I could bang the door shut, run out, away
from your screech, dry and black.
I could try to deafen it with satin recollections –
an orange wind inflating the arches of Nahalat Shiva,
the dark blue gnawing at the light on the night’s rim,
muezzins calling for the last prayer,
beer like maple sap in our mouths -
a coward's game.
But hey! it’s late, give me to drink,
god of the downtown bustle,
from the puddle of the moon’s face
as it hollows out in evening steam.
I want my trance and to push away
that foreign grip seizing me by the throat
and to drink, drink against the rule of pain,
against the scorch hounding the alley’s oak...
"Trees die standing" and you writhe in agony
at the ruthless gate, fritter away minutes,
by gods, by me - all to the sole victor.
And you cannot rise and rewind the film,
fend off sickness on the hunt,
meet me in buzzy Barood off Jaffa Road
and drink to me… with the feeling within that
all, forever, is well, as it must be.
I could return home, drunk and ashamed,
find you sleeping, silent.
I'd kneel and strike your transparent forehead –
a prophetic scroll on the suffering yet to recommence -
I'd beg your forgiveness,
read on your lips an impatient “stop it,”
and I'd forbid you to wake.
(Jerusalem, July 2012)