Posted by: splattman | June 15, 2010

The Hands of time – For Fathers day

The Hands of Time

I remember him well, His endless hands holding me, His sweet voice lulling me to sleep, His eyes promising me the world,
I remember him well, but most of all I remember those hands;
The hands of my protector

I remember him well, His strong hands showing me what I had failed to see, His deep voice breaking as he told me how much more it hurt him than me, His eyes brimming with tears,
I remember him well, but most of all I remember those hands;
The hands of my disciplinarian

I remember him well, His stubborn hands holding me back from what I needed to do, His harsh voice yelling – driving me to the brink of madness, His eyes which cried out with pain,
I remember him well, but most of all I remember those hands;
The hands of my jailer

I remember him well, His hardened hands weathered in the winds of times, His affectionate voice laughing at the witty remarks I made, His eyes reflecting knowledge beyond my reach,
I remember him well, but most of all I remember those hands;
The hands of my guide

I remember him well, His frail hand trembling as he clung to life, His raspy voice straining to speak, His eyes showing tears that had long been dry,
I remember him well, but most of all I remember those hands;
The hands of my Hero

My wife and I are babysitting 4 of my nieces and nephews while their parents try to reclaim their honeymoon that never was (as well as their sanity if they can manage to find it…).

So with 5 kids in our home under the age of 8 there is a lot of “I miss Mommy”s, “I had the toy first”, “it’s too hot, I’m taking off my diaper” and (from the now diaper-less child) “I wet the bed, floor, ceiling, parrot, etc…” (I wish I was kidding with that last one)

To be honest. As much as I love kids, and I do, I just don’t think my wife and I are ready to have an extra 5 bodies crawling into our bed at night… Not to mention that noise amplification seems to triple with each additional kid, I think we’re going to have a much easier time with our son after this is all over…

I have a policy that you go the extra mile for family, and with my wife’s sister and her husband in dire need of a vacation it was our pleasure to volunteer to watch their kids for 5 days.
Yes, I know that may seem like more than just an extra mile… it’s an easy 20 miles or so I have been told… but we really wanted to do this from the bottom of our hearts.

In addition to the vacation, my in-laws also made us trustees of their estate and their children’s legal guardians in the event that something should, G-D forbid, ever happen to them.
Not something I take lightly, but it’s nice that out of all her other siblings (my wife is the 9th in a family with 13 childrem) they felt that we would be the ones best suited to raise their children…

So as I sat at the dinner table with all the blubbering tykes I felt my blood start to boil and a feeling of “holy $%^&, this is only hour 5, we have another 5 days of this!” started to set in!

But right before I lashed out with a “will you kids shut the BLEEPING BLAPPING %^&* UP!!!!!” (not that I would actually verbalize it in such a manner, I do have some self-control), I thought of what would happen if something were to happen to their parents… My approach to their wailing “Mommy” & “Daddy” would be one of compassion and love, not a grumpy “ah sharrup…”

That got me thinking about perspective in general, and how trying to see things in a different light would impact someone…
so on that note I give you:

How I began to live

The nimble I;
had run the 5k, and danced the night away

But only when he jogged by on his chair with wheels did I first begin to walk

The vocal I;
would sing my favorite song, and laugh the whole night long

But only when he spoke of his life without a voice did I first begin to talk

The discontented I;
preached my patriarchs faults, and their devotion did constantly assault

But only when I met the orphans ancestors was I first a son

The indulgent I;
drank to my heart’s content, and left my temple broke and bent

But only when I saw the dead man’s life did I first begin to live

Posted by: splattman | May 18, 2010

1 More Year! 1 More Year!

The Jewish Holiday of Shavuot starts tonight at 8:00 in Montreal, Canadia, and aside for the cheesecake bingeing, wine drinking, and late night conversing, i mean learning, I love Shavuot for one simple reason…

Shavuot celebrates the receiving of the 10 commandments, and thereby the Torah (or Bible), on mount Sinai more than 3000 years ago. But this isn’t a holiday where we just commemerate an event that happened 3000 years ago, it’s a yearly reaffirmation of our commitment and acceptance of the torah.

