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July 19, 2023

3 poems

Danny Caine

A Sonnet if it Kills Me

“Why weep? Tomorrow we’ll murder all of you”
-Russian seminary student to a terrified Jew on the
second morning of the Kishinev Pogrom,
April 1903


Instead, laugh. Instead, let your son do what he wants

for once. Instead, withdraw as much as you can 

from an ATM and put it all into a tip jar somewhere. 

Instead, take two edibles and see what happens. 

Put the fucking phone down. Put it behind your tire

before you back out. Break into a rich person’s pool. 

Liberate the zoo. Liberate a prison. Liberate the Walmart

gun section and throw it all into a lake. Light some 

red hats on fire. You are a stranger in a strange land?

Good! L’ Chaim! Light the police station on fire 

before they can light you on fire. Sing it: 

there will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem next year.


Sing it: in every generation they rise against us 

to exterminate us. Or don’t. Instead, sing a new song. 




Jewish American Dream #1: The Other One was Adam Levine

Today I drove by a big store

called Public Lands. Public Lands

was closed. Lately my dreams

have been about gas stations.

In last night’s they had rearranged

the shelves and I couldn’t find

the Cosmic Brownies or the Diet Coke.

The cashier asked me if Diet Pepsi

was okay. He looked like Paul Rudd.

Actually, he was Paul Rudd

in a polo shirt and a nametag.

No, Paul, I don’t care if you’re

one of two Jews ever named

People Magazine’s sexiest man alive—

I don’t care if the American Spirit

is a carton of cigs or if Public Lands

is a big box store—Diet Pepsi is never

okay. I’ve seen people slapped for less.



Jewish American Dream #2: I Ain’t Nothin’ But Tired

Annie Liebowitz has asked me

to help her recreate the cover

of Born in the USA. My mom

is there too. She says she wants

to talk to me about insurance.

I say not now, mom. She says

it won’t take long. I say please

respect my time. I feel her ire

radiating towards me as Annie

hands me the red hat. Beginning

to work a curve into the brim,

I walk towards the tuches.