a new book of Tuvia Ruebner translations by Lisa Katz and Shahar Bram, forthcoming from Zephyr Press
In this issue Lisa Katzs poems
Lisa Katzs chapbook Breast Art in a previous issue.
Shahar Brams website
from Late Beauty
by Tuvia Ruebner
Translated from the Hebrew
Lisa Katz and Shahar Bram
Postcard to My Soul Mate
You wont believe this – a postcard from Paris –
Paris des Rêves,
the Paris of dreams.
What, you say you think its London,
and the cat on the window sill
staring forever like an ancient Egyptian
is not Parisian? This cant be. There are no
such cats in London. And no
such pair of lovers lying on the grass – what an embrace!
Hyde Park, you say?
And the fire eater?
It seems like his heart is burning. In London?
And the one blowing soap bubbles
like shiny little lies in sunlight –
where did he come from? And this river, so gray
that a passerby on the other side seems not to exist at all?
And those people sleeping on the edge of the dock
who knows if theyll sail off soon – where to –
are they Londoners or Parisians, uh?
The Thames? Not the Seine? And anyway how can it be
that you answer while Im writing a postcard
and say just the opposite,?
You mean to say Im not there at all, that we two are here
next to each other, still close,
weaving a dream?
Postcard from Vienna
A raised arm may be lowered
a salute – withdrawn.
A mouth filled with shrieks is also capable of speaking.
Wild shouts may turn into laughter.
It isnt absolutely necessary to clean sidewalks with toothbrushes.
Yet Vienna is beautiful, a spotlessly clean city
with a rich past. Many musicians
lived there, actors, a lot of authors.
A city with much to be proud of.
On the Heldenplatz the sparrows chatter,
the traffic hums.
A hangman doesnt have to be ashamed because he was
a hangman. And the Danube
is not really blue.
In a certain sense goodness is boring, Kafka wrote,
without consolations. Be seeing you.
You can live with one arm, one leg, one lung
one kidney, no legs, no arms, one eye, no eyes.
I live with one heart.
I didnt want to say it. I dont know why I did.
Now theyll come with thin, sharpened fingers
to poke, probe, decree: a total lie –
I know, I know. I
eat, sleep, work, listen to music.
From the pure thoughts that arose before blessed-be-his-name
he created angels. And from thoughts of disaster
he created demons.
What nonsense. What terrible nonsense.
When flying over gray cumulous clouds, in dim, late light, one imagines
how easy it would be to go, a light step swallowed unheard no effort,
to lie down and never rise again, an airy body, floating, almost bodiless –
a soft landscape of death, the depths of death, the death-sun sinking, the hills
of the underworld
are made of down – images, images. Im not a cat. I havent got nine lives.
For what, whats this all for?
I dont know. The truth is –
what terrible nonsense.