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JGuberman Jun 3
Given the chance
We would all help George to breathe

And Ahmaud to complete his run
And leaving a bird watcher to bird watch

In the hope that he sees that rarest sighting
That still remains to be seen,

A life uninterrupted
where he doesn’t have to be concerned about his next breath

or the weight of one-sided history
Bearing down on his neck,

Or a virus
Filling his lungs with poison

A cytokine storm of oppression
Cutting life spans short

Leaving us without viable treatment,
As It’s stated matter of factly  

“we might have to live with this for the foreseeable future”,
And four hundred years on

there’s still no vaccine  
For separate and unequal treatment

In an injustice system
That’s become genocide ad seriatim?
JGuberman Apr 25
This time of ours
Reminds me of all that I have
And all that I have lost at the same time,
The many-faced memories
Flow like tears
That come more easily
And unexpectedly now
Like the ghosts of loved ones
In a fever dream.
Apr 20 · 120
New Principles of Faith
JGuberman Apr 20
The enemy, like god is all around us
And god lifts not a finger to stop it
Or answer the prayers of any supplicant
Sacrificed
Like Nadav and Avihu
When ‘heavenly fire entered their nostrils
And burned their souls’*
Such fire burns hot and is unquenched
And we thirst for a salvation,
And though it is tarrying
We still believe,
That science will be our messiah
And god a luxury
We can return to
Once we can think again
About something other than survival.
*Rashi (CE 1040-1105)
Apr 8 · 311
Waiting
JGuberman Apr 8
Will anyone remember how I placed the empty mug
On our bannister
At the top of the stairs.
Like everything now,
It was waiting
Like all of us,
To be cleansed
To be filled
To be emptied
And start again.
Apr 4 · 335
Birthday Plague
JGuberman Apr 4
Today is my 60th birthday.
For milestone birthdays in the past, I used to leave the country from time to time.
At my 30th I went to Israel,
At my 50th Brazil,
And now, I can’t even leave my house.
I could have spent $100m and had myself shot into space
Though with Lily going to college in the fall,
Spending that money on anything else right now wouldn’t be wise.
Adventure is now defined as going to the supermarket.
Living dangerously would be doing that without a mask and gloves.
Though I’ve reached the age when I can now go at 6 AM
The modern equivalent of putting me out on an ice flow
Or an alternate to adult day care.
All for the sake of making my Neanderthal ancestors proud of
My Hunting and gathering skills.
I’d like to say ‘next year in Jerusalem’
But I’d really like to get to tomorrow first.
Ahem.
JGuberman Apr 3
The angel of death wears a MAGA hat
And commends the work
Of his marketing and rebranding director
As they synchronize
Their Apple Watches to close
The circles of hell.
The charnel house market is about to boom and
He’ll offer the best capacity at top dollar prices
He’ll pocket the profits and stiff the contractors unless they’re stiffs already.
Even the angel of death might have an ethical quandry with this.
Our differences fade at the cemetery gate
Where we’re being processed like bottles at a redemption center
Where It means nothing unless he can pocket the deposits
And crow about his ratings
about how he’s the best
And if you look for salvation behind an artificial tan
You might as well be dead already
Like the space behind those eyes.
JGuberman Apr 3
We humans used to live in colonies like Purple Martins
But now, if you come within six feet of us
We are skittish like the rarest Warbler.
In the future; tomorrow and the foreseeable days thereafter,
Our children will become people watchers
Cataloguing all the neighborhood types,
Like the Blue-bellied Mail Carrier
Or the UPS Driver with their brown plumage
Who drops packages like the old Cowbird, their eggs
In your nest.
More adventurous children will venture out with their “People Magazines”
Trying to seek out rare life sightings of the Sexiest Man alive
Or a common Kardashian, often without plumage.
The most cherished sightings occur when grandma and grandpa appear
On their nest cams, cozy and safe,  reaching out to hug or kiss empty space
While decorating their nest with a holiday table that won’t be filled with their
little hungry birds,  
As in other days, and different nights.
Selah.
JGuberman Nov 2016
The deaf blacksmith
Rendered in silent iron the wagon wheels
that they now walked behind
with ever larger ruts
that would eventually hold the whole village.
It’s the shabbes of comfort
When “the rugged shall be made level,
And the rough places a plain;….and all flesh shall see it together….”

