Tag Archives: art

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.

….

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!

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Know

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I want to write

the books call me from the womb of my mind

I want to establish

the plans ache & beg to be born

I want to paint

the colors, never seen cry out in oblivion

My stories, my places, my scenes & images

My kaleidoscope collages

are there, their non-existent

existence so strong they pain me

to come into being into creation

into acknowledgement

I fight because it’s not time

I fight because I’m busy

I fight because I fear

The art is a foreign body inside of

& part of me waiting to burst forth

to destroy me & reinvent me because

I have not yet become who I am

it is so strong my chest hurts at the

thought of it

it is so strong I feel butterflies

in my stomach

it is so strong my heart pounds in

anxiety

I say “I will, I will, I will” to calm

my beautiful mess, the artistic beast inside of me

She says “sing!” & I say “but I need training”

She says “dance!” but I say “I need classes”

She says “draw!” but I say “I need lessons”

She says “build it & they will come!” but

I say “not yet”

She says “write!” but I say “what if no one

reads it”

She says “YOU ARE THE ONE YOU ARE WAITING FOR”

and I say “I know but…”

And then there is silence.

LOUD, Ridiculously EAR DEAFENING SILENCE

Because I KNOW.