Friday, December 23, 2016

Charles Bane Jr.'s The Chapbook — The Sabbath Bride

photo © Mark Butkus 2011
The Central Synagogue in New York City.

I am at synagogue tonight and
when we turn to face the Sabbath Bride,
I am walking with your elbow in my palm
to the corner restaurant.

A boy came past and
cursing, muttered, "Dirty Jew."
I wheeled and punched and
he fell to the sidewalk.
He had a bloody mouth.

I leaned over him and
yelled — like he was deaf
"Do you know me?" He nodded.
I yelled again,
"You know I live there,
at 369 Walnut Street?"
Again, he nodded.

I bent down.
"And you are Krzysztof,
the baker’s son," I said,
and saw his eyes widen,
"And if you tell your father
or friends about this,
I’ll do it again. Understand?"

I turned, and
ushered you into the restaurant
and to a table.
I felt ashamed then.
You looked at me and said,
"There’s blood on your shirt."

I looked down.
You excused yourself and left.
I was so angry with myself.
I said aloud,
"Why did you behave like that,
and scare off that pretty girl?"

You returned from the restroom
with napkins wetted in the sink.
You looked at my eyes and said,
"Lean forward."

I knew we’d be husband and wife.
I never dreamed we’d be married so long.
I didn’t know love could be
so easily carried, or for such a distance.

I blink,
and return to synagogue.
We turn and face the sanctuary door.
Dearest, I am waiting..


— Charles Bane, Jr.


In welcoming shabbat, in welcoming Hanukkah, we turn to Charles Bane Jr.'s The Sabbath Bride and capture in a poem a moment of ignorance, anger, forgiveness and love.

The Sabbath Bride continues our serialization of Charles' 2011 volume of poetry, The Chapbook (Curbside Splendor). Part of a years-long journey, where we share and explore Charles' passion — his poetry — with you, our readers.

Charles is also the author of Love Poems (Kelsay Books, 2014). His work has been described in the Huffington Post as "not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them." He created the Meaning of Poetry series for The Gutenberg Project and is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida. A new collection of poetry, The Ends Of The Earth is currently taking shape. 

We thank Charles for his continuing contributions and wish him well in the publishing of a collection of short fiction entitled, For Whom The Bell Tolls: The Sequel And Other Stories.