Drew T. Noll © 2021, all rights reserved

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The End of Being a New English Teacher

As a new English teacher I am required by the Ministry of Education to take a new teacher workshop for my ongoing training. It is bureaucratic business at best; at worst a sausage factory spilling out unknowns and just more mess. Oy, a student in 10th just now texted me that her Moed Bet was scheduled for another Gush, to which, having stopped writing this, I replied: My schedule shows Gush B - lessons 1 and 2. But, no matter, whenever you have English, you will be taking the Moed Bet—English Lit., tests… wow. I just finished grading the rest, from both Gush’s pupils a pile of damn tests. That’s the hardest part of my job, I can attest, grading and writing, commenting and scoring … that is definitely the worst and the best.

Actually, there ‘is’ that Zen that creeps in from the edge of the classroom, slinking in and only then becoming relevant—when students notice life moving in front of them, when they exert themselves into a realm of the living. Yes, there are other realms too, we know and understand. However this particular realm of the living produces movement beyond, and does so for all that can tell. This is why I teach. Watching a student grow over the years builds me as well. And, surprisingly, that growth can be seen even in the tiny bureaucratic business in which our world requires us to dwell. Posting the Tziyun Hagashot in 11th, haggling over English Lit. in 10th, grammar, vocabulary, and the English Bagrut, and dealing with a government under siege all at the same time from within and borders beyond … the chaos produced is always, somehow, ordered by my mind.

All I really know is what is left when the day is all but done, the glowing awareness that I had an effect on my students, amidst pandemics and projectiles, riots, injustice … politics, tragedy, and extreme unrest—so yes, with this awareness I can now attest that I am no longer new.  

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Walking to Work

Through ruins from not too long ago, I descend into a glen daily on my way to teach. The way leads me past an Arab artifice now destroyed, Christians who built a mosque for visitors now gone. The way leads onto a path between cacti, grown to each side and interspersed with carob, straw, and incense. Oak sings down below, I always know, as I walk down step over step to the work I’m learning to know; but … this time was different. Tingles I felt from the sides of my path, tickling me along arms, cheeks, and brain. Something was different, something was wrong. Looking down I saw nothing, looking down there was nothing to see; just tingling in my mind. My sense and learning said spiders, but nothing was to be found. I wiped the sensations away each and every time, but remembered it to teach as I finished walking down to my new norm, that morn.

Arriving at school I met students willing themselves to learn, and spoke of my walk down to school and said more, or less, not too sure. For, I realized what it was that was tickling my head. In my educated mind I said spiders, but deep down I knew. I told the story to my students who all stopped to listen, and at the end of my spin I told the truth of what happened. I knew not what occurred based upon reason. I knew that what happened was a break from the norm and a step forgotten. What I found on my path helped me to understand about living, and it tore more. I told my students what it was that I felt, I told them and then stopped talking and looked all about. The class then paused as I revealed the truth of their wishes; the classroom stopped when in truth I said: fairies.

We laughed, one and all, of course, but each of us knew that a truth had been spoken. So, I left that afternoon wondering about many great things. And, the very next day I took the same path, down through the ravine. Walking, I wanted to see if it was only me or just in my mind from the beginning. The tingling started sooner, I noticed as I strode down, like they were all waiting for me to cross the same path—nothing to see, as was expected, so I questioned it all the way down to the very bottom—where ancient ruins abound. The longest active spring existing in the land, with water welling up from the ground, exists in this specific realm. I walked down, like every other day, to the bottom where I found a tiny beetle on my thumb. It looked up at me, I could swear, as I freaked and flicked it like a hitchhiking ghost never once being.

I kept this to myself, up until now. But, later that day I walked home from work on the path I felt from the morning. I forgot it all until I saw what reminded me of a new norm. Step over step I ascended from the Hellenist ruins at the bottom of the hill. I passed the cave that sprung the spring I drank from on occasion. I U-turned quickly on the stairs under a carob. I passed, after turning again, the skeleton of a stone bird cage in ruins. Columbarium drawings to show what was once there. Up the stairs. Then from the sides of unknowing, they came together in rows. A parade ascending with me over a path I now know, NO! But that little blip is only in my head—beside me on all sides fluttered creatures singing the way for us all. I smiled. I laughed. Smiling up the hill I watched from each side as tiny faces sang—flying with me up the hill. Flutter-byes sailing with me. A rainbow of living … with me up the hill. Fairies.

עין צור


Monday, April 12, 2021

Fish Bowl — A Poem of Love and Dirt

Feast © DTNoll 10-12
Feast, pastel on paper, Oct., 2012 — 
The water did not flow. It was too dry to play. So, we sat in the bowl all that hot and unhappy day. I sat there with Love. We sat there and stewed. And I thought for us both, “How I wish we weren’t on the menu!”

