Tag Archives: Writing

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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Bloomer

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By Dana Janine Diamond

I’m born the day before the birthday of the trees
and we must wait patiently
for them to grow
and blossom
and so my life
is one of waiting
as a poet must
for the words
to come,
to crystallize and distill
the experiences
made indelible
in our minds
the love
so ready
in every tender consonant
the branches, alliteration
lifted delicately in the air
holding up

 

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

New Year’s Day 

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By Dana Janine Diamond 


I saw Bono sing
to me
back in New Jersey
when I still had hope
for each shiny, new day
bouncing in and out of bed
in the city
perched on the windowsill
of The Plaza Hotel
I saw the snowflakes singing
to the people below
hearts fluttering down
waves rolling in
to the shores
sipping a mimosa
on the deck
trying not to show
that I was eavesdropping
on Fleetwood Mac
at the table across
those easy days in California
that only seemed easy
when poems and the sea
filled my head
when she was younger
we headed to Boca or Bal Harbor
flew kites on the beach
weighed down our pockets
with precious shells
that let us hear far
across the oceans
to Sting playing in a barn
outside of Paris
I swept that aside
as we explored abandoned
mansions in the blue Maryland hills
climbed Red Rock Canyon
in the dry, desolate desert,
ran with our dog in the fields
and around the lake
laughing, writing, smiling
and now we are stuck
in the rocky Tennessee top
the trees will have to be new
for us this year
there is nothing to see
but their dwindling leaves,
the forlorn menorah
and our memories
across the blue-gray sky.


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

A Bird Came to Greet Me

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By Dana Janine Diamond

The noise is there
upon waking
with no discernable
thought
just the chaos
of emotions
and then
the
incessant
banging
of a bird
throwing itself
against the window
eventually it drops
from sight
I’ve learned
they’ll try again
the sound dims
the light seems
lighter
I focus on the window
the many leaves
outside
have flown
to ground
even before I came
here
they are lush
a royal, colorful splendor
they are flying
through the air
lighter than light
the trees are love
holding onto their leaves
knowing they will have to
let them go
the branches
unintentional painters
creators of vast impressions
they never let
you down
the wind choreographs
the graceful dance
the grey sky in the distance
becomes the music
and then I see it
the imprint
where the bird
tapping, thunking against
my window
left its kiss
its breath
before it said goobye
hush, hush
dear
for a bird of the air
may carry your voice

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

Thanksgiving Daze

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By Dana Janine Diamond

We tripped the light
fantastic
pain pooling at our feet
we felt the force
of a waterfall
dancing wildly
to its own beat
a rhythm we thought
was gone
is bulging out
of an angry hat
nothing sits below it
an emptiness
of the most
profound sort
we watch images reflected
in gold towers
and hyped-up billboards
captured by
rear view mirrors
as we drive through
our towns
we’ve lost our minds
and hearts,
our souls
dived off a ledge
into shallow waters ambivalent
to hold our refuse,
what has become
of our great endeavor
we are battling
an ugly history
passing for glory
this year some
of us are wide awake
others clinging tightly
to a long forgotten dream
we fight to the bitter end
or learn to begin again
I’ve spent too many
holidays in hospitals
today I’m free
yet not
as we celebrate
our gratitude
partake in a harvest repast
at last
love limps to the table
battle worn and a bit broken
from the hate spewing about
as outside a cranked up
fire hydrant
ruins adult shoes in its path
delighting kids and dogs
emitting a raucous laughter
we can’t get the same water
back in
we’ll need a wider vision
it’s so hard to sink
this low
as a people, as a nation
we left paradise long ago
and this burden feels
too heavy
but rise we must
of that I am hopefully
certain
faith takes over
when reason has left
us alone
we keel and mourn
and cry out a silent
howl
we embrace
fix our gaze on
the prophets and seers
the poets and the singers
the leaves that turn our skies aglow
even as their roots
are ever deep
it is up to us
to offer out our hands
as the homeless in the streets
a sign, a day to remember
we need each other
we need each other

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

Palm Fronds 

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By Dana Janine Diamond

The mystical holds
no meaning for us
now
the lulav and esrog
and too many of
the species you concocted
are shaking us around
and the clouds of glory
are traveling, traveling
hard to tell
if they are pleased or
dismayed, gathering
I miss the illusion,
your protection
of knowing we could pick
up stakes and fly
and never fall
the winds picked up
and there’s no trace of 
us, the mirage of joy
all the years we danced
were a drunken lie
I held that torah up high
in my mind
from behind
the mechitzah
those temporary walls
erected around the world
for thousands of years
I wonder what would happen
if I threw the torah down
and smashed it like a wine glass
at a wedding

this is the place I come
to for refuge
words and poems
are abiding
only here my heart sings
these are my moments
of bliss and transcendence
this is why I write
them over and over again
for 40 years

the decorations
are paper thin,
I’m no longer certain
if we are sitting in
a sukkah
or an abyss
the lemons taste inexplicably sweet
I just know
we are in interludes
of pain
I can’t transcribe
all this time we
were celebrating you
I never knew
you hated us so much
I don’t know how
I’ll ever trust
again
you are breaking us
breaking away
how do we find our way…
I think America
is secretly angry
with you
I need a new
cartographer
we wandered afield,
I don’t recognize
this forsaken landscape
we’re crawling through
tree branches thrown
to the ground,
duskily hoping
ahead we’ll find a cove
or sound
to burrow into
to listen to our breathing
lift the the sky lighter
we are the Belt of Venus
hovering, taking cover
from a persistent night,
nature
is all we have left

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