Wednesday, October 18, 2017

From the Notebook of J Michel

So that we should begin to ask 

Learn to ask the right questions.
Why is not sophisticated;
it opens gates to roads that lead
Why belongs to G-d when we come before Her throne –
shriven of our illusion-clothes
and whisper “I have always loved you –only you”
with utter transparency.
Maybe you ask yourself if you have enough cracks.
The cracks are where the light
 begins to seep in,
and what lies between them
creates all the barriers that keep us
from knowing with the fullness
of our completeness-everything
that love that holds the Universe together
through the lie of separation.
Do not assume the one who does not know
how to ask is mute from ineptitude.
That child exists in all of us
and only by embracing them
in the full stillness of the hour of change
can we arrive at the place of chaos
from which all creation occurs.
We have trained ourselves to un-know
and to live in danger,
and that blunts our teeth on the sharpness
of questions that do nothing but harden our hearts.
What would it take
for you to give up your silent rebellion,
put down the stories you’ve made
into the forces that control you life

and learn to ask a new question?  

Monday, July 24, 2017

From the Notebook of J Michel

The Farmer 

It was a temple that towered with suffering.
In the blink of an eye
I had devoted years of my life to singing
within its court,
building walls,
thinking I could spatter my tears upon the altar
and make my supplications go up in smoke.

But the nature of truth is like a bursting dam:
It is quite, but once the keystone falls
There is nothing to stop that quiet from inundating.
By the time I descended the temple’s pedestal-hill
I was fretful and saturated.

I have not put down my harp –
Though my hands are covered in earth.
I am learning the lonely patience of the farmer
who lovingly sits in moonlight,
Putting his faith in the One that pervades
the darkness of the earth,
waiting till the rains He designated so long ago
come crashing down at their appointed hour,
rending the earth asunder,

causing brilliant blooms to burst forth.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

From the Notebook of J Michel

Ellis Island
Millions of feet have trodden this ground. 
This ground
from which, in one breath, fountained forth
truth, hope, and justice
and in one word evaporated,
(mist in the harbor outside).
This ground
upon which she stood, weeping
with the innocent hysterics
only a child can produce.
Unseen. Unnoticed.
Come baby –come with me, I said,
and she clung to my skirt.
I walked through the museum,
clutching her tightly to my chest,
(she was far too small for a six-year-old)
tasting the ashes of exile,
waiting for the firm and welcoming ground of Brooklyn
under my feet again
to bring me your embrace.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

From the Notebook of J Michel


One day we will wake up and realize that that day, much anticipated, is this day. May the ineffable Name, Source of the Universe, cause us to listen into the four corners of our inward exile. Each will sit in the shade or blistering sun of his house and sing her brilliant, soulful and discordant counterpoint to the deeper tune that hums beneath every living breath. We will sing, we will listen, weeping slowly, and suddenly the distance between four corners will become a circle.

Monday, November 28, 2016

From the Notebook of J Michel

For a friend (Ashes)

You mystify me –intrigue me
because you don’t reek of past regret
yet you somehow feel
like an old friend.
I don’t know why –
I want to hug you, want constantly
to be near you and soak in
the comfort that I have missed for three years.  
And you tasted the ashes on my tongue, didn’t you –
when we stood on my stoop kissing
you did not withdraw.
I wanted to weep.
I fell into the void of sleep and woke,
feeling your arms around me
and the crystalline, unfamiliar ache of happiness.
My love, I know that blindness to the future
is the only thing that allows us to utter promises,
but still, this brightness inside me is bursting now.
My love, The War may have shattered us
but I dare now to hope
that these sharp edges will become gilded
with light that escapes.
(no longer broken, we are brutal and beautiful remains).
Maybe –just for now –
Maybe you and I fit together.
And if you can love me
then I will know that redemption

is a promise to be fulfilled.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

From the Notebook of J Michel

Wearing faces

He got on the train and sat next to me
As though I had invited him,
Wearing your hands
And your eyes.
And suddenly I was chocking
on that intoxicating mix
of horror and longing,
suffocated by the gooseflesh blooming
in rashes under my dress.
I kept my hands on my lap –
kept my lips very still,
my head from bending toward him,
praying that he could not see
my face betraying me to memory.
Careening through darkened tunnels,
beholden to the tracks relentless direction,
I wondered if I provoke  
something in unsuspecting travelers.
Would one fall at my feet in remorse?
Would someone kiss me with shinning gratitude?
Would one turn cold with recognition?
Or would there be nothing
but the silence of another day

waiting to be filled?