Category Archives: Obsessions

Gifting Myself

Me at the artsy Airbnb in Trastevere, Rome starting my birthday with journaling

Late Birthday Musings

It’s been hard for me to talk about my age & now, the next BIG birthday has finally come. The anxiety around it isn’t just the number itself or appearances. It’s the realization that not only is the list of what I want to do in this lifetime still long, my life has felt on hold, esp. as a homeroom teacher. For 2 years I stopped dancing, writing & submitting for publication. The beginning of the past decade was a flourishing, a blossoming. The end stagnation. Slowly, I’ve been gifting myself:

✨Rereading Emerson, then The Artist’s Way, A Return to Love, Big Magic, Refuse to Choose, & more.

✨ New glasses so I could “see” clearly, back to my signature red. New stones, Mexican matrix opal & sodalite.

✨Sang my heart out with Noam Enbar at his Howl workshops and mystical forest retreat to make my voice heard, shed what no longer serves me, show my true colors.

✨Returned dance to my life with Itay Ganot , a shift of consciousness through movement & Ella Greenbaum , a return home to Gnawa rhythms.

✨Started cello lessons and it feels like I was born to hold this instrument in my hands, feel its strings vibrating in my heart.

✨ Reinstated spiritual practices. I’ve gone to energetic healing: “For all the times I’ve stayed, even when it wasn’t good for me, please forgive me.”

✨شعراء بابل משוררי בבל Poets of Babel Поэты Вавилона has made a comeback this summer and it is just as magical as always.

✨Finally submitted for publication after pining away for a book so many years– like the fable of the man praying to win the lottery without buying a ticket (send me good mojo). I’ve bought a ticket.

✨All of this cumulated with magical Rome, remembering that I always have been a traveler at heart.

✨ The biggest development is, after a rollercoaster of 3 years, I’m no longer continuing at the school. This is one of the hardest closing of chapters in my life. Perhaps my most important lesson will be to show my students what that looks like to choose yourself.

For now, I am in the Divine Unknown and grateful. 🔮🧿📿🌈 All I know is, I promise to heed my inner compass, trust myself, bring my fire.

Thank you, Reflections of Love, for the sparkling blessings, colorful wishes, and shiny vibes. 💚✨🌈

Poet’s of Babel’s Comeback I
Rereading Emerson, then The Artist’s Way, A Return to Love, Big Magic, Refuse to Choose, & more.
New stones: Mexican matrix opal & sodalite.
Poets of Babel Comeback II

Multicultural as the New Multiracial



Being multiracial is about answering the question “Who are you?”, as Marcia Dawkins asked me when we met at a café in Israel.  It was the first time I had ever been asked this question. I answered: 

My instinct is to tell you what I am not, because I have always been fighting being defined. I’m not American. I’m not Israeli. I’m not Russian. I’m not black. I’m not a woman—as in I’m not defined by my status or sex. I’m not a mother, as in I’m not defined by this role. I am nothing; but not in the way of being unimportant. I just want to be. I’m just me. I’m Shoshana.

What I forgot to tell Marcia is that I don’t have the luxury of knowing who I am. When I mentioned these thoughts to my mother she said, “There’s something about U.S. society that makes you choose,” which are the remnants of the “one-drop rule” that refuses to die— a rule of Jim Crow segregation defining an individual with any known African ancestry as black, a form of hypodescent. Mom also told me I do not get to choose not to be black, exclaimed that I am American, and called this paragraph “poppycock!” when I read her my first draft. She has never been asked “What is your eda” (loosely translated as “ethnicity” in Hebrew) and not known the answer. I recently rediscovered a journal entry from 2007 where I wrote, “I have been told and told and told…who to be until I literally, actually don’t know who I am anymore.” Now, I know that because of who I am I don’t know who I am.

Perhaps Mom’s response is one reason why neither she nor I consider ourselves multiracial. My mother has curly hair, but I assume this is the result of history. All I know is that my great-great-grandmother was half Cherokee and half black and my great-great-grandfather was white. In America this ancestry does not allow me to define myself as multiracial. Why?  Because my mixture is not immediate, and allegedly all black people in America have some Native American ancestry. My daughters are another story.  One is multiracial and two are not.  What is interesting is that one of my monoracial daughters is lighter than the mixed one.  We bring these differences, these “what we are nots” to our blended family, though this is not where I take my credibility to discuss the subject. The fact that I even believe I need credibility is perhaps more of the issue.  Though I have never considered myself multiracial, I have always felt as though I am.  I have been taken for multiracial. I find myself drawn to multiracial people in the U.S. and in Israel, where I have lived for nearly half of my life. I even used to wish I were multiracial (at the time my preference was half-French) so that I would have another native tongue and an additional culture to enjoy. Perhaps this is because I share their way of being/ belonging nowhere and everywhere at the same time, of not being wholly of one culture.

