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London Leaves / A – Sarah’le

Calm waves at the seashore
Calm waves at the seashore

Novella in several parts (I’ll post the rest in the coming weeks)

A

Sarah’le

 

The Rabba chanted the holy words, accompanied by the rest of the JGLG[1] members attending the ceremony of Kabalat Shabbat[2]. I love to be here, among friends. It’s better than being alone with my four walls. Two years passed since I told her I can’t cope anymore with her insane bloody attitude to life, to people, to herself and especially to me. Enough is enough, I told myself. I love you, I told her, but this is not how I imagined my life with my spouse. I want more. I need to be loved, to feel I am loved, and of course also to love back, to let out all these feelings that I have in me to give to the right woman. I love you, but I don’t think you are the right woman for me. No, you are not for me.

She was surprised at my rebellion, as I always was so obedient and never before had the courage to express my feelings. I couldn’t do that. I don’t know why I was scared to tell her off before, but I guess that there comes a time when enough is enough. ENOUGH IS really ENOUGH. Before she had the chance to respond, I collected myself and left her behind me. I thought I did…

She was standing there, across the room, leaning against the wall, looking somewhat lost. My heart started humming. Strange. My heart goes out for a stranger I have never met before. Without being able to think about it, my legs moved forward and I found myself standing in front of her, sending a claiming smile to the woman of my dreams. “My love”, I wanted to say, “come, let me take you with me to the Garden of Eden, let me wrap you with my love, let me…” However, I didn’t say any of this, just a polite hello came through my craving lips.

She beamed, her grin inviting. “Hi”, she answered, her calm voice reminding me of fallen leaves in a warm autumn, somewhere far away from here. Hidden yearnings started bubbling deep down, in places I thought I would never feel again. Not since Estelle… Oy vey, that woman doesn’t leave me in peace! She haunts me and still has a hold on me. I can’t be free of her, as if she had imposed a dark spell on me. When will I be free?

The lovely woman in front of me gazed at me. “I hope that you were in a good place, even if here is also nice”, she said playfully, flashing another smile.

“Oh, yes, oh, so sorry”, I hurried to apologize. “I didn’t mean to…” What didn’t I mean? I don’t know. She made my head spin, causing me dizziness. The background noises faded away, as I was caught in her mesmerized flaming gaze. I’m sure the Rabba and the others continue to praise the Lord for creating Shabbat for us to rest and enjoy, but I was praising my guardian angel for creating this lovely woman I was sure they did it especially for me.

“It’s OK, no need to apologize.” Her accent was not local. Polish perhaps? Czech? Is she from one of the former USSR’s countries?

“I’m Sarah”, I introduced myself.

“Jazmin”, she answered curtly. Not a woman of many words, I guess.

“I hope that you won’t find it rude, but your accent seems to me to be east European. May I ask where are you from?”

She straightened her compact limbs and answered: “I’m from Israel, the Jews’ homeland.”

“Oh, how nice!” Oh, an Israeli… how nice… Her accent is not typical Israeli though. I’ve met a few before, but was never involved with any of them. None captured my heart. Now this nice woman… I wonder how long she is here for. She wasn’t here last time. “Did you see the city already?”

“No, I haven’t managed to do that, as I just came here last Sunday.”

“Oh, I see. Would you like to get together and have a coffee someday?” Yes-yes-yes!!! Please, say yes!

Her smile, like the rainbow after a downpour, showed in her lovely blue eyes. “Yes, I would love to, very much.”

