Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine


by Steve Pollack

I want to belong—to belong in community,
to communicate with stories and songs
and food—let there be food, bitter & festive.
To identify with people who love books, ask
questions, debate answers—year after year
to keep questioning with blood on our lintel,
to speak of plagues and blessings, to learn
with humble confidence that comes of faith
& good deeds. I want to connect with a past
with language and homeland, to honor
quiet strength, those who live integrity,
weep dignity in the foul face of troubles
—who pass memories forward, name me
with sacred ceremony, care diligently
for their young and their frail. I want to live
promises larger than myself—open doors
to ancient footprints, enduring presence
affirmative as manna in wilderness.

I am an individual, one person—a being
distinct even within my own tribe
where faces & customs are most common,
but do not define any of us entirely. Outside
in the world, I and you will surely be labeled
as if a commodity to be boxed, named
and numbered regardless of our true value,
as excuse to exclude or worse—no, I am not
a number, a prisoner to any poll, restricted
by dogma, geography or skin color. I am
a human animal, male of the class mammalia,
living organism—a trillion cells of instinct
& witness. The more I learn, I learn more—
how much to know. I am consumer and creator,
son and father, native-born and immigrant,
social and solitary. I am no one else.
I am free to wonder—to pursue what I dream,
to face what I fear, to be who I am.

About the Author

Steve Pollack directed a housing co-op, built hospitals, science labs, and public schools. Poetry found him later. His chapbook, “L’dor Vador”, was published by Finishing Line Press. He serves on the One Book One Jewish Community team at Gratz College and sings bass with Nashirah.