Tag Archives: Grief

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

Wintry Night

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By Dana Janine Diamond

Winter has stolen
life from the trees
she can only admire
the foliage from afar
the vibrant images caught
in so many pictures
hold no meaning,
the family stories
are hidden
under a fallen bed of snow
that blankets the once fertile
her hand shakes as she absently
smooths her hair
like a leaf blowing to and fro
her shy, uncertain smile
takes over
where raucous laughter
used to live
yet her hug can still offer
a firm grip
I will take my solace in
this small comfort
the intermittent moment
when she knows me
her eyes afire
I blink
it’s gone.

I long for the day
when a blank canvas, a white page
was inviting,
an enticing beginning,
not most of her mind
dark, at the end
of a long night.
I know the story
hers to tell
after she went to mikvah
on the eve of her December
wedding, surrounded
by her mother and aunts
smiling, waiting for the rushing train
to take her home
while icicles formed and froze
on her hair.
The way she told it
I felt I was there

Still, her white hair
is remarkably thick and dense,
as if there should be more
to hold onto in her mind.
It is my hair, my eyes,
my humor, my drama,
my music, my destiny?
How she loves to dance

I will walk now,
see the hills and the many trees,
caress my daughter’s hair,
she has learned to arrange
on her own,
marvel at her alacrity,
cherish her sparkling eyes,
sweet voice raised in song
eitz chaim hi lamachazikim boh,
how we love to dance
I am holding on, holding on
Floating above the trees
Floating on a sea of tears

It must be a wintry quiet
a snow globe shaken
until all disappears
yet she finds contentment
we Jewish mothers
are resilient.
Even when we take leave
of memory,
this is our legacy
we carry, we carry
even when our life
leaves our mind
and life leaves
our womb
never let go, never letting go
and your laughter, our laughter
always

COPYRIGHT 2010 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com