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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.

 

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Featured Guest Poem on Flashlight City Blues, Poetry by Brice Maiurro

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Shoshana,

Congratulations! You won! I have posted a blog entry congratulating you, and your poem has been added to the Featured Guest Poem tab of my blog. I would love to put up a picture of you, if you’d like, and a short bio. Would you send me something to that effect?
i.e. “Shoshana was born… Shoshana began writing… etc.
Whatever you’d like to say, really!
I received dozens of entry, so really, congratulations. I am glad to feature your wonderful poem.
Sincerely,
Brice
——-

There is currently a problem with the link so for now I will in the meantime attach the poem as was featured on the site here:

“Ants”

Daddy told me once to be careful
He said, I might get stepped on
like an ant
It won’t be on purpose
just at the wrong place
at the wrong time
Since that day
(it must have been years ago by now)
I think of Daddy
every time I see ants
And I try not to step on them
I skip over their trails at the bottom
of the stairs outside my building
I even go out of my way not
to step on them
even when they have infiltrated
my kitchen and have begun to
have their way with the crumbs
at my kitchen table
I stare at them wondering
was it really me…
or him
Who is the ant here?
I carefully scoop them up and
drop them into
Insectopia

Out of dozens of entries into the first ever Rant Poetry Competition, where poets competed to write a poem somehow involving a theme, this time “Ants,” Shoshana’s poem crushed (pun slightly intended the competition) with 39 votes. You can see much more of Shoshana’s incredible writing on her blog:http://www.shoshanasarah.com

A Year of Transformation

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I was there!

I Touched the Sky!

{Written December 29, 2011 & January 1, 2011}

“This is my inception, I’m writing my dreams” ~Common, “Blue Sky” The Dreamer, The Believer

2011 has been a great year of positive transformation. I got published (“Bread, Water and Gas” in the Ilanot Review http://www.biu.ac.il/HU/en/cw/ilanot/ & “No Name” in Yes, Poetry http://yespoetry.com/post/13311920484/vol-2-issue-11-november-2011), lost weight, and got promoted at work (yes, in that order, actually).

I read poetry and danced in front of an audience for the first time in 12 years! I got 99% of my poetry copy-writ, started a blog, and started family therapy (the past 5 years hadn’t been easy on the children since my divorce and up until I got remarried last year). I’ve even (re-)started therapy for myself (I see it as a preemptive measure) and I’ve been dancing regularly at Studio 6 (http://www.studio6.co.il/) for a full year now; it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.

I was literally in the clouds and touched the sky for my 30th birthday (http://www.hotairballoon.co.il/english/hot-air-balloon-over-israel-with-touch-the-sky/) and had the best birthday party ever with the people I love the most, in a park with wine & cheese. Earlier, in the same summer, my family took a trip up north, stayed on a Moshav in Amnon off the Sea of Galilee, and traveled to Rosh haNikra and Tel Dan. It was the first nuclear family only trip…and the best. This November, the Mr. and I flew to Malta and feel in love with the “Little Things.” I ate culture for breakfast and it tasted like ambrosia.

Even in the most latter days of the year 2011, I’ve learned new lessons in motherhood. I began listening to the teleseminar event “The Great Parenting Show” (http://greatparentingshow.com/), each episode, a gem. Since I began listening and applying what I’d heard, I’ve learned to let go and be present with my children, consistently, in a way that allows me to enjoy parenting which I hadn’t truly been able to do before. The past few weeks, the “Shoshana Girls” and I’ve been having a blast!

Finally, as a result of my new managerial position and being exposed to the yearly budget of centers in my company, I initiated, for the first time, a yearly budget for my household (shocking, I know). I also learned that being able to create an excel sheet for the household budget is sexy. 😉 (The Mr. made it.)

Now, I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions as a rule. I have a problem with the timing. I think I should be making “resolutions” all year long. That said, there’s no reason why now, 3 days before, January 1, 2012, I can’t come up with some points for improvement:

1. I started a blog this year but, until now, I hadn’t updated it since August. I want to start blogging regularly again. (Already, moving towards this one this very moment! ;-))

2. I got published twice this year but I want to get published more! There is a book goal somewhere in the horizon which requires that I send off more submissions.

3. This year I lost 5 kilos (11 lbs) within a couple of months. I want to loose 5 more within a few months or less!

4. Last, but certainly not least, I’ve taken the first step but I’ve got a lot more steps towards this goal. I want to live completely financially responsible.

Another element of these goals is that they are more focused than my usually scattered aims. I’ve decided to focus on my writing at the moment (notice 50% of the above goals are writing related). So, *sniff, sniff* ~sigh~ establishing the NGO, directing the films, the t-shirts, the voice lessons so that I can sing Billie Holiday, the language courses (Arabic again & intermediate Russian), the phd in Communications, re-taking the Foreign Service Officer’s Test, and joining the circus will all have to wait because I’ve realized that I can only do one thing at a time…if I want to do anything right. Writing is at the heart of any vision I have of myself; it is the common thread between my two categories of passions, Arts and Communications. Writing is the one thing that I love and never consciously chose to take up…now I choose it in a BIG way.

Like, I said folks, these aren’t resolutions, they are a conscious way of life.

I write visions, goals, and plans throughout the year, constantly (let my journal be my witness). This time, I decided to share because when I reflected on the transformations I went through in 2011- I realized something unsettling, shocking even: I do believe it has been the best year of my life so far. I expect 2012 to be off the hook…as long as I’m writing my dreams. 😀