i would tell u what it means to be a jewish witch but my history has been massacred and all our stories have died.
Being part of a diaspora is the feeling of never wanting to forget, but being incapable of remembering.
being Jewish is having the breath suddenly ripped from your chest upon remembering the pain and suffering of your people’s past, a memory that rips open the barely-healed scabs of the pain of your people’s present.
being Jewish is to live with wounds our tormentors will not allow to heal.
i want to talk to g-d but loshn kodesh – the language that g-d speaks – hits my heart without passing through my ears.
i want to talk to my ancestors but mame loshn draws more laughs in this place than smiles of recognition.
i ache to speak the languages of my people, languages that taste like the desert and ghettoes, sand and glass, fire and resilience, but instead i speak common tongues like english and french and latin – i feel like crying because they are familiar in a way that my own languages may never be.
what does diasporic sorrow feel like?
it feels like my chest tightening with tears i’m not sure i’ll shed. my throat hurts, a lump is trying to escape from it.
it feels like my body tensing up in wait. i still don’t know what i’m waiting for.
it feels like a constant buzz of anxiety. like the kind i get when i don’t know if i’ve locked my front door, except there’s no home to go to at the end of the day to check.
it feels like the desert. hot. dry. my eyes sting like when sand gets in them.
it feels like confusion. like in the cartoons i used to watch, with a question mark flitting around my head. i can’t even express what i’m confused about, half the time.
it feels like the burst of sadness when i realize that the language my mother spoke to me as a child isn’t a made-up language after all. it’s the language of my people. it’s a language we all used to speak.
it feels like the frustration when my siblings and friends and i share pieces of our histories with each other, trying to make pieces of different puzzles fit together as one. none of us were born complete.
it feels like i am constantly justifying why i am, where i am, who i am, what i am. to the point where i question my own truth.
it feels like it will never get better. i will never know anything.
it feels like i will feel this way forever.
most of us always have, anyway.
passover (poem) [submission from hamletrash.tumblr.com]
remember when your skin first felt like a
disease, like every pore if you squeezed it
would spit cold cyanide
remember when you were a slave in the house of bondage
remember the blood on your thighs. remember
the plague of boils, the plague of blood,
the plague of cattle disease
(you used to have a toy a
cow with a button on its foot
push the button and its joints buckled
pretending as you
scrubbed your sheets
that this was the blood of a man you’d killed
remember that spring when god peeled your skin off and ate it like bread
the terror of how your zipped coat
looked when you sat down
the waves and bubbles the zipper made.
like eve under trees
the sudden alien weight of her body
this is the bread of affliction
god spits blood in the river, god
whispers into your bed
kisses your neck full of boils
god in a breath of lice that squirm through
your firstborn’s hair
god bound between your eyes and
upon the doorposts of your houses
god’s blood in the nile
lamb’s blood on the door
cows’ blood in the fields
your blood in the sink
stick your smallest finger in the wine
“diaspora poem?” [anonymous submission]
some nights when i’m alone, my thoughts run strange:
that my heart is a homeland,
pumping culture and language and identity
through rivers, over mountains.
nearer to my heart are the organs that are strong:
my lungs are my ancestors, receiving the most blood,
next my digestive system is my parents—
not as rich, yet not as poor as me—
because i am housed within my hands and feet.
i am choked by the circulation problems i’ve had since i was born,
and my hands and feet are cold and weak
like my sense of identity
like my connection with eretz yisrael
like my understanding of those other jews.
at which point can the dysfunctional body flourish,
when the heart is a homeland that cannot reach over distances,
when there are far more important places
for that blood to reach?
i want to reach out in the dark for answers,
but my feeble hands clutch at nothing
nothing but the drowning call of diaspora.