In Israel, mixed race is more complex than in America mainly because religion is, simultaneously, more important than race and is race, in the context of Judaism. The Ashkenazi (European Jews)/Mizrachi (Eastern Jews) discourse parallels the American black/white discourse culturally, but due to the shared religion/race of Judaism, multiracial identity in this context is much less poignant. Alternatively, the interaction between Jews of Ethiopian decent and those of European decent is slightly more riddled with discontent. This is due to the influence of American media, and the borrowing of language from the Civil Rights movement and race issues which leave stronger sentiments and scars of racism. Nevertheless, sharing Jewishness is a neutralizing factor. The real disquieting issue in multiracialism in Israel is mixing which crosses religious/racial boundaries—for instance, a Jew marrying a Muslim/Christian Arab or a Druze marrying a Jew.

The mere existence of an American living outside of the American context creates a multicultural experience. When there is an attempt to define an expatriate individual based on local identity categories, an even stronger parallel to the multiracial experience is created. This is the case when Israelis try to define me within a local context. Almost no American would mistake me for multiracial because I do not pass “the comb test” (a test of blackness based on hair texture; my hair would not easily concede to a comb). Because Israelis are not aware of the comb test, I am often assumed to be multiracial. In the Israeli context, there are the assumptions that (a) anyone not a tourist or a student who would come to live in Israel must be Jewish, (b) Ethiopian Jews are the only black Jews, and, therefore, (c) based on my complexion, I must be either a convert or half-Jewish. Aside from the assumption of my half-Jewishness, I am mistaken for various other mixed race combinations and nationalities—anything from Jamaican or Brazilian to Indian or French—which would not happen in America.

Just as in America as a child I was told I “acted white,” I am told in Israel that I fit into the Ashkenazi category because I am American. This is paramount to being told I “pass” into the “white” category, in terms of having an elevated social status. In other words, in Israel, I am culturally white!

Being an extensively acculturated resident of Israel for half of my life has blurred my identity. Sometimes I think in Hebrew, and despite not being Jewish, or even an Israeli citizen, I find myself and am found by Americans and Israelis alike to be culturally more Israeli than American, or experienced as just not American period. (My Egyptian American friend who works at the US Consulate threatens to revoke my US passport for lack of up-to-date American cultural innuendos.) When I was observant of a religious Jewish lifestyle, I was found by some secular Israelis to be “more Jewish” than they considered themselves.

Amongst Israelis, most of my friends in the country are from the former Soviet Union, including my Ukrainian Jewish husband. I have learned intermediate Russian (now Russian words pop into my head when I try to speak French), our kitchen is a mosaic of dishes from the Crimean Peninsula region, I wear a tryzub (the Ukrainian seal) necklace, and identify more with this segment of Israeli society than other groups, including Americans living in Israel, and especially African Americans living in Israel. My next largest category of friends in Israel is either mixed or “black sheep” (no pun intended) defined as not “fitting” into the cultural-racial group they were born into. These include friends who are Ukrainian Togolese (he calls himself a “Black Russian”), African American Israeli, Ukrainian American, Jewish Russian, Egyptian American, Ethiopian Israeli, and Palestinian American who “act white” as defined by their peers, and Russian Israelis who “pass” for native Israeli because they are “dark.”

I am reminded via social networking sites that I am disconnected from issues that concern many of my African American peers in the United States. This is clear in old debates such as the “Why is it hard to find a good black man?”; I tend to be the only voice saying, “Why not look for a good man, period?” Or during discussions of the Trayvon Martin tragedy where I was the only one of my black Facebook friends who did not dedicate a status update to the case. “Honestly,” I responded to another friend’s status, “because I believe it’s a human issue and I don’t normally toot my horn about most of what I find appalling news in this world I hadn’t planned on addressing it at all.” I have felt estranged from blackness, yet simultaneously suffered from it since childhood, mainly from my strongest black feature, my hair.

My identification with the multiracial experience began in childhood as a multicultural individual within the American black/white context. In the United States, the story is so old it feels redundant to even give a small review. There was slavery, there was Jim Crow, there were “Our Kind of People,” there was the Civil Rights Movement, there was desegregation, and there was “re-segregation” (the repolarization of black and white communities and schools), and this is where I come in. My earliest school memories, in an elementary school in Brewton, Alabama, in a relatively racially mixed school, were of the boy who made fun of my “BB buckshots” and the “pots and pans in my kitchen.” These were references to the texture of my hair. This boy was black. I also remember being told that I “spoke white.” Speaking white is a term referred to one speaking grammatically correct English as opposed to African American vernacular English. I ended up having mostly white friends because my black classmates told me that I was not black. To this day, I am still not 100% sure what that means. I just did not fit in culturally. I suffered no such self-consciousness with my white classmates, and this was Alabama. To be fair, during my summers in Buffalo, NY, my cousins told me I “sounded country” so maybe I had accent issues.

