Tel Aviv Diary - April 17-21, 2015 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

April 17, 2015

Day is almost over and i've been busy. the few minutes I did have were taken with texting some guy in Nablus - half Hebrew and half Arabic. Why - there are always people to talk with online when you are just a bit bored. but i don't do well with these.

April 18, 2015

Still under the influence of Holocaust Day, we slide into Memorial Day slowly but surely. My brother noted today that since my mother had two abortions while escaping the Nazis we are actually first generation survivors who lost our brothers or sisters. It was in Danzig, she said. One was with pills and a hot bath and the other with a knitting needle.

Our neighbors tonight spent part of the evening telling us about the evils of Obama. It was a bit scary - their vision of a purposeful enemy. I wouldn't have expected it from them.

April 19, 2015

Their idea of a deliberate conspiracy to reduce or even erase Israel made sense, but I think the old saying, "never accuse someone of evil intentions when stupidity is also a possible reason," works as well.

I'm not a good comforter of mourners - i always get mixed up about the visiting hours, the people, and once I even went to the wrong address. Today, visiting an apartment in which both inhabitants had passed away within a month of each other, I could not help but wonder at the perfection of the apartment, the investment of thought in every detail, and the sense of an absence that had to be temporary. who would listen to those wonderful records, who will read in that amazing library, who would not cook in that perfect kitchen - how could they have left that perfect place?

All this to show you how absolutely cut off from reality I am. The only son, still in shock from the loss of his parents, was left uncomforted by me - a word, a kiss, but no comfort.

I may not be the only one who is distracted from the central issues in this country, but I am the one who writes somehow as if i know what is important. Don't trust me. I'm a poet.

By popular demand - here's the link to the music of Pracht Inn

We still don't have a government and I still have a faint hope that there will be a morereasonable leadership.

We are learning to read Arabic. As a bit of a dyslectic who learned to read English in the first place by teaching myself Gestalt, I am learning reading by finding words i know. So I try to pick out signs i know already and pick out the work by the sounds i know. we told our teacher that our street name is in Arabic letters as well as Hebrew and English. "I don't believe it," says the teacher. "It's the law," Ezi responds. And we go out later and look at the signs. Yes, all the street signs in Israel must have Arabic as well. There is equality by law, but some of us don't expect it.

I sometimes forget the basic wonder of this country, in our hunger for perfection, but it's always good to remember our disabilities and overcome them by working with them.

April 21, 2015

The Eve of Memorial Day

The military cemetery lies near
The hydrotherapy pool,
Where we, whose bodies
Have betrayed us, attempt
To defuse our loss
With hard work and
Meticulous attentiveness.

In the parking lot, soldiers
Are doing pushups
In anticipation
Of the commandersí instructions
Before entering the place
Of hopeless grief.

In the pool we hear
The ceremonial volleys
And pause in tribute,
Our very beings so near
To each of them.

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