Issue #9

  1. Introducing SITRA ACHRA

  2. Talmudic War Machine & A Shadow’s Dream

  3. Bruise Garden

  4. Mascha Kaléko: The Poet, The Stream

  5. Deli on the Move

  6. Bad Butcher

  7. Over or Under

  8. Remove/Release

  9. Renew Our Days

  10. Our Boys: A Travelogue

  11. Vitraji Vulgarum

  12. “Seeing is Not Enough”

  13. Cross-Pollination

  14. Theremin and the Touchless Touch

Mascha Kaléko: The Poet, The Stream

Tomer Dreyfus & Mascha Kaléko

Old, rectangular and sepia-colored photograph of a young Mascha Kaléko staring directly at the viewer. The edges of the photograph are torn or rotted off, while a tear cuts across the bottom-right corner, down through her shoulder. Kaléko has very thick, wavy dark hair, the whole of which is combed entirely to the right side of her head, framing the side of her face. She wears grey, perhaps wool overalls, and a darker colored short-sleeved, collared shirt beneath. Her gaze is soft and firm at the same time.
Portrait photograph of Mascha Kaléko, 1933 © Deutsches Literaturarchiv Marbach

Mascha Kaléko (b. 1907, Chrzanów; d. 1975, Zurich) published her first two poems in 1929 in the art magazine Der Querschnitt (“The Cross-Section”). These poems, her introduction to the readers who almost immediately fell in love with the new, young, ironic, and humorous tone of the 22 year-old hipster — it is said, she presented herself to the editors of the magazine, wearing a “sport jacket, whatever that is in the 20’s, and a red cap on her wind blown hair” — were written in a Berliner dialect.¹ And even though it was uncommon for her to write in dialect later on, this early tactic symbolized to a great extent the locality of her poems as well as a certain self-perception. In the poems, Kaléko was neither “Jewish” nor “German.” She was first and foremost a “Berliner” and later a New Yorker; or, even more specifically, a “villager,” which did not contradict her identity as a Berliner.

Kaléko passed away in 1975 during a layover between Berlin and Jerusalem in Zurich. She appeared in a few events in the divided German metropolis, but this time her reason to visit was to scout for an apartment. Kaléko stayed a Berliner throughout her life, and now — 14 months after her husband’s death and seven years after the tragic death of her son, Evyatar, at the age of 31 — the 68 year-old Mascha decided it might be the time to move back to her childhood streets.

Kaléko’s poems latch onto the hyperlocality of her childhood streets, so that there is very little room left for other identities to struggle to the surface. The ethnic, the cultural, and the national did not interest her as much, even if the world now expects it from her. How can one be Jewish in Germany in the 30’s and not write about these issues, the topic that Jewish poets in Germany today can barely avoid? Kaléko was not simply “Jewish in Germany” though she was “Mascha in Berlin,” and this affected her writings in more than one way.

Tying oneself to a smaller community rather than a nation or a religious pertinence has lingual consequences. Dialect is a good example of it. The wider the group is, the more distant its language is between speakers. The more people belong to a certain group, the more language is used in order to organize and control the masses. In small communities, it has the freedom of being dynamic and ever-changing, without threatening all the official paperwork with becoming obsolete overnight. German is the official language, yet Berliner is the one people use to communicate — the performance of a community — in the golden twenties. 

Back to Kaléko. Her life suffered a very dense dynamism. She moved with her mother and sister to Frankfurt am Main from the Polish city of Chrzanów at the age of seven, only to move two years later to Marburg and two years after that, in 1918, to Berlin Mitte. She would move again to Manhattan (Minetta Street) and to Jerusalem. By the age of 31, Mascha’s last name changed four times and her first name changed once. She was born Golda Malka Aufen. Her parents married when she was 15, and she officially got her father’s last name, Engel, as well as Mascha instead of Malka. At the age of 21, she married Saul Kaléko and took his name. She would marry once again to Chemjo Vinaver — all before moving to New York.

