Piece of You

© Shoshana Friedman

If I can't have a piece of you darlin'

I'd rather not have any pie

And if I can't take a ride on you, baby

then why are there planes in the sky?

If I can't smell the bloom of your flowers

I will not buy any bouquet

And if I can't take the seat beside you

what good is a warm fire place?

 

I've heard it said there are other fish in the sea

But baby, if I'm gonna order fillet you're the only dish for me!

 

If I can't paint with all of your colors

my pallet can dry in its case

If I can't strum the strings of you sweetheart

I won't play no Amazing Grace

If I can't be your Coming Attraction

Let Critics report only scorn

And if I can't hike your hills and your valleys 

then why was the Good Green Earth born?

 

Goodbye Song

© Shoshana Friedman 2012

Do you know what I remember?

In Ohio that December You came to call not wearing any shoes.

And I wondered even then:

Would you be lover or a friend?

Would I walk my life with you singing the blues?

Across the concert hall our voices met somewhere in air

And day by day I loved you and you seemed to sweetly care

We started life together -- coops, choruses, and quiet afternoons.

Cause the current of my life was strong, and it carried me to you.

And even if some things felt wrong, our love was young and true. 

And I dare to say thank you.

I dare to say thank you.

 

I loved the way the our fingers

Fit together as we lingered

walking slowly round Jamaica Pond in fall.

Or coming down our road at night

The kitchen window full of light

Your spicy cooking welcoming me home.

 

The smell of your face in the freezing cold as we kissed beneath the moon

The weight of my head on your shoulder's nest in the comfort of our room.

Then that space between our bodies stretched into a gulf that yawned across the sky.

 

The current of my life was strong and I tried to drag you through

This was perhaps my greatest wrong, not letting you be true.

I dare to say Forgive me.

I Forgive you...

 

That you never bought me flowers

and our fights would last for hours

'bout the small stuff -- marriage, Judaism, kids

I felt myself get smaller

as the obstacles got taller

Would we clutch and drown or could I let you go?

 

Then a crazy tidal wave rushed in

And swept away our home

And it turned out fighting oceans is much harder than being alone

So I packed and blessed and swam into a river of freedom and pain and blinding light

 

The current of my life was strong and it carried me from you

When I called you a soulmate I wasn't wrong, you helped me see what's true

But I dare to say goodbye

Goodbye.

 

Not Get Married

© Shoshana Friedman 2011    

I'd rather not get married

Scrap the cake and toss the dress        

Turn the ring in cancel flowers

I'd rather un-invite each guest

than be in a relationship that doesn't pull me in its grip

toward the best that I can be, toward the highest self that lives inside of me

 

They don't say in the movies or the stories if Cinderella and her prince truly had it all. 

Did they even have the same priorities

or was it just hot chemistry at the ball? (Well, sorry Cindy but...)

 

To flirt and fall in love - hey, it's delicious Just watch for if you start to disappear

It may be true he's all you want for Christmas 

but how's it going the other days of the year?

 

Here's the question baby girl

and you gotta answer true:

can you look God in the eye

when you tell a man "I'll marry you."

And don't go looking with your head

'cause God's eye level with your gut

No "I'm sure-he'll-change"s or "I'm-scared-to-leave-him"s --no "if"s no "and"s no "buts"!

 

Cause I'd rather not get married I rather never go on a date

I would rather not have babies I'd rather not find any mate

than be in a relationship that doesn't pull me in its grip

that doesn't pull me in its grip

toward the best that I can be

toward the highest, wisest, deepest, fullest, free-est, hottest self that lives in me

 

The Key

© Shoshana Friedman 2012

Steering swiftly through the blinding light of day

A lake and waterfall         beckon me to stay

Skidding to the side, misjudging where there's ground

Sliding into darkness, drowning now

"Save yourself!" a voice from somewhere sounds

 

But can I leave you rusting 'neath the rising waves?

Turning tortured back into the sea?

Can I, dripping, swim my body back to shore

and not go back for your key?

I open the door, unbuckle my ties, and push my way to air.

A sopping book clutched in my hands -- directions -- to I don't know where.

You fall. I turn to face the forest on the land,

Alive yet guilty, swim till I can stand

over stones and reeds -- till I can stand.

through pain and doubt and trust -- till I can stand.

 

But can I leave you sinking under waves of grief?

Plunging patient deep into the sea?

Can I, crying, swim my body back to shore

and not go back for your key?

 

A wizard stands in shadow in the forest of this place

So tall I must lean over backwards just to see his face

Darkness where there once was light, Yet sight where I was blind

He waits with mewhile I leave your key behind.