It was too dry to get out and too warm to stay in, so we sat in the bowl doing nothing at all. All we could do was to: float! Float! Float! Float! Love and I did not like it, a tidbit not even.

And then something went SQUISH! How that ‘squish’ made us flip! We looked! Then we saw it; we looked and we saw it step in with us! The upright walker! It stepped into the bowl with us, only to sink.

And, to us it then said, “Why do you float in the bowl there like that? I know it is wetter, but this bowl is not funny—being stuck into this way! It can be bigger outside of this place, and (wink, wink) I know loads of good games we can play!”

“I know a good trick, said the walker, upright, “Actually, a lot of good tricks that I will show you tonight. The world will not mind at all if I do!” So, Love and I had nothing to say, and with nothing to do but to stew, the world, we just knew, was going to be ‘out of the bowl’ for the day.

But, our wish said, “NO! NO! Make that walker go away! Tell that walker you do NOT want to stay and that there is nothing else to say!” Love and I agreed that that walker should not be here, that walker does not belong. Not about or within, not here or in there, that walker belongs outside in the air!”

“Now! Now! Have no fear, have no fear!” said the walker. “My games are not tricks and not half-bad at that,” said the walker as he or she, whatever may be, sat down into the bowl and began to rant and then spew. “Why… we can have lots of good fun, if you wish, with a game that I call ‘UP WITH ONE OF YOU TWO FISH!’”

“Put me back down,” said my love up above, as the walker hoisted her up overhead. “This is no fun at all! Put me down,” said my love, “I do NOT care to fall!”

“Have no fear!” said the walker, as my love flew ever higher, “I will not let you fall and will hold you up tall as I stand on the rim of your bowl! Look at me now, with the good-book in one hand! And a cup on my hat to drink tea with my other! But… that is not all I can do!” said the walker teetering above with glee spreading across our world … gone asunder. 

“Look at me, look at me now!” said the walker. “On top of the cup on top of my hat I can place a cake and another book! I can hold up two books in one hand and this fish in another! And look! A ship in the sky above water in your bowl way down under, and milk for a cat waiting with eyes on you both! Now I can jump, up and down with a tumbling ‘not coming,’ that is not ALL, oh no, not ALL at ALL!”

“Look at me! Look at me now! This is so fun to have fun, but in truth one must know how! I can hold up the cup and the milk and the cake! I can hold up these books and your fish… I can take! The ship sails away leading mankind astray, but on top of it all is a fan I can wave to entice and to call! I can fan with the fan as I step off the bowl, but … that is not all! Oh no, not at all…”

That is what the walker said; then it fell upon its head. It fell down with a bump and my love and I saw the whole world tumble down. She came down with the rest of the land, but into the dirt she was unable to dwell. Her parting words emptied my soul as they echoed to heaven, “Do I like this? Oh, no. I do not. This is not a good game,” said she as she lit. “Do I like this? No, I do not, not a bit and not even!”

“Now look and see what you did to us three!” said my love to the walker, “Now look at our home, look at this, look at that! You sank our ship, you stuck it in cake, and you rose up our bowl and stood atop it all! You should not be here just walking about, now LEAVE this house, leave our world!” said Love to the rest. 

“But,” said the walker, “I like it a lot; to be here and walk. I will NOT go away, I will not go and I wish not! So … um … I will show you another good game that I know!” Then, he ran out. 

And then, as fast as a bike, the upright walker ran back in with a box perched atop. The box quivered like a hat, but for only a moment and then split into two. Both halves lit down, poised at each ear lip-flapping to the walker’s head’s view. “Now look at this, look at this game,” said the walker to the two perched aside, “Have a good look at this good and marvelous trick I can do, but watch out, you may just get sick!”

Our stomachs protested as the walker’s meme began, in one ear an angel and in the other a devil sang. Both had hooks which clawed down the walker’s chest, heart-strings glowing as each half was pulled in protest. “I call this game “Fun instead!” said the walker’s head, and then it bowed deeply attempting to engage us all.

“These things you now see will pick up the rest, something new you shall see as I tell you their names with zest: Hara and Hatov!;” upon which time each also took a bow. “These things have some teeth, but they won’t bite you, and only if you feed them will they listen. All they want is to have fun and to get me out of the box in my head, to think things that aren’t true and to then clean up the mess!”

Just then they ran into the room, and flew around our bowl singing a tune. They asked us each, Love then me too, “How do you do it” and reached out to shake hands with us too. “Would you like to shake hands with Hara and Hatov?” asked the upright walker clearly wanting them back perched near each of his ears. 

