The man who sucked in his stomach
Breathed in too much air
Soon there was no one left
But a butcher with a cauliflower ear
and a woman whose paper bags spilled green globules
Across the agonized playground.
Stop, whispered the atomized trees
But the time of day crouched in the corner
The plantation pheasants whirled from cornrows
The fearful rain studded the silver-belled leaves.
Looks quiet around here.
Nothing but a cracked sidewalk
And a pair of old sneakers--
The old elephant sucked up his wrinkles.
The puddles left by the lucid rain
Stained the crowded asphalt.
The clock ran backward,
Children caught snowballs
Cars sucked in their exhaust
And you fluttered back into the incubation chamber
The sun put his hands on his face
And grief shook the blue curtains
And the sky tumbled over the coffee table
And you held the cigar, and the smoke
Was twisting, drifting upward,
The green shutters whirred and flashed,
The smoke imitation of a horse rider
Leaped and bucked in the rain
And folded its hands
And walked backwards, silently pointing.
I got off the phone and I took out the trash
I emptied the buckets, I wired the cash
I ate all the pretzels, left over the mash
And I said what a waffle and oh what a hash!
So sweep up the sidewalk and steady the wheel
For we’ll pass the old school as the whitewalls will squeal
As we fly into space in a second or two
Sweeping past the neutrinos that reside in the zoo,
For there’s no sense in sighing and no sense in those
Whose lives are embraced by the laws of Sir Bose,
So a square dance, a round, a jig in the park,
A spotlight on those who’re asleep in the dark,
Then let us embrace and let us embark
For there’s no sense in thinking of sparrow and lark
And guinea and peccary, Clark Gable too
And the road that is straight and the dart that flies true
And the shofar that's blasting the dust from the two
Who slept on the beach and awoke as the crew
Of a ship that was sailing from Chad to Japan
And who stepped in the boots of a creature called man,
Stepped into the story of Jerry and Sue
And the wars that they fought and the stones that they threw
And the night that they tore down the curtain of blue
And upended the world and upset the hot stew
Oh what an uproar and oh what a mess
For the ants ran around and the thief did confess
And the telescope shuttered and God looked inside
And the clouds scattered down, went along for the ride,
And I tell you my darling it soon won’t be long
That the weak gather strength and are stronger than strong
And the haze turns to silver, the silver to glass
And the men on the highway give out a free pass.
At the bottom of the ladder stands a pail, stands a pail
And the bandit and his crew break out of jail, out of jail,
It’s a wonder that we’re walking
While the thunder drowns our talking
And we haven’t got protection from the hail, from the hail.
And the payment on the credit card is due, card is due
This is something that you often have gone through, have gone through,
And your lovely Auntie Goldie
Says your walls are turning moldy
And a flight of pigeons moved into the flue, into the flue.
And the barber and his men march to the gate, to the gate,
And you wake up but you’re twenty years late, years late,
Where’s a webcam? where’s a rifle?
As the guards their yawns they stifle
And the horsemen place their bags on your estate, on your estate.
My anger streaked at the bottom of the page
Pastel violet lips, yellow remembrances of sun,
Candle lights that wrinkled the uncertain sky,
Gray and wobbly furrows on simple foreheads.
My anger creaked into the playground,
Squeaked from the see-saw, swung from the ladder,
Glistened in the rain, lay discarded beneath the tube tunnel,
Littered the grainy ground,
Flapped wings, rising heavily
Into a tree whose branches sang their own tune,
Whose mouths were mute,
Which drained the rain in rivulets down its dark trunk.
That was a watercolor drying on the table,
That was a street that was washing away,
Whose buckled sidewalks tumbled downhill,
Whose houses opened their mouths occasionally.
Here my anger sparks, it strikes collections of plates,
It scurries through the air, it lands on the ears of guinea pigs,
It ravages the refrigerator, looking for reasons to feel passionate,
It raises the shade and gazes at the dawn,
Where the sun is creeping along a red horizon
And the eyes of an empty truck shine onto a dawn, solid
With the promise of coffee and the noise of waking children
And kestrels swooping onto the windowsill.
Every individual should visualize, in truth and simply, what his soul is showing him.
He should bring forth his spiritual harvest from potential to actual, without any false expressions.
From such sparks, torches of light gather and illuminate the entire world with their glory.
From such portions of inner truth, the great truth emerges.
