The Boss’ Orchestrated Metamorphoses
The Boss’s orchestrated metamorphoses,
Zapped everything into place,
Set into motion,
Resulting in His Desires,
Effecting broad to specific.
And, concurrently, nonimmediately,
Aboriginal scars traveled internationally,
Under-recognized in regions remanded for romance
Or, for unmanageable fear.
Sages know water vanquishes fire,
Flame blasts earth,
Dirt distorts windy columns,
Gusts displace oceans of truth-birthed passages.
Paper. Scissors. Stone.
Our personal development grows in this way, too.
Safta’s brassiere, all hooks and eyes,
From her aging bundles to well past her ribs,
Befuddled any young girl tasked to aid her.
So baffling were her corseting clothes
That we hid, feigned ill, ran away,
For five minutes, to avoid helping.
The undergarments of wealthier women
Snugged them correctly. Yet, our
Grandmom was pure immigrant.
Such engineering, as was required to suspend
Her gorge, brought forth worse fears
Than fishing her dentures from glassware.
Even rubbing her four limbs’ of liver spots
Seemed tame, relative to bounding, reorienting,
Her matronly bosom in artificial cups.
Forty years ago, such harnessing
Was de rigour; stiffened camisoles, also
Wide bands, meant you were no “greenhorn.”
Lake Wyola’s Mile High Farm:
Sociology in America
Lake Wyola’s Mile High Farm
All dirty calico cats, and blanket-wrapped horses,
Seems ocean away, off limits, prohibitive,
To all but melting snow.
Birmingham’s Corner’s Cinema patrons,
Plus Ma’s second load of plaid shirts, dungarees, aprons, socks.
The family’s heirloom quilt, squared against intergenerational angst,
Press horizons for more cycles.
As youth, we loped stretches of undeveloped property.
No one but raspberry bushes witnessed our kisses.
Years later, that brush gave way to dirt bikes, then condominiums.
You married a university girl.
My grandfather, when a boy,
Was secured, by Danish men,
In a haystack for foreign Jews.
He was sired by fright and longing.
War years later, weathered by more than cows,
Such family bounty slipped to America.
Where excited acrimony nurtured the remnants.
Turning pride to denial.
I was raised as much a New England girl
As those blue-eyed Mayflower descendents.
Our pregnancy brought hope of futures.
Anti-Semitism wears so many faces.
Weathered silos and taxes fully paid
Are pittance against blue blood.
My forbearers’ discoveries resurface
In the Berkshire Hills.
When Bringing the Shoah
Recorded testimonies, survivors, further witnesses
Die or fade otherwise,
No matter the celebrity, euros, and dollars,
Raised on behalf of certain “social mistakes.”
Meanwhile, media-savvy, official-looking, anti-Semites popularize
The proffering of “rhetoric of change.”
Eschatology, history, plus common sense, prove
Such cityscapes reflect not collective but individual adjustments.
Without crusading monks, brown shirts, red ghutras,
Catastrophic upheavals infiltrate Yiddishe wellbeing, anyway.
Jewish lives are determined by the words, thoughts, and deeds,
Espoused entirely by the individuals of our Klal.
In a Jerusalem Women’s Gym:
Jews, Arabs and Ellen’s 1,000th Show
Funny, it is when,
Many frum ladies spend,
Hosts of hours treading near,
Unmasked, womanly emirs,
Watching a shared, flat screen,
Where a theatric queen,
Out as a lesbian,
Celebrates a TV trend.
Exercise machines are meant,
For health or beauty’s near advent,
Religious women’s ancient rules,
Include many impressive ligules,
Concerning locks, lights, and limbs,
Plus viewing such unseemly things.
By and large, old-fashioned gals,
Support no wicked, strange cabal.
Yet, in one Yerushalmi gym,
It seems the place where modest sin,
Like flicking through the media,
While working thighs’ posteriors,
Is reduced in clients’ eyes,
To something surely rationalized,
As striding far from common hate;
On Ellen’s deeds, rivals relate.
Coleslaw in the Holy City
Chassidut’s lean words matter
Abounding, repletely imploring Klal Yisrael to act,
Offerings fall over private thresholds,
Filled with all manners of achdut.
In a crevice, where lizards play,
Capers also grow.
Someone’s boyfriend trips upstairs drunk
Facing guests unaware of “magic lines,”
Beholden to no female footfall.
Our broken cartons fail to explain
How kin as packers, shippers, hired help
Can charge so much.
Expensive paper bits often bring
No newcomer-measured happiness.
I prefer sharing seats with strangers,
Like ones clasping hands above Russian,
Old Persian, or English, for reasons of holding
Each and every kiss of Hashem,
When springing hearts home to Shemyim.
