Wednesday, November 23, 2005


16 kisleiv 5765

i am proud to be an american
i am ashamed to be an american

blood on red coats
and on "red" skins

skin beating down the black

as the sky over new york city
slivers between the skyscrapers
when it's not too cloudy to see

from the rising-place of the sun
unto the place it sets
from sea to shining sea
i am america
born in sin
raised on the streets
drunk on destiny
clouded by hubris

trying to do the right thing
in a wrong wrong world

i am older now
i see things through many eyes
things as they might have been
and i slouch towards a distant future
hoping to be reborn


Anonymous Alan Scott said...

The possibility has been raised, among those crowds in which I run, that in today's world, Thanksgiving could use a day of reflection preceding it, as Yom haZikaron precedes Yom haAtsmaut: to remind us of all the prices that have been paid - by ourselves, our heroes, and our victims - so that we could live the blessed life we collectively do, with more freedom and understanding than any generation or country before us.

11/22/2005 4:47 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...


What a great idea! Sort of like Ta`anis Ester (now with the feminist ta`anis dibbur) before Puyrim [sic?].

11/22/2005 5:15 PM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

I would like the puritan religious subtext removed. It is hard to argue that "our ancestors" came here for religious freedom, when the group most focused on (the purits) came here specifically to get away from all the 'heretics' that they despised, and to found a religious dictatorship.

In addition, how does the puritan element speak to me as a Dutch American? I can hear it now.... a group of Nieuw Amsterdam Burgers, talking about the puritans who have only recently landed: "voorzichtig zijn, jongens, voor je het weet hebben die lui niet alleen de Indianen beroofd, maar ook ons. Wedden dat over drie honderd jaren onze afstammelingen niet eens meer meetellen." [Carefull, boys, before you know it that bunch will have robbed not only the Indians, but also us. Waddya bet that over three centuries our descendants won't even count for anything anymore.]

I like the idea of a day of reflection slash fasting. But wouldn't it inevitably conflict idea-wise with Columbus day?
Or is that the natural corollary - the hhag ha hubris?

11/22/2005 6:06 PM  
Blogger Habib said...

The day that should really be preceded by a day of reflection is the 4th of July, when America foolishly lost out on constitutional monarchy. What a shame.

11/22/2005 7:06 PM  
Blogger Tam said...

I'm in. Great idea.

11/22/2005 7:09 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der Å¡teg) said...

Thanks for the comments!

Just wondering, does anyone recognize any of the allusions in the poem?

11/23/2005 11:15 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

Sure, there were many clever allusions. "Slouching toward the future" is a reference to slouching toward Gomorrah.

The red white and blue stanzas were good. Shkoyech.

11/23/2005 12:28 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


Actually, i didn't even think of Slouching Towards Gomorrah — it was supposed to be a reference to the same thing as S.T.G. ("Steg"?!) is referencing, the last lines of the poem The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats:
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

11/23/2005 3:11 PM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

Nuffin nuffin nuffin
Rhymes with muffin
But nuffin nuffin nuffin
Rhymes with 'orange'
Could it be
That a cup of tea
Is not as good with an orange
As a muffin?

11/24/2005 12:03 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

But nuffin nuffin nuffin
Rhymes with 'orange'

No, that's SHEKER!! In fact, "door-hinge" rhymes with "orange".

11/24/2005 1:27 PM  
Blogger Shifra said...

So it does!
Another mystery of life solved.

I wish I was gutsy enough to put original poetry on my blog!

11/25/2005 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

only if you pronounce "orange" funny..

11/25/2005 11:38 AM  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

Steg: William Butler Yeats for frum folk. I like it - and the poem...but not the orange/door hinge rhyme.

11/26/2005 11:18 PM  
Blogger Balabusta in Blue Jeans said...

First, there was Yeats.

Then someone, I can't remember who, wrote "Slouching Toward Bethlehem".

Then someone, I can't remember who, wrote "Slouching Toward Gemorrah".

Then Dan Savage wrote "Skipping Toward Gemorrah".

Can we add a Dutch element to Thanksgiving by singing the "Istanbul" song?

11/28/2005 12:24 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

No, that's SHEKER!! In fact, "door-hinge" rhymes with "orange".
Only in your Ameriqani patois, Gringo.

The insertion of the word "lemons" in
Oranges and lemons
ring the bells of St Clement's

According to the mesorah be'yadai, Oranges refers to the House of Orange -- ie William III, called upon by Parliament to replace James II at the time of Glorious Revolution of 1688. Lemons were added to make rhyming possible.

11/28/2005 12:34 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

Is that a real rhyme? I always assumed as much, though I myself have only encountered it in George Orwell's nove 1984.

11/28/2005 1:30 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...


novel, not *nove.

11/28/2005 1:30 PM  
Blogger Habib said...

Indeed it is a full rhyme. Here is the full text:

Oranges and lemons
Say the bells of St Clements
You owe me five farthings
Say the bells of St Martins
When will you pay me?
Say the bells of Old Bailey
When I grow rich
Say the bells of Shoreditch
When will that be?
Say the bells of Stepney
I'm sure I don't know
Says the great bell at Bow
Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Here comes a chopper to chop off your head

Chop chop chop chop the last man's head!

11/28/2005 1:50 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

But what does it mean?

11/28/2005 3:37 PM  
Blogger Habib said...

Here is the BBC's perush (differs from the one I heard):

The "bells" all belong to churches in London.

11/29/2005 9:57 AM  
Blogger shmutzy said...

i liked that a lot - caught some of the allusions.

to someone above - Portugese Jews came to early America to escape persecution, I believe.

11/30/2005 12:07 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

Hello Shmutzy,

The first Portugese Jews were on Dutch ship getting away from a Brazil recaptured from the Dutch West Indies Company by Portugal.

The then governor of New Amsterdam, Peter Stuyvesant, did not want to grant them residency, being himself a little, shall we say, antisemitic. They appealed to the home office of the company (the de facto government of overseas possessions), who told Stuyvesant to cool it - the Jews in question were Dutch subjects, the company had to operate under Dutch laws, and the Dutch government had granted 'freedom of conscience' to everybody except the Catholics.

So they stayed.

12/01/2005 9:26 PM  
Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Thanks, Shmutzy!

12/01/2005 9:34 PM  

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