Neighbors – a poem for Torah portion Lech Lecha

Please let there be no quarrel between me and between you…
Please part from me; if [you go] left, I will go right, and if [you go] right,
I will go left.

It is election season and I have yet to put up
my election season decorations, though
my neighbor has and, suffice it to say,
they are not the ones I would have chosen.

I won’t tell you the name on their signs so
you can exist in a world where this poem is
relatable to you, no matter what side of
the aisle you live on. But there were a lot of them.

They have a corner house and there were
two facing each street, and a special banner
hanging from the garage. I had no choice but
to see these signs when I head to the store

with the red circle logo (which I won’t tell you
the name of in case you prefer the one with
the yellow sunburst…I don’t want to turn you off)
or head on my walks around the neighborhood

which is as close as we can get to going to
an amusement park since the plague descended
on our land. It was reported to me, by my wife,
who does much more of the neighborhood walking

that bandits stole all of the signs from their yard.
The only evidence, yet another neighbor, whose
only public signs are the ones congratulating their
sons for graduating elementary school,

claimed to have seen a car speeding away.
It’s a crime. It’s theft. I can’t claim to be unhappy
about it, but these are the same neighbors who
open up their pool unconditionally to our

elementary school graduates when the sun
beats down upon our roofs. The same neighbors
who wrote music that has probably put smiles
on your faces. Let there be no quarrel

between them and us. We may go left,
while they go right, but the land is watered enough
for all of us. Like Abraham and Lot before us.
This is how we live together.

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 23 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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