Lines (& some pics) composed in our home in the vale in the hills near Laverty’s Gap, Mullumbimby/Wilsons Creek, in 2008, some seven years after we moved here from Israel-occupied Palestine

This is a post I was preparing to publish before I was hospitalized the week before last.

001

how it goes

002

beside the pain
instead of the painkillers
a place to be, a place to do
a melody, a rhythm, a story,
a poem.

& where can it go?
i’m sure i don’t know,
but it’s not about going, or knowing.

can it be nothing
when it’s already a something?

or must we get personal?
or perhaps political?
prophetic? emphatic?
allusive, intellectual?

obviously someone with nothing to say
saying something to say something or nothing
or someone with something to hide,
and maybe something to show.

003

troppo
the world’s going troppo
(& in italian tróppo means too much)
tróppo tróppo, much too troppo

& the python
(here in bunjalung country)
isn’t frightened

troppo tragic & troppo magic
comedy, tragedy,
personal, ethnic, racial,
genophilic, xenophobic
tróppo tropical, tróppo topical
in all countries in all continents
majorities & minorities
indigenous & colonizer & refugee & immigrant
topdog & underdog, protester & sycophant
creatures, beseechers, teachers, preachers
of one true god or no true god

non tróppo adágio, not too slowly

& the python
isn’t frightened

is it about safety?
must loving one’s inherited culture
mean loving more those who bore it and bear it and share it
than others who bore and bear, inherit and share, a different culture?

is it in the DNA? a group centricity, a primal tribal fidelity,
to motherland or fatherland, to Birthia, the place that bore you,
baladi in arabic & moledet in hebrew
Falastin, Yisra’el, el ard, ha’aretz, The Land
before Earthia, the planet

where the python
isn’t frightened

so say it is
about safety, in the DNA –
we can still learn to live with the python
see the beauty in the patterns,
his, her, our own cultures, others’ cultures,
songs and languages, paintings, dances,
& seek more cooling
in the global warming
& more warming
in the global cooling

004

the python

the other evening still at twilight i took out the rubbish after dinner & on my way to the compost bin i saw across my path near the rubbish bins a long something that i didn’t remember being there before, it seemed too straight for a fallen branch, too wavy to be a stick. i decided not to venture passing it or stepping over it in the dark but i still wanted to throw the rubbish bag into the rubbish bin and the contents of the compost bag into the compost bin, so i went back and brought my strong rechargeable torch & saw it was a young, possibly very young python, no more than two meters long or two inches in diameter, with a beautiful pattern of diamonding lines and dots, sort of yellow-green and brown-black in the torchlight, which seemed to disconcert him a little but didn’t bother him too much, he just kept flicking his tongue but didn’t seem at all inclined to move, except at one point when while lifting the lid off the rubbish tin i swung the torch around and he made a quick turning movement of his head while raising it perhaps a foot or so off the ground and then lowered it into a small coil and remained motionless while i completed my two missions and closed the bins and keeping what i felt to be a safe distance from him and my torchlight still upon him, walked around him, saw our cat Chiquita sitting not far away, and called her to come home with me, more afraid that she might attack the snake than the other way around, because now she’s fully grown, and this is a very young python, but when she was maybe two and a half months old, a much bigger python caught her and her in his coils. i was having a shower at the time and heard the screams and didn’t know what they were and there was no one else at home. i ran straight out of the shower, out the front door, and there by the wall in the front garden was this big python rolled around little chiquita at least twice, and she was still screaming, i yelled at the python too but that didn’t help and i was afraid to grab him by the head so i picked up a stone and gave him a knock on the head, not too hard, but evidently enough to surprise him into letting go his grip and sliding away, while chiquita darted away into the bush and didn’t come back for several hours.

005

cottoncauliflower cumulus clouds in agate sky over green tree-topped hillside
with two, no, now three, no, now no
parachuted hangliders dancing in and out of the oval
framed by a branch of the jacaranda just outside & the top line of the treetops,

& in some sense we’re all of us
parachuted hangliders dancing in and out
here a moment, there a moment,
colored this way, then colored that way
coloring here a little there a little
some more, some less,
then gone

006

– Ah Soul, Arsehole, Asshole!

