January 21, 2019

Ooops, We did it again – A Poem for Haftarah Matot-Masei by Rick Lupert

We get the message. We screwed up again.
If you pay attention to the weekly supplemental text
it seems that all we do is screw up.

We’ve got prophet after prophet
reminding us we screwed up. Isn’t this what
The High Holy Days are for? How about

the entire month of Elul? Is it too much to ask
a word of praise here and there? Why all the tests?
I’m beginning to feel the ancient world

could have used a little globalism beyond
pointing to the Kittites and Hitites and midianites and
wild donkeys and our soapless brethren

with an avoid their ways or Jeremiah’s gonna
come’a’scoldin’. Do the prophets go to scolding school?
Could anyone, a prophet, the One above

take into consideration where they’ve placed us
and who they’ve placed us amongst, and all the
attractive things of the modern ancient world

within our reach? I’m tired of tests and fingers
pointed in my direction and then up to the sky.
I learned my lesson when the Temple was destroyed.

You’ll notice we haven’t built another.
It’s not so much the construction costs. Donors
who want their name on a brick are as

plentiful as our mistakes. We just keep
examining our borders and prophesizing
this can’t be a good idea.

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 22 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 “Beautiful Mistakes” (Rothco Press, May 2018) 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.