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the other side

Updated: Sep 21, 2020

they used to light them up, two-by-two, for the honor of the day


each witch like a shabbes candlestick

with warped glee in the match-lighter's hand

as they offered our mamas as unwilling incense

to a god who hated the smell,

the children covering their eyes like

Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh


We break bottles now at weddings because of the mamas who broke them on cop windows,

Compton's.

Where Hashem's word cracked through the windshield like the heavens

where we found revelation standing atop police cruisers like mountaintops


my tateh throws me bread across the shabbes table

like Miss Major threw that stilleto, that brick addressed

"NYPD"

like my mameh throws salt over her shoulder,

get rid of that devil,

same words that they screamed:

"Get rid of that devil!"


we stand on the shoulders of giants


what a sin this *would* be

- pride -

without the humility to know

that nothing over which we are proud is our own


that we aren't shopping a "gifted" pride

but an earned one

not received, but excavated


clawed through dirt til the nails came unglued

and the paint got chipped

and with mangled paws we rose panting and holding the gem that'd been hidden away

the compressed ashes of offerred-up mamas,

turned diamonds over the centuries

that's what we keep around our necks, adorning our tiaras


every

high note karaoke hit

a reclamation of a mama's shriek


every

beat mug at the ball

is Brandon

is Matthew

- a beat body


and what about

Marsha P.'s body

floating down the Hudson like Moses in the nile

whichever city agency fished her out

did they see a prophet like Pharaoh's daughter did?

Did she rise from the reeds to lead her people again?


and if not, why not?

and if not, *will we*?


we stand on the shoulders of giants

every inch of height

a fossilized leather boot heel caked over vinyl pumps


walking through this wilderness on these ancestral clown stilts

for however many years we're given to wander


today is the day we commemorate the days when so many of those journeys ended


when our doyros laid themselves out

exhausted, bruised,

covered in glitter

an offerring at the foothills of the promised land


the inches that their bodies tallied lifting the soles of the next pair of chucks

and in the ancient ritual, they prayed,

let these ones be the ones

let these ones be the ones

that take us over to that other side

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