Category Archives: Summer Camp

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

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Letting Go (Green Light)

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by Dana Janine Diamond

 

The things we remember

my sister forgetting to put the car in park

in the temple parking lot

picking me up from day camp,

it rolled right into the shed in the back

and crashed the whole thing down,

that was a memorable mess,

oh my, I was about my daughter’s age then,

when I took the bus home from Camp Centerland

passing field flowers waving in the breeze

hundreds of bottles of beer on the wall

came down when Billy was one

and one of us was kissing someone

in a tree and yarn made cradles

while we sang in three part harmonies…

even with her forgetfulness that day

my sister held onto her boyfriend

more than forty years

and we can laugh

at all the mistakes made along the way.

 

 

Now, me, I’ve had a few accidents,

I dented our family garage while backing out early on,

which I’ve come to realize is pretty common

but then I must have had my mind on other things

which can happen when you’re on the run…

I’ll back up a bit now

to about a year before my sister got married,

I went away to a new camp

it seemed like every day was a dream

where I learned to sail

and water ski, fish and portage a canoe,

bunked with some kids from Mexico

and even faced a bear straight on.

I loved how the lights reflected in the lake

as we gathered for the Sabbath

I heard God singing in the trees

felt his breath upon me as I gazed

at his reflection rippling out from me.

 

 

One night I was particularly excited,

during the all-camp gathering to watch a movie

or some talent show,

I snuck out of the main hall in the dark

with the boy who beckoned me,

he wasn’t even the boy I was crushing on,

but he was very cute and what a catch!

What ten year old girl wouldn’t be thrilled

that an eighteen year old counselor

wanted to kiss her under the stars

cradled by the trees, feeling the foreign

sensation of his hand on her breast,

sometimes I look at pictures

of me and my group

dressed up for the 50’s dance,

jumping into the sun-warmed, still cool lake,

and think how small they looked,

they might have felt better

if he had waited a few years

because they really got bigger later on…

Did I mention he offered me a joint?

I didn’t need it, though, the kisses

and his touch were heady enough.

 

 

You can imagine my surprise

when one day about twenty years later

I drove to the movies at the Beverly Center

in my red mustang with a friend,

and as we were kibbitzing over popcorn

waiting for the feature to begin,

I saw my camp on the big screen

I actually stood up in the movie theater,

pointed and exclaimed,

that’s my camp!

Now, Hollywood being Hollywood

and Jewish geography being what it is,

serendipitously, I was invited to

the premiere, and I watched

the actor who looked just like the counselor

who felt me up

was made the hero and let go for some noble reason;

everyone has their own memory and point of view

and that writer is entitled to his.

I was a little shocked, though quietly so,

it’s taken me years to realize we’re all guilty

of glossing over the horrific parts.

 

 

So, the car I’m driving now

has really been jerking me around

it’s just not worth the price to fix it,

sometimes you have to let go

when something’s not working right,

and just get into something new

I guess I’m a suburban girl

through and through,

so much of my life

has been lived in a car,

(you know who you are)

’cause I don’t think I’m all that

forgettable, but, as I said, we all have our own stories

I often wonder what my daughter

will remember

it’s certainly not the things we own.

 

 

COPYRIGHT 2010 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com
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