The fluidity of the priority she gave her immediate environment over anything “bigger” is ever present in her language. This fluidity of language trickles eventually into the universe of her poems, as things usually trickle. In her time in New York, her poetry challenged the hard distinctions between natural categories, which now focused on animals and plants who in turn underwent personifications. In one biography, the title of her 1961 book Der Papagei, die Mamagei und andere komische Tiere is translated to English as The Pa-Parrot, the Ma-Parrot and Other Peculiar Animals. While I understand Pa and Ma as a child’s abbreviations of Papa and Mama, as in the original, their melting together does not survive the translation. I would try Parrot, Marrot and etc. for example. These would not be possible in the tongue of a nation, a national tongue such as German. This is possible in the tongue of a city, of a melting firstly of subjective speech, who text² with one another and create the texture of an actual lingual space.

But due to its ever changing character, an urban community is not only limited in space, but also in time. It was not only Berlin, which Kaléko missed, the uneternalizable she tried to eternalize in her poems, but also a certain time. Much like Stephan Zweig, it is the world of yesterday that she mourns. Even when she writes about the war and the destruction it left behind, it’s not the persecution of Jews under Nazi Germany she mentions, nor is it anything of the ideological and political crisis before, during, or after these days. It is the destruction of the old. And how can one mourn a radical change of a space and time which is mostly characterized by constant change? By hinting at the nationalist illusion that the ever-lasting is possible. It’s not Berlin she escaped from, in her poem “Minetta Street”; it is the “thousand years.” The Nazi concept of a thousand-year long political entity stands in this poem in contrast to Minetta Street, which, Kaléko reminds us, used to be an ever-flowing stream, and still is, in her dreams.

Translating Kaléko, therefore, is not an easy task. Translating poetry, generally, is always the act of carefully copying a movement without accidentally freezing it. But in Kaléko’s case, it is a movement about a movement. The change, as it happens and as it is aware of itself, thus puts up resistance. In her “Chor der Kriegswaisen”, for example, not only the words object to militarism, but also her choice, for once, to give up on a regular metre. It is not written in a free metre but every line of the poem is different such that various metric forms can still be identified. The first lines of the verses consist of dactyls. Then it switches to amphibrachic. By the end of the verse, we are already in iambs. Kaléko performs to us “remains” of metres, remains of these war drums that are silent and done, but still fragmented, heard from between the ruins. 

To translate the ruins of war drums from German to Hebrew is a political act and perhaps one Kaléko thought of doing and never dared. She indeed knew Hebrew, and even translated Hebrew poetry into German in her younger years. Saul Kaléko, her first husband, with whom she lived for almost a decade, was her Hebrew teacher, and she did spend some years in Jerusalem.

But these weren’t any war drums, as these were German war drums. Maintaining a German sound through certain alliterations or assonances would have been possible. To combine it with the broken metre was a bit over the top for the translation, so I chose to represent the German language through the “Kriegswaisen,” the two words becoming one, such as in the English translation “Warphans.” In the Hebrew translation I translated literally a few words, for example “eiserne Zeit” turned into “הזְּמַן הַמְּבֻרְזָל,” which would definitely sound foreign to Hebrew speakers.

To translate poems so personal as the ones by Kaléko, one has to observe them, read them, read them out loud, analyze them, and search deeper for an element one is allowed to partake in.

But there is another issue to take with the “eiserne Zeit,” the iron time. It is not only an era made of iron, but an era cast in iron for all eternity. Just as the ghosts in “Kaddisch,” this world, these entities that make for “Jewishness” and “Nazism,” endures. They stand in both poems, “Chor der Kriegswaisen” and “Kaddisch,” in opposition to the dynamic, always moving, and shifting self (and especially urban self) as in the other two poems, “Interview mit mir Selbst” and “Minetta Street.” “Chor der Kriegswaisen” was published in 1933 and probably written earlier. It is a hint to the fact that these concepts were not always frozen in time. This poem refers in similar terms to the First World War. However dynamic Jewishness might have been in her eyes, the horrors of war froze it — as trauma usually does to a certain timeline. Every traumatic event rips time and splits it in two: one stays in a loop exactly there and then, where the trauma occurred (and keeps occurring), the other moves on. A world war is a world trauma, and her Jewishness seems to belong to the timeline that is captured in the traumatic loop. If poetry is the description of movement, for Kaléko, it is indeed “barbaric to write poetry after Auschwitz,” as Adorno wrote. If she ought to write poetry, she ought to ignore Auschwitz, and that is what she does.

