Author Archives: thejewishpoetess

Letting Go (Green Light)

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by Dana Janine Diamond

 

The things we remember

my sister forgetting to put the car in park

in the temple parking lot

picking me up from day camp,

it rolled right into the shed in the back

and crashed the whole thing down,

that was a memorable mess,

oh my, I was about my daughter’s age then,

when I took the bus home from Camp Centerland

passing field flowers waving in the breeze

hundreds of bottles of beer on the wall

came down when Billy was one

and one of us was kissing someone

in a tree and yarn made cradles

while we sang in three part harmonies…

even with her forgetfulness that day

my sister held onto her boyfriend

more than forty years

and we can laugh

at all the mistakes made along the way.

 

 

Now, me, I’ve had a few accidents,

I dented our family garage while backing out early on,

which I’ve come to realize is pretty common

but then I must have had my mind on other things

which can happen when you’re on the run…

I’ll back up a bit now

to about a year before my sister got married,

I went away to a new camp

it seemed like every day was a dream

where I learned to sail

and water ski, fish and portage a canoe,

bunked with some kids from Mexico

and even faced a bear straight on.

I loved how the lights reflected in the lake

as we gathered for the Sabbath

I heard God singing in the trees

felt his breath upon me as I gazed

at his reflection rippling out from me.

 

 

One night I was particularly excited,

during the all-camp gathering to watch a movie

or some talent show,

I snuck out of the main hall in the dark

with the boy who beckoned me,

he wasn’t even the boy I was crushing on,

but he was very cute and what a catch!

What ten year old girl wouldn’t be thrilled

that an eighteen year old counselor

wanted to kiss her under the stars

cradled by the trees, feeling the foreign

sensation of his hand on her breast,

sometimes I look at pictures

of me and my group

dressed up for the 50’s dance,

jumping into the sun-warmed, still cool lake,

and think how small they looked,

they might have felt better

if he had waited a few years

because they really got bigger later on…

Did I mention he offered me a joint?

I didn’t need it, though, the kisses

and his touch were heady enough.

 

 

You can imagine my surprise

when one day about twenty years later

I drove to the movies at the Beverly Center

in my red mustang with a friend,

and as we were kibbitzing over popcorn

waiting for the feature to begin,

I saw my camp on the big screen

I actually stood up in the movie theater,

pointed and exclaimed,

that’s my camp!

Now, Hollywood being Hollywood

and Jewish geography being what it is,

serendipitously, I was invited to

the premiere, and I watched

the actor who looked just like the counselor

who felt me up

was made the hero and let go for some noble reason;

everyone has their own memory and point of view

and that writer is entitled to his.

I was a little shocked, though quietly so,

it’s taken me years to realize we’re all guilty

of glossing over the horrific parts.

 

 

So, the car I’m driving now

has really been jerking me around

it’s just not worth the price to fix it,

sometimes you have to let go

when something’s not working right,

and just get into something new

I guess I’m a suburban girl

through and through,

so much of my life

has been lived in a car,

(you know who you are)

’cause I don’t think I’m all that

forgettable, but, as I said, we all have our own stories

I often wonder what my daughter

will remember

it’s certainly not the things we own.

 

 

COPYRIGHT 2010 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com
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Poesie to rock, roll

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by Dana Janine Diamond

Poetry
is supposed
to relieve the pain
as an age-old antidote
via flowing anecdotes

poems navigate
intricate canals
and pebble-filled paths,
sing out in riotous gardens
in praise of glorious romance

gondola rides
timeless, without direction
voices raised
to operatic arias
over ancient rivers,
under breathtaking bridges
awakening
vivid street murals

prayers chanting
ebb and flow, ebb and flow
gently building
invisible architecture
we sense
citrus scents surrounding us

hiding won’t write
it will only wait
you out
this life, this life, this life
when will the dreams begin

who’s to say there’s a time
and an order
the petals on the water
will drift away
more will float by

scoop them in the boat
desperate for nature’s mystery
to be near us
let the warmth trickle
through fingertips

if only we could
remember
everything
if only we could
play the film
see the sea of
everything

we could right
the wrongs in the world
we could write
the good in the world
we could believe
in ourselves

if only
we could
be feminist primitives
luminous stars
lighting our own way

we could be poets
for eternity
our souls could row
above and beyond
and through the waters
revealing our essence
to blossom

COPYRIGHT 2018 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Truth and Forgiveness

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by Dana Janine Diamond

This year
I am starting to forgive
my ex-husband
for all the harm
he did
of course, it is not for me
to forgive
his evil deeds
toward others,
against my child.
and what is real
is that the best chance
he gave me
to forgive
him was in
dying young.
he tortured us
for too many years
and I could click my heels
now that he’s gone.
the rest of you
if you’re still alive
I wouldn’t hold my breath
are we supposed to ignore
the vengeful, angry God
who lives on
in all of us
should we pretend
there is only love
or are we meant
to emulate angels
who never move
their feet
are we never meant
to fly
across the horizon
will we ever see
all that is below and above…
we’re not done yet
so forgiveness is not
on the menu
this year
but I will sing
anyway
because I am moving
we are singing
my lips are praying
I have some measure
of happiness
and that is significant.
just one word
to the…
hey, God,
don’t close your eyes
on us
we have traveled
a year
and we are not there
yet
wondering
are you


