Trembling Before You

Matthue Roth

for Simcha

I tried to paint the sky my own colors
when I was five I took
a ladder, bucket, brush, and magic
markers just in case

I got to the top, my body barely as big
as the rungs, before my father came and
carried me down to the earth. In
Hebrew school that week
we learned how G-d made a
separation between dirt and sky

but I never stopped trying
to break it.

Later I learned how to break rules
and still later, I learned how to follow them
I ran with the midnight graffiti gangs
who always stop on red

cause when you look legit,
the cops stop watching
I got to the point where
the only rules I followed
were the rules I cared about

and that, I want to tell you,
is how I found G-d.

I found G-d lookin' for an imaginary friend
I found G-d dumpster diving for a new life
I found G-d the night I let my body move with the music
instead of standing still
and fighting it.

I found G-d when I found out
all my best friends were dykes,
girls who'd never want

my body or anything like it
but they hung around
for the punch lines anyway.

Sandy, some days
I want to walk with you
through the Castro
to my synagogue

i'll show you where i sit
on the men's side, where
everyone but me is gay

and I don't get
how they keep it

believing in a law
that doesn't believe in them
until Michael says

"the Rabbis had it right
they just never knew how good it felt
to give head"

And I want to tell you
how deeply I agree,
how God in my fantasies
has long long legs
and a short short skirt
Išll tell you all my secrets
and how the warranty on the girl
in my bed tonight
isn't covered under Jewish law

but G-d is still my security blanket
who I trust the way
i trust gravity and my grandmom
i think you'd understand that

I could clutch you tight too
your film might be my bible
telling every story of rebellion
i'd like to make my own

how we talk about God
with words usually reserved
for talking about sex

but instead we wake
and lace the mornings after

with prayers that paint the passion
of every friday night

More poetry:

Not Mentioned Hal Sirowitz
July, 2003

I Wish I Was... Harbeer Sandhu
June, 2003

Fish Rain Susan Case
May, 2003

yom kippur Sara Seinberg
April, 2003

The Reason for Jellyfish Hal Sirowitz
March, 2003

The Relentless Pull of Genetic Memory Dan Lupkin
December, 2002

Repentance Poem #4 Matthue Roth
October, 2002

four untitled poems Joseph Dobkin
September, 2002

Hands Harvey
August, 2002

dick Matthue Roth
June, 2002

Deep, Jewish Pain Andrea Liu
February, 2002

sha'atnez Abraham Mezrich
March, 2003

September 2003

Radical Evil: Bernard Henry Levy on
the death of Daniel Pearl
Michael Shurkin

Trembling Before You
Matthue Roth

What is Burning Man?
Jay Michaelson

Chanel Dubofsky

Abraham Mezrich

Josh Calls His New Roommate
Josh Ring

Zeek in Print
Buy online here

David Stromberg

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