Friday, December 11, 2009

taking my leave

good bye
im leaving

take it the wrong way if you want
we were close once which is exactly
why i dont want you in my periphery

but feel free to
take it the wrong way id say youre
entitled to

i used to say that loves greatest mystery
was the
turned strangership and the taste of blood
under clasped teeth and fake smiles and

people would trade a thousand hookups to
one person whoud step between them and
those who do what those who do
aint my people aint
my tribe aint


aint much

grown an old mans scent
and fat
bad teeth
and so
bad breath

thats about it

but my heart is banging hard and crimson
and yesterday i stepped between a broken bottle
and a stranger
without fear
thats me

and i know this aint my time but i have no intention
to make it mine

so im taking my leave
if you want you know
where to reach me if
you dont


Thursday, December 10, 2009

words of dusk

take my neck let it hold
take my liver make it work
take my eyes let them see
take my heart and make it beat

take these bones and make them last another day
let me straighten out my back tomorrow when i wake

take my feet make them walk
take my teeth have them chew
take my knees
take my lungs and let them breathe

thats all
one more day

then ill be on my way
leave you to your own devices
let you be

your stars are very black tonite
your darkness very bright
the rain and cold
your hiding sun

according to your mold:
very, very young
and very old

thats all

Sunday, December 6, 2009

waking night

wake night
waiting for the poison
waiting for the poison
to leave my limbs

to let go of the heart
let go of my knees
and my clasped teeth

waiting for the poison
for the fear to subside
for the anger monster
to go away

waiting for my poison
to break me
leave me
in tears

carry me on iron wheels
through the burning rage
and bitter hate to


Friday, October 2, 2009

Melle Mel and Sukkot.....

Unemployed, all non void, walking 'round like a pretty boy Floyd, turned stick up kid, but....Well no, not really. But unemployed indeed since a couple of months - by my own choosing and no real excuse for only using my blog as a means to get 3 people at best to read my poetry. Supposedly a blog should be updated at least once a day, no? I had this grand scheme that I would do just that after I took the consequences of no longer standing three layers of incompetence above me at my place of work and hence resigning - I was going to dub it "The dole diaries" -but it never materialised. Maybe because I as of yet don't know if my dear ol' union intends to actually pay me any dole or if I shall have to live on fried rice for the remainder of my savings.

So anyways - I overslept this morning and was awoken by a phone call from Chip demanding that I was to immediately get in a cab and get my sorry behind to Shul as they were a man short of a Minyan (the quorum of 10 Jewish men necessary for service), so I called a cab and arrived just in time for Kriat Torah - half an hour late. After service we had breakfast, I had a smoke with Chip and was informed that Dale is badly depressed and will probably not show for some time. I had already figured as much as he doesn't even answer the phone but I miss the man. Still - at least he is talking to his closest friend. Then I was off to the JCC to meet up with P to explain to him the ABC's of his new computer, one of them worthless notebooks that are really small and reeeealy sloooow. How he has achieved to reach the age of 60 without knowing how to save a word document in a folder of his choice I have no idea. So that's about how much I managed to teach in 1,5 hours.

Yesterday I spent most the day building Sukkoth - first the Chabad Shaliach's and then Shul's. Sukkoth is my probably my favourite holiday - a lot of singing, the wonderful scent of Etrogim filling Shul in the early morning, the rattling sound of shaking Arba minim, 50 Jews crammed up in the Sukka under the pine roof, great food, and then staying late with the Israelis, the yeshiva bocherims and the rabbis - singing and talking Torah and getting drunk on Whiskey. Doesn't get better.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Personals Ad

"Hi there!
I'm happy you found my profile! Please sit back and let me introduce myself and my world!

