Literary scribbles from New Jersey Transit

Poetry for the High Holidays 5765

I am allergic to prayer

I am allergic to prayer.
I write in the other slot.
Forms on a latex clipboard.
Doctor’s waiting room.
Checking off my imperfections.
To the rhythm of smooth jazz.
Soundtrack to boredom.

Supplications too.
And exultations, hoshannas,
Even hallelujahs.
I’m experiencing recurring liturgical aversions.

Is there some form of anti-something?
A booster shot? An elixir? A purple pill?

At fifteen I took a hayride around Stone Mountain, Georgia.
The flood gates of shiny liquid that I wiped on my hooded sweatshirt sleeve caused a thought bubble:
Hay fever – hay.
It was a great moment of ‘duh.’

Then it was grass, cats, dust.
And now this –
Sacred utterances, chants, even whispers –
Heck, I can’t even be around silent prayer.
I’m over-sensitive I guess.

So, Doc, please, I’m begging you,
Inject me with the strongest stuff you got.
I got to lead Kol Nidrei in two hours.


The King sits on a high exalted throne
And here we are, in these folding chairs.
They call it
But there is no flow
I can’t see the stage
They could be doing Falun Gong up there for all I know
And they’ve run out of prayerbooks
So I just stare down at my shoes
They need polishing
Maybe it’s time for new shoes
But I hate shopping
Better stick with the old ones
Maybe I can clean ‘em up a bit
And that’s when it hits me
That’s what this whole thing is about
Ahh! The shofar!
That is the kind of prayer I understand.

Who Shall Live

A layer of Saran Wrap
A shpritz of lemon juice
These red delicious will remain white
Without sin.

Who shall live?
And who shall dye their hair?
Who by pestilence?
Who by Pilates?

Nobody knows.
What is this ‘Jeopardy’?
Well it’s
Another year, spaceship earth has made one more elliptical orbit
-Planetarium narrator.
And I’m still here.
We’re still here.

God is the King
May the thorny crown be replaced by something more comfortable,
Say with a sweatband,
Perhaps in size six.

Heed the cry of the shofar!
Heed the blast of the shofar!
It is the cue for the kitchen help,
off with the Saran Wrap.

- Daniel Brenner