The following submissions are written by B. Z. Niditch, the artistic director of  The Original Theatre.  His works have been published in The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Hawaii Review, Le Guepard (France), Prism International, Jejune (Czech Republic), etc.


The letter
you never wrote
in the sunlight
from half-guessed words
on summer mornings
in other cities
where the bare furniture
is removed oblong wise
and the window is blocked
beneath the shadow
of the dismembered
and the empty book cases
your only witness
in the Holland
of your attic house
and the setting sun
hears an adolescent laugh

from a light
in the passageway of the street
every word
is a way out.

You want to stand
even in your sleep
on this winter morning
with bitter greetings
in mangy trousers
getting too small
watching each flake
of the winter's nakedness
in the gusting wind
from a hunger not quite dead.


Prices in ore veins
weariness from "The portrait
of an Old Jew"
a remnant prized
by Rembrandt's models
somewhere toward Auschwitz
the indistinguishable nights
advance now in six figures
no one can look
at Botticelli's "Portrait
of a Young Man in Red Cap"
without blushing
or at Degas' "Landscape
with Smokestacks"
while the naked hair
and the burnt shoulders
whistle past the towns

the manure from farmers
is seen in the undulation
of a ration card
or a picture of a wedding
at a resort in Marseilles
where are you now
body of branches
pastels disquieted
into green and blue
oils from your anointed
on schedule for deportation
handful of loot
on pedestals and altars
the sculptors cannot
speak from stone
nor can the blood
lose its layers
as the living

pass over the auction block
the museum's roped off rows
and corpses peer through
with praying mantis hands.

Jay Liveson, another writer from NYC, has contributed some of his poetry. 


There's a gentleness to Max
that's quite disarming
He tells me himself
his torment
about his Germany.
In Leipsig, after class,
they sit, smoke, talk long nights
this new generation
still smelling the smoke
still seeing bleak camps
monuments to German efficiency
"It almost worked,"

you still hear, sometimes fearfully
sometimes wisefully.
in History class it's trickled out
in measured spoonfulls
like telling an adoptee
of his origins--fact
less traumatic than secrecy.
Smirks, silence
followed by questions
around dinner table.  "Not us,"
parents squirm, embarassed.
"Then how?"
            "And father caresses us,
worries at our lateness
our fevers."
You listen to Max
and sadden with him.
And when he smiles,

his gentle, bitter smile
you feel like hugging him
against your chest.
but Max had Uncles. . .


Shadows of past giants
grow with distance.
Davids scratch Goliath knees.
Martyrs stretch bare necks.
Black robed ancestors
march across mass distances.
Bearded grandparents
retch for weeks in steerage.
Parents count pennies
in a foreign tongue,
for you--
their future.
And you, road paved with bones
slick with sweat
grope ahead with timid steps.
"We're here,"
they buzz inside your head

inside your churning gut.


I awake in a field,
head resting on the crease
of my back pack.  My body
a vast grateful ache, twisted
between rocks
and dried droppings
brushed aside in the dark,
when I dropped, weary
in the meadow, somewhere
along the Galilean road.
The dawn returns me
to unreal reality.  To my left
the sun sparkles
from the nervous surface
of the Sea of Galilee.  Across this,
the hills of Jordan
blush awake.  I breathe in asphalt,
dust, tar mingled

with parched grass.  The borders
of my college break are fluid.
I'd remove my watch days ago,
take cues from the sun,
from my body.
Will I ever be so free?
I touch my finger to the dust,
to my tongue.
I taste it all.

Rick Lupert, a poet living in Los Angeles, has gladly donated  several of his poems.  He is the creator of Poetry Super Highway on the internet.  It can be reached at:
To read an interview we did with him go to our Pen & Ink Writers Journal site located at   or

I invited Sasquatch to Seder THE POET

The poet
got up to read
took off all his clothes
read naked

I could tell right away
that he wasn't Jewish


In the place where I pray
Everything is Jewish
The lizards
You can tell because
one just ran by without a tail.
Lizard moils are not very skilled.

The Squirrels only gather
Kosher acorns
This is a given because
all acorns are automatically Kosher.
Squirrels don't have to
worry about being traif.

The trees make the third Temple
Far away from Jerusalem
they become the southWestern american Wall

That Eucalyptus tree is the Holy of Holies
Where the Lizard priests make
important Halachic decisions

In the place where I pray
Everything is Jewish
The sound of the wind against the leaves is
the chanting of the Torah

Every day in nature
I become more and more religious.


He said "Don't you think I'll
weird people out what with
all the fur and the
big feet?"

I answered "Nah,
we're Reform."


It is the new year
and I am driving home
from Rosh Hashanah morning services.
I will rest until the evening
when I will join friends for the festive meal.

We Jews eat like Italians.
We have special foods for every holiday.
Symbolic foods.
Foods that make a statement to God
as they travel into our mouths.

Have you ever really thought about matzah?
I have.
It's intense.
Matzah has so much meaning
it makes the dictionary seem like a Canadian.

We even have special foods to eat
when nothing special is happening.
Let's talk kougle, kishke, falafel.
Don't ask what kishke is,
but Kougle,
I could go on about kougle for days.

I will be well fed tonight.
There will be potato dishes
that would kill most Anglos,
and apples dipped in so much honey
the new year will be sweet enough
to last through the naming of all our children.

To be a Jew is to eat
like our ancestors before us ate.
Are you hungry?


