Tag Archives: Feminism

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

Gift

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

​I could make my mother laugh
I can make my daughter laugh
I can laugh to myself
and this makes me
invincible
still vulnerable
I am traveling by gondola
in a narrow waterway
flowers blooming everywhere
roses, peonies, ranuculus, hydrangeas
queen anne’s lace and baby’s breath
hot pink and cream, riotous colors
light glistening, shimmering
on the water’s surface
the sun and moon
are about to kiss
I, we,
don’t really know
where we are going
we just see love
I have to believe
the angels
are laughing with us
and love will save us
love saves this impressionistic
shabby, tie-dyed
magnificent
world
I have to believe
we will prevail


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

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

Bloomer

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By Dana Janine Diamond

I’m born the day before the birthday of the trees
and we must wait patiently
for them to grow
and blossom
and so my life
is one of waiting
as a poet must
for the words
to come,
to crystallize and distill
the experiences
made indelible
in our minds
the love
so ready
in every tender consonant
the branches, alliteration
lifted delicately in the air
holding up

 

COPYRIGHT 2017 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 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

Fallen Apple Blossoms 

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

It is quiet
in my heart
as we approach
this day
reflecting on all
and one
that has been given
and stolen
like a lone icicle
left on the roof
after a winter storm
spring and summer a blur
we are distilled
in the moment
drip
drip
drip
the puddles are forming
and when we look down
we realize we are at sea
it’s impossibly loud
we’re holding on fast
as the waves are crashing
we’re taking in the ocean
it’s soaking us
sinking us
we step away
slam into land
run sopping, sobbing
apples are blanketing,
covering the meadow
like large, wild roses
round and perfect
green, red, yellow, pink
so many subtle shapes
we are walking, resting, drying
miraculously
they are sweet and tart
at once
the bite, the crunch
resounds
all the way down
to contemplating the core
and the seeds
it is the day of deep
breaths
until shofar calls
on you to give
what has been
absconded with
the apologies
are too hushed
like a basket of all
the fruit
put aside 
I’m seeking
listening
ear to the sky
in this upside down
life
you have left us
here, silent
just
wondering
if this day will bring
atonement
a note meant
for unity
when hope
was lost


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