Tag Archives: America

Buffalo

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By Dana Janine Diamond c1993

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

Dream America 

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

What has become
of our country?
Why are so many
hanging on
the every word
of a madman
What is the soul
sickness that plagues

God, I miss daisies
and kindness
on the summer lawn
fruit pies, flags, and
the band
the hazy, beautiful memory
of who we once were

We might not
know the answers
for years
to come
24/7 tells
us less than
an investigation
or a simple
mental health diagnosis
like when his psychiatrist
said, ‘If you stay,
he won’t stop
trying to kill you,
he hates his mother,
and you’re here.’

Bring us
the grace
out on the water
bring us
the light
out to sea
give us the
sweetness of
the farmed land
elusive serenity
let our Plains
sing
and mountains
tremble,
as we gather
in their shelter
bring us the love
bring us love
we need to pray
for love

lay the dark down
aren’t we just exhausted
from it all

Raise your hand
if you’ve lived
through this before
now America knows
what it’s like
to endure
domestic violence
stop
the
abuse
stop
letting him
berate us

I once was on
the lam
with my infant
in my gold
mini-van
for 100 days
hiding from the
crazy, violent man
I had pledged
my allegiance to
the police
said my home
was no longer
safe and secure
mezuzah, talismans,
and candles
notwithstanding

Dear America,
tea partiers, hemp fans,
middle road warriors
time to call
it a day
let the sun
set on this son
a lot of these
men are confused
they don’t recognize
what’s happening

It’s painful and sad
the loss of a dream
but we must
rally and overcome
pick up our babies
and go
we will love
our way
forward

This poem was originally published in Times of Israel on August 4, 2016. 

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/dream-america/

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

In famous Land

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By Dana Janine Diamond   c2016

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Time to know
how each victim was precious
embodied the love
we all carry
through this life
how they will live
forever
dancing
reaching for joy
connection
haunting
our collective
heart
there were doors opened
latches unlocked
screams
thundered steps fleeing
the clouds changed formation
the heavens sobbed
the one God retreated
the beat stopped

 

Robert Mapplethorpeimage

and now
now
days have passed
news broadcast
inhumanity traveled through
time
the sorrow
the sorrow
cannot be harnessed
nor holstered
politics did not have enough
force
behind it, or money
or soul
people who should
know better
don’t

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So let’s break
it down
in the way I know how
the bow and arrow
both weapon and love
the voluptuous curve
the propulsion of all
that can bring us
together
or tear our skin
apart
after the storm
after the rain
transforms
the earth
the impenetrable forest
and the rivers
running through
we look up
to see if there will
be more
if the light
will be restored
and that is when
the miracle unfolds
and each day
for a time
we are all catching the sun

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