Tag Archives: Poets

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

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Truth and Forgiveness

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by Dana Janine Diamond

This year
I am starting to forgive
my ex-husband
for all the harm
he did
of course, it is not for me
to forgive
his evil deeds
toward others,
against my child.
and what is real
is that the best chance
he gave me
to forgive
him was in
dying young.
he tortured us
for too many years
and I could click my heels
now that he’s gone.
the rest of you
if you’re still alive
I wouldn’t hold my breath
are we supposed to ignore
the vengeful, angry God
who lives on
in all of us
should we pretend
there is only love
or are we meant
to emulate angels
who never move
their feet
are we never meant
to fly
across the horizon
will we ever see
all that is below and above…
we’re not done yet
so forgiveness is not
on the menu
this year
but I will sing
anyway
because I am moving
we are singing
my lips are praying
I have some measure
of happiness
and that is significant.
just one word
to the…
hey, God,
don’t close your eyes
on us
we have traveled
a year
and we are not there
yet
wondering
are you


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

Prayers for a Queen to step out of her shadow

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By Dana Janine Diamond

Buried
all the pain
but it insists
on climbing through the mist
spectral fingers clawing
peering out of the mud
feeling their way
pulling us back
underground
it’s been more
so much more
it shouldn’t have been
at all
for all the little flowers
emanating light
sending wishes
like honey candles
in the blue, sugared night
I don’t know
if a new sun,
a new year
holds more promises
than the last
I don’t know
if faith works
I don’t know
what hope will bring
all my memories
are here with me now
maybe this is why
we mark time
so we can remember
our parents’ songs
so we can sing
with our children
maybe this year
I won’t be alone
on the floor
of the chapel outskirts
awash in angst and despair
maybe this year
the good
will outnumber
the pain
there is no telling.
All the intellect
and intricate beauty
brings minute comfort
in moments
such as these
the unfathomable
governs
but we rise
by uttering, recognizing,
naming
our blessings
praising gratitude
and abundant, unending love.

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

Bobbing for Apples in Hard Times

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           by Dana Janine Diamond

I’ve had a craving

all day

for a cup of red lentil Minestrone

at the Eden Cafe

I’m immersed in Hass’s

The Apple Trees at Olema

chosen because it’s

Rosh Hashana, the new year.

My head is leaning in

taking poetry by the teeth

spooning on honey

from the sorrel tree,

to infuse, offer

succor from its redolence,

traveling through the spicy sagebrush

as I savor silky leeks, savory tomatoes, and soft sweet potatoes.

We tatterdemalion, pretty poets,

who wouldn’t want to be,

ahem…read a Poet Laureate?

I have to write

while I still have time

it’s the night

before Yom Kippur

have I awakened from our dream?

A blond-headed girl suddenly

lets out a loud, piercing sound

a unison call of the whooping crane,

startling me from my reverie,

her father glances at her,

“I’ll behave, Daddy,” she says.

I smile in complicity,

wishing to emit

letters from the arc of the ellipse

to sing us from slumber,

a parade of others

with downs syndrome, autism, special needs,

whatever we call different these days,

stream by accompanied

by guffaws, utterances, greetings

the girl and I wave,

Rebecca, I discover,

she boldly walks over, shakes

my hand and introduces herself.

“Now you know me?”

“Now you know me.”

“Now you know me!”

She exclaims with her hand on her heart.

Hope has arisen in mine,

a blessing from her pristine, holy soul.

I feel purified,

my metaphorical crumbs

swirling in the creek

for symbolic birds and swift fish to feed,

the hush of moving water

slips in between

peaceful pebbles,

tangled branches of leaves still green

hovering, these souls

marching before me

are my mikveh,

a second time in, and

tashlich revisited, revolving…

spinning sins into kindness,

these angels limping, helped along

by watchful parents, unsure aids, silver walkers,

their lopsided smiles

only only only

because the world is turned

upside down,

a dream within a dream.

An old man, stooped over,

his back curved into a hump,

is carefully washing a container

in the sink at the condiment station,

not shy, a large lime green kippa

clipped merrily atop his head,

above a twinkle in his eye,

a wild printed shirt and wide plaid pants,

cinched in with care

in contrast to his frail body,

something in his air

evokes Elijah, hints

at a hidden tzaddik;

despite his garish ensemble,

he manages to retain his dignity

as he shuffles lightly to his table,

in a honeycombed rhythm,

a kind of remembered grace

enhancing his step,

I close my book,

ready myself to leave,

resolve not to miss

my chance

in the Book of Life,

I wish him a Sweet New Year,

pause as he looks up,

no Tamerlane moment here,

he reveals his toothless grin,

responds, “You sure look beautiful tonight.”

“Why, thank you, um…what’s your name?”

“It’s Bob.”

“You’re real sexy,” he continues,

“Can we have dinner sometime?”

Shaking my head, I turn to go,

(I, who am covered head to toe)

turn again, “how old are you,

if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Old enough to know better

and young enough

not to give a damn!”

He interrupts his chortling

to add, “85!”

Ah, I see where I’m headed, Bob,

but I’m not there yet.

He reminds me a little

of my father, of blessed memory,

who would have turned ninety-three

this Yom Kippur,

what was that like for his mother, I wonder,

to be in labor, give birth, on the holiest of days…

he came to me once in a dream

he was floating in a canoe

on the stillness of the lake

tendering words of fatherly love,

in life, he talked of the future,

in death, he spoke only of the present.

And birth and death and the small

i in between,

begs the question,

are we as we seem?

I’m in love with truth,

if you can’t speak it, be it,

don’t waste my time, know

I will not forsake my birthright,

mine is a poet’s birthday, a poet’s namesake,

and tonight, the apples, an auspicious beginning.

*Written Eruv Yom Kippur 5772, October 7-8, 2011 (the week of Steve Job’s passing.)

COPYRIGHT 2011 Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com