Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | November 17, 2016

Silence

Silence.

The wind blows wildly around me.

Winds of change…

winds of fear…

I stand tall in the midst of this hurricane of hurt and I am silent.

I used to want to say how I felt.  I used to want to scream and shout.

I used to want to know that I was heard.

But I’ve been silenced…

Silenced by the unwillingness of those who claim to understand…

who claim to be listening…

unwillingness to open up the part of themselves that might churn in discomfort when it receives the message I have been trying to give all these years all the times I have sat to write how I feel and the only response is a sigh and a squirm because I have just put words to feelings you wanted to sweep under a rug…

a rug woven with barbed wire thread coiled tightly around steel rods sharpened to points that pierce my skin when I try desperately to claw my way out from underneath all of your shame…

your shame…

the shame you have carried all of your lives because you can never admit that the face you put on every day before you go out into the world you pretend is untouched by humanity’s sins is a face that you worked so hard to perfect because it was the only protection you ever had from the reflection staring back at you from above the bathroom sink.

And I am still silent.

Nothing I can ever say will sway your view on the world you built to save yourself the trouble of giving a shit.

I have not tried my best…maybe I have not tried at all…but at least I can say that while I stand whip-lashed and  tongue-tied as the raging winds from the past beat into the winds of the future in a spiraling tornado that must now be my present, I have made a conscious decision to allow myself to be silenced.

I will not bow my head in shame for my silence is the only control I have left.

And you will never hear it.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | October 2, 2016

525,600 Minutes

a year.

it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

it was supposed to be a fairy tale ending.

it was supposed to all work out.

there was going to be this moment where it all came together.

and we’d be whole again.

there was hope

that even though it seemed so damn black we could find a light.

we almost found it.

you believed in it.

you said you would make it happen.

this time, i will thank god…this time i will thank god…

but

here we are

lost

confused

ripped at the fragile seam we had left

never able to be whole

and we are hurting so badly

in so many different ways

and there is nothing anyone can do to fix this one

except hope

and pray

if you still believe.

but some of us

don’t.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | September 21, 2016

Crash.

Oh my darling.  My beautiful little girl…

I am watching you cry.  You sob as you twist and turn your little body on the kitchen floor.

I can’t, you say.  You said this medicine will help me…but it’s not changing my feelings!  I can’t anymore!

I slide down beside you, leaning against the refrigerator door as I watch you writhe.  It’s hard to watch you writhe.  It makes me want to reach deep down inside you and destroy whatever energy is coursing through your body in a way that makes you say, I don’t know what to do…I want to scream…I have to scream…I need to…I have to…AH…IMMA!

And then more tears spill out from your beautiful big eyes.  I pull you closer and wrap my arms around you.  You can’t find a comfortable place…but I don’t let go.  I rock…we rock together…back and forth…back and forth and still I say nothing.

Imma I’m trying so hard.  You lean against me as you begin to talk…using words that threaten to break the dam behind my eyes and let my feelings pour out to join your wet check against my wet arm as we rock back and forth on the kitchen floor.

I’m stressed.  I’m trying so hard.  I decided to work harder than I ever did when I started taking the medicine.  I thought if I tried super hard, the medicine would work better.  But Imma, I’m so stressed.  I’m not myself.  I don’t know who I am anymore.  I’m just a girl with ADHD who can’t do anything in school.  I wish I didn’t have this.  I wish I was a kid who could keep her cubby neat and write everything down like we’re supposed to and not have anything that makes my brain not work so great.  Imma, I’m so tired.  I want to be good…I want to be special…Imma I can’t!

My heart is breaking my darling.  Can you feel it?  You are pressed against my broken heart here on the kitchen floor while I absorb your pain.  I am pulling your energy into my soul…I am breaking down any tough fibers in my heart to make room for your pain…I am taking it from you and trying so hard to make it all go away.

You rest your head on my chest and sigh.

