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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!

 

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Because the Poets are Healers

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Murdered BoysNigerian girls

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is just a piece of what’s going on in the world. 276 Nigerian girls kidnapped, three Israeli boys kidnapped and murdered, a Palestinian boy kidnapped and murdered, burned alive. I live in Jerusalem, so the latter is more poignant; there has been rioting, violence, racist cries for death, ignorance, calls for revenge, and suspicions all over Facebook feeds and in the news. I am also a mother of daughters; I can’t forget–as it seems to be already forgotten– about daughters taken, god knows what is being done to them away from home and in the hands of violent men. And this is just a piece, there is more, always more–

At times like these, I think of the quote by the late great Maya Angelou,

“We are all human; therefore, nothing human can be alien to us.”

I think it means that we fail to recognize how easy it can be to go so low. We love to hail the beauty of the world, but there is ugliness, and a lot of it and it is all human. It is jarring, disturbing, heart-wrenching, when I allow myself to think about it. I normally don’t, I must admit. Sometimes, I am afraid that if I let in all the woes of the world it would break me in despair. But when I do, I want to fight the horrors; I still don’t know how. I find solace in poetry; others have as well. I don’t mean be naive. There is a level where poetry clearly won’t do a damn thing to change politics and the minds of murderers. And yet, there is great power in words– poetry is the epitome of that force. Poetry has a long history of documenting the times, telling legends, inciting, enticing, eulogizing; the danger of poetry, the sanctuary of poetry is well known; it crosses all boundaries and rises above–and the poets are healers. When we say ‘there are no words for this,’ it is poetry that finds the words. There is a way to know through the eye/I of the poet.

I want to share with you three poems–written out of that spirit in the midst of hate– that I believe have found the words. Two were written by friends of mine who live in Israel, one by me.

 

Revisions

People

children die every day

 

Revision of life

means revision

of meaning

 

Revenge or honor

killings   No

matter

We live to die

 

The homosexual boy:

Boy bled

in the crook of his father’s arms black sedan’s

back seat–a suspected execution

block–a coffin with seat belts and airbags

Burnt and bound–found

in a forest

 

[ put your heads down!

gunshots and Arabs singing ]

Three extreme zionist religious Jewish boys

deserved what they got

 

Murder takes back seat

to rhetoric

as do point blank

bullet wounds

 

Instead of words

a rocket will be sent from a schoolyard

and a missile returned to sender

They’ll get what’s coming to them

 

Two hundred and seventy six

Nigerian schoolgirls

will not be returned

without a war skirmish

Though their children will

with machetes and machine rifles

nestled in their dark slender arms

 

Hashtags won’t save our generations

A mortar

round in the hand

is a mortar round

in the air

 

People

as we digress

our children suffer

 

We live by the sword

we die by the sword

No meaning changed

by our revisions

-m z friedline

 

[Untitled]

Days, blurred into each other
Like there was no sleep.
The fuzz
of a hundred TV sets
and radios…
remnants
of another forest fire.
Newspaper print
on the fingers
of early-morning travelers,
the serious concentration
of the bus driver…
Another headline
and children, searching for truth
in the faces
of surrounding adults.
Waves of pain
drifting through neighbourhoods…
Sparks of strength
and unison
running through city streets
and a soft, gentle stroking of each other…
a blinding light
calling us all
away from the darkness…

~Louise Harris- Zvieli

 

Stop the Game

I know it’s hard. You are sitting there thinking, those could have been my boys, my brothers, me. You are thinking, summer has barely started; schools just got out today and some are now on eternal break, broken eternally. No one has won the game anymore–if you’re going to stop the game, then *stop* the game, dammit–no one has won, just lost. But what they don’t tell you in the games, is that nations are made from suffering together–more than shared joys. Is this a good thing, or very, very sad? Perhaps it is a part of the human support mechanism–come closer when it hurts. All I know is, the news will be on forever, especially here–there are hundreds of girls missing too–and the news is forever on, forever on, there will never not be news, only, what is news is old, very old, ancient, never-ending and we have to fall asleep sometimes, but the news will outlive us all.

~Shoshana Sarah K.

