Tuesday, May 30, 2017

45-49 toward the Omer

tiferet/netzach/hod/yesod/malkhut shebmalkhut

It would be tempting to say that I was too present with the world to write poems in their times for the last five days of presence week but that would not necessarily satisfy me, in any case it is these words in a rush,

a contemplative rush, a still somewhat filtered rush, a rush with pauses, a rush with backspaces, a rush with eddies one could say, and somehow no matter what happens the current carries forward, at the end the preparation has happened and we are standing here again,

standing right here again, what shape will I receive this time, what flowers will grow out of me, what thunder shall reverberate through my chest and not shatter me, what poem can I write in twenty minutes that I am not ashamed of without having to rely

on saying that it was written in twenty minutes, what are the words that glow with where they came from, what will ignite the glow that they could come from, ignite is not the right word, what bed will allow the glow to rest and smile, to sleep

and dream out a new beginning, a new old beginning, a love, a love rooted in my circulation, what is the preparation, there is no preparation, the words run out just in time for the words to come again, the words run out, they run out just in time

Monday, May 29, 2017

44 toward the Omer

gevurah shebmalkhut

I almost stop because the pen ran out of ink but find a pen with ink in my bag and put the pen without ink back in the bag although I won’t use it again and notice what I’ve done and keep on writing.

43 toward the Omer

chesed shebmalkhut

They drive over an hour twice to be with me in my jet-lagged state or maybe to hang out with my family’s dogs and maybe jokes are helpful for friendships like this. We store up each other’s hugs for another length of time.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

41 toward the Omer

Tel Aviv
yesod shebyesod

The eyes of the man holding the Torah in Chagall's "Solitude" look nowhere. The Torah tilts away. Observing analysts might say their relationship is headed south. God says You don't have to figure out how to be closer to me I'm here.

I stop in my southward walk along the shore. Sand and water cover, recede, cover. The longer I stay, the more I sink in. I walk again. The two men who'd approached me follow, and I find refuge with three strangers.

42 toward the Omer

malkhut shebyesod

Tel Aviv-New York-Baltimore

Due to travel there are approximately thirty-one hours of today today. They conclude that my friend’s mother’s gift of olive oil from their trees is safe enough to stay with me. The airplane meal packaging says at least one blessing to say.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

40 toward the Omer

Jenin-Ramallah-Jerusalem-Tel Aviv
hod shebyesod

Her mother says she would like to hear Havdalah and I make it. Why does it say who separates between Israel and the peoples? I talk about Yaakov, about commandments. None of us are satisfied.

Upstairs, I think: God separates but the word between comes to show us three: Between of holy and secular: chol hamoed; Light, dark: dawn; Shabbat, the six days of doing: bein hashmashot; Israel, the peoples: and I am not satisfied.

In the car as we wait for my friend and their brother to return the three of us return to the basics. Hajara, waraqa, maqas! Our hands bump, cover, snip. We laugh, satisfied, and play again, and again, and again.

I keep my open passport and visa flattened against the plastic as the young women in uniform peer and process. One eventually gives me a smile and two thumbs up. After the bus, I cross the line with my possessions.

Five years of turning the kaleidoscope. The jewel-toned pieces jumble into their final display over a Tel Aviv patio. They love each other, and it's beautiful. He rolls tobacco. I luxuriate in the hammock, and then it's time to leave.

39 toward the Omer

netzach shebyesod

The only full day together and yet it is here and it will always be here and it is raining, she sticks her arm out of the window and drinks the water off and says try it, it's delicious

Thursday, May 18, 2017

38 toward the Omer

tiferet shebyesod

She balances upside-down in her soldier's garb, based by her friend, who lies on the small carpet on the linoleum, legs vertical, feet flexed. With small pawing steps to her hip joints, he guides her to rotate around.

37 toward the Omer

gevurah shebyesod

Unsure, I listen, and the world says it's okay, child. I settle in. A young cat arrives, jumps onto the trash in the public trash bin, paws around a little, and leaves to the wall behind me.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

36 toward the Omer

As I say chesed shebyesod I exhale into a rest I hadn't known I'd been waiting for. Did you know your soul wants to be with you as much as you want to be with it?

35 toward the Omer

malkhut shebhod

I stand alone at night, remember another, remember older knowledge, remember sharing. Please, could you trust past me more than me? My teachers' teacher tells me my teachers interpret him better than he can himself.

I stumble over a crack in the pavement I've been rolling out over the older road, having forgotten that some things last forever in this dry heat, just waiting to rise, to break up again

I only get there on time because I realize I am too late to get there on my own. I eat ice cream for breakfast to great admiration. It's all I had, I say, pleased.

Monday, May 15, 2017

34 toward the Omer

yesod shebhod

Someone is playing guitar so I ask to join. I am given a hot dog. Everything is kosher, they say. What do you think of the conflict? one asks. Trees overlook the scattered bonfires.

33 toward the Omer

hod shebhod

To want to be a gadol--and to confess it over tea near what may not be a carob tree, to find relief in company, to let God's presence come to rest again

32 toward the Omer

netzach shebhod

I walk home. My shadow appears before me, magnificent. It says: I am your projection. It says: Remember who you are a projection of. I enter the dark apartment together and rest.