He never heard the one that hit him
Hearing wouldn’t have helped they say,
“all the flesh shall see it together”
And all did that hot day, thick with mosquitoes and flies
And a pestilence of lead.
The winds blow through the fallow fields
Tearing at the roots of the waving grass
Though grass is stronger than the winds that whip it
And the many blades hold firm defiantly
We shall not be moved again!
*“all flesh is grass
And all the goodliness thereof is
As the flower of the field;
The grass withereth, the flower fadeth;
Because the breath of the Lord bloweth upon it---
Surely the people is grass.”
Byten was a town in what is now Belarus where family members were martyred during WWII. The deaf blacksmith was my great-grandfather.
Nov 2016 · 721
Foramen Ovale
JGuberman Nov 2016
with a hole in my heart
I have to take care
not to let all the love spill out
desiccating a young heart before its time,
even if borrowed and not returned before it's due
whenever that will be.

don't tell life's librarian
even if it's overdue
there are things I'd still like to see
places I'd still like to go
so I don't feel like I'm waiting for the hangman
to finish his merit badge for one handed knot tying
which will take long enough
if not forever, I hope.

though stumbling up the gallows steps
I will have been to several mountain tops
and will have seen several lands of promise
and though I will not make it elsewhere with you
you've filled the hole in my heart
long enough
for me to get this far
though it's never far enough.
Sep 2016 · 674
Yahrzeit
JGuberman Sep 2016
To see the light of memory
reduced
to but a wisp of smoke
to hear the burning candle
at the end of its wick
extinguish itself in a hiss,
is to experience for but a moment
ancient death performing its work anew.

"I cannot see, I cannot see!"
says the soul of its diminishing
diminished light.
"Illuminate me, O God,
make me to shine like the light
in a child's eyes,
allow me to walk again
along the edge of creeping darkness,
like a carefree youth
no longer afraid of the dark.
But I'm still afraid, Oh so afraid
that if you close my eyes this once
I will not return to burn with sight again
for the fire that now fades
and hisses
is but ancient death performing its work
anew
rendering a disserve to my being
by reducing the light of memory
in the hearts of each succeeding generation."
Published in a different format in RESPONSE XVI:4 (Winter 1990), p. 81
Yahrzeit is the anniversary of a family member's death at which time a "yahrzeit candle" is lit which burns 24 hours during the annual yahrzeit period.
Sep 2016 · 1.3k
Nanning Journal Entry
JGuberman Sep 2016
The views from Qing Xiu Shan are very nice
and I am feeling better than I did this morning
the Yong River winds through green fields
the breeze fills my lungs
my thoughts rustle like bamboo leaves
a southern tranquility rises in the distance
covered by the opaque morning
this is what my mind's eye sees
as I rock my little girl to sleep
kissing the forehead
that will never be without a kiss
until my lips are still
like the peaceful day we yearn for
Qing Xiu Shan is a small mountain 5 km outside Nanning (Guangxi) China.
southern tranquility is a literal approximation of what Nanning  means in English.
Sep 2016 · 1.3k
Nebech
JGuberman Sep 2016
Upon seeing the new dining room chair;
that is the one reserved for me,
I am seized by a lordly desire
to one day sell it
so that later no one would say
"see, that was his chair"
or "these scratches and stains, are from
a time before,
this emptiness, from a time after."
I want it to be sold or
given away, before it's an alteh zach
or before I'm an a.k.
afraid that someday someone will say
"all he does is sit and stare all day....
Nebech."
The title is a Yiddish word that apparently originates from the Czech word NEBOKY according to Leo Rosten. Also pronounced "nebbish". It is a word of sympathy towards a pathetic person. According to Weinreich it means "poor, unfortunate".

Alteh Zach is Yiddish for an "old thing". For example an antique is an alteh zach.

A.K. is the American Yiddish abbreviated version of "alteh kokker" and is a vulgarity meaning an "old ****" or curmudgeon.
Sep 2016 · 743
The First Revolt
JGuberman Sep 2016
Let us sleep
like the staircase
that once led up to the Temple Mount
no longer able to carry pious feet to prayer,
but the well experienced cracks
over which they once walked
expose the heavy burden
of well worn memories
under which we now slumber.