She said yes!!! An unrestrained urge drove me to take her in my arms and burst into a stormy Hora dance[3]. Well, I’m Aussie (not to mention Jewish…), so I don’t suffer from the dry restrained self-control the English are known for. My ancestors poured into my veins a need to be gay even in darkest times. I have been in a dark time since I left Estelle, as she didn’t leave me be and I was foolish enough to be persuaded by her seducing alluring words that she poured into my ears over the phone, when she felt alone and needed someone to abuse, and I was handy. Last time, was only a month ago. I went to her place again, yet again hoping we would reconcile, settle things and live happily ever after. The minute I walked through her door and lay my eyes on her, I knew I made a fatal mistake, as usual. Am I dumb? Am I so pathetic? Why do I allow this? She had a long face, as her grave sourpuss gaze faced me acrimoniously. I was familiar with this expression, which portended her forecoming behavior. It was foredooming we weren’t going to have peace. Again, she was going to enjoy herself in her twisted way and I was going to go through hell. Why didn’t I turn around and leave on the spot? I really don’t know. Maybe because I am optimistic in my nature, I always hope for the best, never consider the opposite. Or maybe I am just dumb. I’d rather think about myself as innocent. At the age of 56 plus a few months, I’m still naïve, childlike even. I was hoping her sour appearance would evaporate in a few minutes and we will talk things over and live happily ever after. It didn’t happen.

I was about to reach for the woman of my dreams, when a tall, pale, ugly-looking woman, appeared from nowhere, clinched to Jazmin, then wrapped her gaunt skinny arms around her, as if declaring her ownership. What an ugly woman! This is the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and I’ve seen quite a lot. Too many, as far as I’m concerned. Her tiny eyes, submerged in her faded face, they examined me inquisitively, absorbing my organs one by one. I was sure she X-rayed every bone in my body with her piercing gaze.

Still measuring me, without turning her head, she asked demandingly: “Hey, who are you talking to?” She widened her lips to what appeared to be a smile. My mother used to call this gesture “zuzing mit di tzain[4]“. One could feel her effort to maintain calm.

“This is Sarah,” answered the love of my life, wriggling away from the witch of London. “Sarah, this is P.”

P? What kind of name is P? Why P? Paula Abdul she is not – of this, I am pretty sure. As opposed to the talented singer, she has a harsh, raucous, unpleasant tone of voice, I doubt if she can carry a note. I cleaned my ears very thoroughly before I came here and I will have to do it again when I come home. Her obnoxious, annoying, grating, irksome voice stained their purity. Not to mention her eyes, those two acrimonious blades, going over my whole body, tainting it.

“Hello”, I said politely. “P stands for…” Not for princess as well, as she was wearing these tattered, worn-out ragged schmates[5] called “sport-elegant couture”.

“Her parents called her Paula, but nobody calls her that. She is P.” Jazmin volunteered the explanation, as the woman in question didn’t bother to answer.

Nu, P for pish, I couldn’t resist, Pee. Like in wee-wee… The Pishwoman. Witty, wow! I’m so sharp! The thought planted in her mind, as she felt the need to go and relieve herself of the few warming teacups she had during the evening. Secretly, Sarah examined the belittled woman with contempt. The nickname seems to suit her.

The woman didn’t bother to move her hand in order to shake mine, so I kept my hand to myself and didn’t reach her either. I excused myself, sending a quick smile to the one I wanted and went to release my body of its fluids. Alas, the woman of my dreams was already spoken for. My rotten mazel[6] again. But what could I expect? She looks so nice, it is only natural someone grabbed her. I wonder what Jazmin is doing with her. That P person looks horrible, so not suitable to my dear Jazmin. However, what do I know? I also had my fair share of meeting and being with crazy lesbians. Maybe P is what Jazmin needs. Who knows what is in the heart? My cup of tea is not necessarily the same as the others.

[1] Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group

[2]  The ceremony of lighting Sabbath candles

[3] Israeli folk dance

[4] Yiddish: gnashing a smile

[5] Yiddish: rags

[6] Yiddish: luck

My Sunshine

My Sunshine
My Sunshine

 The minute you came into the room, my heart skipped a beat… or two, three, four, five… I did not count. You were exactly the woman I was looking for my entire life. You were exactly what I needed all my life. You were… ‘G-ddess all mighty’, I said to myself, ‘it can’t be true. You’re not real. It is just my eyes deceiving me and she is not truly flesh and blood, this woman is not real’.

I called you Sunshine and it does not matter that it was not your real name, since for me you were like sunshine. Sexy, astonishing, beautiful, and the warmth that beamed from you – was the real thing. I was always telling myself that love at first sight is not for real. I was sure that it can’t be happening in real life. Certainly not to me. But it seems that life is much more real and correct, than we could ever imagine.

