Category Archives: Blessing

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by Dana Janine Diamond

I would wish you a sweet new year. I always have. The memories are gone, the future unknown. We have trees and stars and pink sunrises and pink sunsets, and lights sparkling over the river that is ever moving. There is a wheel turning somewhere in the sky, dispensing mazel. We stand under it, like we do with mistletoe, our palms outstretched, ready to catch it when it falls, ready to kiss the godliness within, ready to find love. We anticipate the embrace of love.

We carry with us a pink afghan. When I was younger, I knitted a beautiful afghan, all shades of green, from dark to light. And I carried it with me, everywhere I went, from room to room in my homes. We all have many homes. Some are waiting to be found.

So, here we are, searching. Our souls are slowly moving a flashlight out over the darkness. Our ancestors have been lighting candles for thousands of years. God knows the apple’s been in play since the beginning. Oh, but the honey. If only the sweetness would cover everything, would last. I remember dipping my toes into water and feeling refreshed, exhilarated, soothed.

This year will either make us or break us. It will take all of our strength just to lift the slice of apple with our fingers, drench it in a bit of honey, and slip it into our mouth. It will be tart and sweet simultaneously. As Jews, we never forget the bitterness; it’s always there. The joy can be elusive at times.

It feels like we’re living out the same story over and over again, peering out into the distance for happiness. It could be there, just over the horizon. It could be hidden within us, because we love. The journey could really be gratitude, and so we’ve arrived.

The challah is our reminder, be grateful. It’s full, like a soft cushion. Don’t be fooled by the harder, outer surface. I tell myself this. It’s our path to joy.

If I could raise my glass, I would wish you a sweet new year. Abundant and precious, filled to the brim with new hope.

COPYRIGHT 2019 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining tothejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Birthday

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By Dana Janine Diamond

 

Echo, play Joni Mitchell

and I’m singing along

back in my college dorm

she cheered my love

nursed my heartbreak

I’m on my green circles couch

in my family room

with my cat and dog

waiting for

the slight scratch of the needle

as it kisses the album

listening to the music

every day after school

I barely remember what I learned

back then

but I know every song I listened to

the lyrics, oh the lyrics

they have filled my mind

for a lifetime

I ran outside in the morning

danced in the afternoon

in my living room

where my family gathered

to host book clubs

and discuss liberal politics,

my french piano in the corner

my brother played guitar

with his friends

I pontificated

about passing the ERA

knocked on doors

won debates

still, still…

gossiped on the phone

for hours with girlfriends

twisting the cord round

and round

and poetry, always poetry

I read Catcher in the Rye

in elementary school

and asked my teacher

in all innocence

what a boner was

he turned bright red

(he’s a bestselling author now

so he turned out okay)

my life is a series

of connections

the night I lost

my virginity in college

I took a long, late night walk

under the stars

in the moonlight

and the first person I saw,

told, was JD Salinger’s daughter

she congratulated me

it all makes sense

in retrospect

of course the feckless

curly, red-haired boy

broke my heart

he wanted to be a chiropractor

to this day I don’t really trust chiropractors

I loved my twenties

married the love of my life

in secret

in a pinky-peach, soft Betsy Johnson dress

he’s back running Greece now

but we talked and kissed

for hours and hours

in Village cafes

for years

I owned the streets of NY

if you ever lived there

you know what I mean

riding in limousines

to deliver champagne

gifts from Steve and Ian

thanks for keeping

them out of jail

we danced and decorated

and celebrated

and I loved Hilly

how not to,

edited stories at MS.

Gloria was luminous

God, my twenties were fun

but then the poetry called

I needed to understand

the mysteries

of this world,

walked that path

with my loyalty

to a fault

escaped, but not before

bruises on my face

on my soul

I look back and wonder

how did I endure that life?

And yet leaving religion

took all of my courage

and then some

I’ve been molested, raped, punched

spat on (fuck you Rabbi ;))

but my glowing spirit

outshines all you

could ever do

because I’m wild and precious

I’m a colorful garden

still growing

my magnificent rose

she is everything

I leave my words as rose petals

my loving gift to you

 

COPYRIGHT 2019 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining tothejewishpoetess.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
spectral 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

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

Bloomer

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By Dana Janine Diamond

I’m born the day before the birthday of the trees
and we must wait patiently
for them to grow
and blossom
and so my life
is one of waiting
as a poet must
for the words
to come,
to crystallize and distill
the experiences
made indelible
in our minds
the love
so ready
in every tender consonant
the branches, alliteration
lifted delicately in the air
holding up

 

