Tag Archives: Journeys

Nu

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by Dana Janine Diamond

I would wish you a sweet new year. I always have. The memories are gone, the future unknown. We have trees and stars and pink sunrises and pink sunsets, and lights sparkling over the river that is ever moving. There is a wheel turning somewhere in the sky, dispensing mazel. We stand under it, like we do with mistletoe, our palms outstretched, ready to catch it when it falls, ready to kiss the godliness within, ready to find love. We anticipate the embrace of love.

We carry with us a pink afghan. When I was younger, I knitted a beautiful afghan, all shades of green, from dark to light. And I carried it with me, everywhere I went, from room to room in my homes. We all have many homes. Some are waiting to be found.

So, here we are, searching. Our souls are slowly moving a flashlight out over the darkness. Our ancestors have been lighting candles for thousands of years. God knows the apple’s been in play since the beginning. Oh, but the honey. If only the sweetness would cover everything, would last. I remember dipping my toes into water and feeling refreshed, exhilarated, soothed.

This year will either make us or break us. It will take all of our strength just to lift the slice of apple with our fingers, drench it in a bit of honey, and slip it into our mouth. It will be tart and sweet simultaneously. As Jews, we never forget the bitterness; it’s always there. The joy can be elusive at times.

It feels like we’re living out the same story over and over again, peering out into the distance for happiness. It could be there, just over the horizon. It could be hidden within us, because we love. The journey could really be gratitude, and so we’ve arrived.

The challah is our reminder, be grateful. It’s full, like a soft cushion. Don’t be fooled by the harder, outer surface. I tell myself this. It’s our path to joy.

If I could raise my glass, I would wish you a sweet new year. Abundant and precious, filled to the brim with new hope.

COPYRIGHT 2019 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining tothejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

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We traveled here without knowing

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by Dana Janine Diamond

I don’t write anymore

I’ve lost myself

in the struggles

in the suffering

in the whiplash

of daily life

I don’t write anymore

of sweet, perfumed blossoms

of the feel of skin touching skin

air moving ever so slightly

above the clouds

where love lies nestled

I don’t write anymore

of longing

of hoping

of finding succor

I don’t even write

of brambles and gardens

of moonlight and wishes and soft skies

of summer squash and bright

carrots strewn across

the fields below

I don’t dream anymore

of hot balloon rides

of trying something new

of listening to the radio

with the windows down

I barely remember open spaces

they build little prisons for us

make it so

we barely notice

this is our home

the tears on the keys

until I don’t write anymore.

COPYRIGHT 2019 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Birthday

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By Dana Janine Diamond

 

Echo, play Joni Mitchell

and I’m singing along

back in my college dorm

she cheered my love

nursed my heartbreak

I’m on my green circles couch

in my family room

with my cat and dog

waiting for

the slight scratch of the needle

as it kisses the album

listening to the music

every day after school

I barely remember what I learned

back then

but I know every song I listened to

the lyrics, oh the lyrics

they have filled my mind

for a lifetime

I ran outside in the morning

danced in the afternoon

in my living room

where my family gathered

to host book clubs

and discuss liberal politics,

my french piano in the corner

my brother played guitar

with his friends

I pontificated

about passing the ERA

knocked on doors

won debates

still, still…

gossiped on the phone

for hours with girlfriends

twisting the cord round

and round

and poetry, always poetry

I read Catcher in the Rye

in elementary school

and asked my teacher

in all innocence

what a boner was

he turned bright red

(he’s a bestselling author now

so he turned out okay)

my life is a series

of connections

the night I lost

my virginity in college

I took a long, late night walk

under the stars

in the moonlight

and the first person I saw,

told, was JD Salinger’s daughter

she congratulated me

it all makes sense

in retrospect

of course the feckless

curly, red-haired boy

broke my heart

he wanted to be a chiropractor

to this day I don’t really trust chiropractors

I loved my twenties

married the love of my life

in secret

in a pinky-peach, soft Betsy Johnson dress

he’s back running Greece now

but we talked and kissed

for hours and hours

in Village cafes

for years

I owned the streets of NY

if you ever lived there

you know what I mean

riding in limousines

to deliver champagne

gifts from Steve and Ian

thanks for keeping

them out of jail

we danced and decorated

and celebrated

and I loved Hilly

how not to,

edited stories at MS.

Gloria was luminous

God, my twenties were fun

but then the poetry called

I needed to understand

the mysteries

of this world,

walked that path

with my loyalty

to a fault

escaped, but not before

bruises on my face

on my soul

I look back and wonder

how did I endure that life?

