Just Another Nation State

My Judaism was bigger than this;

My Judaism had a big tent,
with three sides;
My Judaism wanted to
cultivate the land, not
destroy olive and lemon groves…

My Judaism was the one Peoples tradition,
FOUNDED on the ideals of
Remembering one’s own oppression,
and Social Justice for ALL.

I grew up believing Jews were different.
Maybe some are, but Israel is not.
I’ve known that for awhile now,
but this proves it,
puts it in your face:
Burned him,
Yes, burned him,
Alive.

Just as sick as anyone.
mfrs.

So, to that Jewish Man,
child of Holocaust survivors,
who refused to listen,
refused to believe,
refused to hear that
Jewish soldiers have shot babies –
Now what?
Jewish people don’t do those things?

Yes; yes, they do.

They are no longer special in that way.

Israel is no longer any different than any other Nations;
Israel has the same sickness as every other Nation in the world.
Maybe they didn’t catch it until they moved to
Their own Nation;
Maybe Nationhood engenders it,
and we were better off in the diaspora,
Remembering.

Remembering that we, too, have been
oppressed, have been hated, have been
reviled, have been walled off and
murdered in our homes.

I remember.
How could I ever forget?

 Israel you are breaking
have broken
my Heart.

Filthy Money

Filthy Money.

Without it, you are seriously compromised; without it you will most likely be screwed right out of your home/family/health/teeth/life. You must find ways to make money.

Depending on how and by whom you ‘get paid’, you might have to sell your self, your family, your soul. Money puts a price on everything.

 “Well , you’re getting paid, aren’t you?”

 Once you pay someone, they must do whatever you say; you can write off their humanity, their significance, their content; they owe you some part of themselves, because you paid for it:  Money bestows ownership.

I shared a backyard with a man who asked me to look after his garden for a few days – said he’d pay me.  I said I didn’t want pay; I appreciated the garden, and would love to help out.

He told me he wanted it watered each morning.

Now he was a morning person, with a typical morning person’s prejudices; but I am a night person (don’t let the nsa find out – ) and had to work half of the days in question; so I offered to do mornings on some days, and after work on the rest.

He said No; He wanted it done each morning; I wondered why we couldn’t compromise just for those few days; he said it had to be each morning, and that’s why he was going to pay me, because he wanted the job done his way; no compromises, no discussion.

I said “…and that’s why you pay people: so there’s no discussion – “ which led him to install an entire irrigation system, just so he could have his plants watered exactly when he wanted on those few days.

Money is power, right?

Money is reductionary.

When someone pays you, they can wash their hands of you – like blood money:  “We want this amount for killing our brother.” “Deal.”

(Good thing you had enough money, otherwise they’d have to kill you).

How much blood does a paycheck buy?

How much is my blood worth?

How much is my blood worth to me?

At one job I had, there came a time when I said I did not feel my work was appreciated; I was loudly told that I was paid more than some of the others, AND I had Health Insurance!  Wasn’t that enough???

I acknowledged the generosity of that, but said it wasn’t the same thing…

One year, I volunteered for a sort of apprenticeship with a potter.  In exchange for my assistance, he would teach me things, and provide our lunch.

At the time, my shelter was provided, so I was ‘free’ to work for knowledge and food, rather than for money.  If that potter had been a boor who talked to me like I was his piece of shit servant, I was totally free to leave.  He had no hold over me, and no monetary claim to my selfhood.

What we wound up having was a relationship based on mutual agreement, and mutual respect.  Though we were at different points of learning, and I looked to him as a teacher in his craft, I still had the right to be treated as someone of equal value.

Money…filthy stuff.

It sullies everything it touches;

It cheapens and demeans;

It negates the spirit.

***

It was the low drone that stopped me,

like a tamboura, sounding through his small acoustic amp.

It pulled on me like a string,

pulled me back from going through that turnstile,

and said to me: Why hurry?

Why not listen a bit…

 

I stood off to the side,

and despite the flow of people,

I was moved to move…

 

His music was between him and the moon

and the Hearts and Spirits of

whoever would hear;

and I was lucky:

I heard…

 

I fished a paltry dollar out of my wallet,

held it folded tight in my hand,

and remained awhile longer…

 

I didn’t know how deep or far his

music was going to take me –

From I don’t know where,

to nigguns, wailings, my life

someplace,

one place,

cement, grey

woods, stripes, grey

skies, barbed wire…

Just then, I was swept up by

streams of colour reaching into the skies…

And as I danced there, freed from gravity,

the moon came into me, the moon that was

glowing overhead: a waxing fat crescent…

 

Then it all resolved into a single note,

and a pause wide enough for me to

collect myself and walk toward him.

 

By the time I got near,

that piece of paper in my hand

was lint. Meaningless.