This means that for the last 3000 years, EVERY year, millions of Jews around the world accepted G-D’s laws and teachings, committing themselves to uphold and review these texts yet again! For those of you that are unaware, the Jewish nation follows 613 laws. That’s 613 dos and don’ts that we need to keep in mind at all times…

For anyone that isn’t Jewish, your total list of laws (as listed in the bible) is 7. That’s right, 7 check em out! And if you keep your 7 you get rewarded for keeping G-D’s directive, and attain Heaven. We on the other hand have 87.6 times the amount of responsibilities. And despite that, and despite the years of suffering we remain faithful and steadfast in our commitment to keeping G-D’s directives.

So while it may look like I’m just enjoying my wine and cheese, or a nice conversation with my Shul-mates, what I am really doing is reaffirming myself to a higher cause and accepting G-D’s will as my own, accepting the yoke of his laws on me once again…

So in a word: I’m setting myself up for failure once again! 😉

A happy Shavuot one and all,

Splattman

Posted by: splattman | May 18, 2010

THROUGH ARI’S EYES

At 24 I attended the funeral of a close friend who died unexpectedly.
Newlywed, and in good health, his heart gave out unexpectedly while he was driving to work, (he had pulled over due to the pain).

Just like that he was gone.

The funeral procession happened to pass by the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn New York on it’s way to the graveyard.
As I stood there watching the hundreds of mourners that had shown up to pay their last respects I looked at the mural at the front of the museum.
The mural consists of photos of thousands of children, of all races and religions, together they form the photo of Ari Halberstam, a young boy who was shot and killed in a hate crime.

The juxtaposition caused me to wonder what Ari must be thinking, through the thousands of eyes in his photo…

I penned this poem in my head as I attended the funeral, and sat down to put it on paper as soon as I got home.

I dedicate this post to the memory of my friend Dovid Yonah Dubinsky OB”M:

THROUGH ARI’S EYES
Seen through the eye on the wall
pgd_JCM_mural


I knew this day was different, it shouldn’t be like this
There was no children’s laughter, something was amiss

Their crying awoke me, assaulting my ears
I watched and hurt again, my eyes brimming with of tears

I’d seen it before, but never this real
My hearts cracked and faded, never to heal

The car pull up, the truth too clear
One look, one glance, bringing to life their worst fear

My eyes took in their what if’s, and how come’s
As they faced a wooden box, wishing to undo what they had never done

Minute by minute, hour by hour
The pain not decreasing, only growing in power

I watched their sea of hurt come floating by
As they assaulted the heavens with; “how could you let him die?!”

“Too young” “Too soon”, isn’t that always the way
Yet this one is different, takes me back to my day

I knew their tears, had felt their pain in my skin
Saw the helpless faces, took it all in

And as the car pulled off taking him away
They hugged and cried, and tried to face the day

Dirt falling, covering him part by part
Each drop made them cringe as if the shovels pierced their heart

Pale as ghosts, trembling with dread
Their lips saying the words they should never have said

I saw them walk, through the crowd, to the car
Keeping him close, though they left him so far

I’ll be there to greet him, as they try to comfort his wife
Too young and too soon. The story of my life…

Posted by: splattman | May 18, 2010

Forgotten Hands

One of the first pieces I ever shared with anyone…

Forgotten Hands

Hundreds died but they reached their goal,
The victories prize was worth every soul

They called out they swore not to forsake,
To the heavens, their cries reached אם אשכחך (Im Eshkachech – If I forget)

This cause that they lived for they died for as well,
For each day without it, served as a living hell

But now it was ours, standing proud, standing tall,
The whole world saw we were one with our wall

They understood back then, the importance it held,
To touch it, to kiss it, to pray, caused their hearts to swell-

So how then their children, how came it to be
Just stones like any other, is all that they see?

Ludicrous lies, forgeries, fakes,
They care not for the land, nor the name it did take

Eretz Yisrael? Dirt is all they see,
They ask, “What’s in a name?” But it’s not so by me

Land for peace, what a ludicrous thought,
Do we forget how in their schools hate and terror is taught?

