It’s the same song playing under the sun.
Day after day, a triangle tings
in the back of the band: barely there,
but beautiful as chimes trembling in a breeze.
We quiver, as when finger tips stroke our necks.
The measures flow, pianissimo, lovely —
until, in a shift of pace,...
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2 weeks ago
It’s the same song playing under the sun.
March 28, 2014 | 3:29 pm
You were at the door with the news
of a life inside and we wept
that April day, the jonquils blooming
late against the wire fence.
We turned the afternoon into a bed,
measured the moving sun with mouths.
We woke in soft rain under street light,
had a sandwich and milk, and...
March 12, 2014 | 3:54 pm
Somewhere the jaded go
in search of authentic
experience — code
for poverty and bright beads.
I do not need the famed liquor
to convince me of essential
Here, the first synagogue
in the Americas: yellow
in the Punda part of town.
Floors of sand as they had
in Spain and Portugal to muffle
the sounds of worship.
Patty Seyburn’s fourth collection of poems, “Perfecta,” is forthcoming from What Books Press in 2014. She is an associate professor at California State University, Long Beach.
March 5, 2014 | 11:41 am
February 12, 2014 | 4:01 pm
Answers the size of silence. Tall as tidal winds. The fracture of letters and numbers pulled like wool up to my chin. Grid the knowable world from the sweat of my bed. An empty set. Count the seasons, count the sheep, count the dead. If word equaled father equaled alive again. If...
January 31, 2014 | 10:54 am
January 23, 2014 | 3:04 pm
The Theory of Flawed Design is not a scientifically proven
Alternative to evolution. It is based on the everyday life
Experience that natural selection could not have produced
Such a catastrophic outcome. Optimists and the religiously
Inclined will naturally prefer evolution as...
January 16, 2014 | 2:11 pm
Two eyes, one nose, one mouth, and what could be
more perfect? Maybe the small fraction of
a smile she aims at his glance secretly
across the table, kabbalistic love
that no one else divines, and later in
the loft their silent battle not to wake
her friend down on the couch,...
December 19, 2013 | 12:00 pm
Inside the yeshiva he’s busy naming things
while I, like Eve, watch the smallest movements
in the world — grass bending as if it aches,
a bird that carries lust in its beak.
Through the window I’ve seen him bent over
the text, saliva flying from his mouth
as he reads and...
December 12, 2013 | 12:59 pm
This old man in the armchair’s plush embrace
waits for his thoughts to settle. He is not
my grandfather despite the wrinkled face,
gleaming skull, vast snout, gargly voice, and odd
twist of lips. They sound like men from the same
village in an old country bordering
December 4, 2013 | 4:10 pm
You have to know
who to talk to:
choose a dry
so that what is said
is kept there;
like the rabbi’s
never leaking out,
it will remain sweet
as water in a sealed pit.
Bor sud, in Hebrew, is a water-proofed cistern, or sealed pit, which holds all the...
November 13, 2013 | 4:54 pm
All night long I
wrestled with an angel — his face
obscured by hair the color
of light — arms, strong thin
swords we tumbled
on the road as two animals
in the heat of spring — we could not be
parted — bless me, I said — and he touched
my thigh — the hollow of my...
October 30, 2013 | 12:51 pm
A man swings through the open doors on crutches,
his long arms thick with muscle like the Christ
whose marble shoulders shouldering the cross
are sculpted mighty as Odysseus’s.
Before he crosses forehead, heart and chest,
the cripple leans one crutch against the wall
October 23, 2013 | 11:32 am
They come together to bury their father
in the cave where Sarah’s body lies.
(No one imagines the vaulted church
-turned-mosque with painted ceilings
or the synagogue, or metal detectors
to keep armed men from getting through.)
Isaac and Ishmael wash him with water
October 16, 2013 | 1:33 pm
October 3, 2013 | 4:53 pm
When Noah prayed
You sent him a flood
and charged him with the safety
of all animal life.
What I got was rain.
I forgot to wash my shirt
so it grew mold.
In every generation
the holy men we have
stand on different levels.
We all get the hero
On behalf of mold
— and on behalf of my wife,
who loves when I do laundry —
I will try
to be worthy.
September 24, 2013 | 3:12 pm
Yes, it’s true, I’ve lost
The world you gave me,
The blue and luminous world,
Round as a marble,
In which, if I squinted,
I could always see you
Shimmering in slow oxbows,
Mirroring the river’s
Mallard iridescence, sketching your face
In castellated clouds
September 18, 2013 | 11:57 am
The students glisten with youth. Every one of them is beautiful.
The world has yet to enter them and breathe away their souls.
I want to be like the children, but I am dirt and clay.
I woke one day and told myself, Stand up and walk like a man!
I raised my dust up out of...
September 11, 2013 | 4:23 pm
It’s time to talk about grief
as if the mere mention could
crack the sky leaving the stars
to break through shattering
As if at a preordained hour
all the lovers of the world
will stand still, like the minute
of remembrance for the dead,
September 3, 2013 | 2:22 pm
Lord quite innocent of what it is to live
bound in paper, bound in steel,
bound in the incredible ignorance supplied
by irony and suffering — how are You?
I regret that I am unable to see You, wrapped as I am in time,
soiled and sickened by personal situations,
unable to find...
August 28, 2013 | 11:06 am
like a skin on milk
I write to you
I hurl the letters of your name
onto every page, one and many
I know you are reading over my shoulder
look each of us possesses a book of life
each attempts to read what the other has scripted
in these almost illegible letters tipped by...
August 21, 2013 | 4:54 pm
August 7, 2013 | 1:16 pm
a new lay upon this lute for You
Let me hum the new day
of loose strife and lily
Let prayer plant and mallow
Let heads and hearts let heels
and thumbs feathers and fins
and all things fleet and slug
antennae’d and furred
all sing all shirr all rub and buzz
and fling their...
August 1, 2013 | 10:09 am
I take her to the park, I swing her in the little swing
Help her on the slide, lotion her face and arms against the sun
She runs around in her little bluejeans
The sun is getting higher, as it does every morning
The game now is for me to chase her
July 24, 2013 | 1:59 pm
Blessed is the mattress on which they feast.
Blessed the yellow sheet on which she lies,
blessed her skin and blessed are her breasts,
and blessed are the body’s lamps, her eyes
lighting the room, rolling in dream, in lies,
and blessed is the darkness that descends
July 17, 2013 | 12:05 pm
July 12, 2013 | 11:38 am
1. The absence of Presence
The Romans are approaching. We wallow in callous pettiness. The city will fall soon.
2. The presence of Absence
They are despoiling the sanctuary. We wail in piteous grief. Sun and moon are eclipsed. Horror.
3. The presence of Presence
It’s all over now. The dew washes clean our punished world. A lilac is blooming.
Copyright © 2013, Jonathan Omer-Man. For more, visit omer-man.net.
July 10, 2013 | 11:11 am
July 2, 2013 | 11:27 am
June 26, 2013 | 12:01 pm
My Bubbie mumbles a Yiddish invective every time I mention
getting some new item for the baby not yet born:
the crib, a blanket, a book case.
I can’t argue her out of the world she knows.
There is no word in Yiddish for the small
whooshing sound of a heartbeat on a...
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