Tel Aviv Diary -September 29-October 3,2015 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

September 29, 2015

All this Israelis who have not gone to Rome or Paris are scurrying around trying to get things done in the half-working-hours-days. For example: We ordered a sliding door for our bathroom about 2 months ago. We thought it would be ready in time for me to come home from the hospital and it would make things easier for me to get into the shower. But there was a complication with the measurements or something and what with the holidays we haven't been able to get in touch with the guy who knows something about what is going on with the door. i am no longer in need, but the checks are being cashed and it would be nice to have the door...

October 1, 2015

To escape the holidays, and to concentrate on walking and healing, we went to Carmel Forest Spa. They won't touch me at the spa of course, since I'm still healing, but i get to walk around and enjoy it. The forest, still recovering from the terrible forest 2 years ago, seems a perfect surrounding for me. the villages around, like Ussifiya and Daliat El Carmel, waken my curiousity, and encourage me to walk. And the pools here make me want to swim.

October 2, 2015

It would have been the perfect vacation. But then I heard that Naim Araidi had just passed.Now it's a perfectly awful day, week, year. Here are some of his poems.

I remember the first time we met. I was asked, with a few other poets, to participate in an evening of poetry at Maalot Tarshicha. It was shortly after the Gulf War and I was moving from writing erotic poetry to a diary-type verse. But I brought mostly some erotic stuff with me. We were met by a distinguished soft spoken young man with great moustaches, Naim Araidi. And the room was filled with Arab and Druze intellectuals, who were expecting, it turned out, poetry of coexistence. I sat terrified through the evening as every speaker discussed the concept of coexistence - some were young women reading in Arabic from their notebooks, and the audience analyzed the language, the spirit, the ideas. When at last it was my turn, I read a poem about becoming inured to missile attacks, and coming to expect the scud attacks. That was all I had with me, and I was shocked to discover that many people in the room knew exactly what i was feeling. "That's what co-existence is about," said Naim, "sharing feelings." We met many times since then, read together many times, shared meals and coffee and visits, but last year, over a year ago, I couldn't help but think of that day, when Ezi and I went to the annual festival he created in his home town, Mghrar.

We came uninvited. I wasnt on the list. But I wanted to hear it all, the guests from abroad as well as the high school students. And Naim graciously asked me to read as well.

Here is an old photo of us. There are many more. I'll post them soon.

October 3, 2015

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