Prudence

Son and a brother,
Student and teacher,
What makes a boy,
At the end of the day?

Husband and father,
Leader and speaker,
What makes a man,
At the end of the day?

Lover and cheater,
Tough and a quitter,
What makes one right,
At the end of the day?

Saint and a convict,
Monster and spirit,
Who gets redeemed,
At the end?

 

August 8, 2018

Dust

A poem that no one hears,
A story that no one reads,
A rhyme that no one enjoys,
A play that no one acts.

A picture that no one sees,
A bloom that no one smells.
A song that no one sings,
A vision that no one dreams.

A table where no one dines,
A food that no one tastes,
A path that no one takes,
An ocean where no one sails.

A person that no one knows,
A kiss that no one lands,
A love that no one shares,
A child that no one bears.

Wishes, attempts, in abundance,
Hope everlasting, endurance,
Mother earth in a spin, dust particles float, glistening,
Let the fragments pollinate, life begins.

 

June 16, 2018

Olympus

Winding road climbs splendid valley,
Steep embankments, falling rock,
Ancient views and endless skyline,
Chilly air drops chilly worse.

At the crest of mountain highest,
Rests an ancient boulder, cold,
Shaped by winds and age-old rain falls,
White as bright crown to behold.

Brave souls make the pilgrimage to it,
Careful step up to the top,
Zeus for an instant, precious,
Seize the moment in a thought.

Open, bright blue skies to heavens,
Deep abyss lies deep below,
Soaring bird’s eye view, intoxicating,
Spirit high for nature’s glow.

Road of life is likewise open,
Going far and thinking big,
Take the challenge, rush the goal post,
Reach as far and high can be.

 

May 2, 2018

Romantica

Where will I go next?
Where am I headed?
Wondered the young girl,
Turning to bed.

Is there a prince for me?
Will there be castle?
Magic and sorcerers,
Marriage and wealth?

Where will I go next?
Where am I headed?
Asked the young woman,
Reading her book.

Will he be honest?
How will he treat me?
Travel together?
Stay home and drink?

Where will I go next?
Where am I headed?
Rocked tired mother,
Her baby to sleep.

Will he keep own vows?
Love and respect me?
Help crying baby,
In trying long nights?

Where will he go next?
Where is he headed?
Laid skillful woman,
In empty bed wide.

Will he be a good man?
Loving and trusted?
Caring for loved ones,
Truthful through life?

What will I teach love?
How do convey trust?
Can my hug transfer,
Wisdom and wish?

Cruel is the world,
Stronger the people,
Hope love eternal,
Dreams lost awake.

Heartbroken mended,
New love horizon,
Daybreak, fresh morning,
Headed success.

 

March 19, 2018

Out of the Box

All beginnings are tough, but many of those difficulties become endearing moments in time. Moving to a new city is an example. The list of the personal adjustments you go through is endless and may last months, even years. The basic adjustments are common to all moves. Get to know the new neighborhood, locate the good supermarket. Find work. Learn traffic patterns to and from work. Make friends, and master the local customs. Now imagine doing all that as an immigrant. A new country and a new language. EVERYTHING is new.

Immigrants landing in a new country take these efforts and more to make their new home feel like one.  It may take them years to bridge language and cultural barriers and begin inhabiting local conventions. The first few weeks and months are the most volatile for the immigrant. Every aspect of life is foreign and odd, and the learning curve is at its steepness. Such was my experience when I arrived in the United States soon after graduating college.

The time was the late eighties. Flying overseas still carried a unique aroma. The information age was in its infancy, and physical distance played a significant factor in isolating people and cultures. Global trade meant something entirely different than the diverse bounty we enjoy on every store shelf today, not to mention the advent of online shopping and its far universal reach. Most of the products you were able to purchase at the supermarket, the pharmacy, and the furniture store back then were items produced locally or regionally. For those reasons, anyone who made an international trip was expected to bring back fruits of the foreign land they visited. Exotic chocolate, cheese and alcohol from Europe, stylish T-shirts and shiny sneakers from America, and hand-made crafts from Africa. So in that spirit, I left for the United States packing a request list, a short one at that. In fact, it had only one line – a bottle of Excedrin caplets, requested by my mother-in-law. “Mail it when you can,” she said, “no rush.” I promised I will do that as soon as I could.