31 toward the Omer

Beit Sahour
tiferet shebhod

She lays out olives from her trees and I eat. Bitter, I do not say. Did you expect the fruit of peace to taste the same everywhere, she does not say.

30 toward the Omer

Outside Bethlehem
gevurah shebhod

Lowering my foot: I love the land. Raising my foot: I let go of it. Lowering my foot: I love the land. Raising my foot: I let go of it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

29 toward the Omer

chesed shebhod

A day of not being more than I am and not being any less for it. The heat stays. The street noises. Yavni makes us a whole seven eggs.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

28 toward the Omer

malkhut shebnetzach

She walks down the basement studio stairs
to wash the last of yesterday's paintbrushes,
finds her self again across from canvas
daubing squares and shine upon old layers,

she and easel pausing time once more
among the artworks stacked against the walls
instead of shown--though she's less critical
of her decisions than she'd been before

the wording wasn't will, instead was might,
before the question was about a life
ongoing, not about if life's lived right,
before a melded answer came to light--

Returning after she could have been done
the creator smiles, her fountain flowing on

Returning after she could have been done
the creator smiles, her fountain flowing on

27 toward the Omer

yesod shebnetzach

One hand of the man who when he asked if he could join me on the bench I said please plants next to my hip then retreats,

chastened. The other breaks off a leafing twig as he walks away around the corner. My other hand brushes a red ant off my leg. I try

to listen to myself but there is too much trying, or maybe listening is not what I need, or maybe I'm past that. The man who lives

by selling tells me I looked scared before sitting with him in his shop and I say I had not wanted to buy anything. He invites me

return, whenever, and I have forgotten how to say Inshallah so I say if I don't come back it's not that I didn't want to. I ask

if he shakes hands. I take a picture of his intersection to remember then walk on, hello, with peace, need to get to the wall, remember him

nine years ago saying another probably pursued me cause I was pretty but not so pretty that I'd be used to the attention so I'd be flattered,

an easier target shall we say and I say wow okay now I know the what to heal in myself today at the wall the wall says

am I not the luckiest I get to be with everyone by being between them though sometimes it seems they're trying to see right through me the

pigeons say remember the time we brought you a leafing twig and you realized there was more life than you and you grew drink were you laughing

or crying the wall says all this crumpled paper makes it hard for anything to come out of me anymore what if I want to crumble pray

dew softens it I say do I touch you or push you how can my hands be light enough how can hands be more for giving

Sunday, May 7, 2017

26 toward the Omer

hod shebnetzach

I left the orchard seven years ago and now am back, it's the same, though I did not remember the quiet, the wind, the windows

Hard to stay long with all the dying the mind-leavetaking the frenzy of hacking but really is the rest of the world less of a scar

(the secret is here but the whisper speaks for either a moment or eternity and neither is the scale at which I can listen and live

what they cite as evidence was method was principle come in peace go in peace never stop moving remain perpetually rested unrested unbested untested uncertain untouchable)

25 toward the Omer

netzach shebnetzach

Dinner with family, sixteen hours' sleep, a walk by the beach, invited for coffee--good thing they decreed Shabbat a bit more than just twenty-four

24 toward the Omer

-Tel Aviv
tiferet shebnetzach

My first success this time is not taking the transportation in the wrong direction, turns out where is the bus is not enough of the question

23 toward the Omer

gevurah shebnetzach

do I bring pants or skirts and how many of each how long and do I want my siddur and now I'm flying

and then a family from Kuwait their flight is more than three hours from now so the boarding pass place is still closed

she touches my face and asks if I want to join them and I say I have work to do which is true

and I got a lot of it done and the conversation's left open, could have been, there better be good tea in heaven

22 toward the Omer

chesed shebnetzach

The feeling of finally, of home, of done, of still there, of pass, of family, of four rushed MadLibs, of three dogs

Saturday, May 6, 2017

21 toward the Omer

malkhut shebitferet

At night he shows us
baby pictures I had
never seen before and
my first reaction is
what a weird-looking baby

my second,
aversion to my first

my third,
just look at my parents
looking at me

In the afternoon in the shower
I say I'm sorry
wash the length of my body
step out of the water

one beloved foot after another

20 toward the Omer

yesod shebitferet

Two drives done, two to go (not that I know)--and in the middle, this table of five in Minnesota

Thursday, May 4, 2017

18-19 toward the Omer

Netzach shebitferet
Hod shebitferet

Guest poet
Jen Wenz

Heart’s fissure
splurting, bubbling,
boiling, spewing,
blue, yellow,
molten mud,
sulphur steam.
thermophiles thrive
enduring in the heat
enduring in the acid

Body’s branches
brittle, breaking,
burning, bowing,
forest opens
seeds open

Soul’s canyons
cracked, ancient,
shifting, washed
red rock

Driving east:
Mountain says, I got your back
says, i’m here, even when the rain rolls in
even when the fires roar,
even, even when i’m a yearning
begging to be born.

you came to find the me in you