Brother

I would write you a poem
But I feel that all the words have been used.
Everyone has repeated themselves
And each other.
What news can I bring to you?
What enlightenment?
What insight can I give to he who knows it all?
Perhaps it might not feel like you do,
But the harder I try, the older I get.
And I can’t shake the image of you
As the older,
Wiser,
Bigger person.
The one from which all virtues shine
The one people aspire to imitate.
Perhaps the wisdom I gain with each passing year
Is that you’ve been through more than I, and
More than I will ever know.
So what insight can I bring to he who has suffered
Inside
And he who has questioned
Everything
And he who has learned what it means to be floating
In uncertainty
To be drowning
In questions
And fears.
You are there, now, swimming like you learned when you were eight
And I watch from the shore, holding no life-saver,
Unable to swim far to reach you where you are.
I cannot know you
But I watch with awe and sadness and fear
Helpless on my firm ground
Which holds me up to tell you that I love you.
What other insight can I give?

/michal

The Shadows of the Body

My father came home
With a stack of X-ray films.
He went into his office and put them
Up, one-by-one,
In front of the light.
I sat behind,
Unnecessary,
And watched as the light formed
Bones and stomachs and necks.
Puzzle pieces glowing.
He called me over,
Look at this
Kid
He swallowed a coin.
See?
And there I saw a shekel –
Small circular shadow in the light.
But you wouldn’t know the currency
From the image.
I gaped as I imagined,
Which of my classmates was this?
My world was confined to my kindergarten.
If anything happened,
It must have been there.
A war, a holiday, a storm,
Confined to my nap-room.

Last week my father sat in his office,
In front of the computer screen
Glowing with bones and stomachs and necks.
He called me down to see,
Look at this
Woman
She swallowed a butter knife.
See?
And there I saw, with clear-cut precision,
The long shadow in the light.
But you wouldn’t know her reasons
From the image.
I gaped as I imagined
What that must have felt like.
What thoughts led her to this,
What fears.
A war, a holiday, a storm,
Confined to her mind.

/michal

Green Bananas

My unripe self-love is overcome by the flaws I find, I search for.
I long to soothe, to sing myself to sleep, but 1AM stretches out
Longer than a day.

The greenness of the relationship I have with myself
Is ever so slightly warming up.
A colour of yellow or orange or maybe even a tint of red.

I try to hold all the pieces together until they are ready;
Until the glue between the cracks is just a little bit harder,
Just a little bit stronger.

You take out my hair-dryer from the bottom drawer
And offer to help harden the glue;
Ripen my self-love.

/michal

Silence

I hear the clock, I hear your breath.
I hear the birds, unbound by time.
The cars go by on the one-way street
All headed to the same place (somewhere far).

I hear my thoughts.
I hear the wind.
(I wonder if they are the same).
I wish to breathe, to remain still,
But the future whispers impatiently my name.

/michal

Pain Killer/Acceptor

Part One:
One of my organs hurts
Me from the inside.
I try to move, to show you where,
But you tell me to see a doctor.

Part Two:
I hold the pills
That He prescribed
Ever mighty, firm.
I take them slow, I take with food.
I wait for the pain to soften.

Part Three:
I sit, no pills.
Today I will breathe.
I approach the pain anew.
I sit, no pills.

/michal

The Window of My House, a Spaceship

I am by a big window
Staring at the sky.
I see light but no sun,
I feel light but no warmth.
I hear a hum.
I feel the rough carpet beneath me
Threatening to burn my skin if I move too fast.
I stay still,
Looking out
Looking for
A sun. Any will do.
The universe is vast and uncaring.
I could be elsewhere,
I could be here.
I am forever somewhere,
Or nowhere at all.

/michal

Biology or Prison

I look at you and notice
The cells we’ve made
(Or found)
That contain us

Alone. I look at my hands
And wonder if they’re strong enough
To break my cell
And everyone else’s too.
A hand that prides itself on softness.

When I close my eyes,
The cell remains.
When I breathe for myself,
The cell dissolves.
Let me catch my breath for a moment.
Let me feel that I am temporary.

/michal

A Secular Sabbath

If we were not so single-minded about keeping our lives moving, and for once could do nothing, perhaps a huge silence might interrupt this sadness of never understanding ourselves.

– Pablo Neruda

We might be found, relievingly, in the silent moments between running thoughts. I am learning to notice those moments.

/michal