Wednesday, May 26, 2010

at night

at night
the doors are
closed tight..

at night
..the strange moon
alone and bright

at night
voices fall silent
faces out of sight

fears emerge...
distractions submerge

just man and his soul

...the scars come out at night


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Sunday, May 16, 2010

awake, alive

eyes closing..
to stay awake..
to focus.
on another word
another line...
The coffee
with parve milk
on the table..
before him
reminds him
of long transatlantic
of cramped
where one cannot go out
for some fresh air..
as he was about to..
then and there..
he sneaks a peek
at the clock..
..another minute has passed
his mind shouts
but his body
is in the clouds..
heavy..yet not falling
until he suddenly
looks up
The shul is terribly bright
and so empty...
ugh...where has the night gone..
He washes his face...and
focuses..on the best 20 minutes
anyone has ever learned
as the sun slowly
the eastern sky..
He's awake..
He's alive..

Happy Shavuos



Sunday, May 02, 2010

A Tale of Unparalleled Absurdity

The wheels were coming off the Kravitz home and some serious intervention was needed. Here it was less than a week until Pesach and nerves were fraying quicker than a $10 suit.
The above mentioned Kravitz home was a modest split level in a quiet part of town. It was a cheerful if somewhat bustling home.
The Kravitz household consisted of Mrs. Kravitz, a 50 something cheerful, controlling yet disorganized woman. Her husband was a quiet man who came and went without anyone really noticing. There was one married daughter Chanele with her husband Chaim'l living in Israel and one married son Duvi and his wife Chavele who lived 3 doors down in another modest split level, and a single boy of 19 who lived at home. Duvi could not stand the neighborhood, as everyone seemed to be pre-occupied with their own lives and cliques and he felt he had no place. In Shul he was ignored and the most he got from his neighbors was a distant wave.
The married daughter had just moved in for the month of Nissan with her husband and 3 children. The split level seemed to be splitting even more since their arrival and something had to be done to contain the chaos.
Mrs. Kravitz was frantically trying to find a cleaning lady, or man or anything for that matter, but finding one at this time was proving to be quite the challenge.
One morning during breakfast, the phone suddenly rang, barely audible over the din of the usual background noise. If a certain noise can be classified as white noise, then this would certainly be called ebony black noise. Everyone stopped for a second as the robotic and calm caller ID voice intoned "Call from Belkowitz Morde'kai..." Mrs. Kravitz suddenly went into panic mode..."where's the phone!!" she yelled while silently cursing the invention of the cordless phone. When it was finally located 2 overturned cereals later, she fixed her snood and locked herself into a closet that barely contained her generous frame, inhaled, smiled and and said, "Hello, do you have someone for me?", she paused for a minute "yes yes..oh you found someone??, what? she has anger issues? oh no worries, we're desperate, thank you, thank you so much".
She opened the door which now had a permanent round indentation where she had squeezed in and exclaimed "Boruch Hashem we got a cleaning lady". Her married son was sitting on the couch reading a circular, looked up, raised an eyebrow and said, "what was that about anger issues?" she shrugged and said if I could handle you guys growing up I can handle anything".

The next morning Vernuchka was standing at the door staring at 6 gaping faces. She was 4'9" with 2 braids framing her sweet freckled face. She smiled and said in broken English "Ziss Kravitz khouse?". "Uh yeah come in, come in" said Mrs. Kravitz as she showed her around the house while the children's muffled giggles echoed down the hallways. She instantly went to work with incredible efficiency. The 2 young married couples were sipping coffee in the kitchen marveling at the strange creature cleaning their parents house, and as if on cue all four of them thought of the same nickname "thing 1" for her.
Mrs. Kravitz was amazed by her great work and kept following her around the house itching to give instructions but finding Vernuchka one step ahead of her seemingly all the time. Finally in the master bedroom she noticed that she forgot to clean the slats of the ceiling fan and told her so with the air of "aha, I found something you missed". Vernuchka's eyes narrowed, her lower lip quivered for an instant before reaching down into her rolled up dirty white sock. Her eyes glued to the uncomprehending Mrs. Kravitz she came up pointing a small black revolver at her head. Before she could react in any meaningful way 3 bullets had ripped through her and she lay bleeding on the floor, while Vernuchka continued on cleaning the room. Suddenly Mr Kravitz rolled over, rubbed his eyes and said, "come on, can't you see I'm trying to sleep". In an instant the room was full of screaming people trying to stop the bleeding but it was too late. Mrs. Kravitz with her last gasps of breath was trying to say something and Duvi was trying to make out the words, "what is it Mama?" he implored. With her last ounce of energy she said softly, "please, whatever you do, don't.....don' her" and she was gone.

The grief stricken clan sat around the kitchen table discussing what they would do. They were staring at the prohibitive prices of funerals and were wondering where they would come up with the money. Just then Duvis eyes were drawn out the window to the parked truck on the corner. The one that read "Shaimos - $5 a bag" and a sick idea popped into his head. "Hey," he cleared his throat" isn't today the last day for Shaimos collection?". The question hung over the room like fat pinata begging to be whacked for it's treasures.
Two hours later among the chaos and commotion of last minute procrastinators hardly anyone noticed the group of 15 relatives and close friends hustling a huge oversized bag into the back of the truck for $5, while they whispered hushed words of eulogy for the woman who would be so proud of the money that was being saved here. Nor did anyone notice the 3 cars slowly following the U-Haul truck down the parkway to the burial ground.
The saddened family came home to a clean house and paid "thing 1" her $150. She took her money stuffed it into the other dirty white sock, perched a black fedora on her head and waltzed out. The family then sat down for a few hours of Shiva before Yom Tov arrived.
Chaim whispered to Duvi, "Hey, it's time to go to Shul". He got up, walked down the hall and ripped off the towel over the mirror. He could hardly recognize the disheveled face looking back. "Goodness I need a haircut and shave badly", he thought as he reached for his hat, but his hat was long gone.
He walked into Shul and went to stand in the back in his usual spot. Suddenly the Gabbai of the shul comes over and extends his hand. "Welcome, can I get you a seat?", he inquired. Duvi was about to respond when another man approached with an English Siddur and offered him a seat near him. It suddenly dawned on him that they had no clue who he was. He must look like some Baal Teshuva off the street. "Sheesh this is what it takes to get attention around these parts?", he thought to himself as he accepted the seat. He was exhausted and went through the motions of davening and the seder along with everyone else.

When it came to Eliyahu Hanavi's cup they realized there was no more wine left.
Chavale suddenly remembered that her mother in law hid away her favorite bottle of wine from Mishloach Manos for her use at the Seder and suggested that it be used now. The cup was full to the top and little Ari was opening the door, while everyone stared at the cup waiting for it to shake just a bit, or for a drop to disappear, as countless generations before them have done.
Suddenly the wine started disappearing inch by inch, until there was nothing left.
The whole family at once swooned and fell into a dead faint as Mrs Kravitz quietly closed the door behind her and got into the back of the waiting chariot. Eliyahu, rolled his eyes and rode off into the starry night.