 

~~~

Moshe Ze’ev Friedline was born in Boulder Creek, California. He is currently studying English literature at Bar Ilan University in Israel. He is married and has a young daughter and younger son. He realized two years ago that he really enjoys writing poetry. He once found himself in an awkward conversation with a bull in a steakhouse.

Louise Harris- Zvieli says she’s just herself.

 

 *Poetry shared with the permission of the authors. All rights remain to the respective poets.

 

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

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poetsofbabelAug28

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.

 

National Poetry Month

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It’s National Poetry Month! How will you celebrate? Poets.org has some ideas here.

Me personally,  I will ‘celebrate’ by organizing Poets of Babel’s 1st Anniversary celebration at the Jerusalem Cinematheque! There will be a film related to poetry (we decided on Howl), poetry readings in different languages, and music (I’m working on jazz with an open mic for a real spoken word atmosphere!).  Moreover, they even want to make it a regular event! I marvel at the prospects of the future.

It’s so exciting but already so much work! The networking, looking for poets in different languages, arranging meetings, looking for musicians, and the infamous fundraising. But I believe that it’s worth it. And one day, Poets of Babel will be an international phenomenon.

For now, I am bringing it from my living room to the stage of Jerusalem.

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

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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”

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“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

synecdoche

Tesserae is about

finally being ALL of me

in all of my parts and

idiosyncracies

          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.

A-mending.

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.

for

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.

for

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.

jaCk

Of

Mind

landscaPe

fAce

iS

Set

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.

~

Calculated

insertiOns

iMage

Peripheral

releAse

S.

reaSons.

“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…

~

raCe

tO

tiMe-race

deeP

lAst

wordS

laSt

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.

–started

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.

-Faith.

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.

Jack

      of

  the

       mind

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

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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! 😛
  • www.coursera.org (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?

The First Poets of Babel Meeting! (…was 3 months ago!)

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Four months and 16 days later, the first meeting of Poets of Babel has finally taken place and it was amazing. We were only 7, but then again 7 is the number of perfection.

Ira, a Russian Israeli and Hebrew teacher arrived first. I met Ira at Hillel House in 2008 when I made my documentary film “Stranger” on stereotypes in Israel; it was love at first sight. I found her, in her flowing burgundy skirt at the table with the Mr. as I rushed in the door at 9:00. We were supposed to start at 9:30. Not long after, a girl with a sweet demeanor and a soft voice knocked on my door. She introduced herself as Isabella, a friend of Nadine’s. Isabella is a German student of philosophy and Middle Eastern studies (who hopes to switch the latter to musicology) learning in Jerusalem. I asked her “Where’s Nadine?” She didn’t know so I told her to make herself at home and the four of us chatted for well over an hour before Nadine arrived. Nadine, is the one who magically said “We should start a poetry club” on that fateful day in January.

There were only two left who we were waiting for. Both Michal, a law student and English lit, and Adi a graduate of linguistics and translation working on her masters in translation, were friends from work where we used to teach English together at Wall Street Institute in Jerusalem. Michal has a business card that reads “Muse” and she fulfilled her role when she discovered that I write poetry and started sharing her poetry magazines, such as Rattle and Poetry which fueled my inspiration for quite a few months (especially since it took me quite a few months to return them). Adi used to make me drool over linguistics during our breaks together when she discussed her studies and made me crave a return to the university. When she introduced herself to the group she said of her studies, because writing poetry is just something she occasionally does but not what she is, “I guess that’s what earns me a place in Poets of Babel.”

We drew numbers from my Broadway hat from last year’s performance. I was 3. Three is the number of truth and connection. It also represents permanence like holy utterances that must be spoken three times.

I started off by telling them that even though this was my idea, in my house, with my friends I was terrified.  It’s never easy to share but as Adi said later about her volunteer work, it’s a shlichut, a calling. Then I read Merħba, a poem of hospitality , the perfect beginning. “God sent you my friend, you brought the sun with you” is how I greeted them and the end which is really the doorway to embark on a new journey together assured that ” you will always find the door open.”

Adi started off- after trading  numbers with Isabella- with a spontaneous selection from a new poetry book I had , Life on Mars by Tracy K. Smith. The poem, “It’s Not,” pleasantly surprised us all by actually being good despite being impromptu.

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This is the post that I started in May and now next Wednesday we will be having our 3rd Poets of Babel meeting. Third time’s the charm! I couldn’t seem to get this post out so now I’m just going to do it! Check out our Facebook Page!

Second Published Poem!

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The Spring 2008 issue of Tar River Poetry. Cov...

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“Dear Shoshana,

Thank you for your submission to Yes, Poetry. Yes, Poetry would like to include “No Name” in our November issue. Please reply to this message with any questions you may have. You will receive an email when the issue is online. Thank you again for submitting.

Also, feel free to friend us on facebook for updates: https://www.facebook.com/yespoetry

I’m super-excited!!

Check out Yes, Poetry (yespoetry.com). I just love the name of the journal!

Also, I know I’ve been bad at posting, but I’m trying to do something else big, soon! More news to come!

Love & Joy,

Shoshana

p.s. What do you think of my blog’s name change? It was totally spontaneous from two quotes I’ve loved for a long time…