The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Wednesday


Hebrew
By Yona Wallach
Translated by Lisa Katz


About pronouns and sex English leaves its options open
in practice each I
has all the options
she is he when it’s you
I doesn’t have a sex
there’s no difference between she-you and he-you
and all things are it – not man not woman
no need to think before relating to sex
Hebrew is a sex maniac
Hebrew discriminates for and against
is forgiving, gives privileges
with a big gripe from the exile
in plural men have the right of way
it’s a thin line it’s a big secret
in the singular chances are equal
who says it’s a lost case
Hebrew is a sex maniac
wants to know who’s talking
almost a mirror almost a picture
forbidden by the Torah
at least looking at sex
Hebrew peeks through the keyhole
as I did at you and your mother
when you washed in the shed
your mother had a big ass
but I never stopped thinking
the days passed like showers
you remained a thin girl, soaping herself
afterwards you women plugged all the holes
plugged all the gaps
Hebrew peeks at you through the keyhole
the language sees you naked
my father didn’t let me see
he turned his back when he peed
I never really saw him
he always hid his sex
the way the Hebrew plural hides a woman
the way an audience is masculine in Hebrew
the way the word word in Hebrew is masculine and feminine
there’s nothing like these sweet things
Hebrew is a woman bathing
Hebrew is Batsheva clean
a graven image not forbidden,
with tiny beauty marks and birth marks
the older she gets the more beautiful she is
her judgment is sometimes prehistoric
this kind of neurosis is for her own good
tell me in masculine tell me in feminine
every I is childlike an unfertilized egg
you can skip over sex
you can give up sex
who can tell the sex of a baby chick?
man created by nature
before a conjugated verb is planted in him.
Memory is masculine
creates sexes
the offspring are the main thing
because that’s life
Hebrew is a sex maniac
and whatever you women say in a feminist complaint
searching for stimulation outside the language
with an intonation that gives meaning to things
signs just of male or female in a sentence
will change sexual relations, make them strange,
mark every female, a different mark for men
when every verb and verb group are marked
what does man do to a woman
what does he get in return
what power does she exert over him
and what sign given to an object
and to an abstract noun and particles
we’ll get a sort of natural game
an emotional happening like a new forest
a game of universal natural forces
determining all the particulars
universal signs for all events
that may happen some day
look what a body language has and what proportions
love her now without cover of words

--------

schemingreader pointed me to this poem here, for people who can read the Hebrew original. And speaking of Hebrew, Aish.com has a new calendar where you can type in your birthday and get information both about your actual date of birth and other Jewish events that took place on the same day on the Hebrew calendar, which is cool!

Over the weekend we discovered that one of the slipcovers on our sofas had ripped, so since we are expecting company this weekend, I went out to get new ones. Now we have slipcovers that I actually like much better, cream-colored with red roses and some greenery that matches the blinds and border paint in our living room, but they aren't quite as thick material as the old ones and I am frightened of what boys and cats might do to them. At least they were quite inexpensive and much less tacky than the big bright floral ones that I had thought were indestructible. *g* (The larger of which is on the sleep sofa downstairs, which has a great mattress but has had one side ripped by a cat and has cushions that have been trashed by boys jumping all over them and hitting each other with them.)

I also bought pantyhose, and am now wondering whether they are too buff-black and not shiny enough for the dress I'm wearing, and feeling like a total moron for wondering this because worrying about things like this is, like, the opposite of who I am. I can't decide whether to wear the dressier but shorter black dress to services Friday night or on Saturday; my feet don't quite reach the floor of the big chairs on the bimah, so I can't keep my legs crossed comfortably, so I feel like I really need the longer skirt on Saturday when I will be up there sitting for much longer, even though the other dress is not as dressy and is a bit clingier and has longer sleeves so I am more likely to sweat. Oh, I hate this -- I should have ordered something in cotton tie-dye or bought something from Holy Clothing and cut a few feet off the skirt!

Anyway, after the kids did their homework, we watched Crocodile Hunter: Ice Breaker which we had seen while on vacation -- younger son found it upsetting then because there are dead penguins, and it was much more upsetting this time around. After dinner we needed something to cheer us up, so we watched The Road to El Dorado, our collective favorite animated movie (well, I have a great passion for Mulan, but I would never condemn anyone for preferring Elton John's music). It's also the slashiest movie for children I have ever seen. I sort of wish there was a live-action version, because even though Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh were undoubtedly too old to play those roles and Edward James Olmos didn't weigh nearly enough to play the chieftain, it would have been so much fun to see those actors in person in those roles. It's fun enough to see the cartoon Elton John singing "Someday Out of the Blue" in the music video on the DVD.


Tai Shan wakes up on top of the log where he's been sleeping...


..checks to see whether his mother is awake...


...climbs down from the log...


...stretches and rolls...


...climbs a tree...


...makes himself comfortable, and is soon napping again!
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Wednesday night both kids' schools have events at the same time in the evening. This after younger son has violin. I expect it to be a long, draining day, and then we head into the last Bar Mitzvah rehearsal and total insanity!
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