Friday, September 26, 2008


G-d gives us this period of time before Yom Kippur to purify our selves in order to be worthy of standing in front of Him and asking forgiveness.This time should be used well; it is another one of His precious gifts.

I have been praying a lot for ridding myself of desire, that succulent snaky thing that crawls all over your innards and makes you stop short some times because your breath has simply been taken away. (I think I can begin to understand Graham Greene's "The End of the Affair" a bit better now. "G-d, save us from this bomb falling over our home, and I will give up my desire forever.")

Giving up desire is not easy, especially when it comes at this late hour of life. The desire itself reminds me of being young and of having functional bodily parts that etiologically and correctly used to stir rather frequently for the purpose of reproduction. Now there is no purpose at all: just needless lust that creeps into the bedroom to mock me and hovers like the ghost that it is over my empty, lonely body.

Giving up desire is particularly difficult when the desire is for the wrong person: a gonnif, a thief, who has eaten away at me like the cancer that once destroyed some of my bodily parts. Giving up desire becomes especially hard precisely because it is so forbidden and reminiscent of the two year-old girl who had to choose between her seductive daddy and the stern truth of her mother's realities.

So I use this time to rid myself of desire, but the nighttime dreams still steal into my bedroom and the same old snake sneaks through the keyhole.

I pray for purification so that I might stand before the L-rd and pray for forgiveness.

Monday, September 1, 2008

But Will the Levees Hold? - 1 Sept.2008

Oh heart:

Let's you and I imagine inside me
ten trillion drops of blood trying to push through
barriers like those barely built in New Orleans,
the city of sin that belongs in
the Old Testament, awaiting flood
after flood, until nothing remains
but the little boy who says, "My mama's dead;
someone pushed her in the water."

Heart, we have been pushed into water, too.

What if this time the crude levees clearly break
and the droplets rush in to become Red Seas
of hate, anger, despair, and, worst of all, the chance
of no more love in this very small country
we call my soul? Oh, Lord, spare my son
the sight of seeing his mother drown
in the detritus of her own overgrown cells;

Heart, let us hold on to what we know
of life and its sustenance and of prayer.