Natural English, or: Sidespin

A poem by ben Alexander

My Papa once explained to me the genius of Poe’s poetry
In making language lyrical that was much inert;
Some tongues like French and Russian flow;
But English breaks upon the teeth
Unless we pull chords deep
Beneath; deep beneath
The surface

Struggling (mired in A,B,C), remembering he who sired me;
Limited to words, my own, chop\py though they be;
These fingers English keyboards know,
Grasp flailingly at fleeting dreams
Although it’s then I truly
See; truly see him
Seeing me

With talk he wouldn’t be impressed; I’d rather offer something else –
Reality itself undressed; bereft, I’ve naught but language left,
Now feeling I have naught to show…

Here’s peddling clever stanzas cheap
While Papa lies there deep
Beneath; deep beneath

The surface


ben Alexander

In Hebrew, ‘ben’ (בן) means ‘son’ or ‘son of’.

* * *

David Bogomolny was born in Jerusalem to parents who made Aliyah from the USSR in the mid-70’s. He grew up in America and returned to Israel as an adult. He works as an advocate for religious freedom in Israel. He and his wife and daughter live in Jerusalem.

He began writing the ‘Skeptic’s Kaddish for the Atheist’ in Jerusalem, Israel, 30 days after burying his father in South Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. His series was originally published on the Times of Israel blogs.

Read his kaddish memoir.