Jack Galmitz

Judaism 101 

You play catch with your father
until the sky is as black as the family Schnauzer.

Upstairs, your mother bathes and waits
to call you to bring her a towel.

Don’t worry. It will all work out. Maybe
you will experiment first with yourself and others later.

Eventually you will find a wife. Maybe,
You will meet her at a reunion or a wedding.

You will not understand what she’s saying. You will just
watch the tongue moving, wet and juicy, in a cavity, 

like a woman bathing only different.
You needed someone and she appeared like magic.

Remember the hallways and stairs.
Your history. How you got here.

God walks hard in this place. His boots are steel tipped
and his coat is black leather. With your bride of showers,

you’ll return by train, relaxing with a cigar,
looking out at distances, to the garden of your begetters.

Sonnet iii Squeezed out the last good paint from the tube. So many have to wait in tent cities sprung up on foreign shores for their chance to go. Makes me think of backyards where wild corn grows and immigrants take up farming to stock their pantries. I wait for you to say I do, and yes, because angels have four faces and human hands to touch us, if we dare approach them. My father saw rabbits going to work, he said, and we laughed at him, but now he’s gone. And we wait our turn. The Idler I do not understand the things that thrive in earth and rain and air. They're too austere. I'm an ordinary man. I talk to birds that land near my feet and tear at bits of bread then leave. The birds are pretty clear. The trees from which they alight are dim. The branches in the sky project as if there was nothing else to do besides. Purpose need not be summarized is one message I take from this. Then put down roots that spread to live. They grow by protecting their softer self. This to me qualifies as intent, though I'm not one-hundred percent certain of this.

Sitting on a Bench in the Dark I met my father at the high school track. We had no appointment. It was just like that. I was sitting on a bench not waiting for the bus. It was under the locust trees and in the dark. I was dreaming as I sat looking at the fresh clay. He was just there and spoke with a soft voice. He uttered my name. That's how I knew it was him. He asked me how I'd been and I trembled a bit. No one had asked me for years, decades it was really. He didn't ask me again. There was no reason to pry. My bent back and shielded face were enough for him to know. On Being and Matters I have a better mustache than Martin Heidegger had and he dressed in public in a Nazi uniform, and, well, I'm Jewish. I'm not better. I'm not saying that. But what's all this about being, as if I didn't have it. Some secret that is. As hidden as the rooms of a motel after a tornado ripped the walls off it. I've been to the kitchen. I've prepared dishes. I've stood at the edge of the sea when the sun sank as unceremoniously as a poached egg spreading in a roiling pot of water. So, what isn't? My mustache has swagger. I can twirl it in my fingers. Heidegger’s couldn’t manage it.

To start over The thought of it is tiring. To separate the metal plates welded together requires equal force and new effort. Now the form is finished, a realization. To undo it requires relinquishing prior interpretations. The undoing will initiate a beginning and that is creation. Where it's begun is of little matter. The cutter thinking, the strikes of hammer, must be as deeply felt as was the original making. It is love, after all, that takes it apart as it was put together.
Jack Galmitz was born in 1951 in New York City. He attended the public schools from which he graduated. His poems have appeared in journals such as otata, Synchronized Chaos, Former People, Fleas On The Dog, and others. He is married to Yali Zhang, a calligrapher born in Mainland China.
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Blogger Patrick said...

Thanks, Galmitz san for the deep implications of your poetry and your artwork. The New York School is alive! And thanks, as well, for your kind and generous thoughts over the years. We might meet one day, that is, if there is any room left at the Algonquin Round Table.


9:56 PM  
Blogger John said...

These are superb poems. Well worth rereading many times and also having the pleasure of looking at your paintings too!

John Levy

3:36 AM  
Blogger Peter Yovu said...


dittos. Thank you for your honesty, for the surprises and flat out *poetry.* And these paintings are unexpected, so different from
others I've seen of yours. Words, colors . . .

2:21 AM  
Blogger Peter Yovu said...


ditto to these comments. A great pleasure to read your poems, for their honesty and depth.
Your art-- different than I had seen. Another pleasure.

5:26 AM  

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