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Bewildering Stories

Channie Greenberg, Citrus-Inspired Ceramics


Citrus-Inspired Ceramics
Author: Channie Greenberg
Publisher: Aldrich Press (Sept. 2013)
Length: 130 pp.
ISBN-10: 0615870163
ISBN-13: 978-0615870168

Citrus-Inspired Ceramics is a compilation of seventy-eight verbal snapshots of Israel. This book covers Middle Eastern life from Jerusalem’s caper blossom-filled limestone crevices to Route 6’s fueling stations’ recyclable, plastic benches. Within these sunny, sandy, cosmic pages, both butterflies and bullets fly.

As a mélange of the Old World and of the New World, Citrus-Inspired Ceramics explores, all at once, weddings, friendships, intergovernmental strife, and the Holocaust. Here, egrets, beggars, ministers, ulpan teachers, and small children are simultaneously accessible. This collection provides entrée, as well, to intercultural celebrations, to global posturing, to drip irrigation, and to strong coffee. What’s more, the verities of The Garden of Eden, of the ancient fathers and mothers, of the evil influence, and of The Almighty, Himself, are evoked, in chorus, here.

In grappling with the complexity of the Holy Land’s mall lines, religiously diverse neighborhoods, and military zones, Citrus-Inspired Ceramics improves our ability: to determine our personal and political values, rather than to allow the mass media to define them; to transport ourselves to this singular location, east of the Mediterranean, and south of heaven; to embrace Israel’s unique position in time and in space; and to cozy to the historical excitement enfolding our Earthly sanctuary. While it is better to live in Israel than to visit, and better to visit than never to set food on these green acres, it remains more praiseworthy to wrestle with the complexity of this profound milieu than to do nothing to understand Israel at all. Citrus-Inspired Ceramics invites understanding.

The Egret Tree, South of Haifa

The Egret Tree, South of Haifa
Bloomed feathers whiting away
Days over fish ponds
(Meant to feed a small country).

Our bus chugged along;
You coiled sleep
Where suitcases and boxes overflowed;
Leftover lunch at sixty kilometers.

Toward Yerushalyim,
Thousands years’ more history,
Than dreams could conjure,
Walked among lanes.

Only the shirut driver knows
Dismembered babies paid hard
Currency for vacationers’ safety;
The desert’s mystery’s more than sand.

— first printed in Scribblers on the Roof, June 2010

The Fire-Offerings of Israel

Sacrifices’ real meaning wafted before the priests.
Noted was not the essence of barnyard beasts; rather
They beheld submission’s fragrance.

No turtle dove, young lamb, tender goat, or bullock
Improved that incense. Twigs, leaves, even amber toiled
Subservient to such sacrament.

True, other markets rang with foreign spices, ideas and behaviors
While browned Yids dragged their first fruits of subordination
Toward the Temple’s gates.

There, singular clawed administrators sliced pigeons
Drew bovine blood (bathing select corners),
Worked unpretentious acquiescence.

Yehudah’s tribe’s deference, spelled in flame,
Splashed via essential fluids, rose holy smoke
Elevated compliance.

Always, Hebrews owe for life, not glory,
Capitulate, not conquer, accept ancient
Guidance to raise mundanities.

Today, though, humble prayers proxy absent clerics,
Substitute for other supplications’ edifices.
Our tears, alone, remain.

In a Jerusalem Women’s Gym: Jews, Arabs and Ellen’s 1,000th Show

Funny, it is when,
Scores of frum ladies spend,
Hosts of hours treading near,
Unmasked, womanly emirs,
Watching a shared, flat screen,
Where a theatric queen,
Out as a lesbian,
Celebrates a TV trend.

Exercise machines are meant,
For health or beauty’s near advent,
Religious women’s ancient rules,
Include many impressive ligules,
Concerning locks, lights, and limbs,
Plus viewing such unseemly things.
By and large, old-fashioned gals,
Support no wicked, strange cabal.

Yet, in one Yerushalmi gym,
It seems the place where modest sin,
Like flicking through the media,
While working thighs’ posteriors,
Is reduced in clients’ eyes,
To something surely rationalized,
As striding far from common hate;
On Ellen’s deeds, rivals relate.

— first printed in Supernal Factors, Camel Saloon Books on Blog, Aug. 2012

Copyright © 2013 by Channie Greenberg

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