October 10-16, 2022: Poetry from Peehu Singh and Shai Afsai

Send us your poetry. Click here for submission guidelines.

Peehu Singh

Peehu is a POC, nonbinary and queer poet who lives on the intersectionality of mental health(or lack thereof) expresses their identity through their poetry. They believe poetry can be just as much of a narrative medium as anything else.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Peehu Singh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Girl(Please Interrupt Me)

M doesn’t like to go on dates. But she wants to watch the stars with me.
On our first night. She brings me tea.
She’s giggling like she knows everything.
I’m twirling around the world. I’m in her music box.
I’m always keyed for her.
I ask her if she laced my drink. She smiles as the conspirator to my theory.
I’m lacing things like the ends of Victorian dresses. Everything needs an end.
Why don’t you like going on dates. I ask her. Her back is in my face. I could do this forever.
You must lace things for them to make sense.
We’ve never existed. Grand scheme of things she says. I can spend my time in love. But you’re worthless. Dates need dates need dates. She starts laughing.
We’re both high.
Of course, we are going to be okay sweetheart,
I could never regret you.
Next morning. The comedown is always hard. But she’s been harder since. I’ve learnt to bear with it
M doesn’t like to go on dates. Dates need dates need dates. I ripped up my calendars for her. I’ve been loving her like the dirt on her favourite shoes that she never washes.
My head splits itself open. I’m giving birth to wisdom. No. I’m tearing it away from myself so I can be with her.
On our last night together.
She brings me tea and she’s giggling.
And I’m giggling.
I don’t like dates because I ruin the things that time can’t touch.
And I’ve touched you.
We’re both high.
The next day, my head splits open.
I go out and buy a calendar.

Shai Afsai

Shai Afsai lives in Providence, Rhode Island. Enough said. Visit him on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Shai Afsai and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Poem of an End

– Prague, Czech Republic
Tisha Be-av and Tu Be-av 82 liftrat katan/August 2022

After Yehuda Amichai’s “Poem Without an End”

In a synagogue
they have made a Jewish museum.

The Torah scrolls and rabbi’s chair
are gone.

There are no children running through
the aisles

no elderly congregants
claim their regular seats.

In their place –

men with bare heads
women without much clothing
move about the sanctuary.

They have made a Jewish museum
in a synagogue.

Exhibit panels line the walls
where siddurim and ḥumashim.
would be shelved.

Instead of prayer and study

cameras snap,
cellphones sweep the room
for panoramic pictures,
and tourists pose
for selfies.

No more amen,
no more yehe sheme rabah,
no more shabbat derasha,
no more kiddush levana.

Come evening,
members of a local symphony orchestra
perform medleys to great applause
for culture-worshipers.

After fifty years
of fascists and communists
there are not enough Jews left
to fill the beautiful space
with devotion.

For what else can the building be used?

In this bustle
it is at least safe
for now
from being covered with the thickening cobwebs
of I. L. Peretz’s golem
or becoming home
only to Kafka’s marten-sized animal.

The full moon wanes.

In a cemetery once
at a burial,
I heard a Jewish woman
“The problem with the Orthodox
is they made Judaism into a religion.”

But in this building
I see the trouble
that others
have rendered the religion
into a memorial.