Phones…a poem

Phones…a poem

We have more phones today ever, so we do more talking on the phone.

Do we do more thinking too, because we do more talking?

Maybe we do less thinking because we do more talking and the fact

that we think less, instead of leading to our talking less, leads us to the exact

opposite state of affairs so that instead of talking less and thereby creating

the possibility of thinking more we (instead) think mainly about what we’re

going to say/do/eat /watch (as in tv) next without any thought of whether

this/these actions will be good, bad or indifferent nor any thought about

whether this planet-wide explosion of cell phones, smart phones, tablets,

mobile devices, mp3 players and all the rest of this specific, general and/or

all-purpose digital stuff,shyte and whatever else that we have invented to talk

now and forever with every-and anybody else on the planet or on other

planets) instantly,instantaneously and maybe someday or soon at or

exceeding the speed of light until we become a jungle full of parrots (no

offense to same/they haven’t become the slaves of technology and probably

make more sense in their nonstop nattering  than we do iin ours)chattering

ourselves into an oblivion of devolution and rapid-fire texting sans sight, sans

mind and sans meaning.

 

 

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Greedy…a Poem

How do the greedy get greedy

Does it come from a fear

Of being needy

Is it due to a state of childhood lack

Or is it simply one of those things

That can take over a life

And fill it with strife

As easily as a fast train

Can run off a track

Is it vicious and mean

A force that is obscene

Or just another plant in the soil

In which its sufferers are embroiled

Is it due to the karma in which they are coiled

Are are we making too much of a fuss

Over something

That like old age and death

Is just another case

Of a flawed human race

Being prone to

The promiscuity

Of

The dust?!

 

 

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A Poem: If Only…

A Poem: If Only…

If only the rich would

If only the poor could

If only the poor had something to save

If only the rich got less than they gave

If only bread baked itself

And flew into the mouths of all

If only our bowls were filled

By a stream of manna

That never ceased to fall

If only mere matter

Under spirit’s sway did live

And every time you took from another

To that other you would give

If all the slings and arrows we endured

After bruising our self esteem

Were followed by a reminder

Of how life isn’t really all that mean

And if those big dark storm clouds

After whispering thoughts of  gloom

Brought us thoughts that were heavenly

that eased away the doom

And also brought a delirious sweetness

In the form of gentle rain

That topped off all our prayers

with a promise

of Unicorns with wagging tails

and castles in sunny Spain

 

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City of Slaughter by Haim Nahman Bialik

City of Slaughter by Haim Nahman Bialik

City of Slaughter by Haim Nahman Bialik was a tribute to the vicitims of the Kishinev pogrom.

Arise and go now to the city of slaughter;
Into its courtyard wind thy way;
There with thine own hand touch, and with the eyes of thine head,
Behold on tree, on stone, on fence, on mural clay,
The spattered blood and dried brains of the dead.
Proceed thence to the ruins, the split walls reach,
Where wider grows the hollow, and greater grows the breach;
Pass over the shattered hearth, attain the broken wall
Those burnt and barren brick, whose charred stones reveal
The open mouths of such wounds, that no mending
Shall ever mend, nor healing ever heal.
There will thy feet in feathers sink, and stumble
On wreckage doubly wrecked, scroll heaped on manuscript.
Fragments again fragmented

Pause not upon this havoc; go thy way…
Unto the attic mount, upon thy feet and hands;
Behold the shadow of death among the shadows stands.
Crushed in their shame, they saw it all;
They did not pluck their eyes out; they
Beat not their brains against the wall!
Perhaps, perhaps, each watcher bad it in his heart to pray:
A miracle, O Lord, and spare my skin this day!

Come, now, and I will bring thee to their lairs
The privies, jakes and pigpens where the heirs
Of Hasmoneans lay, with trembling knees,
Concealed and cowering -the sons of the Maccabees!
The seed of saints, the scions of the lions!
Who, crammed by scores in all the sanctuaries of their shame
So sanctified My name!
It was the flight of mice they fled,
The scurrying of roaches was their flight;
They died like dogs, and they were dead!
And on the next morn, after the terrible night
The son who was not murdered found
The spurned cadaver of his father on the ground.
Now wherefore dost thou weep, O son of Man?

Brief-weary and forespent, a dark Shekinah
Runs to each nook and cannot find its rest;
Wishes to weep, but weeping does not come;
Would roar; is dumb.
Its head beneath its wing, its wing outspread
Over the shadows of the martyr’d dead,
Its tears in dimness and in silence shed.

