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Lessons from the book of Yonah

But I, with Loud Thanksgiving

Jake Marmer, Adeena Karasick, Hank Lazer & Alicia Jo Rabins

In this collaborative poem, each poet uses the verse from the book of Yonah 2:10 as inspiration and bases his or her writing on the final line of the previous stanza.

“But I, with loud thanksgiving/Will sacrifice to You.”  Yonah: 2:10

my offering: while everyone but
I with loud thanksgiving
will sacrifice to you
a slice
of their morning
will consecrate to you
a you, a shape, a turn
back to some beginning
I’ll tithe a piece of my resounding
will make it the best nothing I’ve got –

’cause I am adrift in the dew of shattered
letters; your veils, vortexts, engraved upon me
storming through syntactic
chaos, a chaosmos. And I am bathed in contingency
rhapsodically raging in the shards
of shadowed mapping where my locus
in logos, in language that swallows itself
silent, salient, beckoning

kadosh  kadosh the thanks i give
for living in this world for your
deliverance of me for my return
i see now that all live within
a cave within the belly of a great fish
& few will ever call upon you to be
delivered into the full holiness of being here
& my loud thanksgiving this life of thinking
vision writing is no sacrifice at all
but the steady calling in your name to all our kin

For three days and three nights I was in darkness.
All I heard was this steady calling in your name,
a kind of breathing, an organ music echoing
off the flying buttresses of my underwater cathedral.
Oh fish, my prison, my body, my boat,
you carry me through salt water. I know how this works.
When I am ready, you cough me out.
When I am no longer myself, you deposit me
and I offer loud thanksgiving on the shore.

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Jake Marmer, a poet and performer, is the author of Jazz Talmud, published by The Sheep Meadow Press (2012). To read more of his works and see the schedule of upcoming shows, see http://jakemarmer.wordpress.com.

Adeena Karasick is a poet, media artist, and author of seven books of poetry and poetic theory, most recently, This Poem (2012) and Amuse Bouche: Tasty Treats for the Mouth. Karasick is professor of communication and media studies at Fordham University in New York and co-coordinator of the 2012 KlezKanada Poetry Festival and Retreat: Three Millennia of Poetic Subversion. For a full list of readings and events, see adeenakarasick.com.

Hank Lazer’s seventeenth book of poetry, N18 (Complete), a handwritten book, is available from Singing Horse Press: http://singinghorsepress.com/titles/n18. His recent books include Portions, The New Spirit, and Lyric & Spirit: Selected Essays, 1996-2008.

Alicia Jo Rabins is a poet, performer, composer, and Jewish educator. Her poems have appeared in American Poetry Review, Court Green, and 6x6, as well as in several anthologies. She is the creator and bandleader of Girls in Trouble, an indie rock band/song cycle about lesser-known women of the Torah, with which she tours internationally. Rabins has released two albums on JDub Records, and holds a Six Points Fellowship. Her work can be viewed at aliciajo.com.


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Lessons from the book of Yonah