ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the July 2, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by comments on "A Different Beat." This poem belongs to the series Walking the Beat.

Worth mentioning is that almost all of my poetic series are speculative in some regard. That's partly because I write a lot of speculative poetry, and partly because my audience loves it too. This one isn't; it's narrative poetry about a pair of lesbians who live in Boston, in the neighborhood of Jamaica Plain, as they deal with everyday challenges. I'm pleased because this expands the variety of my more visible and expandable writing. Feel free to share the news with anyone you think might enjoy reading this.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them. The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.

So far sponsors include: [personal profile] thnidu, Baaing_tree, [personal profile] gingicat 

FULLY  FUNDED
78 lines, Buy It Now = $39
Amount donated = $20
Verses posted = 9 of 19

Amount remaining to fund fully = $19
Amount needed to fund next verse = $.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $2



"Tikkun Olam"


As Dale and Kelly strolled down the street,
they noticed a small crowd of people around
the Nehar Shalom Community synagogue.

It was a relatively new addition, not yet
fully integrated with the rest of the neighborhood.
There were plenty of Jewish people in Brookline --
you could get the best bagels over there --
but not so many in Jamaica Plain.

Parents supervised a jumble of children
as they planted several grape vines
at the base of a wooden arch.
Nearby, another group set out
two different kinds of colorful willows.

Old women puttered around,
cleaning up bits of litter
and dropping them into bags.
Others peeled outdated flyers
off the nearby poles and posts.

Kelly reached up to remove the ones
too high for age-shrunken bodies to reach.
She wasn't a young woman,
but she was nowhere near old
and was taller than anyone else there.

Dale paused to ask if she could
drop off the bits of trash she had picked up
while walking, because those were
awkward to carry while using a cane.

"Of course," said the grandmotherly woman
who was holding the emptiest bag.
"I don't recognize you from synagogue, though.
It's not often we see other people
out doing tikkun olam."

"What's that?" Dale asked,
intrigued by the unfamiliar phrase.

"It means world repair,"
the old woman replied.
"We clean up what is dirty,
fix what is broken, and try to make
the neighborhood a nicer place to live."
"People do a lot of that around here,"
Dale said. "I'm sure you'll fit right in."

A young man leaned over to whisper something
to the bag-holder, soft words that might have been
Hebrew or Yiddish or some other language
that Dale didn't recognize anyway.

"Ah, you are the policewoman,"
the old woman said.
"Retired," Dale pointed out
with a flick of her cane.

"Nu,  you may have given back the badge,
but I do not think you gave back the job,"
came the thoughtful reply. "I'm Rivka,
and this is my son Mendel.
We're pleased to meet you."

"Dale, and my partner Kelly --"
said the not-entirely-retired policewoman
as she looked around,
only to discover that the taller woman
had drifted over to do something
involving a screwdriver and the wooden arch.

"She seems quite handy with tools,"
Rivka observed.
"Better than I am," Dale said,
which was, privately, a bit embarrassing
but better than doing without
a handywoman in the house.

We've been invited to a potluck supper,
Kelly signed to Dale, turning around.
"That sounds great, but we don't
have anything to bring," Dale said.

"Then you can help wash the dishes,"
Rivka said, and Dale had to laugh,
because that was her family's tradition too,
even though they came from different cultures.

"That works for us," Dale said,
and Kelly nodded her agreement,
lip-reading along with the conversation.

It was one more way of
tying together the loose ends of the world.

* * *

Notes:

Tikkun olam is a custom of civic responsibility in Jewish culture. Special thanks to [personal profile] thnidu for tipping me to this idea, which inspired the poem. It's such a perfect description for what Dale and Kelly do.

The Nehar Shalom Community synagogue in Jamaica Plain is real and fairly recent.

Grapes are among the Seven Species named in the Torah as primary products of Israel.  Plant them in the spring.

Willows are among the Four Species used during Sukkot for sacred decorations.  They may be planted in spring or fall.

Nu  is a Jewish interjection that can mean about twenty different things.  It's often translated as "well" or "so" but there is a wry twist to it that doesn't carry over in English.  The closest equivalent I've heard is the way some rockers get a couple dozen different meanings out of "duuuude."

Jewish potlucks are gaining popularity.  Browse some recipes.  

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-05 08:04 pm (UTC)
thnidu: edited from img383.imageshack.us/img383/3066/ss35450qf7.jpg (smiley)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
MMmmmmm :-) Thank you!


Oops:
but not so many in Jamaica Park Plain

(As in, for me at least:
Charlie handed in his dime at the Kendall Square Station,
And he changed for Jamaica Plain.
When he got there the conductor told him "One more nickel!"
Charlie couldn't get off of that train.

And did he ever return…
)
Edited Date: 2013-07-05 08:05 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-06 03:18 am (UTC)
thnidu: Four-letter abbreviation, like TGIF but the last letter is Hebrew shin, for "Shabbat" (=Sabbath) (Shabbat)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
From the footer of נהר שלום's website:
"In consideration of people with chemical sensitivities, please refrain from using scents in our small space."

I appreciate that. :-)

Shabbat shalom!

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2013-07-06 03:46 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

I suppose/hope they accept some kind of compromise level. I know some people with high levels of sensitivity. I have to cross the street when passing some cosmetic stores and places that sell scented candles and the like, and I strongly dislike being near people who are wearing strong scents.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-07 01:50 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
It was one more way of
tying together the loose ends of the world.

(Happy sigh.)

because that was her family's tradition too,
even though they came from different cultures.

My kids told me, from visiting their friends, that "Chinese mothers are just like Jewish mothers!"

