© 2020 Drew T. Noll

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Paving a Parking-lot with Paradise

Paperboy, from Book of Zombie Apocalypse -   
Today I hit my head on the freezer trying to pull out a bag of rotten cucumbers from the fridge below. My hands were full trying to get as much as I could in the least amount of trips from the kitchen counter and back. I was already frustrated, having installed two lighting fixtures after removing them both and swapping them with each other earlier in the day. They didn’t work to bring light where they were installed, so with my time I decided to correct it all. The fixtures were designed horribly, both of them, requiring that whoever wished to install them needed to stand on a ladder, balancing with a tiny screwdriver in one hand, the wire connectors in the other, and the fixture itself pinned between head and shoulder to keep it from pulling out wires and falling to the floor. One of them fell. Two bulbs were shattered below, across the kitchen’s hoard.

But, I had to get to a Zoom meeting, so dropped everything to take the call. Then the morning texts started streaming in… buzz… buzz… buzz… my pocket began to scream. Luckily, I had had a chance to wander around the mud-puddles in the nature reserve with my dogs earlier in the day; but, it would have been great if I had had the proper boots to wear. My last hike finished exactly as the souls of my shoes unglued and began flopping about, spraying mud hither and thither. So to tell, I wore my work shoes instead, since THE BEST NEWS had been unfolded prior: that “today” was the first day of my vacation! Yay!! I was informed thus as I furiously prepared lesson plans for the first day’s online teaching session the following week … um … yeah, that ‘would’ have been today.

So, breathing in the freshly cleaned air out in the nature reserve, we walked into the woods—along with everyone else wandering while wondering what’n the #*LL to do with a world gone mad, what to do with the kids, what to do with our time, what to do about dwindling … um … home-economics, what to do about getting along with meters between, and what to do about MY vision of me. Everything had changed. I know how to throw a pot on a wheel, I know how to make a forge. I’ve read many things, philosophies and such, and if I so choose my thumb is as green as they come. But … what to do about who I am? Should I paint it? Or, should I write? Should I build it, or should I just fight… Who the #*LL am I in this new damn world. Somebody or something has just hit the reset button, and didn’t think to tell me…

The beginning. 

Thursday, February 20, 2020

African Vibrations

Slick and traveling, I hopped onto a dream. Yes, it was mine too, admittedly. There’s a feeling inside of being trapped, being strangled … or … more specifically, being squeezed out in a specific unknown and desirably-felt direction. And I can’t resist but to slide into its gape of a jaw … slipping in and landing into a new development that becomes reality on the ground. I had a dream and it was shared by others, specifically my clinged-on, dreams I strangled in my sleep. But, arrived at … a wonderful freedom now exists, in my love, in my countenance, my expression. Yes; yes she is. Not the continent, but the woman.

It’s a kind of love poem to the world, in the world, for the world … just … so damn knowing. Almonds grown as grains of sand, spreading underfoot and over horizons. I’ve been there, but not ‘there,’ where she’s going. Africa, Kenya to be specific. A village I haven’t been in, a land remote and being reeled in. Check out this link, to liberty and beyond; she’s going to Africa to help, to be, and to heal. Donate now, or at least share, the cause is mighty and clear. Helping the youth derelict on the street, up the sides of it and in droves, to conquer its pain, restoring its hope.

Click here

Thursday, January 23, 2020

A Most Beautiful Accent

Glass House © Noll, June, 2015 - 

Sliding down into the darkness of knowing, I’ve hit the bottom of midterm madness, grading papers and tests, and processing it all into the ether above. I’m made to post journal entries for a ministry upon high, education of bureaucracy-not-nigh. I’ll post it now, the last post made, just so someone says something, anything, in this strange new world I find myself swimming upon, flailing high in my own mind, and quite possibly a belly-flop towards hell:

I’m almost done with midterm grades, at the end of grading 70+ material exams for high school and the last 40 or so video and written book reviews of 150 to watch, read, and grade. I have to post it all correctly to Smart-School along with all the other Google Docs and whatnot that need attention from ‘this’ novice English teacher. It’s a lot. I have good days and bad, today of which was more in the red than yesterday’s highs. Yesterday was quite lovely, as a matter of fact. So, I think Wednesday, with a class of 9th graders, is the best place to start today’s entry for staj:

