5 poems by Roy Liran


    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



    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



    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.



    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



    1. “geometry…” left me breathless with its excellent images. “Blackbird” is exquisite in its simplicity and delicateness.


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