 

I can leave you cradled on the waves of time.

Turning oh so gently back to see

Taking only who I am and all I know

To let you go and me be free

 

Longing Says

© Shoshana Friedman 2012

Sifting through old letters in a shoebox

Names and dates like old leaves falling down

You stand and shake the dust off

but yesterday's your only solid ground.

On the tarmac taking off, no sunset

Your knight in armor's arms just dropped away

And the stranger cramped beside you

Is not the one whose company you crave

 

Then Longing puts her warm worn hand in yours

and squeezes as she smiles

I know it's hard baby child

This lonesome ache could last a while

but if you let me hold you I will hold you all the way

Steps like these are hard to learn, you fall apart, your dreams burn

Open up and hunker down, I'll hold you if I may

 

An ancient foreign city spreads around you

Love and loss carved hard into each stone

And crowds of covered pilgrims

Push into a Wall that's not your home.

Flickering between the light of new days

and the evening of the world you've left behind

You search for brand new lovers

to flee the lonely clutter of your mind.

 

Then Longing catches up with you, Her arm

around your tired shoulder

If Rumi says each person is a guest house

Then Longing is a Friend who's come to stay

You offer her a mug of wine, a cushion and a bed

And tend your fire by her side today.

 

Grandma's Ukelele

© Shoshana Friedman 2012

When Lily was a young girl she made a fort of trees

Where unicorns and fairies lived beneath the leaves

Where she was crowned the Forest Queen of Gold

Who lulled the shadows fast to sleep with tales she softly told  

When Lily was a maiden she sailed across the sea

Captain of the crew, she climbed the rigging brave and free

A jet black raven perched upon her arm                         E

She steadfast steered the ship to safety - singing to the stars

 

Grandma goes and gets her ukelele

She's strummed four hundred seasons and a day

And the kids all gather round her chair

to listen to the stories she will play

La-la-la La-la-la La-la-la La-la-la La-la-la

 

When Lily was a woman she chopped down wood to build

her house upon a meadow at the foot of Wildrose Hill

Her lover searched every corner of the land

to find the finest flower and ask Lily for her hand.

 

When Lily was a mother her children went to sleep

on the back of horses climbing rainbows high above the street

Her family trekked the mountains, bold and strong

A roving band of minstrels with a quest and bounding song

 

When Lily was an elder the village gathered round

to hear her wisdom help them settle problems in the town

A wreath of blossoms crowned her long white hair 

And in the eve she joined the band and danced in open air

 

Today I See Your Face

© Shoshana Friedman 2012

My love today I see your face in every stranger, in every stranger

A tilt of chin, a wisp of hair

It's always stranger, it's always stranger

But "Hurry," cries the turtledove, "I haven't got all day

The winter comes, the rains begin and I must fly away"

 

My love behind the Castle walls

Open a window, let me see you

I'm kneeling here, my lute in arms

Don't be a stranger, don't be a stranger

But "Hurry," calls the mountain top, "I haven't got all day.

The sun, the wind, the rain, the storm will carry me away "

 

My God, today I see your face in every stranger, in every stranger

A puzzled glance, the light behind the eyes

It's never stranger, it's never stranger

But "Hurry," cries the midnight moon, "for soon comes light of day

The blinding brightness of the sun will secret me away."

My love, today I seek your face...

 

So Many Rivers

© Shoshana Friedman 2012

I've loved you since I heard your soul was coming

I loved you since before I heard the call.

You were cradled in the stars hidden by morning

You were soft and small and endless as the sea

 

I loved you when the mountains ran like rivers

I loved you when the many still were one

You were picking through the planets, like through islands

Looking for a peaceful place to land.

 

And I have longed for you over so many rivers

Over so many mountains I have called out your wordless name

I have searched for you in so many moments

in the mirrors in the skies until you came

 

I love you when joy rushes forth like horses 

I love you still when pain carves me away

You've hidden close inside me now for ages

And for ages within you I will stay

 

And if you ever lose your way, my darling

forgetting who you are and where you're from

just look up to those stars though they be hiding

remember it's from them that you have come

 

And I have longed for you over so many rivers

Over so many mountains I have called out your wordless name

I have searched for you in so many moments

in the mirrors in the skies

in the apples of everyone's eyes til you came

 

Write a Song with Me

©Shoshana Friedman 2012

You say you want to write a song with me

well that's kinda funny cause I was just about to write a song about you

You say you want to spend some time with me

I don't think so honey

But you could spend some time getting a clue

 

You're tall and handsome, smart and sweet

But march to a flirtatious beat

And I am through best-friending single guys

Long walks close talks, then we go out dancing

it's yet another girl that you're romancing

Next day you dare to look me in the eyes

and say....