I lean over your shoulder.

I don’t always have an answer, I say.  But I will always listen to you.  Thank you for talking to me.  I love you.

You sniff and nod your head and I pull you in for a hug.

One day, you will read all the things I have written and will write about you.

One day you will know how I feel right now.

One day you will see yourself as unique and special and you will embrace it.

For now, it is my embrace you feel.

My arms are wrapped around you tight and I am never going to let go as we rock…back and forth…on the kitchen floor.

 

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | September 19, 2016

I Know How You Feel

Sometimes I say ‘I know’ and I don’t.  Not really.

I don’t always know how everything feels.

I like to think I can relate…but no one ever really can.

Sure, I’m sympathetic, it’s easy to be.

But rarely do I KNOW, with my heart.

This time, I KNOW.

I know what you’re feeling right now.

I know that some of you are in denial.  I know that some of you are brushing this all off as nothing too serious.  I know that some of you are ready to get up and fight.  I know that some of you are feeling super protective of your families right now.  I know that some of you are hesitating to leave your house.  Not because you are terrified…you don’t ever get terrified because you won’t give in to it…but because you are a little scared.  I know that some of you are in shock.  You don’t understand how things like this can happen in your own backyard.  I know how some of you are trying to figure it out.  I know how some of you might spend a lot of time going back and forth in your head and sometimes out loud…feeling unnerved by the conversation itself.  I mean, how is it that we are even talking about this?  It’s 2016 – this is a safe place – a tolerant place…what happened?  And I know some of you are looking at your teenagers and wondering how they seem to function on a different plane.  How is it that they can shrug it off and go about their business?  How can they still be posting selfies?  Why are they not heeding your advice and taking precautions?  I know some of you are feeling brave and some of you are feeling scared and some of you aren’t sure how you should be feeling when things blow up in New York and New Jersey and people start saying the words ‘terrorist’ and ‘attack’ in a manner that sends a shiver down your spine.

Some people are going to post silly things on social media, letting the American people know how we go through this every day in our little land smack in the center of the Middle East.  Some people are going to chastise you for finally ‘waking up’.  I’m sorry for that.  I wish I could prevent it.  Because all of us here should just be letting you know…that we know.  We really do.

And we feel for you.

Because yes, we do feel all these things all the time.

But we never, ever wanted you to be able to relate.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know…that I know how you feel right now.

I really do.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | June 24, 2016

Resentment Is

a thread

weaving in and out of lives

pulling back

into childhood

where it waits

to be addressed.

You run forward

as fast as you can

trying desperately

to rip away

from that poor

pathetic

child

who only wanted

what he deserved.

So now you sit

in resentment

and resist

the urge to cry

as that poor

pathetic

child

once again

is ignored.

Cry darling

cry

because I am here

and I am listening

to everything

you cannot say.

Posted by: colloquiallyspeaking | June 16, 2016

My Heart Writes

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fnaftalibracha.goldstein%2Fvideos%2F10208860741089986%2F&show_text=1&width=560” target=”_blank”>Audio

Most times…I write.

I write what I feel and I pour my own heart

into words on a page

that someone may read

on the other side of a screen

where perceptions and life experiences

will slowly change

the words my heart meant to say into words you understand

your way…

But this time…

My heart refuses to be heard in any way other than how much it hurts

as people die and other lie bleeding and other hearts

quicken their beating

while bloody hands press down on their chests

and pray to any god that the bodies of lovers, strangers and friends

will muffle the sounds of those hearts…

those hearts…

that cry out to a god who answers with gunshots and convictions that men die for…

but I don’t want to die

for a god who hates

a god who calls to arms the deranged

and lets his goddamn name be said in vain

in vain his goddamn name is found

in every blood-soaked temple of the innocent

clotting lives of those who dared to live

against the wishes of some goddamn god

my heart refuses to let it

my heart…

writes.

 

paxp-deije

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.

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