Tel Aviv Diary September 11, 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - September 11 - 16 , 2005 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 11, 2005

Didn't realize that opening a new page on September 1 would force me to open a new page on September 11. Brrr. So particularly appropriate is the new disk cut by my partner in "Thin Lips," Roy Yarkoni. It's all about anxiety. fear. uncertainty. It hasn't been sold yet, but I'm sure it will be snatched up by some record company. He's just captured the Post September 11 mood of the world using 'found texts' and music that is haunting without being nerveracking.

As for what I have to say on September 11, look in the latest Poetics Today.

On a happier note, Judy just sent me this review in Haaretz today. Read it. You'll Love it!

Yesterday at rehearsal, I suddenly decided that one of the texts I use for a piece we call "Chocolate" wasn't appropriate, and I found myself thinking of this poem:

The Kindness of Strangers

There have always been
ghosts over New Orleans
I met one myself
Years ago before
You knew me
when it was still dry
And the music in the air
Was pure Basie
with a washboard

There she was
Coming out of Galatoires
In a flimsy white dress

And a pocketbook
Just for mad money

I could have sworn
She was in drag
And alive

She was real
And fake
And a figment
Of my imagination
All at once

I got me a voodoo doll
In the market of New Orleans
But when I stuck it with pins
It was me who was hurting.

And she was a stranger
A lover and a friend
And always depending
On the kindness of strangers

It might not work as a poem, but it could be a great text for a song.

We'll see. At Klipa Theatre in December (for the 10th anniversary of Clipa together with that fabulous group Ahvak) and then back in Barby Club (for a solo evening).

I flip the channel to avoid seeing the hungry Gaza youth waiting angrily to take over Gaza, to avoid the talk about how the Palestinians are angry with us for not destroying the synagogues, and there is a BBC documentary on September 11. From one source of fear to another. When a shrink last night mentioned in passing that our country is in a perpetual state of clinical trauma, a statement I had heard before, it suddenly struck home with full force. Of course! That's why I overreact to all tragedies.

September 12, 2005

Okay, something serious is wrong with my wireless. Maybe not my wireless, you say, but my wiring and you may be right. Even though I decried its significance, and knew it was going to happen, the burning and desecration of synagogues hurts me in a very terrible way. Hatred is hard to take, especially when you know you haven't seen the end of it. And hatred that is hungering to destroy - even if it destroys the things that can benefit its society and civilization - is the worst. Why destroy fruit trees?

But back to my computer. I've been suffering with it for months, the ins and outs and the variety of computer problems. If you wrote me and didn't hear that's why. But now I'm going to solve my computer problems of the moment by taking me down to Nona and hooking up with their hotspot.

Never got there. The phone got me down - No one mentioned politics, but everyone had a cultural problem that in the old days would have been fixed by government or university funding and/or administration. Today, there are no institutions to handle culture, literature, etc. and people seem to go around wracking their brains to find a substitute.

But maybe everybody's particularly crazy today because of what is going on in Gaza. Totally predictable and yet the way it is being shown in the media is particularly intended to wrench hearts. We should have locked the gates in our memories as well as the border.

September 13, 2005

Just read the proofs of the first months of this diary. It's coming out in the Jerusalem Review. Soon. Soon. But this was the first time I read it. It brought home that idea i've been going around with for days about living in a state of constant trauma. Or one trauma after the next, with no time for closure on any of them. And the worst part of it is that this seems to be contagious.

What does the word 'looting' mean? The newsmen on tv keep saying that the Palestinians are looting, but if we left the place, we left that stuff behind to play with. And the fact that this is being used to increase our traumatized state really bugs me. We've got enough REAL problems.

September 14, 2005

Tamar Agnon, an moving poet and a powerful entertainer, is all over the media today. Tomorrow night she'll be performing atthe Ha'oman 17 nightclub in Tel Aviv - I've seen here at work and she's seriously affective. Shira Ben Ari's article in Ha'aretz shows her strengths and weaknesses. Will I go to see her? I don't know - there's a pretty amazing evening scheduled in Bialik House for Rony Sommek's new book, with Rafi Weichert and others. Ronen Shapiro is even performing some of his compositions of Rony's works. My friends and my favorite poets and performers all in one evening...

and oh yes she is the granddaughter of

September 15, 2005

One of my best books is "So Far So Good." But sales have been low, and nobody's even written a review on Amazon. Alicia Ostriker wowed me with the one she did on JBooks, and David Gershator wrote a wonderful one in Home Planet News, and Sarah Winchester in Jerusalem Post and there are many more. But Boulevard Books (who were going to distribute abroad) disappeared on me, and the book only sells well at readings. Now Roberta Kolachevsky has reviewed it beautifully in American Book Review, even though she thinks I'm too shmaltzy. So I may be sales-poor but I'm critic-rich. (You can read the reviews So Far, So Good here, ) and feedback is appreciated, even if i don't say anything about how appreciative i am.

So our high court wants the fence moved here and there. Thank goodness.

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