Friday, July 26, 2013

Tattered Kaddish

"Kaddish is a prayer found in the Jewish prayer service. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God's name.The term "Kaddish" is often used to refer specifically to "The Mourners' Kaddish", said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in all prayer services as well as at funerals and memorials. When mention is made of "saying Kaddish", this unambiguously denotes the rituals of mourning."

Taurean reaper of the wild apple field
messenger from earthmire gleaning
transcripts of fog
in the nineteenth year and the eleventh month
speak your tattered Kaddish for all suicides:

Praise to life though it crumbled in like a tunnel
on ones we knew and loved

Praise to life though its windows blew shut
on the breathing-room of ones we knew and loved

Praise to life though ones we knew and loved
loved it badly, too well, and not enough

Praise to life though it tightened like a knot
on the hearts of ones we thought we knew loved us

Praise to life giving room and reason
to ones we knew and loved who felt unpraisable

Praise to them, how they loved it, when they could.

Adrienne Rich

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A letter

Your loneliness
is a letter I read and put away,
a daily reminder
that I am
still capable of inflicting pain
at this distance.

Yom Kippur, Taos, New Mexico
Robin Becker

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How It Adds Up

There was the day we swam in a river, a lake, and an ocean.
And the day I quit the job my father got me.
And the day I stood outside a door,
and listened to my girlfriend making love
to someone obviously not me, inside,

and I felt strange because I didn’t care.

There was the morning I was born,
and the year I was a loser,
and the night I was the winner of the prize
for which the audience applauded.

Then there was someone else I met,
whose face and voice I can’t forget,
and the memory of her
is like a jail I’m trapped inside,

or maybe she is something I just use
to hold my real life at a distance.

Happiness, Joe says, is a wild red flower
plucked from a river of lava
and held aloft on a tightrope
strung between two scrawny trees
above a canyon
in a manic-depressive windstorm.

Don’t drop it, Don’t drop it, Don’t drop it—,

And when you do, you will keep looking for it
everywhere, for years,
while right behind you,
the footprints you are leaving

will look like notes
of a crazy song.

Tony Hoagland

Thursday, July 4, 2013

After Six

Cheek pressed against the cordless phone, I picture
my mother in her Savannah kitchen, leaning
both elbows on the glass breakfast table as she asks
if I can send her 50 newly minted 2007 pennies.
It’s 8:30 p.m. and she wants to give them out to mark
her one-year anniversary of being sober. I can hear
the emery board filing her nails in the background.

For 20 years, I knew not to call after six. Questions asked,
stories shared before the slur of words, Merlot numbing
her senses. Now, she asks how my break-up is going.
I tell her I walked the Golden Gate Bridge. On the other
side, I threw out love letters, photographs, lingerie,
baseball caps and ticket stubs. A cool gust of air
blows the Chronicle off the table. I adjust the phone
and push down each cuticle until I can see the half moons.
My mother is silent and I know she is crying.

I hear her shift as she tells me how she said goodbye
to my father when they divorced. Alone at Gooseberry Beach,
she made nine sand castles at low tide. Each one represented
a house they’d renovated together, from frames to foundations—
homes they’d dreamed of happily living in one day.
She sat for hours until high tide washed them all away.
Do you think you can find those pennies? she asks again.
I live behind the Mint, I tell her. We laugh.

My mother’s mother taught her always to pick up a penny.
Bring luck inside. I agree with Grandma Shea. I will visit
every bank in the city to find those newly minted pennies.
I have waited a lifetime to talk with my mother after six,
like this, listening to each other through miles of cable
buried under the soil late into the evening.

Meghan Adler

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