Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Poems 5778 - 2018

Most of these poems are draft versions that were changed before submission
My greatest fear is to be invisible
My greatest aspiration is to be completely transparent

FB Nov 19

Kaf hakelah
the shame of being different
the fear of being the same
invisibility as a survival strategy
at least for a bit more time

Nov 15

I'm not safe and I'm not sorry

How many times must a coward act courageously in order to be reclassified? And vice a versa?

Into the void or a void?

In a stormy ocean
of reactivity
a raft made of silence
rescues me

Nov 4 2018

I have always run late
I only take the heaters
back down to the garage
in November
when the parsely is
already wilting in the heat
and once
I came back from leave
late, and my entire unit
had moved 400 kms north
and so I missed the war

I am a great believer in lifelong yearning

(Poem from 2016?)

inside I still feel like a young man
wanting to bed as many lovelies as he can
for the sweetness of skin
of silky down on the arm
and the soft apertures down there
but outside I'm ageing
I'm supposed to be settled and content with my lot
not staring at the strikingly tall blond schoolgirl
exploding out of her blouse

sweet regret

במקרה שלי
ה' הקדים תרופה למכה
לקח את אישתי
ונתן לי את שירלי

Ode to convicted criminals
O you manboys
with your hardened faces
with your addiction to scheming
with your permanent hunger
to get something for nothing
for which you are always
paying the price



O anxiety
you great cuddly
how you tripped me on the stairs
and on cold winter nights
kept me warm


O landfill
thy are beautiful
with thine stench
that assaills mine nostrils
with your clanking tracked great beasts
your fluttering plastic banners
and your noisy opportunists
wheeling overhead
"this is how you remind me
of what I really am"


Lezichro shel (in memory of) Natan Alterman

The Lord came down in a cloud
in a cloud
the Lord came down in a cloud
and She parted the veil of
mind from my sight
where it overlay Being
like a shroud, like a shroud.


(From 2009)

Returning home
from a few days away
my 7 and 9 year old
boys embraced me
teeth and eyes shining
in a huge soft hug.
Later we wrestled.
I, eyes shut
drunk with tiredness
their marshmallow blows
manna from heaven


Veyerastich Lee 

On death row with no escape
She smuggled me out beneath her cape
And when I could neither croak or sing
The Eternal gave me Her wedding ring


Don't keep jail's, abbatoirs,
psychiatric hospitals, factory farms,
locked Alzheimer's wards, women's shelters
and cemeteries
on the edge of your heart
build them in its centre
in plain view
so that the eyes may see what the hands are doing
like a soldier on the brink of madness
who goes home on leave
before he can participate in a massacre


When I boarded the train
instead of putting it overhead
I kept my pack
on my back
because I did not want
to slow the train down


In the afternoon
I write detailed directives
explaining to the grass how to grow
I sit up all night
managing peristaltic motion
and in the morning
I carefully supervise
the sunrise


Poem for Shabbat

I want to increase birds flying across the sky
I want to accumulate green leaves
I want there to be so many earthworms in the compost heap,
so many lemons on the tree,
that eyes grow heavy and sleep comes
before they ever are counted
I want loving touch for all who hunger
freely given and freely received
I want assett statements that reveal
the dams have been filled by our tears
the mind grooves erased by laughter
and the hearts hollow chambers
beating like drums round the fire


I see a headless rider
upon a nameless horse
ambling down
a weed-green road
they forded the river
five minutes or a year ago
nothing pursues or beckons them
stopping whenever to browse or stretch
if anything moves it is the
the rooted trees
float like clouds
and in the nearness
you can hear
the roar
of leaves

Lying here in a tepid bath of pain
trying to get that there's no one to blame

Bhuddist Demonstration

שאלות ותשובות

Who owes us something?
No one
Where must we get to?
No where
How must we get there
No way
Who are we?
What must we do

(Receiving is not necessarily an action)

At my father' hastily
cobbled together funeral
where a well meaning rabbi
who had never met my dad
the men, as is the orthodox custom,
were invited to each
throw in a few shovel fulls
of soil into the fresh grave
to participate in the mitzvah
of burying the dead, and once the grave
was mostly filled in, and the mourners, both
men and women
had begun to walk away
my sister, breathing
hard from the exertion
and a struggle long
fought, picked up the shovel
against the darkening
and added a few more
loads of
reclaimed earth,
being excluded
to include herself
In this last
and first right


אני מטפס למעלה
ממצוקי המוות
אל ארצות החיים
I am in the desert.
As if from nowhere
on the horizon
a dust - devil appears,
rapidly approaches
it grows, gathering height and girth
towering over me
I turn and run
my heart a
frightened creature in my chest
but am quickly overtaken,
enveloped. Resigned,
I close my eyes
only to discover
it is made
not from tiny flecks of cutting sand
but of love
and that
I am innocent
and always have been
it sweeps me up
takes me away
twirls me around
and deposits me
exactly where
i'm meant
to be


What was warm
now is cold
what was young
now is old
what was luxuriant
now is shorn
what has died
now is born


there is a
wounded beast
in my heart
it tries
but cannot
pull out
the shafts
because it has
not hands
but hooves


