Always The Wedding Dance + In Occupied France
 – Baruch November

Always the Wedding Dance

As if tangled puppets on fire, young Jews
of Flatbush try to grind to rhymes
of Tupac– supposedly sung
from his early grave.

Nearby, old world teffilin crumble to nothing
on East River’s soft bottom,
the midnight wind searches still for the harp
of David, which it once played,
and Neil Diamond cries into the firm lap
of his new gentile wife,
wishing the young bought his music, too.

At times, we are all caught under
the river’s coldest currents
the never draining darkness,

yet from heights above,
mortal city lights appear to merge
with a single great light.

And, if we allowed it, the dense mirage
of separation could filter out
from this world, revealing the One
of no end, of no source,

who wants all of us, as his lovers,
to return to the only dance
we have always danced,
knowing it or not.

In Occupied France

Jews hide in forests cooked by summer.
They cling to splintered rifles, stroke bibles
inside pockets and satchels. Some plan

to swap those five books of Moses
for cartridges. Others for precise maps,
sterile bandages, perhaps Josephine,
perhaps Simone upon the straw.

But as distractions,
those dreams become enemies,
just as the warbler
who shifts loudly elm to elm.

Late sun hangs upon the Jews,
blunts the crescent moon. Dirt that
hid their faces runs with sweat.

So they keep their books and dive
down when any soft beast cracks
a chestnut from its shell.

Called a poet of “talent, urgency, and a large aching heart” by Thomas
Lux, Baruch November’s collection of poems entitled “Dry Nectars of
Plenty” co-won the BigCityLit chapbook contest. His poetry and fiction
has also been found in “The Jewish Daily Forward,” “Lumina,” on, and in other journals. He teaches courses in
literature and writing at Touro College.

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