Poetry Corner – Volume 8


For the inner ear, the voice of the vessel of silence is an embrace
felt by an infinite number of scribes.
It is my wish to offer here an oasis of present day poetic

Each month i shall invite new poets to breathe with, and they in
turn will bring guests of their own.

Poetry Corner at TIFERET has evolved out of Donna Stein’s
enthusiasm to nurture the spirit of beauty in all its forms.

silent lotus

February 2011 Silent Lotus’ Selected

Rick Stansberger

and his guest Michelle Beth Cronk

Lisa Starr

and her guest Coleman Barks



I listen to your search
for ancestral music
the rhythms that
make your heart dance.

The sound
removes the scar tissue
from my forehead
rules of transcendence
etched into the soul.

This is not a guitar
that your spirit plays
it is the bones of
your childhood
singing for freedom.

And I come to you
on these shabby knees
awaiting your charm.


You promised me
you would teach
me about death
accepting or rejecting
but to embrace
like long lost love

That I had to face death
to live life when eclipses
felt like manslaughter
and spirit reigned over stars

This is what you told me
a fortnight ago
when you thought
you recognized me
and I relished your Wicca ritual
like returned sainthood
rediscovering our Mesopotamia

You remembered how we
lived by the Caspian Sea
borrowing Russian names
for a lifetime of demonic passion

You reminded me of where we
met somewhere along the Nile
the sands still glisten from
our lovemaking
the sweat of a lifetime
built on erogenous faculties

And now do you find me
so repulsive
you return calls
with syllogism
not the love of desire

I pack my cares carefully
in layers of tissue
from your gifts

Now it seems
as if you no longer
recognize me as friend
as I assume alter ego
of fright spanned relic
an ancient memory
wished forgotten

You promised
you would teach me
about death
I know what
it feels like now

Larry Jaffe Bio The New Official Anti-Bio
Jaffe is an internationally known and an award winning poet he
writes from the heart and soul with great clarity and
understanding. He impacts audiences and readers with a rich
emotional range, masterfully crafted. He has read his work in such
distinguished locations as the Japanese American Museum, the Hammer
Museum, the Museum of Tolerance, the Jewish Museum and the Museum
of Literature in Prague and the Dylan Thomas Centre in Wales. He
uses the uses the aesthetic power of poetry to bring understanding
to the world especially in the area of human rights. To reward this
commitment was appointed Poet Laureate for Youth for Human Rights
and United for Human Rights. Jaffe was the recent recipient of the
Saint Hill Art Festival’s Lifetime of Creativity Award, the first
time given to a poet.

Nathalia Handal



Nothing is even, even this line

I am writing, even this line I am waiting in,
waiting for permission to enter

the country, the house, the room.

Nothing is even, even now

that laws have been drawn and peace
is discussed on high tables,

and even if all was said to be even

I would not believe for even I know

that nothing is even – not the trees,

the flowers, not the mountains or the shadows…

our nature is not even so why even try to get even

instead let us find an even better place

and call it even.

Nathalie Handal is an award-winning poet, playwright, and
editor. She has lived in Europe, the United States, the Caribbean,
Latin America and the Arab world. Her work has appeared in numerous
anthologies and magazines, and she has been featured on PBS The
NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, NPR, as well as The New York Times, The
San Francisco Chronicle, Reuters, Mail & Guardian, The Jordan
Times and Il Piccolo. Her most recent books include: Love and
Strange Horses (University of Pittsburgh Press), an Honorable
Mention at the San Francisco Book Festival, and the landmark
anthology, Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the
Middle East, Asia & Beyond (W.W. Norton). Her work has been
translated into more than 15 languages, and some of her awards
include: Lannan Foundation Fellow, Honored Finalist for the Gift of
Freedom Award, Recipient of the AE Ventures Fellowship, Shortlisted
for The Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize, Winner of the Menada
Literary Award, and Winner of the Pen Oakland Josephine Miles
National Book Award. Handal writes the blog-column, The City and
The Writer, for Words without Borders magazine. http://www.nathaliehandal.com

Elizabeth Thomas


His T-shirt says, “I am God”.
I think – My lucky day!
I’ll run over,
shake his hand,
ask for an autograph.
I might never have this chance again.

But, as God sits there
waiting to step into
the Vice Principal’s office,
I look closely –
at his faded T-shirt
two sizes too big,
sneakers older than he is,
thin legs swinging
barely long enough to reach the floor,
dirty hands massaging a dirty forehead and think –
This is not God.
This is a little boy
who maybe swore in the lavatory
or tussled on the playground.
A child who probably forgot
to eat breakfast,
did not expect a good-bye kiss.
When he gets home from school today
he’ll let himself in
with the key
that hangs around his neck.
He might help himself to Twinkies
and a glass of Coke,
a micro-waved pizza in front of the TV.

