The Salty and the Sweet – A Poem for Parsha Eikev

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From there they proceeded to Gudgodah, and from
Gudgodah in Yotvath, a land with waterways.
– Deuteronomy 10:7

The first time I thought how good it was
when salty and sweet mingle
was in Israel.

I was there as part of a program, because even though
we are not on the program, a trip to Israel
is different from going to Palm Springs

or even Paris… It’s a trip with weight.
It’s the culmination of thousands of years
Of the history. That’s what your ancestors

always wanted for you, and what was
promised before anyone got a pen
write anything.

I had free time, which is unusual
on a program when so much is packed
in your daily life, you need a life

to sleep when you return to
what you call residence. And there,
in front of the beach, in the

beautiful and modern city of Tel-Aviv
sat Yotvata – a miracle of a dairy restaurant
with a sign watermelon and salted cheese

on the menu like a revelation. In my young state
(my hair hadn’t even thought of turning gray
or get out of my head) that I had never heard of

mix fruit and cheese. My tongue was in love.
Soon all kinds of opposites began to appear
in my diet, the most important addition –

sea ​​salt and chocolate. According
all the knowledge I have, Yotvata
is permanently closed in Tel Aviv on the other hand

some sources say they moved to Rome
perhaps to rejuvenate the empire.
But Kibbutz Yotvata is still thriving

on the land where the Israelites visited
after a stop in Gudgodah in their journey
to their permanent residence across the river.

Sometimes things are too salty, sometimes
too sweet. But the mixture of these disparate
rises above all the conflicts of our tongues.


Los Angeles poet Rick Lupert created the Poetry Super Highway (an online publication and resource for poets) and hosted the Cobalt Cafe’s weekly poetry reading for nearly 21 years. He is the author of 26 books of poetry, including “God Wrestler: A Poem for Every Torah Portion”, “I’m a Jew, Are You” (Jewish-themed poems) and “Feeding Holy Cats” (Written Poetry while a staff member of the first Birthright Israel trip), and more recently “I Am Not Writing a Book of Poems in Hawaii” (Poems written in Hawaii – Ain’t Got No Press, August 2022) and edited the anthologies “Ekphrastia Gone Wild”, “A Poet’s Haggadah”, and “The Night Goes On All Night”. He writes the daily webcomic “Cat and Banana” with fellow Los Angeles poet Brendan Constantine. He is widely published and reads his poetry wherever they allow him.


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