If I hadn't known him better
I would think that his demeanor
-- All the bluster and the anger –
And the way he keeps his armor
Shows what's simply just a matter
Of his really being touched.
But I got to know him better
And he showed me what is under
All his fury and his terror,
Said when he was just a youngster
That except for strokes of fervor
By his uncle and his father
In the darkness of the cellar
And the bedroom under cover
That he wasn't ever touched.
He is slowly getting better
In his comeback from disaster
And I told him it's an honor
To be given such an offer
Of his openness and candor
And I doubt that I will ever
Be again so deeply touched.
Fingers nimbly pirouette along your spine
They tap tap tap
upon a tender spot chasing off the tension with a cha-cha.
They bow and point,
now a stately minuet,
inviting you to forget the future and follow, with trust,
Palms samba around curves, dip in and out of valleys in swirls and swerves
Knuckles knead out knots,
a lazy lambada of love.
Hands hold hips,
suggest a quiet hula,
swaying to a rain dance rhythm,
ending with a twist:
mashed potatoes on the table.
Last Havdalah before My
The sky's a sapphire blue.
Summer campers gather on the side of a hill.
Fort Worth lies in the haze,
a mirage fading fast.
Rabbi Sol displays
the braided candle,
blue and grey and white,
thin strands of wax intertwined
on their ways
up to three separate wicks.
“Before the last of the day disappears and we start a new week,
we give this Havdalah candle light. Our eyes find pleasure.
They fix on the fire,
on the mystery that no mind,
at last, can handle.".
He unveils the spice box,
an exquisite jewel,
a silver bowl on a silver stand,
with a silver bell above and a delicate door to store the spices
– cinnamon sticks and leaves of sage and orange peel.
His nostrils flare as he inhales.
“The nose can only thrill to the scent. Our noses were meant to love what takes us beyond the bland,
what entices us into dreams of renewal.”
Rabbi Sol makes the tiny bell ring,
a sound so soft and pure it is gone almost before it is heard,
yet it will resound into the night.
“Our ears treasure whatever will sing, whatever will bring a noise of joy,
a stroke, a wave, a note, a word . Some say God is a chord and a beat that came before and that will endure.”
His hands reveal the wine cup, ceramic, fluted, opalescent,
a six-pointed star superimposed.
He uncaps a jar of grape juice and decants,
holds the cup of kiddie wine up and chants,
“Boruch atah Adonoi,
we thank Thee for the fruit of the vine.
Our tongues want the sweet –
and the bitter and salty, too.
We savor flavor, our glimpse of Elysian bliss.
We drink and eat not to blot out pain but because we have always bestowed honor to manna.
Our taste buds must be pleased before our billion cells can be fed.”
A warm Southwest wind blows the campers a heavenly kiss.
Rabbi Sol commences to speak again.
“We honor our senses –
taste, smell, hearing, sight – and…” here he pauses
“…and you will note they are all in the head. Our other sense causes us our best feeling. It is around our entire bodies.
Touch can promote and produce the greatest healing.
It can give such complete release from being uptight, it is hard to think we can live without touch.
Please take the hand of the friend on either side of you.” The delicate fingers of Sarah Jane have already eased into mine.
Bernard's clammy hand locks into my other.
Newfound friends from Corpus Christi and Odessa .
Sarah Jane's tender touch warms my heart.
Bernard's caress makes me drift. Yes.
We start to sway and from far away a voice sings:
“Cum bah yah, my Lord, cum bah yah. Someone's smiling, my Lord, cum bah yah.”
I sink into my friends' embrace and think as far back as I can:
I can see her face.
Nana, my Dad's mother, beaming with delight as I play, giving tugs to the pads of fat under her arms until she smothers me with hugs and tickles and love.
The sun set and singed the shy clouds attending.
The moon lingered and mingled with the ascending
Balm of dark blue daylessness.
I sat and sighed and simmered,
Nothing was righter or richer or riper than befriending
And all the evening long
never did what I had been