Wednesday, August 26, 2009

G?d is in this place and I did not know it

When I emerge from my resistance to the people and circumstances that surround me, I begin to notice the sea of grace and opportunity and wonder inherent in the people and circumstances I have been gifted with, and notice like Yaakov (Jacob) "G?d is in this place and I did not know it."

When I have a headache I often want to get rid of it so that I can "get on with stuff." But the headache is the "stuff" I have been given to get "on with" and if I put aside all my imaginary chores, none of which will necessarily bear the fruit I imagine they will, then I am free to be with my headache for as long as it persists. Of course I will use this as a strategy to get rid of it - "maybe if I meet the headache it will dissolve of its own accord" - and this precondition will prevent a true meeting, although the headach may stay or it may go.

The more I develop the capacity to let go
the more I see bracha
in my life
this is the not-so-secret meaning of
"Harpeyu vedeyu sheanochi Elohim"
"Release and know that I am Lord"
seems sometimes you need to duck and dive
to get there alive

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Notes on fathers and sons

August 2010
Holding On

my son is playing the piano
for my dad
over the phone
invisible electromagnetic radiation of the wireless phone
the thin chariot facilitating our
tenuous yet irrevocable connection
and I encourage and acknowledge him
as a good father should
wanting to model for my 78 year old dad with Alzheimer's
how he could have been with us

Saba Ronnie

my son is playing the piano
for my dad
and I am showing him off:
"see... see the beautiful thing
that has come forth from me"
and it is all normal and natural
except that I am in Sydney
and my dad is in Sandringham Gardens
an old aged home in Johannesburg
"it sounds lovely" he says "very good."
and I, hyper aware of this constructed grandpa I build
for the boys, or perhaps for myself
from silences and absences
from a few words over the phone,
wanting there to be the solidity of dynasty
rather than the flimsiness of the orphanage
do my duty
and quietly grieve.
early 2010?

My dad seems to be going to his grave
as mutely as he lived
without saying the things I've waited all my life to hear
so I must turn to avinu shebashamayim uvaaretz
our father that is in heaven and in earth
the father of all sons and fathers
to hear the words I long to hear


I am playing soccer with my sons in Diamond Bay reserve, Sydney
as my father played cricket with me in Waverly, Johannesburg
as my sons perhaps will play with their sons in San Francisco or Tel Aviv
and I look at them in the fading dusk
wanting them to have the same sweet memories
and I am them and they are me
all fathers and sons endlessly
and the Lord of soccer looks out of my eyes at their me
the Lord of hosts

I am playing soccer with my sons in Sydney
as my father played cricket with me in Johannesburg
as my sons perhaps will play with theirs somewhere
and I look at them in the fading dusk
and I am them and they are me
all fathers and sons endlessly
and the Father of All looks out of my eyes at their me

april 2010


I am talking to my father in South Africa
via an intangible connection
and I am the thin line stretching between him in the old age home
and the boy in the bed beside me
long eyelashes shading
ruddy red cheeks
my father tries to dredge up words to say
Alzheimer's has made even bigger holes in the net
he uses to scoop the slippery thought fish up with
he finds a big familiar one and presents it to me
"how are the boys?"
Is it only packets of electrons
whizzing through the ether that connect us?
I talk upbeat phatic gestures
into the great silence that beckons and defeats
then stop
always I will grieve for a dad and try to become one to myself and the sons I have been given

when he wakes up in the morning
I might tell him I spoke to Saba last night
and he will say "Oh" and then, politely
"How is he?" before turning back to his life
without waiting for an answer

My passivity seemingly grows,
til it is so large
I cannot locate it, or blame it
on any other than myself

When someone is showing someone else
around his hometown
(whether by birth or adoption)
they show it off as if they made it all themselves
"this is the north head
this is the south
this is Mandela's house
and Montefiore's windmill
my apartheid museum
my pacific ocean
my heroic six day war"
and there is something very good in this
that we surge towards sharing familiar delights

see May 30th of diary for rest of poem to transcribe

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Don't Worry I Can Never Get Enougth Of

