"Slap Me Five"

"Slap Me Five"

"Slap Me Five"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Jan. 15 2002 3:58 PM

Slap Me Five

To hear James Reiss reading "Slap Me Five," click here. I believe in the separation of Church & State as fervently as our Founding Fathers. But the five Bible verses that each kid read aloud before our class recited The Lord's Prayer in home room every day in Hillsdale, New Jersey let me learn such ravishing Jacobean English that today I feel like King James at my keyboard, writing, "Behold, it is a high-cirrus morning; the sky is white."

No longer a fifth-grader—my hair's getting white—
I'm not about to launch a theocracy
& turn my college classes into Christian
gab fests, much less Jewish megillahs.
But when I jog at dawn I think, "My God,
five miles lie before me like five hundred
lines of poetry I learned before I knew
I would be running with the poets who
give us this day our dose of old New Jersey."

James  Reiss' most recent book is Riff on Six: New and Selected Poems. His novel, Façade for a Penny Arcade, is forthcoming in 2008.