Tmol Shilshom (Those were the Days)
These are the poems for you to follow along that I will be reading at the poetry event with the international organization “100 Thousand Poets for Change: Peace, sustainability, and social justice” October 27th 2015 if time permits:
Back to the Future
|Raanana, October 21, 2015, 07:28
The thing about
The little things
Boarding a bus
Going to a poetry reading
With only the poems
Protecting your heart
What is Beauty for?
|Raanana, October 18, 2015
Don’t tell me there’s no connection
Between physical beauty and
The beauty of your soul.
What is physical beauty for
If not to hint at spiritual beauty?
Better you had hidden your loveliness
Behind some formless burqa
So we wouldn’t trust you.
I saw a photograph of you
So young and lovely
Before she shot and killed you,
A young and pretty soldier
They don’t show her face
I only saw her long blonde hair
Before you came up to her
With your open friendly face
And asked her where some street
On some map was
She apologized for not knowing where
Before you pulled out your long knife
From the folds of your robe
And lunged at her
Allahu akbar in your heart
But met your maker halfway
In death’s banal pornography.
I’m an old man
Don’t lie to me
I might have understood
Had evil hiding in your soul
Raised its ugly head instead of yours.
What were the last thoughts
Passing through your mind?
Did you think they’d carry you
As a martyr on their shoulders
All the way to Jannah?
Life goes on among your people
As it goes on for us
Already discarded as yesterday’s news
With only one old poet to lament
The waste of youthful beauty.
A Tale of Two Cities
|Raanana, October 9, 2015
It was the blessed of cities
It was the cursed of cities,
A city located halfway between heaven and earth
And a city halfway between earth and hell,
A city where stones are cool and soft
From evening breezes and countless feet
A city where stones are hot with blood
And sharp with crashing down on heads,
A city purchased with the blood of David
From Jebusites for more than it was worth,
A city worth more today than the blood of all our children,
One city’s Mount Moriah where Isaac was bound for sacrifice
Another’s Al-Masjid al-Aqsa where Mohammed ascended,
A city protected by youthful soldiers
And a city defiled by youthful soldiers,
Jerusalem the capital of Israel
And al-Quds the capital of Palestine
But in truth the capital of no earthly nation,
A city twice destroyed
A city indestructible,
A city about which everything said is true
And one about which nothing said is true.
By the River Jordan
|Raanana, August 5, 2015
Once upon a time forgotten,
Or so they say,
God walked alongside Abraham
On goat paths crisscrossing mountains
When they were still new and green,
When Moriah was not yet named.
But sometime later God took his angels
And his box of miracles to his bosom
Leaving us to our own devices,
Existentialism and science.
Perhaps because our faith was not enough,
Because we understood the letter
And not the spirit,
Because His creation could not create
But only destroy itself,
He left us to ourselves.
We fought our enemies oh so bravely
But, when the enemy was ourselves, capitulated.
Now we live in a moral flatland,
Two dimensional creatures on a yellowing page
Without height or depth.
We kill because we can,
We hate and hatred makes a home of death.
By the River Jordan,
By the caves of Qumran,
By the hills of Jerusalem,
We lay down and wept for thee Zion.
|Raanana, October 16, 2015
Many years ago
Shortly after I came to this country
One drizzling January
Near the border
I was patrolling with my rifle
Slung on my shoulder
Left hand cupping the stock
And right hand over the trigger
The red mud they call hamra
Was up to my knees
And made a smooching sound
As I lifted one leg out
And put it back in
Making slow progress
Towards the southern hills
And I remember thinking
How much I was like a plant
With my legs rooted in the mud
Like some sad eucalyptus
Or weeping willow
How I wished I could have pulled up my roots
And put them down somewhere else
If only for a little while
Perhaps in one of their villages
Blocked by our walls and soldiers
And their muezzin’s calls for jihad
From hope on this earth
And I wondered what if any poetry
I would have written with roots
In such a place
But then I think it doesn’t matter
Where you come from
So much as where you’re going.
|Raanana, June 26, 2015
One hundred thousand
Cicadas for change buzzing
On a summer night.
How many poems
Burning on a summer night
To reach my dead love?
Half buried Buddha
Brings peace to my small garden
But not to my heart.
The Law of the Desert
|Raanana, July 7, 2014
We say that we follow God
But we are only following our own nature.
This is not a poem, but a prophecy:
Cover your mouth and your eyes,
For there will be an eye for an eye
And a tooth for a tooth
Until we are all toothless and blind.
— Mike Stone