New Years Resolutions 2020

Last night was a cozy solo night. I drank some wine, I cooked some dinner, I listened to lots of great music, and I ripped up Return of the King to make some New Years Resolutions. It was a good night. I went to sleep before midnight, and I woke up happy and content, with a phone full of text messages from friends and family. It’s an excellent start to the year and the decade.

Here are the blackout poems / resolutions I made last night:

1. They should fall not in vain
2. Victory, surviving, flying
3. Great wonder is coming
4. Gaze on my power
5. Rising wonder, rising voice
6. Love will come
7. Trust yourself
8. Deep darkness may yet bear joy
9. Good shall flower again

Chanukah 2019

Over the past couple of months, I’ve had a burst of creating art-poems. I’ve been posting them on my Instagram and Facebook, but I figured I would do a little year-end post here on the blog. And since a few of them were Chanukah-inspired, I’m sharing some photos of my menorah too! I didn’t light until the very last night, when I impulsively decided I wanted to light. I couldn’t get candles in time, so I used what I had: birthday candles. I think it’s quite mehudar, no? 馃槈

And now for some poems. Most of the art is taken from a coloring book by Nina Tara. One of the poems includes art by Hanna Karlzon. The pages are mostly from my siddur, which I used throughout middle school and high school. It was a bas mitzvah gift from my group of friends. Two of the pages are from a book called Irish Fairy and Folk Tales.

And a bonus: some selfies, because why not 馃槈

Vidui 5780

On this Day of Atonement,
I ask forgiveness
for nothing.

I have been deceptive
smiling when I ached inside
pretending all was well and I felt joy
when I felt despair
when I felt depression
when I felt the world had gone mad.

I regret this.
But I do not ask your forgiveness.

I have been selfish
snatching joy for myself
wherever and however I could
in the face of despair
in the face of depression
in the face of a world gone mad.

I do not regret this.

I have been greedy
hoarding my joy
stockpiling moments of peace and serenity
for times of despair
for times of depression
for times when the world has gone mad.

I do not regret this.

I have been stubborn
insisting that joy can be found
despite overwhelming evidence
of despair
of depression
of a world gone mad.

I do not regret this.

I have caused others to be selfish, to be greedy, to be stubborn,
and I regret none of it
because we are coming soon
we selfish, greedy, stubborn hordes.

We claim joy for the world.
We claim peace
and beauty
and serenity
and we do not regret this.

Hachana l’Rosh Hashana 5780

I let the memories wash over me –
they chill me and I shiver.
I want to live, I want to love
I want to swim life’s river –
but my mind is full of memories –
they drag me down like stones –
those memories, they hurt, they wound –
they won’t leave me alone.

Please, I beg, cleanse this brain of mine,
purify its thought so I may seek the world –
so that I may see its beauty
and its glory all unfurled.
And I listen to my pleas,
to my cries and shouts for aid.
And the memories, their hold on me –
they weaken and they fade.

And I live, I do, I live so loud –
I raise my voice and sing.
I live, I speak, I wait with eager joy
for the beauty life can bring.

The Boundaries of Pain

when pain burns bright, stirs up a clamor
shuts out the sights of glitz and glamour

when mind and body face exhaustion
fatigued and weary — take precaution

let lights of grief shine bright around you
let noise of horrors’ cries surround you

let in no person, words or thoughts,
who’ll only worsen worries’ knots

set doors and walls to keep you sane
until you’re ready to rise again

and when you rise to meet the day
when you’ve recovered, chased fears away

your friends will be here greeting you
with smiles and cheers awaiting you

blackout poem in green and purple with image of butterfly atop a glass stoppered bottle
les lumi猫res et les bruits de douleur // the lights and the noises of pain

blackout poem in shades of pink with a bird perched on stalks of wheat carrying a half-moon in its beak, and a border of glittering dark pink
il se leva et fleurs 茅taient 脿 la porte // he rose and flowers were at the door


For Magaly’s Trinkets and Armor 3: Boundaries Save Lives (and teeth).

Images from Hanna Karlzon’s coloring book聽Seasons.

I Mourn

讗讬讻讛 讬砖讘讛 讘讚讚, 讛注讬专 专讘转讬 注诐 讛讬转讛 讻讗诇诪谞讛

How can a city
Once bustling and joyous
Become so divided
So hateful and dark

How can a people
Once loving and smiling
Be splintered and fractured
And closed off alone

讗诐 讗砖讻讞讱
Oh I will not forget you
My brothers and sisters
Shut out all alone

转砖讻讱 讬诪讬谞讬
My right and my left hands
Must join now together
Bring all of us home

—–

Today is Tisha b’Av, the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av – the day when the destruction of the Temple is mourned. But we don’t need to go back in time 2000 years to find reason to mourn. We can find it here and now in the exclusion and hatred being perpetuated in Jerusalem in the name of religion. So today, I rewrote Eicha. Today, I pledge not to forget Jerusalem – the Jerusalem that belongs to everyone, not only to Jews.

Four years ago, in the summer of 2014, my mother expressed her pain at my non-observance by saying “it hurts to know Tisha b’Av will be just like any other day for you, that you won’t be feeling connection with Judaism by mourning the destruction of Jews.” But Mommy, I do feel connection with Judaism – by mourning the destruction perpetuated in the name of continuity, by mourning the methods of dealing with pain that fight hatred with hatred – and I pledge to fight hatred with love.

Normal Changing

teach me,
i begged,
teach me to be normal.

show me,
i pleaded,
how i can be normal.

you did and then
normal –

a transitory thing,
normal began to change

and when normal changes
i change my normal

i beg no more
i plead no more
i ask no more
to be taught

teach myself, I do —
show myself, I do —
change myself, I do —
and my normal changes with me


For the second week of Magaly’s Trinkets and Armor: “How do you hold on to your Self聽when life continues changing the rules of the game without warning?” Hop over to her blog and check out all the ways we hold onto Selves amidst changing rules!

Trading Shadows

walking in sun
we are
throwing shadows

my shadow and your shadow
meld into one for a moment
and separate as we part
but know we’ll come together again

walking in sun
we are
dancing shadows

i take your shadow
you take my shadow
i’ll carry yours awhile
you’ll carry mine awhile

walking in sun
we are
trading shadows


I wrote a version of this on Facebook three years ago today, and it came up in my Facebook Memories. I had been walking with a friend and her daughter, and our shadows kept crossing over as the little girls skipped around us.

The photo is from a trip I took to Newport, Rhode Island with some friends in the summer of 2011.

Becoming the Dance

crescendos of passion
rose and crashed
assaulted my ears –
i heard the music

twirling partners
hand to waist and
hip to hip –
i felt the touch

swell of music, whirl
of joy, pain dissolved
in swirls of color –
i was the dance


For Magaly’s first Trinkets and Armor prompt.

There are so many things I do to “soothe or smack [my] unwanted monsters.” Watching dance videos is one of them!