Childhood of A Good Person: Poem by Miriam Sagan

old fruit tree
propped on a crutch
like a legless veteran

drunk
in a doorway

on the temple grounds
line of stone buddhas
expressions
weathered out

I try
to not just be
a tourist—-offer coins
in the box
but pass the beggar
anyway

I can’t tell
if I had the childhood
of a good person
or a less good one
but please
don’t trouble yourself
too much
after all
I’ve come this far
on my own
already.

Omer Poem by Ya’el Chaikind

A NEW SIGHT

Tell me your secrets
darkness, open
your guarded gates

and let me glimpse
behind the towering fears
and boogeymen

who haunt my daydreams,
cloud my vision
so that I might watch

my life through a lens
freed of rainbows
or the glittering sun

on a summer pond,
instead, show me how black
is the perfect

backdrop to reflect
the stars mirrored in the retina
of our souls.

Ya’el Chaikind
4.12.18

Omer Day 13:
Yesod Shebe Gevurah
Foundation within Strength, Boundaries, and Discernment

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

Just published in https://sheilanagigblog.com/volume-2-3-spring-2018-the-poets/miriam-sagan/
Click to read more!

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
away
from my cautious worried
life as a woman
where one wrong turn
leads to dangerous DANGER
slippage

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
tremble

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
bridges

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

confluence
of this
and something else

remnant
column
of a deteriorated
neo-classicism

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
     awakening

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
flew
from here to there
unaware
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
leviathan

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
SOS
hope
despair
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.