Sunrise from Masada.
The view from the casemate wall
of Silva's camp below.
Shadowy ghosts
are cast and scattered
and given voice as the wind
shouts through the buildings ruins
L'-he-rut Zi-yon
and there is no reply.
Only the songs of the Tristramit
who mimic the voices
of every child martyred here, singing:
*Shalom al Ziyon, Shalom al Ziyon"
and there is no reply,
only the dreams of the interrupted
and the disturbed peace
of excavated ruins.
L'herut Ziyon (Hebrew) is an inscription on coins of the Jewish First Revolt against the Romans (CE 66-73) meaning "for the freedom of Zion".

Tristramit is the Hebrew name for "Tristram's Grackle" Onycognathus tristramii described by Heinzel et al in The Birds of Britain & Europe; with North Africa & the Middle East as "Song sweet, wild and weirdly melancholy" (p. 302). It's a gregarious bird known to mimic sounds as well. Commonly seen in and around Masada as well as elsewhere in the Middle East. Named for H. B. Tristram a 19th century English traveler and naturalist.

"Shalom al Ziyon" (Hebrew) meaning "peace upon Zion".

This poem was originally published in 1990 in the New Zealand Jewish Chronicle's literary supplement with notes by Prof. Norman Simms of the University of Waikato.
Sep 2016 · 672
There isn't much left
JGuberman Sep 2016
There isn't much left.
That's the way it is sometimes.
You plan and plan
for the day
when there won't be any,
and yet you're still surprised
when there isn't much left
in the end.

My days are not like seven fat cows
or seven skinny ones.
My days are like veal.
They're slaughtered young,
and at night I feast upon them.

Some nights I can sleep contentedly afterwards..
And others,
I lay awake unable to dream at all.

Guilt keeps me awake.
I've become a kosher butcher of time!
Often my own.

That's the way it is sometimes.
There isn't much left.
So I plan and plan
trying to postpone the day
when there won't be any.
Sep 2016 · 431
Gallery
JGuberman Sep 2016
I saw a portrait of Uri Zvi Greenberg,
it showed an older man
perhaps twice my age,
with no recognizable poetic traits in his face,
perhaps had they shown a young man
it would've been different?

I saw a portrait of Miklos Radnoti
he died as a young man,
with no recognizable poetic traits in his face,
and I have nearly lived his full life,
perhaps if they had shown a child
it would've been different?

I saw a portrait of Anne Frank
whom all the world knows.
I am twice her age,
it's not different
it's worse
peace comes regardless of age
it begins for the living
at the expense of the dead.

I saw a portrait from when I was a child,
like the opening lines of
the epic poem I am becoming,
I will not be a national treasure
like the Kalevala
or Shahnameh
I will be immortalized
like all the unnamed citizens
of Uruk
remembered merely because they lived there,
whose names are unknown
like those
who did not leave a diary,
or a notebook of poems,
and like sheep to the slaughter
did not live to my time to read them.
This poem was published in EUROPEAN JUDAISM (UK) 34:2 (Autumn 2001), p. 153.
U.Z. Greenberg (1894-1981) was an Israeli poet born in what is now Ukraine. His views were rightwing and he was associated with the party of Menahem Begin. He wrote powerful and sometimes lurid poems about the Holocaust.

Miklos Radnoti (1909-1944) a martyred Hungarian Jewish poet.

Anne Frank (1929-1945) young Jewish diarist martyred at Bergen Belsen and made famous posthumously with the publication of her wartime diary.

Kalevala-Finnish national epic.
Shahnameh- Persian "Book of Kings" an Iranian national epic by Firdawsi (c. CE 935-1020/26).

Uruk-setting of the Epic of Gilgamesh

last four lines all refer to the writings of  Anne Frank (diary), Radnoti (notebook of poems) and "like sheep..." is a line taken from Greenberg's poem TO GOD IN EUROPE, part III No Other Instances.
Sep 2016 · 686
Before the Law
JGuberman Sep 2016
Vor dem Gesetz steht ein Türhüter.
                                      --Kafka*


This is a day
like the many days I've spent

empty handed
among the shadows at dusk

that cast no reflections
in the reflecting pools

and hold no illusions
as to what really is illusive.

