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