Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | May 24, 2016

How Are You?

How is she? 

They ask, everywhere I go.

Sometimes I answer.

It’s hard.  They’re trying something new.  We still don’t know.

And sometimes I don’t.

Fine, thank god.

They want to know news, they want to know progress…they want to know black and white.

I confide in some.

I deflect others.

Mostly, I seethe.

I know everyone means well.

I mean well sometimes too.

How is she?

But do you really want to know?

How is she?

I don’t know.

So tell me dear, dear sister.

How are you?

I bet it hurts.

I bet it’s really bad.

I bet you don’t even know how to explain it to me.

I bet you don’t even want to try.

I bet you want to close your eyes and wake up when it’s over.

I bet you want to travel back in time.

I bet you want me to stop asking you how the hell you are.

I’m fine.

You say it always.

And I wish I could answer you honestly.

You don’t have to be.

 

 

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | May 11, 2016

Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

I am too tired…too tired of writing about the pain…every damn year…

I am too tired of defending this land…speaking up for her…

But I can’t remain silent…

Because my heart still beats…

And other hearts still are silenced…

By hatred…by fear…

By those who would like to see my drowning arms flail in a sea of my brothers’ blood.

But I am still tired…

So I will just repeat myself.

Over

and 

Over

Again.

Until maybe one day, I will be heard.

********

April 25, 2012

Elohim sheli, ratziti sheted’a                                       

Chalom shechalamti balayila bamitah

(My God – I wanted you to know, the dream I dreamt at night in bed)

She sings her favorite song on the swings…in the sand…on the bus…and softly as she lays in bed…

Ubachalom, raiti mal’ach

Mishamayim ba elai v’amar li kach:

(In my dream I saw an angel from heaven, and this is what he said to me)

She has an old soul…a deep soul…a soul that understands more than what her heart can contain…

Bati mishamayim, avarti nedudim,

laset birkat shalom lechol hayeladim,

laset birkat shalom lechol hayeladim.

(I came on a long wandering from the heavens to bring a blessing of peace to all the children)

She has a vivid imagination…colorful…layered and vast…

Ukshe itorarti nizkarti bachalom

V’yatzati lechapes me’at shalom

(When I awoke, I remembered the dream and I went out to look for a bit of peace)

She expresses her thoughts…feelings and questions…boldly…without hesitation…

V’lo haya mal’ach, v’lo haya shalom

Hu mizman halach, v’ani im hachalom.

(and there was no angel…and no peace…he was long gone and I…am here…with my dream)

The siren wails.

We are silent.

She is thinking.

Why is there a siren?

To remind us of the soldiers…of the chayalim.

What, they died?

Well…yes.

Why?

Because they were protecting us.

Chayalim are good?

Of course.

But some chayalim want to kill us.

Our army is good.  Our chayalim are good.

Like the Mishtara?

Yes.  The police and soldiers are good.

The siren is for the chayalim that are dead?

Yes sweetie.  And for all the chayalim…to always remember all the chayalim.

Why do we have chayalim?

To keep us safe.

Yes, but Imma, why do we need to be saved?

Elohim sheli, ratziti sheted’a

She’hachalom haze nishar li k’chida

Elohim sheli, ratziti sheted’a

Al hachalom sheli, ratziti sheted’a

Elohim sheli, rak ratziti sheted’a…

(My God, I wanted You to know…that the dream remains a riddle to me…my God, I wanted You to know…about my dream…I wanted You to know…my God, I just…wanted You to know…)

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Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | May 6, 2016

31

17…just off the plane and I’m miserable.

I call my eldest brother.

I haven’t seen him in years.

He went to yeshiva when he was 13…I was 8…I got his room.

When he came home for the occasional weekend or chag, I had to join my sisters in the attic.

I don’t really know him but I don’t have anyone else to call.

He’s there within the hour.

We walk around and around the mountain because he smokes and can’t do stairs and I smoke and haven’t told him yet.

I tell him I hate it.

And also that I’m not really religious and that I drink…and stuff.

He listens.

He tells me he also hated it…even though it wasn’t like he had a better place to go.

I suddenly know him.

And then I’m in the hospital and he’s there because he’s the only one I have and I realize that he’s the only one I want there.

He tells me to lie to the social worker so I don’t get locked up in an institution.

He helps me get better.

Then he spends time with me.

Whenever…wherever.

Sometimes it’s on a bench on the side of town he’s not that comfortable hanging out in.

Sometimes it’s with him and his friends…jamming in the Yellow Submarine.

Sometimes his friend brings him by on the back of his moped…his friend smiles at me even as he averts his eyes because the black and white uniform he wears dictates that he must.

Sometimes it’s in front of the dorm.

Sometimes we go away together…to my people…or his.

Always, I talk…in my baggy pants…my cut t-shirts falling off my shoulder…

Always, he listens…in his white shirt…black pants…

We share Marlboro reds…lights when he’s trying to quit.

