Category Archives: Fall

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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

Regrets

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by Dana Janine Diamond

The moment of repentance

is nearly upon us

I used to be a good person

maybe

I don’t know anymore

it’s all convoluted and confused

by all the rape and abuse

and maybe I never

thought I was good?

After my ex-husband tried

to kill me, I used to wish

I could find some mob guy

and put a hit on him

after all, I was forced to leave

Malibu, my soul’s homeland

and became exiled to New Jersey

that alone, and the pain and sudden,

abject poverty were enough

to wish him dead.

Then me and my baby girl

could go back home

to the place that sung to me

by day and romanced me

by night

how I longed for majestic waves and vistas

that filled every nook and cranny of

my being

the shoreline is a distant memory

we have music here… but we’re landlocked.

When he died (of natural causes)

I cried for weeks

but then, I rejoiced

every single time I remember

he’s dead, I smile

I no longer live in the same fear

that permeated my life for over

seventeen years.

Nothing is as I thought it would be

feels like we’re in a permanent state

of Tisha B’Av

I’ve made some apologies, sure,

but I don’t really know where I am

anymore. We are in

an inside online world

Nature is in the distance

I still remember the drive

and optimism

now, contemplating goodness

and fear and anger

goodness, anger is the worst

sin of all

for a woman

it renders us not good

in the eyes of the world

anger and sadness

and fear and happiness

are all mixed up

nearly indiscernible

I suppose I’m the quintessential

wandering Jew

from land to land

from spiritual quest

to spiritual journey

from pain

to unimaginable pain

and though the day is close

forgiveness is not a

road I’m traveling on

I brew my tea, hold

my dogs, hug

my daughter

for hours of my days

I cook the most delicious, inventive food

I nurture, I write almost endlessly

till writing makes me known,

until it makes me a stranger

all that is in me

seeps out

the wonder-filled good and

loving heart

and the despair,

the hardness

the longing for justice

the frustration and impatience

we are locked in this moment

I have no idea where I’m going

what lies ahead

or is waiting to greet me

if only God and love

would meet me

COPYRIGHT 2018 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining tothejewishpoetess.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

A Bird Came to Greet Me

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By Dana Janine Diamond

The noise is there
upon waking
with no discernable
thought
just the chaos
of emotions
and then
the
incessant
banging
of a bird
throwing itself
against the window
eventually it drops
from sight
I’ve learned
they’ll try again
the sound dims
the light seems
lighter
I focus on the window
the many leaves
outside
have flown
to ground
even before I came
here
they are lush
a royal, colorful splendor
they are flying
through the air
lighter than light
the trees are love
holding onto their leaves
knowing they will have to
let them go
the branches
unintentional painters
creators of vast impressions
they never let
you down
the wind choreographs
the graceful dance
the grey sky in the distance
becomes the music
and then I see it
the imprint
where the bird
tapping, thunking against
my window
left its kiss
its breath
before it said goobye
hush, hush
dear
for a bird of the air
may carry your voice

COPYRIGHT 2016 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

Palm Fronds 

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By Dana Janine Diamond

The mystical holds
no meaning for us
now
the lulav and esrog
and too many of
the species you concocted
are shaking us around
and the clouds of glory
are traveling, traveling
hard to tell
if they are pleased or
dismayed, gathering
I miss the illusion,
your protection
of knowing we could pick
up stakes and fly
and never fall
the winds picked up
and there’s no trace of
us, the mirage of joy
all the years we danced
were a drunken lie
I held that torah up high
in my mind
from behind
the mechitzah
those temporary walls
erected around the world
for thousands of years
I wonder what would happen
if I threw the torah down
and smashed it like a wine glass
at a wedding

this is the place I come
to for refuge
words and poems
are abiding
only here my heart sings
these are my moments
of bliss and transcendence
this is why I write
them over and over again
for 40 years

the decorations
are paper thin,
I’m no longer certain
if we are sitting in
a sukkah
or an abyss
the lemons taste inexplicably sweet
I just know
we are in interludes
of pain
I can’t transcribe
all this time we
were celebrating you
I never knew
you hated us so much
I don’t know how
I’ll ever trust
again
you are breaking us
breaking away
how do we find our way…
I think America
is secretly angry
with you
I need a new
cartographer
we wandered afield,
I don’t recognize
this forsaken landscape
we’re crawling through
tree branches thrown
to the ground,
duskily hoping
ahead we’ll find a cove
or sound
to burrow into
to listen to our breathing
lift the sky lighter
we are the Belt of Venus
hovering, taking cover
from a persistent night,
nature
is all we have left