People often tell me that what strikes them the most about me is my bubbly personallity, my eye to detail and my pure, intrinsic evil. My closest "friends" often describe me as unintelligent, but with a well developed sneakyness that gains me insight into peoples weaknesses and an understanding of how to exploit them. I'm also known to be cheap and and as a man who rather bite his head off than pay for dinner. Some would probably point out my creepyness. Others have actually had the gaul to kvetch about my personal hygiene, looks, smell, and so on.

Professionally I'm a bit of a failure I'm afraid, seing as I just got fired, but I have high hopes of tricking my insurance company into paying a few months of dole, so I might be able to pay rent for the charming studio basement apartment I'm renting in South Bronx. I have been able to hold down several jobs for long stretches of time though, but they all ended as soon as my prison term was up, and in all honesty they didn't pay very well.

However - other peoples seething hatred for my person is easily balanced by my megalomanic and undying love for myself. Every thought, smirk or even word I bestow upon the general public I consider an act of bevevolent and loving kindness. And as they say - If you don't love your self, how can you possibly love somebody else? Hence there is no limit to my capacity for love!!!!"

So....sometimes I get a bit tired of all the streamlined copy writing on Frumster and other dating sites.....meh!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Delancey street

truth is
I never did know how to love
so in the nights I
flicked on the screen
and let my soul fall with with the cloudy white snow flakes
over yet another manhattan new years happy ending
and for another 15 minutes falling through the jewel light
of the shimmering city skyline
I was whole

I would steal the one liners from the street florists
and the confessions of the heart off the city side walks
I'd smoke my cigarettes in the softness of my dark room
and blow the smoke through the blue light towards the ceiling
savioring them words
saving them silver nitrate heart beats
for the next girl to show up en route some place completely different
such as marriage
such as love

I can't love and can't sleep so I
visit the late night movie shows
we sit few and far between
I watch the couples when the light comes on
they rub the fiction from their eyes and smile
to each other
drowsily like newborn

he helps her with her coat and as they leave
I turn my attention to the credits and all these
names from the bible

on cold winter nights there is a tune playing on
delancey street and when I'm brave enough
strong enough
determined enough
me enough
I walk to the middle of the bridge through the biting wind
where you can here it perfectly

other nights I just
flick the screen on
and let my soul fall with the snow flakes
over another manhattan happy ending
while I memorize the one liners for another girl
en route to somebody completely different
and light another


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tuesday morning, 2 AM

come night
take me in
put your warm hands on mine
give me your darkness and sorrows and secrets
be my friend and lover as before

strew your silver on the river and pour your rain
on the solitary streets and give them comfort
caress the street lights and the sleeping cars
your breath in every lonely engine sound
in every tired sleeping block

come night sit down and share my coffee and my cigarettes
look me in the eyes and tell me that you'll never leave me
that I'll always be your child no matter what
your brother and your confidant

that no matter what happens you'll always be there

come night with your slowing hours and your scent of time
hum your song of cabbies, cops and drunks
to your tune of distant sirens, distant horns and distant dreams
give my regards to the starbucks clerks and the insomniacs

come night with morphine for the wounded and insane
come night with clarity of heart and mind and memory
show me all I lost and never cried for
and let me cry

come night and lie beside me
breathe your darkness all around me

come night and make me human

once again

Sunday, August 16, 2009


exile from
exile to
on main street
and mean streets

exile from a life you dreamed of
a life you worked hard for
a life you were taught
a life you were raised to
a life you were meant for
a life planned and hoped for
a life that was supposed to be
a life lost

the scents coming through the curtains
sound of streets coming awake in the morning
being woken up by by tiny hands
seeing the same faces
grow and wrinkle
earning and buying your bread
in the same factory
from the same bakery

to a life after
a language not known
to the sounds of foreign streets
this city full of strangers
a life you do not know and cannot grasp
a life of cardboard boxes
an emptied apartment
a life of aching temples and sleepless nights
a life never prepared for
a life of learning anew

exiled by a woman
exiled by a war
a dictator
a dream
a mistake
a time

exiled to starting all over with no map and and a banged up compass

to a new

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A small word

just one word
one word
and so difficult

one single word
and a thousand wars
and shattered hearts
covering the city streets
and lonely farm lands

paris and beatrix
hell purgatory heaven
and the smoking ashes of troy

this small word


this one word
and an infinity
every poet in every time
every letter in every alphabet
every heart in every era
in every land

on word

since the the first second was spoken to a cold universe
out of love

every man
every woman
every child


Friday, May 8, 2009

What is the problem with men?

