Beyond Time and Space: Love Poems by Jewrotica’s Leon

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beyondtimeandspace

Review and interview by Emma Morris. Emma is Jewrotica’s managing editor. For more writing by Emma, check out The Life of an Amorous Man, Shevirat Ha-Kelim and Double Heart.

Graphic by Margarita Korol

Rated PG-13

Jewrotica is proud to announce that our resident poet, Leon, who is featured regularly on Jewrotica, has just published a collection of his poetry. You can find the e-book Beyond Time and Space: Love Poems for the Body, Heart, Mind and Soul here. It’s also available as an e-book for all platforms via Smashwords.

Beyond Time and Space is suffused with Kabbalistic mysticism and the belief that “arousal below arouses arousal above.” For the Kabbalists and other mystic sects (Sufis and Christian Mystics, for instance), physical love and spiritual love are one and the same: there is no separation between the two.

As Leon explains in his introduction, The Song of Songs, a poem that celebrates sexual, mystical love is about “love between a man and a woman that is the love between the Divine and Divine’s creation.” For the Kabbalists, God is here, now and imminent – God exists and breathes through everything, bestowing Shefa through the natural world, through man, woman, through all of creation.

The number four has long been a symbol of stability and wholeness- four seasons, four elements (earth, water, fire, air), four temperaments, four cardinal directions, and so on. Each one of the fundamental components is understood as a separate entity, yet cannot exist without the other three.

In the Kabbalistic understanding there is the Tree of Life through which is interconnected the four worlds of reality: asiyah (action), yetzirah (formation), briyah (creation), and atzilut (emanation).

Like the Kabbalistic cosmos, Beyond Time and Space is separated into four worlds: the worlds of physicality, feelings, thought and spirit. The four sections in Beyond Time and Space correspond to the physical (earth, body), the emotional (water, heart), the intellectual (air, mind), and the spiritual (fire, soul). They all are part of one whole, twining together, bleeding and melding, fusing, coming together from the font of divine mystery.

The first sphere, The World of Physicality, centers around coming together in the physical, getting beyond the impersonal world of two-dimensional communication. Here Leon celebrates the body – and the ways in which bodies express physical love.

Poems in this section bring the reader up close and into the scene, vividly relating the human body to nature and its irresistible forces. Reciprocity, respect, awe and wonder are foremost in this sphere, as they illuminate genuine love for women and the female body. Woman, in this sphere, is nature, orgasm, ecstasy – and the sexual union penetrates the supernal. Moving beneath the words are sex, love and the divine – which are all one, which are everywhere.

Several of these poems have been featured on Jewrotica, including Freedom, Lips of Beauty, an ode to the vulva, where life enters and departs, and Oneg Shabbat, translating to “Sabbath Pleasures”, and is a euphemism for sex enjoyed on Shabbos, which in Judaism is considered a mitzvah. In this poem, challah becomes the symbolic stand-in for lovers, the bread is swollen with anticipation. The Well is brimming with Torahic evocations – Moses strikes the rock causing water to flow – which Leon beautifully unites with images of female ejaculation.

Moving on to the second world, The World of Feelings, we are immersed in emotions that are often the result of physical love, including nervousness and lovesickness. The lover is posed the question “What have you done to me?”, charging the beloved with agency, with power over the lovestricken body. In love you are under your lover’s power, you lose yourself in another person. This yearning, this longing, is rapturous, magnetic, infinite, joyous yet frightening:

“My soul yearns to be unsoiled,
My heart yearns to be unbroken,
My body yearns to be made whole,
My being yearns to be with you” (Return)

Fusing the spheres of the physical and feelings are two distinct – but related – poems centered on a recipe for Onion Soup. The physical and the emotional are bound together with different approaches to this recipe.

The third sphere, The World of Thought considers the concept of a bashert, or soulmate, in the poem Knowing in the Biblical Sense: a couple is meant for each other, and has been wandering in search of one another, for their other half:

“No beginning and no end,
No before and no after,
No above and no below,
No him and no her,
Just them.”

Another Jewrotica favorite, Across the Void, revolves around beginnings and the chasms of love. The empty space, the void, Halal HaPanuwi, is central to the cosmology of Lurianic Kabbalah. This world similarly revolves around speechlessness, darkness, meditation on hidden places, the quietness of the night, the nature of “saying” versus “being.”

The World of Thought also features a lovely X-Rated version of the perennial favorite Goodnight Moon. Moon imagery permeates this section: the moon is a symbol of the feminine, as well as being inexorable from Judaism itself. Judaism is a moon-centric religion, with a lunar calendar and a monthly blessing of the moon, the Kiddush Levanah, suggesting an orientation toward the feminine and the nocturnal.

In Infinite One, Leon fuses imagery of the vulva and phallus in both nature (feminine) and architecture (masculine), wherein “every corner is alive with the sounds and the buzz of life.”

The final world, The World of Spirit, opens with the titular poem, Beyond Time and Space, which describes a place beyond time and space where quiet reigns, where time stands still, and where memories are free to make themselves known.

Two to One illuminates the concept of the unification of souls, breathing into the One, into paradise and the heavens, through the image of Shabbos – specifically Havdalah candles yearning to meld together. The Waters of Life continues this theme in a meditation on the mikvah, the cleansing, living waters that merge with the ocean, into oneness, into infinity.

Beyond Time and Space reaches its culmination with Four Loves, which revolves around asiyah (action), yetzirah (formation), briyah (creation), and atzilut (emanation). This dizzying, ecstatic poem, celebrates an unnamed woman, who, in all her splendor and mystery, immersed in ancient wisdom and intuition, becomes a “radiant being of Divine descent”. By the end of this poem we understand that the woman is the Shekhina – God incarnate in the female.

And so the four spheres fuse and flux, merge like lovers, breathing life into the body, heart, mind and soul, melding with the primal and primordial, the feminine and masculine, the receiving and the giving, Shekhina and Yesod.

Leon’s sensuous poetry extols each of the five senses, rich with images of intertwining (candles, trees, animals, water, moths) bespeaking the harmony of two as one, the voluptuous immortality of union, the cosmic, mysterious dance of the gods.

 Continue reading – An Interview with Beyond Time and Space Author Leon…

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Managing Editor of Jewrotica, Emma moonlights as a librarian. She also writes Jewish horoscopes, short stories, essays and a supernatural noir novella.
  • Ayo Oppenheimer

    What a fabulous opportunity to gain insight into one of our most prolific writers. Thank you, Emma. Thank you, Leon. Now go support one of our own and buy the book! 🙂