The lies that they blaspheme… “Negotiate”…, heard every day,
The body count alone shows us that death is their way

How can the children of those who gave their lives, gave their all,
Can sit with the terrorists and readily give up our wall!

(Jerusalem) ירושלים???!!! How could they give even one stone?
We cannot give the land where stood Hashem’s (G-D’s) home!

Life of our life, soul of our soul,
My heart resides in this great land of ole’

They forget themselves why don’t they see?
אם אשכחך ירושלים תשכח ימיני (Im Eshkachech Yerushalayim, Tishkach Yemini – If I forsake you, oh Jerusalem, I have forsaken my right hand)

Posted by: splattman | May 18, 2010

The Banquet – A Children’s Tale

I wrote this while bored in High-School I think it was in 9th Grade Biology:

The Banquet

“She’s Coming, she’s coming!” the winds frosty song set the saplings dancing with delight, even the old and weathered oak and pine peeled a smile in anticipation of what was to come. Maple and her friends rushed to change into the season’s newest fashions to greet her arrival. Even the playful squirrels and chipmunks stop their games to hear the news, and with a chirp they’re off to gather the fruits & nuts for the feast, chattering as they worked “hurry she’s coming… she’s almost here!”

The Bucks and their Fawn change their dark cloaks for their light thick fur, while the robin tries to find the right shade of red for this gallant affair. Raccoon ran to sort through his mask trying on  each one until he finds that perfect shape. Mrs. Rabbit outfits her family with their new cotton tail-warmers she has just finished sewing. While the bear lays out his bed in his cave laying extra thickness to the areas that had caused those cramps and pains last year. In their nest the thrush reminds his family that this year they were leaving the second the feast was over in order to beat the traffic, then flies off to get directions from the geese (Orlando for the kids and Boca for his parents.)

In the great hall the bees buzzed in and out carrying honey for the feast. The termites worked hard to repair the furniture that had been damaged in last years bash.  The spiders hung the decorations created by the ladybug (this year it was to be a collage of all the decorations for the last 5 and 1/2 thousand years.). The cats and dogs were rehearsed their plan to ensure that there was fun in store for all ages.In the kitchen the foxes and the badgers were cooking up a storm but the busiest of all the creatures was the ants. With their queen at the helm they guided all the others making sure it all ran smoothly.

At last the time for the banquet has arrived, and the guest stream in. Immediately the fireflies set the mood with a low glow and with their dancing created flashing dancing lights. The music was conducted by the crickets with the aviary choir singing beautifully and the wind chiming in harmoniously. The food was scrumptious, the entertainment hilarious, and during the dancing the guests could just not stay in their seats.

When the night was over, and the banquet ended, everyone was in good cheer. Even when the time came to say goodbye to their friends the somber moment was overcome with the memory of last nights party. And as they prepare to leave for their destinations, whether it was to their dens to slumber or for their long journey southward, they wished their friends Adieu  and all said “the fall banquet was nice but I just can’t wait for the spring dance!”

Posted by: splattman | May 18, 2010

The Lights

All too often we hear stories that momentarily inspire. Tales of bravery, of what others struggled and died for in order for us to have what we take for granted today.

With that in mind i penned this poem, recalling a time when religion had to be practiced and studied in hiding. When being discovered studying these sacred texts would lead to enslavement, torture, and death.

But despite all the tales we hear, rarely does it lead to actual change in our life…. I hope you enjoy.

The Lights

It would change my life, I was sure it would, this dream that came to me,

It took me back to days long gone, a time never again to be.

I saw him sneak, crawl, and creep his way up to the door,

The soldiers caught him, beat him, tore him, threw his body to the floor.

They could not see, as I could, his soul begin to rise,

Too caught up in the sport they were, taking joy in the child’s demise.

More and more they reached the door, some the childs’ fate to share,

And to the door I did approach, I knew not why, and yet I dared.

Why bother? I asked myself, they are rogues, thieves, and nothing more,

Yet ever on did I venture closing on that secret door.

