Friday, April 5, 2013

10 toward the Omer

First, ten syllables per line, for I love iambic pentameter.

When harmony and discipline align
the universe expands in stately time
and galaxies aglow with mellow light
cavort in darkest space like butterflies

And though I think it’s dangerous to find
significance in every verse that rhymes
it seems that every now and then it might
make sense to see what meanings do arise

Does harmony require compromise?
Can love go on when lives don’t coincide?

Second, the traditional ten words per line.

This morning I woke up an hour and a half
before my cell phone alarm would have woken me up
and I decided to keep from turning my computer on
until after I had done at least one productive thing

That’s how I came to daven Psukei d’Zimrah and Shacharit
with tallis and tefillin and the prelims and the postlims
I started by putting a sweater back in its drawer
and ended a few minutes earlier than I would have

if I hadn’t remembered that we are still in Nissan
and therefore no matter what I feel there’s no Tachanun

Thursday, April 4, 2013

9 toward the Omer

Gevurah within Gevurah as the blankets nestle never tighter
around a sleeping figure content with power the world
has always known in its most constant quiet harmonies
The mild serene being neither contains nor is contained
It is neither black hole nor body emitting light
Lines on its face are neither cruel nor manic
There is no tension or force to be found
Solid through and soft with just the right heft
Its space taking up the right amount of space

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

8 toward the Omer

A young woman advises a friend by phone.
I tap her and give her thumbs up
when she mentions she's heard but cannot verify
that on yontif it is preferable when showering
to wash each part of the body separately.
After she hangs up we start talking Jewish,
dropping yeshivas, dripping Ashkenazis, and I am aware
of my blue jeansed legs crossing and uncrossing
and feel guilt and discomfort when I realize
I present like one who once was derekhed
instead of like one who might never arrive

*derekh: way, path

7 toward the Omer

People on the balcony across from me
are hammering away at a plastic container.
They pass the hammer back and forth,
he without gloves, she in yellow gloves.

I would say that I'd been trying
to identify the source of the sound
for weeks, but that is not true.
I had wondered, sure, but never looked.

A white dog weaves around their ankles.

6 toward the Omer

Paul du Chaillu discovered the gorillas
and gave smallpox to Gabonese people

The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle scares me
while I consider Harvard Divinity School

My head is deep within Gemara
and my skin distinctly remembers God

I wash my hands by Halakha
and my shoulder distinctly remembers God

At what point do the answers
get buried under searching for them?

At what point do the answers
get smothered under caring for them?

I never asked to see God
under a microscope. Had no need

Saturday, March 30, 2013

5 toward the Omer

"All real living is meeting."
—a quote from Martin Buber

Every once in a while
I talk too much and
forget to listen for God

I realized two days ago
that I also generally fail
to ask God any questions

When writing Grandma these days
I don't ask her questions

so it doesn't feel awkward
that she doesn't write back

but I think God might
or maybe God should feel
just a little bit awkward

4 toward the Omer

There are times when
God seems closer than
the people around me

And other times when
the people around me
seem closer than God

And by closer I
actually mean more real
or more in focus

It’s as if I’m
located at the intersection
of perpendicular planes within
a multidimensional coordinate system

Friday, March 29, 2013

3 toward the Omer

Should I doubt
my sense of
God since it
varies from room
to room and
I've known for
a while that
it really depends
on how much
air is blowing
through the vents

That's really the
reason why I
sense God much
more predictably at
night when taking
a walk or
sitting on a
bench with you

There is a
silence that gives
me a sense
of God in
that low hush
of leaves rustling
in the wind

But maybe I'm
just remembering my
mother's swishy uterus

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Why I wear them today

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the Israelites and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments for all generations. They shall attach to the tassel at each corner a thread of blue. This shall be your tassel, and when you visit a woman at Jewish Home Lifecare she shall see it and remember who you are, the girl who wears tassels, and not stray into believing she has not met you before, falling into forgetfulness. Thus you will be reminded to keep all My commandments, and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.

2 toward the Omer

I decide
to wait
til later
to praise
the Holy
One Who's
Blessed cuz

I don't
think I
feel like
it quite
yet but

as I
remove my
tefillin I
notice I'm
humming a
tune from
Hallel and

I realize
that I
do indeed
feel like
it but

I decide
to wait
til later
to praise
the Holy
One Who's
Blessed cuz

1 toward the Omer


Monday, March 25, 2013


Almost finished with my pre-Pesach shower
I reach for the clear bottle of
turquoise body wash
"infused with
exfoliating sea salts"

I touch the perfume of our deliverance
to the backs of my ears

Sunday, March 24, 2013


sky yum
scry some
sea moon
I hum
sigh sun
see soon

requested by Joel Goldstein

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

for now I too walk in a world
that seems full of everything except you

based on Psalm 131

It’s been a while.

I don’t expect much anymore,
just go about my days,
bed to school to work to bed.

God, I used to know you were there
but I am not so sure anymore.
I have lost my pride,
my condescension toward agnostics
for now I too walk in a world
that seems full of everything except you.

