Tel Aviv Diary -MAY 12-16, 2015 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 12, 2015

we found ourselves in the area of Hashmonaim today, where instead of the old parking lot behind the buildings we discovered a brand new underground parking area. The old lot is now destined to become another green space enclosed by the restaurants and shops that have always seemed just a bit shoddy but are now looking good. the old cramped and crowded coffee shop and bakery "Lechamim" is now a sleek dining spot. The chairs were even comfortable, and I didnt have to get other people to get up in order to maneuver my chair into a sitting position. Wow.

I don't usually know what I'm going to write about until I write it, and some days, like yesterday and today, nothing really overwhelming happens, so I blather on. Sometimes it turns out to be more interesting than I thought. But when it isn't, just skip.

I taught a long class at Haifa University about Yeats today. Didn't realize I'd get into a windy lecture about love poetry being the opposite of love, that love interferes with love poetry most of the time. But suddenly, in the middle of my going on about how being an object for love poetry is no big shakes, I realized I was talking directly to a young woman in a hijab who kept nodding back at me. The other people in the class, mostly older people, were also nodding, but she was the one who got to me. I was picturing Nizzar Khabbani (who writes wonderful love poetry) as my admirer, writing about me, and I was getting more and more negative about the poet as a desirable lover. It was strange because I don't usually feel a total connection with a single student, and certainly don't develop images from this connection.

We drove through the forests of Mt. Carmel that were destroyed in the fire only two short years ago - and it seems that much is restored. As if the trees want so much to renew that they struggle through the burnt parts to grow green. It was an incredible optimistic feeling - that things can come back to life despite the destructive forces in the world.

May 14, 2015

The shock treatment my poor hip is going through didn't seem to be very bad today. I mean that although the pain at the time seems unbearable, it didn't feel too bad afterwards, so i decided to go out to dinner before the evening celebrating Mahmoud Darwish. And then, when I got up from the dinner table, found my leg was not cooperating with my brain. So we gave up on Darwish and went home. Darwish at the Bialik House - i thought there couldn't be anything more interesting. But back in bed I got to see the tragic circus of the knesset. Bibi announcing that this would be a government of strength and peace - received with guffaws in the audience for one. Bibi announcing his government from a tiny piece of paper he unfolds from his pocket - because it wasn't determined until the last minute. Tzachi Hanegbi announcing that he hadn't agreed to the position Bibi announced, didn't even know about it. And then the powerful address of Herzog - embarassing in its accuracy. The whole evening seemed like the brink of an implosion.

At dinner, my grandson Omer, who will be five in less than 3 months, asked which day of the week was man created. Ezi, who is nothing if not thorough, answered by looking up Genesis on his cellphone and began reading. Omer, fascinated, begged Ezi to continue, to continue. Worried over the fate of my granddaughter, the younger sister, I asked to censor the whole part about Cain and Abel, and Ezi skipped to the flood. When he got to "The people were evil..." Omer interrupted, "Was it because of the apple?" This line kept coming back to me during the brief knesset session. Is the evil of ignorance or knowledge? What is worse? And will we drown?

May 15, 2015

I missed the guided tour of Jaffa Port because my leg still doesn't want to respond, but much of the family was there, discovering even more history about the Gut heritage. So stuck at home I looked up the hospital I was born in, verifying my mother's stories of that last day of the buzz bombs. Have I written of this before? I forget. Do I bore you? Isn't it better to talk about history than Bibi? I can't get over how he's betrayed his best friends, how he always betrays his best friends, and somehow gets away with it.

May 16, 2015

At the pool

Among the swimmers measuring their laps
Two strangers are debating politics –
“What you are saying, Madam,”
The old man shouts over the noise of strokes,
“Is that we have to prevent a Palestinian state
By making the Jewish State binational!”
I cannot hear her reply,
Since even in her backstroke
She is turned away from me.
But his cadence increases
as he bellows a hearty reply.
By the end of ten laps
They have gathered others
Into the vigorous debate.

Me I am sitting in a lawn chair
Watching two doves
Settle their nest in the eaves
Above it all.

3d Printer

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