Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Song ov Elmallah, VI, Tranzmigrents Lamment

Continuing to edit The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming, Part VI, I came across this poem.
Part VI takes place during the Holocaust. The main character, Rivkah is fleeing overland towards Palestine. When she began her flight, a Torah was forced upon her to save. Now, months later...

Tranzmigrents Lamment
...oh, oh, well I want to know
will you come with me?
   “Uncle John’s Band”, Grateful Dead

Thoze owwerz and thoze lievz
I thot I livd; thaer relleksOn a tabel, now overternd;
Like so mennee objekts, tinsel and goeld,
Skatterd, krusht, or kikt asside.
Wut did I see in them? Wut did thay hoeld?

Now tell me wut it meenz tu be a hewman,
And tell me wut it meenz tu liv a day.
And tell me wut it meenz tu be the chozen,
And tell me wut it meenz wen we ar pray.

I held wun life;
1000 plezherz filld me.
I held wun life;
1000 terrerz gript me.
I held wun life;
1000 luvz wer in my hand,
And now the wind haz bloen them
Like a seengel graen ov sand.

And like 1000 leevz, wisselleeng, russelleeng
I thot I koud heer sumtheeng in the wind.
Leevz tumbelleeng and sand hisseeng...
And then it got kleerer, and then it got neerer:
Plaenz grumbelleeng and bomz thundereeng.
But that was not it. Thay past awway.

And then it got purer, and then it got shorer:
Not a sownd at awl, nor a feeleeng, nor a thot,
But a rezzaddew ov eenk that had rubd off on my skin,
Now dizzolvd intu my blud, that aenshent proffessee
Askeeng or demandeeng az evver it had dun:
“Erthah, Rivkah, wut I wont tu kno,
“Iz, wen will yu rize and wok with me?”

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Song of Elmallah, Part VI, introduction

I keep putting off completing the last book of The Song ov Elmallahz Kumming. It just needs revisions to some of its poems, so I went to look at it tonight, and behold, I found another reason to put off working on it! I read the introduction and thought it was so good, I decided to post it here. (I suppose if I didn't like my own writing, I wouldn't write.)

Gottverdamnerung: In the End ov Time
You Will Soon Be Leaving Me, Too

How suddenly I feel thrust out of Heloise’s arms, with whom I’ve lain these many years, trying to complete my Knowen of her. How cruel and sudden death is. We know it’s coming; we expect it; there are moments of dread. And then death divides us! Our bodies are irrevocably separated; our hearts cloven with an unimaginable wound. Our tears fill but a cup. It overflows.
A semi-transparent filter has darkened the world. Everything is the same, but the tone is more somber. How many layers of these filters are lain upon our Souls until all light is filtered away? I love Heloise, and she is no more.
I have thrown rock and soil upon her, and walked, broken, away. I call out to my God, “Where is Your Moment of Bliss?” There is no answer. Again I must remember I am here, down here, in the world, in Ertha. Here I am, and like a child who cries out to a parent and receives no response, I cry louder. I sob. My Parent stands ready in the next room, but this I must do, without help. We both grieve at my sorrow.
They say a ladder was extended from heaven, and angels descended and ascended. This was a dream. In reality, angels may descend, but once we have touched Ertha, once we have kissed her or cursed her, a filter darkens our eyes, our hearts, our Souls. No more can we find the ladder. If it is there, we cannot see it. If we reach out to it, we cannot hold it. Its rungs will not support our heaviness of heart.
So, what is there to do? I must build a ladder! Some say the ladder is there, and I must merely climb it. They call it Torah. Others say climbing is merely a matter of faith. With faith, all will be accomplished, they say. They refer to new books extolling a man. What is the difference between faith and illusion? Those that talk so boldly are full of illusion. And it grieves me, for Ertha is full mostly of illusion and very little faith. Our Sacred Books are not a ladder. They are but incomplete instructions. Each of us must build. And each must improvise.
But wait! A wonderful realization has just now struck me. This is not only the work of angels. Everyone is building! Some are still searching for the first tool. Others have amassed materials but can fashion nothing. This work is hard. Having too much creates an impossible burden. With too little, nothing holds together.
Heloise, you have helped me fashion a rung in my ladder. For this you are inscribed in my Soul, and you are made holy. Who now will hold me in her arms? Will her kisses be so sensuous and eager? Will her body tremble with a pleasure that reaches to the Moment of Bliss? Shkheenah, will You love me so sweetly again?
And you, my dear reader, my leader who has followed me so far! You too, will be leaving me soon. But I will not leave you!

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Atternen Ju: altered states

The time is about 1170CE. The place is north of Damascus. Our hero and his wife are making their way to Khazaria or Poland, or who-knows-where, and lo, before them, the Euphrates...

