Tag Archives: Soul

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

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

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

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 (c 1993) Dana Janine Diamond ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See Copyright Notice pertaining to thejewishpoetess.wordpress.com

Tides Against the Shoreline 

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

Katie in
The Way We Were
was the first time
I saw myself on screen
my kindred spirit 
in passionate
politics and yearning
for a more fair
and just world
11, about to champion
Feminism
in a big, door to door way

Now we are fighting
a war
we never knew
would be upon us
and I long for
just 
one of Hawkeye’s
wry, comforting smiles
I’m crawling through
the mud, gasping
for any pebble
or lambent bead of light
any way of carrying
on

My daughter
is writing
another book, rich
with friendships and heart
struggles and triumphs
true
love
the imagination gifts us
when memories
collide
and I’m still
so still
writing poems
just as I first did when I was 14

I dreamed of bequeathing
my daughter a heroine
an explorer
a wild water tamer
in a country of poetry
I wanted to gather in
the ocean
just for her
wade through wildflowers
in the tidal marshes
untouched
bathe in incandescence
climbing
strewn on sun-warmed rocks
basking in
southernmost sunlight
sense the salt
in an air with no loneliness

once we swam
the night away
under the moonlight
now we want
to travel the world
away from the deep dolor
of nostalgia
we played Marco Polo
but you grew silent
my heart
is too heavy
with all the myths
lost at sea
where do we belong
longing for passage
home


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

Autumn’s travail

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

Hunkering down
it will be a long haul
the elections are nearly upon us
though it’s still warm
almost oppressive
when we take note
fall comes slowly
in the south
leaves just beginning
to blow away
songs are saving us
though there’s a chance 
they might not
get written anymore
for the fate
of the world is upon us
the sadness takes
up all the space
until the show begins
and the comedians and singers
take the stage
if only they knew
the lives they saved
I’m leaving a trail
in the forest
with just the deer
and birds for solace
where will we go
homeless souls
when winter comes

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

To the fields we go

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by Dana Janine Diamond

Summer has ended
the cool air lasts longer
on my morning rambles
the sun feels calm and pleasurable
even without the cover of shade
or thick foliage
I’m attuned
to the wind’s whisper
singing her inspiration
mildly mesmerized by
the yellow and white wildflowers
reaching upward,
the big sky and open space
are the keepers
of my perspective
for years I’ve waved
to the King in the fields
listened to the stories
hummed the melodies
so quietly
cried and shouted
to the tall weeds
in my heart
beseeched the nearby King
for Mercy
and now that we have
a new beginning
it occurs that perhaps
the metaphor is turning
the Queen is in the fields
beckoning, twirling
she’s been dancing since Tu B’Av
She’s calling for us to rise up
to Elul, to know our worth
this year, to measure ourselves
in love
we can sound new notes
the world has been waiting for
turn tradition on its ear
the female sheep, the lovely ewe
has horns
the best are called Jacob’s sheep
(of course)
though ewe in Hebrew really is
Rachel
so we start with naming ourselves
we begin our own song
understanding that ewe
really means journey

 

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

Dream America 

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By Dana Janine Diamond 

What has become
of our country?
Why are so many
hanging on
the every word
of a madman
What is the soul
sickness that plagues

God, I miss daisies
and kindness
on the summer lawn
fruit pies, flags, and
the band
the hazy, beautiful memory
of who we once were

We might not
know the answers
for years
to come
24/7 tells
us less than
an investigation
or a simple
mental health diagnosis
like when his psychiatrist
said, ‘If you stay,
he won’t stop
trying to kill you,
he hates his mother,
and you’re here.’

Bring us
the grace
out on the water
bring us
the light
out to sea
give us the
sweetness of
the farmed land
elusive serenity
let our Plains
sing
and mountains
tremble,
as we gather
in their shelter
bring us the love
bring us love
we need to pray
for love

lay the dark down
aren’t we just exhausted
from it all

Raise your hand
if you’ve lived
through this before
now America knows
what it’s like
to endure
domestic violence
stop
the
abuse
stop
letting him
berate us

I once was on
the lam
with my infant
in my gold
mini-van
for 100 days
hiding from the
crazy, violent man
I had pledged
my allegiance to
the police
said my home
was no longer
safe and secure
mezuzah, talismans,
and candles
notwithstanding

Dear America,
tea partiers, hemp fans,
middle road warriors
time to call
it a day
let the sun
set on this son
a lot of these
men are confused
they don’t recognize
what’s happening

It’s painful and sad
the loss of a dream
but we must
rally and overcome
pick up our babies
and go
we will love
our way
forward

This poem was originally published in Times of Israel on August 4, 2016. 

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/dream-america/

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

These Days

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by Dana Janine Diamond

My triumphs are small
these days
summoning an expression
of gratitude
even though sadness pervades
invades
catching the joyous 
leap of a deer
in the woods
my dog taking me
farther than I intended
to go

Meditating on love
even in its absence
the loss of the best
of humanity
how to find it again
which of our children
will save the world
as they save us
every single day

Sweet noble knight
found his fair rose
wrote in the language
of love
the largesse of a soul
and spirit
too great to contain
in letters
wandering without borders
wondering without boundaries

Rising up
from all of history
like an exquisite
ceramic decantur
in the dirt of the dig
filling us to the brim
making us more
from the beginning and end

of time
’til this moment

J’accuse
it’s up to us now
to give voice
refrain from averting
our gaze
just a little longer
the ache is too deep
to contemplate

but morning
is the feast
of words, of a
full day of promise
the trick
is to keep traveling
the truth
is to keep
remembering

Sunlight sees us
waking through our day
speaking and writing
and finally believing
loving morning miracles

For Elie, part 1

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