p o e m s

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Moshe Benarroch

tr. from the Hebrew by the Author

your thousand lovers


sometimes when I lie near you
I think of your thousand lovers
those you loved
those who bought you
those who deluded you
who exploited you
who took advantage of your dreams
those you used
those who desired you
those who used you
I think of your thousand lovers
think of them and I want you
more, think of them and become
angry with myself
angry with them
angry with my abysmal loneliness
with my fear of women
with my fear of you
when I think of your thousand lovers
about your crazy life before me
I can’t understand what happened to us
two lunatics, how two lunatics
become after x years boring
deadly boring, when I think of your
thousand lovers I love you more,
I hate you I want you, you repel me
when I think of your thousand lovers
When I think you are the only lover in my life I am proud,
I am angry I want you, I want to kill you
when I think about my gorgeous, universal loneliness,
about my fear of women, of the thousand women
who wanted me, from whom I run away
whom I drove away When I think of your thousand lovers
and see you staring at me with your naivety I want to embrace you,
I want to strangle you I feel I am going crazy
where are you? where are you?
I want you, I don’t know you
I don’t recognize you, who are you?
When I think of your thousand lovers
of those who loved you
those enchanted by your eagerness
those who bought you with money, with presents
those who hated you those who wanted to dominate you
who am I, when I think of those
who visited you before me, before I knew you
who are you when I think of your thousand lovers
who am I when I want to lie with other women
to be with a thousand women
who will love me or not, whom I will love or not
Who am I within your thousand lovers
within and without your thousand lovers?

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speech of the man after the birth of his first son

look, he said,
while eating a croissant quickly
and drinking cappuccino
she is so busy with the child
she doesn’t even think of herself
her whole world is the boy
so how to think
that she’ll pay any attention to me
attention I need so badly.
don’t misunderstand me
I love her
but also need some attention.

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speech of the man after the birth of his second daughter

look, he said,
after he finished his cafe au lait
I was always the one to give up
but one day I suddenly felt
I couldn’t compromise anymore
I can’t communicate with her anymore
and I don’t hide our discussions anymore and the tensions,
I don’t mind if everybody knows
I try to survive day by day
somehow continue another day
but relationship, there’s no relationship anymore.
oh... I need some warmth
omeone to give me some warmth,
he said while smiling to the girl
with the enormous earrings
sitting with her two friends
in the table near us,
how I need some warmth...

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the speech of rabbi Akiva

how hard this separation
from this woman I love
or loved
how hard this departure
if there was no love in it
if there were only fights and anger
we could say
this separation is better than joining
but how difficult this separation
to set out for a new road
from this woman who bore my children
who gave me a home
who taught me to love
who saved me from the dark
who helped me study
how long and hard this separation.

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the body

As the tensions grew
and silence invaded our lives
sex improved
intercourses grew longer
fuller
and more
communicative

as we learned
each other’s body
silence grew longer
conversations became
autistic
each one in his corner
quiet and shouting
roaring and still
only
the body
could express love
hope and frustration
all the possibilities
and the impossibility of being fulfilled.


ęPoems and translations, 1998, Moshe Benarroch

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