LITERATURE ספרות

‘BURY, Depart.’

bury, depart_wp

Feeling the Ypres wind whisper through my back,
Lingo of dead men long silenced, cracked;
to, fro,
hold slow;

The meaning of life descends as the surface to its shoal,
Clad in sweat and cloth, the husk of a killer over soul;
Clutch, smoke,
breathe, go;

So close I could touch him, would they grimace or shy?
Would I be painted an outsider; or am I too afraid to try?
Let be,
soothe the trees;

Embers prematurely spent and love a gulf away,
Given the chance to sleep I wouldn’t dare want to stay.
Shoot, hit,
crawl, spit;

Long doses of peace return in throbbing, warm waves;
The relief is heavier, but shoes like body are weathered, decayed.
Click, load,
Please, no;

Prayers into curses fester at the tip of our tongue;
They all want you in my arms, not this loaded gun.
Rally, shout,
Walk, proud!

The copper whistle lies; a glimpse of false might,
Following the dark river’s cellophane light:
Swoosh, splash,
Crackle, crash;

Breathing soon becomes bleeding as the monsters labor on,
Weariness begets peace; your memory I savor, waver… savor;
Cry, scream,
Come to me–

The poppy shivers in the field, your shoulders arrest my mind,
Your wandering coffee eyes I struggle to remember overtime;
Smile meek,
Move me, seek;

Stalls and humility frustrated me– tore the weak seams,
Mulling over another headache, and parched gray dreams;
Silence, shots,
I’ve never forgot;

Brothers remember and feel these things, I neglect,
Holding another sweetheart in their last dying breaths,
Shrill, recall,
The bickering stall!

The shores erupt in dirt, her white collar begins to fade,
German and Old Contemptibles meet in their home; make it or break!
Roll, kill,
Thunder, still–

A green smoke thaws, tattered corpses in line,
Once boys, now husbands: gifts to widows in time;
Settle, sleep,
‘My Children’ He weeps;

I cannot comprehend the betrayal given,
When I stopped another man’s heart,
like mine– passchen driven,
Bury, depart.

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BRENDAN ברנדן, ISRAEL ישראל, LITERATURE ספרות

Crash– First Draft

It would seem we’ve lost our direction judges ago,
Desperate dreams against the Arab springs;
And so little we see as we hear the numbers rise,
It crosses my heart, but I’m not ready to die.

A new season comes over the Gehenna grounds,
Veiled in sunrise a blind courage attends;
God is Great, followed by the terrible sound,
In black, white, and red, we cry for the goodness in men.

We’re born and crash
A generation’s furor runs hot
The mother’s fears arrest the dead;
Panzer fathers arrange the shots
For the wearers of berets upon their heads.

Chariots are called to the fences in lie and wait,
With confrontation’s ancient refrain, the shofar screams;
Gog v’Magog warns to give restraint,
Running in shambles, too dangerous to please.

We grow to crash
Violation of the faultless
Fires falling from the air;
Strangers respond, the armed and dauntless
Against the faceless, with causes snared;

We live to crash
As the promised land falls apart,
Compassion’s fingers release their hold;
Threats and bombs black out the stars,
Strangling love into stone.

Where is the end of the shadow of death?
Valleys have risen around our walls,
We live to plan, our portion thrashed;
We were given our inheritance, for the price of men.

We age from the crash,
Mount Carmel’s hills feel the tremor,
As the killing’s never ending spate
Arrived in the north one cold November;
Fueling the fires of never ending hate; perpetuating time’s eternal war.

We breathe to crash, but will live to see greener shores,
The good souls pray to relinquish the sword;
So remain strong and take heart as you meet with the crash,
All you who hope in Abraham’s Lord.

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ISRAEL ישראל

Tragic Retrospect: Entebbe and Gush Etzion

SayMat

This Friday begins an American national holiday renowned for its jubilance, excessive display and international tribute to the American democracy, the 4th of July.  38 years ago however, during the monolithic and merry American bicentennial, the mood 6,000 miles away, in a little piece of land still recovering from a horrific test of strength during their holiest holiday in 1973, waited in silent anticipation to hear of the fate of their loved ones.