Normally I read aloud to the students in order for them to hear correctly pronounced English, with the proper intonation and expression. On Wednesday, however, a handful of the students in one of my classes really wanted to read aloud. It was a very boring literature piece, so I had been spicing it up with descriptions and antics in front of the class, trying to keep 38 teens with me; it was difficult for us all. Most of my students really want to help me succeed as a new teacher, and I can palpably feel this often in classes as the students quiet each other down, pay complements after, and laugh a lot during key moments in the lectures I give and tell.

One student was raising her hand non-stop to read aloud and when I gave her a turn, she spoke loudly and with confidence – right up until almost the end of her paragraph, when she began to giggle and grin. I complained that we couldn’t hear her with the overlay of laughter between words, and so she admitted being embarrassed about her accent, most Israeli, most guttural. I stopped the lesson right there and then, insisting upon telling a story that I had learned somewhere, pop-culture, maybe from a friend.

“Who knows who Gal Gadot is,” I said loudly to the class. They all giggled and nodded with conspiratorial agreement with each other. Of course they knew; and I also found out that they already knew the story I was about to tell  – that an entire cast of women from around the world had tried their best to imitate the exotic accent of Gal Gadot in order to accentuate the fact that they were all portraying Amazonian warriors from ancient times and a mystical dimension beyond us all. I told the young lady reading in my class that her accent was beautiful, and to be proud of it. She immediately began to glow as bright as I’ve ever seen from some of my new students in English class, all engaged with learning a second or third language, maybe more.

Excited, after class, the young lady made sure to say goodbye to me as she left, that same glow hovering about her being … and then slowly following her out the door and down the hall to her life, and, of course, enveloping her Wednesday afternoon.

The end.  

Monday, November 11, 2019

Live Spelled Backwards

The Gathering - D.Noll, July 2013 © 

I watched my father slip away over the course of a year. He had a tumor in his brain sucking at his life daily, growing like a molding sponge that didn’t know it was doomed to crumble once its host detached from the world they shared. There are moments when I can identify with that tumor, just wanting to exist, wanting to mean something to an ever increasingly indifferent reality. “Why even try” became the ranting question bearing down upon an as-of-yet non existent future. I’ve toyed with suicidal tendencies, the band and the psychology, and I’ve experimented with alterations to my mind, in lesser or greater degrees during past lives, but none of it has ever prepared me for the chaos that I perceive tormenting life now. There is living galore, with all of the trimmings, spewing forth ever-more layers of growth-cycles-in-decay, depending upon perspectives. They often become pits to sink into to swim and drown, or clouds with which to soar and to fall. The array is vast and becoming more so each day. The young ones are birthed into it, flailing about, with not a pad to perch upon, without even a piece of ground. Yes, I grew up this way too, but in hindsight I didn’t know. I thought all along that it was to be determined, to be sanctioned by another higher than I. I grew up wanting and knowing; I grew up with everything, but with nothing to stand upon. My dad hadn’t known, but when he passed on, a gift was bestowed, a knowing I knew from that point on. My eyes awoke when his became closed. He dwelt upon reality while I delved into self. The world was not seen, as he had taught me from before, but was known from in-built mechanisms needed to explore. My dad died the next day, at least that is what they said.

I listened to my mother as she spoke on the phone. My dad had died years before this, and I tried to be him for her from afar. She wanted it, or so my instinct had said. She lived many lives, in personalities galore. Diagnosed with illness, mental or not, she raised them all up to be upstanding in each’s time-slot. I never knew who would be there, on the other end of the phone, the line stretching across oceans all around the globe. Dreading to answer, I picked up anyways, knowing that I would be in for a long haul. Was I speaking to Ann, Margaret, or Tim? It was difficult to say, for each separate person sounded mostly the same. Maybe eighteen in all, but not truly known, her personalities would venture out and only then would maybe tell. She said my dad loved me, which I already knew, and she said he was proud of me, which I didn’t know at all. How could he be? was all I could think, having diverted my life-force to another place, another parcel to stand upon, and in the process deserting my dad. I moved away from them as soon as I could, the people that spawned me, and I lived in the city with a big-screen flashing my future, like manifest-destiny in full color toting forward everything and all. At least that is what I thought at the time; I would be bringing them with me, my spawn-source, I would take them along…

