Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Storm Before The Quiet

A neon flash through the pouring rain
An arrow points to the falling sky
For the faceless man it’s all the same
No sarcasm was ever this dry

Landscapes painted in a graying chalk
On a steel branch owls sit and stare
Bare footprints quickly slip and balk
Little droplets drip from tangled hair

As the puddles grow and turn to pools
Makeup streaking leaves you naked
Head falls back to catch the jewels
Nighttime speaks in hushes sacred
You try to listen in to the storms wonder
But through the flying daggers… all you hear is thunder.

A soaked image falls against the door
A hand reaches in a warm embrace
Feels like we have been here once before
Sitting on the rug by the fireplace

The embers grow and begin to flame
Mirrored dreams sparkle on the river
Eyelashes drip melting rainbow rain
Daytime speaks in a secret whisper
You try to listen in to happy ever after
And through the sun-kissed glint… all you hear is laughter.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


“It aint over till it’s over” – a Yogism

It is all over: the food is left over; the people are hung over. A drunken form has just rolled over; a sober schmaltz herring has just flipped over. I don’t know what has come over me, but I’m overcome with emotion – nine days of pure ecstasy have just gone over the hill, and here I am, speaking in overtones.

Of course, stating, “It is all over,” would make one think the writer was overly pessimistic. But, glass-half-empty or not, the four walls of temporary vertical stature going the way of indefinite horizontal dust-collecting, along with the wind-chime sound of empty glass bottles clinking against one another in transparent blue recycling bags, seems to suggest that it really is over.

And yet, as the month seemingly devoid of any apparent holiday approaches, as the leaves haphazardly fade into winter, as the cashmere sweaters replace the threadbare t-shirts, I realize that it is all just beginning: the year is beginning; the world is beginning.

“In the beginning…” the singsong voice reads from a parchment handwritten in fiery letters. The first sentence of the Torah is alive, dancing off the parchment into our bodies and souls. It is begun – our lives, our purpose, our reason is begun.

When the innocence of prayer swayed us – we did not want to begin. When the presence of perfection stunned us – we could not begin. When the clouds of glory surrounded us – we would not begin. When our dancing soles knew no heaven or earth – we never ended to begin. But now – now when it has all ended, now when we are aware of ourselves – it is time to begin.

“…G-d created heaven and earth,” the voice sings still, the letters creating that which is. Before it was all over, when the bottles were not yet empty and the people not yet full, we could never have known creation – how could we when heaven and earth were irrelevant – we were beyond, way beyond; but today, today when the highs have reached their lows, today when true reality has given way to daily unreality, it is time to create creation – time for heaven to look down at earth and earth to look up to heaven – time for the great divide.

It is easy to be elevated when the time calls for it. How difficult is it, really, to reach heaven when there is no earth tying you down? How difficult is it to dance when the music is playing loud and clear? How difficult is it to smile when all is perfect?

But now there is creation – heaven no longer embraces earth, earth no longer wishes for its embrace. “And the earth was unformed and void, and darkness upon the face of the deep…” We are born into a world deaf to its own music – we cannot hear the song that is being sung, we cannot read the notes that are written on the walls. Of course, if we could, there would be no challenge, if we could, we wouldn’t be needed. So, we are born in darkness, in a world deaf and blind, not knowing if we are coming or going.

And yet, we learn: we learn how to create music where there is no sound, we learn how to create a spark where there is no light, we learn how to light a fire where there is only ice – “And G-d said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”

So, yes, it is all over – but only so that we can begin. All that heavenly bliss of days past will surly be missed – but only so that the true potential of earth can be found.

(Some might say this overview was overdone, and that it was overanxious in being overt – but, hey, at least the word “over” wasn’t overused.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


(Intimidating are its brick walls, unyielding its solid ceiling. I want to enter through its doors, but I’m afraid of the impossibilities. It is made of definitions and I may not fit into the mold. The solid lines create its comfort, and that makes me very uncomfortable. I wish I could just walk right in, fit right in, let the light in, but I can’t. I can’t because this is a home and I am homeless; I can’t because this is normal and I am not; I can’t because this is them and I am I.

So I stand, the light reflecting off my brown eyes as I look through the window, wondering what would be if I was born like them.)

Blue-tarp walls – to go out on a shaky limb and call them thus – flutter with the breeze’s every exhale. Bamboo(z) and (for)evergreens crown this temporary existence. Light bulbs, perilously dangling from creaking one-by-twos, throw mystery-book shadows on an already mysterious situation. It may be the beginning of the fall, but I’m just about to arise.

It lacks in every comfort – chilly weather, wobbly chairs that fold, counterfeit cutlery, plastic tablecloths, moths circling the light bulbs, bees treading the honey – yet, I’ve never felt this comfortable. And as I wallow in the understanding hug of glorious clouds, I look around and see many faces – all the same in their joy and glow, all different in their journey here.

There is an older man in the corner, round tortoise-shell glasses and lower-east-side immigrant cap. He has found his way here through the keys of a piano. He still sings the blues, but life has taken on a jazzy progression.

A young woman, with porcelain features and golden curls, seems to be innocent and guilty all at once. She has journeyed down a path overgrown with confusion. She now sits in the warmth and smiles into her steaming tea.

A laugh resonates from a man not sitting on a folding chair. He may be heavy in the stomach but he’s light of heart. The bouquet of pure enjoyment wafts over his face with every sip of wine’s river. And a flush comes to his cheeks.

A Rabbi, or at least that’s what his flowing beard suggests, sings softly to himself. He sings softly but the tune seems to carry a lot of weight. His eyes close, little cobweb-wrinkles, like crows feet, turn his face into a wise painting.

The by-the-book young man near him, never out of control, absentmindedly begins to hum along. Some might call it interrupting; but in these four walls, I think it would best be described as harmony.

A tipsy girl – not sure if from spirits or spirituality – with that I-know-the-secrets-of-the-world smile on her lips, is preaching to no one in particular. She is going to have a splitting headache on the morn. But for some people, it may be worth the headache – if only to be reminded that they have a head.

There are many more faces, many more details, but as the night wears on, they seem to blur and remain out of focus.

It is Succos: the many kinds come together in one binding. We all sit here, different in our faces, different in our clothing, different in our journeys. Still, we all sit under the same bamboo, within the same four walls, all traveling in the same direction, all praying for the same destination.

Now, after I’ve folded up the chairs and wrapped up the plastic tablecloths, the sun begins to rise. I hold the four kinds in my hand and, as I shake them in unison, I shake my head – first in wonderment and then in understanding.

previous Succos posts:
G-d, (wo)Man, One
Reconciling Differences, Differentiating Reconciliation

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I had a real Yom Kippur. Really real. I hope you did too.

I apologize for not posting before Yom Kippur - what I had written was just too raw (in a good way).

I'm going to post about Yom Kippur and then about Succos. I hope to make 3 "real" (not like this little 5 liner) posts before the start of Succos.

Wow, what a Yom Kippur!