Sunday, February 25, 2007

Why Joy? Joy Because!

The saddest thing is a sad child. Children are supposed to be happy, unadulterated joy. If a child is sad, if a child has been hurt, if a child has been scarred, it is the saddest, most hurtful, most scarring thing. It is innocence defiled.

We are born pure. Over the years, as childhood turns to adulthood, we become contaminated. Layer after layer of things insignificant pile atop the forgotten child, turning him into an adult. Maturity is really nothing more than a big cloak shrouding our innate purity. Growth, as defined by the world, is just forgetting one’s natural state.

Because a child is pure, a child is joyous. Of course there will be the inevitable tear when the child doesn’t get the candy or toy, but that is not true sadness; that is momentary dissatisfaction. Give it a minute or two and the child will go back to its natural state – Joy.

The same goes for adult happiness. Just like child sadness is momentary, so is adult happiness momentary: merely a fleeting satisfaction. Adult happiness, be it bought with dollars or gained with favors, is a temporary happiness, as substantial as the dollar or favor that birthed it.

There is a reason people need possessions, need extravagant things. People need belongings because they need to belong. There is a void here that has to be filled. And this void is no insignificant void. It is the greatest of voids. A void created by the lack of Self. So, what can replace Self? Nothing. But we try. We try with things physical and we try with things mystical; we try with things cynical and we try with things sexual; we try with things whimsical and we try with things hysterical. But, no matter how many possessions we possess, no matter how hard we try, the void always remains. True, we may forget the void for a while, even for a mean while, but it is always there, begging to be filled and fulfilled.

But how?

There are those times when the unadulterated purity shines through all the layers, when the child peeks through the curtains with his irresistible smile. We all have such moments in life, when we are not happy because we have this or don’t have that, but we are joyous just because, just because we are.

True Joy is not something unnatural and acquired (or even required, squired, esquired, enquired, or quagmired). Real Joy just is. A child isn’t happy because something has made him happy; a child is happy because he is. The adult – who is really just a huge plastic mask – also has this happiness within him, but, because of all the distortions, it isn’t as spontaneous or evident. Still, there are nevertheless those triggers that ignite something that has always been there, just waiting, impatiently, for these moments of truth.

Joy is going back to where we once were. Joy is recognizing that we are here not because we have possessions or because someone tells us we are important; Joy is knowing we are here because we are who we are, indispensable in the greater scheme of things, irreplaceable by something or someone else. Joy is smiling at the fact that there is no void, because no matter how many masks, no matter how much makeup or how many false personifications created, there is me, me how G-d made me, me who is needed, needed not only by people but by the creator of people; needed not only by our networks but also by reality.

Joy isn’t found somewhere. Joy is realizing that something was never lost. And that something is Self.

Adar and Purim, the most joyous of times, not because we have something this month or this holiday that we haven’t had before; it is the most joyous because we realize something we’ve always had –

A Why and a Because.

(This weeks Weekly Poetry email covered the Joy topic. If you would like to subscribe to the weekly email, let me know at, sub. “Subscribe.”)

Thursday, February 22, 2007

What is Joy?

I would like your insights...

I will post a piece on this later tonight.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Weekly Poetry

People of the world,

Inspired by a many few, I have decided to send a weekly POETRY email to all those I know and some of those I do not yet know.

If “words are the pen of the mind, and music the pen of the heart,” then poetry is somewhere in between, straddling the no-man’s-land between word and music. Because it is in a no-man’s-land, neither here nor there, poetry is extremely difficult to define – and because it is extremely difficult to define, poetry can say whatever the hell it wants, bar no bars, limit no limitations, restrict no restrictions.

The weekly poem will sometimes be sad, sometimes happy; at times frustrating, at other times inspiring. But, no matter what genre, mood or circumstance, there will always be an attempt at making it real – that is, addressing and undressing something relevant and meaningful.

Some of the poems may have appeared right here on the blog, some may have been printed before, and some may be seeing their first light. All are my original "creations."

Comments and feedback, be it critical or complimentary, are always welcome and appreciated – after all, a poet may learn much from the language but he learns most from the reader.

If you would like to sign up (or know someone that would) , just email me at Sub. "Subscribe."

I hope you will enjoy our weekly climb up the poet-tree and I hope it will sprout into many branches and give-off the sweetest fruit.

(In no way will this interfere with my weekly blog posts.)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Romance is not very romantic: in literature it usually refers to stories excitingly exaggerated or highly imaginary; in music it usually means short, simple melodies of tender character; and in life it usually equals a forty-year-old spinster awaiting her prince in shining – by now, rusted – armor. Yet, where would we be without it?

Romance is like the dash of salt in a dish, like the tinge of blush in a cheek – the difference between tastelessness and delicacy, the fine line separating boredom and excitement.

Romance and I

I walk barefoot, down a path dripping with cynicism. Acid tears fall from my eyes; steely sirens pierce my ears. There is an iron rosebush on the side of the path. I reach to touch it. Prickly thorns tear into my skin; black rose petals lie shriveled on the ground.

I roam the streets by night, looking in the shadows for what I do not know. I lie in bed by day, staring up at the ceiling of my dreams. I walk with no one holding my hand; I lie with no one breaking my heart.

One day, as I ride the subway, going through the daily routine – looking at the black-and-white graffiti flashing by like the years of my life, listening to the trains grumbling like the mood of my heart – I happen to glance up – and there she is, staring right at me, a mother-of-pearl smile on her lips. She just keeps on staring, keeps on smiling. I cannot turn away. I am transfixed.

…She takes me to a place I’ve never known, a place where dreamers are made and dreams are made of. We walk hand in hand on a rainbow bridge over crystal-clear streams. I reach out to pick a yellow dandelion from the millions growing by the brook. I tuck it behind her ear. She looks in my eyes and kisses my cheek.

We lie on the green velvet grass looking up to the blue silk sky scattered with white cashmere clouds. I follow her finger, drawing pictures in the firmaments above. She takes my hand, uncurls my finger, and draws an angel with it in the heavens…

Someone bumps my elbow and I am shaken from my daydream. The train is crawling to a halt and I realize this is my stop. But before I get off I must know her name, the name of the woman that changed my life forever. I glance around, looking for a clue. And right before the doors open, as I weave my way through the throngs of humanity, I see on bottom of the ad, just below the mother-of-pearl smile, the words – “Romance by Ralph Lauren.”