My dad called me too, which was rare and sincere, to tell me about falling only to find out after. He told me of an awakening, with the happiest place on earth laughing all about, with paramedics circled around and a blurry memory of something happening before. Somewhere on Main Street it happened, the eminent decline of my dad into the next world. I recently thought of this moment at a shiva-call, a mourning for the recently dead. A shoe painted and placed upon a white pedestal, laughing and crying while singing of a lost soul staring out at me. He was an artist also, but ended his life. I knew him so briefly, and feel so bad … really bad, with nothing to say, nothing to feel, just nothing. I met his father there, at the shiva-call, and being a man of similar age, we locked eyes in a strange way. I just didn’t know what to say. He smiled a lot, it seemed to me at the time, as he recounted, in inspired by the moment bursts, the life of his son. I have to go back there, I have to talk to him more. My dad had told me over the phone that a tumor had grown inside his head. It was the cause of his fall, not him, not his footing, not him. I remember my dad laughing as he told me, like the father of the son gone, reassuring me all along. He would be fine and had the best doctors that private insurance could buy. A year later he died.

Sometime a bit later, my mom lived on a farm of her own design, with a petting zoo and a pond to paddle-boat in. Her carpet-bagger husband lent his kids to gather me from the airport when I arrived. She was ill, her womb having been collecting cancer from the stars. The boys she tried to grow up must have been confused, having their wombs causing it all, but the others must always have known. Her freeload family gathered at her demise, all bunching around, wavering about with questions clouding above. I was one of them, along with the carpenter who drank, the plumber that didn’t, the agent of real-estate, and the carpet-bag threads on the take. We tattered about, me praying with tefillin, a life to live, and them saying nothing at all. My mom spent her time pod-casting in thought, on the couch with her pets. The last time I saw her was in a hospital bed, trying hard to hold reigns she had invented to corral them all, unraveling then knitting again. Bouncing from personality to places between, I listened to her stories Ahasuerus-like unfold. Circus animals and stages, nights with crowds cheering, sneering with kavod, all of her stories unfolded each to its own. I tried to stay and to listen, to honor my spawn-source, but the echoes that evolved, to this day, still bounce off the surface of my heart and grow death. This seems a path we all ride, from beginning to end, the bumps along the way only served up to the path as it bends.

I now live far from home. I can still feel the place from before, but it’s elusive and more; much more. I ask myself and study. I look for light and live. With one venture to the next, my living is challenged and my source-force is revealed. Gathering together causes disruption and rapture, not in that order, so as sparks can coalesce our worlds will inevitably one-day collide. Why shouldn’t it be that an inspirational youth could experiment, could ascend? The moon is white as it reflects us all. It rises up and descends, reflecting the sunlight and mirroring it all. We see ourselves there, each and every night, but by day the light extinguishes itself. She’s alive, of course, and we listen for word of rising—each and every day. But I retract. What can I say? What can be believed? What will I kill, only wanting to live? Gathering together builds worlds, but can also destroy. Splitting cells into others can be splitting atoms that extinguish then explode! The signpost beckons to turn, but if we do will we burn? How do we know when enough has been said, enough has become? How do we know when we can be One?

Love and healing goes out to our white moon rising and its reflection upon us all. The gathering is eminent and becoming. The world soon shall anchor, and with all of this upon us, we shall find the art of our own faith and in it shall dwell.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Righteous among the Nations and the Five Ignorances

What a rush; I spent the school year in school learning to be a teacher. I didn’t even have a real summer, as you’d expect a student to have, since it was almost entirely consumed with final exams and papers. Normally I try to travel in the summer, maybe to someplace deep and foreign, but this time I only had one week to travel and one day to plan it, so we found some cheap, last minute tickets to Zakynthos, Greece from Tel Aviv, Israel. So, knowing nothing about Greece other than what we read in the news, we launched into the skies and flew west across the Mediterranean Sea inside a plane full of teenagers heading out to party for a last minute getaway before their army service begins in the fall. What better way to finish learning how to be a good teacher, right? There were only some minor disturbances on the flight and the dread that was expressed by a few of the flight attendants before the plane took off was mostly unjustified, even though a second before we landed a universal squeal echoed around the cabin from the giddy kids anticipating the wheels hitting the tarmac. My wife and I had seatbelts to hold us down to our chairs, thankfully, so when all the teens screamed before the wheels touched down we couldn’t jump that far out of our seats from the surprise.

