Samuel Menashe

S
Samuel Menashe
Who
Revives a relic
Liquefies dry blood
Touches a corpse
To the quick
Converts a monster to love—
Who made man from mud


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Here Now
Now and again
I am here now
And now is when
I’m here again
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45
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In Your Face
Eyes that spurn yet invite
Like spikes in the sunlight
Of Manhattan’s high-rise—
Babylon’s ladies outshine
Daughters of Jerusalem,
Zion is no easy climb
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55
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Psalm
Let’s make believe
I am happy, I laugh
Black poison, all of me
Its bottleful,
Become sparkling water
My cup runneth over
I am your son
You are my daughter,
The only one
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43
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Tempus fugit
For John Thornton Fellow fugitive
Forgive yourself
And me thereby
Thus we can live
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67
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At Cross Purposes
1
Is this writing mine
Whose name is this
Did I underline
What I was to miss?

2
An upheaval of leaves
Enlightens the tree
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43
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A-
A-
round
my neck
an amu-
let
Be-
tween
my eyes
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40
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Adam Means Earth*
I am the man
Whose name is mud
But what’s in a name
To shame one who knows
Mud does not stain
Clay he’s made of
Dust Adam became—
The dust he was—
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48
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At a Standstill
The statue, that cast
Of my solitude
Has found its niche
In this kitchen
Where I do not eat
Where the bathtub stands
Upon cat feet—
I did not advance
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39
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Autumn
I walk outside the stone wall
Looking into the park at night
As armed trees frisk a windfall
Down paths that lampposts light
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45
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Commemoration
Old as I am
This candle I light
For you today
May be the last one
Of your afterlife
With me, your son—
With me you die twice.
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Curriculum Vitae
1

Scribe out of work
At a loss for words
Not his to begin with,
The man life passed by
Stands at the window
Biding his time


2
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44
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The Dead of Winter
In my coat I sit
At the window sill
Wintering with snow
That did not melt
It fell long ago
At night, by stealth
I was where I am
When the snow began
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41
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Forever and a Day
No more than that
Dead cat shall I
Escape the corpse
I kept in shape
For the day off
Immortals take
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39
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Landscape
Boughs berserk
Spin one hill
Into space
Standing still
Olive trees race

On the field below
Moulded white oxen
Ponder each furrow
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The Living End
Before long the end
Of the beginning
Begins to bend
To the beginning
Of the end you live
With some misgivings
About what you did.
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46
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Mirror Image
Ribs ripple skin
Up to the nipples—
Noah, equipped, knew
Every one has two—
This ark I am in
Embarks my twin
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41
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The Niche
The niche narrows
Hones one thin
Until his bones
Disclose him
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43
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A pot poured out
A pot poured out
Fulfills its spout
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37
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Ruins
Stone worn
Overgrown
Pristine thorns
Sheep shorn
Tinkling below
Roofless walls
Rooks overlook
I told you so
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57
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Salt and Pepper
Here and there
White hairs appear
On my chest—
Age seasons me
Gives me zest—
I am a sage
In the making
Sprinkled, shaking
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43
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Scissors
Sharpen your wit—
Each half of it—
Before you shut
Scissors to cut

Shear skin deep
Underneath wool
Expose the sheep
Whose leg you pull
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39
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Simon Says
In a doorway
Staring at rain
Simple withstands
Time on his hands
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43
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Small Kingdom
In their doorways women sit sewing
By the good light of afternoon
And nothing is beyond knowing
Though the sun shall go down soon

A shepherdess near a bramble ditch
And the Princess in the Alcazar
Keep the same precise stitch
And they both can see far
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So they stood
So they stood
Upon ladders
With pruning hooks
Backs to the king
Who took his leave
Of gardening

This morning
I am forlorn
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37
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Triptych
When my mother She who is not All at once
Was a young girl Who she was I could see
Before the War Waits to be My mother
Reading sad books Yet she is In eternity
By the river Already I told her
Sometimes, she Mother She always
Looked up, wisely Whose child Would be
But did not dream Though not yet The one
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43
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Twilight Blues
(Morton St. Pier) Lying here
Flat on my back
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38
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The Visitation
His body ahead
Of him on the bed
He faces his feet
Sees himself dead,
A corpse complete
With legs and chest
And belly between
Swelling the scene
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40
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Voyage
Water opens without end
At the bow of the ship
Rising to descend
Away from it

Days become one
I am who I was
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62
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White hair does not weigh
more than the black
which it displaces—
Upon any fine day
I jump these traces
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43
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Biographer
Authorized, booked
By my steadfast prose
The dead I ghost write
Shed shadows that shine
With hindsight, hearsay—
The last word is mine
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48
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Apotheosis
Taut with longing
You must become
The god you sought—
The only one
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38
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Captain, Captive
Of your fate
Fast asleep
On the bed you made
Dream away
Wake up late
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55
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Descent
My father drummed darkness
Through the underbrush
Until lightning struck

I take after him

Clouds crowd the sky
Around me as I run
Downhill on a high—
I am my mother's son
Born long ago
In the storm's eye
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Heat Wave
Sheets entangle him
Naked on his bed
Like a toppled mast
Slack sails bedeck
At sea, no ballast
For that even keel
He cannot keep—
No steering wheel
As he falls asleep
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39
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Here
Ghost I house
In this old flat—
Your outpost—
My aftermath
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41
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Rue
For what I did
And did not do
And do without
In my old age
Rue, not rage
Against that night
We go into,
Sets me straight
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39
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The Stars Are
The stars are
Although I do not sing
About them—
The sky and the trees
Are indifferent
To whom they please
The rose is unmoved
By my nose
And the garland in your hair
Although your eyes be lakes, dies

Why sigh for a star
Better bay at the moon
Better bay at the moon . . .
Oh moon, moon, moon
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