Arts & Culture

from “Mutable and Immutable,” a 10-poem cycle by Maya Bejerano

from Mutable and Immutable[1]   2. Who is he who paralyzes me Who is he who kicks me Who is he Who transforms me Who fascinates me Who raises me Who escorts me with congenial threats Who scratches my back … Read More

By / March 1, 2009

from Mutable and Immutable[1]

 

2.

Who is he who paralyzes me

Who is he who kicks me

Who is he

Who transforms me

Who fascinates me

Who raises me

Who escorts me with congenial threats

Who scratches my back

Who slinks into me

Who hurts my orifices

Who’s waiting who’s leaving

Who grows in my belly

Whose head

Whose feet

Whose hands

Whence his soul his dream

 

3.

Infinite sweetness in your gray eyes

Oceana Oceana

A sense of neglect in your gray eyes

A sense of infinite solemnity

Oceana Oceana 

A sense of a smiling infinite

A sense of immeasurable wonder

Oceana

A sense of impending shuddering sobbing

A sense of the flat Chinese tree outside in light

Across the room

A sense of a thrilled awakening

Of a starved puppy

Oceana Oceana

 

4.

When were there words

When did words lie down to rest

When were words exploited

When were they spoken with such indifference

When did I stop traveling with them

When were the words speechless

When did they fail

 

5.

 

I talk about myself in generalities

I talk about myself in riddles

I talk about myself in visions;

what am I saying when I talk about myself

see myself in rambling questions

hanging from tall branches

in vocal scales

I talk about myself

in lows and highs

high-pitched and soft

blunt and pointed

I talk about myself as unassuming

I take public transportation

during regular hours;

sometimes, I talk about herself-

the star lady

the unruly lady

when I talk about herself I put on her spirit

shut myself in her speech

when I talk about herself

she’s enveloped in light.

 

I’m back talking about myself in generalities

in silly deeds and frivolities

I talk about myself

and lose my grip

how to talk about myself

 

6.

Boredom is a kind of pain

and free will;

boredom is a kind of body

boredom is a kind of fabric

boredom is a kind of tension on a couch

the kind of tension that has corroded

boredom is a kind of lie

a breezy summer wrap

boredom is a kind of time

boredom is a figure of speech:

I’m bored-

your presence is a kind of boredom

a boredom of no shape

standing stark naked

boredom is blurry-eyed

a roving boredom

boredom is a kind of somberness

 

7.

Racket

for Dorit  

 

Life racket, sickness racket

happy racket sad racket

spring racket

winter racket

what a racket in me

a racket of the particular and the vague

a thing wasteful and agreeable

the racket of travel and the racket of love

the racket of weakness or the racket of strength

the racket of brightness and the racket of darkness

the racket of meetings

the racket of longing for distances and fears

and the racket of children blurs them all;

the racket of kisses covers me all over

the racket of festivities the racket of movement

and listening to the racket of speech




[1] From a 10-poem cycle

*

Bios

 

Maya Bejerano holds a B.A. in Literature and Philosophy from Bar-Ilan University, and an M.A. in Library Sciences from Hebrew University. A major poet in Israel and considered by many a national treasure, Bejerano has published ten volumes of poetry, and her collected poems, Frequencies, appeared in 2005.  Her poems have been set to music, and her work has been translated into Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Greek, Italian, Polish, Romanian, Serbo-Croatian, Spanish, and Vietnamese. She has participated in numerous international poetry festivals, and is the recipient of, among others, the Prime Minister Award, the Bernstein Award, and the Bialik Award. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, and is forthcoming in the anthology, Poets on the Edge – Contemporary Hebrew Poetry (SUNY Press, 2008). A selection of her poems in translation The Hymns of Job and Other Poems was recently published by BOA Editions.

 

Translator

Tsipi Keller was born in Prague, raised in Israel, and has been living in the U.S. since 1974. She is the recipient of several literary awards, including a National Endowment for the Arts Translation Fellowship, CAPS and NYFA awards in fiction, and an Armand G. Erpf award from Columbia University. Her translation of Dan Pagis’s posthumous collection Last Poems was published by The Quarterly Review of Literature (1993), and her translation of Irit Katzir’s posthumous collection And I Wrote Poems was published by Carmel (2000). Keller’s most recently published books are Poets on the Edge – Contemporary Hebrew Poetry (SUNY Press); Maya Bejerano’s The Hymns of Job and Other Poems (BOA Editions).

 

All images from artist Joel Tauber’s  Searching For The Impossible: The Flying Project