Night Running

And so they ran, like lunatics, around the neighborhood, in t-shirts and boots, in the middle of the night, in the middle of winter.

Love Will Not Save You

For years after, you will ask yourself, Should I have held her that night? Do you hold someone who tells you this? You won’t remember holding her…

The Empty Chair

After dinner his father would sit across the formica kitchen table and fire words at him. Bellicose, symbiosis, cartilaginous, revenant. The rule was, he did not have to go to bed until he got a word wrong.

Life So Good

There was another picture of her at their wedding. Two young boys in coffee-colored suits stood behind them, holding guitars way too big for their bodies, surrounded by a crowd of what must have been a hundred, their priest dressed in white toasting them with a big glass of red wine.

Autumn in Jerusalem

As I walked home I felt as if my feet weren’t touching the ground. The bright faces of the handicapped children were imprinted in my memory, and now I thought of each one of them, walking and singing, the nuns looking after them. I retained the light of the convent within me: its grace touched me, expanding an inner space, cheering unknown corners.

The Incident at Our Lady

I.

Phil had Sheila on the mind when he walked into one of the BOYS bathrooms at Our Lady of Peace Elementary in West Russelsburg. He’d started his shift as Second Security Officer at 6:00am, about an hour before most teachers get there, and about an hour and a half before the earliest kids get dropped off for the Before School Fitness Club, which was really just thirty minutes of kids running in circles on the field while one of the coaches watched, thirty minutes of free daycare and an earlier arrival at the office for the parents who didn’t care if they made their poor kids show up sweaty for the 8:00am Daily General Assembly. Phil had Sheila on the mind when, at about 9:00am, the school was quiet except in the classrooms and he’d walked down the quiet hallway in the main classroom building and walked into one of the BOYS bathrooms. He’d been thinking about her all morning, as usual, and he’d been thinking about their seventh date—set to happen that night—and the fact that he was now going by Phil instead of Phillip, all because on their first date, three weeks ago, she said in a nervous fast-talking first-date kind of jitters voice, Phillip? Phil? Is that you?

Waiting for Trump

I sit in one of the greasy truck stops on Interstate 5, near Red Bluff, dizzy and scared.
Decades of hope seem suddenly to turn to bullshit.
Dread and rage swirl around the country, but the lunch counter is quiet with snoozing baseball caps tipping into coffee cups.

“Fighting in the Captain’s Tower”: In Defense of Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize in Literature for songwriting. He is a poet, but his medium is not the page. So yes his lines read different when you take away the music. But by reintroducing poetry to an existing popular musical genre, Dylan opened up possibilities for all poets. What Dylan understood very early is that in an electric age, poetry cannot survive without song.

Ever-Dying People: Review of Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer

Jacob Bloch, the grandson of Isaac, a survivor of the camps, and Julia, an architect who has never had her designs built, have three sons: Sam, Max, and Benjy, wise and lovely kids. Jacob’s father Irv is an outspoken enemy of Arab states and his opinions lean on the rest of the family: his blog manifestos are pretty much the opposite of what you would find in Tikkun. They all live in Washington, DC.  Sam, the eldest of the Bloch children, is studying for his bar mitzvah, but has been caught writing a list of vile racial epithets, quite out of his character, but perhaps under the influence of his grandfather. The rabbi brings Julia and Jacob in to discuss their son’s sin, and threatens to disallow Sam’s bar mitzvah, a much anticipated event that arguably keeps great-grandfather Isaac alive. Sam claims he did not do it, though the words are in his handwriting.

30th Anniversary Special Essay: On Anne Winters’ “The Displaced of Capital”

When I opened the mail back in 2000 and read the poem she had sent me, “The Displaced of Capital,” I knew I was holding in my hands a signature poem. But of course there was no way to know that, following publication in Tikkun, “The Displaced of Capital” would announce the title of her second book, one of the most important and impressive books of poetry in the last 12 years.

The Rural Route

The gravestones rose at the top of the hill. They were black or gray, clumped together geometric and precise as if for protection from the outside world. He was mindful of how in the old country, people broke the things of the living and the dead when they vandalized cemeteries.