“Last Year in Jerusalem”
I found a single stanza in my ‘maybe later’ documents and pimped it a bit
Hungering for Jerusalem
I flew El Al to Israel.
The smells of Yemenite cuisine
Eaten at Falafel Hateimani
Just past the Ethiopian Embassy near
The Street of the Prophets [Rehov Hanevi’im] Where Holman Hunt who painted “The Scapegoat”
Built a house – number 64
And delicious pitta dipped in baba ganoush
From a pavement cafe on the Arab side
Haunt my nostrils still.
After lunching on olives and hummus
And a sweet potato and prune tagine
And a glass too many of Goldstar
At a café in the shade of Gehenna
I ambled the apartment canyons of Givat Oranim
Alternating, “Salaam alaikum…Shalom…Good day…”
At random strangers avoiding my eye.
No blame: a midday Englishman
Heavy under the influence
Was safer kept pariah.
A caterwaul of police whistles
Encouraged my shamble
As I stumbled the intersection
To the Valley of Gazelles
Where I rested my length
Sprawled on a sun bleached bench.
The animals are there, but rarely seen
I glimpsed a slender female
Camouflaged in her coat,
White and opaque couché,
Grazing a thicket of thorns.
I looked into her eyes
Deep into her eyes
She looked away shyly
A look not unfamiliar to me.
And I knew… that I knew…that
I knew that creature.
I had loved her a lifetime before,
When she was a girl.