 

You want to try to write a song with me

well that's kinda funny cause I was gonna write a little itty bitty ditty about you

You say you want to spend some time with me

I don't think so honey

But you could spend some time getting a clue

This prowl you're on is not for me

I'm under your nose but you can't see

that I am not immune to boyish charms

 

That sideways smile and crooked wink

You sing me a song, we get a drink

But God forbid you take me in your arms

Instead you say you want to write a song with me

well that's kinda funny 

cause I was just about to write a tiny tune or two about you

You say you want to spend some time with me

I don't think so honey

But you could spend some time getting a clue

 

Wrap My Love

© Shoshana Friedman 2012

This store's been in my family almost 400 years

Our roots are in this Holy Land

My sisters make the jewelry and us brothers work the floor

Helping tourists and pilgrims pick out weavings, art, and more

My brother Omar rides the Silk Road and the old pieces that he finds

You want to kiss the hand that made them so fine

 

You were seeking faith and fortune in Jerusalem

Started coming to our store

You tried on a piece I made, star of david and roman glass.

My hands shook as I helped you with the clasp

I said, If you were mine I'd make you something like this every day

And we'd fill our home with tapestries and love and kids at play.

 

Let me wrap my love around you like a silken shawl

I don't know what winds may blow but I know this love won't fall

We don't need words between us - just the soft touch of our hands

And I offer thanks you came my way, and don't try to understand

And I offer thanks you came my way, and don't try to understand

 

It seems a lifetime since I've shared sweet kisses

And I'm flying from the touch of your lips

You tell me not to fall for you, but darling I will soar

Above the Green Line and the Wall and our peoples' endless war

I hold you tight and whisper It's not fair. You say, I know.

I say, If history were different I would never let you go.

 

Let me wrap my love around you like a silken shawl

The winds may blow but I know this love won't fall

We don't need words between us - just the memory of our hearts

And how they found each other in a land so torn apart

And how they found each other in a land so torn apart

 

 

The Ark and The Sea (Midrash on Tanhuma Genesis 1:1)

© Shoshana Friedman 2009

They say the sea was sealed on the third day of Creation.

Dry land was revealed, the tides stayed in their basin.

Wisdom gathered letters, placed them on the beaches' border

to bind the deepest deep, to keep the newfound order.

 

When the sea was sealed, and the waves stayed by the tide line,

our ravaged thirst revealed, we ran down to the shore line

gathering the letters to our mouths and hands and pages

to let the rivers run and feed the inspiration of our sages.

 

Peering o'er the side of an ark that rides a rising tide

I hold onto these words: "Don't fall in!"

The ships around me fight the waves, these arks of meaning try to save.

We call from rail to rail: "Don't fall in!"

 

What are words but prayers of organization

straining against the raw chaos of Creation?

A string of sounds and letters, 22 primordial forces

tethered fast together: a stable full of wild horses!

 

What is a prayer but two hands that dip in an ancient ocean

and raise the water up in an untamed gesture of devotion?

Peering o'er the side of an ark that rides a rising tide

I hold onto these words: "Don't fall in!"

The ships around me fight the waves, these arks of meaning try to save.

We call from rail to rail: "Don't fall in!"

 

The notes that grace our music, the paint strokes of a master,

the rhythm of a poem, the wingspan of a dancer --

Their bones are made of letters but their lifeblood is the ocean.

We fear the Flood's return, yet drink daily from her rivers' potion.

 

 

Reaching to the pool of an inkwell on a desk at school

the scribe holds fast her pen: "Dip it in!"

She writes her letters thick with love, and as below so above

draws meaning from the blackness.

 

Geese Fly

© Shoshana Friedman 2008

Last night I ran down, down to the valley

Down where the pond lies quiet and smooth

Down where the geese sleep, resting and waiting

Waiting for midnight and the rise of the moon.

 

When I arrive I kneel by the water

Geese start to stir to rustle awake

They point to the low hills, I'm scared but I heed them

Race over grass till ground drops away

 

And the geese fly in winter

they gather their wings and follow the stars

and I will fly with them

I will soar with them, Love, before I come home.

 

With only the moonlight and shadows to to hold me here

One hundred feet up the V starts to form in air

I see a goose behind me sleeping while in flight

Her dependency reminds me: We are not alone tonight.

We are not alone tonight.

 

'Go find a teacher' religion advises

Someone to hold you up to the light.

What will you say when I tell you I've found mine?

Here, where we hold each other in flight.