I'm in a bad mood. Fed up. With men. To be clear: I'm not a feminist, I don't believe men to have a rape gene or to be incapable of acting decently due to sociological constraints, general upbringing or an in general evil manhood into which we are socialised. Never the less, I'm truly fed up with the way certain men behave towards women. Part of the reasons are purely egoistic: I'm fed up with being treated like a potential moron, molester or rapist. I'm tired of noticing how women ahead start speeding up when I'm quietly walking home at night, and having too slow down or change sidewalks not to scare her. And a few months ago in New York City I was unable to get a girl to date me, to even meet me in a restaurant, partly because of her previous encounters with inconsiderate schmucks and madmen. Instead we talked on the phone for some 8 (!) hours, half of which was devoted to her interrogating me as to whether I was a stalker, madman, alcoholic or something other less appropriate for a good Jewish girl. Until we had to give up and never even met.

A couple of days ago I had a cup of coffee with an old friend. She is in her forties and dresses modestly as do most members of the middleeastern people to which she belongs. On her way home she stopped to exchange a few words with the man serving the subway booth as they are old friends. While she was talking to her she suddenly felt a very big person pushing up against her and his hand feeling her up between her legs and squeezing her behind. She was completely shocked and turned ice cold. But she also, fortunately, reacted and turned around. Behind her was a bear like man of middle age. She told him to stop, and demanded he made an excuse. As he tried to laugh it off she got angrier and kicked him in the leg. After a while the guards arrived and explained to the man that what he had done was illegal. The man himself tried to lecture my friend that "this is not how women usually behave in this country", and telling the guards that my friend had assaulted her (she is the least aggressive person thinkable and most computer geeks could carry her). My friend ended up making a police report, and so did the man. She was unable to sleep and felt terrible for a week after it happened. Anyone think that this excuse of a man had any trouble sleeping? So after a week she was called to the police station to witness. Not about the molestation, but about her kicking him on the leg.

Now this is not just a sad incident. I have many female friends whom have had stalkers, been molested, felt up and abused, telephone terrorised. And one very close friend was brutally raped. Now where do these men come from and who are they? And from where do they get the shittyness to treat women this way. It's incomprehensible. Of course there are rotten eggs among women, but in general they are unbelievably loyal to men. I used to drive buses at night and I would see all these little girls carrying there twice as big, drunk as hell, boyfriends onto the buses, puke over their clothes, making sure they got home. Is it these guys who grow up to be molesters?

I simply can not understand how a man can assault a woman and live with himself. Or shout "bitch" or "hoe" after a girl and feel good when she is stunned by the shock and shame. Brag about it to their friends.

Who are these men? They aren't. Men, that is. A real man is a source of good. A real man is "women and children first". A real man look to those week, whomever they are, and try to help out, and to those strong, and point out where they need to better themselves. A real man will feel valuable when he helps a friend, consoles a child or build a house.

One of the men I remember was my grandfather. He was very manly because he would let the grand kids punch his big belly with all their might while he laughed so hard his teeth nearly fell out. His arms was thick as trees after many years of hard work and his garage was filled with oily tools and a big industrial sharpening machine that weighed 2 tons. One day when I was playing one of my fantasy killing games, killing everyone, he grabbed me and said: "You do know that killing someone is nothing heroic, right?" I was a really young and fairly screwed up kid, and my heroes were John Wayne and Alan Ladd, so I asked: "What do you mean". He said: "A real hero is someone who saves someone's life. That is the finest thing someone can ever do in life."

