June 2021
Death In America
"Death in America" - 6/9/21
When someone dies, it is almost always sad
When someone dies, and has lived a long, beautiful life
With few regrets and loving family by their side
I am not sad for myself, but may nonetheless be varklempt
For their children, their children's children, for whom
The absence of said loved-one will be most deeply felt
Death in America is so many things. Especially now -
It often springs from violence or neglect (whether by oneself
Or by systems corrupt); every once in a while, it seems to me
A death should be downright celebratory. A chance to realize
With wide open eyes and a crystal clear heart
That such-and-such person's life lived was pure art
My family average has never been high; diseases from cancer
To heart failure's why I've never met so many elders myself
Including both grandmothers (cancer took them)
Those are the deaths I mourn most profoundly
They did not happen recently, they weren't here yesterday
I did not know the creases on their face with familiarity
But through the odd story told I've managed to derive
A handful of not-so-vivid, barely envisioned memories
I am saddest, admittedly, for these losses grieved
Subconsciously passively subtly courageously
Their closest kin forged on losing parents so young
No chance to share their own children's accomplishments
No mitzvot to reminisce on together recurrently
No debates to have together on high holidays
No questions answered about which I've often wondered
Death in America is a strange thing, especially now
Cut off from the spirit-world, most of us lament any loss of life
Automatically sending condolences and I understand why
But I think, to be honest, it's important to reflect on the difference
Between lives well lived, lives cut short, lives long-suffered
And lives, tragically, regretful
Where the repairing of restless souls
Must be done after-the-fact
By those who survive, all too loss-awake
Cousin Mel
"Cousin Mel" - 6/8/21
I remember being a little girl in what seemed 
Like your great big house but your house
Nonetheless felt warm and cozy
Every room was filled with love and learning
Yours was the intellectual family
Ours was the artsy one at least
That's how it felt to me in your presence
At that age when all I wanted was to keep up
The first questions usually involved
Books - who are you reading lately -
Or how is school going or let me ask 
You this question...and there was always
Some kind of riddle or problem to be solved
But not the kind of problem that created stress
Only smiles as wide as ours when we played 
Games before or after Thanksgiving meals
That felt like something out of a movie 
Every dish delish nothing too formal
We were always overdressed 
(Our mom being Southern) 
You were the first cousin as I recall
To hear me play in your hometown
You came unprompted, un-nudged reached out
Even in your elder years to let me know 
You would be there and we'd kibitz before 
Sometimes over dinner you'd revel in your love
Of classical music we shared that bond
But mainly what I adored most about you
Was that you were brilliantly fun it was your
Resting face to smile and your disposition
To love to ask questions to share knowledge
To be generous to be warm and you exuded
Kindness you reminded me of an older version
Of my own Dad in many ways laughing eyes
Loving a great joke a mental challenge 
Supporting the arts being a wonderful father
I will miss you but am grateful for every holiday
Boston was only a city I cared about visiting
Because you and your family made me feel
Welcome like another daughter those days
We gathered together mishpuchah-blessed
Were the brightest, kvell-worthy memorable best
"counterrevolution" - 6/5/21
There are some people who are so resistant to change
That they reject you out of hand when you embrace it
Like a wheelbarrow stuck in molasses mud amazed
By its own inertia watery eyes of the intractable grow
Wide with offense lashing out ego flailing like a fish tail
Against the whitewashed icy wall of what once was
Blood stained canvases become a comfort to those
Of us who subsist on the idea that stagnancy is death
It seems worth it then, to wrestle within and often
Without it's the revolution-clout fiery souls demand
I'm speaking of course of Scorpios. Don't dare try
To tell me I am the same as I was before (be warned)
"Pride" - 6/2/21
This month is a time to celebrate
The joyful, beautiful, hopeful, delicious paradigm
Of being absolutely oneself, even when it goes against
Lead-heavy grains of what's "acceptable", considered
To be typical, mainstream, or whatever ill-conceived
Notion of normal may have devolved from the past
This month is a time to honor, to bless
The royalty, history, inspiring, uplifting heroism
Of being utterly expressive, even when fingerprints
May be unceremoniously erased, finger-paints
Fueled by love's irrepressible muse washed away
Only to re-ignite new visions of resilience, hearts afire
My most passion-driven decades may be behind me
But Pride is something I nonetheless get excited about
I remember what it meant to finally feel confident
Enough to walk city streets elated by the naming of
A thing I'd learned to soul-repress each aching cell
Of love's yearning in various states of precipice
I was so brave in my 20's I was Out at 24
Standing on shoulders of all who came before
Now I may stand more ambivalently in my body
Having spiraled through a kind of post-
Pandemic restitution war (cancer continuing
To mock time's ability to restore identity's flame)
But one thing by which I'll live and die
Is the willingness to stand up for Pride
And to wail, always, against ignorance's shame