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
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? 😉
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.
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.
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
Oh I will not forget you
My brothers and sisters
Shut out all alone
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.
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
i take your shadow
you take my shadow
i’ll carry yours awhile
you’ll carry mine awhile
walking in sun
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.