Another Way to Ask for Forgiveness: A Modern Take on An Age-Old Prayer
Poet Jake Marmer gives us his highly personalized, free-associative, free-wheeling version of the viduy, a traditional Yom Kippur prayer in which one goes through a list of transgressions and asks for forgiveness. This, however, is also a rowdy, raucous celebration of language, and one’s own otherness.
So, while it is a kind of an apology, it is also an act of resolution and self-forgiveness.
Lines for Yom Kippur 5774
By Jake Marmer
I would like to apologize to language for all of the misfired and misdirected syllables
for words lost to all-mangling mangy gesticulation
for overdoing it and paper accordions
I thought that jamming was the thing of the past
for Slavic bodily uprisings and Hebraic groan of truth inaudible in its entanglement,
I’m sorry for shaving my profile photographs
and for the midnight refrigerator euphoria
for clogging rather than bridging
gestation and gesticulation
for being legitimately broke it’s easier than I imagined
and does nothing for the soul
I am sorry can I have another otherness?
so that I could eat out too?
I apologize for being on the books
of the unpacked boxes of Russian poets I shoved in the storage unit
the apartment’s too small!
for the sack of discomfort lugged and wrought and spread like wares
I apologize to all Americans for eating your words
they were so cold and delicious
for furthering and murmuring
for the rudimentary grill of foreignness
smoking with offers to almighty
mangling mangy mad gesticulation
Rebecca Guber is founding Director, The Neighborhood: An Urban Center for Jewish Life, Most recently, she was Director and Founder of Asylum Arts, and previously she served as the Founding Director of the Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists.
Are there traditional liturgical pieces you wish that you, or someone else, had re-written? What would you change?
Do humor and playfulness belong in a prayer? Why and why not?
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