Wasted Life Poem by Thomas Kellar


Smoke ring in a windstorm

old man with blindfold and cigarette

at the university he had “shown promise”

was called a “diamond in the rough”

but the years have gotten away from him

he pissed away his time

now he waits for the phone to ring

for Gabriel to call and ask if he has one last request

from the beginning desire had been a map without names

never sure where he was or where he was going

change made for the sake of change

point A to point B in a car painted primer gray

he drank too much-slept too much

read too much-chased “easy” too much

never finished the book he had been writing

for the last 24 years

now the Rambler sits on blocks

the manuscript lost somewhere in the attic

he calls himself “invisible man on blue planet”

the events of his life written in disappearing ink

nothing to offer as evidence of having circled the Sun

staring at the autumn sky, chain smoking, sipping tea,

he waits for the angels to raise their rifles

and take him home


Three Colors Poem by Elisha Porat


translated from the Hebrew by Seymour Mayne

On Memorial Day I make my way up
to the small military cemetery.
In the northwestern corner
we’ve placed a grey basalt rock
and facing the southern corner —
a blanching chunk of chalk.
And between under the loose sand
our red loam
spreads itself all around.

And when the loudspeaker booms out
the memorial prayer
I close my eyes
and see those three colors
descend before me and disappear
into the encroaching shadow of the stones.

Elisha Porat, a 1996 winner of Israel’s Prime Minister’s Prize for Literature, has published more than a dozen volumes of fiction and poetry, in Hebrew, since 1973. His works have appeared in translation in Israel, the United States, Canada and England. Mr. Porat was born in 1938 to a “pioneer” family in Petah Tikva, Israel. In the early 1930’s his parents were among the founders of Kibbutz Ein Hahoresh, where Mr. porat was raised and still makes his home. Mr. Porat was drafted into Israeli Army in 1956, served in a frontline reconnaissance unit and fought the Six Day war in 1967, and the Yom Kippur War in 1973. A short story by him — On the Road to Beirut is also posted at Ariga. As a lifelong member of his Kibbutz, Mr. Porat has worked as a farmer as well as a writer. Mr. Porat currently performs editorial duties for several literary journals. You can write to him at porat_el@einhahoresh.org.il
Copyright © by Elisha Porat, All rights reserved


Strange Snow Poem by Elisha Porat


translated from the Hebrew by Riva Rubin

Strange soft snow descends
on the slopes of Jebel-El-Kebir,
chill and silent it falls
on dogouts and vehicles
armored on the screens of memory.
Astray in me in the damp haze
forgotten comrades call
whose lives once touched my life
now grown distant beyond the roads
the roadblocks the rolling hardare.
Once, among them, I saw
such a pure white suddenly crushed;
minced and ploughed under and rearing up
and then subsiding silently absorbing
rent veins an reddening stain.


A Haunted Poet by Elisha Porat


to the memory of Abba Kovner
translated from the Hebrew by Tsipi Keler

Years he smoked, burned, inhaled
filthy butts that wrecked his lungs
with tuberculosis:
muscus, cough and pain.
He didn’t cry he didn’t shout,
he only groaned in private,
and in whispers dictated notes
to those bending over his bed.
The sound of chimes and bells
interrupted the silence of his last nights
always alerting his heart’s flight:
He didn’t save from the fires
a loving mother chasing
after him, clinging as he walks,
as if he were a baby again,
holding her ashes
on his last day.


Demon Poem by Wayne Jackson

You Cannot Be Free
By Wayne Jackson 1950-1989

You cannot be free
of demons
they say.
To be free of them you
must be dead

as sticks
as shit

and the star comes out again

I tilt my head back
at the ceiling
The reflected light
from the pool outside
form shadows
that flicker and turn
I smoke cigarette after cigarette
I pick a twisted fruit
the sun shines through the


Atoms Poem or Epic Poem by David Michael Jackson

By David Michael Jackson

So I sat down to write the epic poem.
why not? There”s no reason,
there”s no reason in the universe.
Yes sit down my friend,
my good friend,
you look as if you are going to make the atoms themselves change.
Have a seat,
there is no hurry.
Make your visit.
Have a seat now.
What is your hurry?
Are you trying to get to the future? Well, I will tell you the future, so
have a seat,
and we shall not speak of the greeks for they are dead, and
we shall not speak of the impressionist painters for they are dead, and
no, I will not meet you upon this matter lightly
for it is hard to leave them all behind but,
you see this is a legal matter, the stars,
there are laws, you see
that say
that time
will go on
and the sun, and
the galaxy and the universe will
burn out, and
collapse and
end up
in a
ball of
atoms, and
the works of
greeks, and
impressionist painters will
in that ball somewhere with
a strand
of my lovers hair,
that”s it. Isn”t it? So I cannot write that epic poem and
I will drink instead of the wine, and
worship the
moment and watch my lover wash
her hair.
In the morning I shall walk in the field and gather flowers for her table. Tonight,
yes tonight we shall look at the stars and

Copyright © 1998 by David Michael Jackson, All rights reserved