Orot Hakodesh I, p. 166
I have loved the pear, the peach, the branch
Of the poplar, the larch, the hirsute beech,
The prickly fir and the sensuous mango
And the cactuses scaring the dudes in Durango,
And now I love you, you invisible floor,
Your wandering mind that has come with its lore
Of the street, of the sand, of the buses that lumber,
Of the problems that pounce, that grasp and encumber,
And I love all the valleys and love all the stars
And the plectrums and pickguards of steel string guitars
And the pickles that sing in the hearts of green jars
Where the hummingbird strums like a pale floating Mars
The strings of your spirit, the fleece of your mind,
And we step in the sea where the muses are twined
And we dance to the seaweed-anemone waltz
With all of its lights and its curtseys and faults
And we step with a spin past the shark, whose gray line
Of electrical sensors detects in the wine
Of the ocean this tremble, this delicate swim
And the buoys are all ringing, the boats are all trim
And the sun like molasses swims up from the dim
Of the shadow where Lucy said farewell to Jim
And the she turned from he and the her shut off him.
I return to the valley where poplars their song
Explode in the morning, the sun shoots his long
Arrow of longing, the moon shuts her eyes
And the wheat is all trembling an August surmise.
A letter for you, it arrived in the mail,
Inside a blue petal, a leaf, a cat’s-tail,
And I came back to love you with a figure so rare,
A leaf in my breast from a silver-green pear.
Supernal holiness is filled with love, kindness and patience, out of its great splendor.
Hatred, judgment and criticism are consequences of forgetting Hashem, and a suppression of the light of holiness.
The stronger the search for Hashem grows in a person’s heart, the broader the love for all creatures within him. Then he loves even wicked people and heretics and desires their rectification, because he in actuality rectifies them with the greatness of his faith.
However, in a manifest way a person can only show love to those people in whom he finds something good as well, so that he is able to bind his love to their good side and so that he will not at all be harmed by the evil and ugly aspect of those people, whom he loves due to his good trait of loving others--which means that he is good and does good to both the wicked and the good.
Orot Hakodesh III, p. 317
The hobbling, scrabbling man, white-haired,
Is dignified or maybe scared.
The eye of his dog with invisible sense
Elicits his grunt as he spies the green fence,
And he trots exultantly down the street
In search of a rancid new find to eat.
His master, the hobbling, grizzled man,
Holds down the items in his own brain pan
And shouts, “Oh no, you untamable dog,”
As he’s pulled to a graceless and spiritless jog.
He holds back the dog, whose eye is keen,
Who once jumped upon the interim dean,
Whose rump now trembles
As his demeanor resembles
An Albert Einstein about to explode
With the load
Of the photons that zap through his brain,
Leaving a stain
Of white and spreading heaven’s juice
That waters the spruce
Of this laudable hill
Where the picnickers still
Are ingesting the berries,
Then ride out on ferries
Where they drown in the hues
Of their own rainbow shoes.
Not a perfect poem but there are some lines in it that I like....
My anger broke like rocky waves
And spumed inside the gaunt tall caves,
It wandered like a ghost at noon
And howled like the northern loon,
It butted heads on rocky walls
That towered over crashing falls,
It shattered planets, sleeted rays
That scattered death through Milky Ways,
That shattered eyes, that dimmed the street,
That blew transformers, blasted wheat,
That rived through bodies, swallowed air,
That rode upon a crippled mare
To spread contagion everywhere.
My anger rode a crippled mare
To spread contagion everywhere.
I rested on a farflung shore
Where ruins lay sprawled, a doll, a door,
I howled at the moon, rust-red,
That floated like a bloody bed
Above the fir trees’ fiery spars
That pierced the eyes of ice-stabbed stars.
I slept until the mumbling sea
Sent its whispering shroud to me.
I slept until the mumbling sea
Sent its whispering shroud to me.
A ship lay wrecked upon the bar,
Where bodies lay as if afar
Upon the rigging and crow’s nest.
An echo from the sky dome pressed
Upon my bones and told its song
Beyond all right, beyond all wrong
That any mind could comprehend,
More grief than any storm could spend.
I adore your floor
Said the woman with the mouse-shaped lips
Underneath the table, she was feeding her Rottweiller chips
It was almost more than I could bear
And I took in a sackful of coalblack air
That had rested amidst the vacuum of space
Where the miller and his barefoot daughter ran apace
And the water ran beneath the wooden bridge.
I reached into my pulsing fridge,
I removed from there twelve loaves and lox
And constructed upon a bleached, beached box
The remnants of a sandwich castle,
Through which a passel
Of tourists roamed,
Who had recently been combed
Having not long before been given their walking papers
And set to the streets after their morning vapors.
And the boats shot across the Thames and the buses
Swerved past museums full of blunderbusses
And I stroked your hair and I gasped for air
And I closed the car door on a burst of perfume
That seemed to spell the lure of the morning and doom
And I waited for hamsters as cute as could be
To reach for the icecubes to soften their tea.
Yaacov David Shulman