Hope and Herring

Hope and Herring
Meditations on Spiritual Healing for the Gay Jew

Schmalz herring and
gefilte fish
clash with Soho
East Hamptons
and Fire Island
especially when Fire Island was Fire Island
before the
new age
screamed at the dawn
through ashes of hope and despair

Schmalz herring and
gefilte fish
still taste comfortable
and feel like home
so do pickled tomatoes
and lox
not smoked salmon
though that is more acceptable
when served in loft apartments
with expensive bottled water
and organic, recyclable lives
enhanced by homeopathic, herbal
oriental, Chinese healing
massage, Shakra medicines

Schmaltz herring and
gefilte fish
may not be healthy
but taste like grandmother
tradition, piety, family, love
and holidays when people
argue and bristle
hug and pinch
talk with mouths
full of stories
brisket and
sweet kugels

Hope and herring
cosmic brothers
cavorting in the vast expanse of this universe
one feeding the other
chicken soup
“mit kreplach”
which just might be the cure to
isolation and despair
when served hot with commitment
ladled with love
into bowls faded from use
generous as the generations
who nourished their ailing
from their dime-store depths
crystal, china and sterling would
homogenize the taste
blanding the ethnic
with exotic herbs
the staple in up-and-coming
Cuisinart, cappuccino,
Corian kitchens
replete with water processed decaf
gladiolas and Italian ices

Hope and herring
cultures in collision
lifestyle with legacy
voices call to me from across the centuries
friends call to me from graves inhabited too soon
an eternal people
an eternal peace
shared dreams of a new world
free from persecution
prejudice and pain

Hope and herring
the tastes of my people
mix in my mouth with
the tastes of my lover

– Carl Josehart, November, 1994


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