the big house on zója street

papa told barukh
many times
how when had been a child
he often had to stay at home
in the big house
on zója street

while his parents
barukh’s grandfather and grandmother
left to make some money

to buy something
to sell something

after the war
after the holocaust
during soviet occupation

at the beginning of the fifties

when there was
really little money left
in the country

but hunger and fear
was in abundance

barukh sees it as a movie
in black and white

his grandfather and grandmother
are both young
and thin

his grandfather
marches in the front
his sharp eyes
blazing hungry

you can see the cogs
turning in his head

what to buy
what to sell
that others haven’t thought of

how to make money
how to buy food
for the family

anything goes

that you can buy cheap
and sell for more

no matter
if it’s far away
no matter
if it stinks
no matter
if it’s illegal

he was always like that

in the fifties
during the soviet era
and also twenty years later
when little barukh got to know him

work is no shame
he told little barukh
shame is when you got no money

if he closes his eyes
barukh can see his grandmother too
as she steps out of the house
following his husband
closing the door
locking it carefully
with a big key

and little papa whimpers loudly inside

barukh sees his grandmother
whimpering too
in silence
on the other side
of the locked door

she has to go
and can’t stay
with her firstborn
baby boy

she has to go

after her husband
for money
for food
for survival

little papa runs to the window
holding onto the bars
with his small clenched fists
watches the figures of his parents getting smaller

they don’t look back

it is easier like that

for them

little papa thinks of money

damn money

he doesn’t know
what it is
but he hates it so much

tears pour from his eyes

he is alone

so alone
in the window
of the big house on zója street

rain pours down from the sky

pain pours from little papa


pain and loneliness
pouring out of him

so uncontrolled
as he never
let himself feel it ever

as he never ever again
let the world see
how loneliness and pain
coursed through him

why should he let them see

it didn’t even matter
when he was a child…

as long as barukh can remember
has always wanted to be rich

he always wanted a big house
so that all his family
could fit inside

but papa has never become rich

and although
he hasn’t given up
barukh thinks it will never happen

has a number of explanations
as to why not

but he thinks
the most important among these are
those hours
and days
that little papa spent
holding onto the bars of the window

in the fifties

in the pouring rain

whimpering loudly

because of money…

papa has never forgiven money

making his parents
leave home
without him
and making them
leave him alone
in the big house on zója street

and later
he could all but want to be rich
If he kept hating money
that was necessary
to be had if you wanted to be rich

he could all but want to be rich
if as a small child
he had learned
it had been branded into his soul
that money went hand in hand
with loneliness
and ending up
in a big house
whimpering loudly
holding onto the bars of the window…

papa told barukh
and his brother
many times
about his dreams of wealth
building castles in the air
but between the lines
and between the sighs
he left them
an entirely different legacy:

time spent with your children
is worth much more
than money
much more
than food
much more
than wealth…

splendid legacy

not practical at all

but this is barukh’s legacy

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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