February 22, 2020

Chicken Soup for the Freelancer’s Soul – A poem for parsha Metzora (Aliyah 1)

And on the eighth day, he shall take two unblemished [male] lambs, one unblemished ewe lamb in its [first] year, three tenths [of an ephah] of fine flour mixed with [olive] oil as a meal offering, and one log of [olive] oil.

I keep confusing the Torah with a cookbook
all this flour and oil and meat. I don’t even eat meat
but I’m salivating and heading to the kitchen to
preheat the oven.

Cleanliness is next to dinner, they say, or
maybe I just made that up right now. It feels like
a lot of this was made up, or, to be generous,
thought up, then spoken out, then, eventually,
written down.

I’m in the kitchen with all these ingredients
the flour, the people, the oil, and maybe I’m the meat?
I finally have a legitimate reason to shout
It’s made of people! It’s all made of people.

The priests didn’t have films to reference so
I’m lucky in that sense as I try to figure the
best way to clean myself and consider what
it would be like to have to live in the front yard

for seven days after shaving off all my hair,
including my eyebrows – indeed, all [my] hair.
These days I struggle with what words to say
after These days but I know if there was an issue

I’d head over to Kaiser, which may be too much
of a local reference, so let’s just pretend I said
urgent care, in the event boils show up on my skin.
And even though my healthcare plan is one of those

crazy deductible ones because I’m a freelancer and
have to pay for it myself, they still welcome me in
on the same day, and very little has to be shaved
off of me, and I get to go back inside my own tent

on the very same day, with a prescription, or a
bandaid, or all the ingredients I need to make soup.
A nice soup. A holy soup. A not-chicken soup.
Just the broth I need in my kitchen to be clean.

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 “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.

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