Category Archives: Suffering

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

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

Be Bold for Change

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

How lucky are we
to not be
one of the five million
women
or girls
at any given
moment
being sold
into sexual slavery
How they wish
they could
be bold
for change
how they need
us
to be
how they need
to just
be

On this morning
somewhere is a dream
a prayer
clinging to a girl
like a torn and tattered
robe
she has likely lost
hope
that we care
in God’s lightening game
of hide
and seek

We must find
these women
and girls
by the bold
light of day
never give
up
find
a way
to save them
heal them
love

We need
to be
bold
so we can
hold out hope
for a gentle
world
to come
home to
change

Coins like stars
are everywhere
shining in the streets
as light blankens
the sky
we reach
out our hands
to pick
them up
pluck one
with pluck
in our palms
like a guitar pick
in search of
a key change
a shell
in need
of a sea change

They each have
a name
these bold women
and girls
we see them
we need to
tell them
they are not invisible
they have names
like stars
and ours
must
be

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

A Life of Stellar Resistance 

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By Dana Janine Diamond

She refuses to be led away
they take her anyway
she won’t eat, cannot sleep
sheds no tears
screams
at her fears
while her country
scoffed
and laughed
she stockpiled
mounting insights
and listened to intuition,
chronicled observations
bore witness
to travesty after distortion
mockery after destruction
kindness had to go
underground
it fled traveling by foot and freight
good rose
to Number the Stars
and the empyrean curve
wept
for generations
she lifts her banner high
regretting not seeing the signs
earlier in the day
that her homeland
wanted her to lay supine
her body, her soul, her voice
considered a throwaway
the sadness she bears
within her bones
is beyond
archaeological excavation or telescopic vision
she raises her arms
to hold the gravitational collapse
she emits light
as the sun sets
it’s essential to remember
that every star in a dark sky
is still far brighter than
the pharoah’s sun


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

A Kriah

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

When the savage
tears away the fabric
of your life,
and you find out
under the veneer
the garments are rendered,
tattered and scorned
the story becomes fable
and the truth
is grittier, far more
cruel
than one is able
to conjure
and then comes along
the knowledge ill-gained
that some aren’t made
for the difficult
their hearts are
too shallow
not built just right
and they run, scattering
in the wind
like a clothesline
left unpinned
or they simply
never
took the time
to untwine their love
so that it would unspool
like a black ribbon floating
down the center of the road
to pool plentiful at your feet
when you tried
to gather
the delicate trim
offer it back to them
it remained elusive
so, eventually you gaze
across in every direction
and find who is left
standing beside

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 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