Tag Archives: Country

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

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Thanksgiving Daze

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By Dana Janine Diamond

We tripped the light
fantastic
pain pooling at our feet
we felt the force
of a waterfall
dancing wildly
to its own beat
a rhythm we thought
was gone
is bulging out
of an angry hat
nothing sits below it
an emptiness
of the most
profound sort
we watch images reflected
in gold towers
and hyped-up billboards
captured by
rear view mirrors
as we drive through
our towns
we’ve lost our minds
and hearts,
our souls
dived off a ledge
into shallow waters ambivalent
to hold our refuse,
what has become
of our great endeavor
we are battling
an ugly history
passing for glory
this year some
of us are wide awake
others clinging tightly
to a long forgotten dream
we fight to the bitter end
or learn to begin again
I’ve spent too many
holidays in hospitals
today I’m free
yet not
as we celebrate
our gratitude
partake in a harvest repast
at last
love limps to the table
battle worn and a bit broken
from the hate spewing about
as outside a cranked up
fire hydrant
ruins adult shoes in its path
delighting kids and dogs
emitting a raucous laughter
we can’t get the same water
back in
we’ll need a wider vision
it’s so hard to sink
this low
as a people, as a nation
we left paradise long ago
and this burden feels
too heavy
but rise we must
of that I am hopefully
certain
faith takes over
when reason has left
us alone
we keel and mourn
and cry out a silent
howl
we embrace
fix our gaze on
the prophets and seers
the poets and the singers
the leaves that turn our skies aglow
even as their roots
are ever deep
it is up to us
to offer out our hands
as the homeless in the streets
a sign, a day to remember
we need each other
we need each other

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

Country Love Song and Other Journeys

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by Dana Janine Diamond

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I didn’t know I was going to fall in love
I probably should have
when I discovered the legend
of Granny White
who left the Carolinas
in the middle of the night
Lucinda walked here
on foot
through rugged, mountainous terrain
some nine hundred miles
I drove nearly one thousand miles
to get here
through boring, snow-dusted Virginia
not quite the same

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She took her grandchildren
in tow, widowed woman
I don’t know how she survived
yet she arrived
here, at 60, opened up her
apple cake stand and
soon her Inn
where presidents and generals laid their heads
she began anew
well past the prime…

of what king makers believe
women can be
for today’s art and commerce,
men live longer
and women merely age…
perhaps revenge
for our added years
and the miracle of life?
Some people really know
how to hold a grudge.

But I digress,
let no injustice
be done
when the headline is
She ruled this town!
She is a park, a pike,
an historic site
How many women have this
to say
for themselves?

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I think this city
can welcome
a single mother
I surely think
it can
Bless its heart

You see,
I had a vision,
a strong intuition
that I was meant
for the sea.
This place
was part of my pilgrimage
on my way
to County Waterford or Cork
or perhaps The Giant’s Causeway
along the Antrim Coast (or at least perchance Key West.)
My home was to be made
upon the cliffs,
so that each morn
I would breathe
in the salt air
and let the tides
pull words from my soul
to float out
across the ocean
where the poetry of kindness
could flourish and live…

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So this was just
my stopping ground
my stomping ground
as I danced away
from constraint
slipped free
of the shackles
I had placed
on myself
some twenty years past.

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Each day has been a revelation
each day I awake
to the whisper
I’m free, I’m free
I’m gloriously free
and the air is so sweet
with honeysuckle and arugula
an undefinable mystery…
The leaves sway
the cardinal sings
the bunnies greet me
as I start down
the stone driveway
to come home.

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The trees, the woods
of the country
they see me naked
as I arise each morning
throwing caution and pajamas
to the wind
if someone has a telescope
a few acres away
then I guess they got lucky
unless a woman,
a mother in her prime
is not their idea of lucky
to which I would have to say,
Oh my! Oh me, oh my-ah.
Phenomenal woman.
Because we cannot forget

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in County Galway
they buried 800 children
in a septic tank
some twenty years ago
the Fallen Women were shunned
and punished, by the nuns
for the sin
of having been alive
of having taken
a giant bite
out of life
or maybe for falling victim
it didn’t matter to them the who or why,
the single mothers
and their children
were starved and suffered.
These Irish babies need a resting place.

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They say this place
is a good ol’ boy’s town
those are the songs
the world wants
to sing to itself
but I believe in Granny White
and Naomi and Ruth
and in the power
of a mother telling her stories

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In greeting the wide, open countryside
where farm tables and horses coincide
delectable fresh-grown feasts await,
herb goat cheese salads, avocado popsicles, sate
seemingly effortless
that’s how it’s done here
with music in the air
I sift through jewels
as the old man in the aisle over
picks up a guitar and
picks out a tune
I walk outside,
the gentle summer rain
starts to come down
my child and I
make our way
over the brick cobblestones
the light in the sky
could be grey
or shimmer incandescent,
the endless farm land and luminous
evening stars whisper
I have fallen
in love
with this place
I have fallen in love with this place.

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COPYRIGHT 2014 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com