February 2022
"Kolomyia" - 2/24/22
Tonight I was with my parents
It had been some days since
I had seen them and amidst
My travels I had found, at long
Determined last a sense of freedom
Freedom from fatigue, from sadness
From pressure, from disappointment
I'd felt my purpose, inside performances
Much awaited and highly anticipated
Careful and conscious, I managed
To evade Covid (Baruch Hashem)
And by virtue of such good fortune
Qualify to reunite once more with
Loved ones, one of whom has
Not been quite so lucky as me
Bundled in a warm, comforting coat
Holding matcha and anticipating smiling
Eyes albeit masked faces I rode the elevator
Up to a skyscraping floor knowing the higher
I climbed the closer I came to more
More love, more affection, more safety
More appreciation, more hope and more
Gratitude to be a family, together once more
Healthy (relatively) and reflective
Mindful of our collective blessings
I am from קאָלאָמיי‎, near the Prut River
In Western Ukraine and have often looked
At my family tree in wonder and amazement
That my ancestors managed to escape pogroms
Anticipate that mere decades later first 3, 4 and then
Eventually 70,000+ of us would be taken to the
Szeparowce Forest and to Belzec and disappeared
Now as war claims young innocent lives and families
Are turned upside-down I let tears fall as they must
For every daughter lost, every father abandoned
Every mother and sister and cousin and uncle
Who woke up one morning free and another
Reframed by violence whose indiscriminate
Seeds of woe, strewn now among the concrete
Fires raging and sirens wailing, unbridled grow
And I think about this idea of borders
Of nations and of nationhood
I think about my first love from Russia
And my relatives shot in Ukrainian woods
And I pray, holy holy holy, for Freedom's flame
After Show
"After Show" - 2/13/22
Sitting in the green room masked up guards down
Connecting with masterful conversationalists
Who happen to also be master musicians
It occurs to me as frequently as breathing
That "it doesn't get any better than this"
Easy laughter among kindred spirits
Film recommendations pepper discussion
Of design fetishes and rock 'n roll reminiscences
Family and history the meaning of life in a nutshell
Is laid out before me once again after lamentable
Dry spells so long I'd almost forgotten what it felt
Like to not want to leave to not want a night to end
Lately I'd been staying up literally all night
Sleep had become, these several months,
As elusive as a rhyme for orange but in these
Smiling eyes I see my soul's refracted affection
So often in a vacuum of vacuous input hallelujah for
Friendship's in-the-know, group-exhaling afterglow
“Ladybug” - 2/4/22
When I was little my drainpipe had an infestation
Of ladybugs
I was so happy to finally have pets since I hadn’t
Been allowed
All winter they crawled around my bathroom which
I never used
Since the plumbing didn’t work and I’d always just
Used my parents’
One day I went away to sleepaway camp innocently
Assuming creatures
I’d come to love as magical, mysterious and symbolic
Would always
Be where I could find them in the confines of my
Private haven
Little did I know that while I was gone something called
An exterminator
Would come and sadly make it so my tiny non-imaginary friends
Would disappear
Make it so my mother would have to lie make it so something
Grownup went unexplained
My first lesson in death was as innocent as bugs that never
Should have
Been there inside off-season hiding in the safety of a child’s
Play-full place
The space where I could lock the door and spread out paints
On the floor
The place where the radio was always on and where I applied
My first lipstick
Stolen of course from where I didn’t belong and perfume
Doused too liberally
They didn’t mind my grandiose dreams my secret tears
My imperfect rhymes
Sometimes there’d be as many as 12 on the window and when
They spread
Their wings it was a little scary beetles are never as cute when
They’re flying
But miracles nonetheless how do they fly how do they crawl
Upright, shiny
Symbols of luck and the only insects everyone agreed: don’t hurt
Just touch
Let them be they’re nature’s helpers they eat the aphids that chew
The leaves
Tonight I remember what it feels like to have pets no one believed
Were possible
But that really came to be with me for months and months my family
Witnessing also
The unusualness of their temporary, all too fleeting address
A nest
That according to our encyclopedia was not supposed to exist
My house
Was many things to do with love but never welcome to cats or dogs
Even fish
Were forbidden but coccinellidae came to me uninvited reminding me
Of hope and luck
Before I knew of death by poison or unceremonious neglect
Before I knew
That cancer existed or that after horrendous but necessary treatment
Luck would consist
Of the mere right to continue to enthusiastically exist so when you ask
If I feel
Different since my surgery, my radiation, my chemotherapy
If sensuality
Is still a priority I think about the fact that sometimes things are allowed
To visit
And to thrive for a certain amount of time and then sometimes unexpectedly
They dematerialize
That’s how I would define what I no longer prioritize, for now, amidst
The truth
I know which is that luck came to me in the form of ladybugs long ago
And today
I still, incredibly, grow