Tel Aviv Diary - April 1-5, 2012 Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 1, 2012


Donít let April fool you. It isnít only in the buds
That your hope is renewed, but the aromas, the tastes in the air
Entering your flesh in ways it wasnít awake to know.
Close your eyes, feel the sun play into your pores
recalling how cold you were for so long,
how much you depend on the renewal
of the world for your own survival.

Donít let April fool you. Itís not just little truths
That poets turn to for lifting their spirits,
and itís not only the cruelest months
that wake you to your integration with the trees,
the snails, the details all around.
Think of the months before, the worn light
Graying your sight from the thought of revival.

Maybe it was always there, that hope
And when it comes, you call it April.
Donít let it fool you Ė itís here whenever
You have the courage to remember it.

So should we attack Iran? I don't think I am at all in a position to offer an opinion. I hate the polls and the discussions not only because we're talking about many many human lives here but also because we simply don't have the information to decide. This afternoon in Ha'aretz there's an article about the polls in support or against an attack. I really like the idea of reaching out to Iranians, the way they did on the recent facebook campaign. But this seems like a case to me where we should not be talking about whether we're for or against bombing. It seems to me it hurts the possibilities for negotiations no matter what is decided. Stop talk about and start talking to...

April 2, 2012

This publisher has asked me to edit the first year of my diary (10 years on Wednesday) and this means actually reading it. So I began to read a page and to my delight and chagrin it is much more immediate and exciting then what I'm writing today. Chagrin because the only reason I started this was to let people know that I survived the latest terrorist attack. That's how it became a daily diary. There used to be a coffee shop that had a sign next to the security guard that said, "We have an attack every other day, and we had one yesterday." I really don't feel like going back to those days, when the woman next to me in dance class was blown up, and I don't think I can relive them by editing the journal. Why go through something like that unless you have to? There was an alarm this afternoon around 1 and people found themselves running for shelter in Ashdod and Ashkelon. It was a mistake - but we're so wound tight we're running for cover before we even think about it.

April 4, 2012

Where did yesterday go? I know I wrote - could I have forgotten to save? It was about driving in Tel Aviv and listening to the news. My point - which I never got to - was that the way people were driving was directly related to what was happening in the news. It's not that there are more accidents but that the behavior seems somehow to follow the behavior of the politicians of the world. Sometimes polite but aggressive, sometimes mean, sometimes straight-out defensive, sometimes mutually beneficial.

I've been busy today designing a robot which will sniff out and collect all the hametz in the house. It has to be able to go into corners, feather out the crumbs, and flick them into a little silver dustpan, something like the robot that sweeps floors, but smaller and kosher for passover. I think I can do the programming but not in time for this year...

April 5, 2012

Even though I promised I wouldn't shop this year, especially for things that I don't absolutely need, I wound up shlepping home countless packages from Ramat Aviv G. The thought of not-enough-afikoman, not having enough to eat, not being able to greet the spring with the right clothes...yes I was stupid.

Here's another stupid remark. After reading the criticism of Gunther Grass's poem, "What Must Be Said," mostly about it being a typical pre=pesach blood libel, I blundered my way through the German itself. I may be mistaken, but it doesn't look all that bad. It's saying basically that with his past he has been uncomfortable about speaking about this before, but it needs to be said: Israel shouldn't have a nuclear weapon. I am considering translating the poem only because it's been misread. As a poem it stinks. But as a statement it's just silly. Hello - THAT isn't the cause of the trouble around here. Israel HAS HAD a nuclear weapon for a long time and that hasn't stopped a lot of people from attacking Israel. It's pretty clear that Iran might not be trying so hard to get a nuclear weapon if Israel didn't have one, but that is not the root of the problem.

Again I may be wrong. But his final point - that Israel should not be sold UT boats because they might arm them with nuclear weapons doesn't seem to me to have any logic in it. And a poem should be logical.

Read it here and tell me what you think.

In any case, I love the first line: "Why am I silent?" Writers should not be silent - but they have to make sense.

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