Monday, May 4, 2015

From the Notebook of J Michel

Promise 

When you put your arms around me
I will exalt to you
the song of my life in praise,
and no one will criticize me for singing too loudly.
When your laugh answers me
I will raise my voice in gladness.
When you cry, I will be grateful
that I have the breath to comfort you,
and when you kiss me
(and I am flooded with the bittersweetness of goodbye)

I will weep, praising God with every fiber of my being.




From the Notebook of J Michel

Winter 
Walking outside; the winter was long.
Little sister –dear soul!
The trees along the avenues and in the park
Call to me.
Like God’s promise, the blossoms
have burst forth on their branches,
announcing spring.
Little bird, little love!
The grass and the flowers all sigh.
I turn the corner;
The sun stops me with a smile –
Kissing my shoulder where my shawl has slipped down.
Dear one, she says to me, don’t worry.
Everything’s going to be fine.

Okay. I answer; I trust you.



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

From the Notebook of J Michel

Ziv haOlam 

It’s not a door –there is no lock or threshold.
Neither is it a gate.
It’s the kind of thing that happens gradually
and you notice it suddenly.

It feels like an accident
and the noticing is disorienting
because I’ve been focused on the getting-there,
not the where-I-am.

I want to lay myself down on the earth,
waiting for my creator to awaken.

There are trees here;
the gloaming light forms them
into an orchard that sings softly to the encroaching night.

I pray to God to let me enter and listen.
Will I be one of the three that
went mad from the listening?
Or will I be like the fourth
that entered and came out unharmed?

I pray to God that this hollowness
is actually the beginnings of wisdom.
I beg for a friend,
for a name to lift this sadness that suffocates
the breath of my soul.
I pray to God to remember me.  





Sunday, March 8, 2015

From the Notebook of J Michel

Ode to death, love and G-d 

It was a long night –I remember it well.
The silence after they came and took you away;
You were absent, but we kept on as best we could,
Dancing in the library, inhaling the leathery smell of books
To the strains of Tchaikovsky and Brahms,
(I, holding his child-hands in mine,
he, looking up at me with a brave and terrified face).
The silence was a constant reminder.
And to stay the hovering presence
We shared all your favorite stories –
Like all the foods –now painfully unavailable –
That would remind you of us
Until they came for us, too.
My love, if you’ve lost your faith in God,
I understand.
I remember (too well) when God turned away as we died
Separated and miserable –
Alone and gasping amidst the flailing bodies in gas chambers.
But every nightmare has its end,
And if you can’t have faith in God –
If the prospect is too much like dying all over again –
Have faith in me.
Have faith that I never stopped loving you,
That I will never disappoint you –because it’s not in my nature.
Death was not the end to you and me;
You see, I have all these little sparks inside me,
You breathed them into me long ago,
Echoing the lights of heaven.
I’d almost forgotten they were there
Until I found you again.
So breathe –my love, breathe into me again,
(Ignite and flame  -I will not consume you);
and somewhere, in a chorus that echoes quietly through space,

God’s name will resound.





Wednesday, February 11, 2015

From the Notebook of J Michel

Salt and stones

I keep asking God for a sign,
To remember me as God remembered my ancestors.
I am suddenly unmoored,
disconcerted and discontent
from a brief and unsettling brush with the deeply sacred.
I fell into Sunday –a stone dropped into the ocean,
spent Monday and Tuesday wandering through the in-betweens
(Wednesday and Thursday got lost in subway tunnels).
I’m asking for a miracle, I suppose,
like the manna that materialized suddenly
in the nothingness above
and fell into their waiting hands,
I’m praying feverishly for love
to rain down upon my desolate soul.
And then I stop and ask myself really –
if God were to make water fountain from stones in song,
would I be grateful
or would my mouth continue to taste salt from the sea?