Through the door, down the stairs, entering a tiny room,

Shining lights blinded me, cutting like blades through the gloom.

I saw not rogues but many children, an awesome glorious sight,

All around were wide eyed youth, each smiling, basking in the light.

The light poured forth from the tongue of one who risked his life to teach,

And in turn each word the children cried, till all heavens gates their call did breach.

I began to cry for I knew these words I’ve seen them time and time before,

But every time and time again I simply chose them to ignore.

Over the teacher’s voice my alarm call beckoned, drawing me from slumber so deep,

But this dream will surely change my life…starting tomorrow…for now I must sleep….

Posted by: splattman | May 18, 2010

Funeral

I found this one in an old notebook.

I don’t remember writing it, but I remember when it was written. During this time the themes of death, loss, suicide and pain were principal in my compositions.

At the time I was trying to cope with the impact of a close friend committing suicide.
Guilt, Pain, Loss, Hopelessness… There seemed to be no end to the “I should have’s” and the “If only’s”…

It was a lot for a 17 year old kid to deal with, how much more so when he was 2,750 miles away his parents and  support system .

My English teacher helped pull me out of my dark thoughts and encouraged me to write about my feelings. For the next month I could be found writing constantly.
This form of self therapy was my salvation during this chaotic episode of my life.

I wrote quite a few pieces in the weeks that followed the loss, and this piece represents a turning point in my grieving process.
This is where I switched from the dark pieces I had been writing, to the positive reflections on my memories and treasures we had shared.

I dedicate this post to the memories of my friend Jeff, the guilt will never dissipate but neither will our memories.
I also dedicate this to Mr Mark McLane, I would not have been able to make it without your sage advice and guidance.

Funeral

A colorless room
Such emptiness in my heart
The tears from my eyes

The mournful touch of the stale air
The misery I now feel
The weight of the loss most of all

Breaching the dark
Serenity alights
The sadness allows a half smile 

As I gain the perfect memory

Posted by: splattman | May 18, 2010

I Never Aged

A few weeks before I got engaged I spent the night at my parents home, sleeping in my childhood bedroom.

Reflecting on the changes I was about to face, I spent a sleepless night going through the memories of my childhood, and that had transpired since I was the kid playing Zelda on my NES…

While looking through old photos, and holding my favorite toys and books of years long gone I was overcome by emotion and penned the following piece.

I Never Aged

I never aged, I was once a child but never more
I never grew, I was once small though that is hard to conceive
I simply awoke

When did my childhood end?
When did I change from being the guarded to the intrepid?
From crawling about in the shadows of my elders, to sailing the sunbeams all alone?-

I noticed it suddenly
I had claimed it as mine for years, this “being mature”
It took one simple childhood memory to make me question what I thought I knew

What brought on the transformation?
When did it change that I was not the child in the candy store
How is it that they turned now turn to me for payment? Am I not still the child? It would seem not…

I never consented, I was to be child forever
I never agreed, it just came about all at once, no hope nor gate could halt it
I was a boat thrust into the sea with but the wind of my culture and schooling to fill my sails

Why did this happen?
Can’t we just live in the innocent purity of youth forever?
Why can debts no longer be paid with a childish smile? How is there no time for you and me, only work… and death

I never aged, I am still the child that is no more
I never grew, I am still small inside though large I may seem
I simply awoke this way, hoping this is to be but dream, only dreaming to hope…

I never aged, the world aged me
I never agreed, the contract signed me
I never hoped, hope is fallow in the world that aged me

Posted by: splattman | May 18, 2010

Reposting old Poetry… All I

Hopefully this will get the creative juices flowing…

I will be reposting some of the peices I wrote from age 13-22…

Starting with:

ALL I

All I want is to be happy,
That’s what everyone wishes for.

All I need is to be heard,
To have my opinions listened to and considered.

All I have is my strength,
It’s the only thing that can get me through life.

All I can do is be patient,
Waiting for things to get better.

All I hope for is one moment,
Something to brighten up my future.

All I wish for is a satisfying life,
Where I can be content and comfortable.

All I ask, is the chance to be me.

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