Tag Archives: Summer

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

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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

An End of Summer Approaches

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          By Dana Janine Diamond 

In the south
we start to wind down
in early August
school begins and fall
is just a feather away
tickling our senses
we sort through long
sleeve shirts soon
to be worn
the storms
gasp their heave ho
thunder complains
about what we down here
have wrought

We’ve planted some
seeds this summer
neglected others
come ’round the gatekeepers
for the blossoms
they arch this way
and that
alert for the winds
in search
of profound
change
shimmering in streams,
wells, oh wells,
the air is redolent
hope is rich and heavy
just above reach
branches brushed aside
by the quick family
of deer on the run
some mornings
we’ve really looked
at each other
as if we understood
what the other is
going through
I sigh
my dog sighs
she is restless
pacing, pacing
we all dance to
God’s symphony

Some of you want more
exotic vacation pictures
some of you want more
better politics
some of you want more
charity and peace
on earth
it’s a hot season
and poetry
isn’t plucked quite
so easily
this pounding rain
it’s so loud and
attention-seeking
it’s shaking the foundation
of the house
we’ve loved
the shelter
we never took
for granted
not even for one
day

We will miss
berry season
it went so quick
strawberries, blueberries,
raspberries, gooseberries,
faithful treasures
we hunted their scent
as if it was an aphrodisiac
for love of God’s bounty
these small, plump moments
understated laughter
the quiet of a content
home, a multitude
of green leaves on trees
peering through
our windows
overwhelmed with love
light and hot pink
peonies sidling up
to white hydrangeas
a glimmer of iridescent light
upon the tenebrous pond
a sweep of notes
climbing, climbing
to a crescendo

Every morning
the rooster across
the way
made sure
we knew
we were alive
we saw the sun
hovering in the sky
waiting, as each day
flew summer
away from us
postcards in the distance
soon pears
and apples
will fall
beside red barns
and white stars
all that we know
for certain
is we will be writing.

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