Fast forward to high school in Baltimore, MD, in the 1990s. This was a predominately black school and I still “wasn’t black” enough. I was told I didn’t have rhythm and teased for the unfashionable hairstyles with the nappy hair clearly not straightened properly in the back. Though I’d started off closed-minded mainly due to the ignorance of my inexperience, I began listening more to alternative music, defined by my classmates as “white music,” and less to “black music” like the R&B and rap popular amongst my peers.  I was called out for that as well. It was once said of me: “Shoshana doesn’t drink Kool-Aid, she drinks Perrier. She doesn’t eat Oodles of Noodles, she eats Fettuccine Alfredo.” Guilty as charged. So, I was very empathetic when a foreign-educated mixed friend, said “They say I’m not black until they see that I’m smart and then they say, ‘She’s a smart black person.’ Why don’t they make up their minds?” On one hand, she was rejected as “not black” culturally; on the other, blacks wanted to claim her achievements in the name of black prestige. It is but one example of the limbo suffered by the multiracial and multicultural alike.

I am not multiracial, but I was never allowed to feel black enough either. Strangely, when I went natural with my hair and started my locks in 11th grade, I became “too black” or at least too nappy for some. I was called a wannabe Erykah Badu, as Afrocentricism was becoming the new style on the fringes of high school society. But I did not change my hair because I was becoming Afrocentric. I did it because one day while returning from a band trip (I’d found the courage to dance as a flag girl with the marching band— turns out I had rhythm after all), I suddenly remembered that boy from elementary school who made fun of my “buckshots” and realized that I hadn’t permed my hair because I thought it was more beautiful; I did it because I had been teased. I decided to break free, and I have loved my hair ever since despite the loaded message it sometimes sends to others. I have locks simply because they are beautiful and easy—no, I don’t like reggae music. Really.

These experiences with my family, peers, and hair, combined with my indefinite relocation to Israel, contributed to the weakening of my black/African American identity and the strengthening of my “refusing definition/multicultural/citizen of the world” identity. In the United States, historically, multiracial identity—usually biracial identity—has meant having to choose sides: Either pass for white according to the paper bag and comb test or be black according to the one-drop rule. Currently, multiracial identity in America seems to mean simultaneously belonging to two or more groups and yet really belonging to none. It is a debate of being defined and about rejecting definition. Yet, just as race in itself is a social/cultural construct, so are these definitions and the sense of belonging that accompanies them. It’s less about belonging to a color than belonging to a culture.  Paradoxically, as much as I oppose this discourse insisting on defining me, I am caught in it. I have been defining myself as not multiracial when I, very literally, am. We African Americans are multiracial, but we weren’t allowed to be multiracial. Why are we still following the one-drop rule? And why are blacks victimizing other blacks concerning their blackness, knowing we are all mixed anyway? Why?  Because someone in history said that I don’t get to choose. Well, I say that I do. I can choose not to choose.  According to Cassar (2008), “the identity is not several but one, made up of all the elements (which we could call tesserae) that have shaped and continue to shape it” (p. 19). Perhaps this is why I love making collages—I am one.

The core of multiracial identity is blurring identities: simultaneously belonging to multiple categories and yet belonging exclusively to none. Multicultural people share a blurring of identities in a way very similar to those born multiracial, which is why in today’s global village, multicultural may be considered as the new multiracial. Multicultural individuals are loosely defined including, but not restricted to, those who are extensively acculturated expatriates and immigrants; partners in interracial relationships or parents of multiracial children; converts, particularly to Judaism where the lines between religion and race are blurred; individuals whose physical appearance causes them to be mistaken for multiracial or of the “wrong race”; individuals who define themselves as citizens of the world or even individuals who, for whatever reason, do not fit comfortably into the social/cultural/racial category they were born into but mesh well across other social/cultural/racial categories and carry an elusive sense of belonging nowhere and everywhere simultaneously.

This is not an essay about how I am not black or not American. It is about insisting upon the self-determination of my identity and hopefully giving others permission to do the same. In fact, perhaps in all that I have said, I make a stronger claim on my Americanness, for Harper and Walton (2000) have found that “to be ‘American’ is to be in constant search of one’s identity” (p. xxiv). Yet this still makes me cringe, and I get angry when people tell me to “come home.” I am still figuring this out. I embrace my American blackness in dance, jazz, and especially poetry, since I am a poet—these are a few of the many tesserae that I am composed of. Hughes (1995) once declared, “A poet is a human being. Each human being must live within his time, with and for his people, and within the boundaries of his country” (p. 5). But what is my country? Who are my people? Am I of my times? Perhaps telling me to come home is upsetting because I am not American, but I am; I am not Israeli, but I am; I am not black, but I am. It’s not about coordinates. It’s that everywhere I find mosaic people like me, I am home, in my country, with my people…and I defend my nomadic homeland of the heart fiercely.