But on this day my illusions
are changing

imagining that for once my world is based
upon three things;

The rule of law

The five books of your hand

And you, the prophetess that wrote them.

And as required
I will build a hedge for you.

And if this hedge
should ever over grow,
I will then trim it
like a true guardian of the law

Allowing none other entry
and I alone will hold fast

to the five books of your hand
and the only other existing copy.
a slightly different version of this poem was published in EUROPEAN JUDAISM (UK) 25:1 (Spring 1992) p. 59
Sep 2016 · 860
Expectations
JGuberman Sep 2016
There are many days
when I wish
that like Joshua,
I too could make the sun stand still,
and there are many nights
when I wish to do the same
with the moon
to allow us subtle darkness
just a little while longer,
and there are many times
when my voice
is only its own echo....

You say,
that like a fossil
which went through its changes
at an earlier time,
that now
I too am changing.
I am no longer like wet cement
where the things
which I'm to remember
are inscribed
like someone's initials
upon the wet surface,
but that I am more like the things
I've forgotten
those things
which distress me---
crabgrass and weeds
growing up through the cracks
in the face of my soul.
JGuberman Sep 2016
Shouldn't he and his minions
all be referred to
as "afterbirthers" now?
Sep 2016 · 952
Arur Hamas, Purim 5762
JGuberman Sep 2016
1.

The peace of the brave
gave way to the war of allegories
illuminating our world
like a medieval manuscript
with a confusing colophon
of indecision.

2.

Unstable religious fuels
and volatile political compounds
energize the endless human wicks,
that light many an unsuspecting
yahrzeit candle.

3.

And love which may have
been 'stronger than death'
is not so strong lately
as an army that's already dead
cannot be defeated
as easily.

4.

"the children come right home from school"
Yossi said,
'perhaps they've already learned too much as it is?'
I think....
Our home is our castle
and like a missile defense
in American mythology
its walls are semipermeable membranes
of security.
Arur Hamas is a play on 'Arur Haman' which means "cursed or ****** Haman" and is said during the holiday of Purim. This piece was written during a particularly ugly period between Hamas and Israel in 2002. It was published in 2002 in MATRIX 1:2 pp 6-7 (Hamilton, New Zealand).
JGuberman Sep 2016
my heart has turned you
into memories;
my mind, into
a pillar of salt.
when I think of you
in the present,
or spend nights alone
with my dreams of you,
my mind rubs against
my heart,
like salt in an open wound.

my mind has tuned you
into a bow;
my heart, into
strings.
when I speak of you
it is in past tense,
though you are very much alive---
it hurts less,
as my mind rubs against
my heart,
striking a melancholy song:
shuvi, shuvi,
v'nechezeh bach!"

---return, return,
let us gaze at you!
Sep 2016 · 547
Apollonia
JGuberman Sep 2016
skin as soft as freshly washed sand,
the taste of salt upon my lips.
is it the same for you?
your eyes are the shards
of pale green glass strewn
along the beach,
wherever I go you watch me,
whatever I do you see.

like a prophet
wishing that only the best part
of his prophecy comes true,
I come to you, a faithful pilgrim,
head covered in the clouds
a galabiyya of air about my body.
I prostrate and entwine myself
with you in supplication,
like the finely knotted stitches
of a prayer rug
and I whisper that until you,
I had never been so religious.

your previous lovers
who cluttered their love with stone and mortar
will not be soon forgotten,
I who clutter you with words
am already,
like one breath following another.

all that I write on your skin
is washed out to sea
and returns on the wind
spread like the seeds of wild flowers
which grow among the rocky hills and ruins
like silent colorful pilgrims
up by the mosque of sidna 'ali
as the last remains
of a religion, and a memory,
and a love  and words.
VOICES ISRAEL 1991 (19, pp. 3-4). Apollonia aka Tel Arshaf is the ruins of an ancient port city 1 km north of Herzliya, Israel. The city itself has had numerous names over the centuries and has been destroyed as many times. Richard the Lionhearted defeated Salah ad-Din there in 1191. During the early Byzantine period , the city was the site of a glass factory. The emerald green shards of glass one easily finds on the beach and in the sea surf are remnants from that factory. Yoram Kaniuk in his short story "The Vultures" writes about this location.
Sep 2016 · 879
Words & Accents
JGuberman Sep 2016
a woman who stands
between day and night
with sunset hair,
and eyes the color of leaves
that will never know autumn
sees me standing in the slowly
dimming light of life,
words in the shape of a man.

