Golem History Lesson

Another golem
arrived not too long before I did,
talked to students, retirees, people
dead with debt.
And what happened?
Some tarred him with names—
what usually happens when a golem
tries to set things right.

Humans are transparent,
some without the kishkas to remember
how their parents’  parents and those before them
believed that freedom was the sweetest thing,
sweeter than honey,
sweeter than Sabbath.

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The Ghost Ship

The Ghost Ship
sailed into the Oakland harbor
smelling of burning flesh.
No one was left. That same day

people marveled how hundreds
of yellow marigolds, all sizes,
grew beneath the ship’s bottom
lifting its charred remains into the wind.

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The Golem on Feeling Unsettled

trees

Still unsettled from my last call,
when Christian babies
had been dug from graves and stashed
inside Jewish kitchens to prove guilt,
now up against energy efficient drones
all rubble down the ritual hole
beneath my feet warlocks dance
and settle to earth everywhere collecting shrouds–

Oy vey iz mir! My stomach a hillock
impassable to food,
a poor golem, a civil servant
on the payroll to settle scores;
I can’t keep returning
to these settlements.

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Golem Takes a Hike on Black Friday

Twisting Bay laurel trunks lean down the hillside
branches covered in moss scarves
quail make a quick exit like a troupe
of dancers racing across stage lights to fame,
the only flowers are spindles of yellow ivy
on a path wet from rain, skeletons of thistles
hang in a eucalyptus-scented afternoon,
white helmets of mushrooms, leftovers

for snails and slugs, even pigs
root around with dripping snouts
topple stems and scatter the newly devout,
creamed and stuffed, hunters pick baskets
selecting only the best
and throw upon the earth the poor rest.

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Golem Has a Career Crisis

How can I be sure
I’m the best one for the job,
a statue hewn from rose quartz,
a slab for nose, a chunk for body,
two lips unable to speak or eat but able to see
those from whose veins and arteries
blood flows like a round of tides—
restless

at every entrance and off ramp
a face floats on the public square
with the push of a button, and so I ask,
what need is there for Golem
when men can craft their own look-alikes
from lies and mud?

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The Eustachian Tube of a Golem

I learned to think with my eyes
speak with my hands
in the shimmery violet and reddish black of the evening light
the sound of Aramaic wending along the Eustachian tube
of my middle ear filled with voices of inanimate friends—
table, lamp, pictures—all company keepers
and what it means to forge a bolt on my past
ensuring word does not get out to the wrong people.

IMG_1081

To lose a world
and find it again
along a wet slate sidewalk
where I sit on one side of a glass partition
listening to a distant voice
telling me what it is I must do.

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The Golem Muses Upon the Wonder Rebbe of Prague

In my dreams, he stretches far
or holds the hand of shadows
lags behind as I try to catch up
my Rebbe of Prague who installed me
inside the Hall of Justice
as immortal as the iridescent cataract of hatred
a protector and shield of the people
an incantation called to order by a syncopated rhythm

twenty-two letters
cascading inside the other to bursting.
Breathe, open your eyes, he told me.
The Wonder Rebbe made me mute
so I would not need to guard what I said.
Others do not share this gift.IMG_0868

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Golem Looking At the Super Moon

You swooped in to take a close-up
the first time in more than sixty years
by my count, no time at all.
Maybe you couldn’t believe
the wind whispering in your soft ear
had to see with your own two eyes
what the ruckus was all about
golden parachuted down to earth

a super moon curious to see
if she could recognize anyone
from the old neighborhood.
Slivers of cut-glass shadows everywhere.
We never belonged to this place.
And if a silver mirror could speak,
great pain until burnished.

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A Dark Force is Calling All Cars

Snap out of it, I told my golem friend. There are
more important things than dwelling in the past perfect,
no need to cry over spilled chicken soup
nor hunger after latkes with sour cream.
Love comes in different varieties,
some as easy as heating up a can of soup,
but you are my own recipe—

I appeal to your higher self—
for there is a dark force that has been released unto this land,
one that assembles its army of discontents
calling all cars from underground parking lots
to converge at the marblehead—
ready to blast us all into dust.

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Magic Trick Toss

Before I could subscribe his ears to the terracotta
soothings of past times, I tried to cheer
his decomposed spirits, played around with a bronze coin
saved in my pocket and etched with an etrog,
a magic trick toss of heads lost or tails, then so amazed my fetching
one from his nose, ears, beneath his feet
from whereupon he sagged and fell to the ground,
thumping his chest like a drum kettle,

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launched into the story of a certain striated rock
with whom he’d shared many affections,
buried beneath her dark underside, waiting
for the call throughout the generations, until
it had become my turn to separate the poor golem
from his dearly beloved, of which he could do nothing about.

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