Rick Lupert: Three Poems

What I Remember, This Morning

So much has happened since
my eyes opened at eight o’clock
and my arrival at this restaurant.
But I’m forgetting most of it
because this carrot bread couldn’t
be any more legitimate. I know
for sure my mouth opened and
the carrot bread went inside.
I have a vague memory of
handing a postcard to a woman
named Keeley who made promises
that all efforts would be made to
transport it to our blonde offspring
on the west coast. I remember
getting in a Toyota driven by
a man who wouldn’t say much.
I’m confident I dragged a brush
across my teeth and, I’m not sure
I even want to tell you this, but
I pressed a hot iron up against
a buttoned down shirt. It is the
fourteenth anniversary of the day
we put on the black and white Chinese
outfits of our love. Now they call that
appropriation. This is everything
I remember.

From Rick’s new book, “Hunka Hunka Howdee!”



When I saw the word unsolicited
in the submission guidelines
I took it as a life-goal.
I marched straight to my bank
with my latest non-conforming epic.
I yelled nobody move, I’m going to read this!
The security guard wept.
The tellers’ screams were real.
They desperately tried to stop me
with bags of money, but
I didn’t want it. Just an audience.
Just an afternoon stopped
with a stanza. When I left
no-one tried to stop me.
I ran to City Hall –
Right into the lobby!
Tell the mayor I need THIS
passed into law!
I brazenly recited every haiku
I’d ever written about the Torah
and a few micro-poems
I came up with while
sitting on a train. The city council
closed shop for a week.
I found this encouraging.
I got myself a barcode. I rewrote
Leaves of Grass on my tongue.
They made a film about it.
My words come out of the
mouths of Chucky dolls.
People bled in the theaters.
People sawed off their own
arms and legs.
People shouted Poetry?!
Why Poetry?! No-one asked
for poetry!


Unetaneh Tokef

Let us speak of the awesomeness


I – Fear and trembling

Any good Californian knows
to be afraid of days that shake.

I’m afraid of days that shake,
of days so holy, you can’t stand still.

I’m afraid of books that shake open
and read themselves.

I’m afraid I won’t find my name
on the pages of the book.

I’m afraid of things that make
the angels afraid

that highlight the guilt,
of even the angels


II – God judges us

This is where we learn how we’ll go
Who by old age? Who before they’ve

had the opportunity to be old?
Before a single wrinkle comes to visit?

Who by failed election?
Who by blaming the other side?

Who by menage a-hurricane?
Who by the climate changing them

right off the Earth? Who by
freak paper-cut accident?

You never know. You never know
how you’ll go, until your gone

and then what can you
say about it?


III – We are helpless

In case you didn’t know
you are a walking, living,

breathing sack of dust.
You have always been this dust

and when you forget how to talk
you will dissipate in the wind.

So if you were wondering
when was the time to say you’re sorry

it is now, before the wind
takes your breath away.


IV – God is enduring

If we could say Your name
it’s all we would ever say.

It’s how we would order our coffee.
It’s the only command we’d tell

our Siris and Alexas. It’s the only
thing that could have the potential

to replace the word love. Or maybe
that’s been Your name this whole time.

Thank You for putting even one vowel
of Your name into ours.

It is the smallest glimpse
of eternity.

What are you looking for?