your voice
like that of an angel
calling me to prophecy or worse, prayer
uses words that redefine me
like the lyrics of a memorable song
i can't even hum when you ask.
your slight accent
is faded by years
of wearing it in a foreign tongue,
like the colors of your favorite clothes
worn too often,
as i am all too often
worn too thin
by the heavy accent of your body in my thoughts.

you see me standing alone
between night and day,
an unabridged dictionary
of hope and despair,
being methodically abridged
by the great condenser of time
and his imitators,
as i am slowly reduced
to a man in the shape of words
like loved and remembered,
and later still
missed and forgotten.
published in PROPHETIC VOICES 17 (1992) p. 107
Sep 2016 · 994
Uncertainty Principles
JGuberman Sep 2016
Time shortens
like the fractured legs of a runner
accidentally propelled by the laws of physics
to decelerate like frozen matter.

The uncertain quantum leap from now to there
has no healing properties
just a void
a black hole of despair
swallowing up memories and joy
that even my little daughter
can only temporarily prevent....

She say's "I love you Daddy"
and I think about my own father
and the love travels like the
search for extraterrestrial intelligence
that goes unanswered
not because there isn't any,
but because we're never here long enough
to receive the answer.
published in VOICES ISRAEL 2013 (Vol. 39 p. 160)
Sep 2016 · 892
Until
JGuberman Sep 2016
Until I lose my voice
and no one listens
the unsaid words of love
will accumulate
inside me,
and will appear on my face
like the flashes
from an electronic sign
whose bulbs have all blown
except for two or three
intermittently appearing
like a code
that no one but you
understands.

Until I lose my mind
with no one's help
the unthought thoughts
will accumulate
and be sacrificed
like my greatgrandfather,
an Isaac who wasn't spared.
And I, an Isaac who was,
was born under the sign of the ram,
to be sacrificed in other ways.
My Great Grandfather Isaac was Reb Itzik ben Reb Avraham ha-Cohen Elowitz b in Vilna c. 1869 and was murdered in an Aktion along with his wife, three daughters, son in laws and grandchildren at Byten in what is now Belarus (1942). I am the grandson of his sole surviving daughter.
Sep 2016 · 540
Credit swap
JGuberman Sep 2016
Perhaps it's my memory
which troubles me
when I carry it around
like a chip on my shoulder,
waiting to have it carved
into a marble bust of Justice
in the hope that
something good would come of it.
Although in our time
the only thing it becomes
is its own caricature and nothing more.

Perhaps it's my memory
which doggedly trails me wherever I go
even when I wish to lose it in the hills.
I carry it
like a credit card
without an expiration date,
with a limitless line of available credit
extending back through the centuries,
to be summoned
at a moments notice to pay off any debt
no matter how ancient
for a pound of flesh can no longer
be considered good collateral for any loan.
Flesh has become cheap
as has life
and the interest rate is never
high enough to sustain
the sanctity of either anymore.
Sep 2016 · 654
Mechitzah
JGuberman Sep 2016
Your voice on the phone
is a provocation

Your appearance in the doorway later
is an incitement

It's not your fault

You merely exist

But it's too much for me to handle

So I ***** a wall
and even that is a provocation and an incitement
for I can't escape the knowledge of who's on the other side
with all my concentration
I redirect my thoughts away from this evil inclination
to ****** a secret peek that can't be secret
and I recoil in my guilt
asking forgiveness

from whom?
A *mechitzah* is a man made barrier erected to separate the sexes in Orthodox Judaism
Sep 2016 · 1.3k
Só Louco
JGuberman Sep 2016
The moon over Rio
is upside down for someone who's only
ever given it thought from New England,
so while in Rio
I hang myself upside down
like a perching fruit bat
before it goes on its nightly
raid of Senhora de Andrade's hummingbird feeder.

