Tuesday, March 1, 2022







You are willing to come

To Jerusalem

Where I kill myself

Every single day -


You can't live in a place

Where the Transfer is

Conceptually different

For you –


As much as you warned me

About America


Where people don't realize "

The difference between Poetry

And Song",


I want to go back to

Europe - where people live

By caricatures


You say you like Jews


You thought I came from

Those countries - where it is forbidden

To uproot

My Ghetto


So I am going to the hospital

What the hospital asks

Is one less lady

Who smiles



My Doctor


I have

My own "Thousand"

Carring your signture.


I wear them as an amulet--


Much like Umm Kulthum's scarf amulet

The one she carried at every performance,

With a Thousand seeds of Parisian cocIne in it


I walk with them--


Like the thousand chemicals

In the poison that

Nietzsche carried permanently

In his pocket


But I don't praise it--


So don't ever try to train my brains

To be pleased

You know my heroes,

I was happy before I knew them


Before I barely knew

The difference between you and

A passer-by.





I live with a vieille dame

Among her Prozac and cigarettes


She welcomed me by a first introduction

With Anne Sexton's book in 1967


She gave me a contract to stay neurotic in her


And behave like a

Petite Muette beside her bedroom


At that time she looked like a hostess in a house of ill


Walking like a salonnière in her salon littéraire (never with visitors)

With that appearance of maison-close, then

She invited men to clean her old furniture

From new dust


I met her first seven years ago,

The time it took for her foundation

To blend un parfume

To her taste

Less than the time it took me to find

The favored delicacy for my

Lady cat


I barely could read her language, but –


We were aware to the provocation of



She would not be surprised by any disgrace

I would bring into my life


Neither by any sensation I would choose to have

In my colors le matin.


She warned me from being a

Poète maudit  – a cursed poet.


I watched her, I knew.

It all started with a clothes cupboard



Such A Therapist


I play games in my mind – behind papers never

Written about the tired person I am –


She’s trying to praise my grief

On papers gone to early retirement

On shelves of book stores

Where the bourgeois are the first clients to borrow

The fairy tale that’s posted in Friday’s edition of a

Leftist Magazine


She’s trying to decorate me with

A lower analogy of R.I.P. poets

Who produced the best comedies

Of their life

By blank papers and faked orgasm

And ending

As their own hangmen


But She, She must be warned! It’s a static position!


« A woman who gets lost,


In translation »

Will never be tested twice

Not in this scenario.





You look

At the crimson lipstick

Setting it against the faded color

Of your life.


She must be courageous

To wear that color

In days of mourning.


"I'm bleeding".


No, you can't

Be that brave.


She smiles.




TALI COHEN SHABTAI, born in Jerusalem, Israel, is a highly-esteemed international poet with works translated into many languages.  She has authored three bilingual volumes of poetry, "Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick"(2007), "Protest" (2012) and "Nine Years From You"(2018). A fourth volume is forthcoming in 2022. Tali began writing poetry at the age of six. She lived for many years in Oslo, Norway, and the U.S.A., and her poems express both the spiritual and physical freedom paradox of exile. Her cosmopolitan vision is obvious in her writings. Tali is known in her country as a prominent poet with a unique narrative. As one commentator wrote: “She doesn’t give herself easily, but is subject to her own rules.”


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