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David Shapiro

The Birthday of the World

for David Lehman’s

In Jewish theology, there are reasons why certain holidays are two days and
some are
Why, do you think, David Lehman?
You might say because one is more important than the other.
This seems on the famous surface to be correct.
Or you might say it gives people in strange lands time to celebrate.
And that is valid as a sukkah has holes.
But we say:
Just as your birthday should be beautiful
beauty itself means you should want to prolong it
as in Stay, birthday. Stay, little Valentine, stay. Each day is David’s
So here is the rub: Prolonging the beautiful means that I am sending you
a late card it seems, but only late to those who don’t stay up with their
and prolong and prolong and when we are so pro-life that we don’t know the
between David and David, between good and evil, Mordechai and David,
then we know we are celebrating something secular sacred and beautiful.
How often can I use that wretched word? As many times as will prolong this
My wife asks: Are you MUCH younger than me?
Every year we take our breath and hold our breath to prolong our breath.
   the birthday    best of all

 — David Shapiro
June 12, 2009

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