Another real man is my father.

Some day I hope to be one myself. What these persons that purposely hurt, degrade, humiliate and molest women hope to achieve I can't imagine. May they all go to hell.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Khaybar, Khaybar ya Yahud!

In Sweden there is a monthly Magazine called The Jewish Chronicle. It´s partly funded by The Jewish Congregation, and hence, as a member, I receive it every month. This month they have a theme on the Anti-Israel protests during the Operation Cast Led in Gaza. During these demonstrations, signs were carried with the text "Khaybar, Khaybar ya Yahud!", a slogan that was also chanted at mass demonstrations in Malmoe, the third largest city in Sweden, with the largest percentage of newly arrived Muslim immigrants from the Middle East. Now what does this slogan mean? Is it something about freedom to Palestine? Ending the "occupation"?

Not so. Khaybar was a small city in present day Saudi Arabia, where Muhammad clashed with Jewish Bedouins in the year 629, as it seems primarily for political reasons. The fight ended up with 3/4 of the Jews being slaughtered. And this is now chanted in a protest against the Davis Cup match between Israel and Sweden? This is a demonstration for the Palestinian right to statehood? In the same march walked a famous folk singer (a fantastic on I might add, just wish he´d shut up on politics forever...) as well as local politicians. All under the flying green banners of Hamas.

Do I need to point out that in the year 629 there was no Palestine, nor Palestinians? At that time the Arabs were a small desert-dwelling people. In time they would subdue the whole of what is now called the "Arab world" and not be stopped until the mountainous borders of France.

The Jewish Chronicle also contains an interview with Ilmar Reepalu, the Leader of the City Council. He says he never heard until now any complaints about the safety of the city's Jewish population, and that after the attempts of arson, vandalisation and attacks against Jewish outdoor meetings, he saw no reason to contact the Jewish Community in Malmoe to reassure them that this was being looked into. He can´t see why he would and as he says: "When Swastikas was painted on my house, the Jewish community didn't contact me to express their support".

Ehhh....well, the Jewish community isn't the city's highest ranking official, now is it? What is true is that this politician wanted to stop the Davis Cup match altogether. And what is true is that Arab votes in the constituency is much more numerous than the Jewish. Who wouldn't look the other way for a little Jew-hatred?

Other than that Im restaurating an old table, and the result is so, so. The fumes from the paint remover will probably have cost me quite a few brain cells, and if I had any clue how much work would be involved, I probably wouldn't have started it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

This simple


simple as trees
simple as rain
simple as bucket

simple as the dirty hands of a child
after hours of playing under a clouded sky

simple as book
simple as care
simple as ease

simple as an old man smoking his pipe
on his front porch watching the autumn foliage


simple as home
simple as train
simple as night

simple as the tired gaze of an inner city cop
shedding his uniform after the night shift

simple as whisper
simple as mourning
simple as love

simple as the trembling hands of an abandoned man
reaching for the bottle as the night grows blacker


simple as death
simple as sun
simple as water

simple as the sorrows of an early summer morning
the city broad streets empty to the singing birds

simple as wing flaps
simple as grace
simple as end

simple as the hand of light that touches your heart
and make you struggle each and yet another day


when I die
even if I never said a single thruth
if everything I ever uttered was a lie
I’ll take them with me

