Ballad of the Middle of the Twenty First Century
(with thanks to Serge Gainsbourg and Danny Blair Shwed Jones Grossman for the inspiration)
I peek at her white body and at that other one standing beside her,
her body shrivels from him, and her spirit sings a gentle song versed by her fancy.
So, the Botticelli painting stands in my bathroom
the orange with the black stains of mold.
Her colors don’t fade,
the light shatters on her body,
only her clothes shrivel
and get wet on the old floor tiles.
I look at her and him from afar
like a grownup peeking into his childhood,
and my mind captures photos with a rare camera
that you can’t buy
despite all the advanced technology of the age.
The bathroom colors the painting
with wet orange, and that other one cowers from the holy
water, under the mold.
On the walls little angels and fairies,
dance around her only.
After washing her hair,
she’s busy drying
while that other one
chews the fat
with her shadow.
The smell of her hair knocks me down from the peeking stance,
that other comes right over to see where the racket came from
and then right in front of my eyes, from my hiding place,
his goat’s feet come into view with the terrible smell.
The movements of her towel are so gentle,
that the bathtub itself wants to get up and make love to her
without penetration, just a sequence of touch after touch
stringing together a pleasantperverse feeling.
I look at her white body and at that other one standing next to her
I get hard from her and from him.
And this is the angel of death
that is competing with me for her love
and I have no way to beat him
but to die at her feet
for her to come to me
and my arms to be weaved into hers.
This poem was published first on Scar Minimizer (Tel-Aviv: Gwanim Publishers, 2001) and then on “Märchenland: Die beteiligten Autoren setzten sich mit den Märchen der Gebrüder Grimm auseinander, brachten ihre prosaische Form auf eine lyrische Ebene und begaben sich in die mitunter ambivalenten Bereiche des kulturellen Gedächtnisses in Deutschland und Israel.”
“City and Fears”, Eli Eliahu (Am-Oved Publishers, 2011) 85 Page
“City and panics” is Eli Eliahu’s second book of poetry. In it he explores man’s universal experience through poetic language. In the poem ‘Storm’ (10), he likens himself to Elijah, Jonah’s prophet but in this role of poet-prophet he cannot overcome the gap between the particular narrative in question, and the universality he hopes to convey. Eliahu engages with the unique characteristics of life but they fail to provide him with tranquility. Among these elements are his young daughter’s voice, signs of his economic struggle as a poet, his memories of Iraqi parents, and his longing for his dead father.
The title “City and fears” is taken from Jeremiah 15:8: “Their widows are multiplied to me above the sand of the seas: I have brought upon them against the mother of the young men a spoiler at noon-day: I have caused him to fall upon it suddenly and terrors upon the city”.
The first poem of the book (the last stanza) Eliahu finds itself a miracle mission: “Now the road stretches in the moonlight I / fugitive mission, prevents fuel charge / of childhood, God the past, the fading / flashlight beam on the run, a miracle is to come “(The song” Escape “, page 7). He is afraid to repeat the mistakes that he experienced as a child.
The poems trying to create a universal language, and therefore hardly includes any specific locations. It speaks in the voice of the universal man. Nevertheless, the biographical element cannot be eliminated, and it reemerges and announces its presence. The song “History”: “For this house, / villages were emptied of their inhabitants, / wells were blocked, sheep / scattered / / for this house / people forgot / their mother tongue” (p. 64). The poem can be read as the story of Arab citizens in Israel, but when we look at the transition between the second and third stanza, we discover that he is really talking about the memory of his family and friends- the same sad erasure of the Iraqi language.
Eliahu ‘s flight is reflected throughout the book, like Jeremiah’s prophecy about the future. But just when he escapes an infinite future, Eliahu’s poems draw us back in, tying together the the universal and the unique.
 Webster’s Bible translation captures the Hebrew meaning of “City and fears”
The Painted Bird / Eli Eliahu
I did not hit the old man whose frock was stained with blood,
and it was not I who shot the person standing on the Mosque’s roof clutching a brick.
In the tank’s hull I read “The Painted Bird” and in the guarding post
I wrote poetry (only death, I knew, could spring one free from the written line).
But in the nights I was covered in terrible shame, my soul was bound
in the bundle of guilt, and fear gnawed like a famished rat. It’s a good thing
there was love, at least, as in someone to ring, and to listen to
Tel-Aviv laughing through her, like a child unaware of its mortality.
From Hebrew: Daniel oz
Thank you all for all the love you showed me in my 40 birthday! May god bless you all and bring justice, equality and freedom (especially to Palestine)
Here is a poem i wrote after TLV mayor neo-liberal, white, arrogant Ron Huldai threw away the Ha’Tikva tents where homeless and poor people were living. it was last year. I among hundreds of social activists protest around the mayor offices in the middle of Tel Aviv. Actually I embedded some of my reading of the poem in different protest and poetry events (Also you can help me in translation – here is the Hebrew version).
They drove out our hope | mati shemoelof
They drove out our hope, and threw my children into the street
They drove out our hope, and we paid the price
They drove out our hope, for a “green” forest
They drove out our hope, and left no medicine for my sick father and mother
They drove out our hope, and the shame, they even took the shame
They drove out our hope, and the mayor said: “Communists, parasites” and built another luxury tower
They drove out our hope, and just bought a white dog a new kennel
They drove out our hope, and threw us out into the cold
They drove out our hope; another ship sank in the blood
They drove out our hope, while the Captain celebrated and perforates the lifeboats
They drove out our hope, it’s colder outside than last year
They drove out our hope, and a drug addict lost his home and his song
They drove out our hope, with bullshit, drugs, and lies to the masses
They drove out our hope, and told us that salvation would come but instead they tortured us
They drove out our hope, with police threats, brutal arrests, and without police tags
They drove out our hope, and it’s hard to understand those who celebrate
They drove out our hope, they opened my eyes
They drove out our hope, they took away my poetry
They drove out our hope, they fed my lice
They drove out our hope, they took away my guardian angels
They drove out our hope, but you’re tired and don’t want to suffer social pains
They drove out our hope, and threw our children into the street
They drove out our hope, but the truth refuses to leave
They drove out our hope, but they can’t expel our hopes
They drove out our hope but hope stayed with us
(thanks to Moriel Rotman and Rachel Harris for thier help)