Mascha Kaléko is, despite and even because of all the nature in her poems, a poet of ever-changing urbanity. When she mourns, she rather grieves the end of the constant flow. The Germans might have lost the war, but in the ruins, and in the postwar world, which introduces arts and theatre of the absurd, existentialism, fear and doubt, it looks like the concept of the “thousand years” has won.

The hope for restoration of this flow is the actual flow: the rivers, the ever changing trees, and especially the willows, which stretch as if they’re pointing at the water. In “Kaddisch,” the empty Kaddish, that is the Jewish town hollow of its residents, where there is no one to even pray Kaddish on the victims; the willows take the job upon themselves. I would like to think these willows are the same ones, which later the lanterns of “Minetta Street” turn into at night, as if they were cinderellizing into their true form at midnight.

Choir of the Warphans

We are the children of iron time
We were fed kohlrabi soup
We had enough of war and crime
And of field-grey marionettes’ troop

We hadn’t known the being of a child
Hunger sang us our lullaby
Because father in the trench whiled
For the homeland was he ready to be piled
As one flew over and didn’t pass him by

And one day a telegram our door chose
And father was not writing nor had he signed
Then mom wore her black clothes
And suddenly we were “left-behind”

Our horrors were the hero’s death
Our fairy tales: the paper’s front page
Our forbidden candies: loaf of bread
Our cannons – God’s rage

The primers proudly flaunted black-white-red
Death to the French! We learned to appeal
We avoided Adieu, said Grüßgott instead
And longed for bathing suits made of steel

We learned how history and revolution
Can be felt on one’s own soul
We sweated for the money of inflation
Which we later used as toilet roll

We feel at every turn, even today
The legacy of those glorious days
And we won’t partake, as you soldiers play
Because clear is our memory of this craze

 

Interview with myself

In a small town full of gossip mongers
I was born as the child of an immigrant
It had one church, two or three doctors
And one big madhouse and

“No” was so frequent in my tongue
I was no mama’s joy, not impeccable
And when my memory turns accessible
I don’t want to be my own young

In the first world-war I was in grade eighth
In public school with principal May
Already with six years I held faith
That when wars are done, peace will fly

Two teachers thought I was one of a kind
Thus I skipped, for the sake of my education
But in highschool in a time of such escalation
A people called “Aryan” were nowhere

At our graduation the teacher talked of marks,
Of youth, and of our ethical promise
We now start our lives with no parades
I unfortunately was only good for an office

Eight hours every day I heeded
In which my duty was well underpaid
Writing a poem delayed my bedtime
Despite my father’s “just what we needed!”

If the weather is nice I walk some distance
With a pencil on a colourful world map
But on days I hear the rain drops tap
I try to bring “happiness” into existence.

 

Kaddish (For Yom-Kippur, 1942)
In red gallops the poppy in Poland’s green field
In Poland’s black forests lurks death
The yellow sheaves decay and yield
Those who sow in tears have long been killed
The mothers starved, nothing keeled
The children cry: bread.

Silent birds banished from their nest
Trees raised branches as they blessed
Bent whisperly towards the Vistula to rest
Like a gesture of a praying bearded Jew
Then quaked the earth, having blood for dew
The stones cried.

Who would blow the Shofar this year and mourn
For the mute prayers under the sallow lawn
The hundreds of thousands with no tombstone
Their names are known to God alone

He sat in his throne, serious and solemn
To erase them all from the “living” column
Lord, may the trees’ prayers reach their aim
We spark today our last flame


Minetta Street
I wandered a lot around the world
As I from the “thousand years” fled
New lands were pretty, no shortcuts
But my homesickness was titled Savignyplatz

In the meantime I had many times forgot
Many addresses, my witness is God
– But if I’m thinking today of being at “home”
It’s called Minetta Street where I roam

Minetta street is just an alleyway
Naming it a “street” is merely polite
In the “Village”, where the artists one day
Brought a little Montmartre into light

Here are the girls all croppy
The boys are the ones with longer hair
Here every room is called a “studio”
And “artist bar” in every square

Despite all your tinsel and lametta
– You too are pure culture, you’re Bohème
My heart belongs to you, Minetta
And not only because it rhymes, I claim.