I had a bad time. Nobody loved me, I lived by myself and climbed on walls. I dared not dream. I lived in margins, the days passing over me in vain, in emptiness, shirking through my longing fingers.

You “caught” me, the horrible loneliness that surely reflected from every move I made. I could not believe, but it happened. You approached to me and introduced yourself. And your name was not Sunshine, but I kept calling you that, as for me you were a sunbeam, a ray of light, a flame, that spark that lit my life.

I desperately needed motherly warmth. The enormous craving for a caressing soft hand, to calm my fears, was unbearable. I wanted to feel warm lips hover over my yearning forehead. To experience again the delight of innocent childhood…

You were very experienced and did not make any mistakes. You read me immediately with your sensitive senses and knew exactly what I needed. You massaged my aching back with such tenderness, that if I had tears of joy in me, they would surely burst from my eyes.

You made me feel completely comfortable. When you asked me to roll over on my back, I put my soul in your experienced hands. I laid supinely, disassembled into tiny chips, my mind is floating somewhere. Your hands moved lightly, stroking my brow and temples gently, kneading my breasts, sending electric currents into the tiny electrons that were my body, and then… your tongue, so soft, so sweet… and I didn’t know myself. All those flowing atoms that I was, the molecules moving in circles, scattering around the room, began to accelerate, moving toward an unseen centre, ascending, descending, turning around, streaming, combining… and through my short breaths, my confused, turning upside world, soft clouds embroidered, uniting into one sweet molecule…

And afterwards… Afterwards… you cradled me in your arms, putting my head between your soft breasts, your lips humming silently as if to calm a restless baby.

 

You were already married and my hopes had no chance to be fulfilled. For you, I was another flower, like the others, amongst whom you fluttered like a butterfly and scattered over them your nectar and honey. But also your stings. Despite this, I knew I came home. I felt that I found my soul mate whom I was searching for my entire life. During that night, I fantasized how we would live together in health and wealth happily ever after. Those walls, on which I used to climb with frustration, became filled with stars.

But then, morning has broken and you said that you must be off. I could not separate from you. My heart told me that you are not coming back. But what could I do? You were married and your wife was waiting for you at home. I gazed at your back with a pierced, heavy heart, how you deserted me after such a night full of magic and I was hurting all over…

Your hand was already on the doorknob and then… before my blood threatened to burst and drown me in an eddy of pain, you turned towards me, sent your warm gaze, like a sunbeam, and it was filled with love.

 

I’m trying not to think about the woman you deserted and wish her to find new love, a more suitable one. You and I rise every morning, gaze with love into each other’s eyes. What do you see in mine? I don’t know, but you are my sunshine, a beam that lights my life.

Hallucinating words

Flowers

Ploughed field
Ploughed field

 

She picked flowers. Perhaps her beloved woman will come to her tonight.

She picked flowers. Shabbat is standing on the doorstep. In a while, evening will fall.

The field was almost ploughed. Long furrows stretched towards the horizon, some straight, others not. She wasn’t sure. There’s always this doubt. There are nights, saturated with love, nights with soft fullness. But these are so isolated. Isolating. The rest, when her lover doesn’t come to her. No, she doesn’t wish to think about it. Tonight she’ll come. Perhaps. If only!

 

She picked flowers.

A tiny tractor, like a children’s toy, buzzed in the distant horizon, hurrying to finish its work prior to nightfall. The soft pale blueness, wrapped with yellowish-pinkish rays of light, peeped down towards this lonely huwoman, forlorn upon the face of the earth, nodded to her its colours and began to swallow the orange fireball.

She picked flowers.

Earlier, the man driving the tractor passed her, big and thundering, filling her field of vision, preventing her from breathing, forcing her to turn sideways towards the barbed wire fence, leaving a veil of dirt behind him, encasing her in dust. He gave her a brief glimpse, estimating his odds. It was obvious from the expression on his face that he was in a hurry.

 

She picked flowers.

How can one pick flowers when there are none?

