December 17, 2018

The Man with the Coal-Covered Lips – A Poem for Haftarah Yitro by Rick Lupert

Isaiah, the self proclaimed one with the unclean lips
takes coal in his mouth (it’s not so easy to give up

coal when it goes so far back) given by angels
with six wings each (behold the angel hierarchy

we thought they only had two) and takes on
the work of passing on the Words. (Capitalized

on purpose…these words come from the
Holiest Mouth.)

Remember when the Israelites saw the Light?
There were commandments and a mountain involved.

It was too bright and they complained couldn’t
someone else put their eyes on that light?

Years later Isaiah volunteers for the job.
He will speak of the woes and inevitable failings.

He with his coal-covered lips and no-wings
whatsoever. He’s got a whole book out and

thanks to its inclusion in a larger volume,
he’s literally one of the best selling authors

in human history. We’re constantly quoting him
holy holy holy – Get up on your toes when

you say that. The person in front of you is
probably too tall anyway. You’ll want to see

the view of the desolate cities, the empty houses,
the old cousin of the cashew tree which no-one

has seen for a millennia. And that’s where we stop
unless your Ashkenazic. Then there’s extra reading

for you. A whole other section in which
everything turns out okay.

God Wrestler: a poem for every Torah Portion by Rick LupertLos Angeles poet Rick Lupert created 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 21 collections of poetry, including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion“, “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 “A Poet’s Siddur: Shabbat Evening“,  “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.