Category Archives: Journeys

Buffalo

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By Dana Janine Diamond c1993

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

New Year’s Day 

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By Dana Janine Diamond 


I saw Bono sing
to me
back in New Jersey
when I still had hope
for each shiny, new day
bouncing in and out of bed
in the city
perched on the windowsill
of The Plaza Hotel
I saw the snowflakes singing
to the people below
hearts fluttering down
waves rolling in
to the shores
sipping a mimosa
on the deck
trying not to show
that I was eavesdropping
on Fleetwood Mac
at the table across
those easy days in California
that only seemed easy
when poems and the sea
filled my head
when she was younger
we headed to Boca or Bal Harbor
flew kites on the beach
weighed down our pockets
with precious shells
that let us hear far
across the oceans
to Sting playing in a barn
outside of Paris
I swept that aside
as we explored abandoned
mansions in the blue Maryland hills
climbed Red Rock Canyon
in the dry, desolate desert,
ran with our dog in the fields
and around the lake
laughing, writing, smiling
and now we are stuck
in the rocky Tennessee top
the trees will have to be new
for us this year
there is nothing to see
but their dwindling leaves,
the forlorn menorah
and our memories
across the blue-gray sky.


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

Autumn’s travail

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

Hunkering down
it will be a long haul
the elections are nearly upon us
though it’s still warm
almost oppressive
when we take note
fall comes slowly
in the south
leaves just beginning
to blow away
songs are saving us
though there’s a chance 
they might not
get written anymore
for the fate
of the world is upon us
the sadness takes
up all the space
until the show begins
and the comedians and singers
take the stage
if only they knew
the lives they saved
I’m leaving a trail
in the forest
with just the deer
and birds for solace
where will we go
homeless souls
when winter comes

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

Cart Wheels

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By Dana Janine Diamond

We had a peaceful day
there won’t be many
this one nearly wasn’t
but it’s still mid-evening
my job now
is to report from the inside

the way we got here
the echo of…
this is my happiness
distilled to the most
benign expectations

Journey, journeying
galloping, memories
in pointillist paintings
true moments
like night stars
we can’t see them all
but we look up
and receive the impression

It turns out
humans mated with neanderthals
not sure who
got the better deal
if it was love, if God
ever really loved
us
he or she has not yet
proven their point

are we like chimps
or chumps
in the zoo
bewildering
to those on the outside

Job should have fulfilled
the prophecy
and cursed you
maybe he could have
spared us the task

We are holding the water
down
traveling, traveling
I need all the stars
turning and twirling
to deepen dusk

 

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