To Email Rami Saari
“The Autumn of Our Situation” appeared in A View From the Loft Minneapolis, Minnesota, March 2001.
More work by this writer can be found in Poetry International #4 (San Diego State University 2000), and on the UN Dialogue Among Civilizations Through Poetry website pages 706-716.
The “Only Democracy” (in the Middle East)
This won't be a political poem, brothers,
I'm too fed up
with Cowboys and Indians,
and Cops and Robbers.
Are these really the young men
who were supposed to play before us,
stroking Palestinian forces with mortar fire?
And my darling son, with a club and rubber bullets?
What can I say? The movie is fascinating
even if most of us have minor parts;
we still hope
to win, like men, a big win:
eating, gorging, consuming everything
like live fire, like man in God's image,
like idolaters ardently worshipping
a biblical whore, a temple prostitute, a furrow of earth, a city of fools;
the Wild West
settles in ancestral graves
here in the east.
The Autumn of Our Situation
They are talking about a new channel,
new channels of dialog,
bothering to defend themselves, issuing bulletins,
borrowing against heaven and earth.
Hikers shoot and are shot, bury
and are buried, continue to walk
and talk, tell stories, bend ears,
never shutting up for an instant.
In the middle of the endless talk, in a leaf fall
of shots, like a very empty night, I wondered if the old Turkish bath
where I met you two years ago
has not yet been blown up and is still open
in Bab Assaha, in the Nablus ghetto.
Translated from the Hebrew by Lisa Katz