Sunday, January 17, 2016

From the Notebook of J Michel

Immortal Beloved 
Darkness early outside.
The sun, latent, absent, 
has gone on to fulfill other destinies. 
The moon is not yet risen.
You are near somewhere;
I imagine you sitting, reading,
drinking coffee alone by the window.
I shiver
from the weight of the unspoken
between us when you refrained 
yesterday from an embrace.


My love, I call you differently in this life,
but it doesn't stop me from wondering
if you are one of those
whose hands are full of soul-shards
created in the endless wars
and shrines of history.
Pen in hand, I sit alone beside my teacup
contemplating vacant space. 
Whatever pieces you have, my love,
you must keep. 
Keep them because I'm not done loving you.
Because you will need them in worlds to come.
Because hands that are not yours
contain the shards of this life.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

From the Notebook of J Michel

Kosciusko Street

On the train.
Early morning –
I am resentful of
a separation from nascent dreams.
Where your voice caresses the
remnants of
desert from my skin.
Your hands
soothe the reminders of bondage
from my limbs.

From the window of my train
I can see the remnants of other’s
lives where curtains part.
Reminders
lying on          tables,
hiding        in   corners
where
ignorance hopes to be bliss.

Are these trophies of
happiness
Or
the simple fragments of distress?

The train speeds on toward.
The day that God made –
the day I do not want.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

From the Notebook of J Michel

Essex Street  

It happened while I was standing in the subway.
You don’t think of that as a very spiritual place,
do you?
But I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised;
when deep calls to deep
it’s bound to catch up to you.
I imagined Jacob laughing gently at me
as I stood in the Essex Street station.
I saw the world again for the first time,
still tasting the bitterness of wilderness
and
(for the first time in a long time)

filled completely with love.

From the Notebook of J Michel




Lexington and 86th     

I had never seen him at Lexington and 86th before;
Maybe he was newly homeless,
replacing the sad-eyed-blue woman 
I'd grown accustomed to. 
It wasn’t his sign that caught my eye –
“Homeless and hungry.
Anything helps.”
It was is hands, clasping tightly;
the way he rocked back and forth
like a child, wracked with bedtime anxiety,
who prays for angels that never come.
It was the tears pouring down his cheeks.

When I put the bag filled with snacks down in front of him
he started
as if I had –indeed –surprised some fervent
and heart-wrenching prayer.
For a second all my own,
I took in his clothes,
his hands, his tear-stained countenance
(not yet grubby with weeks)
and wondered: had God
chosen me to be an angel?

From the Notebook of J Michel




Untitled 

From darkness I called;
from deepness I created you
out of blindness and need.
You came to me, your lips sweet
(not with honey,
but the ashes of Baba Yar
stain my mouth,
making anything else as sweet).
I loved you -
breathed into you secrets
that endowed you with eyes, hands,
ears, hips, legs and arms –
and all the curves in between.

In silence, you tore down my gates,
then wept audaciously at my shrine.
Get out. I despise your apologies.
Your songs of praise are offensive.
I will rebuild these walls and you
will hide your harp among brambles.
Your time to discover the echoes of song
in this house

is done.