Poetry

Jacob is a published poet.  Here is a list of some of his published poems:

“Holy Ground,” in In the Biblical Sense: An Anthology of Apocryphal Poetry, edited by Dane Kuttler and Oscar McNary, forthcoming.

“Appease, Atone,” in APIARY: written by humans 4 (Spring/Summer 2012): p. 40

“First Rung,” in Embattled Masculinities in the Religious Traditions, guest edited by Bjorn Krondorfer, Cross Currents 61:4 (Winter 2011): 565. http://authorservices.wiley.com/bauthor/onlineLibraryTPS.asp?DOI=10.1111/j.1939-3881.2011.00205.x&ArticleID=909142

“These I Remember,” in Jewish Currents, Autumn 2010, p. 45.

“Facing You Facing Me” and “Yahrzeit Candle,” in Brother Keepers: New Perspectives on Jewish Masculinity, edited by Harry Brod and Shawn Zevit (Men’s Studies Press, 2010), pp. 279, 280.

“Martyrology,” in The Forward 112: 31,739 (1/9/09): 15.  http://www.forward.com/articles/14836/

“Forget It” and “Third Trimester Prayer,” in Jewish Currents 63/1, 652 (January-February 2009): 29.

“Isaiah Interviewed: An Excerpt,” in Zeek/Jewcy, posted on-line 6/19/08, http://www.jewcy.com/post/poem_isaiah_interviewed_excerpt

“Deluge,” in Kerem (Fall 2007), 128-129.

“Winter Light Promises,” Golden Calf,” and “Angel Larry” in Ashe: Journal of Experimental Spirituality 5/4 (Winter 2006): 408-414. http://ashejournal.com/index.php?id=109

“Bally’s Bocher” in White Crane: Gay Wisdom and Culture, (Winter 2006-07) #71, p. .http://whitecrane.typepad.com/journal/2007/02/wc71_poetry_by_.html

“Winter Light Promises,” in Zeek (Fall/Winter 2005), pp. 88-89. [Also available on line at http://www.zeek.net/poetry_0512.shtml

“Facing You Facing Me,” in Connections: The Newsletter of Spiritual Directors International 14/3 (October/November 2005), p. 6. [This poem won an Honorable Mention in the 2005 Presence Poetry Contest.]

“Golden Calf,” in Zeek (July 2005) http://www.zeek.net/poetry_0507.shtml
First Rung

Come together that I may tell you what is to befall you in days to come.

You should have known.  The ladder can be
ascended by the wounded.  You who had seen
the intersection of heaven and earth
could not discern: your heirs were not
prisoners of your thoughtless parenting.
A pity.  You thought you knew your sons,
Jacob, but on your deathbed, when you tried
to see their destiny, you looked backwards.
We limp in your footsteps, Zeide.  We each
cross our own river.  Others
see the purity of our souls, and we
see theirs, and they see that we
see their purity, and we see
that they see ours, and then, mysteriously,
the One who supports those who fall
has us each recognize our reflection
in the eyes of another.

We who massacre
our enemies while they sleep, we who sell
our brothers into slavery, we
who, once enslaved, reduce whole nations
into servitude, we, too,
can stumble unforeseen.


file://localhost/C:/Users/Jacob/Dropbox/My%20Docs/mypoetry/12.%20First%20Rung – _ftnref1[1] Genesis 49:1.

Published in CrossCurrents, Winter 2011.

These I Remember

Strolling on the beach in Santa Monica,
I imagined resigning to face the unknown.
Head aching, I lay on the spa futon
for my first massage and noticed the throbbing
lift, though I had done nothing but breathe
and receive.  One hour after
I had come out to my kids, my son
looked at me as if I were crazy
and said, “What are you sorry about?
You didn’t do anything wrong,”
and through the tears I thought, “This
could turn out all right.”  The moment
when I first leaned back into the arms
of a man and noticed that I could let go,
that I had never let go before.

When I first sat in God’s presence
without trembling.  The morning I heard
the swaying cottonwoods singing Holy,
Holy, Holy, Holy, Holy.

I mark them, but I can’t retrieve the sensation
of release, the swift, startling movement
from tension to opening, the sweet and baffling
disorientation as certainties roll

away forever, the high, the altered
state of grace, so unexpected, so obvious
a moment later. Moments that last
only as long as I don’t try
to remember them, sudden breezes
on a sultry day that tickle the back
of my sweaty neck.

Maybe when
the shofar sounds or when the concert amplifier
plays my quivering bones like strings.
Maybe when the rays of the setting sun
splinter into a palette of color,
taking my breath away.  I loosen
my hold on the day.

Published in Jewish Currents, Autumn 2010, p. 45.

 

Appease, Atone

“For transgressions against another person, the Day of Atonement brings no atonement until the injured party is appeased.” (Mishnah Yoma 8)

 

For me, you should find her a man.

He’ll initiate.  He’ll wear her out.

Breathless, she’ll plead for him to stop,

fading with a tiny wicked smile.

She’ll pretend to be above it all,

but indiscreetly, she’ll let everyone

know that he’s rough and ravenous.

She’ll gloat that she is getting

what I could never give her.

 

She is the injured party.

Everyone assured me, but

she will never forgive.

Mornings, her anger ignites her.

Evenings, she suffers righteously,

refueling her indignation.

She won’t give me the satisfaction,

won’t collapse, won’t allow a kind thought

to arise.  She awaits my regret

not for hurting but for loving her,

for ruining her life with my lie.

The script was forever and always.

Her need is not to be appeased.

 

Unjust that the greens of leaves

grew so vivid once the mask

of terror was shed.  I bake

flourless chocolate tortes,

treat skull caps as accessories,

write poems and play the djembe.

Once I hoped to find

true love in my next life

with merit earned in the closet,

but the world to come is here.

 

God moves unexpectedly,

the rabbis taught, from the throne

of judgment to the throne

of compassion.  For some sins,

no atonement, but redemption

nevertheless.

(Published in APIARY: written by humans 4 (Spring/Summer 2012): p. 40.)

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