Merrill Leffler’s poems that make up this collection are addicted to the here and now, whether that here and now be sorrow, grief, joy, anxiety, depression or Nothing. The dance of language as it clowns or rents its garments is what we have – and these poems embrace that belief with passion: “Nothing/ is as whole as the space/ in the air/ you pass through./ And it is yours. If/ you will take hold of it.”
These poems are full of Leffler’s spirit, generosity, probity, and buoyant Jewishness, typified in the last stanza of “Farewell.”
Paul Zimmer, The Georgia Review
In these faces it is always farewell.
You may see yourself here or not.
You may walk a straight line to hell
And arrive through the front door or knock
Without thinking at the back.
You may be schooled in caution like a spy
And count every step and still backtrack
Into the arms of the enemy.
You may crawl on your knees for a hundred years
And engrave a yellow star on your breast.
You may try and cover your fears
And pretend that you have come to a rest.
Dear friends, we are traveling this way
Alone. Finally, there are no lies.
Minute by minute, day by day,
Each life is a blessing, each blessing a disguise.
Merrill Leffler has published Partly Pandemonium, Partly Love, a collection of poems, and has edited The Changing Orders: Poetry from Israel. He and Moshe Dor have been translating Eytan Eytan and will publish a collection of his poems, A Guest in Your Own Body.