Homelands

June 17, 2017 § Leave a comment


Behind the curtains of the “Brown Villa”, where the Party offices were from 1932 to 1945, you can now see the museum built to honour the works and life of the Jewish painter born a few streets down the road and sent to death to a land far away by the ones holding speeches from the front balcony.

When the Jewish painter was a kid in the same town, the villa still belonged to the family of the wealthy fabric factory heir. His grandfather had brought from England the first steam engine to be used in a fabric factory around here.

After the war the villa became the headquarters of the British occupation forces, then a Natural Museum, then a Cultural Museum, then an Art Space. The current exhibition’s name is “Homeland”. Homelands are complicated places.

Iftar

June 11, 2017 § 2 Comments

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Again sometimes I feel wiser.
I feel as if I knew why
these long evenings in June
are so full of Septembers.

And why when we sleep
in someone’s loving arms,
Death will look away
for a couple of hours.

Mondays I am never mad
at other people because
they must go to work too.
That’s how work pays off.

(But I won’t sign that
even if you forced me.)

As my memory declines
I do fear sudden flashbacks:
hands, moons, bottles of milk.
They strike me like lightening.

This afternoon, for instance, I saw
a three-year-old daring a high ladder;
remembered how I had to look away
and not always run to help.

Kleistpark

June 6, 2017 § 1 Comment


Somewhere between breath and light

there’s the sense of disappearing,

of becoming the dream in the past,

the faint memory in the future.

We’re not a definition in an encyclopaedia,

nor our bodies will obey words. Any.

We know though, we will know

what to kick or to kiss. How deep

to scratch that wall, to leave a sign. 

Zimbabwe 

May 20, 2017 § Leave a comment


He buried the pumpkin seeds deep into the volcano craters he had carefully formed. Then he straightened with his palm the earth in the middle and repaired the rims on the sides so that they’d keep all the water inside the crater. That’s how we do it in Zimbabwe, he said. That way we don’t have to water them every day. 

Each refugee had got a tiny piece of land to plant anything they’d like. 

If I’m still here in autumn, you’ll see how well that works. You’ll see even if I’m not here.

Signs

May 15, 2017 § Leave a comment

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We’re mostly busy in trying to keep ourselves together: the parts of our bodies, falling apart; our memories, fading away; our families, taking a flight; our loves, losing time. What if the labyrinth is sweet home? And why is Ariadne’s laughter so contagious? We have Minotaur’s sign on our forehead.

We Are

May 7, 2017 § 1 Comment

I’m sure we are waves.

How else to explain the force

with which we throw ourselves

onto these sharp volcano shores,

our despair when we must withdraw.

 

The moon poems haven’t helped,

the night watch felt asleep on duty.

 

I’m sure we are winds.

We find every little crack

on each other’s shabby cabins

we tear them apart and disappear,

come back, whistling, in daybreak.

 

The dawn songs haven’t helped,

the morning birds have migrated.

 

I’m sure we are a bad dream.

Someone will tell about us to a friend,

she’ll laugh and say: You poor little thing!

She’ll touch their hand and kiss their cheek,

our traces all gone, a bright day begins.

Earthquake 

May 5, 2017 § Leave a comment

When our house got damaged by the big earthquake we moved for a year to an old cabin in our orange trees field, previously used to store father’s tools and as a temporary accommodation for the seasonal fruit pickers. We stayed there for the year it took to repair our house; my parents, myself and my two older brothers in just one room, the other one used as a kitchen and dining place. The restroom was a separate tiny cabin. 

My friend M., whose house had been only slightly damaged, was much more excited about all this than I was, receiving it almost as an opportunity for a permanent camping adventure. She came to visit me everyday after school and would stay until my mum would send her back to her mum “so she wouldn’t get worried”. “Five in one room is more than enough for me”, mum would say closing the door behind M. with a sigh of relief. 

A few years later, when I got married –much too young and to M.’s great astonishment and disapproval– I moved to our prefecture’s capital, next to a small old church severely damaged by the same earthquake. A new church was built and was in use a few houses further, but nobody wanted to tear down the old one. Sometimes religious celebrations took place in the church’s yard and somehow candles always burned inside. 

My marriage turned out to be an unhappy one. M. visited me only once, after I got my first child. Then she moved very far away, to study, to live, to have real camping adventures, I don’t know.

I had a couple of affairs but never got divorced. Seems to me I had lit too many candles in that old church.

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