Thursday, September 01, 2005


A young writer once spent a short period in jail
For a crime that he didn't commit
And which was not even considered a crime
During that time he didn't write anything
But short pieces of poetry and a mediocre journal
Which in anycase were lost or forgotten somewhere
Yet he promised many a thing to life
Such as not wasting time, a productive life
And back to freedom again there he was
Still writing but nothing at all
In front of a screen, as dead empty the night was
Looking for endeavours, encores and demeaneours
He didn't lust for a night of passion, or a man
Rather for a certain specific night
All too well he remembered that
Yet that night wasn't to be found
Except in memories, or in a blackhole
A night that no one would ever remember
But the four walls of this bedroom
Stagnant with alcohol and smoke
Distractions, aloof, love

The young hormones in his body
Always performed exceedingly their job
Not taking into account
Whatsoever soul or heart
Afterall they were programmed by God
And the intervention of the writer was unnecessary
And disregarded at all
As he scrolled up and down
That night he didn't find
Perhaps an arm looked quite the same
An eye perhaps knowing
And maybe that leg or that sculputured chest
Would resemble someone's death
Or his entanglements
With such other man
But it would never be the same
Their faces would be all the same
Unresponsive to the writer's language
And thoroughly focused on his body though
So young, so kind, unwound

Such would be his days
Completely forgetting themselves
And even that night
While pursuing other things
A life perhaps
A day
With a lover
A book, if not
And the writer was a religious man
Yet unfaithful, treacherous deceiving
Above all to himself
The cosmopolitan liberal
Bastard of the immorality
Dweller of sin
And knowingly so
But out of contempt
He embraced the cult
To make himself feel better
And even at times
Somebody else
Unentangled with those men
Turbulent past, with brilliance
With poise
Right before each of these pursuances
He would remind himself
What the Bible tells
Not in regard to men laying with men
For he would practice sex standing up
Being as law-abiding as he was
Even sitting
What would mistake?
He was rather concerned with the self
That had been forsaken at night
Or actually that night
And although he would have by now
Entangled at least a dozen of those
The young writer didn't think
He had to behave all the same
Even when he didn't find the behaviour regretful
Yet admirable
For someone who is in love
For someone in need of comfort

He would recite to himself poems
And dream about those days of old
Even perhaps cry
When no one was around
That included the wind
And also God
And would sink in prayers
And other mused mumblings
As to keep himself uptight
Devoid of filth
Uncircunvented by sores
Sweating at night
Almost bleeding
That innermost zeal of desire

That same day
The other young man would pick up the phone
And except a religious man in the other end
Someone who would understand
Who could relate
To the cages they would both build
Who would compromise to suffer
But together
The mercilessness of the God
That they themselves chose
And the writer was in need of companion
Or perhaps just physical warmth
A conversation
A new role
Other than vindication
Other than incredulity
Lack of conviction
Something superficial
Something to flash down the toilet

Both would be disappointed
And soon the conversation
Would turn into a monologue
In which nothing would seize
And no one would redeem
No one would gain anything
As the writer kept talking
The religious man paid attention
Trying to locate his God
Among the blissful speeches of the intellectual
And the writer on his part
Would listen to his silences
Trying to locate in their wounds
An arm or perhaps an elbow of his friend
The one to whom that night belonged
The night he was looking for

"I had different expectations"
They mumbled almost in choir
And decided to end the call
Without knowing their names
Or figuring out their face
Their frustration wasn't only nameless
But also faceless as justice
Or perhaps God
One sank in frustration
Caused more by his inner desire
To possess a body
And the other would claim satisfaction
Because now there were no excuses to sin
Nothing the heart would crave for
The writer had always fantasized about black and white
And those predictable innocent men
With their thighs and their curves
Untouched by fashion or steel
Infatuated in their oblivion of the facts
And the religious man dreamt of that cosmopolitan
Not afraid of sin or love
Defiant and overtly brave
Carressing and strong

How ironic
They thought
Such a moron!
And in oblivion
Once again
Their conversations flank

But twentythree days later
They would sit on a plane
Almost next to each other
Chasing their own eyes
From behind their newspapers
And the nun that stood in between them
And their curiosity would lead them to the toilets
Where the religious man would crave
And the writer would turn him down

Each one had a different version
For the writer it was not only a plane
It was the end of a struggle
And time to unwind, to reveal
For he would retrieve that night
That one he had forgotten
In veils of mystery
The one that would bring him to his destination
And the one that took him out of Jerusalem
Boarding an EL AL plane
For the religious man
It was his only chance
Right before seeing again mom and dad
And meeting his future bride
And mother of kids
And although this man
No longer remembered that call
He hated the young writer
And wept in silence the deceit
And his abettor
Returned to his seat
And drowned in sleep
The frustrated man swore hate
But it was his fault after all
Why did he hang up the phone?
The streets of New York City
Would obliterate the story
And no one recalled it no more
It wasn't even a story
But more like a curiosity
Only a writer could benefit from

Twenty years later
The religious man boarded a plane
That would take him back to Jerusalem
And accidentally
He would make love to a man in the toilet
And it wasn't because of newspapers
But because of his daughter
Who made him notice the strange looks of that man
And following the conversation
Both of them entangled their go

The other man turned out to be a Russian doctor
Who was travelling to Jerusalem
To join a mourner's remeberance
Conemorating the five years
Ever since the writer would commit suicide
From a low building in Jerusalem
And the woman sitting in between them
Wouldn't be now a nun
But his own wife
The one that watched the lawyer jumping off from the building
And lost on her way to Staten Island
But the Russian doctor and the wife
Wouldn't remember the phone call.