– Ah soul, arsehole, asshole!
– Of course, my horse.
Why grudge, my judge?
Why leave, my thieves?
No soul is not an arsehole, asshole.

Where caper my rapers? Born to rape
or be raped we have learned to choose love,
we choose to learn love. Now they caper in art alone,
in poetry, where none can be hurt. I
become a bit less of an arsehole, asshole.

There will be room and work for all who served
the dynasties of successive hierarchs, secret or overt,
as guardians of secrets, skilful liars, manipulators,
prosecutors and repressors, room for all the masters
and victims of shame and guilt, all the arseholes, assholes.

007

There was a red
yes, wheel,
yes, barrow, I re-
member, but
also a stain, a grow-
ing one, yes, and
yes, a flag,
and, yes a lot
of pain, a lot
of noise:

so much, yes
so much depended, yes
so much depends

008

in medias res, poetry

where soul sings to soul
in the midst of the things
that are
& the things
that aren’t

always in the midst of things
even while life’s ending
even while the globe warms
even

009

Wind & wandering

without a wind no sail will move
here in mid-ocean
yet a sail moves

without a destination no direction will be taken
no rudder will be turned
here in mid-ocean
yet a direction is taken
a rudder is turned

toward the setting sun

010

i think sometimes that
until we’re encompassed by compassion
we’ll stay impassioned by passion (fear too is a passion)
unconscious or conscious
or interned by self-concern, instructed, restricted, desentisized
by what at each moment we believe is our self-interest

i think sometimes that
we’re all so traumatized & so in denial
almost like we’re saying whatever happened or is happening
whatever we did or are doing or saw done or now see being done
to ourselves or to someone or to some many
near or far
it doesn’t matter
i’m ok, we’re ok, i’ll be ok, we’ll be ok
whatever we feel victims of or complicity in,
i’m ok, we’re ok, i’ll be ok, we’ll be ok

it’s surely a mechanism that helps us survive,
momentarily
but as all that we are,
which includes our denial
& its inevitable consequences
in closing the gates of compassion

 

 

011

Between Islamism and Islam
gapes the chasm of chaos

Between Zionism and Zion
the abyss of hypocrisy

The isms
breed schisms
powering jism after jism
rocket after rocket &
missile after missile
in the name of
in the game of
in the shame of
the Merciful,
el-Rakheem, ha-Rakhman.
HaRaM, I say, HaRaM.

012
WORDSMATTER

so much word smatter
but still words matter

013

rain for days and nights
psoriasis rioting, getting on top of it with tar, maybe,
fears of it spreading over my entire body,
as did my father’s pemphigus,
hacking cough at night, nothing comes out
danny has a brain tumor, sid has cancer in the rectum,
leah all over, jenny an aneurysm,
the grandchildren are growing beautifully
monk’s caps have little pools of water
at night the leaves glisten a sheer beauty
we are closed in, the bridge across the creek is flooding over
even in heavy rain some birds sing
strong gusts of wind

014

some lifelines, with images from my hard disk

horizontal
lifelines horiz

vertical
lifelines vert

in captions under photographslifelines 1 2
lifelines 3 4

lifelines 5 6one

some lifelines, with images from my hard disk

the german luftwaffe plane bombing a city during world war ii,
like those that bombed warsaw the day we fled,
an illustration from the time of poland’s collapse,
a tourist panorama of shanghai’s riverfront bund
as seen from then not yet pudong, i saw it from not so far across,
from mid-whangpoo, and the only actual photographs i have of me there,
already after the war had ended, one with my form 2 classmates
at the shanghai jewish school and our teacher mr. radet,
the year my father spent dying in hospital,
one of me posed in betar uniform for a photographer
who gave me two photos, both retouched, & one of them tinted
and passport photos of me and my cousin karol, charles,
me ten and he nine, in 1946, probably taken for our documents
for our voyages to a new home in australia.

