Tuesday, August 6, 2013

From the Notebook of J Michel


In answer to your question

(about Jerusalem)
This is what I can tell you:
life here doesn’t flow with the effortless existence of the comfortable.
There are no rivers here;
life sits like stones in the City of David –moment and moment.
Frozen and still, I could stack them up
(they would take up less space)
but I put them on a blank wall instead. One by one.

Candles; smiles whose eyes I can’t see.
My grief comes singing into the darkness;
I won’t cry in front of them. I won’t speak your name.

Burning sun and the endless sea.
She speaks to me and I answer from the depths;
salt in the sea and salt in my eyes.

Heaviness; brightness –the scent of wild herbs
fills me up and I utter words
standing beside the crumbling wall of our destruction.

Stone and stone. Another stone.

In the streets, death sits beside the homeless man
who begs, day in and day out,
waiting for the return.

In the streets cats dash to and fro,
homeless, shabby, full of dirt and pleas,
padding lightly over the shadows in which death is always present.

You don’t understand. Here there are no rivers.
Here, death creates life.

I move in the streets, going, returning,
Catching myself as I fall asleep.
I am angry, dash my fists against the wall, scatter the stones.

And then it starts all over again:
The moment-stones are lining up in my mind
And the city breathes your name into the evening;
the stones shelter your ghost that slinks in the streets beside the cats –
Stone to stone, moment to moment –
All the moments of my life are strung together by your absence.

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