Next Year in Jerusalem – a poem for the waning moments of Passover by Rick Lupert


As long as I’ve been alive
the words next year in Jerusalem
have left my mouth

at the end of every
Passover seder my ancient bones
have reclined at.

My bones in New Jersey cried
next year in Jerusalem and the very
next year I was in Florida.

My bones in Florida cried
next year in Jerusalem and the very
next year I was in Syracuse.

My bones in Syracuse cried
next year in Jerusalem and the very
next year I was in California.

My bones in California cried
next year in Jerusalem and the very
next year I was in Allentown.

We’re holding steady in
Pennsylvania, still crying for the
holy land.

I could just buy a ticket but
the rest of the family has declared
Jerusalem to be in the Rust Belt.

We don’t even gather in
the east end of the house.
This is the funk of diaspora.

This is the Jerusalem we
create in our North American
living rooms.

This is the holy city
whose golden bricks I see
whenever our eyes intertwine.

I’m going to keep crying
next year in Jerusalem.
A promise kept

in whatever city
that cushions
these old bones.


Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert created a the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets), and hosted the Cobalt Cafe weekly poetry reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 20 collections of poetry, including “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Poetry written while a staff member on the first Birthright Israel trip), and most recently “Donut Famine” (Rothco Press, December 2016) and edited the anthologies “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes on All Night.” He writes the daily web comic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He’s widely published and reads his poetry wherever they let him.