Category Archives: The Arts

Multicultural Art and Poetry

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Poem by Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher & John C. Mannone

Photo credit: Greg Semendinger/NYPDT

On the day after, we walked from downtown,
from our apartment to 14th Street to catch a train
to Penn Station, but the subway was closed.

Most streets were glutted with silence, empty
of the usual yellow cabs with their impatient horns,
and people, except for one block just east of here.

Continue reading Seasonal Affective Disorder – Poem by Lisa M. Scuderi-Burkimsher & John C. Mannone

Thinking About Finding Our Best Self in the Worst of Times – by Martin Kimeldorf

Before going in for brain surgery in 2013, I feared that studying, researching and thinking too much about my condition would leave me bereft of hope. I dreaded being swept up with sadness or anxiety or both. I resolved to trust in all my doctors and in the destiny already laid out before me. To achieve that state of mind I returned to reciting the quatrains found in the Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. As a result, I was able to enter Virginia Mason Hospital calm, a bit exhausted, and filled with acceptance.

Continue reading Thinking About Finding Our Best Self in the Worst of Times – by Martin Kimeldorf

The Light in the Room – Poem by John C. Mannone

Capernaum, 30 AD
Peter’s house

Four men shuffle their sandals down the dirt
and camel-dunged road bearing their friend
warped with palsy on stretched, brown cloth.

They press through crowds standing dead
in their way to the mud brick dwelling—doorway
glutted with the sick, windows gasping sultry air.

On the roof, fig trees faint, grapes grovel for cool
moist dirt. Overgrown, the garden guards entrance
to the room beneath a straw-hatched door.

Inside the house, the Healer moves among
the sick, and the frankincense of his garment
breezes the air. Radiance spills from his hem,

a cooling glow dispels fever. Thy cluster near him.
Above, the palsied man, held up by the strong
faith of his friends, waits for his touch—for the Light.

Afflicted eyes clear, cataracts fall like dead scales.
Twisted limbs grow straight as the green shoot
seeking the high sun. Obscure spirits flee.

When he is done well into the middle of night,
he goes to pray in the cool of the garden among
fig trees and vines, now lifting high in his light.

In the mauve of dawn, the fishing village is quiet,
boats bob in the ebb, and black basalt cliffs shadow
nets laying empty after sieving the platinum sea
…but only for a little while.

~~~
Near Capernaum, 2030 AD
Ziv Medical Center (Bar-Ilan University)

A man lies on a gurney, in tremors from paralysis,
waits for the good doctor to touch him with his hands,
with instruments that will bring him some comfort.

His wife and children at his side, the sweet
fragrance of prayer mixes with a hint of sea
masking the sterile wisps of antiseptics.

The physicians, gathered in a small room
before their rounds, quietly praise the Healer,
seek his guidance from a shelf full of books—

Gray’s Anatomy, Principles of Biochemistry by White,
black binders with New England Journal of Medicine,
all stacked on leather of the Torah—the scent

of Jehovah Rapha rising from its pages, faith
incandescing the darkness. The light in the room
is not dim.

___________________________________________________________________
Author’s Note: Inspired by the healing of the man with palsy—a paralysis, especially that which is accompanied by involuntary tremors—in the Bible (Mark 2:1-5). Peter’s house was likely excavated by Italian archeologists (Biblical Archaeology Review 8:6, November/December 1982). Also see Bible History Daily https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-sites-places/biblical-archaeology-sites/the-house-of-peter-the-home-of-jesus-in-capernaum/

Baltimore 1968 – Poem by John C. Mannone

After Dudley Randall

“Oh, Mother, I’ll be fine today.
I’m just going to see my friend, Pat.
Don’t worry, I’ll be home by eight.
Please don’t forget to feed my cat.”

“Be careful, Son, a storm is coming—
clouds of black men are on the rise.
They have chains and clubs, and crying
anger from their blood-shot eyes.”

~~~~~~~

Continue reading Baltimore 1968 – Poem by John C. Mannone

Sister’s Keeper – Poem by Wes Sims

She paced the floor, hands wringing,
babbled to herself, sometimes tossed words
toward us that might or might not make sense.
Not unlovely, she hid her attractive figure
in simple cotton dresses, and coiled
her long, brown hair in an old-woman bun.
Floated in her own world, like a butterfly
in a conservatory, from one hallucinatory
bloom to another.

Continue reading Sister’s Keeper – Poem by Wes Sims

A New Year Journal – by Martin Kimeldorf

Across all ages or stages of life we ask different questions of a similar nature. I think the most enduring questions were penned by the FitzGerald-Khayyám Rubáiyát team when they asked, Why are we here? Where have we come from? Where are we going? At each life-stage the questions take different forms. When younger we ask Who Am I? Then at midlife we ponder: Is This All There Is? and Where Am I Going? And finally in old age as we review our journey, we ask How Have I Lived My Life? and How Do I Want To Be Remembered? Of course all these questions can all be asked repeatedly at any age.

On New Years Eve 2017 we bade adieu to one of the historically worst years of our lives. Certainly we enjoyed some good moments, but overall a darkness descended when that old suicidal devil revealed his ugly Trump face, and made appearances in Europe, the Middle and Far East, and Africa. While summing up the well-lived and terrified parts of that year, Judy asked, “I wonder if I have lived a small life?” Of course she is not asking about size, and rather if her life mattered.

Continue reading A New Year Journal – by Martin Kimeldorf

Enigma of the New Year – Poem by Debasish Majumder

Year after year
We human renewed ourselves with a new flavor
Celebrate with joviality new year
Construe our own obsessive calendar!

Time and year, a lovely devise
We human initiate with our endeavor and entice
No other living organism ever perhaps having a process of thought
To decorate time with a yearly knot!

Continue reading Enigma of the New Year – Poem by Debasish Majumder

Wish for the New Year – Poem by Yvor Stoakley

Another year has come and gone and a new one just begun.
We completed another circuit around our brilliant Sun.
As we reflect on how we fared in 2017,
Let’s also pause to consider what each of our relationships to us mean.

There are people that we value for their wisdom and insight,
And others who will stand by us in any righteous fight.
There are those we know through love, through friendship, and through tears,
And those with whom we work or worship or were classmates through the years.

Continue reading Wish for the New Year – Poem by Yvor Stoakley

Kwaanza Quest — Poem by Vincent Ivan Phipps

After the presents have been opened and our belly’s are put to rest,

On the day after Christmas, we pay tribute to the first fruits of the harvest.

Acknowledging the tradition followed by 18 million since 1966 from East to the West,

Understanding Kwanzaa’s guidelines is part of our growing culture quest.

Continue reading Kwaanza Quest — Poem by Vincent Ivan Phipps