Joseph, At The End Of History

If we must understand
the world and dangle
it from our fingers
like a porcelain mug,

then our eyes
will always hook
its angled handles,
our desires
bowed and arrowed,
tabled and listed,
slapping each other like
the numbered tiles
guiding through the prayers
the congregation
integer by integer,

and we will act
most madly
to discover ourselves
in the counting,
pulled along by motive motors
like perps weighing gains
and losses
the way the police psychologist
would have told them to.

But if we needn’t know,
and let the cup fall,
we find all the stories
like neat chainmail
cannot wall off the bolt
that slew history
when she was a maiden —

That’s right! She has been
only a ghost:
The UN’s foul choice came
to answer the Zionist voice
which in turn was born
to a people torn from
the land to carry truth
forlorn in galuth
since G-d’s sacred domain
was by Romans profaned,
holy tablets displaced
long after deserting the wastes of Sinai
which never would
have happened
if history weren’t dead
because —

One morning,
rather than rattle against
his own meninges
or dwell on a decade’s pain,
the young Hebrew,
abandoned in Egypt to rot,
somehow chose
in a mind bound not
by money, biology, or electrons,
to ask two others
about their long faces,
and set in motion history,
the story marching
from the mystery
behind his eyes,
all explanations slain,
dead as
of pottery.


Originally posted on Hevria.

All That Matters

All that matters is we should be together.

But this, we cannot be.

You are over there, and I am over here.

These words do not approach giving you who I am. And, when it comes to everything that is important…words fail.


When we sit in the dead of night and listen to F♯A♯∞ with near-religious reverence, or take in the kids tobogganing down Central Park hills, or even look each other in our red eyes,

I do not know what you see.

I do not know what you see.

I tell you that the Hopper painting is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen, that the light in that frail building’s crooked arm is the soul Adam bore out of Eden against the looming dark.

But you don’t understand what I mean.

You protest that we see the same picture. But that’s wrong. The picture is there for sure. There’s only one picture. The picture I can know, a little bit. And so can you.

But you cannot know what it is to be me, looking at Edward Hopper’s painting.

And I cannot know what it is to be you, doing the same.

And no matter how much they’ve tried, or how many words they’ve spilled, or how much they’ve insisted that I am one with them,

I have not believed them.

I am trapped outside of believing them.

Though the words make us feel less lonely, they are only the gossamer structs we’ve carved from the air, and they will melt away by morning, and I am I, and you are you

and I cannot know

if we have



I have not met you. And I have not met Hopper.

There is only one way to meet you, my beloved.

We each have to trust.

I have to trust that there is a someone behind those eyes

a someone like I am someone

and that their knowing

is my knowing

far, far beyond

what any poor word can hope to hold.

But how can I trust you?

How can I believe in you, when I can’t say why you should believe in me?

Maybe that’s what so many of us are waiting for.

Maybe I am standing at the station, baggage in my hand, waiting for a train unlisted on the schedule, whose arrival will be the end of me and the beginning of us.

Maybe that’s the color of the uncoiling love that’s supposed to protect us like whispered cartel promises in young, desperate ears,

the love uncaused as Gd falling like a brick from the blue that we cannot search for but hope to find.

I am waiting to find it.

It is not, I imagine, the love we shape from the clay we breathe into. It is not either that wishful love, a colorful bird brightening the drab webs at the creases of our imaginations. After all, these are words in their own ways, images, bodies, and that which is incarnate is lost, lost, lost.

I am waiting to break free of these transistors and sail the black static between your stars.

No; we wait for the love that we cannot know until it is who we are, the love of being with another, it (beyond description) itself the one word in the dictionary of the infinite tongue, the bluntest language and the only true one, whose grammar we violate at the risk of nonexistence.

I am waiting to hear it spoken.

I am waiting.

I am waiting because there is nothing else to do.

I am waiting because I trust, for some reason, that there is more than I’ve so far found.

Until Gd unprevented draws our sparks together, I’ll just sit here and wonder why I am typing these words,

wondering: Do you believe in me?

Do you, too, wait on the teeming shores of your island unchartable resenting the extent of the sea?

Please, don’t answer.

I don’t know whether I can believe you.


Originally posted on Hevria.