Closed Lips – A poem for Torah Portion Vaera

January 14, 2021

But Moses said before the Lord,
“Behold, I am of closed lips; so
how will Pharaoh hearken to me?”
Exodus 6:30

Closed lips –
Is it a medical condition?
Does the speaker not know
how to, simply, open his lips?
How is he saying, what he’s saying
if his lips are closed?
Is complaining exempt
from the condition of closed lips?
Or is it the cure?
Is this how ventriloquism
got invented?
Have my lips ever been closed
when they should have been open?
I know the reverse is true.
What is it I should have said
and what is the difference it
would have made?
Should more people be
opening their lips to
make a difference?
I’d like to contribute to the list
of people whose lips
should remain closed.
I’d like to know when I
should be on that list.
Maybe it’s a confidence thing?
Maybe we’re scared the
things that will come out
will get us cancelled.
Maybe we’re afraid
if we make a space
a fly will go in.
Maybe we just need
a set of helper lips.
We can’t always do it alone.
Moses, with his closed lips,
with his brother’s voice
with Divine assistance
managed to get it all done.

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 25 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 “The Tokyo-Van Nuys Express” (Poems written in Japan – Ain’t Got No Press, August 2020) 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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