Reflections

I brush the small black spiders

out of my hair in the morning.

These creatures of death seek to retire

between the crevices underneath the baseboards.

My sleepy yawns echo

against the pile of broken bones in the corner,

remnants of my body that cried out in woe,

that broke when I fell upon this stone.

The rays of the sun glisten

upon the airborne dust.

The path of the sun hastens;

I glimpse a view of its brilliance.

The light through the window is golden.

The clarity of my mind is restored.

My tsedokah requests are overflowing,

I have to swim through envelopes to find the door.

Outside, the ice clings to pine needles,

dew covers the hidden manna on the lawn.

The sun’s brilliant rays melt the icicles,

water droplets combine with the dew as one.

I collect the manna – tastes like parfait on my tongue.

A gentle rain from above cleanses my sin.

Ahead of me is a land flowing with milk and honey;

above me is the Star of Jacob, my only kin.

This poem was written circa 2010, for a university poetry class, that was essentially a poetry workshop format. The class was divided in half; each week, half of the class would present poems. This poem was part of a three poem series. Each student’s series was read by the other students prior to class. The class would select one of the three poems to be read. When I presented, the entire class unanimously declared, Reflections as the poem to be read.

Waking Dream

Bolechov Synagogue, courtesy of Bolechow Jewish Heritage Society

“If you are a dreamer, come in.”

– Invitation, by Shel Silverstein

Standing in front of the door, I mustered up the courage to knock. As I was about to do so, I heard a voice from within the building say, “If you are a dreamer, come in.” Instead of knocking, I tried the doorknob. The door was unlocked; I entered into a synagogue, furnished with pews, lamps, an ark for the Torah scroll, and a bimah in the center where the rabbi and cantor were leading a service. I could hardly believe my eyes. I had travelled to Bolekiev, Ukraine from the States, to visit the town where my ancestors had once lived. At that time, the town was Bolechov, Poland, before the end of WW2. Now, instead of finding the caretaker inside of a dilapidated building, as expected, I entered into a world that I had thought vanished a century ago.

Eldridge St. Synagogue, NYC, courtesy of Howie Schnee

Message in a Nutshell

I am separated for the benefit of my soul, and yours;

introvert, sheltering in place, for indeterminable hours,

by way of self-imposition, yet, reaching towards Heaven,

even beyond these confines, towards family and friends.

A complete year has passed, full circle since the proliferation

of coronavirus reached the shores of this once proud nation;

some brought to their knees in prayer, others stand in rebellion –

to all who will listen and receive carefully chosen words.

Awake from your slumber, for the time draws near,

later than we may have thought, the burden we must bear;

for the roots of modern day Babylon are being wrought,

as a new foundation is laid in place by the technocrats.

Acceptance of the new normal, will render us complacent,

while a promise of utopia is marketed by manufactured consent;

upon the ashes of society, the “building back better” trope

will usher in a brave new world, devoid of a soul.

The media purveys the call of the organizers of the lands,

who hold all of the cards in their multinational hands;

yet, mankind cannot transcend the problems of this world

without the divine guidance of the Ribono Shel Olam.

Renewal

Is the past beyond redemption?
Can not the truth be retrieved
from amidst this disorderly pile
of worn out tattered journals?

The dust that has collected,
must be sifted out from amongst
these scattered pages, uncategorized;
yet, containing the codes of my life.

A life, previously unraveled,
like nucleotides rearranged on a double helix,
twisting and turning along an invisible axis
of the original blueprint of life.

In the distance – a light –
that bears witness to the tragic notes,
sounded out throughout an endeavor
to peer through the darkness.

In time, the dust becomes
visible to the eye of the soul,
when the first ray of dawn,
shines through the window.

Every particle, suspended in the air,
for a brief moment, before settling
down on the floor, vanishes from sight,
like the bioluminescence of fireflies.

poetry: Sacred Words

Photo by Bruno van der Kraan on Unsplash

Captured by the silence,
everything intensifies,
including my fears, especially
when I neglect my prayers.

Only sacred words
have the power to sustain me.
When my avodas is diminished,
I become entrenched in the mire.

My thoughts wander,
and silence turns oppressive,
until I reach into the depths
of my soul for a heartfelt prayer.

With the help of the Ruach,
my words will transcend time and space,
reaching out to the heavens,
like sweet smelling incense.

Renewal

Can the past be redeemed?
Can the truth be retrieved
from amidst this pile
of tattered journals?

The dust that has collected,
must be sifted out from amongst
these scattered pages, uncategorized;
yet, containing the codes of a life

previously unravelled,
like nucleotides rearranged on a double helix,
twisting and turning along an invisible axis
of the original blueprint of life.

In the distance – a light –
bearing witness, to the tragic notes,
played throughout an endeavor
to peer through the darkness.

The dust is made visible
to the eye of the soul,
while the first ray of dawn,
shines through the window.

Every particle, suspended in the air,
for a brief moment, before settling,
on the floor, vanishing from sight,
like the incandescence of fireflies.