Tag Archives: Abuse

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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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

An Un-Love Song

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by  Dana Janine Diamond


I wake with tears
beneath the clouds

my soul may well have been there 

it’s been a long, weary journey

from the mountain

to hear, to here.

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I don’t know why she did it

why she converted to this religion

I don’t know why these women

chose a hard life in the corners

of the fields

maybe they just

wanted to be mothers

maybe they just

wanted to be daughters

maybe they just

missed their men

maybe they just

wanted to love

God.

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So we have their story

we have the poem

the love song of all love songs

we were there

when it was written

we were there

when it was told

I have loved

You God

with all my soul                              

I have danced

to Your music

donned the costume

for Your play

I have stayed

the night

many nights

learning Your words

as if by candlelight

I have thrown myself

upon the rocks

for You

I have loved

You

have felt loved

by You

I was Your child

now grown

to half a life


Once a man told me,

one of us is a rock

and one of us is a flower

Damn right I’m a flower.

 

he broke them

he broke them

I woke this morn

feeling the weight

as they came crashing down

I want to dive into the crashing

waves, they’re waving me on

I want to live, to float

not knowing

where I’m going

never wanting to leave

we are the leaves

and the buds

and the honey

and the streams of milk

we are the land and the sea

Rising up to greet us

We are everything

and we are nothing

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My heart is heavy

those who worshipped idols

who worshipped the body of

both meat and milk

the cow is a female

but there are those

who do not understand

the precision of language

who do not distinguish

between a cow

and bull

They are here with us now

they are worshipping their cows

they are worshipping their bulls

they are worshipping themselves

they are burning us down

they are dancing around

burning our hearts

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They are false idols in our midst

Our leaders, they have fallen so low

the women wrap

themselves in prayer shawls

and their eyes burn

on the other side

of the divide

the men throw tongues of fire

the women raise their children

and they know not

from where they came

they should have been scholars

they should have been leaders

they should have loved

the children

more than they loved themselves

they dropped us

they stomped on us

they stomped

all over

all over

all over

God.

 

Our dog is barking

howling, growling

driving us mad

he sniffs out a fox

or some creature

he detests

on the edge

of our home

amongst the weeds

there is no peace

in our home

under the trees

we fall

to sleep

we are asleep.

 song-of-songs

I awake

this morn

with a heavy heart

the animals

have taken over

they have made

our children

the sacrifice

for which they received

no commandment

they have desecrated

The Holy of Holies

they have lied

and murdered our souls

I am here to tell the story

to write the poem

To cry, my heart,

To cry, my heart

 

Oh Jerusalem

We are burning

from their fire                            

they have written

a new song

of rage

they remember the fire

and not the sea

they remember the fire

and not the stone

they remember the fire

and not the mountain

they remember the fire

and not the Glory

they remember the fire

and forget the stories,

there is no all-night toil

that can eradicate

the need for justice

 

She is crying in the streets

She is burning to the ground

She is weeping from there to here

muting the trumpets

to no avail

the tears have not,

are not, enough

to drown the fire

there will be no peace

until justice is done.

 

They have forgotten the poem

they have un-sung

our song.

COPYRIGHT 2013 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

False Imprisonment

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 by Dana Janine Diamond 

We ask for Mercy

extending forgiveness

like an old tree branch

bending toward the river,

leaves flowing by

currents confusing,

we know it’s our only  prospect

at getting to Grace.

We beg for clemency

agreeing that decency

is the salient, saving factor

in our long climb out

the chance we took

to escape from our own

little prisons,

we ran, we crawled,

we leaped, we sang,

unsure if the doors clanging

shut – would signal

our capture

or release.

At the break of day

the whispered question

“Do I regret…?”

“We’ll see…”

the non-committal response.

Breaking free

was a gambit

which didn’t work

as long as we really longed

to return

Lying awake at night

hearing the message

the echo of keys

the crush of the heart,

other sighs,

in this day,

the bar is set

just a little too wide

it’s all too effortless

to slip in and out

if I had known

how easily you would give me up

I would not have joined in

this fickle crime.

I read random books

eat tasteless food

whether it’s raining

or hot as hell

outside

I am here

remembering the sound of you,

the catch in your voice,

like the turn of the tumbler

the whoosh

of the picked lock

I am here

waiting inside.

My cells

carry the memory

of screams and howls

and mass cheers

for public tortures and executions

for bodies twisted into hideous shapes

for emaciated sticks passing for human beings

for burned homes and gassed bodies

for uniformed men torching

our place of worship, our stores,

our books.

stealing silver and jewels,

terrorizing our children and mothers,

taking our boys to drown

tearing apart families

just as easily as limbs

scattering us to the winds

and ashes.