I’ve always been interested in a wide variety of subjects, which is probably a good reason to be a teacher, so I was amiss that I hadn’t heard of the island of Zakynthos before. I mean, the island was mentioned by Homer in the Iliad and the Odyssey, after all. Evidently, the island’s first inhabitants were Arcadians led by the son of King Dardanos whose name was Zakynthos, and named his island thus. The island is close to another larger island called Kefalonia, which, being originally from California, we kept calling it that, much to the locals’ endless consternation. The island’s history includes a significant number of the nobles among the suitors of Penelope trying to shack up with her while King Odysseus was away, as well as participation in the Trojan War, and even some scant dealings with Spartans. Suffice it to say that the Greek island has had some press over the years.

All I hear about Greece these days is the debt crisis, which I’ll reconstruct here briefly to satisfy my own curiosity on the subject. It started in 2008 during the global recession. Greece had borrowed more money than it could make by taxing its citizens, or at least be successful collecting. In 2010 Greece was barred from bond markets for having a deficit in the stratosphere, and bailouts began via emergency loans sporting austerity measures to curtail government spending. Today most Greeks believe that the loans harmed the country, with unemployment skyrocketing, obnoxiously high taxes, existing salaries and pensions getting gouged and slashed, and the current overall economy being 25% smaller than when the debt crisis began back in 2008. But, there is hope. Even though in May of 2017 the unemployment rate for youth reached 46 percent, the economy is supposedly stable now and growing slowly. During our trip, when asking Greeks about the problem, many just said that they were lazy. At one store we wondered into the guy helping us get a sim-card for a phone to use told us that he had been a computer science major in Athens, but suffered financial distress and had to come to the island to work at the phone store. His opinion on the subject was that, “Greeks work really hard trying to find ways not to work hard.”

So, after we landed in Zakynthos, luckily found a car to rent, and drove off into the night with some poor directions that I printed from Google Maps the day before in order to find our hotel, we got totally lost. We drove in circles, passing the same places multiple times, but we finally got some directions from a local pub owner that included using Google Maps without internet (welcome to the Millennial Generation). My wife thanked her travel angels anyways as we pulled into the hotel’s dirt parking lot. Then the hotel owner greeted us congenially and proceeded to tell us his life’s (sob) story. It was filled with a lost business in Athens, a huge mortgage on the hotel, a wife to steer clear of during our stay due to mental illness, and a retirement age up into the ripe 80s or 90s. I liked the guy, though, and if you’re okay with strange behaviors and the unknown, I’d recommend the place. He even showed us a secret, local well to refill our water-bottles, since there’s no way to get rid of garbage on the island; and it’s a sanctuary for sea-turtles who suffer regularly from illegal dumping and littering, a problem that I’ve witnessed in multiple places firsthand (including Israel), a problem that negatively affects the entire globe.

Zakynthos is a beautiful place with blue caves and grottos big enough to drive a boat into, which they did at every opportunity. In Israel we have a very similar place in the north that can be visited called Rosh Hanikra. It has the same calcite-white rock faces jutting into crystal blue waters with sunlight reflecting off it all. In Zakynthos, however, there are hundreds of people motoring about trying to catch the light with their cameras and phones to show-off back home. We did do some of the regular tourist things on the island, and enjoyed a few private beaches as well, but the day we stumbled into a tourist shop to get out of the heat for a spell was the biggest find of all.

