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New Poetry, Fiction, Essay

5 poems by Roy Liran

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Born in Israel in 1971. Lives in the Galilee with his wife and twins. Works in the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) as an archaeologist, architect and artist.
His first poetry book, ‘Not who I thought’ was published (in Hebrew) in 2016 by Pardes Publishing. It includes 65 poems and several drawings by the author.

 

 

the geometry of standing in the wrong line

then it came to me that I was not
in the right place, not quite unlike a
man standing in the wrong line for
bread, how can one tell line from
line when infinite parallels make a
single flat plane, threads in a flag
waving in the wind above another
lost battlefield, or in a checkered
tablecloth in a closed restaurant –
the wool grid of gridlocked streets,
or the tiles of the floors of empty
waiting rooms when full of empty
people, a blank gray brick wall of
countertops selling ‘can I help you
please’ under rows of blank signs

***

Blackbird

Eight days later
it was time.

A hat-wearing doctor
was invited with a
leather case of knives.

Red wine was poured
into the tiny glass,
but you warbled.

Just like a bird.

Cakes were taken out
of the refrigerator, and
everyone clapped
and drank, and you

were silent in your crib
while your father buried
the small gauze bundle

under the olive to grow
new lines on his face.

Like a blackbird.

***

Cleaning the crisp metallic

A hole dug in the
ground is not knowing

then knowing, partially –

the darker moisture
between finger-
like roots-in-love,

the rhythmic panic
of an earth-worm,

the broken memory of
a beer bottle cutting
into our knobby knee,

the cool embrace of
weeds and mosses
against the naked foot.

This earth is an excuse
for an infinite web of
tunnels, musty whimsical
crawlspaces where youthful
pagan critters meet,

avoiding that somber
adult air, that burning
atmospheric crispness,

that only dirty fingernails
and muddy-dusty
clothes could clean

***

Woodpecker

That day the stones
were heavy. When
you took off the dusty

trousers a tick was
on your knee. You
watched it unblinking.

Just like a bird.

Standing under
the showerhead you
washed until all

memories were
cleaned out of your
skin, then smashed

your kneecap hard
against the white
tiles. Once. Twice.

Like a woodpecker.

***

Secluded

there was no pond and no
reflection, although after torrid
rains our faces did break in the
shallowest gray turbid puddles,

and there was no forest, and
no cave, but we were set to look
for treasure-filled grottos that
lay hidden in the undergrowth

there, the trees foil time, and
for moments we can crawl
from the concealed clearings

backwards to the sacred past,
where the ground will stumble
on itself, and the sun will crumble

into the treetops, where sultry
fogs of silence fold downwards
as shield for our fertile secrets

 

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