Selected poems
Biographical introduction.

In Memoriam: Enid Jacobs Dame passed away Christmas day, 2003
In her memory, a poem: "Elegy for Enid" by Dorian Borsella
Enid Jacobs Dame was a poet and college instructor. She lived in New York. Enid has published two volumes of poetry, "Anything You Don't See" and "Stone Shekhina." She has contributed numerous poems to other collections. Enid also was a Lilith scholar. Lilith is the mythological first wife of Adam and the feminine Dark Side of the Divine.
Enid and her husband, the poet Donald Lev, have published a poetry magazine, "Home Planet News," for over 20 years. 

Enid had keen observational powers to the subtle nuances which comprise the fabric of daily human existence. The smallest detail of any life should never be decried as mundane. 
Hopefully this selection of poems of
Enid Jacobs Dame will be inspirational and thought-provoking to you as they have been to many other readers. 

kicked myself out of paradise
left a hole in the morning
no note no goodbye
was patient and hairy

he cared for the animals
worked late at night
planting vegetables
under the moon

sometimes he'd hold me
our long hair tangled
he kept me from rolling
off the planet
  it was
always safe there
but safety

wasn't enough. I kept nagging
pointing out flaws
in his logic

he carried a god
around in his pocket
consulted it like

a watch or an almanac

it always proved
I was wrong

two against one
isn't fair! I cried
and stormed out of Eden
into history:
the Middle Ages
were sort of fun
they called me a witch
I kept dropping
in and out
of people's sexual fantasies

I work in New Jersey
take art lessons
live with a cabdriver

he says; baby
what I like about you
is your sense of humor

I cry in the bathroom
remembering Eden
and the man and the god

  Notice the rooftops,
  the wormeaten Brooklyn buildings.
  Houses crawl by,
  each with its private legend.
  In one, a mother
  is punishing her child
  slowly, with great enjoyment.
  In one, a daughter 
  is writing a novel
  she can't show to anyone.

    Notice your fellow riders:
  the Asian girl chewing a toothpick,
  the boy drawing trees on his hand,
  the man in a business suit
  whose shoes don't match.

  Everything is important:
  that thin girl, for instance,
  in flowered dress, golden high heels.
  how did her eyes get scarred?
  Why is that old man crying?
  Why does that woman carry
  a cat in her pocketbook?
    Don't underestimate
  any of it.

  Anything you don't see
  will come back to haunt you.

  Little Prayer

The platform smells like smoke. 
The Q train's late.
The day is full of promises and dread,
with things to say and things to leave unsaid;
with broken webs to mend or re-create.

The smaller comforts lift but don't sustain:
the cat that soothes, the coffee cup that warms.
Oh, God, in both your mail and female forms,
I ask for help to pull it off again.

I check the things I'll need: 
keys, schedule, face.
I cannot name myself. Can I name you?
craftsperson, landsman, poet, Buddhist, Jew?
Have you some power to lend? a little grace?

This is my little prayer, my subway prayer.
Please help me travel well from here to there.


  If you smell like a cat, you will be evicted.
  Since this building went co-op, those are the rules.
  The fog that mumbles and paces behind your door
  scares away possible buyers.
  You are accused of damaging property values.
  You are found guilty of letting yourself grow old.

    Age has its own smell
  as the sea does
  or closets or mildewed sheets
  or cabbage soup blanketing hallways
  on blue, blurred afternoons
  down in the old city.

  You grope for your eyes, your teeth,
  your foggy bottles, your album of smells.
  They are confronting you now with their straight bites
  and their leather envelopes.
  Some smell like cleaning fluid. 
  Some smell like nothing at all.
  You shout, "I will not!" but they have the papers.
  You curse in the old language
  their grandparents understood.

  They are rolling their eyes, 
  they are stamping your passport.
  It smells of fresh ink. They don't look at your face.
  You no longer live anywhere. You are free
  to find your way back to the old city
  where dirt still grows in the cracks
  of the populated sidewalks.



   protected him
   back then it wasn't
   really my affair. It was
   his garden and his god
   and I was shocked
   to see him grovel
   and sob apologies to
   a voice I couldn't hear.

   (The gods I listened to
   were more than one:
   I heard them singing
   in fruits in stars in grasses
   in water
   inside of stones;
   and even now,
   5,000 years away
   from Paradise,
   I feel them all around me:
   in the oily ocean,
   in the grass-cracked sidewalk,
   in the apple tree
   that crookedly grows up
   beside my fire escape
   on West 100th Street
   in New York City.