Love reached down from heaven above and we both shook the hand of the upright walker, then we shook with Hara and Hatov, too. We shook their hands, but our wish said, “NO, NO! Those things should not be in this house, make them go! They should not be here when the real world is out! Put them out, let them out!” That is what our wish said in our heads, but just a bit late.

“Have no fear, you annoying little wish, these things are GREAT things and you are just NOT,” the walker said then gave each a thump on the back as Hara and Hatov ran by our bowl. “They will give you some fun on this wet and cold day! They like to play and to fly around in the sky on kites made of clay!” then the walker stumbled, as if drunk and preceded to trip. 

“NO, NO, NO, NO,” said the wish we all thought, “Not in this house, not at all ever and never should be sought! The things they will bump, the things broken will not end, I do not like it and you should all stop!” 

Then, Love and I saw it all, as they shrunk down to small; Hara and Hatov perched back near the walker’s head. They spoke each in one ear, then the other, of the things in the night that bumped and confused us. Hatov and Hara! They then flew around us, first pulling my tail and then my love’s, telling tales all along! The mess that they made, and are making still, is a mess in the world not to be proud of, not one little bit! This one’s at fault and then it is that, and each mess they each make echoes out all the while! Seas froth in vain, as each merged in the other, and then the end began at the edge of the land. They did not play well and we could all see, the world would find out this beginning, a beginning which had already begun to crumble and sing! 

Then my love said out-loud, “Look, look!” as fear trembled out, “The world has found us… it’s found us out! What will happen to us being caught in this state, and this upright walker wading through our bowl with us, too?! What shall we do?! Get rid of Hara and Hatov!? Get rid of those two!”

So, as fast as I could I listened to Love and I leapt out of the bowl and flipped onto the floor. Hara and Hatov did not move a muscle, glued to the ears on the upright walker’s head, but all three looked down at me flopping around like I was already gone. 

The scene went on longer than I’d have liked, but eventually the walker reached down to fight. Hara said to do so, I could hear as I flipped, but Hatov whispered that I did it on purpose and was taking a nap. The walker kept bending from inside the bowl, back and forth like a flickering flame, and the wave that was made from the walker’s agitations sloshed my love up, again, into the air! 

This was not to be, so I gave up my share, which came down with flare and I slipped down … at last. Those Ones need to stop! Then, from a puddle on the floor, the walker leaned over and I spoke; we made a plan and set it in motion. We’ll do what is said, as it’s spoken overhead. We’ll pack up and leave those two, while away we are taken to the world left behind!

“Oh no, oh dear,” said the walker all wet and shaking. “You did not like it, our game we made and then played! Oh dear, with a horn of light showing, in shame the walker hung down, what a shame, shame, shame, shame. Then those two, Hara and Hatov, the walker took up and covered, down to what’s shown, and then put them back into the box, hooked it and away they all went, sadly that day. 

“That is so good,” said Love to me, “It went away and took its two murmurs.” But, all I could think was, “What of the world to come? Such a mess will be found, and such a terrible, horrible find it would be! How can we brush it, how will it clean? There is no way ever we can fix it in time!”

But, then! The walker came back! It came back and said, “Have no fear whatsoever, this mess can be cleaned and this mess will be shined! I have a partner that helps me along, I have a partner that knows about the end! And, we have another good trick to show you, another good thing that I know!” 

The walker picked up the bowl, with four fingers and a thumb, it picked up the milk that was waiting, and picked up the ship sailing and flung it aside. With two books and a cake the walker left us all hanging, and tea was dispelled as a remedy, while its hat fell off with a cup clinking inside. In the end was the beginning as the walker stumbled further, and to our surprise it picked up all the things and was gone, with its entrance unseen and never delivered.

The walker had melted back to the dirt whence it came, filtering down through the water of our bowl. From dirt it began and from dirt it then went, but Love and I didn’t say goodbye! The walker had come, played, and left, and now all we had was dirt under our fins. The water in our bowl became crystal clear and we realized at once what we would miss. 

As the water evaporated and the air disappeared, we realized our mistake and knew what to do. With a wish and a prayer we lifted the bowl and sailed onto the wind. The dirt at the bottom began sloshing about and inside the swirls we could almost see them, walkers each one but just like Love and I a male and a female to bring the rest down. We landed on soil and planted our fins. We grew into things we could never have known. Walking onto the land holding each other’s hand, Love and I became known to the creatures we spawned—and then … with love all around, we were loved for all time.

Printable PDF download, and more short stories! Click: https://www.doronoll.com/written-works

Monday, March 8, 2021

Generations

It rained from above and the earth gushed water from inside its depths for a long 40 days. When the deluge ceased, what remained of the human spirit continued 150 days more, sailing, and eventually disembarking from the wooden ark they isolated in and onto freshly formed land. There, a man named Noakh planted a vineyard into the earth and then grew it into wine. Having drunk, embarrassed, our tragic forebear retired into his wife’s tent as not to be found.

