David Barbi

Mother told me that at three years old I asked
Why can't we visit the houses yonder?
After the war
When I entered
I did not understand
Today also after fifty years
As a three years old I keep asking

Amir Or

By the Temple
By the temple / Assad is begging bread / Abdalla's begging money. Nearby / among the booths of / incense and charms/ Mustafa's begging stars / and Issa's begging love / stretching out / their begging bowls / gaping.
Mansur's begging truth / from every passer by / Jallal begs freedom / Omar - life.
And he? / He's begging nothing / yet no one gives him any.
His begging bowl is filled / with glances and stares / thought-alms / word-alms / air, fire, earth, / kingdoms / elixirs / salvations.
He turns his begging bowl upside down / and empties it. / Yet it's still quite full.
"Dear Self," he writes on it / fills it with wine to the brim / and drinks up in one gulp; ah, it's not empty!
He smashes his bowl / in one go / broken pieces / yet it seems to be now / even fuller; / multiplied.
By the temple / Assad is begging flesh / Mustafa - pebbles / and Omar - walls.
By him / by the temple / there's no temple.

Lital Michaeli

Moledet* Coffins fill her eyes
lips of nails, her lungs gather fibers of men
she breathes and piles rise and rest,
a body holding flesh, air, skin and sweat
she turns over in their graves.
Her caress invades walls of oaky smell
splintered chips bleed out, inhale exhale
remains gather, unite and crumble
sand fills her bed
if only they saw her,
and she awakens them from rest
another tree root spread and
they lay a flag on her stained breast.

*The Hebrew word for homeland

Raanan Ben-Tovim

Shell Sanity
The days drag slowly.
The soil rips like brown meat after the sun casts spears
which prolong her time a little more every day
in the sky,
whose distance above the earth is measured by the ballistic course
of a crazy missile.
An armored division motorizes into thick stones.
When it leaves there won't be a stone on stone unturned.
A hot tin teases appellations of war*.
they were just names of trees and elements and thickened water and objects
of sanctity**, but today
every child knows to declaim upon breakfast
the color of that dawn, breaking through the night
interrupting the motion.
No present lies in the reddened gold of evening when forces deploy
long arms and embrace in
to a narrow strip
like a dick into the hole of a Syphilis and AIDS infected whore, and defe
turns the man
nearly numb;
All he wants to do is come finish and go, satisfied
that he did what was expected of him and now
just stay alive, preferably
in one piece,
not disabled,
and wash out the eyes as far as they can see -
a breath.
Summer's sweat sticks to shirts and stinks the scent of diesel.
No defense can purify the poisoned ambience of the city,
that does not know to whom she is faithful,
apart from blood, and of that
there is ample.
Color televisions cannot illustrate the darkness of the night and the whiteness of the eye
from the other side of the sniper's sight.
In a week,
The picture will clarion and sink faster with the passing of weekend's breaks the battalion will
return to routine and the colors will scatter
into shades beyond the breach notice while sawing the sky and harsh lighting.
Withdraw; not to break
It's not healthy to be too sensitive; not if you wish to live.
There are no simple answers.
You can't say that one mother sends her son to kill
while the other sends her son to die, without taking an evading stand
while searching for logic. You can't place the noble one facing the evil one without coloring the
wall of the courtroom
with anticipating words. You can't comprehend beyond the riffle's sight. The option
is lethal. There are no simple answers. There are the good and the bad and no answers and the days
merely drag on as the seasons pass.

*"Red Dawn" (Dawn is the meaning of the Hebrew word Shahar in English and is also used as children's names: Shahar) was the alarm appellation/code when rockets were launched from Gaza to Israeli territory, which was changed to "Red Color" as a result of additional trauma to children named Shahar.

**There is implicit dual use of the names of several operations carried out by Israeli forces in Gaza after rockets were fired from Gaza on Israel by Hamas.

Miya Shem-Ur

We cling together
We put our hands
Pulling at each other's hearts
With our fingers
So that we can't suffer
If we feel
A little
Dying of desire

Gili Haimovich

Gladys left her shouts
In a candy jar, for too long.
Only sweetness remains from them
Toward them Gladys is like a
Fly who fears its desires.
Her tiredness is not stubborn enough
Like her fading shouts,
Though she is not necessarily in favor of the shouts
That leaves irremovable stains,
The blood is streaming in the body
Even if it's not dripping out of it.
It's even less tiresome than to cry.
And what does she knows? nothing.
Just that sometimes she hears the embarrassments
Screams the crises.
To chant poetry it's not necessarily to shout.
But it's always bloody.
And it's sexy.

Oded Hon

What do people mean?
What do people mean when
they 'tear out their heartstrings'?
For godly religions, the essence of the soul floats above.
So how can the soul's heartstrings drip blood?
Caesar falls, betrayed,
Jesus is stunned by the cross,
Muhammad orders the killing of infidels,
and ascends to heaven on his horse,
Herzl's heart bursts with overwhelming love,
And our Jewish god sits blindly by -
while our heartstrings are torn asunder.

Mati Shemoelof

drove out our hope
They drove out our hope, and threw my children into the street
They drove out our hope, and we paid the price
They drove out our hope, for a "green" forest
They drove out our hope, and left no medicine for my sick father and mother
They drove out our hope, and the shame, they even took the shame
They drove out our hope, and the mayor said: "Communists, parasites" and built another luxury tower
They drove out our hope, and just bought a white dog a new kennel
They drove out our hope, and threw us out into the cold
They drove out our hope; another ship sank in the blood
They drove out our hope, while the Captain celebrated and perforates the lifeboats
They drove out our hope, it's colder outside than last year
They drove out our hope, and a drug addict lost his home and his song
They drove out our hope, with bullshit, drugs, and lies to the masses
They drove out our hope, and told us that salvation would come but instead they tortured us
They drove out our hope, with police threats, brutal arrests, and without police tags
They drove out our hope, and it's hard to understand those who celebrate
They drove out our hope, I open my eyes
They drove out our hope, take away my poetry
They drove out our hope, feed my lice
They drove out our hope, take away my guardian angels
They drove out our hope, but you're tired and don't want to suffer social pains
They drove out our hope, and threw our children into the street
They drove out our hope, but the truth refuses to leave
They drove out our hope, but they can't expel our hopes
They drove out our hope but hope stayed with us

Why don't I write Israeli Love Songs

To Amiri Baraka
First bring me back my history
And then my textbooks
And don't tell me my poem is a political manifesto
When you haven't got a clue 'bout your wrongs. So here is a lead:
I want compensation from the National Bank of Israel
For the Palestinians, the Mizrachim, the Women, the Gays and the Lesbians
For every comment, transit-camp, closed military zone
Disappearance, disfigurement.
I want you to open the poetry safe
And give back the land to those you took from
And compensate for a horrible occupation
I will wait by the National Bank of Israel,
Outside the window of the National Insurance Institute,
Under the cars of the Treasury Department
Until you aptly compensate for all the distilled racism
And only then, when the children of children of the compensated ones
Will study in university, in an equal society
Only then will I be willing to write Israeli love songs.