I hang myself upside down
to see the moon as I'm used to it
and the blood flows to my head
accompanied by Gal Costa
and I right myself
return to  my senses
and hope that the local kilo restaurant
is still serving, otherwise
it's hummingbird nectar tonight.
Só Louco is a song sung by Gal Costa and means "just crazy".
Sep 2016 · 2.3k
Curiosity
JGuberman Sep 2016
Lily's lips are blue
it's time for her to read
on a beautiful day at the beach
while elsewhere scientists
are waiting with baited breath
for a landing on a distant world
in the search for something
that's taken for granted
here in the surf.
PIMA 5 August 2012
JGuberman Sep 2016
Nine

Life has opened up for me
like the earth under the feet
of Korah and his followers
and it will remain open like a gaping hole
swallowing up everything, until life itself
closes like a store on *shabbes
JGuberman Sep 2016
Eight

There's no perfect time to find there's
no time left to perfect. Even with a new
watch I have trouble telling what time it
is without you, you who run like clockwork
precise down to the second, though no so
precisely in my second thoughts.
JGuberman Sep 2016
Seven

Our future is like the hopeful light
emanating from the stars of our sky,
for like them, we have traveled
many years to shine here on this day
to appear like two words from a psalm
of David, which when spoken together
become like a prayer under God.
JGuberman Sep 2016
Six

       He died and was buried in the hard ground
                         Of a January ice storm
The few people who came stood with a rigor vivis
                       Not wishing to be there
                    But having no ready excuse
                        For being elsewhere
                          On a day like this
                       Or for a man like that.
JGuberman Sep 2016
Five

I know that the road which leads
to your door, also leads away from it,
and I stand at the crossroads
not wishing to lose my way again, knowing
full well that I won't be if the road
which leads to your door is open, as is
your door when I arrive at it.
JGuberman Sep 2016
Four

In this town in which I  was never born
and will never die, I will neither live
forever no love as long for life and
loves come to me like sleep to a mattress
or the sun through a window
to newly awakened eyes.
JGuberman Sep 2016
Three

The night is young, but the day
is already old for it's age and
I am older by each day and each night,
as they roll over
polishing me like a shattered
clay pigeon in the surf.
JGuberman Sep 2016
Two

Someday, you shall also speak.
Once it is realized that you can no longer.
Once it is discovered that those who can
listen now and should, did not listen before,
when your voice was much more
than mere memory.
JGuberman Sep 2016
One

Everything I have I've acquired
from someplace else, like a museum
in a country of little or no history
which displays the works of great masters
as if they were native sons.
JGuberman Sep 2016
While Abraham was binding Isaac
to Mount Moriah he was interrupted by
a knock at the door.
         "Who could this be?" he thought.
         "We don't even own a door," he cried.
So he continued binding Isaac to the
altar. Again, a knock that could make
the deaf hear. Abraham had to stop
and look for the door.
          He yelled, "Leave me alone, I'm doing
God's work!" and returned to continue
the akedah. And again a knock interrupted
him, and again, and again---Abraham
did not know what to do, whether to laugh
or to cry.
           And then he thought: "This will be
the history of my children. When we will
be doing our work or God's work there will
always come a knock at the door to interrupt
us...whether we own a door or not." And
it came to pass that the history of the Jews
is a history of interruptions.
Line 12 *akedah* from the Hebrew meaning the act of binding cf. Genesis 22:9.

This poem was written in September 1981, now 35 years ago  and was first published 30 years ago in the now long defunct Orim; A Jewish Journal at Yale 2:1 (Autumn 1986) p. 35.
Sep 2016 · 1.5k
Tweet for the Twits
JGuberman Sep 2016
In light of all the gun violence in the USA,
I'd prefer my democracy unleaded.
Sep 2016 · 689
Midnight Marinade
JGuberman Sep 2016
My love talks to herself in her sleep
commanding an enormous kitchen staff
preparing a meal from what dreams are made of.

"GaaaaarlicK! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr"
"Cheeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
"Mor­rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre"
"Cheeeeeeeeeeeezzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"
S­nore "sages ...Morrrrrrre...." Snore "sages"

Then a simmering silence for a while,
and just before I fall asleep myself,
the kitchen boils over again with activity.
Now the helter skelter pace is incomprehensible,
a mumbling crescendo then finally some silence.

