Monday, November 28, 2005

The Life Of A Princess

Like a fresh stream of clear rainwater, humanity flows down the stony hills and into the earthy valley. The setting, yet unsettling, sun reflects off these streams of consciousness, faces glaring back like diamonds at an angle. Ancient olive trees and mumbling stones flash by the stream as it rolls along, downhill, ever picking up speed. Now the stream bends ever so sharply and pools ever so gently, as if a destination is sensed. And then, when vision is no longer detoured by leaf or branch, the waves of flesh and blood lap at the gate of heaven, as if to water the Garden of Eden.

It has been a while since this gate has been formed, but it gathers no rust; it has been a while since this stream has begun flowing, but it shows no signs of drying up. On the contrary: with every generation, the stream grows stronger and stronger.

It was a woman who started it all. Some four thousand years ago she gave birth to a people, to a stream of knowledge that would flow down the mountains of confusion, through the valleys of despair, over the stones of materialism, spreading a message of spirituality and peace throughout the world.

There is nothing like it: not Jerusalem with its burning vibrancy; not Tzfat with its mystical spirit; not Tiberius with its lucid water. It is a city of earth, a city of caves. Here it is about lows and highs – the lowest matter, earth, rooted in the highest place, heaven. A city – as its name can attest – of connections – connecting both matter and spirit.

Now, four millennia since Abraham signed the first real estate deal in history and secured this portal between earth and heaven for all eternity, his and Sarah’s children, their “life”, converge on this spot of paradox: on the one hand, here is where it all ends; on the other, here is where it all begins – here Sarah is buried, here Sarah becomes alive.

Nowhere is earth more heavenly than here; nowhere is heaven more earthy than here. Yet, in a world where contradiction is more of a crutch than a limp, it is the contrast, and not their fusion, which looms large: the contrast of a calming peace on a bloody battlefield; the contrast of a wailing mosque trying to drown out the wail of an orphaned child; the contrast of a heavy body weighing-down a lofty soul.

Nevertheless, with the thousands thronging to the “Double Cave”, the contrasts seem to fade into fusion. The life of the princess seems to be pulsating through her children’s very being. Is this not proof enough that the princess is still alive? Is her children’s following in her footsteps not sufficient to say, “She’s alive”? Is our existence, our mission in life, not adequate testimony to the stream’s endless flowing?

Have all the earths been covered with this stream of G-dly knowledge? The presence of green camouflage and red blood seems to be saying no. But does that mean we, and our mother, are not alive? Or, maybe it means that we haven’t yet reached our true “life”, our true potential?

Still, as the stream fades back and out of the valley, the earth and stone – here trodden by the “Heel” generation, the last link in a chain wrought for thousands of years – will never be the same – after all stone and earth have been touched by a Princess alive.

May Chevron (chibur) connect that which is seemingly disconnected, and may we see how the end – earth – was always wedged in the beginning – heaven.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Falafel Balls & Pita

Many a lafa consumed, many consumed a lafa; many a Shekel spent, many spent a Shekel; many a conversation argued, many an argument conversed, many a taxi metered, many a meter taxied – I’ve been here for a week and a half and it feels like… well, at times it feels like forever, and at times it feels like for never.

I find it extremely difficult to write in Israel. It is like drinking underwater: so much water, so few cups. It is every chickpea’s (or bakers) greatest nightmare: too many falafel balls, not enough pitas. Yes, for me Israel is an influx of oros and an outflux (copyright) of kaylim.

You know those moments, when the understandable becomes the actual; when the “idea” becomes the “ideal”, when the “huh” becomes an “oh”? (Answer optional). Well, when I turned on my computer, clicked on Word, and attempted a sentence, the whole concept of oros and kaylim became less of a “concept” and more of a “resonation”: the what-it-means-is-this has become the so-that’s-what-it-means”.

Everywhere but here, the writings flow and the emotions congeal; everywhere but there, the writings congeal and the emotions flow. Here, there is more ink than pen; there, more pen than ink. Of course, kaylim exist here like everywhere else – otherwise “here” wouldn’t exist at all – here however, for me anyway, it is much more difficult to bulb the light than it is to smith the iron – that is, it is much easier to fill the container than it is to capture the light.

Before the blanks (and scrapes) caused by “writers (stumbling) block” became an issue, I learned that both oros and kaylim are needed; now I know it. It’s like those times, when you step out of the book and actually see the words jump off the pages and into reality.

If Ohr is self-expression, Kayli is its captor. You, and you alone, decide if the captor should brandish handcuffs or merely the cuffs’ prefix, a hand: should the captor be a stumbling block or a stepping stool.

Back in the States, the writing would come easy but the words would come hard; here the words come easy and it is the writing that comes hard. Until now, I’ve only known why, now I see why: in the states, the conveying is easy, only it is the ideas that are hard; here, the ideas are easy, it is only conveying them that is hard. It is much more difficult to convey an idea that resonates than it is to convey an idea that is disputable. Truths are hard to be true to, while falseness is as true as you make it. It is much easier to harness an expression that might or might not have consequence, than it is to harness an indisputable expression of consequence. It is easier containing a broken light in a smooth container than it is a smooth light in a broken container.

When writing over there, the expression can be expressed expressly; here the expression must be expressed expertly – otherwise, instead of conveying truth, one might not be doing the truth justice. When that happens, the truth becomes distorted.

In the Holy Land, everything resonates and nothing is resonated. To convey a power like that is most difficult: it is messy filling a small pita with big falafel balls; for Falafels to express themselves in a well-rounded way, a round flowery lafa is needed. Likewise, for the writer to express the great oros of over yonder, a corresponding great kayli is needed.

Fear not my friends, construction is on the way.

