Proem for Tisha B’Av

Unsettling
This new Manichaeism,
The forgotten religion of the Manichees
Who imagined the cosmic struggle

Between good and evil,
The struggle of pure good and pure evil
The notion that G-d has enemies.
I wonder if the geographers

Of the vacant center
Could have imagined
What we have
Seen.

Sometimes
I feel adrift
In a rudderless boat
On a dangerous sea.

Then, I forget that for a while
And pray for the G-d
The great G-d the One G-d
The unclaimed G-d,

To send healing
Strength
And guidance
To the sick and the unprotected.

I am sure you will join me
And direct your holiest hearted prayers
In the direction of
The empty geography of this place.

Let your prayers
And your blessings
Overflow
Like a fountain.

Do you remember
When we welcomed them —
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,
Joseph, Moses, Aaron, David.

M took me aside
And spoke this:
Be brave,
He said –

I thought I had misunderstood him,
It was not a word I used often,
But this is what he said:
Be brave.

I heard it.

jsg, usa

From the narrows I call G-d
Who answers me with
expansiveness

— Psalms 118:5