Dear Friends of the Unreal — On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the story of Jonah is read out loud in synagogue. Jonah is one of our most beloved literary characters over here at HQ, because he encounters a magical creature and lives to tell the tale. Plus, he is a marvelously cranky and unwilling prophet — our favorite kind.
Herewith a version of that story with thanks to Daniel José Older (from whose work, I took the title):
What is the what
Jonah said to God what is the what?
And God said you got to go talk to those people
Over there, and Jonah said sure and promptly
Took a one-way cruise to nowhere, because THOSE people,
They were no good mothers and then a lady (who probably was a real mother) on the boat said,
You’re messhuge. If God says you got to do something
Then You BETTER do it. Ok, old lady, said Jonah putting
On the sunblock in his deck chair, but then the monster
Came – like in one of those old movies – and he got swallowed
Up and it was disgusting inside that animal, and so Jonah
Climbed out and got on the metrolink
And went to that crap suburb where the really jerk people live
And he said what is the what, and they said what?
and he said
(Copyright, Stephanie Barbe Hammer, 09/16/2012)