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Jewesses with Attitude

Poetry from Dyanna Loeb, aka Dyna*Mic

Dyanna Loeb aka Dyna*Mic is an MC, poet and arts educator who started performing with Youth Speaks in 2001. She has shared her words and music for international audiences, at venues including the San Francisco Opera House, the Nuyorican (NYC), and Project HeartBeat Jerusalem. Her poetry and songs have been featured on several releases through Youth Movement Records, where she co-founded a writing workshop for incarcerated youth in Alameda County Juvenile Hall. She has toured the Pacific Northwest to perform for Amnesty International's Make Some Noise for Darfur benefit. Her first chapbook,  "Birkat HaGomel: A Survivor's Blessing" was published in 2010. Dyanna Loeb is currently working on her first full-length poetry collection, to be published by First Word Press in Spring 2012.

Below are two poems Loeb shared with us in honor of National Poetry Month.

shabbat in the mission

shabbat sweeps this city so different
feel like the only one in the mission
zipping up my good clothes
trekking thru traffic congestion
to reach the temple by dusk
no trench coated men
long curls hanging from sides of cheeks
fringes peaking out from underneath
headwrapped floor length dress covered women
no echo of shalom aleichem across dinner tables
busses run well into the night
and no stores shut their doors to customers
at first glance shabbat in this city seems invisible

but the spirit lives in our reverence of the weeks end
a days rest
a chance to exhale and sing
a little louder
shabbat sweeps thru here in sunsets
hipsters drunkenly spilling onto streets
while drummers warm the wind chill
with soundwave sunrays
clink of glasses
my toast to life
another week survived

neighborhood kids squeeze
every last second of laughter
before the streetlights come on
boys in black hoodies
saunter blocks in threes

low riders see who can crank the bass higher
when they stick their necks out the window
try and grab
my attention
grope me with their eyes
i’d usually get mad
but tonight i just laugh
cuz i feel the spirit of the Shabbat bride
in the ruach
wind on my back
i feel holy
so nothing can drag me down

another week survived
with a greater week ahead
another chance to work create love
build family
but before that starts
we have this night to admire the stars
appreciate the creator for bringing us the dark
lifting the sun and returning our souls to our bodies
when we emerge from sleep
ready to renew and plant seeds
but before we rise
take this night
to bless this wine
to thank the creator for the fruit of the vine
and the fruit of the earth
and the work of our hands

© Dyanna Loeb

never stop

my grandma tells her children
you will never be beautiful
you look
too
jewish
so my aunt brought surgical blade to bone
narrow nose a few centimeters closer
to america accepting her
so she can accept herself
carving down her natural beauty
that her mother america doesn’t understand
so she fears and calls it ugly

while my father swallowed hatred internally
quietly letting roots erode
washed away in pork grease and lost tongue
honey glazed ham and
christmas trees on display in front windows
convincing the neighbors his family can blend
better than grime staining aryan american dreams
purity of midwest white suburbs 
transplated to frisco in the seventies

3 children later relocated us to piedmont
for top-notch public schools where
every popular girl had yellow hair
hanging limp
hazy eyes glazed over sapphire jewels
over starving bones peach pink skin pulled tight
so how should i feel
when my daddy called me his brownberry?
when sun kissed me olive toned?
so the boy from 7th grade called me hebrew slave
girls on the playground scoffed at my curls
asking me
“have you ever seen a hairbrush
and a mirror?”
so i tug hot irons thru my locks
wishing my waves light and lifeless

ignoring slurs lodged into my organs like bullets from the slaughter
your cacophonous music that chanting sounds like gibberish hacking cough
our ancient poetics
too beautiful for ignorant ears to understand so they call it ugly
we comprise  .2 percent of the world population
and take up too much      space?

tucked away
into liberal pockets of the bay
sing ourselves the pacifying lullaby
that anti-semitism is dead
just so we can sleep at night
pretending genocide is just our great grandparents’
residual nightmare that doesn’t touch us
and this hate is not happening today
on every edge of the globe
how can we pretend
this problem died in europe seventy years ago 
when three weeks ago in san francisco
swastikas stain swingside benches at glen park?
when this january
arsonists in greece hurl bars of soap
leave suds streaks on singed synagogue walls
to remind us
that nazis melted our remains into soap
and neo-nazis keep desecrating Jewish cemeteries scrawling
     jews  get  out!
shattering our tombstones
even in death we cannot rest
even in graves we take up
too 
     much  
          space

still
there is no way to suffocate us
our bodies breathe
our great grandparents memories
we rebuild everything that’s destroyed
4,000 years stronger

we will never stop
laughing
praying
being
too loud
never stop living
we will never stop

©Dyanna Loeb

Dyanna Loeb
Full image
Image courtesy of Dyanna Loeb.

How to cite this page

Berkenwald, Leah. "Poetry from Dyanna Loeb, aka Dyna*Mic." 30 April 2012. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 23, 2014) <http://jwa.org/blog/poetry-from-dyanna-loeb-aka-dynamic>.

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