Cassar, A. (2008). Muzajk: An Exploration in Multilingual Verse. Valletta, Malta: Edizzjoni


Harper, M. S., and Walton, A. (Eds.). (2000). The Vintage Book of African-American

 Poetry. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Hughes, L. (1994). Introduction. In A. Rampersad and D. Roessel (Eds.), The Collected Poems

of Langston Hughes (pp. 3-7). New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.

Originally published: “Multicultural as the New Multiracial,” Mixed Race 3.0: Risk and Reward in the Digital Age, 2015    

Check out the entire Kindle book on Amazon! 


In addition to my beloved Poets of Babel, I’ve started a new page called “We are a threat to the national identity.” It was an impromptu reaction to this article about the ban of a book (Borderlife by Dorit Rabinyan) in which there is a Jewish-Palestinian love affair. But honestly, this is really the result of years of being asked if I’m Jewish while living in Israel, being called a goy, or a shiksa, being asked if I’ll convert, or even being told I have a Jewish soul (which is supposed to be a compliment but only serves to represent the cognitive dissonance of my existence in this country). The byline goes like this:

“Goy,” “shiksa,” “danger of assimilation,” “a threat to the identity of the nation”–this is what they call us: those who would ban a book because it encourages intermarriage between Jews and non-Jews. That was just the impetus for this group, but what it brings up has been on my mind for a long time. *This is a group for people who love people and not nationalities, or are a product of such love. Post your inter-whatever love here.

I hope you all can show support. Let’s get the message out. I want to break the internet in 2016 with our extra-Jewish affairs and our inter-whatever love. There is no box dammit.

Happy New Year!


Split in Two: between Gifts and Blind Fury


 “Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever.” ~ Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death

joy harjo gifts


“Fame in the spur that the clear spirit doth raise

(That lest infirmity of noble mind)

To scorn delight and live laborious days;

But the fair guerdon when we hope to find,

And think to burst out into sudden blaze,

Comes the blind Fury with the abhorred, sheers,

And slits the thin-spun life…

But not the praise”

~John Milton “Lycidas”


I read Joy Harjo’s Crazy Brave this semester, which is where the above quote is taken from. Harjo showed me the kind of story teller I want to be. I breathed in her words as my own: “In a fast, narrow crack of perception, I knew this is what I was put here to do: I must become the poem, the music, and the dancer.” This month, saw the three minute video “Existential Bummer” by Jason Silva with the Ernest Becker quote, which immediately caught my attention as one of the best ways I’ve heard the cognitive dissonance of existence put into one sentence. In the video Silva says “we defy entropy and impermanence with our films and our poems.” Then, while working on an assignment and searching for lines inspired by class material, I found the “Lycidas” quote copied into my journal from last year along with the entry below. Though it’s nine months old, I find that I am still, and perhaps will always be, split in two: between my gifts and the blind Fury.


What Does It All Mean?

October 11, 2013

I was walking in town thinking about what it all means. Our energy is borrowed and one day we will have to return it. I’ve been thinking about it every morning and every night. What is it all for, what are these unique creatures; are we just ants, just animals, just leaves on a tree to fall and be remembered in the fall and forgotten in the spring? I want to be known but there is so much to know; I want to be remembered but there is so much to remember. And it will only last for so long and what good will it do me when I’m gone to be remembered? I won’t know anyway. Any memorial can be torn down, any book destroyed and forgotten—and what is it all for? I am entering the best stage of my life so far: thoroughly conscious ignorance, plus on the path of my own choosing, my own making. I was immensely grateful. Now, I am an English teacher and a poetry student; I am a dancer and a performer by hobby; I am recognized as an artist, a poet, an organizer. But I want more and will want more and plan and plan and gather and gather like a busy bee (I was visited by a bee again) and then—I will blink a few times. My daughters will be women; I may see children and grandchildren; I will possibly be honored and surely loved; my parents will depart and I will suddenly remember things I should have said and done, perhaps. There is a future that the movies promised us: sci-fi will be real or the sun may burn out or a dystopia, but all of my generation will pass and the future generations will pass and how long can this go on, and then what? Even with more answers there will always be more questions: can god be proved, is there a power of attraction, what do the charts tell us, what do the cards tell us, what will science find, and what monsters will be created? I will gather and achieve and still ask, what does it all mean, and it will end; the only thing that is sure, the only thing that is sure is decomposition: every story will end.



Pico Iyer Asks: “Where is Home?” I Say: “Home is Babel”



Pico Iyer asks: “Where is home?” I say: “Home is Babel.”

