The Debt Collector






Dominus noster

Are you a relative of _________

Jesus Christus te absolvat

For reasons I can’t disclose

Et ego auctoritate ipsiute

Absolve absolve in the form of

x dollar amount

Amen amen omeyn


Deus pater misericordiárum

Are you a relative of _________

The loneliest person on my list

Are you able to answer a few questions

Are you sacramentally valid

Are you aware that your debt exceeds

137,063.00-dollar amounts and

Are you able to pay 10%

in the next 3-6 years

or while your debt is still delinquent

Te absolve te absolute te absolutely








Before continuing with this poem

Please sign your name here _________

Please place any excess voices here _________

By reading this poem you agree to:

(1)  Set aside any delusion you might carry

regarding the state of your existence, and

(2)  Complete the required task of emotions

demanded by you throughout the process

of engaging in such a reading practice

regardless of race      religion       gender

class       sex       ability        comprehension 

of terminology   food and/or drink consumption

overdue bills        cortisone levels; and

(3)  Suspend all notions of belief in order to

(4)  Absolve this author at the point of completion

                 Amen amen omeyn omeyn omeyn








Ooooooh ooooh ooooh

Says my undisclosed relative

perpetually indebted to private collections

& the State

I am so fat

I am so fat

I need an exorcism.


Do you mean exercise?


No no no no she says

I need an exorcism

I am a skinny soul

In a fat person’s body








My undisclosed relatives called and called

The year Christmas and Chanukah fell on the same day


I don’t want to be alone for the holidays

My answering machine said

I don’t want to be alone


Can you call me back?

Call me back when you get a chance

I’m trying to reach you

It’s urgent

I don’t want to alarm you

But they’ve gotten to our airwaves

Killed off our family

Member by member

And I wanted to make sure

You were okay

Please pick up

When you get a chance please

I’ve been phoning you for some time now

It’s not urgent it’s just an emergency

There’s no love like family, you see

I can’t be alone on the holidays this year








My undisclosed body carries

The imprint of inbreeding

The heartbeat of a thousand voices

My pulse beating beneath the pillow

into my ear as I fall asleep


What do you call it when you get

A family without variety

seven schizophrenics, four manic depressives

three messiahs but mostly Jews and

One who can’t stop absolving herself at a church?

A lifetime of unpaid debt!

I never really know

who’s really on the phone

Amen amen omeyn omeyn omeyn


When do you get when you can’t find a rabbi

And you go into the church

And the priest says, you have it!

Forgiveness, forgiveness!

Two weeks later he dies

In the church, there’s his casket

He has no family, they say

He’s a ward of the state, they say

Amen amen amen omeyn omeyn


From forehead to shoulders to

The flesh between your thighs

From paperwork you were born

And to paperwork you shall return








Terms and Conditions for Reading the Final Portions of this Poem:


A.   Reader must grant the author with complete benefit of the doubt;

A1. Reader considers author to be of mostly kind intentions or

A2. To be at least mostly kind


B.    Reader suspends all belief in god or mental illness during discussions about

undisclosed Blood Relations (from here on referred to as “subject”)

and assumes no relation to Me (from here on referred to as “author”)

and assumes no affection or disaffection on the part of author towards subject

with the following exceptions:

B1. Sentiments are framed within the context of believable confession

B2. Persons or scenarios described resemble real or fictitious resonances

in reader’s own life in which case the author pretends no responsibility over

associations         bodily fluids         or otherwise violent responses as a result of

engagement with said poem (from here on referred to as “truthful confessions

made in unintentionally bad faith”)








Author and subject bear bloody resemblance

But the truthful confessions made in unintentionally

bad faith wishes to conceal such relationships

Due to the intensive shame felt by author

Who is incapable of suspending belief in god

Or crazy people or both

Who leaves her lonely loved ones subjected to the hands of

Debt collectors   trained psychiatrists   agents of the state   absolution


At this time please understand  

My incapacity for familial emotion

I have yet to find a convincing reason

To care for another human being

I have not yet learned to love purely

Based on accidents of birth or the other

Human’s disgustingly obvious need


I would like to request an exorcism

As a merciless soul

In a merciful body






Addendum to previous confession


(Neither the author nor her subjects can afford an exorcism)







Once I sat across from a loved one on the train

For at least five minutes

Before I realized it was my own family messiah

Inbred with the same failing blood

So accustomed I was

To glazing over certain bodies

So self explained it seemed, her existence alone


When I realized the four bags on the woman

Belonged to the daughter of my grandmother

Who was the sister of my mother

I sat beside her on the train until we pulled

Through all the intestines of the subway


I thought, she is just like anyone else

Like I am just like anyone else

Like anyone is just like anyone else like anyone

is just like anyone else

And the voices in her head said amen

Amen omeyn omeyn we are just like

Anyone else like anyone else is like anyone else






Confession (Viduy)


At the very last moments, all present, including the person themselves (if possible), recite the following passages aloud, and with intense concentration:


Osham-nu, bogadnu, gozalnu

                             When they die will it be because of me?

Dibarnu dofi. He-evinu, v’hirsha-nu

                             When they file away

                             dollar sum bodies full of debt

Zad-nu, chomas-nu, tofal’nu sheker

                             Will I stand as witness

Yo-atznu ro, kizanu, latznu

                             or will it be my place

                             to look away?


When reciting the next few words, please ask all the children to leave the room:


Morad-nu, ni-atznu, sorarnu, ovinu


                             It is not their time yet to know such death


Posha-nu, tzorarnu, ki-shinu oref


                             It is not their time to know such suffering