NIGHT OF WAR 1
The flesh enmeshed in a cover of memories
sewn of dreams and actuality.
Plastic‑coating history with myth, I fill the scene
with military cabins humming with radar and communication equipment.
In the yard, five round women disclose their breasts.
I watch them in longing from my window. As if in a deserted land.
Like a foetus relearning his swimming movements on land.
The careful house wears a condom. But between the plastic and the walls
a thin crack of desire shows. What do I care for the mask:
If they were with me right now, I'd sleep with all the men and women
in the world, with the certain passion of propagation, sperm, yearning,
madness. Just don't hold me to my word. In fact, so what if I
exaggerate. Ten minutes to the news. Enough time even to jerk off.
NIGHT OF WAR 2
I'd decided to stop the tide,
to accept us both as a fact.
To give up on my questions. To swallow
my fears of being left in love.
In the midst of this the war broke out.
Terror‑struck I left your arms for a woman.
I slept between her breasts. "You're like
my girlfriend," she said. "And you
are like Uri," I whispered to her belly.
We coupled until before the bombs.
When she left, some friends came by and stayed with me
in the flood of telephone awakenings that landed
with the morning missile on the people of Israel.
All these filled me up.
I was gathered into myself, but
think of you many times a day.
Now I gather heat in the timefreeze
in a plastic tent, waiting for you
to renew the ruins of our love.
NIGHT OF WAR 3
We sat for hours in the shelter
until the missile that stormed our home
The woman author talked with the weary whore,
my neighbor the actress with my neighbor the widow.
The terrified gallery owner stared at
the jachnoon seller, who forced her mouth to sing.
When the border‑control announced that all was well
we all walked home
everyone and his mask.
At night I woke opposite the painting sun
which decapitated a wealth of colors on the sky canvas
I gathered light in my hand, and bowed to him in thanks
After that I closed my eyes
and left my body, far away, to Kedumim
just to stroke your face
in astral love
And to be seen before you, if not nude
at least adorned with light. I smiled.
You felt me. It only seemed to you
that your longings drew me out of your memory, from the distance.
NIGHT OF WAR 4
The root of evil is not in the seed.
It is buried deep in the knowledge‑bank.
Cyclone is a storm accompanied by clouds
Zyclon B is a name with no meaning in Hebrew
Cycle is an endless chain of phenomena and happenings
whose end is equal to its beginning.
Cyclops is the legendary giant
with one eye.
Knowledge is a saleable item.
Evil is translated to cash
and is at the service of the highest bidder.
The serial recurs with exactitude
Cyclops blinks and stretches out his hand
to Allah's barbarians, and we fornicate
in the sweetness of lips of the Vatican bakery,
and enter the sealed camp so not to die of gas.
History repeats. The mask liberates. The Patriot
is no more a partisan, but a defensive missile.
Anti-semitism is still alive and working
in Eastern Europe, under cover of antipathy to zionism,
in the Arab states as well. The dictionary knows. Man forgets. Blood
does not make up for it. The Rabbinate lies. The mezzuzah
is only a totem. Everything comes around again, but differently.
He who blessed our forefathers shall bless our soldiers,
defenders of Israel. Cursed be the land of Europe. And we shall say amen.
NIGHT OF WAR 5
Suffocation freed me from the house to the sea.
The seas stormed. Exaggerated as a tall tale. Like
a blanket of deceit or a proverb, and nothing else.
Jaffa stretched out, up ‑
all of Allah's missiles, threatening
to take off from the stone ‑ rest inviolate
like a pad for launching of barbarians of Islam.
A yellow light of divine revelation rinsed and seduced
through the panes of sealed sky. In the world aquarium
I opened my mouth and closed it. A little dryland fish.
A sardine with a gas mask resting on the rocks.
The birds glided from the waters
to God's red pits of compassion.
The more it darkened the tide of fear rose. I returned home,
rush to write another poem before the attack,
keep the black rubber skull at arm's length,
to be comforted a bit
from the fear of Zyclon.
Actually it was a wonderful day.
I dared listen to a Mozart violin concert
instead of listening for the siren. I ate, wrote.
Now I will close myself in for the night in my sealed room
with the ghost voices that come to visit
from the time we burned in Auschwitz.
NIGHT OF WAR 6
On the Sabbath I woke in fear.
A special kind of fear: Petrol‑air bombs. Okay,
to die by gas, but I don't want to burn up in flames.
I've begun to weigh what to take and save from my home
where will I take refuge, and with whom,
where abroad I can send my writings,
so that they may be saved.
Then my neighbor Yossef came down.