One-hundred and six Jewish hostages were apprehended by a East German terrorist group in cooperation with Palestinian jihadists on June 27, 1976, after diverting their Paris-bound Air France A300 toward Libya, and finally to Entebbe Airport, Uganda, under the supervision of dictator Idi Amin.  After several days of intense negotiation and clandestine military scenario planning, diplomatic relations had begun to break down, pleas for prisoner exchanges were denied, the Ugandan army and terrorist fighters were threatening holocaust-like ultimatums, and the Arab world was rallying in ecstatic rage to initiate a third war with Israel.

Come July 4th, the elite Israel Defense Forces’ Sayeret Matkal Recon Unit was en route to Uganda, tossing low in C-130′s over hot tropical sea and through the freezing mountain ranges of northern Africa. Their goal was to land during the night hours at Entebbe, taking advantage of it’s lit runway used for emergency landings, eliminate all of the terrorists, refuel their planes, and bring home the hostages to the Jewish haven of Israel from where they had originally flown.

Gunfire prematurely erupted as the terrorists identified the IDF land rovers and mock limousine, but by the time their shock had taken hold, the terrorists laid in dust and blood. Three Jewish hostages had died in the crossfire, but the rest were relatively unharmed. The renowned Commander leading Sayeret Matkal, Yonatan Netanyahu, only thirty years-old, was mortally wounded and died on the tarmac.

The bold pitch-and-toss of the Israeli commandos has since gone down in legend, reinvigorating Israeli confidence since their near defeat two-and-a-half years prior, etching a selfless, honorable title for the Defense Forces. And since the Entebbe raid, the professional ranks of the IDF have proven themselves in bold rescue missions, terrorist-response operations, and foreign aid campaigns.

Fast forward to 2014, and Israel is faced with a new crisis: the kidnapping of three young Yeshiva students, Gilad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrach, disappearing from a road in Gush Etzion north of the Palestinian town Hebron, during a week of intense rocket fire erupting from Gaza and other various world-stage SNAFUs that make up the hard life for this ancient strip and its social, religious, and cultural division.

Following a late-response to the kidnappings, the fear of global repercussion and diverted attention to the southern Gaza border, the IDF initiates a massive search with its hands already full. In seeming desperation for political pressure on the Palestinian Authority, the IDF releases the identities of the two suspected terrorists responsible for the kidnapping, and during the third week of the search for the missing, their bodies are found in a ditch not far from the town from where they disappeared.

The Jewish global community is at a loss, and in outrage. The White House maintains its order of “restraint” against a mused-over invasion of the West Bank. Israelis mourn as they hasten the funerals for the three boys per Jewish law, and the Israel Defense Forces, acting vigorously in its mission, has failed. Israel has lost its modern Entebbe.

Public mourning, ongoing investigations on the Israeli Police’s response time, and calls on social reform by rabbis and relatives of the victims now simmer since the overwhelming coverage of the search. I call on the IDF to reclaim its sharp skill of search and rescue, and to once again lead the way in counter-terrorism. To prioritize the defense of its people as their military’s moniker suggests, TzaHal, Tzevah Haganah l’Yisrael, The Defense Forces of Israel, and run the extra kilometer amid its contemporary shortcomings and international embarrassments. We are not looking for another 2006, we do not need another Gilad Schalit scenario, we are not wanting another Hebron kidnapping.

To successfully defend our people, the Israeli people, American, Jewish, Arab, Christian, Druze, we need a new Defense Force capable of the feats of Samson, the cunning of Joshua, and the leadership of Moshe. We need a new motivation, and if this past month and decade has not been enough, what else do we have to further dig us into the pit of shame?

I stand behind the IDF, and thank them for their service. But to become a stronger, more stable nation, it begins with spirit and defense.

Blessed be the memory of Gilad, Naftali, and Eyal, and may G-d console the families among the other mourners of Tzion and Jerusalem. Amen.

-17:37

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BRENDAN ברנדן

New Blog Fiction

I understand that I have been absent from this Scattered Sefer for quite some time. Other than habitually visiting the blog roll to follow some interesting writers, but rarely contributing anything on my site with the exception a few poignant stanzas by other authors that have touched me at relatable times, has made me feel almost guilty in taking the back seat of my writing habits.

I have returned to say, yes, Shalosh Sha’at is still in progress, and a new blog fiction project of mine will be joining it.

Dagger Men“.