He was discovered by Kham, and as Noakh had exiled himself where he couldn’t be seen, Kham, the father of Canaan, doomed his offspring for all of time. For Kham imparted to his brothers the story that was uncovered, employing a zeal born from tragedy; to “say” is one thing but to “tell” is quite another.  From Kham descended two nations: on the one side Mitzraim, a place born of social limitation, a class system with narrow design. And, on the other formed the people Canaan, whose world disintegrated along with their view as each new generation was born.

The remaining sons of Noakh went on to build the world as we still struggle to understand. Shem became our leader in deed and in name; Yafet as well, who joined Shem and respected their dad inside the tent of their mom. From these deeds we learn of the fifth commandment to come, that: when children regard their parents in the way their parents attended to a child’s welfare as they began, honoring their spiritual essence born through blood passed down, all of mankind will flourish propelling life forward—much as a tree might, growing roots, branches, leaves, and fruiting into a wondrous future forever unfolding and never undone.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

My Megilah

Rubbing my eyes, using the knuckles of my hands, my vision exploded into purple irises blossoming between grains of sand. The moon, as we know, is full of this knowledge as it swings overhead. It fills my eyes with vision and laughs down on me, as in another new profession I stumble within. It’s seen it before, the moon overhead, full and boasting—and again it will no doubt occur. My mind hears the laughter often as the vibrations descend down, with smiles all around. This is my very own megilah, heard as of late, causing some angst but mostly most profound. The purple irises were meant for an oil painting that I’m currently making, but instead or at least inclusive of, the irises spilled out here if only to shed.

This place that I consider home is both small and once large, contained within a space no greater than a skull, but singing out praise vibrating room in which to tell. The telling goes like this: Upon a time once mentioned, the story unfolds in a pristine dimension. In the cradle of love expansion occurs, new professions keep moving forward and to each comes a wake; a moment of love of excitement that careens full force into a wall. And the pattern begins—born, lived, then died, then born again. In each cycle stems another, growth set in patterns and continuing to know. That’s why the irises spilled out now, no doubt a cycle of love caressing the sores developed from a new profession.

Last week I had had enough. I finished testing the sprouts growing down low, but other invigilators began to hit the same wall. We sparred briefly before all was deleted and we moved back to our corners, where neither was seen, or for that matter until now heard from again. All that I could come up with at the time and still now, is that this is the edge of the cycle as each tends to grow, circles in a pond, irises in my head, and all that it tells me has already gone. I can hear it grating at the edge of my mind still, my skull is vibrating with the patterns all around. I rub my eyes to try and see it again, but the edge only lets me hear—bur, a pseudo-palindrome confusing my mind once again.

Purim sameakh!

Image: Tumuli in a Canaanite Graveyard with a View towards the Smoke Stacks over Caesarea - over 6,500 years of history 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Strange New Land

It’s a strange new land, having become quite small, but living in it … um, I just can’t put my finger on it. Is it shrinking, or am I growing? Like trying to hold a tiny pin-nail while hammering to connect one piece to the other, my thumb and forefinger, the extremities of me, always take the brunt of my exploits into the unknown. Seeking adventure in life doesn’t help either—walking and riding the desires I wish for with almost total abandon. So, it goes to reason that the far reaches of what I consider ‘me’ must take quite a beating. This is the fringe of my existence, this place where I begin to blend with my surroundings. Maybe it’s also why I keep changing my professional aspirations—my desire to be something more—or … yeah, it’s probably just me exploring something else.

I began teaching because I thought it would be a great way to connect with real people, and not just the social presences that haunt the internet. Then Corona hit. So, I scrambled to recover the path I’d been building, like everyone did, between bursts of anxiety and apathy. But, all we were left with was the facsimile of us, a picture on a screen with broken words intersecting across the internet, again—my students now all forced to stare at their crack dispensers, watching my talking head bobbing up and down, instead. Now the apathy is setting in, now the anxiety is spiking, and now I take a breath in order to recover myself from the inside out. I’ve got to get out!

With my left arm throbbing, having received my second shot, I walked into the woods to work it all out. I thought of my students, the ones onscreen and off. I thought of the school admin meeting with all the teachers as well. We were all isolated into tiny boxes with our personal environments in tow. Some sat in front of bookshelves, others with art on a wall. Some had fancy backgrounds showing their inner being, while others had a camera tilted away towards the shadows across the hall. I listened to their words, giving kavod to the leaders, and smiling as if we all didn’t know. I felt it too, you see, seeing each of their faces was something good—even though it was behind a screen. Seeing them all, even in some disjointed way, was a tiny light, an illusion filling my soul.

Blessings for a Healthy New Land soon...