Book Review: The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

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.

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Melting Glacier/Ego (a poem)

I got an ego the size of a glacier

but I hope it’s meltin’

like them ones in the Artic

I used to say I was sick

in the head

but that was self-contempt

I’ve since given up –

I’m just like everyone else

a homo sapien not fully evolved

plagued by panic, all that crap –

snap, crackle, pop! I’m locked

in the house, quiet as a mouse

thinking of myself too much

what about thinking of others?

oh brother, here I go again

beating myself up

give it up!

(Photo by Elisa Clairet on Unsplash)

Note: This poem was inspired by a prompt on dVerse to do a “self-portrait.” The title of the post was, “Come and take a selfie!” Here’s a link to the dVerse post where the prompt is!

Warlike (a poem)

Look at our history, we’re a warlike species

we wish to beat + battle

but can we foster peace?

Piece by piece, we lunge toward an unknown future,

fighting animal instincts –

military tanks rumble toward me,

I step barefoot, bloody over broken glass

armed with a lotus flower

to combat their firepower.

(Photo by Paul on Unsplash)

Soldiering On (a poem)

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)

For the Homeless & Damnificados (a poem)

We are damnifacados: homeless, junkies,

people deem us less than human.

When you pass us on a hectic street, we’re resting with

backs to the wall asking for mercy, spare change –

you look away from our weathered faces,

we feel disgrace, in our soiled clothes, our tired eyes.

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Beware of the Apartment People (a poem)

The people in this apartment complex are so nice!

They smile, ask how I’m doing

I can tell they mean it by their bright eyes,

gentle body language, the way they speak of

this complex as a community.

But why does it seem so strange?

Behind these pearly-white smiles,

are they planning my demise?

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Sainthood (a poem)

What happened to the woman who

was nearly stoned to death?

Jesus said to not sin again,

but if she’s like me, she was

back in sweaty sheets later that day,

engaged in sinful acts – it’s a fact that

we’re far from saints + sainthood is

a hatred of humanity

but Jesus was half-God,

so it’s not so odd to believe

He died for me + whether I sin today

or tomorrow doesn’t matter much

because grace is free

(Photo by Laura Allen on Unsplash)