Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jason Camlot


A Jewtard such as I am
has no right to say good morning
once the morning prayers have begun,
unless I am first addressed by someone
more learned in the Torah than me.
Reasons for speaking once prayer has begun,
speaking as an interruption to prayer, I mean,
are few. Fear is one allowance the Mishnah
gives. If one is addressed by a ruler
who can harm you if you do not reply,
then you are allowed to disengage
yourself from the teffilah, and respond.
But who, really, do I have to fear
in my life? Who can hail me out
of this half hour because the possibility
exists that he will have me beheaded,
or burn my house to the ground, or take
my wife and children from me,
or strip the skin from my left arm like
apple or potato parings?
I can imagine the existence of such a man,
but thankfully, I know I will not meet one
who will thus inhibit me from doing
my Jewishy things.

Jason Camlot is the author of three collections of poetry, The Debaucher (Insomniac Press, 2008), Attention All Typewriters (DC Books, 2005), and The Animal Library (DC Books, 2001). A new chapbook of his poems entitled Rules for Sadness has just appeared in the Vallum Chapbook Series. Jason teaches Victorian literature, among other things, at Concordia University in Montreal.

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