COPYRIGHT 2017 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Prayers for a Queen to step out of her shadow

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By Dana Janine Diamond

Buried
all the pain
but it insists
on climbing through the mist
skeletal fingers
clawing, peering
out of the mud
feeling their way
pulling us back
underground
it’s been more
so much more
it shouldn’t have been
at all
for all the little flowers
emanating light
sending wishes
like honey candles
in the blue, sugared night
I don’t know
if a new sun,
a new year
holds more promises
than the last
I don’t know
if faith works
I don’t know
what hope will bring
all my memories
are here with me now
maybe this is why
we mark time
so we can remember
our parents’ songs
so we can sing
with our children
maybe this year
I won’t be alone
on the floor
of the chapel outskirts
awash in angst and despair
maybe this year
the good
will outnumber
the pain
there is no telling.
All the intellect
and intricate beauty
brings minute comfort
in moments
such as these
the unfathomable
governs
but we rise
by uttering, recognizing,
naming
our blessings
praising gratitude
and abundant, unending love.


COPYRIGHT 2017 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Buffalo

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By Dana Janine Diamond

What did I know of poetry?
White snow and dreams
empty trees below my window
sledding and screaming in the fresh, cold air
when summer came at last,
we played in the tall,
blonde weeds
next to the creek
all the houses
were built on swampland
we had lovely duck ponds
in the yard

In the years before we wanted fences
they sat out back
in their lawn chairs on the edge
of the yard, sunning themselves
my grandmother spoke only Yiddish
her grandmother understood only Greek
they talked for hours and hours
days without purpose
other than just to be

Jazz in underground clubs
and hippies from Chicago
playing folk guitar
in my polished blue living room
I waited in the wings
while Steve sang
“City of New Orleans”
my brother was alongside him
under the spotlight
I was nine
and that’s what I knew

Manicured suburbia
with movies and Niagara Falls
donuts with powder on top
and shoplifting
in shopping malls,
Buffalo,
home of the spicy Buffalo wings
we traveled in packs
venturing into basements
and haunted houses
surreptitiously playing
Spin the Bottle
with rum and coke
I don’t ever remember
liking the boys I kissed

Every summer I drove
to Fantasy Island
with my Dad
to hear Glen Campbell
sing
and see the showgirls
lift their legs
“The Sterile Honeycomb”
he wrote.
Arthur, my brother’s friend. Before
he successfully attempted suicide.
So, I knew that poets died
and that made sense to me

I read everything he wrote
and then I started writing
at fifteen, just when my brother stopped.
he moved back home from California
I thought I could not live here
because my brother left
I thought my spot was in the wings,
waiting for songwriters
to sing
I thought I could not write poetry
and survive
I knew that good poets died
and became better ones.
I write stronger now
for having died

Here, alive in the West
Or there, at that time
Snowdrifts or Western sea line
the smell and feel of summer grass
is the same
resting quietly, close to the ground
the poet is reclaimed.


COPYRIGHT 2017 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Gift

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By Dana Janine Diamond

I could make my mother laugh
I can make my daughter laugh
I can laugh to myself
and this makes me
invincible
still vulnerable
I am traveling by gondola
in a narrow waterway
flowers blooming everywhere
roses, peonies, ranuculus, hydrangeas
queen anne’s lace and baby’s breath
hot pink and cream, riotous colors
light glistening, shimmering
on the water’s surface
the sun and moon
are about to kiss
I, we,
don’t really know
where we are going
we just see love
I have to believe
the angels
are laughing with us
and love will save us
love saves this impressionistic
shabby, tie-dyed
magnificent
world
I have to believe
we will prevail

COPYRIGHT 2017 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Motherhood

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By Dana Janine Diamond

Does not just take
a village
it takes a country
motherhood takes a country
a country, a religion
takes a world
to mother
who are we fooling
we need all the angels, too
every tick tock second
we need angels loving us
all the rapes
have destroyed the planet
taken the mothers
who tried, wanted, valiantly, desperately
to mother
the village, country, religion
have taken mothers from their children,
from their bodies, lost
God has been taken hostage
and we are valiantly, desperately
in need of love
of pure mothering love
and protection
we need our mothers, our angels
to stand guard over us
to nurture our freedom
and self-esteem
we need so much more than a day,
we are in need of mothering
our body, our children, our village,
our country
our precious, desperate souls
Where are you Mother?
Where were you and where have you been?
all this time
taken


COPYRIGHT 2017 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com