Gary Serafin Levine
Purple Catalpa Flowers by the Gowanus Canal

A sickly sweet scent radiates from the purple catalpa flowers on the prehistoric trees growing defiantly along the malodorous canal. I walk over the bridge to the green barn where we gather to offer thankful chants and mediations. I am surrounded by the light offered from the burnt orange glow-ball of the sun, setting slowly westward. Many unions and bonds shall happen for the heartfelt souls yearning for greater connection there. Antique red brick columns and buttressed wooden ceiling beams have seen much arduous labor in their years but nothing like this had been thought of in anyone’s wildest dreams. A nostalgic bank clock tower with neon red hands is seen in the distance through a streaked wire meshed window. Fat gray guard cats with all knowing eyes watch out while listening to ancient melodies and stories. Hymnals & bibles piled on top of each other. Woolen prayer shawls with memories of life’s moments and their accompanying stains are strewn about lazily. The air is thick and streaked with songs of praise and jubilation. The ark sits proudly, small but defiant with a proud scroll bundled inside its flimsy velvet draped exterior. Noisy garbage trucks break our thoughts while intensity mounts as the proper time nears. The space on the floor is divided but only by gender as we unite with eternity; then all eat a humble meal before casting our darkest soul moments into the murky, dank olive colored canal. The day-glow fish shimmer in their schools nearby as the rotten egg smells compete with the purple catalpa flowers’ sickly sweet scent. Amen Selah!

Little Worn Blue Siddur

It goes wherever I go
My little blue worn siddur
Tattered and well used, cover bent and dog eared.
Wrinkled from praying in the rain
On the way to shul on Pesach day
Wine stains on page 178 & 179
Made while standing making Kiddush by a hospital bed
Now that was a great Shabbat!
Some pages have been turned a lot
While others well that just have not
The cover is getting a little bit frayed
Much to my dismay… oy vey!
Modeh Ani is a morning favorite.
The shema is a trusted friend. Ana Bokeach is too.
You open your hand… and provide us all with our daily needs
May we all be answered on the days we call. Or tweet.
The many psalms try to comfort me, some more than others
But time takes its toll on the worn little worn siddur
A cozy corner in my study await it’s semi-retirement
Maybe a book cover will give it a few more years?
Little worn siddur has a dear friend awaiting
The tiny battered book of tehillim… 2 of a perfect pair!

  Gary Serafin Levine has been a Brooklynite for as long as he can remember. Before that he lived in his motherland Queens (where he was born). A by product of the writing programs @ Midwood High School and Brooklyn College. Student of Kaballah, music and urban life in a country setting. He writes humorous prose, poems short stories and the occasional essay. And he makes a mean egg cream and Tom Ka Gai (Thai coconut soup).
 © Gary Serafin Levine  All Rights Reserved