Category Archives: Tragedy

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

Truth and Forgiveness

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by Dana Janine Diamond

This year
I am starting to forgive
my ex-husband
for all the harm
he did
of course, it is not for me
to forgive
his evil deeds
toward others,
against my child.
and what is real
is that the best chance
he gave me
to forgive
him was in
dying young.
he tortured us
for too many years
and I could click my heels
now that he’s gone.
the rest of you
if you’re still alive
I wouldn’t hold my breath
are we supposed to ignore
the vengeful, angry God
who lives on
in all of us
should we pretend
there is only love
or are we meant
to emulate angels
who never move
their feet
are we never meant
to fly
across the horizon
will we ever see
all that is below and above…
we’re not done yet
so forgiveness is not
on the menu
this year
but I will sing
anyway
because I am moving
we are singing
my lips are praying
I have some measure
of happiness
and that is significant.
just one word
to the…
hey, God,
don’t close your eyes
on us
we have traveled
a year
and we are not there
yet
wondering
are you


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

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

Buffalo

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By Dana Janine Diamond

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 (c 1993) 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

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

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