I can smell the stench of charred skin

feel the pain of the missing layer,

the scars of sin.

There is a Jewish proverb,

“What soap is to the body,

tears are for the soul.”

Shower, shower, shower.

Oh, my G-d, I cry out to you,

you have given me a gifted life,

a life of privilege

I have always known who I am

when I was interrupted

on a busy street, on a busy, cold day,

from walking a quick pace toward my neighborhood,

wearing my grandmother’s fur coat,

over (my own) mini-dress and fishnets,

I was asked,

“Excuse me, are you Jewish?”

I came to a standstill.

Strangers rushed past

as we stood on the sidewalk,

facing each other,

no one seemed to spare us a glance,

or paused to witness

the internal commotion.

“What’s it to you?” I sassed.

“The Rebbe wants to wish you

a Happy Chanukah!”

and with that, this young rabbi,

in black hat and garb,

whisked out a black rectangular box,

with a gold tin menorah inside.

I could not and did not hide my delight.

I rushed on, looking forward

to the nights ahead

of fierce light.

How fortunate my life is,

that I am handed a tin, gold menorah,

not a tin, gold Star of David.

Yet years would pass,

‘til I would find my way home.

It’s been ages

since I first embraced You.

been loved and teased,

held peals of laughter in my palms,

been gathered up in warm arms,

if I listen to the soft persuasion

of beguiling voices,

it is my freedom

that opens the door

to this false prison.

Still, even moving sideways

lying down, hiding, writing,

talking, we stumble forward praying,

getting to Grace.

So far, my heart beats strong,

resisting beatings and broken bones,

nerve damage,

all inclement weather.

I do not give up on You,

You do not give up on me.

COPYRIGHT 2011 Dana Janine Diamond  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

All Things Bitter

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    by  Dana Janine Diamond 

At the root

this chicory

cannot hold on

blossom into a full

head of all

that’s wrong

no small coco

or coffee bean

will resist

a little sweetening

like quinine

which is not quite

the tonic

or bright lime

the bark and rind

will be peeled

away

away, away,

raise up and away

where constellations lay,

sweetness holds sway

in the open sky

bitterroot flowers

and berry seeds

rock rose

to mother’s

crowning glory

and God turns tears

into joy for

all things bitter

will not include me

neither sick nor small minds

will bring low

for long

petal growing wild

you can hold

your own

amidst the lupines.

COPYRIGHT 2011 Dana Janine Diamond  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Weights and Measures

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  by Dana Janine Diamond 

I’ve been methodically

weighing this out

measuring the pain

hard to see

in the darkness

fighting shadows

truth could be

shedding a new light

but we live

in a world

of lies

waiting

will truth set us free

how do we measure

freedom

If I measured

all the little deaths

I might be linking together

gum wrappers

for many miles

some say

Starbursts work just

as well

but I digress

from that which most

would just rather not face

and so I’m left

apparently much of center

to think

that truth matters

weighing the choice

between silence

and courage

just shut up girl

isn’t that the way

we keep the chain going

I’ve been carefully

weighing and measuring

the feeling of

being punched in the face

repeatedly by a man

wearing a yarmulke and tzitzis

holding my baby

punching me again

and again

and again

until my cheekbone is shattered

until my baby’s skull is nearly crashed into a wall

until my head covering is knocked off mine

so minor in comparison

the snap of the fist hitting flesh

held a breathless moment

of clarity

while he counted down

the seconds I had

to save our lives

Years gone by,

I’m carefully weighing

and measuring

which is worse

broken cheekbone

or broken heart

one man

or many

I remember his mother

coming to my bedroom

hours later

telling me to lie

to go away

so no one would know.

I called a holy man

to hear what I knew

deep down inside

he said speak the truth

and we’re alive

I suppose I’m still waiting

all these years later

for holiness to arise

for the answer

that should not have a question

this feels worse

I can’t breathe

in this darkness

I can’t raise

my child

to believe

she’s like gum under your shoe

a discarded wrapper easily tossed aside

I’m carefully

weighing and measuring

the noise, the whispers,

the voice of the soul

the stars in the sky

desperate to be heard

shh! a voice needs to be heard

don’t run with the herd

don’t run away

don’t stand down or back away

from facing the

truth is bold

and cannot be measured

just the tiniest match

will overcome darkness.

COPYRIGHT 2011 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com