The owner of the shop was sweating profusely behind the counter. It was a typical tourist trinket shop, and I found a new hat there that I’m very fond of. But, the real story happened when the shop owner asked where we were from, assuming I’m sure, that we would be from America. When we said Israel instead, his eyes lit up and he told us an amazing story about the island’s Jews and the Nazis, who had been unsuccessful in shipping the Jews back to death-camps for extermination on the mainland. He told us that the German commander demanded that the mayor of the town, Loukas Karrer, give him a list of all the Jews on the island, including addresses, professions, and economic status, and if he failed to do so by the next day he would be killed.

Mayor Karrer then discussed the matter with the local Greek Orthodox Bishop, Dimitrios Chrysostomos, and they decided to burn all the records of the Jews that they had and sent the island’s Jews into hiding into the mountains with locals. Bishop Chrysostomos, who was fluent in German, told the Nazi commander that all the Jews had already left the island because of the war and bombings. But still, the list was requested over and over. After repeated refusals to hand over a list, Chrysostomos finally gave over a list with only two members of the community on it, himself and Mayor Karrer. They saved all 275 Jewish souls, and in 1978 both men were recognized by Yad Vashem as Righteous among the Nations, an honor given to non-Jews who, at great personal peril, saved Jews during the Holocaust. After the war, in 1953, an earthquake destroyed one of the town’s historic synagogues and the entire Jewish quarter, prompting the remaining Jews of Zakynthos to either move to Athens or to immigrate to Israel.

Abandoned |Jewish Cemetery on Zakynthos Island

On the flight home all the kids finishing off their party-time on the island were quite obnoxious, yelling back and forth, kicking the backs of seats, and not afraid to challenge anyone that questioned it. It reminded me of a couple of times practice teaching last year, when I just completely lost control of the class I was trying to teach. Starting next week I’ll be teaching English as a foreign language to 9th and 10th graders at a local middle and high school, hopefully in order to inspire the generation of tomorrow to continue building our world with even greater deeds. I guess that, in order to be a good teacher, I need to delude myself to some extent just to find meaning in the world – I know it sounds inside-out, but as far as I can tell, this is the only possible reason we’re even here in the first place, to temper our egos with belief, or to forget what we think we know just so we can learn it again. And with that, I’ll leave you with this:

If ignorance + freedom = chaos, ignorance + power = tyranny, ignorance + poverty = crime, ignorance + religion = terrorism, and ignorance + money = corruption, then ignorance must be the root of all evil, so that means that education must be the key to an enlightened future!

Wish me success, and shavua tov, everyone!!

Monday, July 15, 2019


Written for English Day at Gordon Academic College, this poem is composed in a series of styles, the content of which relates to our class experience learning over the past year to be teachers of English as an additional language at the college. My classmates, all from wide ethnic and cultural backgrounds, helped read the poem segments on stage in front of more than 100 audience members from the English Department. 


by DD Noll

Stuffed into spaces economical
The causeways still are habitual
Passing in the halls far too often
The connections fleetingly soften
And the friendships made are astronomical  

Free Verse:
Brittle, caged laughing filling the vertical spaces of wall
Spreading upwards into a slam-dunk delivery
Melding into the ether with barely a whelp
Singing down praise from above, and immersed in 

Straight and bent streets to walk
Curved into naught with no stop
Pathways converging 

The road bent on built-ins, tearing down before
Slamming sliders slapping slowly, so damn slow
Walls bleak and frothing with lore moshing 
Endgame nil, disk-spin and down the hall 

Calamity befallen for light to restore
All paths converging to the great sound of lore
Under the roof of the sun to sit and walk
Silently coming together to avoid shock 
Everyone still swaying to the beat of our feet
With electric divining via air from each seat
After hesitation becomes bore, we all grab hands
Yearly success is in store and it demands

OF My first Entrance, and the vapid
Of which Unknown, whose know was t’test
Bringing Chaos into Mine Self, and all woe,
Hereto loss Eden, till moment so Great
Climb up, and sit still Among seats
Say what you will, Musings from the Secret
He Hey Pha, or Eden, no Spare
Flock of All said, once taught to Choose
In the Beginning what was wrong
Unity from Chaos: Above th’ grassy knoll
Wonder’n light more, and the Waters below
Feast or fast magic; I receive 
Belief in thyself with fire and Verve
With no middle to soar high over shore