The Great Unsend Button in the Sky – A poem for Parsha Balak

July 14, 2022

How can I curse whom God has not cursed…?
-Numbers 23:8

In the old days when God was
happening upon people by chance
all the time, there was no need for

an unsend button as all we could
ever do is say whatever had been
put into our mouths.

Can you imagine if just before you sent
an angry message, a Holy Voice appeared
in your ear saying don’t.

What about all the passive-aggressive
emails you’ve been sending?
We have grammar and spelling checkers.

How about a can you check your tone filter?
We all know the story of the Rabbi
who told the man to scatter

a pillow’s feathers all over town
and then learned of the impossibility
of gathering them back up when

he was told to do so.
This is how it is with words.
Once they leave your mouth

like the internet, they are forever.
I’d like to take back the typos
in all my poems, but they are

seared into the memory of my
eagle-eyed readers. I could use a
Yom Kippur in the middle of the year

to atone for the accumulation of
things I’ve thought. May all the words
that pass through your lips

be vetted by the God of common sense.
May your thoughts always default
to blessings. Never curses.

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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