Tag Archives: poetry reading

Poets for Peace and Change

Tmol Shilshom (Those were the Days)

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

You see

The thing about


Is that

The little things

Walking Daisy

Buying milk

Giving directions

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.

Three Haiku

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

Raanana Israel

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Bitter Sweet

Here is the second poem. Although I try to avoid writing poems about poetry, I find myself returning to violate that rule many times lately, feeling that they are somehow legitimate exceptions to the rule.  See what you think.


They’re in that room behind the curtain

Reading their poems and playing their guitars.

The young girls are so pretty they make my heart ache,

The young men, it looks so easy for them.

I could go in, order a beer, sit down,

And listen to a poem or two,

But for what?

I don’t understand what they’re saying.


Walking out into the cold night air,

Looking in the glass windows,

My hands in my pockets.

What would I write about?

The garbage cans overfilled and tipped over?

The “fuck yous” on the urinated walls?

The drunken men curled up on their cardboards

Wrapped in the warmth of newspaper?

The sirens from the next street over?

What would I write about?


I used to have a job,

Usta have a friend,

Usta have a wife and kid,

Usta have some books and things.

Usta, usta, usta.


Life is silenter without a job,

Life is cleaner without friends,

Life is freer without a family,

Life is less encumbered without things,

Isn’t it?

Mike Stone

Raanana Israel

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