He never judges.

18…he comes to see me in another place.

I am wearing wrap around skirts that sweep the streets.

He’s added a scarf.

Sometimes we cook together.

Sometimes we walk.

Sometimes he talks.

I have learned to listen.

19…I want him to meet a boy.

Then he wants me to meet a girl.

20…we spend so much time together.

My head is wrapped like his wife’s.

His beard is growing in like my husband’s.

We are almost equal now.

We are both having babies.

Mine dies…

His is 10 already.

30…we drifted apart.

Now I meet him on the streets of Jerusalem again.

I haven’t seen him for a long time.

I am with my family…and I am so different.

I am scared of what he will say…how he will react.

I prepare an explanation.

He is here.

Now he has an electric bike with a child’s seat on the back.

He still wears black and white.

I walk towards him.

He smiles.

He looks at me…with my hair uncovered…my jeans back on…

He talks…I talk…

We listen.

31…almost…scared of losing my family…scared my hair…my jeans…mean more than they should…

But he smiled…and he did not avert his eyes…

So I can turn 31 and say I don’t care.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | April 3, 2016

1 in 5

Dear 4 in 5,

I don’t know what I will accomplish by writing this…but I want to be clear that I am not looking for your sympathy…or for you to understand.  You will never understand…that is why you are the 4 in 5.

I am the 1 in 5.  And though I cannot speak for all of us…I will try to break down a bit of the wall that crushes us.

I think what I want to do is explain…answer a few of the whys…

Why I don’t feel comfortable around you…

Why I seem cold when you meet me…

Why I don’t ever join in…

Why I seem…different.

I am different.

I am 1 in 5.

I am the 1 in 5 who didn’t get to be a real child.

I am the 1 in 5 whose trust in the world was shattered.

I am the 1 in 5 whose brain got rewired.

I am the 1 in 5…who sat alone…defiled…afraid…as the realization that you will all move on without me slowly drained my connection with you.

And so we became unable to feel each other…you and I…

Because I will always be that 1 in 5…and no one will ever define you by the 4 in 5 statistic you are.

I want you to know that I get it.  I really do.

You are not immune to feelings…you have deep hearts and souls.  Bad things happened to you too.  You were bullied/rejected/neglected/put down.  You suffered through illness/death/pain/suffering.  You are deep and thoughtful and kind and giving.  As a human, you are extraordinary and unique…an entire world of your own.

And you will still never understand why I, and my fellow 1 in 5s, cannot break through that wall of neatly stacked rows of 4…

We are not behind it…we are buried beneath.

And sometimes…all we want is a bit of room to breath.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | December 19, 2015

Complete

I write when I am complete…when my love, my fear, my pain is whole…when I get what it is I am feeling.

I write from a place of understanding…from acceptance…from the perspective of journey’s end.

Last year, I didn’t write.

I was torn up inside and out.  I was in too much pain about my past, about my family and about you.

I didn’t forget though.

I went to visit you.

I stared across at the mountain and I felt the hole you left in me.

But I didn’t cry.

I was angry.

I was so, incredibly angry.

And I couldn’t write.

This year was hard for me.

It was a struggle to push through every day…to survive…

I missed you so much…there were times I wanted to be with you.

It hurt…so badly…and the anger simmered beneath it all.

The anger has always been there…I just accepted it as part of me…and didn’t realize how it was consuming me.

Because it’s not fair.

Non of it.

It’s not fair that I didn’t get to have a childhood.

It’s not fair that you didn’t get to have a life.

It’s not fair that I have had to wade through everything that has been thrown at me…and still have to take responsibility.

It’s been hell.

But I’m writing now.

So that means I’m complete.

And I am.

I have come to accept me as I am…complete with the hole you left inside me…

Complete with the pain of my childhood…

Complete with the loss of my family…

Complete with the shame I sometimes feel for no reason at all…

The hurt that curls me into a ball of tears…

The emptiness I feel without you…

I am complete…a whole vessel with many holes…

I am loved.

You are loved.

We talk about you all the time.  We light a candle every week for you.  We call you brother and son.  You are very much loved.

It’s been ten years now…

And I will never let you go…

Because you make me whole…

You make me complete.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | December 11, 2015

Betrayal

Betrayal feels like cold wool…

…a room without a door…

…a suspended wall…

…a secret said aloud.

Betrayal hurts like a nail…

…a throbbing sore…

…a twisted gut…

…a blinding light.

Betrayal happens when you let a sickness take control…when you think there is no choice…when you decide it’s easier to give up.

Betrayal happens when you sabotage a relationship…when you throw away real love…and replace it with pity.

Betrayal is a fleeting feeling…one that goes away as those who do not lie take a stand…and make it clear…that betrayal has no place here.

