Saturday, January 23, 2016


I have tasted of your juices,
I have savored of your scents.
So your scents are in my nostrils,
And your tastes upon my tongue.

I have breathed in. Inhalation
Has carried you within me.
I have breathed out. Exhalation
Has given you my love.

It is said that we are mindful
Of the things that are at hand.
But with distance, there's a longing
That the lovers understand.
I have lusted for your textures,
I have yearned for all your sights.
I have dreamed of you in daytime,
I have tossed for you at nights.
Has my love been unrequited?
That only you can know.
I have felt your heartbeat quicken,
I have seen your motions slow.
Your were near and yet were distant.
You are far and yet are near.
And your absence is a presence
That is hard for me to bear.
When I left you for another,
Did you notice, did you cry?
Did you ask then for a reason?
Did you ever wonder why?
No, you didn't even notice,
For you'd hardly notice me,
Who was one of many millions
That by chance had come to be.
But you gave me life and fed me,
And I grew beneath your sky.
And I never really left you,
Though it seems that now I lie.
For you are my native country,
You're the land of all my dreams.
Though I seem to be so distant,
It isn't what it seems.
You are with me still in music.
I can hear you in my voice.
In my exile, you are in me.
So I dream, and I rejoice.
As a tree, that is uprooted
And is planted in a soil
That is foreign, may not flourish,
So the worker and his toil.
As a mite upon your body,
As a mote upon your skin,
I was one you'd hardly notice,
But I've borne you in my soul.
As the years have stretched to many,
And the memories start to fade,
I can delve within and find you,
So I once again am whole.
2016 January 23rd, Sat.10:25 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York
For a more rational view of this, see the short piece:  Exile--II
For a rather wistful, resigned reflection on this, see: Exile  


Winter's Gifts

Winter's Gifts
I have heard my footsteps crunching
On the freshly fallen snow.
I have turned and seen my footprints
Where I just had been before.
The brine from running nostrils,
The crystals striking lips,
The chill of air on cheekbones—
These all are winter's gifts.
The trees that stand in silence
And don their cloaks of snow,
They too are gifts of winter—
And who could ask for more?
I can hear the sound of footfalls
On the softly falling snow.
I can see the trail of footprints
Where I've slowly walked before.
But then the winds grow stronger
And sharp enough to pierce
The layers in which I'm huddled,
As the blizzard turns to fierce.
And yet, I thank, while freezing,
And blinded by the ice,
The winter, for its presents,
Though some are not so nice.
And later, while I shovel,
With aching back and arms,
Or when the snow gets blackened,
I'm grateful for its charms.
And though that snow, in melting,
Has soaked my socks and feet,
While fingers still are frozen,
My thanks, I still repeat.
For the hardships of the winter,
For the cold that numbs my hands,
I am grateful.  These are blessings
That a seeker understands.
I have heard the crunch of footsteps
On the white and virgin snow.
I have seen the trail of footprints
Where I once had trudged before.
I have watched the snow get blacker;
I have seen it turn to slush.
I have shoveled and I've grumbled
But I've told myself to hush.
For only in the winter,
In the cold and wind and snow,
Am I grateful, though I'm living,
That I soon will have to go.
As I shiver, while I'm standing
As I'm waiting for the bus,
While I'm holding in my urine,
I am tempted then to cuss.
But I turn towards the heavens
That are dreary, dark and gray.
Though the wind is chill and biting,
To those heavens then I pray:
“I am grateful for your presents,
For the hardship that uplifts.
If you'd only take me swiftly,
You could spare my share of gifts.”
2016 January 23rd, Sat.
(during winter storm Jonas)
Brooklyn, New York


Saturday, January 16, 2016

Winter’s Weight / The Prophet (an allegory)

Winter’s Weight  / The Prophet
(an allegory)

I had wandered, in the winters,
In the streets deserted, cold,
With the dreary skies above me
As I grayed from growing old.

For the one who’s old and single,
A winter can be bleak,
With neither spouse nor offspring
As a shelter from its reach.

But neither love nor kinship
Nor friendship can suffice
To free ourselves of a winter
That holds us in its vice.

A season, like a time of day,
Is a being and a mood.
In colder climes, the winter’s traits
Are often rather rude.
It blusters as it freezes us.
It dumps its loads of snow.
It takes what autumn might have left
And then it asks for more.
But seasons, much like times of day—
And moods, are transient things.
So winter, like a tyrant, reigns—
And then, the minstrel sings.
But till that little bird arrives
And perches on its tree,
We live with winter’s weight on us
And struggle to be free.

And some may look to forecasts in
Their hopes of warmer weather,
Or seek for a prophet, who’d show us how
To break from winter’s tether.


How many were the prophets false,
How many true were slain?
And yet we seek for “leaders”, who
Might free us from our pain.

In the winter, comes the "leader",
To a people turned to sheep.
He says, "Follow me to summer."
But the price is often steep.

There always are the foolish,
Who never will be wise.
Will he lead them to the slaughter
Or towards their paradise?

For it's only when we waken,
From the sleep in which we dwell,
That we know which way is heaven
And which will lead to hell.

I had walked the cold and silent streets
Of the cities of the north,
And wondered, would those songs return
That autumn’s winds sent forth.