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

Thanksgiving Daze

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By Dana Janine Diamond

We tripped the light
fantastic
pain pooling at our feet
we felt the force
of a waterfall
dancing wildly
to its own beat
a rhythm we thought
was gone
is bulging out
of an angry hat
nothing sits below it
an emptiness
of the most
profound sort
we watch images reflected
in gold towers
and hyped-up billboards
captured by
rear view mirrors
as we drive through
our towns
we’ve lost our minds
and hearts,
our souls
dived off a ledge
into shallow waters ambivalent
to hold our refuse,
what has become
of our great endeavor
we are battling
an ugly history
passing for glory
this year some
of us are wide awake
others clinging tightly
to a long forgotten dream
we fight to the bitter end
or learn to begin again
I’ve spent too many
holidays in hospitals
today I’m free
yet not
as we celebrate
our gratitude
partake in a harvest repast
at last
love limps to the table
battle worn and a bit broken
from the hate spewing about
as outside a cranked up
fire hydrant
ruins adult shoes in its path
delighting kids and dogs
emitting a raucous laughter
we can’t get the same water
back in
we’ll need a wider vision
it’s so hard to sink
this low
as a people, as a nation
we left paradise long ago
and this burden feels
too heavy
but rise we must
of that I am hopefully
certain
faith takes over
when reason has left
us alone
we keel and mourn
and cry out a silent
howl
we embrace
fix our gaze on
the prophets and seers
the poets and the singers
the leaves that turn our skies aglow
even as their roots
are ever deep
it is up to us
to offer out our hands
as the homeless in the streets
a sign, a day to remember
we need each other
we need each other

COPYRIGHT 2016 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Let My People Go

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        By Dana Janine Diamond 

And by people,
I mean women
and girls,
Let us go to the Wall,
and above

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Let us pray, move,
love
as we wish,
we are constellations, traveling

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how many thousands more
years, tears will it take
to be free,
to be safe in this world
from Tennessee
to the Red Sea
to the Dead Sea,

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a multitude of minyans,
we count.
Stars hurtling, leaping,
fascinating,
we are floating,
we are salt

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binding ourselves
on an alter of self-sacrifice
to make space
for a relationship
with a God
who surely must love
us

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Maybe now
is the time
to shake the Shechina up!
Unveil our hearts

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We sway, we sway,
we chant, we pray
we sing, swim
traverse the high waters
storm out of the desert
towards grace,

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Holy we rise
at last,
we live here.

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By Dana Janine Diamond  
c2016 thejewishpoetess ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Neshama’s Song

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2238509174_1e516b1d48       by Dana Janine Diamond

When one soul cries
we join hearts
and listen,
Shush! Pay close attention…

There’s a song in Neshama’s heart
and it goes like this
Boom di da boom boom
Tra la la la la
Sing me the sweetest melody

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Blue, green, yellow, and red-wing birds
circle overhead to rejoice
all the bright and soft colors
spread their wings

This is the way the world was meant
to be
the seas
are jumping
in a white-foam tizzy
the trees are clapping their leaves
the stones are skipping
into the mossy ponds
to swim with the guppies
the winds are breathing their soft breeze,
The morning stars are arising
The angels are stomping
Singing and shouting their glee

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For there’s a girl with a Cookie
and Lemonade stand
with a sign turned upside down
on the side of the road
and we all pull over

We turn the radio down
to hear her sweet song
we are breathless
with anticipation
to hear her sweet soul song
she was always, always
meant to sing
notes so delicate and powerful
she stopped the sorrow.

Her song asked us to dance
and it went like this…..
Twirl and twirl and
Spin and spin
Cartwheel in the air
and land, hands held high!

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Together, as one,
The way the world was meant to be
the way the world was meant to be

In Neshama’s song
We all live
We love
when the morning stars sing together and all the angels of God shout

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with credit to the Book of Job…

To donate to my friend’s daughter to enable her to get the help she needs, visit here:

http://www.youcaring.com/tuition-fundraiser/help-neshama-go-to-school/216679

 

COPYRIGHT 2014 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Country Love Song and Other Journeys

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by Dana Janine Diamond

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I didn’t know I was going to fall in love
I probably should have
when I discovered the legend
of Granny White
who left the Carolinas
in the middle of the night
Lucinda walked here
on foot
through rugged, mountainous terrain
some nine hundred miles
I drove nearly one thousand miles
to get here
through boring, snow-dusted Virginia
not quite the same

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She took her grandchildren
in tow, widowed woman
I don’t know how she survived
yet she arrived
here, at 60, opened up her
apple cake stand and
soon her Inn
where presidents and generals laid their heads
she began anew
well past the prime…

of what king makers believe
women can be
for today’s art and commerce,
men live longer
and women merely age…
perhaps revenge
for our added years
and the miracle of life?
Some people really know
how to hold a grudge.

But I digress,
let no injustice
be done
when the headline is
She ruled this town!
She is a park, a pike,
an historic site
How many women have this
to say
for themselves?