In general, neshemot shy from social
Hallucinations sipped slowly after sweet hagafen.
Lives sing out oddly.
Night blinks away the sun’s wheelchair forever.
We make coleslaw in the Holy City.
Millipedes Matter in Ber Sheva
Millipedes matter in Ber Sheva.
In Ramat Gan, people worry on snakes.
Scorpions occupy minds in Arad.
Bytes across the water.
Mary’s lamb tasted
Luscious, sliced on laffa.
I added skhug to mine.
Missiles may blow
Apart more than nations, unless
Governments press rivals.
Notice the kismet of innocents.
Jerusalem’s July Lilacs
Why lilacs bloom here, in July, remains beyond mortal capacity.
We know only that holy soil, which coats Jerusalem, brings sanguine
Behaviors; burnings, brandings, the throwing of stones,
Among Middle Eastern arroyos, indigenous olives, grapes, figs.
Social ablation sets select sentinels scurrying past parameters.
Muddied individuals’ roles, confused institutional limits, sparrows, grow shaky
Adults; affected by rotgut, stymied by powders, disenchanted with bread,
Where devoid of reward trees, gum-backed stars, increases in allowance.
Stodgy accountability makes active listening complicated, usually.
Concerned voices fight values, morals, workaday ethics, expect sunny
Possibilities; susurruses, shadows, implications, allegations
Become farsighted emissaries, common folks’ heroes, leaders.
Tales told to children generate hatred, extend fictions for generations.
Fulminations suffice for political discussions, nursery rhymes, gentle
Coercion of newbies; mangy self-appointed guardians remain staid,
Against peace, perhaps, also, the preservation of life.
Like Nahal recruits,
Understand the costs
Of skipping ruminations.
During Negev campaigns,
Ridding sage-filled vistas,
While twilight blinks stars,
Otherwise, reducing mortality
To measured liters;
Blood, water, gasoline.
Turns degrees of wounded to sand.
Dancing, singing, screaming,
Our way to heaven’s better
Than trudging through tomorrow,
Muzzled once more by vacant cause.
Amidst kassam rockets,
Highway-bound stones, slingshots,
Dedicated mulling can
Force epochs forward.
Each fresh chamsin
Frees third lid responses;
We riddle the Torah,
Pray, perform mitzvot,
Stretch bridges; humble brigade
To ancestral triumphs.
Unflinchingly pass through bullets;
Such vision’s protected.
Grooving with Jewish Mama Pixie Dust
on Mo’ed; We Rejoice
Jewish mothers insure the ongoing grooving under the Sukkah called “Yerushalyim.”
While mentally be-bopping to Lenny Solomon, Udi Davdi, and Eli Beer,
Surrounded by yeshiva bucharim, old friends, the children of new friends,
Chassidishe, Mizrachi, Haredi, Litvish, also very contemporary sorts; we praise.
Our dear ones fill up with kugel, “chicken-in-a-pot,” brownies, beet salad,
While sucking down the music of the spheres, of minyonim, of mo’ed concerts,
Busied with wiping down tables, fixing the s’chach, counting folding chairs,
Loading the dishwasher, making market lists for “second days;” we bless.
Young people, known to sons and daughters, gather at kumzits, bar-be-ques.
While talking of other parties, via internet, cell phones, IMing, and in person,
Proving youth, that generation subsequent to ours, feeds on laughter, chocolate, pretzels,
Rocks forward on leftovers, borrowed books, CDs, designated tunes; they exalt.
Husbands plus wives trudge, up and down, up and down, up and down stairs.
When ferrying teens, preteens, twenties to parks, to bus stations, to museums, to shops;
Providing for clothing, bright for this festivals, which needs purchase, and many, many,
Groceries to come home to feed kids from seminaries, ulpanot, day schools; they inhale.
Our intermediate days balloon with local bands, Hallel prayers, crowded buses.
When neighbors converge for ices, sing in rounds, play guitar, drums, recorder,
Confirming, again, Jewish mama pixie dust as the undergirding stuff of celebrations,
Unfurling light, sound, warm energy, good and greater vibes; we pray.
Later, certain spouses hunker down, mouths a bit open, noses and glasses covered.
When detritus derives from Mishpacha, Hamodia, Torah Tidbits, Binah,
The best stuff’s been torn out by recipe seekers, drashah makers, fort builders
Sorted for geniza, plus piled for murals, safekeeping, petitions to parents; we sing.
The Jerusalem Mall
Basketball elbows takes turns, in line,
When queuing for security or merging
Lanes, en route to malls.
Habitat, here, means frisky protexia.
Tonight, I let a woman, dressed in half my clothes,
Cut in. Nearby, a tall man, perhaps a national defender,
Smiled, while whispering
A loud about connections.
