The ProsenPeople

Melissa Broder’s Pen Pal #2

Friday, January 29, 2010| Permalink

In her last posts, Melissa Broder conducted a “Jewish vs. Goyish litmus test” for the year in review, shared the B-Sides of her forthcoming When You Say One Thing but Mean Your Mother (Feb. 6), imagined being in Hebrew School with John Stewart, Bob Dylan, and Rahm Emanuel, and wrote her pen pal Esther Schwebel.

Dear god,

Help me remember to approach you laughing, like our friend Tevye the milkman.

Researchers are investigating the science of happiness. PBS is documenting the findings, and they involve California.

Help me remember that I don’t need to sit perfect lotus, farting Braggs amino acids at an Ojai mountain retreat, to know the nearness of you. I pray on subways.

Help me remember Topanga Canyon is no holier than Jay Street; that Yoga Journal and Us Weekly are both magazines.

Somehow, my people found you in ghettos, eating miltz and schmaltz. Later you blessed them with cole slaw and corned beef.

This summer I ate meat on the sly for a week. Bless me too.

Yours truly,


Melissa Broder is the author of When You Say One Thing but Mean Your Mother. She is the curator of the Polestar Poetry Series and the Chief Editor of La Petite Zine. She is the winner of the Jerome Lowell Dejur Award and the Stark Prize for Poetry. Broder received her BA from Tufts University and is currently in the MFA program at the CCNY. By day, she works as a literary publicist. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including: Opium, Shampoo, Conte and The Del Sol Review. She lives in Brooklyn. Visit her website

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