Stalgia 1


you chose another
I can’t blame you
it took me ten years to understand
why and
that the time and
the man you chose had made you
someone i couldn´t have loved
had made you another

and ten more years for me to see
that life had made me another man
than the one you fell in love with so

at age forty now I know what
happened half a life ago or
do I

the tears of joy you showed me
running like the summer rain that
made your face a window
drove the scents of deep green
lawns that etched forever in my
heart this picture

a green park
a yellow bench
on it
a woman that is gone
a smile no longer yours

behind the camera
an aching heart
a man no longer me

a loss no longer mine

The mountaineer

a man
a sun
beating beating beting burning
the surface of stone every
single cliff every ounce of
breathing air every browning
blade of grass
far below

a man climb a mountain the
sweat of his forehead his
burning palms his wild eyes
every sinue like viola strings
gasping fire

the third time
the last time

and the sun blots out
every purpose every
thought every last
bit of pride and vanity
even the memory of his
own name
and what it meant

climbing towards


and every moment
and every movement
and every burning


and there is no more time
and there is no more man
and there is no more

and it is all white and

it begins

Testimony in imperative, past and future

the world is everything that is falling

black stars and
drunks from bar stools

dices and dead mans hands and
queens of

like flashlights in
mining shafts

the world is
everything that is

bodies loosing all humanity
in the iron grip of gravity
frozen in a leap of eternity

the world is everything that is falling

the angel of light
the god of might our

the world is everything that is falling
our scrolls the splendid
universe that we were
and hearts
and faith
and a 1000 day fast
won’t make it better
won’t atone for it

the world is everything
that is falling

falling from the towers of babel
and the heights if innocence

choices, tools, the working hand
men – women – children
the wisdom of the very old and
very young
the past and future

world is everything that is falling petals
books in empty nigh-time libraries and
children finally – our last words an
open place where every language failed
every world a lie, an imprint every letter
over a screaming sky
and fell

the world is everything that is falling

ecxept rebellion and prayer

and you
and me

and the thousands
who silently know
the meaning of


narrative according to one of the confused passers-by

she secretly
found herself a new lover
didn’t like his colour
painted him another

a short glance to
the mirror he
noticed said
took a shower

his wrist watch
corduroy trousers
blue and sun ray dancing dust
his reflection in the dark computer screen
finishing a cigarette for an eternity
gets up he says: i’m leaving

the door - the thud - the end

act II: from him: a letter:

i know you know
been there to and
im older so listen

see that corridor? white the end a door?
when you decide to leave i say when
close it don’t look back no more
that’s all

me? no fear i met someone
to her i am another
now try to rest


still lifes: beeper - cellphone - handheld

she secretly
grows herself a new colour
laughter cars and auction hollers
ocean mountain desert:


Notes on Noach

So, Noach. Obviously he was a rightous man and had faith in Hashem, and once he was ordered to build the ark he did so with much tenacity, according to our sages during a period of 120 years, and probably accompanied by the ridicule of others, and this is admirable.

But his faith didnt make him an activist it seems. Before the flood, he was rightous and probably his family too, but we are not told that he actively tried to change the behaviour of his peers, or preach rightousness to others. He is also a bit fatalist if you compare him to Abraham (which seem to be the thing that is often done) or Moshe. Because once he is told that Hashem intends to wipe out humanity, he simply accepts it ans start building the ark. Compare that to how Abraham starts to haggle with Hashem over Sodom or Gemorra or how Moshe tells Hashem after the Golden Calf incident that if Hashem blots out Am Israel then he might as well remove Moshe from the book Hashem i writing. So when it comes to Abraham and Moshe, despite their absolute faith in Hashem, it doesn’t stop them from questioning His decision of from being equally loyal to Humanity and Am Israel.

This makes me think acually about a difference I perceive between Islam and Judaism (one of many). Clasiical Islam typically has an “Inshalla” atitude to things, a rather fatalist approach basically. If you are born in a poor shoemaker family, this is what God wants and thats that - you become a poor shoemaker or a poor shoemakers wife. So basically Noachs approach may be seen more one of “obediance”, while Abrahams and Moshes approach is more of “partners in creation”.