 

Anemones
She picked flowers

Hallucinating words

 

 

Tobacco

Cold low brick wall
Cold low brick wall

Yesterday, my lovely spouse and I went strolling to one of the markets in Kingston Upon Thames, London, the Monday market, hoping to find some bargains. My partner is sheltered in the car and I am going out to feed the parking meter. A Japanese couple, perhaps Koreans, dressed casually (they are not tourists, they are locals – my brain notes the useful information) pass near me, the man glimpses at me momentarily and moves on, my image does not engrave on his eyeballs.

“Excuse me”, I ask him in a strictly kosher Israeli accent, as I realize I cannot understand what the parking meter demands of me without my reading glasses, which I left in my bag in the car. Well, clearly, it wants money, but under what conditions? “Can you please assist me?” The couple stops, glances at me surprisingly. “I can’t read the machine. What do I have to do, how much money should I put in?” I send him the helpless gaze of a distressed female, which I keep for times like this, including the need to change a tire, because why get dirty, when there is always a male who rushes to assist in order to feel superior? Indeed, I don’t mind letting my fellow-man feel good, as long as it helps them to assist me…

That person adjusts his belt, sticks out his masculinity and draws near to study the secrets of the appliance. He scratches his forehead, while his docile quiet wife stands behind him politely and tries not to stick out. After studying the complicated instructions of the device thoroughly, he repeats the directions loudly, for me. The words pass over me, without entering my consciousness. It is a foreign language, not my mother tongue.

“You see”, the person explains slowly and patiently, noticing my empty gaze. “It says here, you should put two pound per hour, OK?”

OK. I thank him, bending towards him with a wide bow, according the custom of his people, sending an apologetic smile to his patient spouse. The woman curved her lips slightly. Sadly, we parted with 4 pounds in favour of parking lawfully, hoping that two hours would be enough.

I’m going back to my spouse. Obediently, she sticks the sticker onto the car’s window. Should a parking warden arrive – s/he won’t give us a ticket, G-d forbid. It’s better to pay 4 pounds instead of the threatening 100. Reflecting in the car’s window, a woman’s silhouette goes beyond me, advances heavily, dragging her feet one after the other, heel to toe, very slowly. My consciousness does not pay her any attention; I forget her existence within a split second.

Although the air stood still and the wind didn’t blow and the promised rain had not yet drizzled on our heads (it started to fall heavily in the afternoon), it was colllldddd! Before leaving the house, I wisely wore my wool warm gloves and a matching hat, which covered my ears that usually freeze, without paying attention to my beloved’s remark that I look strange, as “the English do not wear hats in this time of year, only when it’s really cold and this weather is not considered as such.” What do I care about these Englishmen or women? My ears are very important to me, certainly more than what these strangers will think about me.

We are walking leisurely, arm in arm (despite the hat on my head), anticipating spending a pleasant day, browsing the goods and purchasing. “Poor thing”, my merciful spouse whispers to me at the sight of the stranger, crawling with measured steps, “she has surely had a stroke, see how she drags half of her body.” I was busy capturing the sights with my camera. From the corner of my eye, I caught sight of the slim woman, wearing a thin shirt and brown trousers, made of delicate cotton. I nod my head. The woman stopped, slowly turned to the side, casting her coat on the cold low brick wall on the sidewalk nearby, with the berry bushes behind, seating herself.

“Crow-Crow”, a big raven lands near her, crows loudly, stamps his legs, waiting to be fed. I guess they were old friends.

We are getting near, my camera clicking. The raven flies, taking off and finds shelter on the highest pole in the neighbourhood. Our eyes meet. The woman smiles at us politely with her weary lips. Casually, she took out, from somewhere, matches, an elongated, gold faded colour tobacco box, with cigarette paper, and punctiliously started to arrange them, entirely concentrated. I look at her hands, her exposed fingers playing with the stuff.

“Colllldddd!” I complain to my beloved. She smiles at me and teasingly censures why I left my warm country precisely at this time and came to this damp and gloomy place. The unfamiliar person stopped her activity, her ears straightened when she lifted her head towards us. “She’s from Israel”, my spouse hurried to explain to the stranger, ignoring the security instructions for the Israelis abroad, she never got. With all my heart, I hope the unknown person is not a potential terrorist and she will not draw a knife on me. I don’t have the energy for street fights, especially not in this freezing cold.

