Sunday, September 20, 2015
Crack In Time Looking up to people: not all it's cracked up to be So much better to revere trees or sky or birds At least they don't throw unexpected temper tantrums or a third finger Ever seen a tree make fun of denim skirts? Ever seen sky unfriend? Crack crack Human shell may break into small flecks like Humpty But it's how birds get born Looking down Looking across Easy as saints Until they crack up Crackdown is just as bad
Monday, September 14, 2015
The Fires of Autumn (To the Memory of My Mother - Millicent Kant (1928-2014) When autumn came to the Parkway, it was as if the trees decided to play with the warmest colors they could find and sent them to unsettle everyone who lived there into dancing on the most unsettling air it could supply. In my Rosh Hashanah dreams you sang, matching your high notes to your scarf as if they became colors that already knew northern autumn. We were supposed to be sober and think. But when you sang I could feel nothing but love that pretended to be sad but lilted in tones tinged the deepest of burning orange. Day shortened, but burned and trembled all the higher, like God vanishing in the holiest of flames, if one decided to believe.
Saturday, September 12, 2015
The Last Bright Days of Elul Rosh Hashanah comes early this year. I.L. Peretz wrote of the "last bright days of Elul," the month before new year's time. Hot, with nineties just last week, sliding to the eighties. Our climate lags behind the Russian, brings a later autumn. This year, one year since you left, the month can't decide whether to preserve summer or start on fall. You left us between the seasons. Some part of me stays in that between when you were going, wanting you to sleep, to stay between the worlds. For me you are here still in the early New Year, sleeping in the summer-fall, new season to bring the year when it's too early and the leaves stay green or drop yellow from no rain. Do you keep the New Year from starting before the leaves turn? I keep you and memory from falling.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Refuge When the sirens roared downtown and I boarded a MetroNorth train and it carried us away from the smoke and chaos, it let me off at 3rd and Fordham, where I took a bus. As I stepped off near Stilwell and I breathed the deepest breath I had ever breathed in my life, I thanked the trees for safety and the smell of home.
Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Sunday, September 6, 2015
Almost Remember when you and I and Eduardo walked around the neighborhood singing "Reggae Music" and dancing and swinging our hips and we wore sleeveless tank tops and Eduardo wore shorts and a T shirt in the warm but not too hot summer wafting all around the Parkway like a good nose-filling smell composed of bagels, pizza and almost ice cream
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Yortsayt II: Dialogue with my Mom "Wear the brown dress with the trim." "But it exposes my chest too much." "So what? They won't see your bust." "But it's sort of fancy for Yom Kippur." "People wear all sorts of things at those programs. This looks so nice on you." "But Ma, I thought I should wear something more dignified." "Dignified? It is plenty dignified. Besides, you're reading the part I read for years." "So you want me to represent you in this elaborate dress?" "For once in your life, you'll be fashionable. Is that so terrible?" "Yes, but if you think I should, I will. After all, I'm reading what you read and following in your steps." "Fine." "Thanks for your help." "You are welcome."
Yortsayt (Year's Time - Year's Remembrance): From Sadness to Knowing I. The Ache Last year at this time I sat, looking at you as you slept your last sleep. I told the hospice nurse that I wished I could keep you as you slept for a few more days. She said it would be cruel. II. The Journey In this year I have lived your various lives as I thought and channeled you - singer, daughter, mom. I never did bring you grandchildren. III. The Seeing The Yortsayt candle burns in the dining room. In its neat, small flame I see you dancing on the apartment roof and I see you playing the piano at meetings, smiling your gracious charm across the room. IV. The Seeing - 2 I see you in bed as you left, and I feel you in and around me as you travel. I give my own secular prayer to the candle, in Yiddish, the language women used when they were forbidden from Hebrew: "Eybiker ru, ober alemol mit undz." "Eternal rest, but always with us." You are still with me. This the candle tells. With me, in me. V. The Knowing At Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, I will apologize for my mistakes ask your forgiveness and wear the brown dress with autumn trim that you insist on, even now. You always have excellent taste in clothes.