Category Archives: Poetry

WC71 – Poetry by Jacob Staub

Ballysbocher Bally’s Bocher   by Jacob J. Staub

Then, when I stole a closeted glance at your thigh
through the lattice of the mirror,
and you pulled the leg of your gym shorts
down, tznyusdik, like a skirt,
I blushed, mortified, momentarily outed, in a panic.
I looked away, like nothing had happened,
like you must have been mistaken,
but I knew you knew I’d been staring.

You were not so skilled at eye contact to begin with,
but now the aversions of our eyes
in the open showers had meaning.
But what was it? I’d wonder.
When, on Friday mornings,
I wished you a casual Shabbat shalom,
you acted like you didn’t hear me.
Maybe you didn’t.
Or maybe I was part of your wicked
world of temptation,
a perilous category to be avoided.

Never having ventured
to test the living waters,
I feared I would miss my beloved’s arrival in the garden.
I had not heard the term “gaydar.”
But when you shed your baggy shorts in a sweaty heap
in front of your locker,
your body was a revelation,
every muscle sculpted in the image of God.
Not like the bulging overbuilt Greeks,
but understated, absent body fat,
five feet, a hundred pounds,
sailing lightly past, inches off the ground,
closer to heaven.

Worshipping you would not be idolatrous.
My fingers, my lips gliding across your ridges,
piously inhaling your incense
our legs entwined like a havdalah candle..
Surrendering to you,
I’d be submitting to the Creator.
I didn’t know you,
but neither did countless generations know
the One they worshipped with hearts overflowing.
Dressed in a white shirt and black pants,
beeper on your belt, fringes exposed on your sides,
side curls neatly wrapped around your ears,
you would hurry off to see your patients,
abandoning me in my shame.
On Shabbat mornings,
when you wheeled your babies past my house
in your Eastern European garb,
the eruv checked each week,
I would not believe that you were not like me.
I believed with a perfect faith
that those for whom I yearned
must surely yearn for me.
An interminable dark night of the body,
God absent no matter how prayerfully I longed
for loving communion.
How long, O Lord?
How long, Compassionate One of Blessing?

No longer.
No longer do my genitals steam
for beauty unresponsive.
Flirt with me, and I tingle.
My heart is open for the taking, for the breaking.
Years past disbelief,
I know what it is to be desired,
to be loved,
to shudder in anticipation of an embrace,
to let go, venturing into the mysteries,
to give it to the embracing One.

You were an idol after all,
a marble wonder,
lifelike but not living.
The living God is One who touches and responds,
bawls and brays with me,
holds me down and lifts me up,
a pliant lover, a breath of fresh air.
And in the locker room showers,
you are a Michelangelo to be admired
but nothing more.

Rabbi Jacob J. Staub is Dean of Students at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and co-author of Exploring Judaism: A Reconstructionist Approach.

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White Crane #70 – Poem by C. Cleo Creech

June 22, 1969-June 27, 1969
by C. Cleo Creech

A partial Filmography:

1937, Broadway Melody of 1938
1939, The Wizard of Oz
1940, Strike Up the Band
1941, Ziegfield Girl
1944, Meet Me in St. Louis
1946, Ziegfield Follies of 1946
1948, Easter Parade
1950, Summer Stock
1954, A Star is Born
1963, I Could Go On Singing

It had been a rough week.
It always is when stars fall from the sky.
The drag queen Judys drowning their sorrows,
With cheap beer down off Sheridan Square.
Go-go boys dancing on the bar.

There was the Meet Me in St. Louis Judy,
Sad hobo at the Palace, Judy,
And a whole flock of Dorothy Gails.
Mascara tears ran down their stubbled cheeks
As they Lip-synced to well-worn albums.

The raid was the just the last straw,
And just ask Rosa Parks
About how revolutions get started
When you’re just too damn tired
To keep moving to the back of the bus.

So this night, the cowardly lion
Grew some brass cahones
Scarecrow figured it all out, and
Tinman felt the injustice
Deep down in his new heart.

By the time the Flying Monkeys
Flew in with riot gear
The good People of Oz
Were tearing up the Yellow Brick Road
So they’d have bricks to throw.

Dorothy screamed to the bartender
“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore”
And the Good Witch reminded her,
“You had the power all along,
But you wouldn’t have believed it.”

And with the twister spinning all around,
Dorothy clicked her ruby slippers
We will never go back,
We will never go back,
We will never go back.

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