Under the East Jerusalem Sun

where are you from?
asks the dentist
while she reaches deep down
into Barukh’s mouth

she has a voice
but still commanding

just as sweet little almighty has

from Hungary
groans Barukh
with his mouth full
of the dentist’s hand
and a drill

and when did you make aliyah?

five years ago
moans Barukh

and what do you do?

אני משורר
he sighs

the dentist asks
she doesn’t understand
what Barukh says
with his mouth full


Barukh pushes all his energy
into the word

the dentist exclaims
i love poetry
Fernando Pessoa…
do you know them?

Barukh signs so-so
with his hands

the dentist made aliyah
from Argentina
and now she works
in this East Jerusalem clinic

just as the Russian assistant does
who hearing with half an ear
that now it is about poetry
leans into the picture

Barukh is lying down low
on his back
his mouth wide open

the Argentinian dentist
and the Russian assistant
the two women
put their heads together chatting
over him

what are you talking about?
the assistant asks

Barukh is a poet
says the dentist
nodding her head towards the patient

says the assistant
there is also a Russian poet in Israel
very famous
very-very famous

the dentist asks
famous in Israel?

the assistant shakes her head
in Moskva!

and what do you write about?
the dentist asks Barukh

groans Barukh
his hands squeezing
the arms of the dentist’s chair
in the corner of his eyes
tears welling

about life…
the dentist nods appreciatively

the assistant leans toward Barukh

about family?

Barukh nods

about war?

Barukh nods again

i love books
says now the dentist

but you also love flowers
the assistant asks her

the dentist stares at her
and answers:

i rather like books

Barukh whimpers softly
hardly makes a sound
like a wolf pup

the dentist looks at him

you know who’s my favourite?
above all and above all else?

Barukh shakes his head
almost imperceptibly
he doesn’t know

Sándor Márai!
the dentist exclaims

she withdraws her hand
out of Barukh’s mouth
for a moment
her palm moving towards her heart

she closes her eyes

when i read Márai for the first time
i was in shock!
i couldn’t believe
something like this could exist!

she opens her eyes
bends over Barukh
and enthuses:

Márai can look
right into the head of a woman!
he seems to be actually inside!
i have never read another male writer
who understood as much
what was going on inside women

Barukh feels quite funny
in this dental clinic
in east Jerusalem
some hundred meters
from the streets
where only days ago
Arabs and Jews
were lynching each other

his limbs quiver with pain
and in the meantime
he listens to his
Argentinian and Russian fellow Israelis
talk about poetry over his head
and the Argentinian gushing
about Sándor Márai
Barukh’s once fellow Hungarian
who was another
wandering Aramean
as the three of them are
there in east Jerusalem

Barukh sits up
spits the blood from his mouth
then slings his bag
over his shoulder
with trembling arms

the dentist calls to him:

see you next week!

Barukh nods
forces a smile on his numbed face

bring us a poem of yours
that you have in Hebrew!
calls after Barukh

her voice
and still commanding
just like the one
sweet little almighty has

Barukh nods
and steps out
under the East Jerusalem sun

he thinks to himself
sometimes it seems
as if there is still hope

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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