Returning teeth for teeth, I
Wished “A Good New Year,” plus
Remarked on the rain. Together,
We celebrate the smallness of difference.
Birkat Hamazon Again and Again
Dust, like Avraham Avinu’s,
Soaked from Angles,
Sheet the byways between the secular and dati
Whose joined steps, gather the manna
Transformed into mangoes and plums.
Charadi and Masorti both run before Shabbot.
My neighbor pours water, by buckets,
Down the community stairs.
His Sfardi home glistens such that only
The spiced chicken and the hot, seeded
Cakes best his welcome of challot.
Flickers plus light after sirens while local
Arabs amplify, using guns or loudspeakers.
Our minyon sings Carlebach.
Warm soups linger olfactory clues.
Black and white men return to lay hands
On children eying parve chocolate.
The first son is first blessed
Ima shines alongside her vort’s pearl drops.
Guests sing with Abba.
Windowsills smile flowers.
Outside, cats continue dumpster searches.
We walk, Birkat Hamazon again and again.
As Long as We Put Nutmeg in Our Coffee:
An Ode to the Holy Land
As long as we can fill up our gas tanks,
Put nutmeg in our coffee,
Preview Hesder, Climb Masada,
Dip Yam HaMelech, traipse sacred waters;
We’ve secured life’s prize.
Our Old World-sized washers might
Make subsisting in this land
A change from former incarnations,
But black hats mixed with knit kippot
Serve our self-concept best.
Jerusalem’s variegated blue
Firmament differs, genetically,
From skies over Europe,
Plus North American heavens;
It sings the body better.
Here, we laugh lavender because
The Dead Sea, by dint of the Kinneret,
Satisfies doctors, teachers,
Rabbanim and cellists;
Together we build purposeful habitation.
Israel’s light, sweet babies’ round
Augur belies “superficial” altercations.
Decreased water tables or resident
Aliens are laughable during daybreak;
Our spiritual topography remains intact.
Aroused, also at times ashamed,
We locals attach hope,
Dream of functioning toilets,
Next to our piled laundry; Sometimes it’s
Dirty chores that shore up a nation.
They don’t seem much, our weathered
Stones, yet everything grows
From center. The Universal One Knew
We’d dread, trust, need, love, accept
Our onyma from Shemyim.
With her help-opposite otherwise preoccupied,
Riding on donkeys, listening to silver trumpets,
Mrs. Moshiach emptied her collection box of dollars, euros, yen.
There was marketing to be accomplished. The world’s
Souk was offering opinions in various sizes, colors, tastes,
To sagacious and foolish buyers, alike.
Whereas some folk prefer to grind their gists on old-fashioned quems,
Most takers happily chomp pabulum, that bland stuff lacking
Sufficient nutrients; cognitive-heavy absorption takes too much time.
Accordingly, the prophetess, who dressed in ticky-tacky,
Her autogiro equipped with six forward gears,
Flew in for a day at the mall. Yellow journalism was on sale.
Home, she deigned to hijack seemingly sated media crews by dint of her
Tahini, hummus, falafel, especially, her sandwiched analyses of cultural switchbacks.
Know, extra sugar makes arak, rose-petal tea, also oishr, so much sweeter.
Women’s work remains unacknowledged. Those reporters,
Works-for-hire, scriveners, burped politely, yet filed prescripted stories.
Her man’s campaign, in contrast, changed the course of history.
Gan Eden, I Think
Is not a state of bud, green branch,
First fruit, fine bloom, or stem, sun-drenched,
But Shore of Sighs, an Ocean’s High-
Placed Hopes, in due course settled.
Times such select, far-flung Beachfront swells,
Sweet Calm salts, permuting sorrows.
Nonworldly Sluices purge, exclaim in sotto,
“Away! A gone! ”
Adjacent, Crest of Light’s soft lull,
Unbinds spent essences mournfully known,
Divinely shifting “aches” to “glows;”
Wet Radiance pervades!
Caliber wasted; kindness spurned;
Age deprived; youth unremittingly burned;
Humble spirits squandered, else violently conserved,
Find Cosmic’s Teardrops foster plus preserve.
Small selves wronged, there reinstated.
“Rough-censured” grow to “consecrated,”
Holy chosen, live evermore absorbed
With means to gift back the Munificent Sea.
Foundations repaired by that Seaboard’s touch,
Prove precious, essential, benevolently much-
Returning toward Singular Forms of Luminosity;
Sharing rewards when furthermore restored.
Afar from common dreams of field or sky,
A Neighboring Realm where angels bide,
Gliding over smooth sands, singing comforting wisdom,
One Awesome Coastline ensures Gan Eden.