Category Archives: The Jewish People

Nu

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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

We traveled here without knowing

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by Dana Janine Diamond

I don’t write anymore

I’ve lost myself

in the struggles

in the suffering

in the whiplash

of daily life

I don’t write anymore

of sweet, perfumed blossoms

of the feel of skin touching skin

air moving ever so slightly

above the clouds

where love lies nestled

I don’t write anymore

of longing

of hoping

of finding succor

I don’t even write

of brambles and gardens

of moonlight and wishes and soft skies

of summer squash and bright

carrots strewn across

the fields below

I don’t dream anymore

of hot balloon rides

of trying something new

of listening to the radio

with the windows down

I barely remember open spaces

they build little prisons for us

make it so

we barely notice

this is our home

the tears on the keys

until I don’t write anymore.

COPYRIGHT 2019 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.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

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

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

These Days

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by Dana Janine Diamond

My triumphs are small
these days
summoning an expression
of gratitude
even though sadness pervades
invades
catching the joyous 
leap of a deer
in the woods
my dog taking me
farther than I intended
to go

Meditating on love
even in its absence
the loss of the best
of humanity
how to find it again
which of our children
will save the world
as they save us
every single day

Sweet noble knight
found his fair rose
wrote in the language
of love
the largesse of a soul
and spirit
too great to contain
in letters
wandering without borders
wondering without boundaries

Rising up
from all of history
like an exquisite
ceramic decantur
in the dirt of the dig
filling us to the brim
making us more
from the beginning and end

of time
’til this moment

J’accuse
it’s up to us now
to give voice
refrain from averting
our gaze
just a little longer
the ache is too deep
to contemplate

but morning
is the feast
of words, of a
full day of promise
the trick
is to keep traveling
the truth
is to keep
remembering

Sunlight sees us
waking through our day
speaking and writing
and finally believing
loving morning miracles

For Elie, part 1

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