The "Do You Have Lots of Faults Too?" Issue




Thousands of years ago my people
began a feast to celebrate the ingathering

and an hour ago I had a deep craving
to devour three Pink's chili-cheese dogs.

Thirty minutes ago the line
wrapped around half of Los Angeles

           and seconds ago I was spotted
by one of the throngs of Orthodox
on the sidewalk, on his return
from temple, on today Sukkot,
as one of his own, by maybe
my beard or my breath, never mind
how far I have fallen and sinned,
and was asked about my past, my past,
           my past.

So now I stand with a lemon in one hand
and a palm, two willows and three myrtle
branches that had been woven together
in the other, and play call and response
with a tall, thin, white haired man,
whose busted blood vessels cover
his nose like the rivers of Babylon.

I wonder how to sing in this strange land,
if it's time to hang my undershirt
           upon the stop sign.

I wonder if the bounty at the end of this line
is the reward, the snap of intestine,
            the release of fat.

I wonder who I can recognize as my own.


In Oregon, the rain fixes all mistakes.
And like the people who come from there,
I too have begun to accept a life
that knows no consequence.
I've forgotten if family is what a man comes from,
or if family is what a man makes.
But as I stumble amongst the mesquite and palm trees
I now know that I know that it's not both.

Here, my lips bleed from the air, my fingers have cracked,
the back of my neck is sunburned, and my hair stands on end.
Everything is measured by a monolith and needle.
To walk in the wrong place brings a rattle, a sign
that even a little sasquatch like me can recognize.