chocolate is a verb

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found poem © j.i. kleinberg

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found poem: AN ANGEL

found poem: pray

in my head,

wondering…

white crocusHaven’t we died enough? Haven’t our hearts been wrenched from our chests?
Must we learn every day anew
to grieve, to trust, to breathe?

Thanksgiving…

winter blooming camelias

For all the times we were not alone with grief,
for all the times we were abandoned by despair,
for every morning we have awakened,
for every fresh idea,
for all the times we have fallen and stood up again,
for each moment we have been warm and dry and safe enough,
the times we have not been hungry,
the times we have given or received,
for the rope into the abyss that is family, friendship, love
—for all of this, we are grateful
—by all of this fulfilled.

© j.i. kleinberg 2012

prayer…

geodeLast night I was thinking about prayer. I don’t pray. It’s not a habit I ever acquired or a practice that ever felt absent from my life. I understand the motions, know how to bow my head, become still. I feel the joyful uplift of spirit in the gospel choir, the tears inside the words of the Kaddish.

But in my mind, prayer is about asking, and it is the asking that turns me away from prayer — the idea that one must ask of, or ask for.

So last night I wondered what else prayer might be and very quickly I found opening. Then diving, turning and lifting. I felt and saw the motion in these words. Felt and saw my hands, my heart, moving in these ways. Saw that I could learn, would like to learn, to be more open, to dive more deeply, to turn more fully and lift more generously, with greater strength.

Prayer, I saw, might simply be a name for a way of engaging with the world.

fragments…Kendra ~ 2

Kendra stirred, not yet awake, rude chirps bruising her sleep. Her wakenings were often accompanied by birds, the sparrows and starlings chattering in the large oak that shaded her bedroom window.

But this was not the friendly gossip of birds. Her ears now alert, she opened one eye. 3 a.m. Footsteps pounded across the bedroom floor in the apartment upstairs. The chirping stopped. The phone. The family calling from the old country. Loud conversation in non-English cadences.

She knew so little of these people, her neighbors, Hamill sinewy and intense, Lila still afraid, shy about her English. Kendra had heard talk of disappearings and escape, Lila huge with the twins. But they had never shared a cup of tea, or a conversation on the bench by the playground. Only occasional hellos and smiles by the mailboxes or on the sidewalk.

To Kendra they were an unfinished concerto: Hamill’s heel-heavy steps and rumbling baritone, Lila’s afternoon weeping and sweet soprano calls to the children, the muted timpani of the boys scampering, running, jumping. Scrapings of chairs on linoleum, flushings of water through the pipes. And sometimes, in the quiet of the evening, the soft resonance of their voices joined in prayer, and once, the apartment a cacophony of footsteps, in rising and mournful harmony, a song.

prayer…

yellow tulips
Haven’t we died enough? Haven’t our hearts been wrenched from our chests?
Is there not, within our few remaining breaths, a single moment when we can clasp each other
in acknowledgment, in recognition, in truce?

peony prayers…

peony leaf buds
The peonies, barely an inch above the soil, look like so many praying hands. And certainly there’s much to pray about. Disaster and despotism, intolerance and greed, our essential human need to believe in — and convince others of — our own rightness.

But what does a peony pray? To grow protected from ruinous teeth and feet, free of blight and blotch, wilt and scale, thrip and gall, to bloom full under warm sun and gentle breezes then to hunker down beneath the winter’s chilling and wake again in spring.

A modest enough prayer for anyone, I suppose.

prayer for Japan…

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