In my tower of guilt
Deepends the northernmost black forest
Covered with sand, unravelled by time
Bathes in sweat
Of formerly unknown guilt
Reveals smooth secrets
With parafine eyes
Retrieves those mornings
Of pink-fingered lust
Of avowed heathenism
The pleasure of hearths
Drunken from their souls
Embracing their death
Treating her to sweets
Smoothing themselves
In urban ponderings
In resentless infatuations
Motionless procrastinations
As morning hovers on
With mellowing smiles
Product of older sorrows
From far off removed lands
From younger hearts
Pointing in their direction
A fountain of love
Vitaly, imagination
Smelling that maze of momenta
Thwarting beneath glasses of vodka
Sweeping through my veins
Making me feel somehow else
Somebody else
As if telephones wouldn't falter
As if my words would matter
Prisoner in my tower of guilt
I long without belonging
I long for my very own skin
For my filth
For my self-centered obsession
In the eyes of the stranger
In the eyes of those mornings
Embracing myself
Caressing my childhood
Bales of hay
As his arms struck by
With some hesitation
Journeying through my pasts
Peacefully tearing apart
Forgetting my name
Forgetting myself
Wound up
In my roads
Yet unwilling to give up
Daydreaming by night
Clinging onto him
Logically excluded
It matters no more
When will you smile?
Are the rains over?
I ain't sad
Acheing, it's just that.

Zelda, comrade

I´m the silver candlestick, the candle, the void in the empty dark(*)
Without the light I seemed to resemble
The winds fetch me waters in the roads
Beneath a sickly bulb, flooding in sad light
Mellowing these words that are feeble
Watering sorrow and disgrace
Watering childhood, even doubt
Falling on my own flesh
Looking outside
Recreating those pasts I never told
Not even to myself
Not even to my soul
In those letters you never sent me
But that I remember as well
Not for their precision of words I longed
But for those gray and mellow papers
Dust-smelling envelopes, souvenirs
My lust, my love, a silent light in the void
In the empty dark
In those eyes of mine that aren´t younger
In those eyes of mine that weren´t happier
Blurred as dew that hinders on the fog
Calm breathless Jewish eyes
Perhaps such as the sight of God
Deaf in their numbness, deliberately
Echoeing in timeless tawdriness
In bitter glasses of history
Drunken from their contempt
Driven out of their lives
Constantly hanging in space
Perhaps it still sparks, too
With a glass of schnapps
And I´m the silver candlestick, the candle and the voidin the empty dark
My dying light is outside
Craving in outrage
In the streets, past an alley
Somewhere in New York, perhaps still in Jerusalem.

(*) Thanks to Amos Oz for his book "A tale of love and darkness" that contains a chapter about the poetess Zelda Shneerson, and to Vitaly Usherenko for the inspiration on this poem.


בימים ההם
ברחובות של ירושלים
הוא לא נשאר
ואף פעם, אותו
הירח לא
אינו זוכר אותו
אף מילה, לא אפילו
אף פעם
למרות זיו פניו
כאילו הציונות
הוא נדחף מכאן
כבלילה הזה
הקיר בוכה
בוכים ההרים לידיו
נשמתו השטופה
חיוכו המסקרן
דבריו, המעורבים
רובם, נדחפו מכאן
יצאו הימה
בדידותו, המזמרת
אל תוך הלילה ברחה
כעסה עליו
מהחוף קפצה
אפ מילה, אינה אמרה
דפים שקטים מתחת השמים
עמוקים כאילו ידיו
נכתבו את עצמם ללא מילה
בוכים הקירות, אפילו מחר
פחדני, האור אפילו
בעניו, מעבר הימה
במדינה זרה, מסתור
לבדו עם עצמו
בלילה בוכה, מבלי לבכות
יושן, מבלי לישון
על עצמו לספר ידע
Written on the Swiss National Day. August 1st 2005. Jerusalem.


האם אראה אותך שוב
איני יודע
אבל אולי כדאי לנו יותר
בדרך זו
למרות עצמנו
ואיך הימים מתגלגלים
ע"י אלהים
אני סלה בהאמתינה
עם החיים
מחכה למכתביך
כאילו פעם הראשונה
אני מתיישב
ומתפלא על עצמי
בעניים קטנות
אל תוך פניך
השתיקה, למרות
מנסה להתמודד עם המרחק
ועדיין איני רואה את יום הבא
שבו אני אתיישב לידך
בחושך אורי
המספר סיפורי חסידים
מתחת עורך
והאם אין מחר
זה לנו לא ידוע
אל תהיה עצוב בכל מצב
אפילו פעם אחד
אני תמיד אכתוב לך
על המקומות הנהדרים
שבהם לא בלנו אף פעם
ואתה בעצמך
תזכור בחיוחך
כל אשר לא היה
המדבר, הירח, צפת
אשר אניך ראית
על פני הקרבים
מלאים חוסר מילים
חוסר אחריות
על חיים
תחשוב על זה, ילד
שיהיה טוב כבר
שתעלה עם המצב
עוד פעם
תגיע כבר
ונזכר אז כאלה ימים
שבהם על עמתך לספר ידעת
השטוף באור, תמיד אתה
מעל החושך
אני אתעלם מבלי לדעת
האם פעם תראה את הכוכבים
ברחובות של צפת
ואל תשכח
בדיוק כדאמרת פעם
ואף פעם לא להתראות