November 15, 2013

A Jewbu In Cyber-Love. ~ Claire Polansky

What if my dreams are better than waking life?

It warmed my heart when I opened my e-mail today and saw your name once more in black, bold font. It was like receiving an 18th century letter, slightly weathered from the journey it took on horseback just to reach my hands so I could smell the scent of your cologne on the envelope and kiss the very place where your tongue licked the seal.

It seems as if I remember you from childhood, but we have not met in this life have we?

How is your mother by the way? Does she still lead those Zen retreats that led you to follow the winding, dusty roads throughout Calcutta just to learn that it is your karma to be a Jew in this life? I read on Facebook how you ran from the army because you were afraid that you may harm another boy like you or a Muslim woman carrying her only child in her arms or that tiny kitten that you saw cross the fence from your kibbutz to Gaza that dreadfully quiet afternoon.

I heard the birds squawking too, just before… “Just one more kiss,” he said as he walked out the door. “Just one more,” I giggled…

Eh, we were young and our memories are only forms drifting in time in order to remind us that we were born in this life for a purpose. I am not surprised that the old ascetic wrapped in gold arose from your path to bring you the message that Arjuna did not want to fight either, but Krishna pushed him back onto the battlefield like a young bird fresh out of a nest learning to flutter and flit his wings in this shocking world in order to fulfill his karma.

Maybe you can be reborn as a Jain in the next life. You can cover your perfectly formed mouth just to avoid inhaling a fly as you walk mindfully in the sand and lift your foot over all that creeps and crawls. But in this life, you are a Jew.

So, here you come on the next plane home.

I once heard a Hasidic tale about Adam and Eve’s creation as two perfectly formed partners joined back to back in that God-forsaken garden. Adam yearned so much to be in the glow of his soul mate’s eyes that he agreed to a life of suffering in order to touch her cheek and to dance with her face to face.

“Are you sure that you want to see her?” Hashem, the name of the immense universe asked. “Yes,” Adam whispered softly and tenderly, as if really speaking to her. “Savlanut”, God said in our sacred language, patience derived from the root of suffering.

God placed his hand inches in front of Adam’s face and Adam’s eyelids fluttered shut. He drifted into a deep trance-like sleep, tardema they call it. As God ripped half of his soul from his side, the night grew still and cold. Adam felt the separation through his sleep and cried for her to return. Never had he known such loneliness and suffering. It was like walking in the desert for centuries with no water to soothe his dry mouth. But the suffering was worth it. Adam had to see her face. Yes, we know that beauty is internal but still, we have to see the crinkles that form around another’s face when we share the same, pregnant moment of a speechless gaze.

What if my dreams are better than my waking life? Or worse—what if yours are better?

Tonight I will meditate on the last words that you sent me like a sutra directly from the Buddha’s lips. “You warm my heart, but I will cool my fire for you so I can keep you near.”

I spent years counting mala beads and followed that long 8-fold path just to avoid suffering—so I thought. At last, I still suffer without you face to face? Sigh… How many times will I look at the image of your gentle, brown almond eyes on my screen tonight as you wrestle with wine-soaked sleep on that flight home to the fields where we almost met once before.

I want to see your shadow that is blocked by my reflection. I will accept your dark side if you accept mine. Do your brows crinkle with one line or two when you are angry? Does your face change from a sun-kissed glow to a fiery red? Can I cool that fire back down with one tear or a glimmer in my eye that shines for you?

I don’t want to meet you and ruin that perfect image that I have painted of you.

Is our cycle of suffering coming to an end? Is the sun beginning to rise over the horizon, changing from night to day? When I open my eyes, will you softly smile back at me? I feel the warmth of the sun brush against my skin and I snuggle deeply into the vision that wraps around me like a soft baby blanket fresh out of the dryer, tingling like I have never known outside of psilocybin. Breathing in, I wait in patience for the sun to climb over the horizon. Breathing out, I release whatever will come into the hands of the unknown.

Let us take a moment to breathe one another in. We have all our life for everything else we dare not say at the risk of charring the touchless sensuality of our shomer negilla date across continents.


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 Asst. Editor: Edith Lazenby / Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: (Flickr)


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Claire Polansky