Eleven Poems
Hank Lazer



for the eyes

to adjust &

the darkness become


visible past woods'

edge a shadow

moves the trees


are simply trees

with opaque intensity

knee high thin


blanket of fog

over the mowed

field a friend


carries with him

horrible vivid memory

of a similar


place another walks

here ecstatic it

being this simple




every day when

i arise i

carry the torah


bear it aloft

for the torch

that it is


carry it burning

& unconsumed into

the darkness of


the day unable

to find a

temple i keep


alive the memory

of the Temple

destroyed the torch


becomes the ash

the blossom of

my father's bones





in sweet time

take your own

sweet time not


definitely not yours

to take taken

by severed by


the blade of

fact that sharpened

cimitar sweet in


an odd way

taken by cut

by the nick


you flow from

& if you

think    & all


do    moving upon

no awareness required

that generative abyss





upon a governing

ground of emptiness

graves neighborhood of


familiars by one

or pairs embraced

by a defining


wall our kind

here a phrase

or two birth


& death date

& the groundskeepers

mowing & trimming



& watering an

oasis of basic

conditions  beside the


rapid traffic moving

& building upon

the governing ground





to sing then

in this sudden            Norman Fischer / Psalms 13

opening to you


savoring before the

day dissolves knowing

this full gratitude


on the edge

of a beginning

day to sing


then as the

holy kadosh kadosh

itself dissolves into


the cacophonous light

invisible place where

each thing happens


that emptiness unknowable

face of your

immediate gathering affirmation







once the attorney

general's memo con

doned systematic tor


ture the war

was over we

had no ground


to stand on

a child will

lead us but


not now we

were a happy

people convinced of


our own best

intentions we had

perfected a new


generation of zoos

with perfectly natural

habitats    hot damn!





will not talk

will not talk

at all until


will not say

to another will

not until begin

first by returning

begin by a

deliberate return to


the word wake

to the day

wake by entering


a psalm wake

into silent reading

wake into saying


you wake into

a gate way

be holding day





coffee   dawn   light

eyes turn into

the word wake


slowly awake to

deliberate a word

at a time


waves arrive wake

deliberately to determined

slow movements of


the writing hand

will not tell

at all until




eyes move slowly

along the chosen

words a rising


symphony of the

busy eyes turning

to this world





tell old pharaoh

but the people

don't know they


are in his

clutches tell old

pharaoh but this


one doesn't go

by that name

tell old pharaoh


to let but

there is no

sensible place   no


podium from which

to petition him

must find a


way to tell

old pharaoh let

our people go






you have turned

away from the

miracle here you


may return hear

slow to kin

ship with ad


here a turning

back to toward

what is always


waiting too late

by middle of

day too late


to hear it

or to see

it   the pleasure


of recognition at

dawn a dawning

here it is






to bring it

up to bring

it back up


if the early

morning in fact

is not a


descent into clarity

to bring it

back up to


hold up to

sustain this deliberate

thinking well into


the day that

would be a

walking zen a


light & a

chorus here among

the every day