spiritual growth – i used to be preoccupied with it
maybe i still am, fixated on flaws
all the ways i fall short of a standard
even saint francis couldn’t meet
on the streets, i’m incited by insights
from preachers who peddle notions
of salvation & give me holy books
i peruse by glow of lava lamps
in the comfort of compounds
where i keep my secrets
& share my miseries
(Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown on Unsplash)
The year 2020 has been a strange year, and so has the Jewish year of 5780.
As the sun sets tonight, we hope and pray for a better year.
What will 5781 bring us? Do we dare to dream of health and happiness?
Or shall we begin to brace ourselves for a long, hard winter?
It is our hope which will sustain us, and we pray for a better year.
5781 brings us hope, and another step closer to coming back together.
I’m always reading heavy and serious books like Kafka, the classics, or dystopian science fiction. So I decided recently to read something a little more light-hearted for a change of pace.
The book I picked up was from Rachel’s shelf – The Golem and the Jinni, a 2013 debut novel from Helene Wecker. The novel still has some serious themes, but it wasn’t the type of angsty existentialism I usually dig into.
One look into Medusa’s eyes, you turn to stone
as Perseus knows – but the demigod is brave
he must save his princess
there’s no getting in his way
deep in the Underworld, toss a gold coin to
cross the awful river
Medusa slinks + slithers in her temple
‘till he slices off her head
uses it to kill the Kraken –
oh! how the gods play games with us
one day they’ll pay for this
when they’re gone, forgotten
when we move to monotheism +
Zeus, Poseidon, the rest are studied
instead of worshipped.
(Photo from themarysue.com)
Note: I was inspired to write this poem after watching the movie Clash of the Titans – both the original 1981 version and the remake from 2010.
I knew nothing of Shabbat before you
or the prayers we say on Friday nights
as we break off pieces of challah + let the candle
burn all night by the window –
I’m happy you’ve taught me, it’s brought me
a new ritual in this life, the life we share together.
(Photo source: shutterstock.com)
We say grace before meals, give thanks to God
for food in the fridge + what’s set before us
knowing not everyone is as fortunate +
there are some, right here in this city,
who are starving + scraping by –
God, thank you for our daily bread +
nourish those not at our table.
(Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash)
I was a mess in college.
Two years before I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, I was enrolled at a university in New York with somewhat of a life trajectory, a moral compass, and many good qualities.
We can soldier through these dark hours if we hold on to faith + meaning –
the government tweeted antisemitism last night, the paranoia set in
we covered the webcam, spoke in whispers
debated if it was intentional
I thought of Viktor Frankl + man’s search for meaning –
humans can exact great suffering on each other,
but they can never take our souls.
(Photo by Diego PH on Unsplash)
I have a (slight) problem with going on book-buying binges. When I feel anxious, sometimes I buy a book. I’ve reined in this annoying tendency recently to cut expenses. But when the pandemic hit in early March, I saw an essay about Albert Camus’ novel, The Plague, and knew I immediately had to read it.