Tel Aviv Diary May 4-8, 2020 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - May 4-8, 2020 Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 4-8, 2020

May 4, 2020

Boy are we confused! Can we let our trainer in or not? Can we go to the store? Can the open market open?

And while we're on the subject of open market, we're experiencing the government as bargaining in the way we bargain in the flea market and nothing is clear. who do you believe in - who do you trust - and why. is there a why at all?

here are some of the small questions: will the government allow the opening of malls? will it help out the drowning stores and create the economy anew? if it does, will that help? imagine you have a cosmetics shoppe and everything in it has an expiry date and you may be able to open tomorrow. maybe not.

and the big question - will there be a government at all? if there is it certainly won't be the one we voted for since everything within has changed. and if not, we will remain in a transitional government until the autumn...

and, oh yes, will we - as ancient citizens - dare to agree with the official openings? will we dare to see our grandchildren at all? will we dare to drive to the sea of galilee and inhale and rejoice in that wonderful holy sight?

later: as if he read our minds - Bibi got on the tube and announced specific rules, funding, etc. it sounds too good to be true - everything gradually going back to normal - with specific dates. even movies, plays, soccer matches, etc. with great praise for Bibi's brilliant managing of the situation, the ministers announced each particular, including the imminent vaccine.

now all i need is for Ezi to recover from his latest treatment and we can start moving.

May 5, 2020

The euphoria everyone seems to be in around here was contagious. i overdid my exercise and decided to let my physiotherapist in. he is an incredibly grouchy old man with amazing hands. and he succeeded in curing my sciatica but putting me in a terrified mood. first, he kept pulling down his mask and touching things in the house, the blinds, the airconditioning, etc. 3 he kept talking about how everyone but me was out there having fun. i kept repeating that in Ezi's situation we can't go out, that his presence in itself was a chance i was taking because i was in pain, but he didn't seem to notice - his need for communication and nearness was too great, i think.

May 6, 2020

Eat your heart out. we went to the beach today.

Yes - we walked along the path we have walked many many times, but suddenly everything was new. Ezi remembered learning to drive on one field, building the breakwater with his father 55 years ago, and swimming as a child in one of the beaches - and i was looking at every flower as if i'd never seen such a growth before. Even the birds were new - and old.

This one, nesting in isolation made me think of our quarantine and our situation. "Like a bird on a lamppost, like a masked runner on the sea coast, i have tried - in my way - to be free."

Marcela Sulak read some poems from my book today on the radio: Tel Aviv - Israel in Translation. It is, so far, my favorite book and i have to thank Shawn Edrei who made me put it together. "Fine - write another poem about it" and "fine - do you have a poem that would put this together?"

May 7, 2020

today has been too much for me. i am not a phone person but i couldn't get off it all day. everybody wants to get things moving and i'm already overcommitted. can i lecture here? can i speak there? can i write this now? all the things i've been wanting to do all year - and now its all hitting me at once. like a shower of solid chocolate.

as for politics i read the news, i watch television, and i don't understand anything.

May 8, 2020

"ongezoomt" - yiddish for I've had it up to here on zoom. next week, for example, i've got at least one zoom every day, except sunday - that i'm keeping for a potential trip to nature, someplace green with sandwiches and water bottles.

I have this friend who's retired but who lives for photographing the arts. Music, theater, the arts - he's there. sometimes behind the scenes, taking pictures of make-up, rehearsals, and anything that looks like art. i'm sure he doesn't make any series money on this, but it's his passion. And for the past two months he's been sitting on his hands. nothing. and no future. no one has any idea of when the arts will continue - will begin again. no rehearsals, no plan, no hope. As a poet i can continue if i am locked in a closet with a pencil and paper, but a singer needs lessons, rehearsals, performances. it has been a year since Mira Zakai passed away and i constantly think of what she would think if she were still performing as a singer. even if she was just teaching. teaching voice on zoom.

I really need to hear a singing voice on a stage. Listen to her. you'll see what i'm missing

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