Poetry

Remedies

Remedies

The Chiliasts are praying
for the utter destruction of the interlopers
upon whom all curses rail
as they have been all along
only now they pray then they arm.

We are counting the days until
the destruction.

The secret ascent hidden in the descent
cockeyed optimism of the Kabbalist
who believes the redeemer will be born
on the saddest day of the year.

We have miracle stories to tell:
miracles are happening at every moment, he says.

The Africans here say:
God has brought us home
God will protect us.

Uncle walked across Ethiopia
then the Sudan to arrive here –
he shows a hole in the wall of his office
where a Katyusha hit minutes after he left it.
God must love me, he says –

And in one of the nicest northern towns
this side of the mountain, lower montane –
see that guy bowed in the sun in Chassidic black?
He used to be the stage designer for Frank Zappa.

jsg, usa

the Healing

Bonia and the Healing

After his illness
I ran into Bonia at the grocery store.

He was still recovering
But walking on his own now

I made a deal, he said to me,
If I lived, I’d give my life over to God

We walked outside, both of us squinting into the sunlight
And if you would have died?

I’d have given my life over to God
He said.

On My Re-tire-ment

On My Retirement

What will you do now?
Tie your long gray hair in a tail
braid your beard with beads
pierce your ear, pierce it twice
never bless another piece of bread
as long as you live –

Go bungee jumping in Colorado
hunt the wicked weebee bird
defend the precious rain forests of the Amazon
trade secrets with desperadoes
teach Vienna to dance.

Or
will you float the sea
take lunch in the sun
write commentaries on the text—

Remembering Bar Yochai
who emerged from the cave
believing if he only could spend
two Sabbaths properly
the world would be redeemed.

Rabbi –
what
will
you
do

now.

jsg, usa

Disparate parts

First gather together all
Your disparate
Parts
Return to yourself

The great truth
Return to yourself and
All the worlds will Return
To their Creator

This the secret of the
Lights
The world will return
To the Source of its Being

And the light of G*d
Manifest

jsg, after Rav Kook

Dew of Life

The dew of life
From the Garden of Eden
Pure and

Removed from
Muddy

From every worthless
Fear

From every weakening
Of the soul

– Rav Kook

What Color the Soul 2

What Color the Soul 2

I had seen a luminous blue
You mentioned
silver and rust –
I had assumed it was the same color
One color
I had seen when I descended into the
Being
of my Boy.

It was twenty years ago
And I see it now.

One color
One soul I thought –

But silver and
Rust
The color of yearning
Kesef silver
Kisoofim yearning

And ‘ergah
More yearning

So many words for
Yearning –

Unashamed and
Whole with
Yearning –

My own yearning
For one

Word

One soul.

jsg, usa

Between the Narrows

Between the narrows
The 17th of Tammuz
And the 9th of Av

Constriction
Opening onto –
What

Pinch Squeeze
And from the squeeze –
Surge

You open With
Expansiveness

Contract and expand
Constrict and Open

Breath pursed
Narrows Release

From constraint To expanse
Exile to Redemption

There is a hilltop in Jerusalem where heaven and earth touch. After the destruction the bride began to weep, the ground wept too. The bride returned as a bird perched at the wall.

For three summer weeks, I sat low in sadness. I planned to bleed, to wash myself clean.

This I have been taught: After a river of tears, expect the messiah.

On that day,” says Isaiah, “the great shofar will be sounded. And they will come, those lost in the land of Assyria and those forsaken in the land of Egypt, and bow before G*d on the Holy mountain, Jerusalem.” — Isaiah 27:13

jsg, from a mtn top in the Gallilee

Use the Strength

Use the Strength of the Yetzer
For Rising
It is grown from
Compassion

Be gradual

Our goal –
The Highest

When will my deeds
Reach
The deeds of my
Fathers and Mothers?

Awakening strength
Little by little

The light in life
Will shine
Within

jsg, usa Rav Kook Groove
*Yetzer, the dark inclination

Happiness of Life

Master of all the Goods
Scattered as they are

The physical is demanding to be fixed First
A physical practice

We are full of blemishes
Skirmishes And wars

The treasure of life –
Holiness

Whose vision of existence
Is your purpose

Establish the world
And give it stature

The fallings are all necessary
Even when immersed in light

Shades and darknesses
All around

I am not afraid
The dark too –

A source of learning

jsg, after Rav Kook

The Letters

The letters
Sprouted
Within thought

Lying like birds
Refined firmaments
Divine images

The analytical
Intellect
Absorbs them

Imagination
Shapes them
Feeling awakened

And the delight of Song –
And its waves.

jsg, usa after Rav Kook