Dagger Men is to be set during the tumultuous reign of Caesar Vespasian, within the newly occupied Roman Judea. Yakve, a becoming man inspired by the Zealot political faction rising from its domineering display during a recent state-wide revolt, is charged by his pious father to influence his older brother Yeshak, who is hopeless for his people, and who is attempting to censor a musing for the Roman occupation draft.

I will follow this post with a preview of the story soon.

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BRENDAN ברנדן

If–

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

“If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

“If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

“If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it
,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!”

-Rudyard Kipling

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Shalosh Sha'at

SHALOSH SHA’AT שלוש שעות


Shalosh_Shaat_titlecard

is “Three Hours”.

The unit of time measured of which it took the heavily-outnumbered Israeli Air Force to destroy the entire Egyptian arsenal of jet fighters and bombers, effectively establishing air-superiority during the Six-Day War, was Three Hours.

SHALOSH SHA’AT is a blog-fiction project that will give prominence to personal experiences had during the Six-Day War, from Israeli perspectives to Egyptian and American; from the perspective of witnesses and participants, to that of soldiers and sons. I am not only looking to sharpen my skills as a writer documenting a valid, well-known historical event, but I also wish to augment my personal understanding of the geo-political moods and cultural introspections of the era with my understanding of Judaism, to the generations of opposing nations and how the conflict affected its people mentally, physically and emotionally; my understanding of Israel’s perpetual growth and struggles giving her rise to international spotlight, and how the conflict has helped forge what the Middle East is today.

SHALOSH SHA’AT is an emotional scope as much as it is a historical introduction to what is regarded as one of the greatest modern military achievements. SHALOSH SHA’AT is a struggle, a piece of frustration, doubt, uncertainty and endeavoring Hope; manna in the sand for both the people who lived through the Six-Day War, and for the generations who live in its shadow.

SHALOSH SHA’AT

PART I: Beginning

PART II: Hermon’s Thunder (Part I)

PART III: (coming soon)

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ISRAEL ישראל, LITERATURE ספרות

‘ZaHal’ (2010)

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Beneath Turquoise skies, Her rivers flow wide
Fire cheated flame to which Kingdoms hath formed
Where flut’ring stripes fly in echoing pride
A Sacred land spare glory, hope
yet War
Throughout Her hist’ry, she hath been exchanged,
Back to Her tender care we have returned
To the great dismay of nations in hatred,
We stand and defend with all of our earn.
Her blessings reach far, as a mother’s Arms;
I want to go and restore though we’re far,
Rush to protect Her before she is harm’d
Give my life to fight beneath David’s star.

A Saint who hath birth’d Kings and is our God’s own,
I will incur full might, I am call’d to Home.

(Photograph of Paratroopers Brigade exercise in May 2010, courtesy of IDF Spokesperson)

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BRENDAN ברנדן

‘September’

While reading through some old poetry I wrote growing up, this piece stuck out to me. I wrote it as a senior in high school, inspired by the German invasion of the Netherlands, a particular, beautiful Dutch city by the name of Arnhem, and its subsequent liberation by Allied forces in September 1944. It won me first place in my high school’s first annual poetry competition.

WindmillColorized 1930 photograph of one of Holland’s windmills, destroyed during liberation in September 1944.

I have always been allured by this region of Europe, with its peaceful grasslands and famous windmills; an innocent lowland which saw the detestable evils of senseless destruction, the disruption of a loving people, and the snare of deportation and genocide. Because of this attractive, silent scene and its history of unearthing and healing, I feel a deep conviction to visit Arnhem and take this all in; just as I felt the need to pull these words from my heart and out of my mind, and give a voice to the people who lived in Nazi Germany’s terrible shadow.

Enjoy.

_____

Sunrise.
They awake from the night
filled with a dying Ambience, stirred
by the falcon who took flight
dropping bombs beneath
swastikas sheathed in steel
and conquering the night in fiery flare.

The night terror hath gone
Morning flame enlightens the sky, the city
Rolling on ruins,
gentle, like honey.

There is something beautiful about destruction.

The seclusions of the dark
expose like carrion
The shops stand and sway
softly like the warblers nesting,
singing, far away
from this curious and sleeping hell.
There is no green
the streets have gone
flooded by the walls and beds and dressers
of families kill’d, departed, and regimented
into Holland’s war

Pluck, pluck,
Fire the strings of a harp
Falling rain and father’s tears
bathe the sunlit ruin
in warm water
It does not stop falling.

