How to become an Israeli poet?

it is thursday afternoon
on the face of it
all you can see
is barukh fidgeting with his phone

looking at whatsapp

he is searching for israeli people
on his contact list
he can send to
the link to his poem
published on the times of israel

it’s not an easy task

barukh is a poet
only for three years
and an israeli for five

there are no hundreds
of israeli people
he knows
from his childhood and youth
on facebook
and instagram

out of whom
at least a couple dozen
would see the link of the poem
if barukh shared it

he doesn’t even have a couple dozen israeli people
he knows as much
so he can send them his poem

those who would
read it

those like yogev
barukh cannot
take into account

yogev was barukh’s favourite boss
in the liquor store in eilat
and he liked barukh
but he was not the poem reading type

when barukh sent to him
the hebrew version
of one of his poems
yogev answered promptly
without even reading it

he wrote
what he always said
whenever he didn’t know
what to say
to the kind but odd barukh:

אתה רוקסטאר!

you are a rockstar!

feels like a tender breeze
on barukh’s face
but in point of fact
doesn’t help him
because he would like to be
an israeli poet
in a way so
that israeli people
make use of his poems

first of all
they read them

then use them
to express and endure
their own joys and sorrows
struggles and pains
in their everyday lives.

when barukh started
to publish and share his poems
in his native hungarian
it wasn’t a problem:

out of some hundreds
of his facebook friends
a couple dozen
would read them
four or five
would even like them
then they’d start
to read
then to share
barukh’s stuff
on a daily basis
and thus
nice and slow
started to grow
the audience
that used
barukh’s poems
and who were instrumental in
making barukh
a hungarian poet
living in israel

hungarian poet in the desert

in israel
on an english language website
it’s different

barukh has to find his audience
with different methods
in a more artificial way
in a more proactive manner

that’s why he is fidgeting with his phone
on this particular thursday afternoon

he marks
every israeli
who speaks enough english
so that they can read poems
and according to barukh’s estimation
to read poems

all israelis
who have a slot in barukh’s phone
from the moment
five years ago
when he arrived in israel

the british guy
from the desert kibbutz
who in the first few weeks
helped barukh and his family a lot
to provide a „soft landing”

all three people
from the desert kibbutz of the americans
he knows the phone number of

the manager from the desert council
who supervised new immigrant affairs

the language teacher from the ulpan

all four people
from the schools of barukh’s sons
who showed any kind of interest
in the difficulties
and fate
of the new immigrant kids
and their families

and dorit
who does not belong
in either of the categories
because she was sent
by sweet little almighty
to stand by barukh and his family
when they arrived from the desert
to the outskirts of jerusalem

so barukh marks
all eleven israelis
who could be considered
at least in theory
to be interested in
reading about
barukh’s shit

he writes
a short message to them
in hebrew
then attaches
the poem’s link
and presses the send button

then he is waiting

he doesn’t know
if he was allowed to do that

just to push his shit
on people

he doesn’t know it
not only because
he is not a native israeli
and not an anglo-saxon either
but also because of
his not neurotypical brain

he cannot small talk
or do the networking
and has no idea
how to keep up a relationship
that would prepare the ground
for a possible moment
when he
the wannabe israeli poet
can ask that other person:

look here
what would you say
if i sent over one of my poems

barukh has no idea
how people are supposed to do this

how to have civilized relations

that’s why he sends
the english language chronicle
of his agonies
to people
except for dorit
cannot be considered
in any way
as his friends.

and that’s why he panics
while he is waiting

because as time goes by
and no answer arrives
at all
barukh becomes
more and more aware
that he made a colossal mistake

that he shouldn’t have sent
all those messages

that he shouldn’t have made
a fool of himself

that he doesn’t know
how he will become
if he becomes at all
an israeli poet
but this is


unbearably so.

but time passes
and all of a sudden
his phone beeps
because one
of the eleven israelis
answers barukh
saying they have a meeting
at the moment
but they will read the poem later

and although they disappear
to never surface again
and seven israelis
don’t react at all
three of the eleven
actually write back

relevant messages
all three of them

they tell
how deeply they were moved
by what barukh wrote
two of them even recount
what events had happened
in their families
similar to those
barukh has written about

and barukh is happy

for a split second
he feels
like flying

for a split second
he feels
like he’s an israeli poet.

but then
he plops back down to earth

then he thinks about
how he doesn’t know
if he ever becomes
an israeli poet

the only thing he knows is
if he does
until it happens
he will feel many times
too painful
unbearably so

the only thing he knows
that until it happens
he will make a fool
out of himself

About the Author
a wandering aramean poet / born in hungary / living in israel / longing for a home / and peace / outside and inside // he writes about his new life / and his old one / his adhd and asd / his adonayush / and war and coexistence / in israel / in the middle east / and in the world // hundreds of his poems are available in hungarian / and in a weekly increasing number also in english // “self-appointed poet” (“önjelölt költő”) / his first book of poems / was published in budapest in 2021 / "twelve points of barukh" ("barukh tizenkét pontja") his second book was published in 2022 // he lives in the kurdish suburbs of jerusalem / with his wife and two sons
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