Two weeks ago, the local preacher made reference to the Shema, the central prayer of Jewish faith. The introduction to the Shema reads as follows:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deut 6:4-9)

For whatever reason, I found the word "Shema" pliable, began twisting it apart until I created the word "Shema-rica," and then began wondering, [tweetherder text="what is the Americana version of the Shema? @sethhaines #poetry"] "what is the Americana version of the Shema?"[/tweetherder] These thoughts gave rise to this poem.



Hear oh America:

both polished people, and huddled masses of pulsing poor who rise and fall like the sea and the other shining sea glimmering in the setting gold of evening—

the lord your god is one. Hear oh America:

you stokers of the Appalachian whisky still, sellers of spirits, and you others who reek of prohibitionist’s perfume, program peddlers to the liminal lessees in some Ozark half-way house—

the lord your god is one. Hear oh America: you field plowers, cotton purveyors, frivolous fashionistas, marketers, miners, all you who pull threads of precious metal through earthen seams or human veins in worship—

the lord your god is one. Hear oh America:

that smell is profit’s smog, the clink of coins the price of prophet’s song; [tweetherder text = "here hidden in market's margin... is a God, maybe forgotten. @sethhaines #poetry"]here, hidden in market’s margin, in the up sale, or extended warranty, in capital greasing the wheels of our futures is a God, maybe forgotten.[/tweetherder]

Hear oh America, the lord your god is one.