Don't worry
you will not forget
and if you forget
it will not matter
and if it matters
life will remind you

I can never get enough of
sea and sand
light and shade
penis and vagina
hand and mouth
alone and together
speaking and silence

Sunday, August 16, 2009

BaMisaadah (In the Restaurant)

See also shirim-ve-tehillim-poems-and-psalms

אני משכיב את בני
ויום אחד הוא ישכיב אותי

ברוך המקום
ברוך הוא
ברוך שאמר
והיה העולם
ברוך במזיד
ברוך בשוגג
ברוך הרוצח
וברוך הנרצח
ברוך הפין
וברוך הנרתיק
ברוך המברך
וברוך המקלל
ברוך המקום
ברוך הוא

יש אנשים שנכנסים אל הים
כמו אל מאהב חדש
יש אנשים שנכנסים אל הים
כמו אל מאהב ישן
יש כאילו שספק נכנסים
ספק בורחים
ויש שאינם נכנסים בכלל

הלהבה חולבת
את החיים מהעץ

ככל שתרצה
וככל שלא תרצה
אני יודע שיש משהו אחר
משהו גדול, משהו בהיר
צומך בקרבי
כמו אש

בלי סיבה
תקפה אותי
עצבות חדה
הילדים נהנו
הלקוחות לעסו
ואני לא ידעתי
מה פשר התהום

גם כי אלך
בנרתיק הצלמוות
היא תוליכיני
אל אצטדיון האפשרויות
כי עוד לא נגמלתי משדי נשים
שהן שדי החיים
של אל שדי

האתגר העיקרי
של המהגר לעולם הזה
הוא למצוא נקודת אחיזה
ואם לא כן
להשלים עם הרחיפה

הבית ריק
המקרר מפמזם לו
דמעות של שלווה
זולגות על לחיי

אפילו הפרות מפגינות
עם שלטים וכרוזים:
"דם הפרות הפקר" ו"דם הפרות אינו הפקר"
אבל בין כה וכה
עדיין הופכים אותם
למעילי עור ונעליים
וקציצות בשר

קטעי מחשבה:
איזה גוף פצצה
מצאו את עצמם
בדרך לשם
ללא חזרה
ללא תקנה

שלום אני כאן
תלטפי אותי שם
מתחת לאף
ומעבר לבלף

אוניה וים
אני פה, אבא שם
"אבינו שבא...
ואנו למטה

מילים אותי
שותפות, תשמעי
מלטפות הגלים
כבר להם אין מילים

ברכות הים
וברכות השדה
ברכות מבטך
הצנוע ויפה

שלום אני כאן
תלטפי אותי שם
מתחת לאף
ומעבר לבלף

שותפות אותי
מילים, תשמעי
הגלים מלטפים
כבר להם אין מילים

על חוף הגאולה
נפנפתי שלום
לכל מילותי
כמו מי שנפרד
מכל מי שאהב ואהבוני
ביום אחד

במקום ללכת לבית הכנסת להתפלל
אנחנו הולכים לים כדי להתפעל
השמש מכה בי, מרדים את המחשבות
לזמן קצר את עצמי אני מפסיק לענות

אני מריח את השקט הגדול
שעליו דיבר שלומו:
"כי עזה ממוות
מים רבים לא יכלו לכבותה
ונהרות לא ישטפוה"
אני פושט את גופי
ונשאר בבית

שאני יושב
עם הגאווה המוצנית שלי
והשקט המתנשא שלי
והמחשבות המפוחדות שלי
על "פוחזים וריקים"
וסלידתי מהאנושות
שצורכים והורסים והורסים וצורכים
אז אני מאחל לעצמי
לראות מעבר לשברירות שלי
אל עבר החלק האיתן שבי

bli sibah

takfa oti
atzvut chada
hayeladim nehenu
ha'anashim laasu
hachatichot flirtetu
veani lo yadati
ma pesher hatehom
she letocho tzallati

(For no reason apparent
in the eatery
a sudden sadness
settled on me
the children enjoyed
the customers gnawed
and I did not find
a hypothyses
why I fell
into the abyss)

migodel htza'ar vehake'ev hitchalti leechol

ani chash tarchish shemitrachesh belachash
bishnat tab"ach hatabach asah tevach bamitbach, asa mitvach im hakemach, aval miyad shachach, veafilu lenakot, lo tarach.