And so I did. I have been in the country for a couple of weeks, and gradually became acquainted with basic Americana. I began to understand the differences between the dozens of choices of bread lining the supermarket bread aisle, or really just learned to identify the one we liked. I became tolerant to the constant aroma of burnt oil coming from the McDonald’s restaurant across the street. I enjoyed the freedom of turning right on a red light and the challenge of left-turn on green. Everything was new. After years of watching American life in the movies, I was finally living it all. So following a trip to the supermarket, I walked into a nearby drugstore looking for a bottle of Excedrin. And just like the bread aisle, I found it offered in many choices. Different forms of pills or gel tabs. For a headache, tension or a migraine. Different bottle size and different strength, for daytime and nighttime. Impressed and confused, I deliberated for a while. Finally, I settled on a value pack bottle of regular strength in a red box. Back at the apartment I wrapped it in brown paper and scribed the address on its side. Next stop, another first. U.S. Mail.

The suburban post office was neat and organized. Morning light filled the space through blue horizontal blinds. Dark rope directed the moderate line of customers toward three awaiting clerks. People stood quietly with ample space behind each other. Soon it was my turn. The large man with the shiny bald head standing in the far right station looked at me with a blank expression as I stepped over. I placed my box on the counter. “Package to Israel,” I said. The clerk lifted a custom-declaration form from his side and readied a pen in his left hand. “What’s in the box?” he asked with a black stare.

The question and the clerk’s menacing presence stumped me. I suddenly forgot the brand name of the pills and was not sure what to call my parcel. I tried to think of how to translate the Hebrew term for “medication” to English but was uncertain which word to use, as there is more than one. Think fast!

And then it occurred to me. I bought it at the drug store. Of course! “Drugs,” I said.

Everything froze. The clerk standing in front of me, the people in line, the other clerks waiting on customers, the dust particles glistening in the slowly moving air. The entire post office stood silent.

I looked at my clerk. I knew I said something wrong, but could not think of what exactly. I rushed back in my mind over what I said, but everything computed back to the same result. I was right but something was wrong. Badly wrong. I did not dare to move. My clerk did not move either. He only scanned the room with his eyes, then took a deep breath. He had a situation on his hand, and everyone waited for his next move.

With his shoulders still locked in a tense pose, he lifted the package by his left hand and looked at me. “What do you have in the box?” he asked again.

I knew better than to repeat the same line. I had to think fast and give the right answer this time, to save myself from further embarrassment. Simplify! Where did I buy it? No, never mind. What did I buy? Yes, that’s it! “Medication for headache” I managed to say.

Everyone in the post office exhaled together in collective relief. Motion returned to the room. The dust particles resumed their slow movement. My clerk relaxed his shoulders and wrote something on the custom-declaration form. I paid and turned to the door. There was a lot I had to learn out there in the new country.

 

February 17, 2018

Voice

A voice,
Born young and weak,
Squealing with fragility,
In time gains form and shape,
Strength and purpose,
Tone and pace.

The voice grows,
Discovers words of love and hope,
Verses of faith and confidence,
The meaning of truth and honor,
Cost of falsehood and dishonesty,
The elements of life.

The voice may sing,
Or curse at times,
It may promise tall mountains,
Or set duplicitous traps,
It is the horn of its master,
Through life on end.

Out in public,
And inside a home,
On giant stages,
And tiny rooms,
In front of masses,
Or behind a poll curtain,
At every place,
It is always heard.

Add one to others,
And form the voice of many,
To sound say of a nation,
Its future and fate,
Leave one voice out,
The masses are muted.