Saying goodbye to you is cleaning my life out…giving my heart a chance…to heal the wounds you open with your selfish cries…to get your manipulative words out of my head…so that when I think of you…you will no longer be my poor…sorry…sister…but the addict you are…living with the choices you made…and understanding that I do not have to keep on forgiving you.

I have lost a lot to drugs…but not you…you I lost to a lie.

Betrayal feels like a lie.

 

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | November 23, 2015

When There Is Nothing Left To Say

There is so much I could say…so much to write about…

I could write about my sister…and her cancer…and what it feels like to be so far away…to be torn between my children and the baby I held in my arms at 14 years old…whispering my secrets to one of my only family members who couldn’t be angry at me…who I knew would never judge me.

I could write about my daughter…and how she has blossomed and regressed at the same time…how third grade is revealing what the course of her school life will look like…how she reminds me of me…at my most vulnerable age…and why that scares me.

I could write about my oldest brother and his grief…his mother-in-law and her table full of guests…how she battled another type of cancer…and lost.

I could write about my other sister…who is taking one day at time…and trying her best…and how proud I am of her…and how much I wish I believed in prayer so I could get on my knees each day and pray to keep her going.

I could write about yet another sister…who is changing her life…is making emotional sacrifices she never thought she could make…so that she can become the big sister who swoops in and gets things done…perfectly each time…and how I wish I could speak to her every day.

I could write about my sister who is most like me…and so could never be written about…because it would not do justice to who she is…and I could never express how much I miss her anyway.

I could write about my parents…and how I almost lost them…and how I thought that whatever progress was made was never going to be actualized…until cancer came along and changed the direction of the path we had embarked on.

I could write about Israel…and the blood that is spilled…and the daily attacks.

I could write about Europe…and Paris…and Belgium and the United States and Obama and the outrages and the silences and the hypocrisies and double standards.

I could write about it all.

I should.

But I won’t.

Because tears are streaming down my cheeks.

Pain is flowing out of my eyes.

Sorrow is stopping my heart.

This broken world is spinning too fast.

And I can no longer feel enough to breath.

All I can do is spill it out…through my fingers…onto the keys that form the letters to write…that I have nothing left to say.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | November 15, 2015

Our Dying World

The world is bleeding.

She is heaving her last breath…convulsing in pain…as she tries to heal wounds she doesn’t know how to lick.

She has been beheaded…stabbed…shot…

She had been blown to bits…burned alive…ravaged…

She has been raped…sold…defiled…

She has been trampled on…spit on…stoned…

She has been through every imaginable torture…and even more unimaginable deceits…

Yet she still struggles to survive…even now as she slips away…

Because she only knows how to love…how to give…how to believe…

She will not understand that to stop the pain she will have to open her core and swallow humanity alive so that she can continue to exist.

She will never do that.

She will die.

And we will die with her.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | October 13, 2015

I Am Israel

They want me to live in fear as great as their hate

To cower as I walk

To tremble every day.

But I will not.

For I am stronger than they can ever understand

Taller than I seem

Fearless as I’ll ever be.

I represent love

Beauty

Peace.

I am filled with purpose

I am resilient

I am powerful.

I am Israel.

And no matter how many wounds I lick

No matter how many bodies I bury

No matter how much blood seeps into my core

I WILL NOT DIE.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | September 20, 2015

A Day of Atonement

I wonder where you are now.

Or maybe I don’t really care.

I don’t know.

You are on everyone else’s minds…as they prepare to stand before you…

You fill their hearts with trepidation…love…and I guess a healthy fear.

Not me.

My heart doesn’t really let you in that much.

When it does it is in anger.

I don’t think I care to ask you to forgive me.

I am outside the camp now.

Before…I was on the line…trying to figure out where I fit.

Now I’m out.

You sort of pushed me out, you know.

Because I tried to see you…to feel you…

But you kept this great wall around you and wouldn’t let me in.

I don’t know where I’ll go after this.

I don’t know what I”ll do.

But I can offer you one last chance.

There’s this wonderful little book I read.

About Good and Evil…

About a Day of Atonement…

and two lists…

Here are mine.

This year, I challenged you.

I was ungrateful and needed more.

I asked you to change people’s hearts.

I didn’t try to get too close to you.

I spent a lot of time thinking of you negatively.

I wasn’t as kind as I should have been.

I was impatient.

I was petty.

I was hurtful.

This year, you challenged me.

You turned away when I cried out.

You wouldn’t change the things I wanted changed.

You made me live in my past.

You strangled me.

You didn’t answer me.

You hurt me.

You hurt the ones I love.

I now stand before you with these two lists.

I have stated the sins I have committed  against you.

I have stated the sins you have committed against me.

“I have been unjust towards you, and you have been unjust towards me.  However, since today is the Day of Atonement, you will forget my faults and I will forget yours, and we can carry on together for another year.”

~ Paulo Coelho, The Devil and Miss Prym

How about it, God?

Can we move on?

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