New Poetry, Fiction, Essays

Roy Liran – 5 poems

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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 opportunist

Once –

you would think me insidious if I said
I brought the summer rains just so you
would flock to my umbrella, convinced

a vicious cold to bring you to my heat.

Heartless, you would call me, had I
claimed to make the leaves stand
vibrant out when all they did was die.

Say I made the gray seem crooked
blue. Say I made the path seem straight.

Tell me no one can change the weather.


anything, but

screw it I cant read that not
Bukowski the other guy the one
everyone loves the one writing
as a man owning a supermarket
cart should smoke holding his
crumpled joint at the perfect
diagonal taking professionally deep
inhales and slow slow thoughtful
exhales of non-dissipating fumes
that hang around his head swinging
in that damned meaningful gray
wind that follows him everywhere

you know him

one day he came by to show me
something he was really bad at and
I loved him for it and after he left I
almost got me a stolen shopping
cart and a used rolled cigarette
but wrote of sandstones and trees
again instead of whatever because
every street has the better corner
for coffee and for hanging loose and
every crowd has the better face with
the better wrinkles with the bluer
eyes with the whiter stained teeth


The needless thing

A dry tide flows over
this unwilling earth,

invading the tightest cracks,
the hidden spaces, the dying
moisture. An arid breath, it

comes uninvited into emptied
rooms and vacant halls and
creaking cupboards, pushing

onwards and unwanted, a
barren stubbornness exploding

from east of inside, from
where nothing good

grows, spreading outwards,
viciously, unrelenting, in
spite and just because. A

needless thing, a harmful
presence, a useless ghost, a
ceaseless itch, like a tired

man silent on a sofa in the
flickering dark, like words


against the shell of some
reluctant, whining fool.


To say

Her calls are
goat bells in
the village green

a creaking pulley
over the cold well

branches thumping
an unkempt wall

winds hissing
at a busy line

Once, she
showed me the
gaps between
her toes
and said –


What of it

Then one year the rains
failed to come, to spite
the dry politicians rubbing
in their tubs, blind to the

poetry of the moon, deaf
to the lizards at the edge.

Not the beginning. Not the end.

A hundred love-swarmed
gnats will have crowded
an uncovered face,
to say that all poems

are of the moon, where
low-gravity poets utter
dusty words into the
vacuum, and awed half
listeners strain at the
emptiness in their ears.

A cloud once veiled the
moon for a wolf-writer
as he was looking at
the horizon from below,

as all poets look for
the horizon, poems
drowning in the pale-lit
shallows, mouths
spewing brime and
vacant lunar bubbles.

So what of it, ask the
pale lizards on the lunar
tree, that catch gnats
and unblinking starlight,

if the seas are full of
dust, and the horizon is
over the highest clouds.
What of it if a poet is
stranded on the moon,
like lizards on a tree, and

if the rains don’t come.



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