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I think this city
can welcome
a single mother
I surely think
it can
Bless its heart

You see,
I had a vision,
a strong intuition
that I was meant
for the sea.
This place
was part of my pilgrimage
on my way
to County Waterford or Cork
or perhaps The Giant’s Causeway
along the Antrim Coast (or at least perchance Key West.)
My home was to be made
upon the cliffs,
so that each morn
I would breathe
in the salt air
and let the tides
pull words from my soul
to float out
across the ocean
where the poetry of kindness
could flourish and live…

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So this was just
my stopping ground
my stomping ground
as I danced away
from constraint
slipped free
of the shackles
I had placed
on myself
some twenty years past.

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Each day has been a revelation
each day I awake
to the whisper
I’m free, I’m free
I’m gloriously free
and the air is so sweet
with honeysuckle and arugula
an undefinable mystery…
The leaves sway
the cardinal sings
the bunnies greet me
as I start down
the stone driveway
to come home.

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The trees, the woods
of the country
they see me naked
as I arise each morning
throwing caution and pajamas
to the wind
if someone has a telescope
a few acres away
then I guess they got lucky
unless a woman,
a mother in her prime
is not their idea of lucky
to which I would have to say,
Oh my! Oh me, oh my-ah.
Phenomenal woman.
Because we cannot forget

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in County Galway
they buried 800 children
in a septic tank
some twenty years ago
the Fallen Women were shunned
and punished, by the nuns
for the sin
of having been alive
of having taken
a giant bite
out of life
or maybe for falling victim
it didn’t matter to them the who or why,
the single mothers
and their children
were starved and suffered.
These Irish babies need a resting place.

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They say this place
is a good ol’ boy’s town
those are the songs
the world wants
to sing to itself
but I believe in Granny White
and Naomi and Ruth
and in the power
of a mother telling her stories

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In greeting the wide, open countryside
where farm tables and horses coincide
delectable fresh-grown feasts await,
herb goat cheese salads, avocado popsicles, sate
seemingly effortless
that’s how it’s done here
with music in the air
I sift through jewels
as the old man in the aisle over
picks up a guitar and
picks out a tune
I walk outside,
the gentle summer rain
starts to come down
my child and I
make our way
over the brick cobblestones
the light in the sky
could be grey
or shimmer incandescent,
the endless farm land and luminous
evening stars whisper
I have fallen
in love
with this place
I have fallen in love with this place.

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COPYRIGHT 2014 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Backfired

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by Dana Janine Diamond

 

 

Oh, no, you have not been a blessing

to man or woman kind,

to my kind

the Jew

you want to annihilate

with your policies, deeds,

words that wish

to exterminate

the truth

of the everlasting, eternal Lord-driven people.

 

It’s been twelve years, four months, and one day

I remember

the smoke and screams

coming out of my television,

over and over and over

again.

 

My ex-husband’s ex-wife called

when I was still married

to tell me urgently

turn it on, to see

the death and destruction

of such shocking proportions

it had to be…

the abyss, the void

 

I hear their hearts beating in fear

I hear the beating flame of their hearts,

I hear the flames beating against their hearts,

I hear their hearts exploding into flames.

 

Living next-door to

the Simon Wiesenthal Museum

we thought we could be,

we thought we were next.

 

And though, here we are

some twelve years, four months, and one day

later,

the world forgets.

 

I was admitted to Cedars-Sinai

a day later

for dehydration

(who could get enough water

when too many stars

rained down from the sky?)

The hospital halls

were stretched with stretchers

filled with vast wells of

pregnant women in Los Angeles

too thirsty to give birth,

mourning, mourning for New York.

 

Oh, how I long for Marjorie

and her, my innocence.

 

And so I see you build

your lies, carefully placed,

penned, stroked,

as bearded commentary

in certain circles

or blatantly shouted

from the noxious, mad

lines in your mind

and they all fall in line

to snap their fingers

as in days of old

before I was born, anyway.

 

Take your Jew hating, Israel hating, lying lines

Take your art, your poems, your songs, your dance

Take your mayoral aspirations and misappropriation

of both busboys

and poets

Take your pseudo-liberal, new, cool, fake

Take your readings cum auto-de-fe’s

Take your self-proclaimed, self-named blessing,

Take your age-old misogyny and hate

(Oh, are we not supposed to talk about that when you’re the man?)

and, well,

shove it into the ground.

 

You abandoned your children.

You abandoned your soul

and all those who read you

should ask themselves

how much hatred of self

are they willing to put up with?

 

I am a Jewish woman,

I love Israel,

I love my people,

we are the definition

of good people

we are the

people of the book,

we are the writers of poems alive throughout time,

read today across the world,

as we pray for peace,

we are the hope.

 

And today, my daughter lives, writes, sings.

 

 

Written upon the demise of a poet…

COPYRIGHT 2014 Dana Janine Diamond  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com