Memories

Memories
by Carl Josehart

Memories of the future make their way slowly into my mind
Repetitious images of my life in times yet to come
I am moving back and forth through space and time
Not knowing how to find my way to them or how to return to where I’m from

Suspended, now am I, unable to find roost – just to fly
Knowing in my dreams where I am meant to be
Remembering failures and how hard it was to try
Comforted, in those times, by what I told myself the future had for me

Muddled and confused, I wonder what is real and what a dream
Unable to separate for myself fantasy from fact
I look for a source of knowledge to tell me what it means
Hoping I will find it while my life is still intact

But reality seems to change as I move from place to place
Each embracing me for the moment – then turning it fades away
Is reality so fragile that it shatters when I avert my face?
Or, is it that I haven’t learned to hold it firmly, and make it want to stay

Wishes so old have become memories
The future so long awaited is now the past
Dreams too weak to live must now be grieved
The present is all that is left for me – I hope I can make it last


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Plant Peas

Plant Peas

I have a friend named Ann
who likes to plant peas

She lives in a world of courtrooms
and mental disease
and when she goes home
she likes to plant peas

Maybe it’s the feel of the soil
and how it responds to her touch
it could be the smell of the earth
that she craves so much

Maybe it’s the sight of the field
with everything in bloom
or the sweetness of their taste
as they melt in her mouth
it could be the sound of the wind
as it blows through the trees

Ann has many reasons
she likes to plant peas

 

– Carl Josehart, 1988

The Tattooed Tigress

The Tattooed Tigress
by Carl Josehart

The tattooed tigress
slowly stalks her prey
inviting mouth studded with razor sharp teeth

Swishing silky tail
playful as a cub
powerful as a lioness
tempting as ripe fruit swollen on the vine

The tattooed tigress
now wounded in battle
cries out in pain
threatens all who come near
even those with salves and dressings for her wounds

Too frightened to let anyone approach
she is danger of dying from her wounds
injuries that need not be mortal
threaten to sap her life
lest she can suffer to be cured

I Give You Torah

To my dearest cousin on the occasion of her daughter receiving her first Siddur.
– 1/31/2017


I Give You Torah
by Carl Josehart

My darling child
many things I gave you seem
temporary
as I look back on them now
food eaten and gone
clothes you grew out of
toys you no longer use to play
But two things I gave you go with you
Forever
even when I cannot be near
I gave you love
I gave you Torah
pass them on

Thank you
dear mother
for the many things you gave me
food to nourish my growing body
an education to nourish my growing mind
love to nourish a growing capacity to care
and Torah to nourish a growing soul
Now
here is my child
help me as I
pass them on

Mothers and the Almighty
Eternal partners in parenting
milk
honey sweetness
from words of Torah
to nourish our young
heart and mind
body and soul
to keep them strong
even when we cannot
be near

My dear child
I look at
your fragile little body and see
the next link in an ancient chain
your expanding intellect
the storehouse to come of our national treasures
your unblemished heart
full of compassion and love
your perfect soul
full of wonder and praise
My darling child
I give you love and
I give you Torah
pass them on


 

(Re)Union

(Re)Union
by Carl Josehart

Once tightly (inter)locked
our lives now collide
randomly
as a ball against bumpers
in an arcade game

(Re)connected
temporarily
yoked
like mismatched animals
conversations move in fits and starts

(Re)union
revisiting
old relationships
people
stuck in the mind’s eye
in a time long past
straddling two worlds
past
wished for and actual
present
grief and pain
renewed

(Re)surrect
dilemmas
justify
decisions
choices
long since made
and lived with

Re(flections)
mirror
relationships
of a self
my image no longer reflects
“You haven’t changed a bit”
hits like an accusation
or worse,
an indictment

(Re)member
what it felt like
to be an insider
part of the club
dues were high
taken without remorse
membership
like a long labor
is hard to give up
without a child
to show for so much pain


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Going to the Gynecologist With My Mother

Going to the Gynecologist With My Mother (and Oedipus)
by Carl Josehart

Going to the gynecologist with my mother
and Oedipus
after vanquishing my father
over a decade ago
with a random thought
(I wished him dead once)
I never entered her bed
And once being pushed out
from a womb
never sought to re-enter
but now
the gynecologist
with diagrams and sketches
invites Oedipus and me
in for a tour

Earlier
in the waiting room
my mother answers pages of questions
about her medical history
Oedipus shifts uneasily in his seat
when she gets to the questions about her
sexual history
she giggles
her cheeks gently blush red
and she whispers
“fargessen”
in our mother tongue
when the form asks about
pain with intercourse

later
in another room
they take out her uterus
place of our birth
homeland of our clan
doctors dance in circles around her
while products of her now diseased womb
wait patiently nearby

God
“source of all life”
“creator of all flesh”
a womb
from which was born a
chosen people
protect her now

Going to the gynecologist with my mother
and Oedipus
the rhythm of life
beats loudly
like the pounding of my heart
the doctor’s words
painful intercourse
about prognosis
treatment
and cure

afterwards
watching blue lips
struggling to form words
labored breathing
clutching at the air
he whispers
mocking her words,
“fargessen?”
“ich vet keynmol fargessen!”
(I’ll never forget)

The Unlived Lives of the Parents

“The marks humans leave are too often scars. You build a hideous minimall or start a coup or try to become a rockstar and you think, “They’ll remember me now,” but (a) they don’t remember you, and (b) all you leave behind are more scars. Your coup becomes a dictatorship. Your minimall becomes a lesion.”
― John Green,  The Fault in Our Stars


The Unlived Lives of the Parents
by Carl Josehart

the unlived lives of the parents
will be visited on the children
unto seven generations

failures
chances not taken
talents lacking
born too late
original sin
inherited

unrealized hopes
fantasies
shards
discarded fragments
holy ashes
residue from sacrifices
made on
altars of propriety
sensibility and
good common sense

seeds sown in anger
despair
plowed under
yield bitter fruit
lost harvest
rotting on the vine


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