This and This

Down The Mountain

Coming down the mountain
he is like a river on wheels
with two tablets inscribed
mi-zeh u-mi-zeh [Ex. 32:15]
this way and this way.

The holy And
[so unlike the Either/Or]


Ba-zeh v’gam mi-zeh —
This way and also this way. . . [Kohelet 7:18]

This and that
except — there is no that
only this and this
just as mi-zeh u-mi-zeh,
this and this.

You and me
G*d and you
Me and G*d
Matter and spirit
Good and Evil
Male and female
Left and right
Yin and Yang
The two triangles
Halakhah and Aggadah
Law and Lore
Gevurah and Tiferet
Severity and beauty
the good and the not-so-good.

Mi-zeh u-mi-zeh,
this and this.

Small alef; poetry Ki Tissa
Maqam Hijaz
D E-flat F# G

Four Years Oh Roger

Bless Roger

Roger K. died 1:37 AM
Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Oh Roger
this morning I heard on the radio that you died
you died

pursuing thieves
who took five dollars in tips
from the coffee shop
where you came for your daily caffeine.

Oh Roger, your affected normalcy
that could not conceal your
glamorous individuality.

The picture in words you drew
walking your dog
wearing a bathrobe
and a cigarette hanging out your mouth,

when your dog would run away
to the Ritz
the call from the hotel attendant —
Mr. K
please come and get your dog
and your car,

that was funny but before your
when you changed your life
from the inside out
earning it.

The last time I saw you
you described your Higher Power
like angels
who sat on either shoulder
your brother and your mother
they are preparing for you now
guiding your way.

Roger, be a guide for us
for your family
be an angel for your loved ones
as your loved ones were angels for you
maybe you can send a sign
try something large

or send another sort of sign
something specifically Roger
send it over the divide
we’ll know it when we see it
we’ll recognize your sense of style.

Roger, this is your friend
who joined you on your journey for a brief time in this life
mourning now your early passing
in the way life
or God
or nature
or whatever it is we believe in
writes our story.

Your goodness extends over the divide
more than memory
though memory will be a blessing –

we who survive you carry the lessons of your life
in our lives,

we will have to live somewhat for you
and for all the heroic co-travelers
on our way —
whose lives we know from the inside out.

And when you die
we die some too,

and when we live
you live some too.


jsg, usa

Raza the Secret of Purim

The Secret of One and Many
Confirmed and accepted,
Esther 9:27

A day like Purim
is Yom Kippur,
all our prayers are given in we,
the communal atonement.

On Purim,
we removed the obstacles,
became masters of the masks,
the surfaces released
and God appeared everywhere,
the unexpressed everything.

We are one with each other,
this is our joy.

Because of what happened to us,
we confirmed and accepted,
kimu v’kiblu*
singular and plural.

That’s why Yom Kippur is a day like Purim.
On Yom Kippur we diminished it,
on Purim,
we increased our joy
by becoming one,
with each other.

Soon –
we will become one
with ourselves.

jsg, usa

Small alef; poetry 3

Present, but hidden —
he recedes to
the heart of the story
the quiet center.

For all the qualities we could remember him for —
we remember him for humility.

Not for his accomplishments
For his irrelevance.

Small alef; poetry
Shabbat Tetzaveh
Maqam Sigah