015

on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

lilac jacaranda 1

on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree
emanuel and amalia are climbing
& emanuel’s talking & amalia’s singing
on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

around the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree
amalia and emanuel are playing & running & walking
& emanuel’s singing & amalia’s talking
around the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

back from the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree
emanuel & amalia ask grandma a question
& grandma gives them an answer and then they’re back again
around the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

and then on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree
emanuel and amalia sit where they’ve climbed to,
imagining, talking, talking, imagining
on the lilac blossoming gentle jacaranda tree

lilacjaca emanamalia

016

yes, but,
as nitza said only yesterday
maybe there have always been in the world
those who are willing to use force & violence for power & control
& those who aren’t, and won’t,
yes, and will always choose flight before fight,
maybe knowing, somehow, some mysterious, inexplicable way
that they don’t want to cross to the dark side
to become the same as those one could so easily
indignantly and always justifiably wish to smite

to go without physical resistance
into the Umschlagplatz, then to the train,
into the camp, then into the “shower chamber”
as i believe my maternal grandmother did,
and most probably also my father’s parents did
when it was already to late to flee

she said she knows now
she would not have been one of the uprisers
in the warsaw ghetto,
nor in the partisans, i added, & i feel the same today
but i can’t say that when i was younger i wouldn’t have been,
i know that for a time in my teens they were my heroes
& that having hated hitler as a child i had also adored stalin
& i also bought the zionist myth
& the communist myth

but i wanted to say
that i know it is so
also in palestine
where “israel” still rules

where some rule & some command & some execute,
some press, some swing, some drop, some throw
triggers, buttons, batons, rockets, stones, missiles, mortars, shells, bombs,
believing in the justice of their cause or in it for the power & the profit,
perhaps consciously &/or perhaps unconsciously &/or perhaps cynically,
but in any case somewhere lacking the capacity for empathy
of those who do even not pick up a stone & throw it at the oppressor’s soldiers

through two thousand years of exile
a jewish way of being evolved that was not violent,
not built on the exertion of physical force

or if somewhere that too is a myth
if jewish financiers have in some part of these two millennia
played roles on that dark side,

the myth at least has a following.

for the jew, not indigenous anywhere except perhaps two millennia ago in what is now called both palestine and israel, flight has of course been a more rational response than fight. emotionally too, you can feel good about yourself because you’re not doing harm to anyone, and you’re righteous, and this on top of being able to feel sorry for yourself as a victim of the heartless and iniquitous persecutors. you can yearn for a return to the ‘homeland’ that was never your homeland and would never be your homeland & in that melancholic languishing there was a terrible & strong romantic happiness. & then to be struck with the transformation, to now ‘have’ this ‘homeland’ but only by having to constantly keep fighting for it & in fact having to exercise brutal occupation powers over its more recently indigenous people in order to make this dream come true even though its whole purpose was to remain a dream for you, this is too mind-boggling if you don’t, and you know you don’t, want to go over to the dark side, because you have some inkling of what you yourself would be capable not only of doing but even more terrible of enjoying if you had that power without the constraints that now keep you from making that choice in the first place, too scary for words…

017

redeemed, is it, freed? liberated? from
the knowledge of good and evil, what-
ever, we no longer know good and evil,
are no longer punished for those two bites
of that forbidden fruit,
yet this is not Paradise
which, never lost, never regained,
lives for ever in that mythic realm
in our imagination, while in our lives
what we can know, at best, is what we want

018

וכבן עמי עם ישראל אני אומר סליחה
לכל בת ולכל בן של העם הפלסטיני באשר היא או הוא

על כל מה שעשו בני או בנות עמי לָךְ, לְךָ, לכם, לכן

איני מבקש שתסלחי, שתסלח, שתסלחו
איני מחפש את סליחתכם
איני מבקש שתחייכי, שתחייך, שתחייכו

אך הייתי חייב לומר את זה
כדי ללכת הלאה

& as a son of my people the Jewish people I say sorry
to every daughter and every son of the Palestinian people wherever they be
for everything done by sons or daughters of my people to each & all of you

I’m not asking you to forgive
I’m not seeking your forgiveness
I’m not asking you to smile

I just had to say this
to be able to go forward

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