For Joni for Laura for song
In the same way there is no such thing as a tendaberry
There may not be a song called Invitation
It may never have existed despite the lyrics I wrote
in my diary to memorialize them and You.
I had the notion then you were a forgettable thing.
Like a playground, I hid my eyes from every summer
walking the boards in Wildwood, NJ thinking a
blindfold could keep out the vision of a boy who
ate too much spun around too much too much too much
so much he was sick every summer ’til autumn. …
Squared to this rug
(and all she swept under it)
conjunct to what she carried
on mother-wounded shoulders
she stood dripping
just outside the shower
her sagging skin
both younger and older
than any reflection.
Hers is the voice of
eternal return singing
of eternal return
of lists of promises
of twenty years too early
or late for forever
depending on the call
to the ether from the ether
affection nor affliction
not even hunger.
Aren’t you hungry yet?
Yours is the voice of my name
in the dark
still awake in this now darkness
are you and
I respond too late. …
In this house — which is my house in every way but the way I would want it to be — the lighting is bad. Except for when the lighting is good which is typically in the morning after I have drawn open the curtains, which in this house are metal slats that rise up and down when I tug on a length of canvas.
The light fixtures in this house must have been chosen in sorrow, for none is bright enough for reading, nor dim enough for deep sleep. …
It’s never the same airport twice
and more important I am never
Newark, JFK, Tucson
a just-inside of an
unrecognizable backwards town of a
terminal, crystalline walkways
intersecting A and B.
Sometimes there is a lady dressed
in 1974 or a lady announcing
a Twilight Zone future.
There is always a lady.
And a problem I am required to solve
such as “your passports expire”
or “I left Banjo back there.”
Over time, I’ve arrived
at solutions, such as talking
my way out of or into Gate 819
It’s in this manner I lost control
and found it,
in between destinations…
It’s October. In America, despite a pandemic and a critical election, we’re still being bombarded with all things pumpkin spice, fall foliage, farm fresh.
I don’t mind it.
When I was an expat living in Israel, it was October I longed for more than anything else back in the U.S. When I moved back to New Jersey a few years ago, it was October that comforted me, reassuring me my decision was a good one.
In Israel years prior, I had written an essay that, at its essence, is about longing.
On the surface, that longing was for a place and season: Woodstock, NY in October. But not too much farther beneath the surface, that story is clearly about yearning for a lost love…for youth…the usual. …
Every morning, I wake up, pee, put on my slippers, and walk to the cell phone that’s been charging overnight on the bookshelf in the front hallway of our rented house on a kibbutz in Israel.
I don’t, like some grown-ups, sleep with the phone next to my bed, partly because I am afraid of its invisible brain cancer rays. But also because I need absolute darkness in order to sleep.
I also choose to keep the phone far away from me in the Israeli overnight because I am actively cultivating surprise. If I don’t sleep with the phone next to my bed, I reason, I won’t know what awaits me in the morning. …