On winter nights, I had seen in dreams
The colors of the spring.
I had huddled then beneath my quilt,
But my heart had taken wing.

How many "revolutions",
How many "springs" have turned
To bloodbaths and unreason—
And yet, the spirit yearns.

The tides of men have seasons
That last for many years.
And then there comes a prophet—
And hope that wells as tears.


I traveled to Manhattan
To hear the prophet speak.
And there I saw that Sanders
Was out of winter’s reach.

His hair, which age had whitened,
Was tousled by the breeze.
But though the wind was biting,
He stood and spoke at ease.

So winter’s weight was lifted
And grays replaced by hues.
The birds would be returning—
Although it wasn’t news.  *

And riding back to Brooklyn,
I sat within the train,
Resolved that, what the winter
Had stolen, we’d regain.
2016 January 16th, Sat.
Brooklyn, New York 

*  Sanders’ gave his aggressive Wall Street Reform speech, which I attended, at the “Town Hall” building in Manhattan on Jan. 5th.  This, along with polls showing that his campaign was succeeding despite the mainstream-media blackout, did finally get him some long-due coverage in that media.

Bernie Sanders, giving his Wall Street speech,
at the "Town Hall" in Manhattan, 2016-01-05

photographs (very poor): A. Janah 

Sanders had given his talk, in which he had attacked the excesses of the financial institutions, many of them centered in Manhattan, at the historic midtown "Town Hall" building on 43rd Street.  This building, with its large auditorium, had once been a center for the suffragette movement.
After the talk, I joined a group of supporters who were waiting for him outside the building.  Once he had emerged, we followed Sanders, along with some media folk, as he briskly walked, hat-less and glove-less despite the cold, east along 43rd and then south along Sixth Avenue, crossing it at 42nd Street and then stopping for awhile, at an entrance to Bryant Park, to be interviewed. 

Midtown Manhattan, with Bryant Park on lower left, between 40th & 42nd Streets.
The "Town Hall" is on 43rd Street, between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.
After the interview, the prophet continued to walk rapidly east along 42nd, towards Fifth Avenue, followed by a sizable entourage.  But I walked back west instead to Sixth Avenue to take the D train back to Brooklyn.

You can click on any of the pictures to view all of them in a somewhat larger and clearer format, in a sort of gallery show.  Click on the white X at the top right of the black background to return to this post.

Sanders crossing on the streets of Manhattan, 2016-01-06
photographs (not the best): A. Janah

Sanders being interviewed by an ABC News reporter,
Bryant Park, Manhattan, 2016-01-06

photographs (somewhat better): A. Janah



Thursday, January 14, 2016

Nature's Wine

Nature's Wine 

When the spirit has been troubled
And the body too is weak,
We may turn then to the spirit
That is bottled, there to seek
For the comfort that is lacking
In our lives and in our work,
And for refuge from the troubles
And the woes that daily irk.

But the truth is that the spirit,
From such potions, won't revive,
But will only more be weakened
Till it barely can survive.
But we still can heal our bodies
And our minds with Nature's wine,
For by looking out the window,
We can drink of the divine.

2015 January 14th, Thu.
Brooklyn, New York

See also: Beer and Wine
( )

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Broverbs of Pain

Broverbs of Pain

How red the wind-tossed roses blow,
How sharp, their curving thorns!
And just as red, the blood will flow
From thumbs of eager hands.

How beautiful she does appear
To those who yearn for her!
What misery, they do not know,
That yearning might confer!


How beautiful, that song of love
That’s sung in soundless tones.
How silently that river flows
That runs so swift and deep.


How tender is the heart of love,
How hard, the one of hate.
And in-between is callousness—
That leaves us to our fate.

Who murders, knows what he has done
And all his life repents,
Unless he’s blinded by that fog
That makes of Earth a hell.


Though pleasures might be shallow, short,
While pain is deep and long,
There’s joy that’s true that melds with woe
And so gives rise to song.


As sculptures, paintings get their depth
From shadows more than light,
So also we are deepened more
By pain than by delight.

Look not to me for happiness,
But only more of grief.
Of all the happiness you’ve earned,
I might be called the thief.


I met a man in a hopeless state—
Or so it seemed to be.
Yet when I greeted him, he smiled
And kindly looked on me.


There’s comfort in a misery
To which we are accustomed,
But newer woes can startle us
And shatter our repose.

We yearn for things we cannot get,
Neglecting what we had.
And some of us, on knowing this,
Might even feel regret.

When it’s cold and gray and raining,
In the dreary winter climes,
We remember then the sunshine
And the warmth of bygone times.
When the sun is high and blazing,
In the heated tropic zone,
We have dreams of clouds and rain then—
And of winters we have known.

2016 January 8th, Fri., 8:30-9:30 pm
David H. Koch Theater, Lincoln Center
Columbus Avenue and 63rd Street
New York, New York
(added later in Brooklyn: 4th quatrain 
and 3rd, 4th & 5th quatrains from end)
a big fat ingrate, giving the finger to the notorious multi-
-billionaire David H. Koch, in the theater named after him
at the Lincoln Center, New York City, 2016 January 8th

(Click on the image for a slightly better view of the degenerate,
and then click on the white X at the top right of the black
background to return to this post.)