And thou, too, son of man, close now the gate behind thee;
Be closed in darkness now, now thine that charnel space;
So tarrying there thou wilt be one with pain and anguish
And wilt fill up with sorrow thine heart for all its days.
Then on the day of thine own desolation
A refuge will it seem,
Lying in thee like a curse, a demon’s ambush,
The haunting of an evil dream,
O, carrying it in thy heart, across the world’s expanse
Thou wouldst proclaim it, speak it out,
But thy lips shall not find its utterance.

Beyond the suburbs go, and reach the burial ground.
Let no man see thy going; attain that place alone,
A place of sainted graves and martyr-stone.
Stand on the fresh-turned soil.
There in the dismal corner, there in the shadowy nook,
Multitudinous eyes will look
Upon thee from the sombre silence
The spirits of the martyrs are these souls,
Gathered together, at long last,
Beneath these rafters and in these ignoble holes.
The hatchet found them here, and hither do they come
To seal with a last look, as with their final breath,
The agony of their lives, the terror of their death.
Question the spider in his lair!
His eyes beheld these things; and with his web he can
A tale unfold horrific to the ear of man:
A tale of cloven belly, feather-filled;
Of nostrils nailed, of skull-bones bashed and spilled;
Of murdered men who from the beams were hung,
And of a babe beside its mother flung,
Its mother speared, the poor chick finding rest
Upon its mother’s cold and milkless breast;
Of how a dagger halved an infant’s word,
Its ma was heard, its mama never heard.

Then wilt thou bid thy spirit – Hold, enough!
Stifle the wrath that mounts within thy throat,
Bury these things accursed,
Within the depth of thy heart, before thy heart will burst!
Then wilt thou leave that place, and go thy way
And lo-
The earth is as it was, the sun still shines:
It is a day like any other day.

Descend then, to the cellars of the town,
There where the virginal daughters of thy folk were fouled,
Where seven heathen flung a woman down,
The daughter in the presence of her mother,
The mother in the presence of her daughter,
Before slaughter, during slaughter and after slaughter!

Note also, do not fail to note,
In that dark corner, and behind that cask
Crouched husbands, bridegrooms, brothers, peering from the cracks,
Watching the sacred bodies struggling underneath
The bestial breath,
Stifled in filth, and swallowing their blood!
Such silence will take hold of thee, thy heart will fail
With pain and shame, yet I
Will let no tear fall from thine eye.
Though thou wilt long to bellow like the driven ox
That bellows, and before the Altar balks,
I will make hard thy heart, yea, I
Will not permit a sigh.
See, see, the slaughtered calves, so smitten and so laid;
Is there a price for their death? How shall that price be paid?
Forgive, ye shamed of the earth, yours is a pauper-Lord!
Poor was He during your life, and poorer still of late.
When to my door you come to ask for your reward,
I’ll open wide: See, I am fallen from My high estate.
I grieve for you, my children. My heart is sad for you.
Your dead were vainly dead; and neither I nor you
Know why you died or wherefore, for whom, nor by what laws;
Your deaths are without reason; your lives are without cause.

Turn, then, thy gaze from the dead, and I will lead
Thee from the graveyard to thy living brothers,
And thou wilt come, with those of thine own breed,
Into the synagogue, and on a day of fasting,
To hear the cry of their agony,
Their weeping everlasting.
Thy skin will grow cold, the hair on thy skin stand up,
And thou wilt be by fear and trembling tossed;
Thus groans a people which is lost.
Look in their hearts – behold a dreary waste,
Where even vengeance can revive no growth,
And yet upon their lips no mighty malediction
Rises, no blasphemous oath.
Speak to them, bid them rage!
Let them against me raise the outraged hand,
Let them demand!
Demand the retribution for the shamed
Of all the centuries and every age!
Let fists be flung like stone
Against the heavens and the heavenly Throne!

And thou, too, pity them not, nor touch their wound;
Within their cup no further measure pour.
Wherever thou wilt touch, a bruise is found,
Their flesh is wholly sore.
For since they have met pain with resignation
And have made peace with shame,
What shall avail thy consolation?
They are too wretched to evoke thy scorn.
They are too lost thy pity to evoke.
So let them go, then, men to sorrow born,
Mournful and slinking, crushed beneath their yoke.
So to their homes, and to their hearth depart
Rot in the bones, corruption in the heart.
And go upon the highway,
Thou shalt then meet these men destroyed by sorrow,
Sighing and groaning, at the doors of the wealthy
Proclaiming their sores, like so much peddler’s wares,
The one his battered head, t’other limbs unhealthy,
One shows a wounded arm, and one a fracture bares.
And all have eyes that are the eyes of slaves,
Slaves flogged before their masters;
And each one begs, and each one craves:
Reward me, Master, for that my skull is broken.
Reward me for my father who was martyred!

