SHEM HA-MEFORASH

February 23, 2007 at 10:01pm (Poetry)

Whisper this when you blow on knots:

               anaktam pastam paspasim

whistle it while walking past the grave yard

where the owl and the pussy cat set out to see

Athena in a beautiful pea green boat

      (and she, smeared with honey)

that the piggy-wig bought

for love and money

from the butcher

the baker

the candle stick maker

in another time, another place, another

                                                       two-cents plain, if you please

and

        step to the back of the bus, if you please;

make room, make room, if you please,

a highway for our God, if you please.

               (Again: Anaktam pastam paspasim)

Make room between the sheets,

between the dark and the daylight,

at the striking of the children’s hour,

when faces on the tick-tock glower

at Athena’s owl decapitating Hekat’s cat

like Itchy done in Scratchy with a baseball bat.

               (And yet again: Anaktam pastam paspasim)

Make room, make room

for goat and broom,

for eye of newt and tongue of toad,

and this dagger that I see before me,

its handle in my hand.

       Let me clutch thee, my beloved;

here, between the sheets,

in our beautiful pea green boat,

let me clutch thee

like a vision that I see before me,

let me clutch thee

in my hand.

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ADAM KADMON

February 15, 2007 at 2:45pm (Poetry)

 

See, but see not;

 

hear, but hear not.

 

Gone, that which was there to be seen;

 

gone, that which was there to be heard.

Gone, gone, gone;                           

                            gone to the other side

 

to wed the bride,

 

                              the groom has gone;

 

to stitch his side,

 

                              the groom has gone;

 

to steal the bride,

 

                              the groom has gone

 

to the other side.

                            

The night before, and with his hand,

 

                                                        (the left one, I believe)

 

he pulled her from that shore to this to cleave,

 

and verily, verily I say to you,

 

he did that thing such bridegrooms do:

 

he ate her flesh and drank her blood

 

and wallowed in the slummery mud

 

and squealed and grunted like a pig

 

and gorged on garbage in the sty

 

          (beware her teeth; beware her eye)

 

and ate her flesh and drank her blood

 

          (verily, verily Mistress Merrily)

 

’till clock struck one and down they come,

 

and all was gone, both he and she,

 

and all was gone that there could be;

 

and all was one.

 

                             Come see.

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FOR THE COWS

February 12, 2007 at 2:29pm (Poetry)

God? You asked me who you are.

        “Who do people say I am?”  you said.

Both horse and plough, you are, I said.

Both tiller and the fields you till, you are

to me who counts the numbers on the beast,

and is both least and most.

        Jeezus! Listen to that old fart boast.

I tell you this in confidence:

                                              I’ve warned him; yes, I have.

You must behave,

                               I’ve said,

and let the dead consume their dead, I’ve said.

But does he listen? No.

He only stares ahead and says to me

(or whatever he is staring at I cannot see)

“Will it snow?

                       I like the snow.”

I’m tired now. But sleep eludes me

more and more these days

and nights, too,

and what falls between.

When the voice from underneath the bed has said

“You are dying, Jew;

                                if not already dead.”

And what am I to do?

What am I to say?

What am I to do or say

to silence the speaker speaking under the bed?

To keep him under the bed? Or off the bed?

Shall I say,

                 “Leave me and go haunt the dead?”

Or,  “Don’t mistake me for the dead?”

But there’s no mistake:

we are already dead,

                                    or dieing.

Except the ones whom I admire, who keep on trying,

who keep on searching for desire

in the night dark,

        the bedroom dark,

                the bed dark,

                        behind the eyelids dark.

Trying. trying. trying.

While the rest of us are dieing. dieing. dieing

in the dark,

        the night dark,

                the bedroom dark,

                        the bed dark,

                                behind the eyelids dark.

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BA’AL SHEM TOV

February 12, 2007 at 2:23pm (Poetry)

When the learned rabbis asked me,

“What prayer is pleasing

                  to the Holy One, Blessed be He?”

I answered: Fervor.

                      Fervor in the morning;

in the afternoon, also fervor;

and at night,

                       a man and woman

laughing.

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SEFIROT 10

February 12, 2007 at 2:15pm (Poetry)

Daniel rows his boat ashore,

from across the other side;

Mother Mary at the door

stands beside the fallen bride.

Fallen, fallen,

        they all have fallen

                into the dust.

Face of Faces, face us now,

bless and keep us as before;

turn and, turning, turn our hearts

from the sickle to the plow.

Fallen, fallen,

        the King has fallen

                into the dust.

Bring the joyful harvest in,

all things end where they begin,

with an angel and a pin,

with an angel on a pin.

Fallen, fallen,

        the Queen has fallen

                into the dust.

Have mercy on us, Lamb of God,

do not lead us into sin,

spare us from thy father’s rod.

All things end where they begin;

All things end where they begin.

Fallen, fallen,

        the Bride has fallen

                into the dust.

All things end where they begin:

angels dancing on a pin,

faces facing from above

as they sacrifice the dove,

the goat, the heifer and the lamb

to the one who says, I am;

for the one who says, I am.

Fallen, fallen,

        the Groom has fallen

                into the dust.

Hunter, hunter burning bright

in the stairway of the night,

rinse your mouth and wash your hands;

lock the door, turn out the light.

Tomorrow you will make amends;

tomorrow you will set it right.

Fallen, fallen,

        we all have fallen

                 into the dust.