In this amazing TED talk (I know, I know, ALL TED Talks are amazing, but this one is special!) Pico Iyer just articulated everything I already knew but am just beginning to coherently express about myself. I am debating whether or not to tell you to watch the video Pico Iyer Where is Home first or later. You decide. But if you are a citizen of the world or a citizen of Babel like me then you will feel finally and completely understood, it will feel scientific even.

It’s all the more powerful that I saw this after writing and performing my latest poem “Babili/Home” , my first macaronic language poem, mainly in English with touches of Hebrew, French, Russian and one phrase in Ukrainian. It’s about home. It’s about who I am. It’s an idea I’ve been trying to iron out since I wrote “Multicultural is the New Multiracial” for the Mixed Race 2.0 project (forthcoming) on ‘blackness’ (the African-American brand) coupled with the elusive feeling of detachment from it after (and honestly even before) living within another culture and disdane with having to be defined all of the time. Or  what I wrote in “The Babel in Us” (Hebrew) in the multilingual, Tel Aviv based poetry journal “Space”. about how everyone is a little macaronic these days, multilingualism is everywhere and needs places to be expressed which is why I created Poets of Babel.

Speaking of multilingual or macaronic poetry, there are a couple of poets who I know would dig this talk. You should check them out too. One, I’ve mentioned often, Antoine Cassar, the author of the first macaronic poem I read and loved, “Merħba,” as well as the lingual adventures of the book Mużajk (Mosaic), or the powerfully open-hearted poem “Passaport” , which brought tears to my eyes with the line:

“no one to brand you stranger, alien, criminal, illegal immigrant, or extra-communautaire, nobody is extra, …”

Another poet I just met over the summer at a ‘Mini International Poetry Festival’ in Tel Aviv,  is Johannes CS Frank, the author of  Remembrances of Copper Cream, a trilingual poetry book, in English, German and Hebrew, which is  simultaneously as cosmopolitan as it is a visceral authentically Jerusalem experience, right down to the copper highlighted sketches,

“a full scale model of the universe”

“Merħba” and Remembrances of Copper Cream both appear in the photo above.

You know what, just watch Pico Iyer’s video, & my poem “Babili/Home” and then reach out to me. If you’re a citizen of Babel, not just multicultural or multilingual but have been haunted by the feeling that you basically belong nowhere specifically but to so many places at the same time, collage people, mosaic people, Embrace.


Cameo! Studio 6 End of the Year Recap Video


Just for fun! Here is a recap of the end of the year performance that I participated in with Studio 6 at the Gerard Behar Theater in Jerusalem (I danced Flamenco, Belly dancing, & Salsa). I’ve got a cameo from the Salsa performance in the video. Can you find me? 😉


…more news coming about an awesome Poetry Slam

“Future Perfect,” My First Poetry Slam


About a month ago, I did my first poetry slam and first spoken word performance on stage. I was petrified from the moment I agreed to do it…but I knew that I had to. I’ve wanted to for so long. And even after actually doing it and feeling like I could do it again and better next time, it took me the better part of a month to muster up the additional courage to share with those who weren’t there.

So here goes nothing…

On “How to Avoid Work: A 1949 Guide to Doing What You Love” & a Response to Mother


You know you’re in the right place when you just glow from it. Being in the flow, in the zone, it has as many names as the names of god. I have a firm belief in the gifts given to each, in the muses that come and go at their own will, in the art that comes through us but is not of us as our children do and aren’t. Gifts in the world but not of it as some said of their famous savior.

I also have a firm belief in belief.

People succeed or fail, in spite of or especially because of their tawdry circumstances.

It’s in autobiographies everywhere.

The exceptions- I said I don’t believe in exceptions- but the exceptions of arriving to the dais come down to the quality of belief in the possibility of achievement. Suddenly, as distant as I could possibly be from religion, I finally understand faith. All the successful, however defined, are devout. They ignored the demurring cynics parading as realists in akimbo. What is reality? And are there not different versions of it? Just as truth?

“Facts” are always in the end, just someone’s opinion. From the State of Israel to my bickering children to the imagination of a five-year old to the discoveries of science, there is evidence of this. And even evidence is a synonym for fact, which is a perception of truth, which is a component of reality, which are all up for interpretation ultimately, which makes it all a choice.

And yet not a choice, no more than the singer chose to have the voice or the painter chose to mix colors well and draw straighter lines and rounder circles than I could ever dream of. No more than the accountant could choose being practical or the politician choose smooth words, except he thinks he chooses as fastidiously as the green-thumb-blessed chooses his seed and when the fruit is ripe for the picking.

The relationship between choice, and belief or faith, and gifts, circumstance and the 99% of events off of our radar screen is a desultory, polyrhythmic interpretive dance as incomprehensible and as beautiful and as debilitating and as empowering as the meaning of life itself.

Let us be whirling dervishes.