Sans soapbox or bullhorn,
The voices still echo,
In hallways and boardrooms,
At home over sinks,
Displayed on screen color,
On paper and print.

The future is silent,
Its path yet to set,
Your voice is the rudder,
The wings and the jet,
Have say in the journey,
Take charge of the wheel,
No place for the back seat,
It is now time to lead.

 

January 27, 2018

Three Kisses

Three kisses occurred over time,
Each one came to mean different kind,
Lips touched, opened and closed,
Three kisses told a story of love.

First kiss met with care,
Came to know and discover,
An eye meets an eye,
A key to the soul.

Lips met, tender touch,
Warmth of breath,
Gentle bodies,
Slow encounter that met with a timid response.

Second kiss came with lust,
For a taste of the lips,
That exudes love desire,
With a secret kept bliss.

Flavor known and forgotten,
Concealed with lost thoughts,
Saved as treasured belongings,
Life that was, and is not.

Third kiss came for love,
That was there and still is,
Feelings strong and eternal,
Love that nourishes and feeds,

Love heart deep, love that muses,
Love eternally shines,
Love so true, love that’s honest,
Love forever divine.

Three kisses have waited a long time to happen,
Through winter of distance, of silence, of hope,
Three kisses woke trust and true mutual compassion,
And love that continues to guide and support.

 

September 22, 2010

Transcendence

From a frozen ground it sprouted,
Sepals green with petals red,
Tiny, seeking rays of sunshine,
Put its leaves all out to spread.

Heavy hands came down and dirty,
Pounding teeny flower down,
Muddy boots and filthy fingers,
Grabbing at the pistil firm.

Rain a scarce and love fallacious,
Growth a challenge each long day,
No defense but quiet moonlight,
Broken stems lay many, slay.

Seasons pass and fresh springs follow,
Flower now stands strong and tall,
Tiny buds rise from the wet ground,
Carpet meadow bountiful.

Bees and bugs come springtime, often,
Spreading pollen with their feet,
Colors change from red to yellow,
Days and rays of sunshine fleet.

Blooms to soil and bones to ashes,
Life grows cycles year to end,
Strength dispersed in muted portions,
Human, nature, clutch, preserve.

 

February 9, 2018

FL370*

From height of level three seven zero,
Rivers seem like veins,
Highways traffic capillaries,
Trees are pinhead greens.

High above all flying creatures,
White of clouds on end,
Humanity to the horizon,
Jet rumble constant jeer.

Motion down is hardly noticed,
Less so aspirations, dreams,
Mankind from the heavens – minuscule,
Far too small to discern.

Tone of skin or language parlance,
Dogmatic camps or conflict lines,
Cries of war or calls for peace,
Unknown from heavens heights.

Blues of oceans, white tall mountains,
Lights of cities, green of trees,
Birds and mammals, fish in ocean,
Life in endless harmonies.

Days with moments overwhelming,
Times of hate and deep despair,
Fly your mind into the heavens,
Spirit sound and mind a clear.

 

*Flight Level – aviation term for flying altitude.

May 14, 2014

Into the Valley

High over lavender clouds,
A white albatross soars,
Stirring its way,
Toward a distant nest,
Beyond the seas.

Strong thermals lift its wings,
Tailwinds thrust it onward,
Distant stars guide its way,
Gentle flaps of feathers,
Steady,
Tracking seventy-one degrees.

Sudden pain,
Burning in its belly,
The large bird breaks course,
Seeking port and recluse,
Before the agony becomes,
Too overwhelming.

Head down,
Penetrating the thick darkness,
White albatross seeks safe harbor,
Among the white crests,
Powdering the dark horizon below.

Ancient voices sedate its fears,
Soothing direction into the mayhem,
A land patch appears, distant,
But within reach,
For safe landing,
And repose.

Flocks of birds fly high overhead,
Migrating between far corners of the earth,
White albatross rests alone,
On the cold ground.
In a day it will soar again,
Resurrect its body back into the heavens,
And fly,
Routing home.

 

January 19, 2018