Do you remember the synagogue
that seemed to have hundreds of pews
and you and I were the only ones there?

Or the time you were in the rainy windy mist
in the parking lot outside of my Hebrew school?

How about the evening at summer camp in Minnesota
where the moon set over the lake just a little too fast
and I became fearful and bowed and pleaded?

And surely you must remember when I sang to you
in a hotel room in DC during high school Model UN
and I didn’t have friends with me and everybody else
was at a dance and I was oh so lonely and I think I cried?

What about those nights at Harvard
when I would sit on the ledge of the largest library
and look out through the branches of a tree at the starry sky
with my arms around my knees in the coolness of the season
and bask in the quiet truth of being with you for timeless minutes?

I don’t think I deserve to see you
more than anyone else does. There is no reason
why I should have superior knowledge of the Divine.
But I miss you
like a weaned child misses her mother,
wondering were you ever there? was it a dream? did I imagine you?
I’ve taught myself to be contented with the occasional glimmer
of connection, not to seek unbidden,
not to reach out.
I’ve learned to think of myself
as grown up.
You don’t have to put your hands on my back as I ride my tricycle
graduate college
enter and leave relationships
Really, I’m fine
just reading your laws
wrapping on boxes
relying on memories

But I am here
waiting for you, God,
now and forever

Trusting in God feels like a hug

based on Psalm 125

Trusting in God feels like a hug,
like trees filled with wind,
like blankets close and warm,
like silence underwater,
like a huddle of puppies,
like enveloping music
of trumpets and harps,
like an unshakable, excellent mood,
like the walls of a library and the arms of an armchair,
like my parents stroking my hair,
like wet grass on my back,
like a tallis, like onesie pyjamas,
like the forts my cousins and I made in the family room
out of chairs and cushions and sleeping bags,
Like the maze of Manhattan. Like a bath full of bubbles.
Like a pile of leaves,
a circle of dancers, a dimly-lit restaurant,
a garden with benches, a shower of sunlight,
a cocoon of hot sand.
I trust and God hugs me
like the hills hug Jerusalem
keeping Zion secure
from the darkest of forces
like an unrolled Torah
hugs a congregation
staring in wonder
at the spaces and letters
like the stars hug the Earth
in their spirals and wheelings
and the penguins their eggs
with webbed feet and underbellies
and great tenderness.
I will not blow away
like so many leaves in a puff
of anger and despair and loneliness
for I trust in my trust
that just as a mother
holds a baby in her arms
God will enfold God’s people
now and forever.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Working with Psalm 119

Amazed and joyful are those who get straight As,
who follow the teaching of the teacher.
Amazed and cheery are those who study diligently,
who follow the teacher’s chalk on the chalkboard.
Always I will sing the praises
of the one who grades my essays.
By which means can a student stay focused?—
by following your instruction.
Because I have resolved to work on this paper,
do not let me open up Facebook.
Beating inside me is a heart
that treasures your writing prompts.
Cast your favor upon me, your student,
that I may graduate and make you proud.
Clean my textbook of mistaken underlining,
that I may perceive the gist of the chapter.
Class is full of spitballs and taunts,
but I still long for your affirming gold stars.
Dust is all I am before you;
make me a human through your guiding words.
Daunted am I in the face of my homework;
keep me awake as I solve the equations.
Day by day I choose to seek out your teaching;
your spelling rules purify my mind and my prose.
Earnest am I in my desire to learn;
teach me to research and write a good abstract.
Everything distracting remove from my vision,
and I will soak up all the words that you say.
Embellishments fill up my peers’ paper margins;
remove me from doodles and bring me to notes.
Feeling your love would encourage me greatly;
give me a pat on the back or the head.
Forever I’ll follow your rules and your methods,
for I have decided to trust in your guidance.
From playground to playground I speak of your greatness;
I am not embarrassed to study my notes.
Give your student a sign that you have not forgotten
to give me a grade that reflects my devotion.
Gone are the days that I played on the playground
with students who mocked you for really little things.
Gratitude fills me at night when I study
for now I am careful to practice with flashcards.
How often have I begged you with all of my heart;
have mercy on me, in accordance with your grading curve.
High GPAs are awarded to others
but I trust in fairness and don’t cheat on finals.
Halfway to dawn I look up from my desk
and praise you for your just rules.
Insights you give me according to my abilities;
you have treated your student well.
In earlier years I too shot some spitballs,
but now I keep your laws.
I prefer the teaching you give me
to thousands of sour jawbreakers.
Joyful will be those who see me obey you,
for I have committed to watching my grammar.
Just as you promised me early in autumn
may your constant attention comfort me.
Jubilantly may I follow your laws
so that I do not go to detention.
Kindness I long for;
I hope for your A.
Kicking and screaming they dragged me through mud,
flouting your playground rules.
Kids in their teasing almost defeated me,
but I still completed my homework.
Long will you stand at the front of the classroom;
your word stands firm in the hallways.
Life is a gift when I follow your teaching;
I am your student; save me!
Laughing they tear up my flashcards and homework
but I ponder your math proofs.
Man oh man how I love your teaching!
It is my study all day long.
More information than in all other years
have I learned from you.
My mind ponders your standards;
therefore I hate all cheating.
Never have I felt more faint;
o teacher, give me an A in accordance with your word.
Negative and positive charges are my eternal heritage;
your lessons are my heart’s delight.
Neither cheaters nor gum chewers
will weaken my resolve.
Oh how I hate the students who cheat,
but I love your teaching.
On til the end of the day you will guide me;
I hope for your comments.
Oration directed at cheaters terrifies me;
I am in awe of your moral code.
Please keep me safe from the fools in the playground,
for I have done what is just and right.
Perjury is rampant within your classroom;
it is a time to act for the teacher.
Place me highly within the grading curve;
give me understanding, that I might know your rubric.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Working with Psalm 122

