Saturday, August 27, 2016

Poem: Headstrong

O golden robed Moses, divinity-defier, is that you levitating in a wavering nimbus under an absent moon?
Where do your open soled sandals of glory fly tonight?
Come black-bearded shepherd, passionate prophet of awesome consequences,
Come perambulate among the remnants of your descendants in their stateless state, a dead line drawn from your flame-haloed bushtop to decades of dispute.

Come tap your magic staff on children tussling in the dirt you were denied, earthen and iron idols in their hands, hunting for virtual gods. Their leathered footsteps have trod every centimeter of this land.

We built your broken tablets into silicon halls, shopping malls, and supermarkets. Come walk the aisles of our exile, where artificial orange heads push cartons of crembos, occlusions of cantaloupes, cheese loaves and labane for Friday night beach blankets. Your stiff-necked people heed scribbled signs about 10 items or less as surely as they heed your engravements about 10 commandments.

We built your pitched basket of tar and reeds into roads that would amaze you, but we drove out the white haired goats and dripping honey dates. Come argue with our reckless chariot drivers who peel sunfruit by the yard, mustaches spitting stolen olive pits and politics. We plastered those gossiping spies carrying grapes and bemoaning the inhabitants onto every brochure as our national symbol for welcome.

If you are wondering what happened to your omnipresent ever-protective clouds of smoke and fire, they are still belching as the sun burns red-orange over Haifa bay.

Did the leaders you so carefully picked to minister to the hundreds, the fifties, and the tens sell their favors for hundreds, fifties, and tens?

Come swing your compelling compass needle to the backgammon players, sunflower seeded sabras and saviors, baby angels learning all night instead of living all day. Here the Arabs dance as Jews, the Jews dance as Christians, and the atheists patrol the watchtowers.

Here knives stab without hands (apparently), bullets spring miraculously from bodies (allegedly), Midianite spears pierce the wombs and genitals of righteous zealots, and hatred is the cream in our morning coffee.

How quickly can we rush to birth to offset our rush to death? Bodies struck down and buried in the sand don't stay buried here for long.

(I take your hand and pat a jagged stone wall, wet with blood and papers and thorny brush falling to a discordant dissolution. Your sister's tambourine was knocked out of her hand by a folding chair.)

Dear introvert, shy shepherd, wolf-tamer, what do your circumcised lips utter so softly in your trembling lisp? Is this the vision of the borders of Israel that the Almighty showed you as He cupped you in His palm and raised you over the majestic mountains of Gilead?

Copyright 2016 Yehuda (Jonathan) Berlinger

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