Verbatim, I live high above the alleyway
Four floors high – with husband and child
Which sometimes take my breath away
But we always have the skies on our side

Here, where the disciples of Picasso
Paint with “Isms” and lots of esteem
And an indian once wielded his lasso
Whooshed the ancient Minetta stream

You hear him rustle under the ground
When he’s awakened out of ice in the spring
– In “Pinguin”, where the literates are to be found
Scuffle over “existence” and its meaning

His murmur resonates through my dreams
Often like a well in the Odenwald
And if I wake up it simply seems
As arethe trees – lanterns on city’s asphalt

And yet, despite tinsel and lametta
In “Poetry” as well as in “Rose”
I sing you my praise, my dear Minetta
Not only the rhyme just because

And if in peaceful times over this right,
Countries will over this privilege fight,
(This concern seems premature):
“Well, which of M.K.’s homes should we mark
Where should we hang a ‘here lived’ plaque…?”

– I vote for Minetta Street.

מַקְהֵלַת יְתוֹמֵי הַמִּלְחָמָה

הַזְּמַן הַמְּבֻרְזָל הוּא מוֹלִידֶנּוּ
הֶאֱכִילוּנוּ מָרָק לֶפֶת בַּבַּיִת.
רִיב וּמִלְחָמָה מְנַת חֶלְקֵנוּ
.וְנָאחוּם תָּאקוּם יָרֹק כַּזַּיִת

אֶת הַיַּלְדוּת מֵעוֹלָם לֹא הִכַּרְנוּ
הָרָעָב שָׁר לָנוּ שִׁירֵי עֶרֶשׂ
כִּי אָבִינוּ עָמַד בְּשׂוּחַת הַשּׁוּעָל
לְמַעַן הַמּוֹלֶדֶת וּשְׁלֵמוּת הָאָרֶץ
.כְּשֶׁחָטַף פִּתְאוֹם וְנָפַל

וְיוֹם אֶחָד בָּא מִבְרַק מְסַמֵּר
וְאִמָּא עָטְתָה כֻּלָּהּ שָׁחֹר
וְאַבָּא מִכְתָּבִים מִזְּמַן לֹא חִבֵּר
.וּלְפֶתַע הָפַכְנוּ נוֹתָרִים מֵאָחוֹר

הַמִּפְלָצוֹת בַּאֲרוֹנוֹתֵינוּ מוֹת גִּבּוֹרִים
סִפְרֵי הַמַּעֲשִׂיּוֹת: עִתּוֹנִים דְּהוּיִים
כִּכְּרוֹת לֶחֶם: מַמְתַּקִּים אֲסוּרִים
.רַעַם תּוֹתָחִים דִּבְרֵי אֱלֹהִים חַיִּים

בְּסִפְרֵי הַלִּמּוּד “שָׁחֹר-לָבָן-אָדֹם!” מְלוֹא רֵאוֹת
בַּחוּץ לְמֵדִים אָנוּ: מָוֶת לַצָּרְפָתִים!
אָנוּ מִתְאַמְּנִים: לֹא אוֹמְרִים אָדִיו, אֶלָּא גְּרִיסְגּוֹט
.וְחָלַמְנוּ בְּהָקִיץ עַל בִּגְדֵי יָם עוֹפְרַתִּיִּים

לָמַדְנוּ הִיסְטוֹרְיָה וְעַל הַמַּהְפֵּכָה
וְאֶת שְׁנֵיהֶם שָׁמַעְנוּ גַּם בַּמַּקְלֵט
הִזַּעְנוּ עֲבוּר כֶּסֶף לְלֹא מְנוּחָה
.שֶׁהָאִינְפְלַצְיָה הֵמִירָה לִנְיַר טוּאָלֵט

וּבְכָל צַעַד וְשַׁעַל גַּם הַיּוֹם אָנוּ חָשִׁים
אֶת מָסֹרֶת אוֹתָם יָמִים זוֹהֲרִים
אָז לְמִשְׂחֲקֵיכֶם, חַיָּלִים, אֵינֶנּוּ חָשִׁים
.כִּי טוֹב מִדַּי לְצַעַרְכֶם אָנוּ זוֹכְרִים

