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Subject:

A longish snap - December 14, 2005

From:

Richard Jeffrey Newman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Poetryetc provides a venue for a dialogue relating to poetry and poetics <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 14 Dec 2005 09:42:26 -0500

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (91 lines)

Hi All,

This is an excerpt from a long poem I am working on--it's about 10 pages
right now and I am beginning to see that it's coming to an end. But I think
the beginning holds together rather nicely. I'd be curious to hear what
people think.
Two notes:

1. NCSY=National Congregation of Synagogue Youth
2. Shabaton=a Sabbath celebration, which means from Friday night until
Saturday night and sometimes Sunday morning, sort of like a retreat weekend.

Thanks,

Richard

from Until I'm Falling Into Emptiness

I watch you walk away from the first sex
we've had in more months than either of us
would want to admit to, and you don't hear
the breath that catches in me at the light shining
from the full nakedness of your back, as if
your skin had taken in the long brightness
that held us as I held you holding me,
and now that the sun has moved past our window,
it is your body that illuminates this room;

and from the garden downstairs that is a garden
I have carried in me since I was younger
than the little boy we made (whose time at camp
granted us these hours, and we made him here,
on this bed, on Valentine's Day, and since we
had not stopped to calculate the months,
as you at first had said we must, his birth
began just as you put the first piece
of the cake I'd bought to celebrate the day

you were born into your mouth, and your parents,
too, are out of the house, gone to learn
on 37th Avenue the English
they will need to survive here, now that here-
this land, these rooms-is where they make their home);
from that garden, children's laughter, an adult's
call to someone not to swing so high
and the same squeak from when I was Shahob's age
of the swing itself, a rusty metronome

keeping the beat of my life in Jackson Heights,
where I never thought I'd live; from that garden,
the sound of my own voice calling to me
from thirty seven years ago (my father
living the life that led him much further
from me than I'm sure he ever thought it would take him,
my brother still alive and innocent,
and my sisters not yet even seeds
in the future my mother and the man who'd be

their father had just begun to imagine,
and his name was George, but at home we called him Dad:
my mother's revenge for I'm still not sure
what my father did to deserve it); that boy,
I know his voice, and I know he's calling me,
but it's as if he speaks a foreign language:
my name is the only word I recognize;
the rest is a song he's singing, a melody
I start to hear as one of those we sat

in a circle and chanted at each NCSY
shabaton I attended, and I know
that isn't possible, because the boy
in the garden has not yet had to face the choice
he will later think he has to make between
the path he will be taught the "one true God"
he would believe for many years was whom
he had to please to purify himself
wanted him to take and the one he wanted

for himself-but even then, in the garden, he knew
he was stained; and one path, the rabbis would say,
the one his Jewish soul was yearning for,
meant resurrection and the world to come,
while the other could only mean that death was death;
from that garden, in that boy's voice, the root
of each choice in love that I have made,
and I have chosen here and how with you,
but here and now is also there and then,

and there and then, and her and him and them,
because this love with you contains them all.

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