Bible Truth: A Poem by Paulie Lipman

By Paulie Lipman

BIBLE TRUTH

Leviticus 19:28
You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead
nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves:
I am the LORD

Leviticus
Thou Shall Not
cherry pick
check list
Fundamentalist
remix
Torah Hebrew
to Anglo Saxon
Old Testament English

I am the LORD

As am I
made w/their image
petty
vindictive
jealous apparition
Praise them
Forgive me
but
fuck ineffability
question
their methods
They/like me
lack nobility

My people
send the
deceased off
with the Kaddish
and torn cloth
For me that’s
never enough
too easy
One rip in our
funeral cloak/nothing
but a limp flag/rag
flying
defeated
The dead
deserve lash/wail/gnash
for their bereavement

nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves

What makes
the flesh so
precious?
I give space
for the dead
Tattoo
Ink/carve
blood/shed
their names
Jesse
Michael
Tony
written/raised skin
to never forget
a checklist for this/ to
find them again
in the If-There-Even-Is
a next existence

You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead

Body
just a suit
the essence wears
Mine now
a tapestry
temple
where departed/deceased
sing discordant
ceaseless
sacred dissonance
last gasp of the
breathless

This
scarred edifice
born in blood
wants to go out
by fire
wood
baptized gasoline
Synagogue
Nazarene
pyre
stacked
Babel high
My flawed body
a burning choir
Refrain of sparks
chorus of ash
singing out all
my names
Paul
Phineas
Pinchas
and the litany
of all mine
gone-before-me
sparks heavenward
in our ignition

I dare you
tell me
that ain’t Holy


Paulie Lipman is a Jewish/Queer/Writer out of Denver, Colorado. He has toured the U.S. extensively (and a little bit of Canada) performing poetry and is the voice of Neal Cassady in the documentary Neal Cassidy: The Denver Years. He has had work appear in The Legendary, Radius, Borderline, Drunk In A Midnight Choir, The Write Bloody Publishing anthologies The Good Things About America and We Will Be Shelter. His work will also be appearing in the upcoming University Of Hell anthology We Can Make Your Life Better. You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.

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