And my congregation's Sabbath morning services always end with a potluck. :-) So this all feels very familiar to me.
Edited Date: 2013-07-07 01:51 am (UTC)

Re: Yay!

Date: 2013-07-07 03:23 am (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
Challah *is* the queen of bread, and on Sunday morning it makes *awesome* French toast. I learnt this firsthand while living in a partly-Jewish household for a bit.

The two things I love about my Jewish friends... damn, they can *cook*... and they *think*. One of them told me that her Rabbi told her that you could sin, you could even not believe in G-d, and still be a good Jew... but you could not be *uneducated*, and still be a good Jew.

Looking forward to more of this.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2013-07-07 12:40 pm (UTC)
gingicat: woman in a green dress and cloak holding a rose, looking up at snow falling down on her (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
We can't all cook :).

I make decent challah from a terrific recipe, but when I discovered that a local bakery has pretty much the same recipe, I decided to not drive myself insane :)

Re: Yay!

Date: 2013-07-08 12:37 am (UTC)
gingicat: woman in a green dress and cloak holding a rose, looking up at snow falling down on her (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
I find that when baking bread, I prefer not to do an overnight refrigerator rise, so I have to be at home for the 6+ hours my recipe takes.

The last time I made challah, I added too much flour, so the crumb was denser than I like. Family still liked it.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-07 02:09 am (UTC)
thnidu: blank white robot/avatar sitting on big red question mark. tinyurl.com/cgkcqcj via Google Images (question mark)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
"We've been invited to a potluck supper,"
Kelly said to Dale over her shoulder.



"That works for us," Dale said,
and Kelly nodded her agreement.



In "A Different Beat" it's strongly implied that Kelly is Deaf. This strongly implies that she isn't. ??

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-07 02:18 am (UTC)
gingicat: woman in a green dress and cloak holding a rose, looking up at snow falling down on her (Default)
From: [personal profile] gingicat
Could one use American Sign Language to talk over one's shoulder?

BTW, mother-in-law was telling me today about the work of Margalit Fox and Bedouin sign language - I bet that you and ysabet would both be fascinated. But you've probably read it already for work. :)
http://www.amazon.com/Talking-Hands-Language-Reveals-About/dp/0743247132

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-07 02:35 am (UTC)
thnidu: Tom Baker's Dr. Who, as an anthropomorphic hamster, in front of the Tardis. ©C.T.D'Alessio http://tinyurl.com/9q2gkko (Dr. Whomster)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
I know of some of the work on Bedouin SL.

I guess you could theoretically sign over your shoulder, but the orientations would be kind of twisted, and eye contact is important.

Re: Well...

Date: 2013-07-07 11:17 am (UTC)
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
From: [personal profile] thnidu

orgwvcf tpng 34 whike trYUNG TI HOLD 0N TOOOOOOACAT

Re: Well...

Date: 2013-07-07 01:03 pm (UTC)
technoshaman: Tux (Default)
From: [personal profile] technoshaman
LOL!

Re: Well...

Date: 2016-07-15 12:59 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
Best. Example. Ever.

(Exaggerating slightly, but oh my goodness, I love the comments on this poem.)

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-05 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thesilentpoet.livejournal.com
I heard about this new synagogue! I also live right near Brookline, and oh... good bagels are an understatement. :)

I'm definitely interested in seeing more of this.

Yay!

Date: 2013-07-05 07:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> I heard about this new synagogue! I also live right near Brookline, and oh... good bagels are an understatement. :) <<

That's nice to hear. Further input/inspiration regarding the local area is welcome, as this seems to be popular.

>> I'm definitely interested in seeing more of this. <<

This poem is open for microfunding, if you've got a few bucks to spare. Even $3.50 would get you two new verses. Also there's a nice chunk of change in the general fund, so folks will get to vote on how to distribute that after I close the tally for the week.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2013-07-05 08:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] thesilentpoet.livejournal.com

>>This poem is open for microfunding, if you've got a few bucks to spare. Even $3.50 would get you two new verses. Also there's a nice chunk of change in the general fund, so folks will get to vote on how to distribute that after I close the tally for the week.

Unfortunately, my grad school loan payments re-kicked back into gear this month, so until I have a better handle on how that's going to set me back each month, I'm not as likely to be spending as much in other areas. Temporary measure, I hope. Definitely keep me posted on the status of this poem, however. :)

Re: Yay!

Date: 2013-07-05 10:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> Unfortunately, my grad school loan payments re-kicked back into gear this month, <<

Bummer.

>> so until I have a better handle on how that's going to set me back each month, I'm not as likely to be spending as much in other areas. Temporary measure, I hope. <<

That makes sense.

>> Definitely keep me posted on the status of this poem, however. :) <<

Check back over the weekend to find the general fund poll; open epics will have a chance at that money.

(no subject)

Date: 2013-07-05 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] baaing-tree.livejournal.com
Hurray! With the microfunding, I can totally afford to fund a couple verses of this. Thanks, I'm glad to see more of these two.

(As regards to JP flavor, there's the Lucy Parsons Center (http://lucyparsons.org/), which I unfortunately have yet to go to. There's also a nice center I've been too (the trans writing circle was hosted there) but damned if I can remember their name right now!

Thank you!

Date: 2013-07-06 01:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>>Hurray! With the microfunding, I can totally afford to fund a couple verses of this. Thanks, I'm glad to see more of these two.<<

*happydance* Thank you for your support. I have posted your 5 new verses.

>> (As regards to JP flavor, there's the Lucy Parsons Center, which I unfortunately have yet to go to. There's also a nice center I've been too (the trans writing circle was hosted there) but damned if I can remember their name right now! <<

Both the LPC and the trans writing circle sound awesome. Thanks for sharing!

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