Oh I have been famous
in the kitchen
at the washing line
on hands and knees
with the carpet stain
or tossing and turning
in my humble bed


I look like a dowdy
middle aged man
and perhaps indeed
that's what I am
but a child-like heart
still beats in my chest
and like all hearts
it knows no rest
ready to thrill, to discover, to play
would that that heart be seen as well
and cause another heart to swell


I am being caught
more and more
off guard
by the ground


In the house seemingly alone
Ella chewing a nameless cow's bone
even tho she upped and went
I suddenly glimpse I can still be content

I am afraid
the silence
will swallow me

O son of Chavah and Adam
you do not need to be saved from the silence
Silence will save you

Ah, Presence, my bride
how beautiful your veils:


thank you
for the way
they part to reveal
your ever shifting beauty

Song of Presence

I stop at a robot*
- most beautiful red
I've ever seen
and love it no less
when it changes
to green
* traffic light


Into a mikvah of emotional pain
I ascend
to be delivered unto healing love
without end

Many of my friends
have been on a journey of not knowing
for quiet a while
and so have I

but I did not know it

Like immigration
when we counted the days
since we had arrived
until it was no longer significant
or remarkable


where we count the days
since something departed
until it is no longer significant
or remarkable


Like a merchant
who spreads out his wares
in what he imagines is an attractive way
to seduce passers by into his stall
so have I
spread out my imaginary wares
to seduce you
into loving me

and like a merchant
who spreads out his wares
before one who is hurrying
to another destination
so have I
spread my wares
before you

and like a merchant
whose wares are sound
and who knows that the call to enter
must come from within
not without


I think I am learning new and important meanings to the phrase "take it like a man":

Take your loneliness like a man
Take your aloneness like a man
Take the inescapability of now like a man, so that you may find a strange and new peace
Take the absolute necessity of letting go like a man
Take the fact that it makes no difference if you
apparently choose to unfurl your grip, or if Life simply stomps on your fingers
til they bruise, bleed and slip,

like a man

Take your loss of the illusion of control like a man
Take your addiction to stories, and hurl them into the great silence, like a man
Take your not knowing from minute to minute like a man
Take your non-ownership of any other human being like a man
Take the unexpected like a man
Take your loss of fake power like a man, so that you may discover where your real power lies
Take back the love that was never yours to possess or give away, but is always just there, sometimes forgotten for a short moment, like a man


Adaptible Poem for Shabbat

( or please substitute any other relevant name)
even though you have hair
growing out of your nose
and ears
(please substitute any other relevant body part here)
I still love, honour and respect
the light and life
I see in you


Now there arose a new king
who did evil in the sight of the lord
he turned the garden into a jungle
banned plastic bags from the kingdom
planted pumpkins and recycled dog shit
brought in monsterous chickens
that attacked and savaged the citizens
he let vermin run wild
they ate the cereal and sugar
but one day the people arose
and toppled that pretender to the throne
that charlatan man that would be king


I wear around my neck
like a protective amulet
"she's dead
she's dead

she's gone
she's gone

and she's not 
coming back "

I even said kaddish in shul for her
just to help me get it

"we carry the affair around like some kind of pregnancy and who knows what will be born from it."

Can I be loved or can I be love?

I am angry that the sun is shining on the neighbours' house.
I had expected it to behave appropriately and only shine on mine.

i don't need a partner
to be whole
i just need to stop telling myself I'm incomplete


late afternoon
when the shadows fall
and the fear of night
is the time
I most prefer
the company
of friends


אני, ולא אחר
שומר עליך
כי בעצם
לא על מה
שאתה חושב שאתה
אלא על מה
שאתה באמת


you are such a beautiful bride
I do not find any blemish in you
and nor do you age and wither

walk slowly
as if you were going to your own death
which you are


Just as on Pesach
we open the door
so that Ayliyahhoo the prophet
may also drink
from the cup of freedom

so every liberation
requires we open
a hithertoo closed
door in our heart

I have been exiled from exile

there is a bird
under the piano
and it sings

there is a bird
in my heart
and it sings

I am angry with words. They have deceived me.

Am I losing my wife but gaining myself?

I am a meat eating vegan

Where the hell are we?
In this place zombies
watch endless cooking shows
listen all night
to call centre music
that is changed
only once
every called has died
write novel-length self-
reflective journals
to achieve professional
development points
for the plumbing trade
and wish each other
"have a good day"
before disemboweling
their neighbour

(published in Prosopisia)

Gifted child
looking for employment
will wipe bums


wham , bam
thank you man


איזהו גיבור?
הכובש את בדידותו

sending off poems:
the death throws of the ego

Am I a man or a mouse?
Neither. I am a much loved poodle

I prayed and my prayers have been answered
not in the way I expected but nevertheless...
the incomprehensible creativity of Life


Where ever you go
there is a window
with a tree just beyond
even if 

at the time
you cannot see it  

the dog
tenderly licks
the dead cow
from my fingers 


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