As for Rashi and the classical question of who is more rightous, Noach or Abraham, whether Noach was only rightous in comparison with his own rotten generation, or whetherwe should concur that he was superrightous as he was able to stay that way DESPITE being surrounded by the worst sinners imaginable, and hence, in the company of Abrahams peers, would have towered over him....hmmm....I guess I’m heretical enough to say that I dont really find the question very relevant: To me Abraham is more Jewish in his ways and he is hence closer to me. On the other hand his readiness to sacrifice Isaak is a display of completely blind faith that I honestly fail to understand - especially in light that he pleaded for the lifes of the people in Sodom and Gomorra, people he didn’t even know (with the exception of the fullblown sinner Laban). But...that might be something for next weeks parcha.

a people of bullhorns

We are a people of bullhorns
we cry out in the night
we cry out in the dusty sunlight
but nobody really listens

its not that we don’t care
but all this digital shouting
craving attention
has dulled out our memory
and we have lost the art
the actual knowledge of sound
the craft of litening

one reed floating on the water surface
the hissing of atumn leaves
the pounding of our own hearts
a creaking wooden floor in an old house
long time ago

but there is an analogue wisper in the night
its present in the vast and lonely coountryside
can be heard above the din in the big cities
and if you listen carefully
over all our bullhorns

it speaks of birth
and of rebirth
of childrearing and of
sowing and reaping
od shelter for the very young
and the very old of loneliness
and leaving room for those to

it has the power to teach us to direct our voices
it has the power to teach us to direct our voices
it has the power to teach us to direct our voices

and so
i will try to listen
and regain what has been lost to me

a zoom

come closer
have a look at this picture a black
digital military style watch in oil paint

tic tac time that’ll pass and passed will pass
look - trees on fire bright yellow bright red leaves
streets dark air dark leaves yellow sky dark blue
cool autumn breaths of higher space tic tac time dark

smell of winter like the childhood scent of
gas stations
cars and petrol

tic tac time the soothing sound of diesel engine
dunking nights
and memories of highrise concrete neighbourhoods
asleep and
reaching for the ever distant stars as if

snow now winter and cloud of ice and snow i feel the
biting cold
inhaled with every draw of smoke i see this line of
people at the

step away from this picture
the dry knacking of a grandfather clock
an open coffin closes sound of wooden screws

a rite taken place
steps on gravel

with one swift move reclaim the ever stolen words and




Doña Leonor in Memoriam, 10th September 2007

I was a young man, of course I didn’t think so so at the time but I was, and as we came in for landing I remember feeling intimdated, the deeply green trees surrounding the first stretch of the runway ,and the wooden schacks lining the the outskirts of the AirPort, all seemed so foreign. The heavy Boewing touched down in Santafe de Bogota, Colombia. The AirPort was cluttered with heavily armed police and soldiers. The scents were those of dirt, of noice, dust, heat, machineguns and palm trees. This was in July 1993. I was a very long way from home.

I found a home though. After three months I moved in with a married couple in a house in a working class neighbourhood. The house was a rundown miracle. leaking trough badly during the regularly recurring deluges that turned the streets into rivers. The couple was Just a miracle. The house was situated at the foot of the Andes mountain ridge and the non heated water was freezing. I paid 50 $ a month for room and board.

Doña Leonors and Don Carlos were in their late 50:s. Their daughter who still lived at home left for Euorope. Doña Leonor was a glorious person, impossible not to fall in love with. She was very short, with a round weathered face, curious and sympathetic brown eyes, a girlish smile and a lot of points of view as to how I lived my life. There were specifically two things that worried her: My incessant smoking of the filterfree local cigarette brand Piel Roja, and my consumption of Agua Ardiente, the local booze. Many years earlier she had convinced her husband both to quit smoking and drinking. Doña Leonor was very much into healthy living and every morning she led a workout group of house wives in a local park. Her cooking basically consisted of vegatables without fat or salt, not the kind of food I preffered at the time. She would allways get up very early. When I got up she would give me coffe and a bowl of the colombian specialty - Changua Con Silantro. A rather special speciality that took me a while to get used to, but when I did, I learned to love it. Sort of like the anarchic, noicy and chaotic city I lived in. It took a while, but eventually it grew on you.