Here's a prose, standard English version of their trip.

Here on these shores we eat the last of Sheik Sinon’s hashish cakes. As we climb aboard a rottin’ boat, our ferryman, Urshinnab, assures,
“Yea, I’ll take you’s all the way up this Euphrates to its source, even to that other world, that Aden where these shores end.”
Anyways, that’s the claim he makes. Batkol frowns and looks around. Marsh and silence. We slip from shore.

Languid ripples bend away. Reeds and muddy shoals and cranes. A breeze. The willows tremble and sigh, wavin’ their arms, ‘Come here. Forget.’ Beneath them, the women washin’ clothes see us and wave and begin to dance, swayin’ hips and sway of arms. And now the plane trees murmur dreams. The rustle of leaves like brushes on drums, and the birds in a chorus, warble refrains as the women bow to the ferry boat,
“Hail, ye holy spirits. Ascend.”
The birds take flight to accompany us; angels and egrets alight on our boat as the River Redemption flows to its source.

We lie on the prow. The azure sky descends. I touch it. It ripples and bends like water, zigzag arcs shoot out in a spray of color wherever I touch, as I dissolve in the liquid air. Our little ferry stretches out, and with it, like rubber, we elong into giants sailin’ an island upstream.

We pass beneath a willow tree into a masjid*, tiny and cool, with an intricate dome of inlaid tiles, polished sapphire, jade, and gold. What artist drew such a perfect design? The dome echoes a choir in song; must be a thousand angels of praise. Sudden the dome in a thunder explodes. Birds, leaves, branches, sky. A flock of warblers scatter away and a rain of leaves flutter down....
* a little mosque

I wake from a dream. Astonished, I blink. I wake again and the world is new. I am in a boat. What river is this? I wake again. I am in a boat. From far away a woman stares. I know her face. I wake again. Heavy breathin’. I am in a boat. Far away... I wake again. A woman sittin’ far away. She speaks. Her words a waterfall, a low rumble. I wake from a dream. I am in a boat. Music echoes from far away.
“You are Butkoel,"
I think I say. Am I dreamin’? I wake again. She murmurs, but all her words are garbled. I try to explain... She bursts into laughter. I wake from a dream. I am laughing. I close my eyes and see rivers that ripple into words down a page, mosques built in an arbor of trees.

I wake from a dream of rivers and boats. The world is a boat. It rocks on waves, and sooner or later what is standing, falls. It make me dizzy. So that is wy.... 

I wake from a dream. But am I awake? Do I hear singin’ or Batkols voice? She stops laughin’. I listen close.

Splish... Splish... Gurgle ... Splish. The world empties of sight and sound. Just a vast mosaic of blue sky. The splish and gurgle and the ferryman’s wheeze. And then in the silence I hear it again what I’ve heard many times, I don’t know when -- a sigh, a whisper, a word, a phrase that comes like shadow dance on the waves; a voice on the river or a Voice of the Lor singin’ itself, faint as a breeze, singin’ itself through the ages of me. Verses that slowly remember themselves. Mysterious lyrics. What do they mean?
‘In symmetry of love and decay...
‘Hear me; touch me.
‘I care not what is true.
‘And I betray what is coy.
‘I’ll lead you where you want to go,
‘And leave you, cold, alone...’

Who is this woman? Potiphar’s* wife? Or Lilith callin’ from the farther shore? How do I know her temptin’ song? Again and again, but now it transforms,
‘In some, the degrees of love...
‘Come, hurry, touch me carnally.
‘Refuse echoes.
‘Cling to what is ekht...
‘Redeeming you who are called, alone.’
* Beraysheet/Genesis 39:1-20

“Batkol, do you hear her luring me?”
“I hear a khazzen* blessin’ us
“That we might flourish in our new land...
“‘*Et semmukh Duvveed uvdekhah...*’”
* cantor; prayer leader
*-* 15th blessing of the Sh'monah Esray

Comes twilight and towerin’ palisades rise with mysterious patterns in the rock.
“Glyphs writ before Noah’s time.”
“Genealogies and weird tales?”
“No one can read it,”
Urshinnub says. For a moment they all read themselves, like the earth revealing her secret life,
“Bow to me you little men and I will uncloak myself for you...”
Strange, her language rumbles and booms across the water;
“Be dismayed by your abashment lickin’ my dust*.”
Then silence. There on the highest ridge where the sun is sinkin’ into the haze, a fortress.
“That is Rumkale**, abandoned since the time of Job. We’ll stay the night as its royal guests.”
Our ferryman beaches the tiny skiff. Exhausted, we climb to her who calls.
* others say: crack
** pronounced ‘roomkallay’, the ‘oo’ like’book’