Ashes slowly descend,
gently,
Like humble shreds of paper snow,
Fluttering to and fro in the tender breeze,
Covering piles of jagged concrete and unrooted trees,
And into streams running black like bubbling lead.

Brilliant thud;
dissonance of collapsing rubble,
Bass’ly snares of artillery guns and machine weapons
clamouring far away,
and pounding our breasts so dreadfully near.

The splendor which gives light to our penance,
reaches high above the threshold of white thunder,
gleams upon every sullen surface in our ruined city,
shines in alabaster grace about the streets now flooded again.

A dying terrier caught in the treads of a panzer tank whimpers to the sound,
the sorrowful sweet harmony of singing voices.
Brothers, fathers, sisters, and mothers
Saints and Sinners raise hands in redeeming falling waters
arms and fingers and tattered flags
rising from the rubbles of hatred,
one final time, shout
“Hold out!
Stand… stout!”

The drums of liberation clap within and around
cracked and bleeding walls,
as French horns hum mournfully amidst the golden-bright storm.

Shadows pass the bricks and planks and ripped-out roads of Arnhem,
Blooming roses and crimson poppies shiver and
flinch from the late summer’s restless reign.

The sobbing does not stop,
the singing retorts in uncanny tones,
Thunder rumbles above the hissing skies,
the splashes sooth, and so strongly the godsend demands.

“Hold long!
Hold strong!”

“Sing loud!
Sing… Proud!”

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BRENDAN ברנדן, ISRAEL ישראל

The Tsabra Project

Because of changes I have eluded this blog’s pages– changes portent to the life I wish to live, but flowing opposite the direction of where I thought I was headed– which have both prevented me from posting here as often and are the inspiration for a new Project I am constructing:

Tzabra_Project_cropped

The Tsabra Project.

The Tsabra Project is simply to be a photo journal of my choosing to live the Jewish life. One of the most recurring fantasies influencing my mind and decision making is the intensive desire of mine to document every single life event, whether small or large; these affirmations, whether it be a photograph taken, a letter sent, a blog post published, helps me realize a moment’s intensity and appreciate the fullness of what I am trying to capture in my mind’s eye.

And that is exactly what I want to grow up to be: A story teller. I will be keeping this domain for my personal jots, short stories and poetry, and of course for Shalosh Sha’at, but The Tsabra Project will open up a new front for me in exercising my skills in the profession I ultimately choose and the life I want to embrace: photojournalism and Judaism.

It is time to become a true person of the Book; the site is live, and its construction will be completed soon. (But unless I forget Thee, O Jerusalem, the site may go unfinished for a good while as these personal changes continue to unfold and solidify)

(Background Photograph: Chicago facing North from the Willis Tower Skydeck, 6 July 2013)

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BRENDAN ברנדן

Wounds

Let it be Your will
that my words of my mouth and
the meditations of my heart
come before You, Adonai;
my Rock, my Redeemer.

I will crush my fantasy
bring me olive oil, crushed
for His majesty
To shine warmth unto eternity,
this is Your eternal decree:
Dance like flames
There’s no gravity,
for now I’m just a candle
trying to stay lit on this windy night.

(Matisyahu, Silence)

Wounds require time.
They require attention and care, and sometimes we can bother our wounds to the point that they begin to crack and bleed.
It is okay to have wounds, physical and emotional wounds are natural.
Sometimes wounds heal into scars, but not without their sources: extreme turmoil, agitation.
Life is learning to pull from digging at these wounds; healing means not agitating what needs to be cured.
It is vital to remember, that although we look and feel at these scars and flinch at their terrible memory, these reactions mostly fade with time.
We are the sole decider of whether we will heal, or if we will break down.

But there are exceptions, such as these two curious marks just above my right elbow.
For the longest while I believed they were scabs that just wouldn’t heal; it seems gross, but I would habitually pick at them, constantly causing infections on this elbow.
For six years my arm would bleed, and for six years I would scratch without giving a second thought.
One day I decided to stop, and the wound healed, and there was still the coarse presence of what might have been a scar, only it does not have the character of one.
I have learned to accept it, that it is a part of me, and that I need to stop trying to treat something that belongs as if it were a scar.
But this still does not retract from the adage that wounds do take time to heal.

Just a few thoughts.

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