Rodger Kamenetz is a poet and author. His six books of prose include The Jew in the Lotus and the sequel Stalking Elijah: Adventures with Today's Jewish Mystical Masters, which won the National Jewish Book Award. His nine books of poetry include Yonder from Lavender Ink, Dream Logic from PURH in France, and The Missing Jew: Poems 1976-2022. He was a featured teacher this summer at the first ever Jewish poets conference in Asheville. He also taught for many years at Louisiana State University where he helped found and served as director of the MFA program in creative writing and the Jewish Studies minor. He lives and works in New Orleans. Picture by Michael Hafftka.
Was he in Hawaii like he’d been
once in another dream?
Was he flying without wings with his daughter beside him
before they roused him from whatever lousy joy
with a baton at the window with a show me your hands
Our friend Jeffrey has traveled to many cities: Cucamonga. Bentonville. Portsmouth. Providence. In each city he has gotten on his knees. He has prayed to the local god or goddess. In Newark he spoke to Sarah Vaughn in a cocktail lounge and to Allen Ginsberg floating high above the Jewish cemetery next to the traffic jam. Getting the okay from Allen and Sarah, he renamed the airport so we can fly into Allen Ginsberg. Then he flew into Louis Armstrong and learned how to second line.
There was a room for people unable to feel. Inside were captions cut away from their pictures. One task of the day was to find the picture that went along with the caption. When the teacher came into the room wearing his apron of severed heads several people unable to feel cried out for the first time. But it was faux disgust.