Sex Trade and A Very Small Earthquake: Poem by Miriam Sagan

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Sex Trade and a Very Small Earthquake

at 1am it woke me
more the house moving
than the earth itself
loud noise
screens rattling

on the way to the grocery store
my son-in-law and I
saw a long line of silent men
looking like a queue for bread
standing outside a tiny door
advertising women
and the price

this is just
a few feet from
from the fish stall,
more than sixty years and half a world
from my cautious worried
life as a woman
where one wrong turn
leads to dangerous DANGER

now old
I’m sleeping
beneath my drying clothes
pink sweater
which is another body
fluttering at the window shade
and swaying
like a gull
that looks down
on islands
and sees the ocean floor

New Pantoum–Hot off the Press!–by Joan Logghe

Joan Logghe wrote this yesterday in a high school class I was teaching. She came to intro me and stayed to write. Enjoy!

First World Worst Case Scenarios

Back on antidepressants in the first world
I sing “Placido Domingo” in my sleep
Last night I dreamed an apocalyptic triptych
All my dreams somehow sing opera

I sing “Placido Domingo” in my sleep
I advise chopping jalapenos
In all my dreams somebody is singing opera
Various cases of worst case scenarios

I am still chopping jalapenos
This is not a Jewish thing to do
rather various verses of worst case scenarios
I remain optimistic with high cholesterol

That is not a Jewish thing to do.
I drink a green drink, eat egg salad
I remain optimistic despite high cholesterol
Growing old is not a drag yet

I drink a green drink, eat eggs scrambled
It couldn’t get any sweeter that you
Getting old is not a drag yet
even though the Rolling Stones think so

It couldn’t get any sweeter than this
Last night I dreamed an apocalyptic triptych
Especially the Rolling Stones look weathered
Back on antidepressants in the first world

Columbus, Ohio. Poem & Images Miriam Sagan

Finally On Our Own

river roll
under James Wright

freight train
in a dead language
I couldn’t begin
to claim kinship

of this
and something else

of a deteriorated

an invisible
watershed, or wellspring
mid-western     manners

what you wanted
was simply an insert
in an industrial scape

praise or curse
so far from the deserts
of my

wind, lead
coverlet, shroud
not everyone
lying down
     was dead
some were
     in the bathtub

some were dreaming

on the dotted line
a nameless bird
from here to there
of the horizon.

What The Water Took: 7 Torahs And A Piano by Miriam Sagan

I wrote this during a visit to New Orleans, about five years after Katrina. I’m posting it here, for the Gulf in general. Also, in the strange synergy that poems sometimes have, Rosh Hashana is approaching. And my Beit Midrash group is starting up for fall–soon to be discussing Jacob wrestling.

What The Water Took: 7 Torahs And A Piano

torah of morning
of noon
of dusk
of midnight
of moonrise
of daytime gibbous moon
flood water

torah of terror
of anarchy
of forgiveness
fire in the water
a dog
a child
bent street signs

torah which unrolls
the story of Noah
an ark
a dove
a raven
streets as rivers

a house
your house
a house
caught in a tree
the army corps of engineers
a pumping station
a levee

torah of glass bottles
dangling blue glass hands
a message
a twisted menorah

torah of brass bands
coronets and horns
twisted shofar
blowing not air
but water
clarinet set with rubies now mute
torah of the broken flute

torah of Jacob
wrestling with the angel
who cheats to win
God’s lie, the rainbow sign
(no more water
the fire next time)
words float away

and the piano of glass
of sand, strings plucked
by fish
how the water took even
our idea of land
and in drowned sleep
spirit moved on the face of this deep.

I Must Go to the Creek Again by Michael G. Smith

I must go to the Creek again.
Again, I will ask only for silence
to hear the riffs
drifting by. Vagrant
and wanderer, the Creek is
captive and conveyor of storm,
its story and futurestory
the tree that falls
into it from its
eroding banks. How many
years to tumbledrum a grain
of sand a mile along its bed?
Alone responsible,
and not, the Creek brings
song to all it can,
Chickaree’s scold
of my innocence
(this a trespass),
eddies in the round rejoining
beginning, voice born into it.
And must I pray? I ask
how to give words to a time
stopped, the Creek creeking.

how many times have I walked across a field in America by Miriam Sagan

how many times have I walked across a field in America

leaving a green place behind

rows of cabbages and tiger lilies
purslane you might eat, but only very new
blue chicory

good-bye to you I loved and you I didn’t

back to the city

and a million pairs of shoes

and a million pairs of strangers’ eyes

in this moment I might be twelve or sixty

I promise myself I’ll return

I’ll make it right

next time, I’ll love all of you

blue chicory