 

רֵאָיוֹן עִם עַצְמִי

נוֹלַדְתִּי כְּבַת לִמְהַגְּרִים
בְּעִיר קְטַנָּה בָּהּ אֲנָשִׁים רְכִילִים
וּבָהּ כְּנֵסִיָּה וּשְׁנֵי דּוֹקְטוֹרִים
וּבֵית מְשֻׁגָּעִים אֶחָד עִם חוֹלִים

“לֹא” הִיא הַמִּלָּה הַנְּפוֹצָה בְּיַלְדוּתִי
לֹא הָיִיתִי יַלְדָּה קַלָּה, אֹשֶׁר שֶׁל אֵם
וּבְעוֹדִי נִזְכֶּרֶת בַּיָּמִים הַהֵם
לֹא הָיִיתִי בְּעַצְמִי רוֹצָה לִהְיוֹת יַלְדָּתִי

בַּמִּלְחָמָה הָאַחֲרוֹנָה לַשְּׁמִינִית עָלִיתִי
בֵּית הַסֵּפֶר הַמַּמְלַכְתִּי שֶׁל מַאי הַמְּנַהֵל
מָלְאוּ לִי כְּבָר תְּרֵיסַר שָׁנִים, וְעוֹד חָשַׁבְתִּי
הֲרֵי בְּשֹׁךְ הַמִּלְחָמוֹת, הַשָּׁלוֹם יָחֵל

שְׁנֵי מוֹרִים חָשְׁבוּ שֶׁאֲנִי מֻכְשֶׁרֶת
לָכֵן הֶעֱבִירוּנִי, לְמַטְּרוֹת חִנּוּךְ כַּמּוּבָן
אַךְ מָה שֶׁנִּגְלָה לִי בְּבֵית הַסֵּפֶר הַלָּבָן
מִלָּה כְּמוֹ “אָרִים” לֹא הָיְתָה נֶאֱמֶרֶת

בְּלֶכְתּוֹ דִּבֵּר הַמּוֹרֶה עַל צִיּוּנֵינוּ
עַל הַנֹּעַר וְעַל אֵיכוּתוֹ הַמּוּסָרִית
כְּלוֹמַר, כָּעֵת הֵחֵלּוּ הַחַיִּים עֲבוּרֵנוּ
אַךְ רַק לַעֲבוֹדַת מִשְׂרָד לֹא הָיִיתִי בָּסְרִית

שְׁמוֹנֶה שָׁעוֹת אֲנִי עַל הָרַגְלַיִם
מְמַלֵּאת אֶת חוֹבָתִי מְעוּטַת הַתַּשְׁלוּם
מְשַׁרְבֶּטֶת לִי שִׁיר בֵּין עַרְבַּיִם
אָבִי אוֹמֵר, זֶה לֹא שָׁוֶה כְּלוּם

אִם יָפֶה בַּחוּץ מְטַיֶּלֶת לִי מְעַט
עִם עִפָּרוֹן עַל מַפָּה מְרֻצֶּפֶת צְבָעִים
אַךְ בְּיָמִים בָּהֶם גֶּשֶׁם טוֹפֵף מְעַט
מְחַכֶּה אֲנִי לְ”אֹשֶׁר”, מָה שֶׁקּוֹרְאִים



קַדִּישׁ (לְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים, 1942)

הַפֶּרֶג בִּשְׂדוֹת פּוֹלִין הַיְּרֻקִּים זוֹעֵק אָדֹם
הַמָּוֶת אוֹרֵב בִּיעָרוֹת פּוֹלִין הַשְּׁחֹרִים
אֲלֻמּוֹת צְהֻבּוֹת בָּלוֹת לְבוּשָׁתָן
הַזּוֹרְעִים בְּרִנָּה – מֵתוּ מִזְּמַן
הָאִמָּהוֹת חִוְּרוֹת בְּרַעֲבָן
“לֶחֶם” הַיְּלָדִים בִּבְכִי מְמָרְרִים