What I wanted to give him was

a crackling fire and a bowl of

hearty warmth amidst smiles and laughter.

I surely had no words.

 

He said:

That is the best: When there are

Only eyes and no words.

 

He pointed to the moon,

beaming directly down the stairway

he played at the foot of. I said

I’d seen it in his music.

I babbled fragments about dance, art, writing, feeling…

I would like to say more, some other time.

 

We shared our names.

He said his was from The Land of

Jerusalem; I said There are many

languages in The Land of Jerusalem.

 

Then, the money: burning, withering,

with a purpose, in my hand…

Oh, how vile;

Bringing it up,

Pressing it toward him,

Even touching it near such sacred sounds…

 

He protested;

I, knowing he was right, but knowing

Money is important in this life, said

it would be as if I bought him

a nice warm drink –

 

But his hands were up, and I was

filled with the futility and

potential insult of it, and

so grateful he stopped me;

Stopped me from negating the

Truth of something pure,

something real.

 

The sting of the gesture is hard to shake off.

 

He dissipated the crossed energies by

putting his breath into his instrument,

immersing himself and me and

the moon into music…

 

I stood still and silent,

allowing the tightness in my

chest to release; then curtseyed

and headed home.

As I turned I saw

my little pink card in his box.

 

Money:

Filthy,

filthy stuff.

Holocaust Denial

Writing in response to a call for a creative columnist (oh; that would be ME!) with the most excellent prompt to write a paragraph describing my opinions on the following subject: People who don’t believe the Holocaust happened.

oh joy.

Here’s what I sent them:

As for People who Don’t Believe the Holocaust Happened:

I mean, I can sympathize: It is hard to believe it happened; even the Jews didn’t believe it was happening while it was happening; some of the stories were so over the top, they were simply unbelievable: that the “labor camps” were really death camps; that people were being gassed to death upon arrival, in the thousands, entire towns; that people, entire towns, were being led into the forests, made to dig massive ditches, made to strip down, stand at the edges, and then shot in the backs of their heads, to tumble down into the ditches, by the hundreds.

Someone would escape and run back to tell the story, to warn everyone, to urge them to leave, now, while they still had a chance; but no one would believe them.  No, they said, You’re Crazy; No, they said, Not here; We are from here, these people are our friends, have been for generations, you are wrong, and this will pass…

Even when you see it with your own eyes, you can’t believe it.  People didn’t believe it when, yes, Nazis did raid and ransack homes in the middle of the night, eating and stealing and breaking everything, herding everyone out, and shooting down anyone who made too much noise; Nazis – soldiers in uniforms with guns and boots – did actually smash crying babies into the ground, did torture all ages and sexes in humiliating and diabolical ways, did lock people inside buildings and burn them to death, did play mind games at all times: “Yes, Jobs, and Free Bread, just sign up here”;  ‘Hey, it’s just a shower, don’t worry; we’ll give you back your clothes when you come out; make sure you fold ’em all nice so they don’t get lost – you know how we like Order!’

Eventually, when you’re actually in it, the hunger, the blood, the stench and the truth of it sinks in; but for us, years later, perhaps only the overwhelming evidence, story upon story upon story, documents, journals, photographs, films, tattoos, piles of hair and glasses and shoes and suitcases – never enough to get the magnitude across – perhaps only sitting through hours and hours and hours of it, to see and hear the scope – perhaps only then would it begin to become real, palpable.

But why would anyone who didn’t believe the Holocaust happened ever sit through any of those stories, any of that kind of evidence?  Besides, it could all be one big fake conspiracy, right?  Nope.

Believe it: The Holocaust happened; and that ‘event’ illuminates more about Humanity than we would care to know.

Which may be another reason why some people don’t believe, won’t believe it happened: They are afraid to admit that humanity could be that psychotic.

They O U

Bernie Mad-off-with-the-loot Ponzi Schemer was the Whole Thing in micro; We’ve been being ripped off for centuries, becoming even more enslaved, getting bled dry by these schemers –

as always, personal greed allows people to commit acts they know in their hearts to be evil, to be against niceness to others, to be screwing someone else over;

just look at their cruel faces,  coldhearted eyes,

of course you can’t always tell by externals,

but actions will steer you the way,

sooner or later.

and if they’re acting like heartless assholes,

they probably are

heartless assholes.

Dear Egypt,

You’ve so inspired me that I can tell you right now, unless you turn into a radically Muslim nation state, I plan to come meet you in person.  As much as I love them, the pyramids didn’t get me; you did.

For all those people leaving as fast as they can, I am one who will arrive as soon as I can.  That might take awhile, because there is alot of unemployment in my country, and I don’t have a steady job right now, but coming to meet you is one of my goals as soon as I do.

So until then Egypt, my thoughts are with you, with all my heart ~

Solidarnosc, and Rock the Casbah!