   My world is full of gods
   I never mention.)
   But anyway,
   back then
   I saw him fallen and
   I couldn't stand it so
   I said the words I knew
   would make things better.
   And things were better
   except we had to leave

   that place.
   Now people ask me:
   Was it like the stories?
   Were peaches bright as wax fruit?
   Were berries fat as Christmas decorations?
   'And how about that apple?
   Was it sweet
   as chocolate or liqueur?
   Did you feel sinful?
   Are you sorry?

   But honestly,
   I don't remember if it was
   an apple or an orange
   or why I thought I wanted
   to eat it, then. I do
   remember him his body
   as firm as fruit flesh
   what it felt like lying with him
   in wild mint and lemon grasses
   what I smelled and tasted

  when we were lovers.
  Now we're married.

  At night
  we lie
  beside each other
  on flowered sheets.

  His snores are comforting
  as radiator steam.
  My body is
  the only home
  he hasn't had to leave.
  'We never talk about
  that other time
  when he lay broken
  and I protected him.

  He never will
  forgive me. 

(for Dorian and Jane)

My friends are praying for me
     at an Anglican convent in Catonsville
     this weekend. My oldest friend tells me
     the nun on the phone sounded kind,
     not at all like the harsh-voiced nuns of her childhood
     I picture these friends sitting in a well-tended garden,
     lovely with lilies and roses,
     beside an ancient stone building, a place of privacy,
     maintained by private women,
     serene in their long dresses.
      I am grateful for my friends' prayers.
    I like the idea of prayers
    wehether uttered in out-of-the-way holy places
    (like the convent in Catonsville);
    or released in the kitchen, by the gas stove,
    when the water refuses to boil;
    or muttered between classes, in the way to the doctor's office,
    or tossed up to the sky on a snappy Fall day
    while crossing a bridge above a sky-blue creek;
    or murmured in traffic jams or whispered at a bedside
    where someone you care for is having another bad night.

    Poems are more like prayers
    than they are like, let's say, stories.
    A famous man wrote that,
    but I knew it was true long before I read his words.
    We offer our poems to the cosmos,
    trusting that someone is out there:
    a reader a listener
    One Who Sees who understands
    the thought, the plea, the insight, the message,
    that our words are not unheard.

    My friends, I offer you this poem,
    in return for your prayers.

   I've always known him,
   the sad man

   he lived in
   a forties movie
   talked Damon Runyon slang

   he lived with his mother,
   read girlie magazines
   at night, and hid them
     when I was 
   very young
   he gave me a cigar band

   he was
   my grandfather
   at the Jewish Old Age Home I
   read him newspapers
   his eyes were dimming once
   he handed me a penny
   he thought it was a dime.

   he was 
   my drugstore boss
   fat sweet with yellow fingers
   he hadn't had a woman
   in twenty years he wanted
   to feel my breasts I let him

 He also was:
   a failed musician
   unpublished lyric poet blocked writer

   I always knew 
   his sadness was
   my fault
   that's why
   I meet him comfort him
   in different cities bodies
   he's getting older
   but so am I

   this story has
   two endings:

   one: I divorce
   the sad man
   go on vacation get
   a credit card

   two: I visit
   the sad man's room
   it's hot we're trapped
   In August

   I promise
   to stay with him forever
   he promises
   to buy a fan.
 Hope you enjoyed this poetry by Enid Jacobs Dame.

In her memory
, a poem: "Elegy for Enid" by Dorian Borsella

Elegy for Enid


It was you, my foundation-friend,

who once explained

that publishers have no truck with dead poets.

Does the poem die when the poet does?

Is the poem the poet?


You re-created, riding the G train to Brooklyn,

more vividly than the riders knew of themselves,

spinning their hopes and dreams and fears and dreads from true seeing.


That November evening with me,

full moon magical,

two sixty-year-old schoolgirls sipping chamomile tea,

snuggled in teddy bear pajamas, we could have passed for six,

giggling over school stories.  Tea cups and cupcakes

and the morphine bottle,

your mind starburst-brilliant,

your body ruined, metastatic,


You were ever hopeful

but I had already dreamed the dream

that you journeyed to meet your mother at the station.


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