מְגֹרָשׁוֹת מִקִּנָּן, צִפּוֹרִים קְטַנּוֹת דּוֹמְמוֹת בַּפְּרָחִים
הָעֵץ מְקוֹנֵן, בָּעֲנָפִים שְׁאֵל-עַל נִשְׁלָחִים
וּכְשֶׁהֵם אֶל נְהַר הֲוִיסְלָה נִמְשָׁכִים
בִּתְנוּעוֹת תְּפִלָּה שֶׁל יְהוּדִי מְזֻקָּן
תִּרְעַד הָאֲדָמָה סְפוּגַת הַדָּם רָחוֹק מִכָּאן
וְהַסְּלָעִים בּוֹכִים

מִי בְּקוֹל שׁוֹפָרוֹ הַשָּׁנָה יְסַנְוֵר
לַמִּתְפַּלְּלִים הַשְּׁקֵטִים תַּחַת דֶּשֶׁא חָוֵר
לִמְאוֹת הָאֲלָפִים שֶׁאֵין קֶבֶר נוֹשְׂאָם
וְרַק אֱלֹהִים יוֹדֵעַ אֶת שְׁמָם

וַיֵּשֶׁב הוּא נֻקְשֶׁה וְחָמוּר בְּכֵס הַשְּׁכִינָה
וְיַעֲבִיר בְּסֵפֶר הַחַיִּים קַוִּים נֶחְרָצִים
אֱלֹהַי מִי יִתֵּן וְיַשִּׂיגוּךְ תְּפִלּוֹת הָעֵצִים
הַיּוֹם נַדְלִיק אֶת אֲלֻמָּתֵנוּ הָאַחֲרוֹנָה

 

מִינֵטָה סְטְרִיט

מִפָּנָיו שֶׁל “אֶלֶף הַשָּׁנִים” הָאָפֵל
הִסְתּוֹבַבְתִּי בְּכָל רַחֲבֵי תֵּבֵל
הַזָּר הָיָה יָפֶה, אַךְ אֵינוֹ קַעֲקוּעַ
“סְבִינִיפְּלָאץ” הָיָה שְׁמוֹ שֶׁל הַגַּעֲגוּעַ

אֱלֹהִים עֵדִי, הִסְפַּקְתִּי בֵּינְתַיִם
לִשְׁכֹּחַ כְּבָר הָמוֹן כְּתוֹבוֹת בֵּינַיִם
וְאִם בְּאַחַת מֵהֶן “בַּיִת” עָלַי לְהָשִׁית
.יִקָּרֵא הַמָּקוֹם” מִינֵטָה סְטְרִיט”

מִינֵטָה סְטְרִיט הוּא אַךְ סִמְטָה לֹא גְּדוֹלָה
מִתּוֹךְ נִימוּס שְׁמוֹ “סְטְרִיט” בְּפִי כֻּלָּם
שָׁם לְשִׁכְבַת הָאָמָּנִים מוֹנְמַרְטְר קְטַנָּה מִשֶּׁלָּהּ
בְּ”וִילֶאג'” שֶׁבְּנִיּוּ יוֹרְק הֲרֵי הוּא מְמֻקָּם

כָּאן הוֹלְכוֹת הַנְּעָרוֹת קְצוּצוֹת קָצָר
וְאִלּוּ בְּשֵׂעָר אָרֹךְ עֲטוּרִים הָעֲלָמִים
כָּאן קוֹרְאִים “סְטוּדְיוֹ” לְכָל חֶדֶר
וְכָל מִסְבָּאָה הִיא בַּר אָמָּנִים

עַל אַף קִשּׁוּטִים זוֹלִים שֶׁעָלֶיךָ
גַּם אַתָּה בּוֹהֵמָה בְּהִתְגַּלְּמוּתָהּ
לִבִּי יִהְיֶה שַׁיָּךְ לָעַד אֵלֶיךָ
וְלֹא רַק בְּשֶׁל חֲרִיזָה עֲבֻתָּה

בָּרָקִיעַ הַשְּׁבִיעִי אֲנִי, הֲלָכָה לְמַעֲשֶׂה
עִם אִישׁ וְיֶלֶד – אַרְבַּע קוֹמוֹת לַגֹּבַהּ
לְעִתִּים נֶעְתֶּקֶת נְשִׁימָתֵנוּ שָׁם בְּמַחֲסֶה
אַךְ שָׁמַיִם יֵשׁ לָנוּ בְּשֶׁפַע

