Two Poems – Paulie Lipman

orion-review-cover-photo

 
40 WITHOUT A COMPASS

I am
nothing I thought
I’d ever be
by now

40
should be
latest/shiniest
sign post along
the horizon/waiting
to be conquered
Blazing neon across
a field/denuded of trees
Urging me
bright eyed/marching
onto Death/Future

The path
forward/back
carved for me
Outline/definite
bereft of footnotes
Sunlit/no shadow
unbent arrow/flashfired
away from the trees

My 40
confused/schemeless
rambling/fuckit/curious
what lay beyond
the pines/umbra
I’ve never done
daylight/instruction
Every question
risen in my skin, magnetic
rebel crookedstep into
the forest

I don’t know
the vocabulary
of this place yet
Couldn’t give you
lay of the land

have not found
the science/can’t
map the wildwood
until you burn it down

The quiet
startling for
those who’ve
known only concrete
First instinct is alarm
no landmarks/traffic
guiding light/exit
no way out but further in
too many eyes behind
the pines/wind hides
the hollers

Predators?Yes
The worst
I’ve encountered here
hiss sweet candyhouse
lure through the bramble
then out come the teeth
shriek/gnarl/glut/devour
enter you any way
you don’t know how/claw
their way back out/leave you
walking/hollow/wondering
if their blood has fouled you
made you just another set
of red eyes/thieving teeth
if you’d been better
left dead/than phantom jackal

Their scent
still calls my hackles
to attention/has forced
a savage education
You learn Hide
learn Panic
Small Fire
Camouflage/Smudge/WarPaint
Spear/Rock/Chase/HOWL
You learn/Reclamation

At 40
it’s as if I’ve
just woken to
find myself among
the trees and never
noticed the     green
heard       the creek
witnessed     symbiosis
No paths give the
greatest direction
I  like   this wilderness
refuse to colonize it
into ash
I don’t need
to burn it down
to know my way

 
 

A JEW AND VOCABULARY

Holocaust: A sacrifice consumed by fire

Read with the right pace
by the wrong person
it could almost…sound sexy

holocaust is
ready for prime time
pops all the right demos
holocaust worldwide
Holocaust crushes Instagram
Oscar nomination locked
#neverforget
holocaust bodies Facebook
holocaust bodies museums
bodies mausoleum
holocaust bodies
are museum

holocaust
lower case
holocaust
not singular
Have been
many many many
No “The”
holocaust has been
going going
Germany
This country
All countries
all times
all burning
all sacrifice
No ownership
No one
We Jews
don’t own holocaust
Not proper noun
just common ash

Pogrom: the organized killing of
many helpless people, usually
because of their religion or race

pogrom
punishes the throat
comes out strangled, limping
dust tongued Yiddish
We Jews
owned this
But Language/memory
forever escaping us now
like us, now forever escaping

pogrom is not/never
sexy, not
go-to simile
pogrom is plural
lowercase
pogrom is
pre-film
38 A.D.
1066 A.D.
1113
1563
1821
1881
1901
1938
no pics
no monuments
pogrom
is Warsaw
is Kishinev
Bialystok
Kiev

pogrom is
holocaust’s unsung
older brother

no website
No documentary
Google for
casual interest
Wikipedia
required reading
research paper

pogrom is
thousands
upon thousands
Jews
synagogues
family trees
burned
burned
still burning

No slogan
No museum
No   more numbers
Not  from me
not your research paper
You
go find the burning
You
get kerosene
in your eyes
My throat
is too full of soot
from swallowing
all of this
You go find
the English for it
Let your teeth
go grey, sifting
through our urns
gasp our ashes
and choke

 
 

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About Paulie Lipman

Paulie Lipman is a Jewish/queer/writer/poet/music composer out of Denver, CO. He is perpetually on tour/learning/investigating/self-editing/and of course thinking he’s going to finish his novel. He hopes to prove himself wrong and right about many of these things. View all posts by Paulie Lipman

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