Category Archives: Jewish Holidays

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

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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

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 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

Day of Silent Shouting 

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

Every year I pray
think positive, good
thoughts
so that the head
day
of my year
will shed light
on the rest
this year I
tried something different
told God he was
a mother-fucker
didn’t edit
or narrate
or sing
Our Father, our King
because he done
fell off his throne
just me in the corner
finding my religion
trusting intuition
maybe since his head
is lolling and rolling
around on the ground
with the rest of us
or at least just
beneath my feet
it will be good and sweet
taking a bite
out of these apples
waiting
perhaps in vain
for his apologies
to me and Eve.
He had to close
his eyes
perhaps he’s just
a coward
after all
I’ve got mine
open
still
sitting vigil by the windowsill
anticipating light
every day


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