(See: “How to Avoid Work: A 1949 Guide to Doing What You Love” by Maria Popova from Brain Pickings)


“In Media Res” or a ModPoetic Collage: On a Vision, a Course, a Liberation, a Block, and a “Way” to “Eunoia”


“The Flower Pot” (See, Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain”)

*(Note to reader: This entire piece is an experiment. It is an exercise in “how,” that is, it’s not so much what I am saying but how I am saying it. I try to explain what ModPo has taught me by using it, drawing on elements from proto-modernism, the edge of modernist poetics, found language, spontaneous prose, The New York school, language poetry, prose poetry, chance, conceptualism, unoriginality, and “Al-isms”.  It’s a ModPoetic collage. If you make it to the end, I’ll appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.)

I looked in the mirror and saw a vision of myself. I was speaking in front of students in an auditorium. I was grading papers…and loving it. I’ll drive the second-hand car, Al.

The Way:

-Notational process- taking observations and putting them together into a poem, “found language,” ‘linguistic observations,”  “a collage of voices,” “no fixed I.” Liberation. I am a collagist. I am a poet. Collage poetry. Ambrosia! Validation. It wasn’t the ‘what’ but the ‘how.’ Freedom. This legitimate how. This how. This.

Antoine Cassar’s Mużajk , an exploration in multilingual verse. Tesserae- one of the small squares of stone or glass used in making mosaic patterns. Pieces of things, what mosaics are made of, what collages are made of, what found poetry is made of, pieces of me, pieces of you as some song or album was titled once. My favorite poet called me Whitmanian before I’d understood what that really meant.

“I am a mosaic,” I told him, “a collage, mixed media. I cannot choose only a piece of me.”


I pause in the shower, thinking about energy healing and colors of chakras. I think about how I’d come up with Poets of Babel in the shower. And then: Throat chakra. Communication. Communication.

See it all started with that 7 Chakras massage that I did one stressed day after work–

It all started with that throat chakra stone I chose–

It all started with that lapis lazuli pendant I had made–

It all started with that throat infection that wouldn’t go away for weeks. I might still have it. It didn’t even hurt, it was just there

It all started with–

It all started when we were–

It all started–

It all started when Marcia said, “I can’t believe I’m telling you this, because it almost killed me, but I think you should do a doctorate.” She said, “It would give you a voice and you have ideas that need to be heard.” Communications.

It all started when I got released from my job. Yes, I mean that. No, it’s not a euphemism. Lisa said “Haven’t you ever felt the pain of rejection even though you don’t even want what you are losing?” Yes, Lisa, yes I have.

I’m still not sure if it healed or I just got used to it. The throat, I mean, or my life, or whatever’s applicable at the moment. My Life.

I am plagued by a sense of urgency. Cheryl told me once that I was haunted. My solar plexus hurts right now because I am writing this. The truth of it all made me cry 3 days ago. 7 days ago.

It all started when in the job interview she asked me which position I’d loved the most and I realized that teaching was the only one.

It all started when at the job interview Zohar said, “Why are you looking for things like this? Look at what you’ve done. This is beneath you.” (מה את” מחפשת דברים כאלו? תראי כל מה שעשית. קטן עליך.”)

It all started when I went to see Zohar about doing a second M.A. in Communications with a focus on Poetry and he said “you could go straight to doctorate” and I was alarmed. (“What are you afraid of?” Chana asked me.)

You can’t have a name like Zohar and not be zoher (“shining”). The light was too bright for me to bear. Bare.

It all started when Chana said, “this is the story of your life…you are something in your dreams aren’t you?” And I cried. “Yes.”

It all— Summer said, “I see who are are right now, not who you are going to be.”


Until now I have been a


Tesserae is about

finally being ALL of me

in all of my parts and


          at the limen

coming out of the penumbra

The Beats.


Note to self: Write a Dadaist poem!

It all started when Gwendolyn Brooks said, “Come here and open your mouth!”

When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.

It all started when–Jack Kerouac’s “Essentials of Spontaneous Prose”

Note to self: Do it! 

I did it.


The Aroma. A poem is a cafe.

Poetics stolen. My thoughts are non-sequitor–

Lunch poems. Coffee poems.

It all started when–prose poetry. My stories don’t have to be linear. These poets give me a freedom I hadn’t known existed before.

A continuation.

“Discontinuity is the way these lives get constructed,” my life, all lives

are translations. 

It all started when–

she asked “Who polices questions of grammar, parts of speech…Whose order is shut inside…” indeed, this is the predicament of culture, the new sentence.


We are the anagogy

If you listen you will hear

The language is out there

Use the language that’s already out there

The world is always joined in media res, 

in the middle of things


“Go behind the veil,” Alaa said.


chronic meanings

“That always happened until one. (day when she woke up.)

She spread out her arms and. (decided to fly.)

The sky if anything grew. (and thus the limits.)

Which left a lot of. (questions…and answers.)


Come what it may it can’t. (stop me.)