כָּאן, הֵיכָן שֶׁמַּמְשִׁיךְ-פִּיקָאסוֹ
מְצַיֵּר עִם “אִיזְם” בִּמְקוֹם בְּגָאוֹן
הֵנִיף פַּעַם אִינְדְּיָאנִי אֶת הַלָאַסוֹ
וּפֶלֶג הַמִינֵטָה שָׁאַג בְּשָׁאוֹן

אַתָּה שׁוֹמֵעַ כֵּיצַד הוּא מִתַּחְתֵּנוּ מְמַהֵר
מִתַּחַת לְ”פִּינְגְּוִין” עַל יוֹשְׁבָיו הַסִּפְרוּתִיִּים
כְּשֶׁהוּא מֵהַקֶּרַח בָּאָבִיב מִתְעוֹרֵר
וְהֵם מִתְכַּתְּשִׁים עַל נוֹשְׂאִים” מַהוּתִיִּים”

מִלְמוּלוֹ חוֹדֵר לִי אֶת הַחֲלוֹמוֹת
לְעִתִּים כְּמוֹ מַעְיַן בְּאוֹדֶנְוַאלְד
אָז אֲנִי מִתְעוֹרֶרֶת רַק כְּדֵי לְגַלּוֹת
שֶׁהָעֵצִים הֵם מְנוֹרוֹת רְחוֹב עַל אַסְפַלְט

וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן, לַמְרוֹת קִשּׁוּט לֹא סָבִיר
“בְּ”פּוֹאֶטרִי” וְגַם עִם “רוֹז
אָשִׁיר לְךָ אַהֲבָתִי, מִינֵטָה מַיּי דִּיר
וְלֹא רַק הֶחָרוּז, גַּ’סְט בִּיקוֹז

יוֹם אֶחָד בִּזְמַנִּים שֶׁל שָׁלוֹם וּדְמָמָה
אֲרָצוֹת תֵּאָבַקְנָה עַל זוֹ זְכוּת קְדִימָה
(הַחֲשָׁשׁ נִדְמֶה גַּם כֵּן מֻקְדָּם מִדַּי)
וּבְכֵן, מ. ק. חַיָּה בְּכַמָּה רְבָעִים”
?הֵיכָן נִתְלָה לוּחַ “כָּאן גָּרָה” נָעִים

– אֲנִי בּוֹחֶרֶת במִינֵטָה סְטְרִיט

  1. Michaela Schmitz, Mascha Kaleko zum 100. Geburtstag: Leben und Werk, Deutschlandfunk, 03.06.2007.
  2. I use the verb “to text” here in the original, Latin meaning of the verb texere, to weave. That which humans weave among each other in a community and per definition cannot be regulated is an early sense of the word Text.

Chor der Kriegerwaisen / Interview mit mir selbst:
Das lyrische Stenogrammheft
Erstveröffentlichung dieser Ausgabe: 1956 Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburg
© 2015 dtv Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, München

Kaddisch / Minetta Street:
Verse für Zeitgenossen
Erstveröffentlichung dieser Ausgabe: 1958 Rowohlt Verlag, Hamburg
© 2015 dtv Verlagsgesellschaft mbH & Co. KG, München

Born in Haifa (1987), Tomer Dotan-Dreyfus lives in the past 10 years in Berlin. Studied also in Vienna and Paris, he graduated his BA and MA in comparative literature and philosophy from the Freie Universität Berlin with a thesis on the singularity of the letter O. Dotan-Dreyfus writes and publishes poetry, prose and critique in both Hebrew and German (recent publications are in the 2020 Viennese literary journal “Triedere 21” and the 2020 poetry anthology “Was Es Bedeuten Soll”). He also translates from German to Hebrew (recent translations include Walter Benjamin’s radio works and Paul Mendes-Flohr’s biography of Martin Buber). Dotan-Dreyfus received the 2020 scholarship of the Berliner Senate for German-language authors for his first novel, Birobidzhan. The novel, newly accepted to the program “Writers in Translation” of the Jewish Book Week in London, is assumed to be published by the summer of 2022.