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RIFFING ON THE MERMAIDS

February 9, 2007 at 7:07pm (Poetry)

 I am dry and shriven, shaven of the head among the stars 

Abraham looked down upon and saw 

spread out like crumbs of bread  cast upon the water 

        (and Jill came tumbling after)  

An old man in an old bed 

         (”For God sakes, change the sheets,” she said.) 

a dry man in a damp place 

waiting for some signs of grace to appear 

at the bottom of the teacup, 

on the anvil of the ear, 

in the faceless face 

that time and time again 

(and again. and again. and again) 

                          – insistent as time; 

                          – inevitable as rhyme; 

crashes on my face like waves on rocks 

and leaks like blood from rocks 

from the corners of my eyes 

and the creases of my hand. 

         Ain’t it grand? Oh, ain’t it grand? 

this immoveable feast of sea and sand

 

spread out against the sky 

like a patient choking on the table. 

           (They are coins that were his eyes) 

And are we able? 

able to withstand 

the pearls that were his eyes 

buried in the sand? 

the promises and lies

 

clutched in a clinched hand, buried in the sand? 

       (Beware the Jabberwock, my son, 

the eyes that peel, the hands that scratch; 

beware the Jubjub thug and shun 

the luminous Bandersnatch) 

      — Oh, ain’t it grand, boys? 

      — Ain’t it grand?

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AVE HERA

February 9, 2007 at 6:09pm (Poetry)

                      Blessed art thou among women.

Suffer the trees, the owl and the cat.

Suffer the hearth and the oven.

Suffer the lycanthrope, spider and bat,

the Warrior Maiden, the Sloven.

      The crescent, the snake, the double-blade axe,

the stars, the moon and the sky;

these are her arms, her legs and her back,

her breasts, her mouth and her eye.

      (Her single and all seeing-eye.)

Every villiage, town and nation

lift your arms in supplication.

Shave your heads and gash your thighs,

limp and leap and circumcise.

      Black-skinned Mother, Queen of Night,

Salvatrix of all things contrite,

what immortal hand and eye

shaped thy fearsome symmetry?

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GUILDING THE FACADE

February 9, 2007 at 12:53am (Poetry)

“Set the table, Lily,’ Lucy says.

“And don’t be silly like before.”

“Alright,” says Lily, “shall I pour

for Gordon when he comes to tea?

(Gordon lurks outside the door.)

“Whatever suits you,” Lucy says;

and Lily whispers in her cup,

          “Hound of Hell; Hector’s pup; dirty whore.”

(Still lurking at the door, Gordon snickers up his sleeve)

* * * *

Just another Sabbath afternoon

in Atziluth, a town like any other

on the further side of Jordan

by the ancient Bridge O’Doon.

(Gordon fondles in his pocket

the odd locket got from Lily

who is looking rather silly

with her ear against the door.)

“Gordon! Is that you I hear,

breathing through our cottage door?”

(Silence from behind the door.)

“Lucy,” Lily hisses, “someone’s standing at the door.”

“Don’t be silly, Lily” Lucy laughs,

“It’s only Pan. Can’t you hear his pipes?

“Or maybe its the Boggy Man

“wheezing at our cottage door

“in his coat of scarlet stripes.”

“More likely One-Eyed Riley,” Lily pouts.

Then up jumps Gordon and he shouts:

Lily! Lily! Come let me in!

Nay, not by the hair of your chinny chin-chin.

Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down

and suck on your bones in the middle of town

where an apple tree withers

and a green briar grows

from out of Dick’s grave

and around Jane’s red rose.

* * * *

1st Dithramb:

Gone. gone. gone.

Gone to the other side.

The strange old man has gone

to meet his strange young bride.

A tisket, a tasket,

a green and yellow basket;

a tasket a tisket,

a ribbon for her casket.

2nd Dithramb:

Gone. gone. gone.

Gone to the other shore.

The wolf, the jackal and the stoat,

disguised as Gordon in his coat,

came knocking at the door.

Final Dithramb:

Gone. Gone. Gone.

Gone for a stroll by the sea.

Lucy and Lily, lazy and silly,

walked hand in hand after tea.

With Gordon in tow

(he’s become rather slow)

they went half a league onward,

half a league onward,

half a league onward,

or so.

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SABBATAI ZEVI

February 9, 2007 at 12:28am (Poetry)

Silently.

Silence threads her needle.

And I am waiting in a corner of this room

for a sound like mirrors, breaking.

Instead, I hear dust breathing;

dust scratching through the walls.

Close the curtains.

Too much light.

I am blinded

by my eyes.

I cannot.

I

beg

you. 

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PRE/FACE

February 8, 2007 at 4:13pm (Poetry)

All things reverence silence.

Needle silence. Thread silence.

Paper, scissors, book silence.

Pages in a book.

(And a penny for your eyes.)

All things, all manner of things.

Homunculus. Jinn and bottle.

The secret places of the stairs.

All things,

all manner of things

worship silence.

The closing hand,

the cradle rocking;

all in silence

move in silence

toward the silence.

Endlessly.

* * * *

These poems,

you see, are meaningless,

on purpose.

I try to mystify

myself from someplace deeper

than myself.

From someplace

where the Keeper of the Bees

keeps rust-encrusted keys

for rust-encrusted locks;

and faceless clocks

toll the Litany of Hours

nightly on Bald Mountain

where the Sun and Moon,

bedecked with flowers,

copulate in a certain fountain

fed with water from the ocean

pumped by pipes that pump the ocean

in a circular motion.

(And we are all, all moving to that motion.)

like a snake

spinning in a circular motion,

devouring its tail in a circular motion

around the Christos at the center

of the circle,

dancing.

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