Friday Dispatch: It Took a War
We need each other now
Today, in lieu of trying to put together coherent thoughts, allow me to share a new poem. I wrote it early this morning, while the trees were still silhouetted against the barely blue dawn in the peaceful oasis of my living room. Talk about cognitive dissonance.
Shabbat Shalom and love,
It Took a War
It took a war for us to do this –
her words as we exchanged numbers
after two hours of talking over decaf,
trading name stories, hair products,
questions of what even matters now,
questions of what constitutes courage,
affirmation that we're not overreacting.
It took a war for us to leave our houses
in the morning, to interrupt our routines
and leave the pets wondering,
risk a new beginning, discover
we have the same necklace,
the silver cube with the Coleridge
quote engraved in the tiniest letters –
he looked into his own soul...
mine a gift to myself as a young woman
not yet out, not yet found,
hers a gift from her best friend, now gone
yet always with her.
What bookends our days,
what bookends our lives?
Always my thoughts turn to the spaces
between – between danger and safety,
birth and death, war and peace.
All of these absolutes that when
broken open reveal a thousand
stories, shards, fragments, letters
so small we need magnifying glasses
to read them.
You have the right to remain curly,
the slogan goes, she told me.
You have the right to remain Jewish.
You have the right to reach out
across the bridge, to bridge the divide,
to burn bridges when you need to,
to turn to face the door where the Shabbos bride
blesses the room with her messengers of peace,
the door with its mezuzah
reminding us to love our God
with all our heart.
It took a war to see how quickly
our sense of safety would quake
under the weight of hatred,
a doppelganger for a love of justice,
and how justice herself weeps
at how words so laden
with suffering are thrown around
so casually without listening
to the sounds of those who live
inside of them, who cannot keep
up with counting their dead,
and whose cellular memory
is not a thing of the past
but the face of a woman
who could be my daughter
dancing in the desert,
the daughter whose name
is in the title of one of my new friend's
books, and how this morning
she asked for my address
and shared links to hair products
and told me she'd gotten home
and found her now more than ever,
which is to say, it took a war
to say we need each other now,
we cannot do this alone,
we are for each other
and for ourselves
and for the other,
The Sound of Real Life Happening
November 11-21, 2023
What are the sounds of real life happening?
That is what we tune into when we write "elevens."
If you get caught between "too much" and "not enough," if you feel like you're full to bursting with thoughts, feelings, ideas, reactions, observations, and everything spanning the mundane to the existential, and either despite or because of this find it hard to write a single word, this practice – which has carried me through the best and worst of times – may surprise you.
Where: Private FB group, with a Zoom call towards the end
When: November 11-21
How much: $111
Who: Anyone who could use both a structure for getting yourself to write every day, and the warmth and connection that come with being part of a group. This is a generative and encouraging group, sans critique.