Would you like chumus with that?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Letter From Jerusalem

I am back. Back to where I once was. Was not long ago. Ago in a time different. Different yet the same. Same places same people. People never change. Change is great. Great to be back. Back to where I once was. Was not long ago…

It may be a cycle, yes, but I have just started a new spin. Am I spinster? Maybe. But, then, aren’t we all. We all turn, turn, turn; only, some of us turn to good and some of us turn to alternatives.

Yes, the Holy Land. Ah, the Holy Land. Oh, the Holy Land. (I sound like a skipping (or not) Beatles vinyl.) It’s funny how truths remain the same. I will leave you with the third poem (actually a song) I have ever written, incidentally while studying in the Holy Land. It may be a bit moldy, as it has been sitting at the bottom of my closet for the past five years; but mold never really affects truth – and truth never really fits a mold.

Though exciting, it is weird showing something so simplistic that you wrote as naïve nitwit; but I guess everything I do will always be simplistic and I will always remain a naïve nitwit, albeit more conscious of the fact. Well, here it is.

I write a letter from Jerusalem –
The land of our fathers; the land of gold.
I write a letter from Jerusalem –
A letter of happiness; a letter of hope.

Coming upon the city of old.
Stones disguised as bricks of gold.
You feel that little twitch we call soul.
It’s warm outside but you shiver in the cold.

Before your heart starts to speak
It’s so hard to say what you feel.
But wants your eyes begin to weep
You realize that it is all so real.

All the sparks come together in one big flame.
All the threads come together to form a knot.
For some reason you feel ashamed.
You feel the tears rolling down and they are all so hot.

The sun sparkles before going to sleep.
The wind shutters in a satisfied sigh.
The skies open and begin to weep.
You spread your wings and begin to fly.

You soar over the mountains of fear;
And through the valleys of despair;
Passed the fields of iniquity;
Into the pages of history.

And as the words of the heart, which we call tears,
Join with the thousands shed throughout the years,
You brush your hot lips on that cold stone.
And you feel that you are finally home.

Monday, November 07, 2005

(n)Ode To Wisdom

There are four gaping holes in me where wisdom used to be. “Wisdom, from nothing is she found”, and now to nothing is she lost. Much blood hath been spilled over her removal; much pain hath been felt over her passing; much swelling hath she left in her wake. But with a little help from my friends – Vic Otin, Cody Eine, and Moore Fine – I do get by

Wisdom, or the lack thereof, has made a pill pusher out of me. Nevertheless – no matter how many pillars I’m pushing, or how many pushers I’m pillaging – everything is swell – well, not everything: only my cheek. Still, when the cheek ego gets inflated, the cheek gets real cheeky: “I want real food”, Ms. Stomach is grumbling. “Ha Ha”, Dr. Cheeks bellows, “you only get soggy oatmeal and congealed Jell-O”. So, though only my cheek is swelled to imperfection, my entire body is affected – you know, the small-having-a-big-affect thing, micro(wave) affecting macro(media).

Its funny, you know: wisdom usually comes with age, but I’m only twenty-one and I’ve already lost mine.

Will I ever be wise?
Should I ask all these Whys?
Should I fork all the Y’s?

They say you grow through pain; but, even with all this pain, my poor teeth will never have a chance to mature. They lie, along with bloody gauze bandages and surplus stitches, in One Hanson Place’s incinerator, that is what I insinuate, and it makes me nauseate.

Who is wise? He who learns from everyone.
Yes, but why is learning like pulling teeth?
Who is wise? He who sees the outcome.
Yes, but why so painful that it hurt's to breathe?

Now the deed is done, and now the deed can never be undone. But perhaps for one to gain in wisdom one must first lose in wisdom. Maybe like Heine said: “Who never acted foolishly, he also ne’er was wise”.

What I have learned from this whole experience, from all this pulling of teeth and pushing of pills: I am still none the wiser –

Maybe it is not when you lose your teeth that you lose your wisdom; maybe it is when you lose your wisdom that you lose your teeth.

Just something to sink your teeth into; but don't bite off more than you can chew.

So cliche.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

How Can I Title This?

(In honor of unrolled beards)

I never thought I would be writing like this, but then these types of things are rarely thought of: they just are. To write like this is not easy for me – actually it’s very hard – but I think my ease does not really hold precedent in this post.

Sun setting, airplanes droning, people circling, seven blessing, ring fingering, glass breaking, everybody Mazal Toving, and I stand somewhat detached, not feeling much, not wanting to feel much. Happy? Yes. But somewhat of a generic happiness – how nice these two people married – nothing that I cannot handle.

And then we are dancing in a manic circle, like a vortex pulling us into an unknown abyss, and emotion wells up in my heart, now it threatens to spill over and out of my eyelids. I have never felt so much joy for somebody else. I have never felt so much joy for myself. I cannot explain it. Period.

But how will it look if I cry, so I have another drink: alcohol was always the best scapegoat, emotion’s designated decoy. Oh, but I’m drunk on happiness and joy and it takes a lot of booze to sober me up.

And I dance. Most people cannot tell how happy I am, and that’s the way I like it. Of course some can, but those that can are just as happy as I am.

I don’t know, dear reader, if you realize how difficult it is for the words to come and, when they do come, how difficult it is to put them on paper. An inner battle – do or do I not show this side – one that, as your reading proves, the “personal” side has won.

But this is not about me – if it were I would never be able to write this – it is about two halves (one of which I’ve had the honor of dorming with for two years) coming together to form a complete whole.

May you have much happiness and joy and whatever the hell you want on your journey together through life…

Ok, let me publish this before I lose my guts.

p.s. sorry for kicking your ankle.