Small alef; poetry Tetzaveh

I am an empty vessel, said Blue,
plenty of room for God.
Also room for students —

We recede so creativity happens
no place empty of God, Blue said,
the vessel cannot be too empty
but it can be too full.

No room for God in a vessel too full,
Blue said.

So forget the activities of expressed leadership.
Preside elsewhere —
none of our story could have happened
without you.

Small alef; poetry
Shabbes Tetzaveh
Maqam Sigah
E half flat F G

What To Do

Don’t know what to do
I can’t decide right now
The meditation was

You’re about the same age as my
And it gives me hope to hear you

Thank you for the quiet

[He left a large space behind him
One time he held my hand
Through the whole meeting
I was having a bad day]

I’m really glad to be here

He couldn’t practice tough love, he said
he had so much to learn
About love first

Try to be a person that has
Something To go
He said

I’ve been happy since January 24, 2004

— December, 2011

Small alef; poetry 2

It’s like this
and like this –
an old man like me
doesn’t come with a single version
a word rattling around in an empty bottle –

First: the obvious
then the less obvious
the secret —
to arrive where we began
the plain sense
surfaces having released their opacity.


We know this
every now and again
about every

jsg, usa

Small alef; poetry
Maqam Saba

Small alef; poetry 1

He came into the cloud
went up the mountain
he was up on the mountain
forty days and forty nights.

He ascended
wearing the garment of colors
draped over his shoulders by the rainbow,
like a cloak —

he saw what he saw
he enjoyed it
All of it
up to that place.

What place.

Where language meets its
beyond which the most that can be said
about something
is nothing.

jsg, usa

Small alef; poetry
Maqam Saba



In the picture we were leaning into each other
your weight on my shoulder, Moroccan silver frame with two chambers
a house of hallways, the permutations of face.
Rumi’s moving.

Slow to breathe, the mechanical adjustment of flesh sloping south
stretch out your limbs all the way. Your breath
expanding in spite of restraints.
I was killed in your pouring eyes.

Never managed an ascent like this
the weight of slackers hung heavy around my feet
freedom feels good after restraints
your breath a fine lift.
Resist the temptation to talk junk.

J-walking under a blanket my skin moving
the roof of your head transparent I look down through your mouth
and see the machinery has quieted down. The oil can has returned
to the shelf where it belongs.

In the book of silences pray for breath. The ascents will still apply —
I can’t manage more than a few groans and giggles anyway —
horizontal movement assured now.
I am told I am breathing fine but
that is not always about air.

After the Weekend

After the Pharaonic weekend
We were talking
Pharaoh had a few questions for me
I answered them the best I could
Buying and selling in a daily schedule
Gauging the market
The obvious buy low sell high, etc.,

I spoke about wanting to return home
Because the buffet
At Pharaoh’s affair
Was meat meat
I have a softness for the misunderstood beasts
I would never think of eating one
We owe the working animal so much
Its willingness to serve —

We turned to the personal matters.

The women and the conspiracies
The desperation of flotation devices
Concealing our real motives and desires
The hunger within for competence
And primacy
Of course love —

Filling the unformed and empty
With love.

We discussed first the market
Then the family
Then the personal

We were about to arrive at politics
At the intersection

Wait – let me make a list.
I took out a stylus, a fine one made in Babylonia,
And I made a list.

These are the problems I will solve first\second, etc.

Let me take these one by one
And I began to repair each broken shard of the world.

When and Why

When did he come?

Did he come after he heard about the attack
did he come when he heard about the splitting of the Sea
did he come when he heard the Ten Sayings?

Did he come because of opposition
did he come because of miracles
did he come because of wisdom —

So the giving of the teaching
Is brought down in his portion —

As if we could not receive it
Until he had joined us.

He knew why he came.

jsg, usa
small alef; poetry Yitro 2
Maqam Hoseini
Phrygian on the note A

Small alef; poetry 1

From the Outsider

As if we could not receive the teaching
until he had joined us.

How we brought him in is an us-and-them problem
he gave us something additional
something unexpected
he brought it from

Once we integrated his depth
He earned a connection straight up and down
Or yashar
the direct light.

What he taught —
how to bring it down
in its applications
implications and inferences
what we would draw for ourselves.

Outside becoming inside.

From the outsider A we received only tsouris
from the outsider Y
wisdom beyond measure.

jsg, usa

Small alef; poetry
Maqam Hoseini