Friday, October 7, 2011

A New Poem for Yom Kippur—Cultural Appropriation

Cultural Appropriation

See, the Jews have this thing.

Yahweh, or whatever they call their Sky God,
            keeps a list like Santa Claus.
You know, who’s been naughty and nice.
But before He puts it in your Permanent Record
            and doles out the lumps of coal
            He gives you one more chance
            to set things straight.

So to get ready for this one day each—
            they call it Yom Kippur
            but it’s hard to pin down because
            it wanders around the fall calendar
            like an orphan pup looking for its ma—
the Jews run around saying they are sorry 
            to every one they fucked over last year
            and even to those whose toes
they stepped on by accident.
            The trick is, they gotta really mean it,
            None of this “I’m sorry if my words offended” crap,
                        that won’t cut no ice the Great Jehovah.
            And they gotta, you know, make amends,
                        do something, anything, to make things right
                        even if it's kind of a pain in the ass.

            Then the Jews all go to Temple—
                        even the ones who never set foot in it
                        the whole rest of the year
                        and those who think that,
                        when you get right down to it,
                        that this Yahweh business is pretty iffy—
            and they tell Him all about it.

            First they blow some kind old goat horn
                        to get His attention.
            And they pray, man do they ever pray,
                        for hours in a language that sounds
                        like gargling nails
                        that most of ‘em don’t even savvy.

            When it’s all over, they get up and go home
                        feeling kind of fresh and new. 
If they did it right that old list
was run through the celestial shredder.

            Then next week, they can go out
                        and start fucking up again.

It sounds like a sweet deal to me.

Look, I’m not much of one for hours in the Temple,
                        an hour on Sunday morning
                        when the choir sings sweet
                        is more than enough for me, thank you.
And I have my serious doubts about this
                        Old Man in the Sky crap.

But this idea of being sorry and meaning it,
                        of fixing things up that I broke
                        and starting fresh
                        has legs.

I think I’ll swipe it.

I’ll start right now.

To my wife Kathy—
            I’m sorry for being such
            a crabby dickhead most of the time…

Anybody got a horn?

—Patrick  Murfin

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