Israel Poetry of Alex Lazarus.

Alex is a rabbinical student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Wyncote, PA. Please do not reproduce without his permission. His e-mail is alexlazarus@yahoo.com.

Humpty Dumpty and I

Oh Jerusalem

Seeds of Peace

The Wall Stood Still

The day peace sat crouching in the corner

Houses in Jerusalem

Humpty Dumpty and I
I knew Humpty Dumpty.
He and I were best of friends.
We would sit on the wall,
feet dangling,
discussing nursery rhymes.
He said Jack Be Nimble wasn't as good at hop scotch as he claimed.
That Mother Goose played favorites
And that I had a crush on Mary Quite Contrary, which wasn't true.
We laughed a lot at all the funny things in the world,
real or imagined, it didn't matter,
we both liked the world the way it was
and never thought that it would change
When the fall occurred, I was there.
We fell together.
Two acorns from the same tree.
We thought we could plant the world with our seeds.
The ground looked soft from above.
It had rained the day before, and water formed shiny pools,
below the red bricks.
I was the first to realize, that it wasn't so.
I noticed the rocks, I knew what would happen when we hit.
Humpty had no idea, he was singing Little Bo Peep.
Our bodies struck the earth and shattered.
Yoke spilled, splattered against the wall,
oozing into puddles, ponds of winter rain.
I gurgled in the water, drowning in the reflection of what we had before.
Now, the part about the king's soldiers is not true.
There was no one there to save us.
We had to rebuild ourselves.
Piece by piece.
For years afterward we walked with empty spaces.
Parts we didn't know how to replace.
People saw inside of us, peering into the void that had been left behind.
They were afraid to touch the sharp edges of our bodies, and perhaps be hurt by the new shape that had emerged after the fall.
I didn't mind.
I liked being rebellious.
I liked not being whole.
He and I have not talked much after what happened.
Who can blame us?
How many friendships can withstand such a trauma?
But there are times when I will look up upon the wall
And see the shadow of my old friend singing rhymes.

Oh Jerusalem
A great love,
I feel for you, Oh Jerusalem.
Your stones fill my pours, and over your many hills glides my soul
But, still, I hate you
You pull me from myself
Making me weak with arguments I can't answer
You are everything I want, but nothing I can have
Yet, without you, my reflection is of a different person
Cold and withdrawn
It is only on your raised streets
That I can dance like King David
Before the Temple was even built
And the center of the world was reserved for the letters of your name

Seeds of Peace
In a bunker we discuss peace
At the edge of the green line, we stress cooperation
At this time of war, seeds of peace lie hidden
Everyone longing for them, but clasping the two fingers of the peace sign into a fist,
We try to pound them into submission
In the tiny community of Hahat Al-Salam, just south of Jerusalem, two people argue over independence
Nabka and Yom Ha'atzmaut
Occupation and Security
Peace and War
I read last year about how the current situation has destroyed many intermarried couples
And here, even in the ground sand of the Negev,
There are people asking what happened to the rocks

The Wall Stood Still
This wall is cracked, I said.
Impossible, the man beside me answered, his payes blowing in the wind.
This wall has been here for thousands of years, millions maybe.
Since the beginning of time, his friend agreed.
God watches over it, it can't crack.
Just think Avraham Avenu might have touched this very same stone, said a boy, pushing his hand against the wall.
His mother watched from the other side of the barrier.
Put your ear against it, a soldier called out.
It beats like a heart, he tapped his gun.
There was a sonic boom overhead.
I ducked, the wall stood still.
Now, I put my ear against it.
All I heard were people praying, their feet banging against the stones.
Above the Muslims shuffled off to their mid-day prayer service.

The day peace sat crouching in the corner
The day peace sat crouching in the corner
We all set out with flashlights and dustpans to try to find her
Yoo Hoo, where are you?
My mom thought she saw it in the bathroom cabinet by the aspirin and the
But, when she popped the caps on all the medicine bottles
There were only pills
Downstairs, my brother, Ahamad, said peace was in the kitchen
Chowing on leftover turkey and roast beef
My sister Sarah screamed that she thought it was under her bed playing with
the cat
I, personally, saw it in the den watching television
Before long we were all arguing
Ahamad had knives in his hand dripping with meat
Sarah was holding the cat and crying that her brother wanted to kill her
My mother and I were chewing vitamins
And watching Tom Brokaw describe another spat of violence in the
Middle East
Peace had tuned us out
She shook her head,
Singing an old college fight song to block the noise

Houses in Jerusalem
houses in jerusalem are built with long rods and cement
the process is something like this
trucks carry the rods sticking from their back sides
these rods, after lying for weeks in sand and garbage, are put inside large cinder blocks
layer by layer the house is erected
a grey sticky cement holds everything in place
mostly arab workers, smoke during breaks
resting in the hot sun
the rods are rusted and crisscrossed, forming brown grids until they are covered by cement
loud cranes move the heavier material
explosions cover the sound of traffic, which is forced to maneuver around orange barriers
the air around the site is filled with sand and hard to breath
finally, when the house has reached its full height,
it is slapped with jerusalem stone and given permission to stand with the other large white structures of the city
the story goes that when the messiah comes, the process will be reversed
and instead of a white pristine city
jerusalem will be cold and grey,
but glow inside with the light of goodness