The Voyages of the Starship Enterprise

In the beginning there was darkness
and then there was light.
There are generations. They begin in darkness.
They get light. A kind of darkness returns.
We are Diaspora and post-garment district
which makes us both post-exilic and post-textilic.
Our late elders wrote Russian as well as Yiddish
so we are also post-Cyrillic.

By the Babylon turnpike we sad down and wept.
By the waters of the Gowanus Canal.  Everyone
an exile, sits at the edge of the East River, or
aches for some lost temple, on a turnpike wall.
An unusually ancient people, within a century
of an attempt at our eradication beyond scale.
It makes you unhappy.  Ask any Ute or an Inuit.
This is a very strange land between Proxima
Centauri and the fat old sun, absurd even.
How can we sing in the strange land these years
turned out to be?

These are the generations of heaven and earth.
These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise.
The thesis is that there was a beginning.
The thesis is there was an ending and the ending
was exile. The thesis is that something sweet
came before the horror. Something Edenic
before the bloody ash.
How does it feel to be post-exilic, post-textilic,
and post-Cyrillic?

It’s not idyllic.
They were from someplace dangerous.
We are from someplace dangerous too.
Then you did something you shouldn’t have done,
ate something you shouldn’t have eaten.
You are always eating, aren’t you?

Voltaire’s Enlightenment was nice
but Spinoza led the Jews into light
a good two centuries prior.
Which set us on fire.
Which set us on fire.

As Eve said to Adam,
“If this is the beginning
why am I already so tired?” 

"In a strange land."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The web versions of our print articles are now hosted by Duke University Press, Tikkun’s publisher. Click here to read an HTML version of the article or to download the PDF version.

Tikkun 2017 Volume 32, Number 4:52-53

Jennifer Michael Hecht is a teacher, author, poet, historian, and philosopher. She was an associate professor of History at Nassau Community College and now teaches at The New School in New York City.
 
tags: Poetry, Poetry & Fiction, Spirituality   
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