Imagine a full house, two rooms in the intimate Jerusalem coffee house, Tmol Shilshom (meaning Yesterday, the Day Before in Hebrew), hidden in a nook at the end of a narrow alley.
It’s night fall, chill, a light mist of rain, only 15 poets reading their poetry, the rest lovers of poetry or poets. Tables packed so dense and people sitting on the floor between them, there was barely enough room to slip between them.
Ira advised the poets to “eat the microphone”. Turned out to be good advice because it allowed one to speak low and soft, but still be heard in the farthest reaches. Shakshuka (Middle Eastern version of huevos rancheros) and beer, poetry, and thou, ‘twould be enou’ for me.
Thanks to Bar Ilan University and Ira Director for sponsoring a genesis and ingathering of English language poets a hundred cubits from God’s bellybutton.
Without further ado, these are the poems I read…
|Raanana, September 29, 2011|
Ostensibly it was about the child
Or was it the old man
Something he said at the time
I wish I could remember
Not that it makes any difference now.
How many years has it been?
Something about specific ambiguities
Or was it static ambiguities?
Like the San Francisco fog
Moving in off the bay toward the city
And standing there thick and corpulent
For hours until the sun gets
High enough in the sky to burn it off.
What did he mean by that?
He had a knack for saying things like that.
I think he said them not for the meaning
But for the sounds of the words.
He once said words were not something
Hollow you could look through to see
The true meaning of a thing.
He said one word could never
Mean another word
Just like a snowflake could never
Mean another snowflake.
A Poem Unwritten
|Raanana, March 9, 2012|
No one has ever written a poem about a poem unwritten
Of the many virtues of such a poem
The perfect meter of noambic nometer
The clarity and minimalism leave
Even haiku silent with envy.
The language of silence is universal
Requiring no translation.
It will be unread by billions!
It’s amazing that no one has thought of it,
No one and I.
Dreams of Rocks
|Raanana, April 9, 2012|
Do rocks dream dreams of streams and lakes,
Dreams of children running around them
In ancient squeals of Hide and Seek,
Dreams of lovers meeting secretly,
Pressed against in secret love,
Dreams of double sunsets and billowing clouds?
Do rocks dream dreams of human history,
Of human hopes,
Or do rocks only dream
Dreams of dust and sand,
Of desiccated ghosts
And time’s empty measure?
Walking to the Moon
|Raanana, September 1, 2012|
Sometimes you have to walk a poem
To see the shadows of it go in front of you
And then behind you,
A funny kind of locomotion
Walking crablike, orthogonally.
It’s been so long since I’ve written,
You must have thought I’d forgotten,
If you thought about me at all.
No, I hadn’t. Couldn’t. Ever.
These were the dimensions of your loveliness,
The smell of sunlight on a field of wheat in your hair,
The cool touch of my rough hand on your soft thigh,
The vibrations of your voice as your meaning dances across it,
But the publicity of your smile
For all around you to see,
Not just for me,
Meant the sunlight soft vibrations of you
Might as well be like walking to the moon.
Don’t Go Zen (a sonnet)
|Raanana, September 18, 2012|
Don’t go all Zen on me he said.
It’s my life and death
If I choose to take a breath
Or not, my choice she responded.
There’s time enough for that.
There’re too many attachments in my life,
It’s much too cluttered, I need a knife
To slice away the glut
Of things, of people, and me.
There’s time enough for all that,
But not just yet. The sunset,
Your eyes through which flow the sea,
It’s you that makes the sea lovely,
Without you it’s only a sea.
Audio versions of my poems:
- Leah Gottesman
- Ruth Fogelman
- Mike Stone – Stanza
- Channah Magori
- Adi Albala
- joanna chen
- Mark Joseph
- Wendy Blumfield – Voices
- Karen Alkalay-Gut – TAU & IAWE
- Ross Weissman
- Jillian Jones – helped with promotion
- Miriam Green
- Merav Fima
- Lonnie Monka
- Ira Director