In the evenings I would sit in the kitchen and play guitar as Doña Leonor was washing up after dinner. I’d play the songs I loved. Her favourite was “Este es un nuevo día” by Argentinian songwriter Facundo Cabral. Or she would keep us company while I and Don Carlos played chess. Doña Leonor was a simple woman in the best sense. She was a force of good. Her hands were big and brown after so many years of hard work and so was her heart. For six months she prepared my food, washed my clothes, listened to my guitar and worried about my drinking. And made me feel a lot less lonely.

I met Doña Leonor and Don Carlos a few months ago when they came to visit their newest grandson. We talked and had a cup of coffe and Doña Leonor asked me if I still was drinking too much. It was good to see them.

Doña Leonor died a week ago at age 71, leaving her husband and four children. You are dearly missed. Sleep tight, beautiful lady.

Thoughts on Atheism and morality....

When blaming Atheism for the rise of moral relativism, are we to some extent confusing Atheists with Agnostics of the kind that hardly even think about it? As far as I undertand true Atheists are people who are standing in a constant, and often painful, relation to G-d, albeit negative. As atheism as we know it it is a relatively new phonomenon, I don’t think it wrong to call it sort of a reverse-image Monotheism. Serious Atheists must make a hard effort to grasp what they are denying. Among such atheists I would count Albert Camus (Especially The Plague and The myth of Sisyphos). He accepts Nietzhes idea that “G-d is dead”, but rejects the conclusion that “All is permissable”, and fortwith dedicates his life to prove that there still are motives to act morally, and this with an almost desperate air to it. When I studied Ethics at University, I noticed that most of the Die-Hard Atheist Utilitarian Philosphers still demanded a metaphysics that contained some sort of objective “Value Enitities” that somehow would stand in correlation to the Utilitarian prescibed or forbidden actions. This would ensure that morality actually was something objectively true, irrespective of human thinking...But what could possibly that be? Only one thing could ever make that equation work: Hashem. Same thing with my best friend since childhood: Die-Hard atheist and the most morally stringent person I have ever met, constantly evaluating his own actions so that they be in accord with the strictest Monotheistic standards (mush more so than me). When I ask him why he doesn’t have an answer. Active Ahtheists are a weird bunch. Sometimes I think, at least when it comes to G-d, that belief in Absolute Truth, and belief in it’s negation aren’t nevessarily that very different.

Makes me think of the Rabbi who met a very furious woman who had lost her son at a young age and had become an Atheist. She declared to the Rabbi that ever since, every year on Yom Kippur she would get drunk and feast on copious amounts of Bacon.
- Well, said the Rabbi, at least you are celebrating it.

Meaning, once again, I’m a lot more scared of people who doesn’t care than of Atheists.

Sholem Aleichem.

Shul behaviour and pot smoking

So how exactly should you behave in Shul? I mean on one hand it is fairly simple: Just pick up any standard “Judaism for dummies” book and it will tell you that during service s Shul is a house of prayer, period, and the only conversation that should be going on is the individuals and the congregations conversation with the Almighty. On the other hand we have the facts of reality, maybe best summoned up by the following comment: “Well....Feinstein goes to Shul to speak to I go to Shul to speak to Feinstein.”
I guess at least in small Diaspora communities, there is only so much you can do about it. We tend to have enough problems to get a Minyan together as it is. So as long as people don’t start babbling during the Amidah, babbling is more or less tolerated. Then again, severe conflicts of interest occur, specifically during High Holidays. Because then a lot of people who otherwise never attend Shul turns up, bumping into other more or less secular Jews who they only meet once or twice a year, and naturally they have a lot of catching up to do. On the other hand you have the religious people and the daily minyan people for whom the day is among the most sacred of the year, and the last thing they want is to hear about the bench neighbours new car, or the daughters new boyfrined during Kol Nidre. Last year parts of the Yom Kippur service could hardly be heard because the Chazzen, a man flown in from Israel for Yom Kippur, with a very strong voice, could hardly make this strong voice heard over the crowds incessant chatting. Finally one of the Kohanim had a fit of rage and broke into the service shouting out the importance of this day and asked people to for Heaveans sake stop babbling like chickens. And the crowd quieted down for a while. But basically it is a dilemma because we can not make our Shuls into places reserved for only the Pious, they have to be places for all Klal Israel. So there is really no way of “solving” this problem.

