A Yiddish Adage, by S.T. Brant
“Man Plans, God Laughs”
Imagine the wind dancing the leaves; in the rhythm of the leaves dances earth.
The trees split to their roots, become a million wings,
That fly the world through nothingness
Inevitable, our angel, feeds us wisdom in a play,
Stages a theater within our heart wherein a Change we seek
Is tragically achieved- to dispel us from a swerve we’d make.
So the rain in wind falls in rank.
Life? god laughs. A life away Life remains.
S. T. Brant is a teacher from Las Vegas. Pubs in/coming from Door is a Jar, Santa Clara Review, New South, Green Mountains Review, Another Chicago Magazine, La Piccioletta Barca, Cathexis Northwest Press, a few others. You can find them on Twitter @terriblebinth or Instagram @shanelemagne.
Interview with S.T. Brant
- How long have you been writing?
I’ve ‘written’ stuff my whole life but never really thought of it as Writing, more just ‘writing stuff’. Then in middle school I was in a band and wrote songs for that band, and I thought that that was going to be my way of writing from then on: songwriter extraordinaire. Then I stopped playing, and sublimated the writing with some other endeavor… wanting to be a doctor, I think, was the distraction. (Distraction for me because, well, I’m no doctor.) It wasn’t until I was 16 that I really began writing again, only this time more seriously. What got me back was a girl I liked, liked this other guy better because he had a creative side, so I had to recreate that creative side of myself.
- Is writing your full-time job? If not, what is?
My full time job is a high school English teacher. I also teach Publications (yearbook) and Journalism, so writing is a big component, but more on the pedagogic side.
- What Inspired this Work?
It wasn’t until late December 2019 that I decided I’d actually try submitting stuff, so I had all these fragments or abandoned but somewhat coherent pieces that I thought I’d try and make sense out of it. This poem was one I liked, but I thought it needed some contextualizing to put the idea beyond some monologue-y realm. The Yiddish adage ‘Man plans, God laughs’ is an irony that’s always obsessed me because it’s so perfect that when I read this poem over I realized that that aphorism was akin to whatever it was I was up to.
- What writers or artists inspire you and your work?
4. I wasn’t a big reader until college, actually, so I’m constantly battling this idea that I’m too late. That I started too late, that I’m too behind, etc. My first inspirations were all musicians. Bob Dylan ruled my life for the longest time. Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello- those were #2 and 3 for me. The first poet I got to that mattered to me was T.S. Eliot, who’s still a doll to me (poetically- it’s a shame that I need to qualify that because I love his poems so much, but the Eliot of the poems is really the only Eliot I can abide. I also recognize the irony of citing Eliot as an influence for a poem that was inspired by something coming out of the Jewish tradition; but Eliot’s poems knew much better than Eliot did, is what I maintain.) All the Modernists, really, are who I always go back to.
5. Where Can We Find Your Recent or Future Work?
5. I don’t have a website that compiles my publications, but I have a Linktree! Which is here: https://linktr.ee/terriblebinth
I’m sort of all over right now because I’ve been submitting a lot this year (been very and hit and miss. More miss, but more hits than I expected, so that’s something!), mostly ‘older’ stuff is what’s been published, but that’s not to denigrate anything or dismiss it, just a note of interest.
6. What would you advise those interested in becoming published writers?
6. I don’t know if I have anything to advise because I in no way consider myself successful or accomplished. I feel like a panhandler on the streets of Poetry, begging for scraps of attention. But just a general lesson I’ve learned that’s very cliche but that’s nonetheless impossible to absorb until you confront it is that you’ll fail a lot. It’s probably not the best to link ‘rejection’ with ‘fail’ because that’s simply not the case, but, personally, I subject myself to a very derisive dichotomy and permit myself no minor or moral victories. Oh, that’s advice! Don’t be so hard on yourself and let yourself celebrate little victories.