Tel Aviv Diary -June 27-July 1,2015 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

June 26, 2015

this invitation for June 30 is for you. Some will be in English and the Hebrew will be very easy to follow. So come - entrance is free so you can always leave if you don't like it.

June 27, 2015

We took the babies for the night. first time that Omer and Tamar slept over. by 9 the almost 5 year old was fast asleep, but the 2 1/2 year old Tamar was trying hard. i lay at their feet on the matress on the floor, expecting it to take a few minutes for her to drop off, but after half an hour she got up and brought me a pillow. it's going to take time. after i spent the night alert in the expectation that they would awake,and of course they didn't.

Today - instead of going to the big protest against the unclear but certainly unjust gas deal - we went to the port. playgrounds, water fountains, gelaterias, music, wild music and some frantic shopping. So many people! Noise like you wouldn't believe, but great fun. I wonder why there are no real instructions and information for tourists. like a map that tells you where the action is, where the parking is, where the food is and where the breeze is.

June 28, 2015

Most of my day has been spent avoiding the news. I'm not feeling earthquakes, not listening to the radio, not watching television. I'd rather talk to people - real people. my pedicurist, my teacher - they're telling me stories that sound true and different. It's not that there are more tragedies in the world than there was yesterday. It's not that I have money in a Greek bank. It's not that I have lost hope about finding out what the gas deal was that Bibi just made. It's that women talking to women tell more interesting things. Take today - a conversation about whose side women take when a couple gets divorced. My own experience proved that true well over 35 years ago. The way even ones own family will turn against a woman who divorces. Now I hear the same story from an Arab village. the gossip. the warped whisperings. the accusations of sloppy housekeeping, neglectful motherhood and other total irrelevancies.

At least it ended well - the couple remarried and everyone is happy.

two generations back maybe divorce was a punishment for an imperfect housewife but even back then I hadn't heard of anyone considering using leeches to drain an infection. And today I saw the holes in Natasha's knee. "It's the only thing that helps me," she said. And I wonder what the alternative medical world has returned to.

Alternative medicine seems to be really big among the non-western residents here. Maybe because the lines are so long in the health clinics. (thank goodness for cellphones)

June 29, 2015

Went to kibbutz Gaash this evening to check out the sound for tomorrow. turns out there was a lot of work and we've got to bring our own equipment. I don't know why we didn't trust the kibbutz's professionalism, but we had that kind of experience in Salerno where the translation powerpoint didn't work for almost all of the poetry readings and the local audience had no idea of what was going on (except Arabic - the powerpoint miraculously worked for the Egyptian poets). This also happened in a few other colleges I've read in the past.

Sorry to be so involved in my own evening and not in all the terrible tragedies around us. The amount of work this book has been, and the extent it has slowed down my poetry is unbelievable. My publisher didn't want to do the photographs because they were a distraction from the poetry. And when I finally got him to agree, we had to do all the work with the printer. And then he really couldn't figure out how to launch this book - so it's been well over half a year. And now that it will be launched it won't be advertised. I love my publisher - he's one of the most devoted poetry-lovers I know. And I'll be really glad to get on to the next book.

But there was no way I was going to let this book go without its proper inauguration. it was born out of the pain of Ezi's illness and the

June 30, 2015

Ha ha - the suspense was killing you, right?

I think i was about to say i'm tired of this project when i fell asleep...

that was proof.

And yet when I read the poems I get excited all over again.

July 1, 2015

It was a great evening - you should have been there.

Only I was so busy getting everything together I didn't have time to see what I too would read. And today I had a perfectly awful time with a physiotherapist that left me pretty much unable to move all day.

However, our visit to Blackout, the restaurant in which the waiters are visually challenged but function perfectly in the total darkness into which the diners are plunged, was much more exciting this time than last. This experience was intensified by the fact that we were with inquisitive teenagers and we had a very sociable waitress. She explained how she dealt with her blindness and taught me to deal with my own pain. liked her.

The food was great too.

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