Anyway, I came to think of this because yesterday on Shabbath Shacharit a friend of mine interrupted in the middle of Mourners Kaddish to inform me that he had been smoking weed the other night (after, I hope, saying Shabbes Kiddush) and that it was so great, he hadn’t done it for 10 years, and he really wanted to get his hand on some more. I told him that he actually was 38 and not 15 and left it at that. But it did bug me.
Breaking Shabbes to smoke weed is hardly very kosher, nor is bugging people during prayer to tell of such activities even remotely OK, but my annoyance stemmed also from my deep dislike for drugs.
I haven’t always been religious and I grew up in a tough neighbourhood. And the drug liberals can argue until they are blue in the face about freedom from paternalism, this will always be a question of the strong arguing their rights to have access to drugs they (believe they can) handle over the weeks protection from complete humiliation and degradation. Drug addicts commit violent acts against themselves and the people around them. I have met many potheads who never got hooked on heavier drugs, many of them having smoked every day for many, many years, and believing them to be as bright as they ever were, having taken no damage. But I have never met a non-pothead agreeing with them. But even more importantly: You will find absolutely nobody hooked on coke that did not start out with weed. Nobody smoking brown heroine who did not start out smoking weed. Nobody has ever died in a public rest room with a stained needle in the arm who did not start his or her career with pot. And unfortunately I have known people in all those categories. Some lived. Some didn’t.

There is Hallacha to the effect that you should abide by the laws of the land were you sojourn as long as they do not go against Hallacha and Hallacha certainly do not promote drugs, and hardly any countries allow Cannabis (Including Israel). But I wish I knew of a stronger Hallachic statement against drugs. I suppose one might say that this is the world Hashem created for us, and hence to use drugs that take you very far from how he intended for us to perceive of his Creation is disrespectful. After all he created our senses knowing how and what they would show us of his magnificent world. If he had wanted the trees to fly and the ocean to be yellow, that is what he would have made. But these are just my thoughts. If anyone out there knows of such Hallacha, please inform me.
And if you feel like sharing you drug experiences with members of your congregation, do it after service.


tunnel the

shifting: light shadow light shadow light light shadow

soothing like a lullaby the
scent of leather

drunk and smelly father and son the
son asleep on his shoulder his

eyes tender

she covers her heart in makeup trembling
hands pays cash wrinkeled bills
her heart a
knitted baby hat her eyes longing
her hands to hold the distance
from terminal to future


and from the hospital the short
distance to their lodging becomes
the final rift over which no words can wander

old hands and old rings holding
on holding warmth old
glasses and an old inscribed gold gold

retirement watch

it is a lullaby
they fall asleep
no more tunnel

and it’s dawn

and it’s daylight

and it’s dusk

and night

and i

will own the shadows
and this light


in darkness
one source of light the
tip of my cigarette

a soothing smell of gasoline
a sleepiness of many miles behind the wheel

a voice in the dark
a girl on my bed asking me

to follow her on the last leg of a long journey
tell her a story of the lifes of albatrosses
give her one more blanket for the evening cold
to buy her a yellow toy car with red pedals

sometimes she is my fathers mother
sometimes she is the girl from the lost and found department
sometimes she is my future daughter

the metal taste of off loss and longing in my mouth
the warm smell of summer night

i bid her farewell
stamp out the cigarette
but it is warm here and i am waiting