And yet leaving religion

took all of my courage

and then some

I’ve been molested, raped, punched

spat on (fuck you Rabbi ;))

but my glowing spirit

outshines all you

could ever do

because I’m wild and precious

I’m a colorful garden

still growing

my magnificent rose

she is everything

I leave my words as rose petals

my loving gift to you

 

COPYRIGHT 2019 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining tothejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Regrets

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by Dana Janine Diamond

 

The moment of repentance

is nearly upon us

I used to be a good person

maybe

I don’t know anymore

it’s all convoluted and confused

by all the rape and abuse

and maybe I never

thought I was good?

 

After my ex-husband tried

to kill me, I used to wish

I could find some mob guy

and put a hit on him

after all, I was forced to leave

Malibu, my soul’s homeland

and became exiled to New Jersey

that alone, and the pain and sudden,

abject poverty were enough

to wish him dead.

 

Then me and my baby girl

could go back home

to the place that sung to me

by day and romanced me

by night

how I longed for majestic waves and vistas

that filled every nook and cranny of

my being

the shoreline is a distant memory

we have music here… but we’re landlocked.

 

When he died (of natural causes)

I cried for weeks

but then, I rejoiced

every single time I remember

he’s dead, I smile

I no longer live in the same fear

that permeated my life for over

seventeen years.

 

Nothing is as I thought it would be

feels like we’re in a permanent state

of Tisha B’Av

I’ve made some apologies, sure,

but I don’t really know where I am

anymore. We are in

an inside online world

 

Nature is in the distance

I still remember the drive

and optimism

now, contemplating goodness

and fear and anger

goodness, anger is the worst

sin of all

for a woman

it renders us not good

in the eyes of the world

anger and sadness

and fear and happiness

are all mixed up

nearly indiscernible

 

I suppose I’m the quintessential

wandering Jew

from land to land

from spiritual quest

to spiritual journey

from pain

to unimaginable pain

and though the day is close

forgiveness is not a

road I’m traveling on

 

I brew my tea, hold

my dogs, hug

my daughter

for hours of my days

I cook the most delicious, inventive food

I nurture, I write almost endlessly

till writing makes me known,

until it makes me a stranger

all that is in me

seeps out

the wonder-filled good and

loving heart

and the despair,

the hardness

the longing for justice

the frustration and impatience

we are locked in this moment

 

I have no idea where I’m going

what lies ahead

or is waiting to greet me

if only God and love

would meet me

 

COPYRIGHT 2018 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining tothejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Buffalo

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By Dana Janine Diamond

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

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

Pearl Seed

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      By Dana Janine Diamond 

                                                                                       

I believe

God needs me

I believe

I am the smoothest pearl

the sweetest juice

the tastiest morsel

on the most Glorious tongue.

I believe

God needs me

I believe

I could be                                                                    

the lightest petal

in the daisy chain

tied up and wished upon,

garland crown scrunched on,

spritely and meadow-free,

a dandelion cradled, held

in the smoothest palm

of the most resonant hand,

puff, poof, I’m gone.

Merely a flimsy whimsy thrown

by the pebbles, to the ground,

skipped over and stepped upon                                                    

precious trinket unseen

glimmering in the sun,

I shimmy and shimmer

to find my treasure,

like so many ships

slipped out of their slip,

circling, lost at sea,

journeys bequeathed,

for one girl or woman,

just like me,

I believe

God needs.                                                                      

As an ivory cameo rests,

her features forever in repose,

perpetually calm,

we carry on.

So, about my song

should I even get started?

on the sound I make

when I give charity

the fluidity of melody

my coins are heralding

in the Heavens

oh, but would if I could

hear the trumpets, the drumbeat,

the insidious rhythm so natural

to the heart of me

would if I could hear

that I believe

God needs me

all that is around me

here in me

and I dance

ever moving, shaking

shaking, shaking

the maracas in my head

can you hear it, too?

Such bliss, the waves,                                                         

the beads, the most

perfect pearl,

prayers rising aglow

freshly dusted like snow

angels’ wings

we make, grow, sing

breathe upon the air

balloons flying off

to nowhere, colors now everywhere,

I believe

there is no telling

where you might find it                                                

in the noise, in the quiet

your essence matters

with form or without it,

your poem-song-need,

the quintessential seed,

Those Loving arms

are yours, hold on now,

you know you’ve got it.

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