אני זן נדיר
צפור משונה

דובר אנגלית

שיושב בארצות הגולה

וכותב בעברית

האם חלק משירי

ראויים לפירסום?
איזה שאלה
קום בן אדם
להוציא אותם

You must work
until your legs and arms and toes and nose
and brains and
fall by the wayside / fall off

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Diary of an eco-warrior

I walk or ride my bike to the neigbourhood Coles to buy groceries. this gives me exercise, saves petrol, and reduces our carbon footprint. I take my own bags so as not to use the enviromentally damaging bags that the Coles cashiers are seemingly trained to proffer.

I try to go to Woolies more than Coles, because of their free range egg policy - Woolies has decreased the range of caged egg brands it stocks.

see my list of environmentally friendly products on this blog

(Where are the visionaries amongst Australia's retailing giants? Surely at staff induction they can train their shop floor pawns to encourage customers to bring their own bags? Its good to be an entrepreneur, its even better to be a visionary entrepreneur. )

I carefully read the ingredients of almost everything I buy. I aim to purchase cheeses made with non-animal rennet.

I buy free range eggs and trust that the labelling is reliable (more on this in another post)

I buy mayonaise made with "non caged" eggs.

I don't knowingly buy anything that contains palm oil, as palm oil plantings are causing much rain forest destruction, and helping to cause the displaqcement and posssible extinction of many species. I sympathise with the poor farmers who may be involved with this, but believe there may be more sustainable aternatives available to them, especially if demand dries up for palm oil.

I don't use those miserable micron thin bags made for fruit and veg - they look to me like absolute killers.

I go for organic milk, so hopefuly our booys are getting less growth hormones, antibiotics and the other shit that industrialised farming pumps into our animals.

I also aim to buy things that are produced locally, except for Israeli products, which I go out of my way to buy because, besides Israel producing the most delicious pickles, Turkish coffee, vegetarian burgers and sausages, and other dairy free products such as ice cream substitutes, there are many misinformed, misled or malicious people out there urging boycotts of Israeli goods, in order to support Shiite and Palestinian terrorism

There, so you see I'm a good little possum and you too can be...try a walk or cycle to your neighbourhood shop, and buy stuff that hopefully reduces suffering.

urban eco warrior back from night run to capture groceries

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

We have met the enemy and he is us # 2

One definition of a victim is someone who believes they are a victim. And as Byron Katie says in one of the film clips on, people wo they believe they are victims can be dangerous. I would add - very dangerous - both to themselves and others.

I guess when thinking about her words it seems she might be talking not so much about those to whom unwanted things happen, but to those who inherit the legacy of this.

Palestians and Israelis both believe themselves to be victims. And those who identify with either "side" also see themselves as victims, or as righteous supporters of the victims. And they too do - or wish to do - incredible violence. For example journalists who romanticise Palestinian resentment and bigotry and turn it into resistance, or the Christian right who support Palestinian dispossession because it seems to "fit" with their reading of their holy texts.

But it seems to me that a strong case can be made that the biggest enemy of the Palestinians is the Palestinians, or at least the recurrent ways of thinking that go along with much Moslem Palestinian identity - and exactly the same can be said of the Israeli - Jewish identity.