There are a number of. (dreams, some say too many.)

But there is only one. (me.)

That’s why I want to.” (do it all.)

Wait. Stop. Reverse that. Ok go on.

“A poet is never just a woman or a man. Every poet is salted with fire. A poet is a mirror, a transcriber.”

A translator.

A poet is the priest of the invisible.


All artists, poets, painters, musicians, etc. are translators. They are translators of feeling, moments in time into another medium: into colors and shapes, into notes and harmonies, into words and…words. The poet has the most difficult translation job of them all for it is words that fail us first when trying to capture “that moment in time which is imagistic and not linguistic;” for no “moment” is ever really linguistic, not really. This is why O’Hara would rather be a painter. Few words are rarely sufficient but a picture is worth a thousand–

~By a poet who has tried to paint.

Why I Am Not a Painter.

Why I am not a mathematician.

Why I am not a musician.

Why I am not an astronomer.

Why I am not–

I would play the monochord and demonstrate the octaves of the universe in intervals. ‘You are the beautiful, the stress of mathematics.’

If I were a scientist, I’d be Dr. Frankenstein. Taking old things, making them new. Collaging everything.

Confession: I’ve destroyed books.


Though it was the natural choice, I couldn’t do the Bernadette Mayer Experiment.There was too much to choose.

Cage. Mesostics. Chance.

Kerouac’s Compass.








In this final writing assignment- and perhaps all modest writers would say- we are all jacks of the mind, experimenting with a plethora of poetic writing methods, yet mastering none.









“99% of what you want is not on the radar screen and it will come in ways you can’t even imagine!”

It all started when Hagit, out of the blue, asked me to teach improvisation theater in the camp.

So many signs from the universe. I can no longer ignore–

Release reasons.


It all started with what is not a cage

“What we make disappear bespeaks what we wish to be all the more present.”

Hmmm, like the first marriage and that religion?

…like the study abroad in Greece, the State Department internship, the wedding ceremony, the vision personified as Eunoia…









the most obscure things have already been said–all you have to do is hear the lyricism. BART. now further than I’ve ever gone before the end of the line. (That was supposed to have been my conclusion.

Oh well,)

I want to remember a day in a poem. this is an act. this is deliberate. go out into the world and describe it… If you listen you will hear. The language is out there. Unintentional intent. Dropping Leaflets.use the language that’s already out there. ambient language. There appears to be an order but this is a remix. Experiments in imitation. Photographer Poet?!!!!!!


It all started Via

“They are adept at composing in multiple and mixed media. Indeed, they are so comfortable with ‘cross-platform’ writing that they no longer seem to perceive any meaningful disciplinary boundaries between poetry, music and the visual arts

(because there is none)

~the world is always joined in media res, in the middle of things~

“The divinely ordained right way forward has been lost- but it will always remain and ever has been.”

Because my divinely ordered right way forward has been lost-but it will always remain and ever has been.

Because Anna said the big secret of the universe is a hand me down.

“God is a symbol for something that can as well take other forms, as for example, the form of poetry.” I finally found a God that I can pray to.


It all started when Ron said, “There’s not a normal letter up there. You’ve got some ways of being you’re not tapping into.” That was in 2009.

It all–

Poetry is the how.

A doctorate in Communications with a focus on Poetry.

A teaching certificate in Theater.


In media res.

But I’m still speaking hypothetically.

Artistic. Social. I didn’t need the occupational exam to tell  me that.

And yet I did.

“What is blocking you?” Chana asked me. That was on Sunday.

-Devastating disappointment.


I was fearless once.

The siren reminded me of this.

  • Poet & Writer
  • Educator~ teacher, lecturer, professor, speaker
  • Film director
  • Artist~ photographer, collagist, calligrapher…
  • Performer~ spoken word, dancer, street theater…
  • Organization founder/project coordinator/workshop facilitator
  • Business owner

When I love a thing I want it and I try to get it. Abstraction of the particular from the universal is the entrance into evil. Love, a binding force, is both envy and emulation…Between revealed will and secret will Love has been torn in two.”

Jack of all trades, master of none. The sin of the dilettante. Mother advised me to do something practical.





Eunoia:  It all boils down to Eunoia– the shortest English word containing all five main vowel graphemes. It comes from the Greek word εὔνοια meaning “well mind” or “beautiful thinking.”

…the meaning of the bees that have followed me every time I plan or talk about Thisindustry, action, communication, and our ability to consciously choose the results we want in our lives. 

A vision, a course, a liberation, a block and a way to eunoia.

There’s nothing left to do but to just do it.

No layoffs in this condensery. For occupation this

It all– Daniel said “Not Impossible.” I dare to dwell in possibility.

“קטן עליך”: Zohar meant “it’s beneath your level.” Eunoia meant “you got this.”