We drank a morning toast in honor
of the continuation of the war of independence
and the explosion from the Hassan Bak Mosque.
I'll hang on here by my fingernails.
But to be sure I opened the talisman,
the Bible, the Jewish book of questions and answers.
Shall I flee, I asked. He answered:
"Be honored and remain in thy home, Wherefore
shalt thou tempt in evil and
fall together with Judah" In joy I kissed it
and went out to the pub.
I ate and drank. But through the haze
of alcohol no one noticed
that I said "Shechiyanu" and added in my heart,
The Lord, Neve Tzedek*, and the hope of my fathers the Lord.
(*Neve Tzedek, the name of the poet's neighborhood, can be translated as the Oasis of Righteousness.)
NIGHT OF WAR 7
The gods of myth eat time.
Hormes emits morning milky light, like a soft baby
and after a dozen hours Ahimuran comes to the dark
with a lightning storm, stars and fireballs rolling into the horizon.
At seven a.m. hope springs from me. Opening my eyes I
say the morning blessing of orifices,
all warm and steamy like morning urine. But at noon
I roll a condom over all the openings of the house.
At seven p.m. the knee-quaking begins, the belly begs
the dog from Baghdad to bark and finish. Here it is ‑ the alarm.
Raising the mask to my face and a pillow to my head, I sit in the corner,
in the armchair, a frightened dog on my lap.
Suddenly the quiet is torn with illuminated whistles
of thunder. Packed explosives. It flies over me again and stops
in someone else's life.
Arm in arm we go out to the pub, my gas mask and me.
We'll celebrate, we'll get drunk and seduce a little.
On the way the car slices the arteries of Tel Aviv,
sharp as a scalpel.
The city is full of dark windows. Her houses are deserted,
a cemetery of intimacy, which has given herself into the hands
of the grave digger: exile.
I come back to Neve Tzedek by the sea road. From the water a breeze rose
and with it the words of the Lord, "Come let me close up
inside your home." Short, appropriate, and
effective like the phrasing of the Lord of Commandments.
I locked the door, spread out the plastic talit
over the house's shoulder, and fell asleep with four commandments.
Angels guard me between the sandstone blocks and the sanctum sanctorum.
NIGHT OF WAR 9
The Jihad is managed according to the best tradition of desert song.
The warriors fill their mouths with chants of curses and words of derision,
and I too hunger to insult the barbarians of Allah:
When you come home we'll screw like Moslems in their prayers,
I write and immediately retract. Love isn't a weapon. Religion
becomes cheap, as always, in the hands of power. But it doesn't
diminish in its purity. Poetry doesn't have to surrender to
the images of politics, and I have no quarrel with Islam,
but with the petty marching in its name toward the blood bowl of Jesus.
Pardon me, the coalition. In this covenant between us,
love me like a Moslem. Touch me. Be with me for hours,
wound me with your gentle caresses, for all the time
that was fossilized in the room.
NIGHT OF WAR 10
A silver‑haired commander came and took me to the firing zone.
I cuddled in his warm hairy chest. "David,"
I whispered, "I've always feared you. But now you're
all there is." "My name isn't David," he grinned back.
"You're totally confused. I'm Yohoram."
"To me you're David," I laughed.
"Come," he said, and pulled me into his arms. "Here,
you see this slope, it is the front of the outpost.
No one can conquer so fortified a place."
I kissed his cheeks. "You're a hero. Will you watch over me?"
"Of course," he smiled and fed me with an orange delicacy, warm squash.
I woke with the taste of puree melting in my mouth.
All day long I wondered if I been graced with the Messiah,
or had I just slept with an heir of Jesse.
NIGHT OF WAR 14
For two weeks already I haven't heard from you.
You're probably skipping between the craters in Tel Aviv,
documenting the human interest in the area of destruction. Did you think I'd phone?
I hoped you'd be back here, with the shine of your perverted eyes, and seduce me.
I mean after all, in the moment before you left, you bit me.
But when I tried to press you to the wall, you withdrew
to the secure borders you drew in advance,
leaving me waiting, idiotic, with the waving flag of an erection.
After two weeks of the moaning of sirens
there are no signs of you. What, are you carousing with death? Were you insulted?
I'm thirsty for a portion of translucent liquor from the vineyards of your womb.
Here, my pink tongue licks the air.
Sweet, let us lie under a canopy of nape kisses.
If you don't bring me your hairy mound, out of hunger I am liable
once again to inhale Rose from the orchard of testicles.
As you know, there's no harm in it,
but lately, my dear, I desire only
to nip the berries of your nipples.
Translated by Karen Alkalay-Guthome write me