Struggling to raise his head
the circles under his eyes
slope toward his chin,
pick up the lines around his mouth
and carry it down as well.
It’s not easy taking care of the world!

Using the back of his hand
he trails snot and tears across his face
into his hair,
which heads out in all directions
as if just lifted from a pillow.
He looks neglected
like homework after a long weekend.
This boy ain’t been loved in a long time.

I want to walk over
kneel on both knees,
use my sleeve to clean his cheeks,
tie his sneakers.

He looks up
and in his eyes
I see my own son.
Unable to look away,
I want to say something
make some excuse
beg for forgiveness.
But, this is God.
What could I possibly say
he does not already know?

Being Human

I am the man
who will work for food.
At first you would slow down
to get a better look.
I was a curiosity.
Now you hurry by
to grocery stores and power lunches.
I think I will stand here
a little bit longer.
I had a job.
I wore a tie.
And when I went to meetings
my opinion was respected.
My opinion –
was respected.

I am the old woman
who looks like your grandmother
from a certain angle.
Hunched over the K-Mart shopping cart.
Walking aimlessly through the park.
The one you tell your children
to stay away from.
My cart is full of the garbage
others take for granted.
The crust from a sandwich
yesterday’s newspaper
a pair of sunglasses,
one lens and one arm missing.
I had a mother once
and a doll with several changes of clothing
and pink, sequined high heels.
And I had an older brother
who would protect me
from the other boys
because I was a looker!
On Sunday mornings
we would all go to church

I am the woman-child
you shake your head at
as I stroll my baby down the street.
Our tax dollars, you say.
Yes, I made a mistake
but I’m not stupid
and I’m not lazy.
I’m young but I’m learning.
I’m not
who you’re so sure I am.
I’m not the product of a broken home.
My father never beat me.
My mother’s not a crack-head.
I take good care of my child
and I have dreams.

I am the baby
in that young girl’s carriage.
My life is just beginning.
I could be anyone!
I could do anything!
I could make a difference.
Yet when you hurry by
the man with the sign
or hide your children
from that old woman in the park
or turn your back
on the mother and her baby,
you are teaching me about life!
And I am
a quick

Elizabeth Thomas is a published poet, performer and educator.
The author of three books of poetry, she has read her work
throughout the US and in 2009, presented ‘Poetry as Theater’ at the
United Arab Emirates University outside Dubai. Much of her energy
and time is devoted to designing and teaching writing programs to
promote literacy and the power of written and spoken word. As an
outstanding advocate of youth in the arts, Elizabeth Thomas is a CT
coach and organizer with Brave New Voices: International Youth
Poetry Slam and Festival. Elizabeth’s I Ask My Granddaughter was
the 2010 winner of the Anita McAndrews award for human rights
poetry. She believes poetry is meant to be heard out loud and in
person. More at http://www.upwordspoetry.com.

Susan Marie Powers

The Touch of Strangers

They touch me with eyes, fingers, metal instruments;
soothe me with smiles and gestures.
I surrender to the woman who cuts my hair,
anonymous, deep in the belly of a shopping mall.
Her fingers brush my ears,
she breathes against my neck.

In an emergency room,
clicks and lights illuminate
the vagaries of life in a body.
There a stranger tells me to
strip, wear a thin robe,
and I obey, give myself up to
his probing hands, his gentle smile.

Once in the garden,
I felt the delicate, unexpected weight
of a Monarch against
the thin skin of my palm.
She fanned orange wings:
blessed me.

Here in a world of fluorescent lights,
rumbling streets, and crowded walkways,
I enter the warm crowd.
Around me people surge —
full of secrets, full of love.

Susan Marie Powers graduated from Ohio University with a
Masters in English Literature and Creative Writing. She
subsequently attained a doctorate in clinical psychology at
Saybrook Institute, published articles in academic journals, and
co-edited a psychology text (Broken Images, Broken Selves, Brunner
Mazel, 1997). Through teaching English and Psychology, she has kept
her love for both academic and creative writing alive. Her life’s
work has been teaching, mostly at the high school level, and her
most recent work is a poetry collection, Break the Spell, New
London Librarium, 2010. http://www.NLLibrarium.com

Poetry Corner Monthly Archives

POETRY CORNER by silent lotus … DECEMBER 2010

POETRY CORNER by silent lotus … NOVEMBER 2010

POETRY CORNER by silent lotus … OCTOBER 2010

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CORNER by silent lotus … MAY 2010