And I am left to dream
my dreams
in a full and satisfied sleep
leftover of a day
that wasn't so crummy
though slightly flaky and not worth repeating
without a healthy supply of zantac.
Sep 2016 · 1.4k
London & Jerusalem
JGuberman Sep 2016
for RFG


You told me of your love for London
and I, of mine for Jerusalem.
And we speak of our second homes
and our first loves,
and how those memories
should be left for the archaeologists,
and how we must for the time being
carefully avoid the subject
each of the other
like diplomats
in London or Jerusalem
busily seeking
positive signs,
in one and the other
or those things
we love elsewhere
and wish we could have
here at home.
Aug 2016 · 1.6k
Home Economics
JGuberman Aug 2016
What of empty words
like love without feelings
a currency without a bank
to back it up,
words expressed but not felt
spent in amounts
exceeding their value.

What of love
felt but not expressed
deep like a vault
where the most precious possessions are kept,
or deep like a mine
where the yawning veins
provide only hints of their great worth
a little bit at a time.

We are growing an economy
and between us we can pass
Assignats or Continentals
to our hearts desire,
and yet when our hearts yearn for more
it will only be the shining coin of the realm
the pearl of desire
that is assayed between us
and only then will our economy stand or
fall by what is backing
our promise to pay the bearer on demand
and redeem ourselves in return.
Aug 2016 · 1.7k
Erosion
JGuberman Aug 2016
When you said "I love you"
it was like a room that was built
on to an already finished house----
always an afterthought.

When you said "I miss you"
it was like drinking coffee
from a teacup----
it never made a difference

But when you made
the mountains we had built up
into valleys
I asked "why?"
And you said
"Erosion".
Aug 2016 · 488
Inheritance
JGuberman Aug 2016
A book of poems
from a dead poet
living words
that keep on living
remembering a life
that has a ghost of a chance
at redemption
but every word redeems
a little something
of the soul that produced it
and in turn
redeems mine
in this life
where there's no certainty
of a next.
Aug 2016 · 402
Parker River
JGuberman Aug 2016
If I never get a chance to say "goodbye"
will this be enough?

If my last breath goes unheard
and my last wish unfulfilled

To see you again
to feel your caress

To hold your hand
and watch the twinkle in your eye

Diffuse through a tear
it will never be enough

Just to feel the dusk breeze
one last time

Coming off the marsh
to hear the mournful warnings

Of the Killdeer and Plover
and from their heavenly reaches

The hungry Least Terns diving into the salt pannes
a hundred thousand migrating Tree Swallows

Clouding the road and sky
like final scattered thoughts

And the inability to sustain
all this beyond a last silence.
Aug 2016 · 660
Loose Ends
JGuberman Aug 2016
...and when I finally showed up
and went into my mother's last room in the ICU
as the fluids were still clotting in their tubing
and the machinery of life was silent,
the necrosis lingered.
Her knitting was sitting to one side
with many loose ends
unresolved.
Aug 2016 · 982
The Irony of Ronald Nimkin
JGuberman Aug 2016
There was a time when I would've dutifully
left a note to my mother
pinned to the chest of my corpse swinging in the bathroom.

Then there was a time when I
wouldn't have left a note,
and finally there came a time
when I wouldn't have hanged myself.
Nimkin is a famous character from Philp Roth's "Portnoy's Complaint"
JGuberman Aug 2016
He was too lazy
to put pennies in his loafers
and too cheap
to offer a penny for your thoughts
nickel & diming
his way through life
until the pennies had no value
and the thoughts weren't cost effective
and the income was disposable
and the outcome was predictable.
Aug 2016 · 1.3k
Conjugation
JGuberman Aug 2016
Your complexities
are compounded by my simplicities,
and since
you came to me
like the alphabet of a language
I cannot read
you will,
when you leave
depart unchanged.
Whereas,
I will be changed forever
like a root verb
which is built upon
to express
a more complex idea.
Aug 2016 · 1.3k
A History of My Affliction
JGuberman Aug 2016
Before I could be taken to Mount Moriah
before a ram could be found to replace me
before I was a redeemed first born
the ram was left unsacrificed
the redeemed was lost
and the first born
became the last.

And all the martyrs who were lost before my birth,
are still lost despite it.
I have become a singularity
a new word in an old Darwinian lexicon
an irregular verb
without plural
or future tense
unique in every respect and definition
save all who would follow after
and not be of me
or ever could.
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