And so their sympathy implore.
For you are now as you have been of yore
As you stretched your hand
So will you stretch it,
And as you have been wretched

So are you wretched!
What is thy business here, o son of man?
Rise, to the desert flee!
The cup of affliction thither bear with thee!
Take thou they soul, rend it in many a shred!
With impotent rage, thy heart deform!
Thy tear upon the barren boulders shed
And send they bitter cry into the storm

Comment: City of Slaughter should be read in company of “He told her ,” a Hebrew Short story by Yosef Haim Brenner.

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On the Cuteness of Cats

Cute Cat

 There’s something I’d like to know
And I don’t want to make a fuss.
But the question keeps on nagging me
And answer it I must
When our furry little felines
look at us with those big round eyes
we can only put on our thinking caps
and do our best to surmise
the source of their motivation
and the source whence it comes
is it nothing but real true love
or a real bad case of manipulation?
Of course since we love them so much this point is moot
We like to think that kitty, so open and so cute
only seeks the good
and when he/she gives us that special look
can only do it for want
of love or food.
If there’s an answer to this question
where does this answer lie?
In the deepest places of our hearts
or in a laboratory?
For in the end this query involving our cats
– a query fair and just
is “do we look as cute and lovable to them
as they do to us?”

 

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Let’s Move to the Tropics

I’d like to expound on a favorite topic
And that is all about
living in the tropics
with sun-kissed beaches
topped by palm fronds swaying
with aquamarine water dotted
with dolphins playing
with bikini clad women with derrieres sashaying
that is what
life’s all about

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Who You Are and What You Get…a Poem

There comes a time when who you are
And what you get
Look like two sides of the same coin
They meet exactly and without quarrel
giving you at that point, at that time a living reality;
Comes a marriage – a two-ness that is closer than a oneness
And from this promising junction of this X of x’s
And this Y of y’s,
a spiral stairway takes shape and form;
And the DNA of your destiny begins to pulse
With a pulsing that is beyond all dreams

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This Thing Called War…a Poem

The thing I’d like to underscore
Is just how ridiculous
Is this thing called war
You’d think we’d have something better to do
Than to cut someone’s body in two
Just because he thinks different thoughts
Or talks to different gods
Or prefers his chips with flounder
While we all swear by cod
Or because he speaks
In a strange tongue
Or prefers a lethal dose of gas
While we prefer to see them hung.
Or differs from us
In ways middling and small
As when he likes his women fat
While we like ours tall
Wouldn’t it be just dandy
If we who are about to die
For reasons not fully explained
Gave our wives some candy
Or went and baked a pie
And left the masters of war
Foiled, failed and frustrated
Standing recruit-less
Out in the rain!

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A Poem…Diaspora

Unabsorbed by others…

Absorbed by and into ourselves

self-absorbed Jonah-like

both prophet and whale

Into a self that is more Not than Is

Made so by time stopped and frozen

For Years upon years

Made forever frozen by the dull steady ache

of pain and not-ness

And no-ness

And the rictus grin of

No-grace and no-hope.

And all this time so far from home

From home’s reach and home’s love and warmth

So far from the promise of “I,” “I am”

And “I need not be afraid.”

So far from the promise of this good earth to

Lovingly anchor the soul and

Give our ourselves and our thoughts flesh and blood

And sufficient might.

Leave it to other tribes; other Folk

To lay back and suck on the breast of

Lives untwisted and unskewed and unbent

Not for us the psychic bounty and bonus

That comes from being one with rocks and trees

and the stars overhead…

so that we can say that these

things are are ours and we theirs

Not for us God’s good moods

Rather rats and spider webs and the stale smell

Of fear;

Our home

A house built of unanswered prayers

forged in a furnace of pain

pain coming through the tines of

an angry peasant’s pitchfork or

Through the malediction of a Man of God

Gone astray with hate

or from an equally deadly stream

From unknown places deep within our souls

A messiah must arise…

An existential Messiah

So that all of it,

Rocks, trees, hills, thoughts

of time lost

Of thoughts spoken and unspoken…

Must be as if they were just for us

And when lost time itself comes rushing

Back to us as a downright pogram of

savage and atoning love

And each moment of hell cast into the sea

Then all will be right

And all our dreams will be good.

…to purchase “Diaspora” click on this link:

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A Poem…America, America, America

Do you think time will tell

Do you think America is going to hell

Will it get better

Will it be swell

Will the economy recover

Will we be saved by the bell

Or will we go pell mell

Thru trials and tribulations

Ordeals painful and grotesque

While svelte lords and ladies

Sit happily at their desks

Watching dreams fade and hopes die

Perched like eagles

At their nests in the sky

In buildings made of glass and steel

And occupied by tenants

Who think only greed is real

And agree on one other thing mainly

..thou shalt not feel

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