I would say the greates enemy of a functional Israel is the growing discourse of resentment which infiltrates much thinking there, the corruption, misgovernance, lack of belief in, and respect for, the rule of law, and the lack of clarity and concensus around the priorities Israelis want to set for themselves.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Running the City to Surf

The city to surf I ran alone
without a true friend
without a true home
dark footprint of humankind loomed over me
plasticup shards formed an angry sea
from their barbies the cows looked on wistfully:
"what has this to do with me?"

Land of "Sit boy" and Ruddo

Australia is a plastic bag
bringing the shopping home
Australia converses in invisible grooves
Australia is dabbling in charity
and living in indifference
Australia is jogging and blonde
Australia is privileging the dog
over the possum. the rabbit and the roo
(Australia is the oral fixation
of endless cooking shows)
Australia is smiling death-mask breakfast shows
Australia lights the shabbos candles
in Caulfield and Dover heights
Australia is where you come home to
from the Haj
Australia talks Gujarati
late at night on the train
Australia cannot imagine
the privation beyond
or in its back yard

Australia is here
Australia is now
a bloody great continent
grey green on the edges
blood red inside
take the oath of fealty
and jump through hoops
“if yer don’t like it mate
go back where you came from”

Australia says sorry
we hunted you down
and thought you weren’t human
Straylya’s a salesman called Khan
Bangladeshi till girl
cleaner from China
Lebanese builder
Japanese hooker
straylia’s a blacktown
in a white city
in a red desert
in a grey sea
Australia’s great courage
Australia’s great flatness
Australia’s dreamtime
and Christmas pudding
Australia turns yesterday’s
into tomorrows
revered history

Australia worships the comfort zone
Australia watches fish hunting on telly
a beer in hand
Australia is Anglo- Celtic castles
of sand
on Uluru’s back
Australia is being
close and distant
at the same time

eich beeretz hanofesh?
shatuach veshitchi ve sterili

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

On Shavuot and on Tu Be Av - the Jewish "Valentine's" Day


I am a devout non Torah Jew. What do I mean by that? Let me explain (listen carefully children.) I believe in G?d. I believe in the G?d of Adon Olam. I believe in a G?d who reveals Himself to Herself endlessly, and Herself to Himself, and Itself to Itself endlessly, over and over again without beginning or end. I believe in G-d the letter writer and letter deliverer, who makes many and infinitely varied cameos in Whalt Whitman's leaves of grass.

I neither believe or disbelieve in revelation at Sinai. Revelation at Sinai is three words. It is a thought. It is an idea. And all words, all thoughts, all ideas require a knower, a Knower, to be known. That which is the Knower precedes anything known. It is the screen upon which the known appears and dissapears, rises and falls. It seems to me to be far more urgent to investigate that which knows of Sinai than that which is known (Sinai). Without "me" , without that which is aware of ideas, there is no Sinai. The idea of Sinia stands or falls with me. To explore Sinai without exploring the explorer seems to me to be madness, stuntedness, a waste of "time". Judaism, like any ism, is a story, and stories have huge power, especialy when they have been told and retold, but to turn and face the loneliness that existed before the tale and after the that not a deeper, better place to rest? It seems to me that Hillel might have been referring to this when he says - in Meshechet Sukkot - "If I am here then everything is here, and if I am not here, then nothing is here."

(to be continued, when time and tide and G?d permit)

On Tu B' Av

Things I love about my partner

The clever way she leaves tops off bottles so that they absorb the flavours of the room (or fridge) and gain interesting new tastes

The money we save from not having to buy new bath plugs because the hairs that have gathered there stop the water from going out.

The way she’ll take the bike rack off the car leaving a metal hook behind in the chassis that then falls off who-knows-where rendering the 200$ thing useless, thus preventing any further mountain bike expeditions to distant locations , and saving us time money and lots of effort. I mean who needs recreation when you can have frustration.

Things she loves about me.

The way I artfully decorate our bedroom with my bits of dental floss

The way I skilfully draw her attention over and over again to four grapes or the remainder of the boys breakfast cereal that she threw away when they were, in my opinion, still edible.