It all started–

“The Way” ModPo Changed My Facebook Posts


Photo: Truly the highlight of the evening!

Bobbing for a Dadaist Poem, the main activity inspired by ModPo for the Poets of Babel meeting on October 31st, 2012

The Modern and Contemporary Poetry Course, better known as ModPo, led by Prof. Al Filreis and his enlightened TA team, from the University of Pennsylvania, started September 10, 2012. Since beginning the course, not only have I become obsessed with it (I’ve been ‘squeezing’ it in everywhere as Prof. Filreis extolled us to do in the webcast. I was even late to a doctor’s appointment listening to PennSound‘s PoemTalk on “The Way” and the end of last week’s video discussions!) , most of my Facebook posts since have been inspired by it and I’ve decided to pursue a new career path thanks to ModPo and Prof. Filreis: I want to be a professor of poetry!

I just thought you might enjoy “The Way” ModPo has changed my Facebook presence aside from the expected shares on the Poets of Babel Facebook Page.

September 10th I was already sharing:

September 15th:

“I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and
never will be measured.

I tramp a perpetual journey, (come listen all!)
I have no chair, no church, no philosophy,
I lead no man to a dinner-table, library, exchange,
But each man and each woman of you I lead upon a knoll,
My left hand hooking you round the waist,
My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. ”
~Whitman “Song of Myself”  (46)

September 19th:

September 20th:
  • Michal & Zilpah [two friends in Israel taking ModPo as well; last names deleted for privacy] how are you liking the ModPo Course? I love it- did my essay early! 😛
  • (just in case folks have been missing the awesomeness!)
  • I ♥ open pronouns.

Cid Corman, “It isn’t for want”

It isn’t for want
of something to say–
something to tell you–

something you should know–
but to detain you–
keep you from going–

feeling myself here
as long as *you* are–
as long as you *are.*
(I used “*” because I don’t have the option of italics for status updates)

September 21st:

  • “Sometimes I’d like to have a beer with the Whitmanians and sometimes sip fine wine with the Dickinsonians”- Loving ModPo!

September 23rd:

September 24th (2 seconds ago):

“I know how furiously your heart is beating.”
~Wallace Stevens, “Gray Room”
…because I do, because it’s my heart that is beating furiously.


[Restarted this post in November!]

October 2nd:

  • “A line distinguishes it. A line just distinguishes it.”
    ~Gertrude Stein, “A Long Dress”
  • “The difference is spreading. ”
    ~Gertrude Stein, “A Carafe, That is a Blind Glass”
  • “Success in Circuit lies” ~E.D.
October 7th:
“The composition is the thing seen by every one living in the living they are doing, they are the composing of the composition that at the time they are living is the composition of the time in which they are living. It is that that makes living a thing they are doing.” ~Gertrude Stein
October 13th:

  • “I judge judge”
    -Gertrude Stein, “If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso”
October 20th:
  • To Make a Dadaist Poem by Tristan Tzara « Moving Poems
  • “Forcing twentieth-century America into a sonnet— gosh, how I hate sonnets—is like putting a crab into a square box. You’ve got to cut off his legs to make him fit. When you get through, you don’t have a crab anymore.”–Williams Carlos Williams, in an interview [from Interviews with William Carlos Williams: Speaking Straight Ahead 1976)]

    My sentiments exactly!

  • With more ‘free time,’ I’m two weeks behind in my poetry course!!
    Catching up!

October 21st:

“Come here and open your mouth!”
~Gwendolyn Brooks to Etheridge Knight
October 26th:

“that moment in time which is imagistic and not linguistic”

-Al Filreis
October 29th:

  • “a rueful adieu to experience”
  • “the source of your art is maintained in a place like this”
November 1st:
Had so much fun “bobbing for a dadaist poem” last night at Poets of Babel!!!
November 2nd:
Arranging by chanceTo meet as far this morning
From the world as agreeing

~Ashbery, “Some Trees”

November 9th:
“Come what may it can’t.
There are a number of.
But there is only one.
That’s why I want to.”~Bob Perelman, “Chronic Meanings”

November 10th:
“I want to remember a day in a poem”
-Al Filreis on Ron Silliman’s “BART”
November 14th:
“In other words, she is continually reasserting the fact that the world is always joined in media res, in the middle of things. The divinely ordained right way forward has been lost — but it will always remain so, and ever has been.”
~Brian M. Reed ‘Lost Already Walking’ Caroline Bergvall’s Via
November 20th:
If just thinking about it makes me this excited then I guess I’ll have to go for it!
I could write an entire essay on each of these status updates, or on the relationship between status updates and poetry and more about what ModPo has done for me…but I won’t. Not today. I want to just leave it for a while. Let what speaks to you speak to you and ignore the rest. I will not direct it nor interpret it. It was already there and I just ‘found’ it. Now, I “share.”
What will you go looking for?