The Stable

Ira Stone

The Stable
Blood mulch beneath hooves
amid golden kernels
chewed twice before
all milk goes dry
Before snow heaps to the eaves
and well worn paths
are covered by an ocean

In sunlight it stood respite

to young lovers or first readers
of forbidden languages
Animal warmth and an odor
of never to be lost past
knotted to the always surprising
but somehow always the same

Reduced beyond rubble
shocked beams naked ice
raised on a flattened
landscape the staves
of a horse cart buried
to this day fiercely forgotten

Under The Straw
Matted clumps of horsehair
and urine spread drawn
up into the covering layer
but held below the surface
Then it is turned for a new
surface marking successive
generations that last a week

The pitchfork then the lye
or when the stench can
no longer be borne the
kerosene a quick burn
quickly controlled
swept out the back
to be pounded into cinders
for foot paths leading out

But when we hide the bodies
the look of disbelief in death
sculpted onto their faces
their eyes rolled back
or tongues cut out
Until a proper burial
or the last man is captured
under the straw

At The Café
Meanwhile in the metropolis
straw stuck to the coattails
of poets and revolutionists
like tassels of priestly pasts
Arguing about which language
to argue in a few crusts
of someone's left-over bread

Here the new took precedence
Cadences of sorrow the currency
of exchange defining a new
economy of absence     Who
could describe the absence
Who could proclaim the absence

Who could traverse the absence
by their words to translate it
into a universal market
to be sold in place
of goats chickens death

Poets And Piety
Holy poets in clusters
around theories in the same
way they'd been in youth
around rebbes in the
same courtyards
masquerading as courts
Declaiming the miracle
of suddenly discovering
love or the passion of
workers or the commingling
of sunsets with unity or union
or how behind all of them still
shone a divine light liberating
prayers of a bursting language

Letter From America I
The picture is faded
one neighborhood looks
not very different from another
We are often cold
Our teeth are falling out
with words the presses
are busy with someone
else's books oy we have
become so much older
than the old country
But if the earth will
part and you can
get to the sea gather
your wife's ashes and
the children's and come
to be remembered

Here you will have monuments

Traveling The Rails
By foot clambering
over heavy ties
behind smoke
between two armies
toward the sea the rain
soaks the ballast until
it is too thick for even
the thickest boots
we stop allowing
the run-off and the odd
train to pass
sealed doors
at high speed
only the glint
of a guard
trail of smoke
we take up the trek
in the muddied
gravel catching
only a brief
glimpse of
ourselves as

Last Mail From Kharkov
Browned postage barely
legible to the authorities
as though censorship
bore any resemblance
to ghost hands that
once wrote and sent
this letter to no address
from this past whose
passage into the past
cannot be said to be a past
so far from anyone's memory

Your mother and father are well
but they sent us all away
they no longer go to market
but sit and re-read Gogol
and listen to the radio
perhaps to hear your name
to hear that you've become
a great professor that the
United Nations is guided
by your analysis of events

Sunsets are still chilly
night snows frequent
your father rises in the night
as his father rose but not in prayer
or in contemplation of the heavens
though he too would hasten redemption
no one answers his calls
to the forest nor opens
the last door on earth
No light greets the end
of the world but the scribbled
note is not hopeless it is from
an unknown zone but will wait
an answer whenever it is received

They Say My Heart Is In The East

Heartless -

The west courses
through veins
centuries removed

Lifeless -

polyglot sublime
outsider voice
who are they
to say

Eastless -

My heart fell
off the face
of the map

Disembodied -

It beat like a
suicide bomb
with no carrier

Tell them my heart
longs to discover
what city it's in

Image: Jay Michaelson

More Poetry and Spirit:

Then Avi Levy
April, 2004

Faith David Goldstein
April, 2004

The Wrong Half Margaret Mackenzie Schwartz
March, 2004

Erev Temima Fruchter
December, 2003

Surrender Niles Goldstein
November, 2003

re:vision Raphael Cohen
November, 2003

Trembling Before You Matthue Roth
September, 2003

Stones of Jerusalem David Goldstein
August, 2003

fish rain Susan H. Case
May, 2003

yom kippur Sara Seinberg
April, 2003

Carrying Light into Dark Times Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi
October, 2003

Primal Scream Judaism Temima Fruchter
October, 2003

May 2004

The Hamas Class of 1992
Michael Shurkin

Every City has a Soul
Jill Hammer

Wagner in Israel
Margaret Strother

Wrestling with Steve Greenberg
Jay Michaelson

T Cooper
Abi Cohen

The Stable
Ira Stone

Our 450 Back Pages

David Stromberg

Zeek in Print
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From previous issues:

When I Met Humility, I Saw Letters
Abraham Mezrich

Chanel Dubofsky