a pre-pesach poem

I read the hagaddah backwards this year
The sea opens, the ancient Israelites slide back to Egypt like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk
Freedom to slavery
That’s the real story
One minute you’re dancing halleluyah with the prophetess
The next you’re knee deep in brown in the basement of some minor pyramid waiting for the angel of death to refund your two zuzim.

Children of Israel! It is hard to say dayenu when the armies emerge from the sea like a returning scuba expedition and the Pharoah calls out for fresh towels.

The bread has plenty of time to rise.

I read the haggadah backwards this year,
Left a future Jerusalem,
scrubbed off the blood from the doorposts
wandered back to Aram.

Trenton Makes, The World Takes

After a performance Saturday night at Trenton's Passage Theater by the brilliant beat-boxer Yuri Lane Lisa and I had the great pleasure to be a guest at a party of the Goldstein-Ballingers and share a bottle of wine with NJ's original poet laureate Gerald Stern. He was captivating - well into his eighties he is as hip and irreverent as the twenty-somethings who hang out at P.S. 122. Yusuf Komunyaka, the Pulitzer prize winning poet, was there too as was Chris Hedges, the political journalist - and for a moment I thought that the historic Mill Hill district of Trenton would be the site of the next American revolution. Maybe the whale who swam up the Delaware could sense it too.