Thursday, November 20, 2014

From the Notebook of J Michel

Confession 

They say that we no longer offer sacrifices –
But how can that be true?

From miles around they flocked to our synagogue –
Hundreds of them –
Masses of hearts laden with vows sealed, kept, broken, un-conceived;
And as though it had been the inner courtyard itself
They filled the sanctuary,
Looking up at me with a child’s hopeful visage.
I wanted to weep because I wasn’t ready.

I felt too heavy with the weight of my own confession,
Terrified of passing into that long night alone.
Flashes of memory (vivid, horrid)
Reminded me that wings and feathers are sinew and blood;
They break, they mend, they are ephemeral.

In that sea of flesh and hopes I saw myself suddenly:
Alone, small, timid, aching,
Placed on the desolate bamah
Like a blemished lamb.
Twilight marked the beginning of the longest day of our year.
And into that sea of flesh and hopes you suddenly appeared.

I think you didn’t know it then –
In the flood of so many souls –
But your eyes spoke kindly to me.
Suddenly I remembered you –
You whose every aspect evokes chaos in me.
You, whose every word is a love I don’t dare fathom.
You stood in the back of the room and in that moment –
Thirty six angels and you were the brightest.

I don’t remember when, but I started singing;
I closed my eyes, feeling the weight of yours,
Daring for the first time to look into the murky mirror,
I remembered a time when we were ourselves.

Somehow I imagined myself placing the notes, one by one,
Hands trembling in front of the altar –lining them up like stones.
Sun on the horizon (spark and flame)
the stones burst into life.
Stay with me, I whispered into the gloom,
Always, you said.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

From the Notebook of J Michel

Evening 

I won’t tell you to keep silent
because Word shattered silence
and created our light.
So speak, my love
(my name)
give me a beginning
and I will give you an end.
Hold me close –it is now,
now, as darkness rises,
as the light begins to fade –
now, into the vastness of stars,
that the one without end sparks
and flickers the evening into.
It is now my love, speak.
Let your words fill me up,
create a new beginning –
create a space for me
because I am afraid,
silent
dark –
waiting to see your face.
As the world prepares for sleep
let me remember;
as the seasons shift and the sun
tints the gates all the colors of wisdom
let me be forgiven;
as the unknown presents itself
(world without end)
let these sparks fill me up.
I will glow, contract, burst open
and you will breath into what is left.
My love
I will speak your name

into the endless blue of firmament.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

From the Notebook of J Michel

Child 

She is still a child.
She thinks that because I love you
and because you love me,
that we will be together.
She thinks that our knowledge of each other,
(desire,
comfort,
respect,
laughter)
will fill the silent distance
that comes between us.
She knows that you love me;
she believes that love is enough,
that happiness will soften
the harsh comparison between
what the world gives us and
what God wants.
She never gives up.
I am sad though –sometimes
I wish it were all true –
but what she thinks and believes
Is not what I know,
and I know that you are not mine.
I know that my inner child is still filled with hope,

praying that one day I will learn to listen.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

From the Notebook of J Michel

Kochavim

Sing something, the voice said.
It was so soft I barely noticed
as it ruffled the pensive quite of early morning
(pebbles in a pond).
What should I sing? Suddenly I was unsure if I slept or dreamt.
Something for the night, for the quiet, something just for the two of us.
Do you think we’re alone? I asked, musing.
Are we? he said.
I didn’t respond, just kissed him,
feeling the sweetness of his hands
that were used to holding books.
I sat up.
The notes came first, the words later –
into the stillness that lay all around us
in the streets and alleyways between buildings,
into the spaces where light from the stars couldn’t yet reach.
(Shy as a bride, the Sabbath had withdrawn from the city hours ago,
leaving only three stars to give birth to a new week).
That night was special –it belonged to us –
yet that unnamable quality of her definition
had already slipped away into another world.
And so I used the melody of the six days,
(those set apart from the last).
Bless the ineffable name of blessing,
That one is blessed!
He listened; he didn’t say a word.
He stood beside me as if seeing the individual notes hanging
On the tapestry of night around us, the night whose death only we had witnessed. 
Suddenly I marveled that the world would come into being again –
Whether I slept or woke in the hours of darkness
The sun would rise again;
Whether we stayed or parted, love would not be forgotten.
I dried my cheeks gently as the last echoes of song
faded into the maze of concrete around us,
wishing for an eternity.





Friday, August 22, 2014

From the Notebook of J Michel

Threshold 

Here you stand, now, breathless and trembling at the foot
Where the pool ends, eternity begins,
And we yearn for God’s blessing.
This journey unfolds as we breathe in and out,
Counting the moments of soul encapsulated within these confines –
Watching, bearing witness, receiving the imprint
Of a thousand lives until we transform.
What has brought us here? Listen.
Into the depths where it seems impossible for light to reach –
Listen –
Across distances our thoughts can barely fathom
(and through our dreams) for the voice without end.
Listen.
It is the smallest of lights in that immense darkness;
When we draw closer
It is to remember that those lights are carried by the ones who love us,
The ones in whom our souls find favor,
The ones for whom our eyes shine
Because love flames, sparks and does not consume.
This threshold is so vast
We ask ourselves how –
how can we carry the lights across?
And I guess the answer is that we carry nothing –
There’s no need
Because those we love are with us always,
Bringing their piece of the ineffable spark from the darkness.
This threshold seems endless –
As though you’d jump,
and as soon as your toes leave the earth
It becomes a chasm.
I guess is the only way to cross is to remember that,
Though fear creates the threshold, is not for us to keep;
Close our eyes and allow gratitude
To sprout our wings (long dormant)
From between our shoulder blades.