Tag Archives: Abuse

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

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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