Book news!

I'm delighted to be able to announce this happy news: Ben Yehuda Press will be publishing my next collection of poems, Texts to the Holy!

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Many of the poems from Texts to the Holy have appeared on this blog over the last few years. It is my collection of love poems to the Beloved, and I am so excited that it will see print.

Ben Yehuda published my most recent collection, Open My Lips, in 2016. You can find all of their poetry collections on their website -- celebrate World Poetry Day by supporting independent poetry publishing!

(And while you're at it, please support Phoenicia Publishing, too -- they published my first two collections, and they've published some amazing work since.)


Texts to the Holy




Shechina is riding shotgun.
Her toenails are purple.

She's tapping at her smartphone
sending texts to the Holy.

What's it like, I ask her,
being apart? Do you wake up

melancholy and grateful
all at once, and fall asleep

thinking Shabbos can't come
soon enough, is always too short

you're always saying goodbye
and your own heart aches

to know he's hurting too?
And she looks at me

eyes kind as my grandmother
and timeless as the seas

and says, you tell Me, honey.
You tell Me.

 


 

The last time I saw Reb Zalman z"l, he spoke about conversing with God while driving. He would imagine Shechina, the immanent divine Presence, in his front seat -- and would pour out to God whatever was in his heart.

While driving recently I imagined the Shechina in my front seat... and this is the poem that ensued.

The original draft of this poem said that Shechina was writing "texts to the KBH." KBH is an acronym for the Hebrew phrase Kadosh Baruch Hu, which can be rendered in English as "Holy One of Blessing." Holy One of Blessing is a name associated with divine transcendence -- the part of God which is high-above and far-away. (Shechina, in contrast, is the part of God which dwells here in creation.) I've revised it, though, to be "texts to the Holy."

When we observe mitzvot with whole heart and intention -- says the mystical tradition -- we unify divine immanence and divine transcendence, for a time.

In my deepest yearnings, can I imagine what it's like for one part of God to ache for another part?

 

Edited to add: this is now the title poem of my next collection, which will be released by Ben Yehuda Press sometime in 2017 or early 2018.