I rejoiced when he said,
Let’s go to Jerusalem.
Our feet stood inside your gates, O Jerusalem,
stood on flat stone, our hands clutched our knapsack ties,
our eyes lifted up to the clothing above the pathways,
our heads turned to catch the glimmer of a tourist’s earrings,
turned back to hear a merchant.
I sat on a stoop and took photographs of people’s feet
as they descended the shallow steps
and bought a ring that turned my finger green.
I drank coffee in your shops, Jerusalem.
I made pilgrimage to your walls,
put my hand on your walls, closed my eyes, O Jerusalem,
leaned my forehead on your walls, kissed your walls with my forehead
and prayed for the well-being of Jerusalem.

Monday, February 18, 2013


See this girl?
Now this one
is a troublemaker

Sometimes she's nice to me
and sometimes she's mean
I don't know why

I'm going to find you a husband
before you move out
of this building

If you bring a boy home
then change your mind
I'll get him out of here

I always take care
of the women in this building

You see, this poem here
you put yourself into this poem
I can tell it's real

You should write a poem about me
it better come from here (the heart)

See this girl?
She's writing a poem about me
I'm still waiting

How is your grandmother?
Your grandmother,
you went to visit her

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Poetry Paper

a line
is just a line
and a word a word

my father
speaks in rhymes
and the Sandman in verse

Take me away
dreamer of dreams
to a place half-known

with analysis
til morning

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Marbim B'Simcha

Happy new month! Today is the first day of the Hebrew month of Adar, a month whose arrival acts as an encouragement to increase in joy/happiness.

What might you do intentionally this month to increase happiness for yourself and in the world? Friends' ideas so far include eating and drinking exactly what you want, giving to the poor, giving gifts to each other, and, yes, fart jokes. I hope to write or upload a little something here each day.

Here is one of today's joys:

Download Billy Wylder's single "Vineyard" for free here. And watch the actual music video here! Avi Salloway, featured musician in the band, is an acquaintance of mine from the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Summer 2012.

Friday, February 1, 2013


You might try to find me
in all of my curves
and crevices

Look instead
in the brick patio park
with the benches and the trees

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

In response to Alan S. B.

the sun
lights upon
the sediment
collecting in our hearts

I did not realize

that green things
could still grow there

Monday, January 21, 2013


She cuts her toenails stands up strikes a dramatic pose
Ready to visit some old people

Friday, January 18, 2013

Guest post

My friend writes
the shortest
of anyone
I know.
They go as long as
and then

--Joel Knopf (

Friday, January 11, 2013


When we sing and rock in our chairs your voice sounds louder then softer then louder again like the closeness of the ground with each whoosh downwards of the swing in the park where I contemplated the relative heights of trees and houses and thought I could live there for sure I could live in that house someday

There was that time you sat down next to me during services and I borrowed a siddur from you and then when I gave it back at the end I kissed it and then you kissed it before putting it away and I thought to myself that's the only kiss we'll ever know and I wrote down that line because it sounded like a good ending to a story

I want to whirl in my dresses in front of you pull them out of the closet toss them on my bed and put them on one by one so there would finally be someone to share in my childish vanity at which point it wouldn't really be vanity any more it would be something about glory and joy in a ridiculous way and maybe you'd even get up from where you'd be sitting in a chair and hug me

And then after hugging we could sit opposite each other on the floor or maybe on the couch if our backs were tired and look at each other for a while and I could tell you about the divinity school eye contact course description I had just read that said that no matter which culture you're talking about people only really look at each other for more than ten seconds at a time if they're about to fight or if they're lovers and then you'd hit me over the head with a pillow as a joke

It's best if you interpret all of my rambling about graduate school applications and the soda bottles lined up on my counter tonight that I took home from yeshiva because no one else took them although I don't even drink diet soda as serving the phatic function which means that those sentences can be described as fulfilling the requirement of "meein chatima samuch lchatima" which means that anything directly preceding With Love, Molly is just another way of saying the same thing

Thursday, January 3, 2013


I notice a space inside my ribcage
I wasn't aware of it a minute ago
something is sinking there
or maybe withdrawing
that's a better word
I notice
that I've kinda lost the will
to do stuff
And I think, oh
this is the feeling
you were thinking of
when you said you didn't want
to hurt me