“Oh, Israel”, the local woman drags her words, leaving them to ice up in the cold air. I don’t have a clue what she is thinking about. Her tone of voice did not give it away. At least she didn’t attack me.

We continue walking, leaving the mysterious lady to her own devices. The market appeals to me, I’m sure I’ll find my heart’s desires there, mainly some bargains. I didn’t find any. My spouse explains that the recession affects the displayed merchandise. It is just a market. I was looking for cheap, bargain, souvenirs of England, but nada, nothing at all. I didn’t look for quality, but didn’t expect rubbish either. In Israel, at the Carmel market in Tel Aviv, we have better quality. I was quite disappointed.

******

Two hours later, our legs are weary. Fine rain, annoying, starts to fall, threatening to wet my camera. I put it back to its case. I am done with the photo shooting for today. We rush to the car. The raven is running in panic, back and forth, passing his gaze from us to the road, seeking an explanation, its eyes try to understand what they see: a silent ambulance stood in the middle of the street, its lights flashing, it loads into its belly a zipped plastic body bag.

An orphaned box, its black edged mouth open, shreds of tobacco on the berry bushes moving in the wind.

 

Hallucinating words

V.

that black girl is going to Howard
after she sat and waited
and waited and sat
traveled to Minnesota
where they told her to wait and sit some more
even went to the dry places that rains with sweat
where they told her “no“
but wanting it so badly
needing to get what she needed
she resumed her sitting and waiting
she even thought about running back to the palace and settling upon a random thrown
but with faith she sat and waited
and she got it cause she waited

for it to find her

she’s off to Howard
because she gots to go
cause she sat and listened
cause we need her
and we don’t just need her anywhere
because she waited
and was not moved so easily
she saved it

her destiny that is

for what she and where she
was supposed to be
that black girl hailing from the palace of Queens
is going to Howard with fellow queens and kings
there she goes
smile and wave

smile and waive

 

IV.

you ever wake up
too tired
too sleepy
too exhausted
to brush your teeth

but you do it anyway
out of fear
of what people might think

sorta like the straight people
that see gays and trans folks
being beat and say

 absolutely nothing

or a cold dreary day
where no rain or snow falls
and everyone calls that day

beautiful

like those who ask

why do we hurt the ones whom we love 

while in the process of hurting them

XV.

maybe
after the coffee house

when I’m finished drinking
my double shots of espresso

with one pump of vanilla
and warm coconut milk

maybe

I’ll be tired of being alone
and I’ll come home to you

and you’ll still be waiting
because you know

that learning me means
knowing being alone is important

but it is also my own downfall
you’ll trust that I’ll catch myself

maybe

I might come home a little before you
and wait to see you smile at me

A Page From My Diary

He said he never liked poetry

Until he heard me speak

Until he saw me be

Powerful

Said it make him think about thangz

Make him feel weird

Make him care about how he feels

Said the way I speak

The way I blend words

Remind him of his momma

Comma

Manifesto/Poem

My name is Lester Mayers, an old name that used to belong to my father whom was homophobic/erroneously informed and did the best he thought he could. I am not him. I look like him a little… BUT I am not him.

I welcome love on the varying scale of intimacy. I do enjoy, JOY and am not held to the ambiguous tales of religion. You see, I am not him.

I see wonderment in lovemaking and flowers and children and people and music and pain. This earth, for me, has been a phantasm of brilliance; so abundant and passionate that I cry when I do not expect.

My God, you are good! I am not him.

I have laughed until cramps, read my own poetry in my own way in Mississippi, Manchester and in Ireland. I wrote songs and poems under trees in the Finger Lakes and created flows in Brooklyn. I am blessed, yes, I am.

I’ve met people. Seen people and look through some. I do not hide well. My feelings show on my face. I think I should change but that quality has been mine all of my life. Sometimes I do not communicate well, so many emotions. I get angry. I get annoyed. I’ve met so many brilliant folks that I know God is real. I say all that to say… simply, very simply and Respectfully…

My name is Lester Mayers, an old name that used to belong to my father whom was homophobic/erroneously informed and did the best he thought he could. I am not him. I am not him at all. 

An excerpt from “100 Poems for 100 Voices”