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

Service

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By Dana Janine Diamond

I sat there
calmly shouting
f*** you
in my head
over and over again
until it became a litany
a meditation
a poetic lament
to replace the one meant
for the overwhelming sin
in ploughing diamonds
invisible snow falling
down on my skin
the sun is out
a simon of hope
or an affront
I’m listening for words
to comfort the broken,
broken heart
I think you want my wrath
you in your all-knowingness
know you deserve it
it’s the best I can muster
I am a mother and child
just a Jewish poetess
you abandoned
better than ignoring you
I hold you accountable
did I commit
the iniquity
of expecting too much
from you?
am I the fool
who chose hope
for the Jews
even after the Holocaust
or the girls
even after…everything
touching my breast
al chait, the rape
I’m now looking for proof
that you love
your children
all of your children
even after slavery
I advocated for you
I sit and wonder
how we get through
the leaves are coloring
us
when I was loyal to you
though you laid
my thanksgiving table
bare
even the quiecent stars
languishing in the sky
said they were sorry
still, you
are silent
I’m not ready to forgive
surely you know
you must beg me
not for my sake
I am awake
listening
wistfully waiting
thinking,
woebegone


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

Fallen Apple Blossoms 

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

It is quiet
in my heart
as we approach
this day
reflecting on all
and one
that has been given
and stolen
like a lone icicle
left on the roof
after a winter storm
spring and summer a blur
we are distilled
in the moment
drip
drip
drip
the puddles are forming
and when we look down
we realize we are at sea
it’s impossibly loud
we’re holding on fast
as the waves are crashing
we’re taking in the ocean
it’s soaking us
sinking us
we step away
slam into land
run sopping, sobbing
apples are blanketing,
covering the meadow
like large, wild roses
round and perfect
green, red, yellow, pink
so many subtle shapes
we are walking, resting, drying
miraculously
they are sweet and tart
at once
the bite, the crunch
resounds
all the way down
to contemplating the core
and the seeds
it is the day of deep
breaths
until shofar calls
on you to give
what has been
absconded with
the apologies
are too hushed
like a basket of all
the fruit
put aside 
I’m seeking
listening
ear to the sky
in this upside down
life
you have left us
here, silent
just
wondering
if this day will bring
atonement
a note meant
for unity
when hope
was lost


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

Remembrance days

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By Dana Janine Diamond

We are in a daze
rhetoric swirling
to a crescendo
storm tossing all
we would rather forget
in my path
like a lingering scent
in the air that reminds
me, of something beautiful
and precious, perhaps an orange tree,
only irreconcilable,
in many languages
oranges are referred to as apples
with a different color
pommes like poems
in the palm of my hands
and this brings 
a smile to my lips
but there is no time
to dally in harvest
season, we must gather in
our memories
prepare for the spiritual
feast, if there is refuse
in heaps
like malodorous haystacks
we will be forced
to confront them
search for the proverbial
needle, and at last
sew a sweater for protection
against the impending cold winds
or a quixiotic quilt
vestiges of luminous
days
when we didn’t ask
what you reaped
or why you hovered
silently by
betraying my trust
losing all traces
of luster and grace
you seemed to descend
like a sunset leaving
merely a faint glimmer
of light
on the edge of awe
the world
is different now
with you gone


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

Ahead of darkness and light

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

I heard the song
and bustle of nature
as dusk began
to welcome the quiet
the trees listened
while their leaves
left
falling and scattering
branches reaching
ever more exquisitely
whispering poetically
we leaned closer
the bark seemed understanding
the apples will be sweet enough
without the honey this year
here, is God listening
is God sweet enough

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