Ani ma-amin
Six million dead
Ani ma-amin
One and a half million children
Ani ma-amin
Piles of shoes found without feet
Ani ma-amin
So many shoes
Ani ma-amin
The children of Terezin exterminated
Ani ma-amin
never knowing
their poems would be turned into songs
that we will sing forever

Ani ma-amin
Im Kol Zeh, Ani-ma-amin

Even amidst all this,
I still believe

(Hebrew text: Maimonides, 12th Century)

Elisha Porat has published several volumes of  poetry and fiction in Hebrew.  His published works have appeared (in translation) in Israel, Canada, England, and the United States.  He won Israel's Prime Minister's Prize for Literature.  
Porat grew up in Israel in the early 1930's on the Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh his parents helped found.  He still lives there.
Mr. Porat served in the Israeli Army and fought in both the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War.  He is a member of a Kibbutz where he has worked as a farmer.  Currently he edits several literary journals.

All poems translated from the Hebrew.
Reprinted by permission of the author.


On Memorial Day I take-off to the woods.
Again I'm moved.
Through the smoke I observe
the earth veiling its shoulders.
As they gather before me from the rocks
I command:  You're all released to memories.
I turn aside and to you I whisper:
This is it, folks, they're trapped.
They can't escape.  Their will and testament
they've left with us.

Translated by Tsipi Keler, 1997
Originally published in Poetry Magazine.


On Memorial Day I surrender
to a longing for my dead.
The wail of the siren shrieking
above the Eucalyptus tops
is sounded from afar as if
it were a private whistle-code
between me and them.  As if
presently they'll rise

shake off the dust,
lean their bikes against the fence
and whistle back to me.
As if time gathers again
into the funnel of the electric siren:
it goes down through iron and grounds
the awful wailing
deep in the earth.

Translated by Tsipi Keler, 1997
Originally published in Poetry Magazine.


Saturday noon, on the beach,
the tan grandson burrows into
a dug-up basin padded with sand.
I observe him from the height of my age,
again see my body draw a circle,
warm and sticky of a boy pissing in the sand.
Time flows between us, a golden froth,
and stings my lips with salt.
From the sunken mold of the sand mask
the boy that I was comes back to me,
sprawled, foaming and wallowing, coddled by the sun.
A passing cloud suddenly darkers the light,
my face takes on the hardness of graying plaster:
the short-lived joy, a forgotten image from childhood,
all is swept back, dripping between the fingers
in the rhythmic beat of retreating waves.

Translated by Tsipi Keler, 1997

Originally published in Poetry Magazine.


On the way to Nabatiya
the rocks along the curves
seem to resemble the stone columns
of the bay in San Francisco
or the collapsed fences
in a Hasidic community in Jerusalem.
As I tie the belt of the helmet to my chin
tightly fasten the prickly velcro of my vest
adjust the goggles on my forehead
all at once my eyes grow blurry
and for a moment I can't tell
which is farther away:
The United States or Me'ah She'arim.

Lebanon, 1984.

Translated by Tsipi Keler, 1997
Originally published in Poetry Magazine.


Years he smoked, burned, inhaled
filthy butts that wrecked his lungs
with tuberculosis:
muscus, cough and pain.
He didn't cry, he didn't shout,
he only groaned in private,
and in whispers dictated notes
to those bending over his bed.
The sound of chimes and bells
interrupted the silence of his last nights
always alerting his heart's flight:
He didn't save from the fires
a loving mother chasing
after him, clinging as he walks,
as if he were a baby again,
holding her ashes
on his last day.

Translated by Tsipi Keler
Originally published in Ariga.


He came back, but he came like a
He came back, looked about and did not
Recall, for to him, all appeared estranged:
The house, the yard, the narrow lane.
Their memory sliced through his heart,
Cut, and he who survived and was
Came back; and he who had sworn back
That nothing would be forget, estranged
though it be:
A dirt path, and the barren field and the
At the edge, and the lemon tree with its
bitter fruit.
He felt that his absence was almost
To come back at last, to come like a
With a shadowy memory that was not
And an unravelled thread of burning
That will never more be made whole.

Translated by Asher Harris
Originally published in Ariga.


Strange soft snow descends
on the slopes of Jebel-El-Kebir,
chill and silent it falls
on dogouts and vehicles
armored on the screens of memory.
Astray in me in the damp haze
forgotten comrades call
whose lives once touched my life
now grown distant beyond the roads
the roadblocks the rolling hardare.
Once, among them, I saw
such a pure white suddenly crushed;
minced and ploughed under and rearing
and then subsiding silently absorbing

rent veins an reddening stain.

Translated by Riva Rubin
Originally published in Ariga.


On Memorial Day I make my way up
to the small military cemetery.
In the northwestern corner
we've placed a grey basalt rock
and facing the southern corner --
a blanching chunk of chalk.

our red loam
spreads itself all around.

And when the loudspeaker booms out
the memorial prayer
I close my eyes
and see those three colors
descend before me and disappear
into the encroaching shadow of the

Translated by Seymour Mayne
Originally published in Ariga.

NOTE:  More additions will be added soon!

For guidelines e-mail to:  or   For other inquiries e-mail to:   or  Submissions should be e-mailed or sent via regular mail to:  JEWISH LIFE, c/o Pen & Ink Press, 577 Central Ave., Box 4, Jefferson, LA  70121-140