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Oh the ache of it…
and the crying out loud of it
carrying bits and pieces of me to burial
in this town that has been my refuge and inspiration
all my life…
and wasn’t it a heartache too
when first it started… not much more than nostalgia
just old glasses then… that were too dear, it seemed
after years on my nose
straightening out my distorted vision of reality
and so they were buried tenderly in the park
by the roses…
but the years go by,
and with the years…
it’s no longer symbolic gestures
but pieces of me… really…
that fall by the wayside…
and going into town…
on such a mission
that same town that provided harmonies
for aspirations and exhilarations…
which were easily fueled by a few pints
and the strumming of chords
on a cheap guitar
with a taste of whiskey here and there
and the taste of adventure…
sometimes a drum,
or fingers clapping on the back of a chair
enough to remind us, that we were a part
of the fermentation all around …

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oh, how strong were our hearts then
how exuberant our lives…
now, in pain, through the same streets
that have known all the variations
of the howling winds,
the highs and lows…

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and it is no surprise to my weary soul…
that I’d find the beggars
and the street musicians
to give me solace on this cold winter day
to sing me songs as I went about my way…
down this mild pedestrian street
that once carried my much younger feet

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sometimes to the movie house at the intersection,
were they the same stores then, and businesses squeezed in
between restaurants, and the smell of hot Turkish coffee…
children running this way and that with messages,
or bringing a missing part for daddy
three wheeled motorcycles sweating diesel oil
as they pulled their wares up the hill
the smell of the diesel oil intermingling with that of fresh bread
from the bakery, my earliest memories of Jerusalem
before each aspect of my home town was given
its right and logical place in the new order of things…
before the center of town was given a heart transplant
to a weather proof insular commercial mall
with magnetic gates to protect the citizens
from still another terror attack

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no beggars lying there on the pavement floor…
no individual cigarettes sold by the hotel door…
no, they’ve got an escalator there that never stops…
going up or going down… without a sound
no squeaky wailing shutters to be opened each morning
defying the cold winter ache in the hope for light
we knew one another intimately then…
even those we didn’t know by name…
and in parts of this city, we still know,
just about… everyone on the block
at least the oldsters do…
we remember you, when all was new
when sitting on a railing, or on a knee high wall…
now we rest on a stylish bench
and nod to each other
after spitting out
a few of our last teeth…

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