My Heart is in the East

By Rick Lupert creator of the Poetry Super Highway, a major internet resource for poets. See below for full bio. This poem is cross-posted at

My heart is in the East
My heart has always been in the east

Once on a trip to New York City, I visited
the old Jewish neighborhoods in the Lower East Side

When the Jews moved to New York City, they gravitated
towards the east their hearts were in the east

On another trip, to London, I took a walking tour of
its old Jewish neighborhood also in the east of that city

When Jews came to London, they also settled in its East
Their hearts are in the east

No matter how far west we’ve been sent,
we always situate ourselves in the East Our hearts are in the east

When I took students to Israel, to show them the place for the first time
They thought they were bringing their hearts with them

Weren’t they surprised to find them already there
beating on the tarmac of Lod,

growing out of the soil under the trees illuminating the golden stone,
Their hearts are in the east

My heart is in the east in the faces of the sabras, in the weight
of the desert rocks, in the sweetness of its fruit

My heart is with them, in the east these impossible beings
living every day just to live.

My heart in the east pays no attention to the lines which separate
this neighborhood from that one.

My heart in the east ignores the obscene barriers
constructed to separate human from human

My heart in the east is an open tent, my family home,
I’ll gladly share with anyone proclaiming peace as their anthem

My heart was in the east in the beginning, when they invented the east
When God said, Hey, why not check out the east, I’ll make it worth your while

My heart is in the east tomorrow, where time has no meaning

the heat and the cold hold hands, where our history is our memory

At this moment,
my heart is in the east

When I am in Los Angeles, I am in the east
When I am in Oconomowoc, I am in the east

My heart is always in the East. Sometimes I visit it (and)
Listen to it beat to the beautiful silence of the Sabbath streets


Rick Lupert has been involved in the Los Angeles poetry community since 1990. He served for two years as a co-director of the Valley Contemporary Poets, a twenty-five year old non-profit organization which produces a readings and publications out of the San Fernando Valley. His poetry has appeared in numerous magazines and literary journals, including The Los Angeles Times, Chiron Review, Stirring,, Zuzu’s Petals, Caffeine Magazine, Blue Satellite and others. He recently edited A Poet’s Haggadah: Passover through the Eyes of Poets anthology and is the author of 11 books: Paris: It’s The Cheese, I Am My Own Orange County, Mowing Fargo, I’m a Jew. Are You?, Stolen Mummies, I’d Like to Bake Your Goods, A Man With No Teeth Serves Us Breakfast, (Ain’t Got No Press), Lizard King of the Laundromat, Brendan Constantine is My Kind of Town (Inevitable Press), Feeding Holy Cats and Up Liberty’s Skirt (Cassowary Press). He serves on the Artist and Community Advisory Council of Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, California. (Though he’s not sure how that happened or what it means.) He has hosted the long running Cobalt Café reading series in Canoga Park since 1994 and is regularly featured at venues throughout Southern California. Rick created and maintains the Poetry Super Highway, a major internet resource for poets. ( Currently Rick works as the music teacher and graphic and web designer for Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge, CA and for anyone who would like to help pay his mortgage.

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