Lali Tsipi Michaeli (Israel)
Lali Tsipi Michaeli is an international Israeli poet. Born in Georgia in 1964. She immigrated to Israel at the age of seven. She has published six poetry books so far. Attended international poetry festivals in Georgia, Italy France and Romania. She was part of a residency program for talented writers in New York at 2018.
Her books have been translated into foreign languages. Soon her book “The Mad House” will be published NYC and in Spain as well. Lali was defined by Prof. Gabriel Moked in his book as “Erotico-Urban Poet” and was highly regarded by critics, who consider her as an innovative and combative. Lali talks in her poems about the state of the world and man in our age. On the loneliness of man in the technological age. In her apocalyptic poem, published in a political literary journal YEHI, she spares no rage and reproach and positions herself as a prophet of fury.
In 2011 Lali conducted an anthology for protest “Resistance”, in which she presents her personal poetic manifesto, claiming that “poetry as a whole is a revolt.” In the past decade, Lali has created 15 Poetry Video Art that have taken part in world poetry festivals such as ZEBRA in Berlin, where she reads her poems in public spaces, expanding the circle of poetry consumers. “The poem is not purely purely individual. It is common ground and should be heard in a great voice,” the poet claims.
Lali teaches Hebrew at Ben Gurion University. She has one son and lives in Tel Aviv by the sea.
Sketches of Tel Aviv
The city of Tel Aviv
Even a lover could not let you leave
She will leave you one day
And you will stay in Tel Aviv.
The City with curved legs,
Which squints at shapely cities
You take her as a model
And begin sketching her ’til the desired slit
Which leaves you out of the picture
And lets you look but not touch
As far as the pert nipple
And the edge of the canvas.
It’s enough with one of them.
It’s not necessary that both of them will die. One of them is enough
To redeem the other from hell. But neither of them
Will volunteer to die. There was in each of them an animal sense
Not to surrender to annihilation. Not to submit to the flow of forgetfulness.
One is gripped by a lack of silence pinching the soul and the other one
To a young lover that thought to take her to the Dead Sea. Not to the Sea of Death.
Covered her with the mud of desire.
The other who was a revealed hell. The other
Who fucked her life for
More than half a century. This other
Is now close to ninety and he
Calls and tells me
“I gave your mother a divorce.”
“A real divorce? On paper?”
“Naturally, a real one,” he laughs, “Of course.” Get divorced, the silly old fool. He put an end
To both of their lives in the thickness of hell. Or more precisely, he put an end to the hell in the thick of their lives. Preparing himself for heaven. Informing me about it
When I am on my way home. At ten o’clock at night. Tired of my life. From the plans
Which I cannot bring off. From the thoughts about an unclear future.
He laughs at my tiredness and understands as well. I’m just rolling with the joke.
“But I know what you feel,” he said. And in a way that doesn’t fit him he asked,
“Call me later.” He put the phone down. He doesn’t bother me with things.
He left me shocked by his courage. Saves the screaming. The loud, impassioned vagueness.
Not complaining anymore about the whole world and especially about his wife. That’s it.
He calms down as a man at the end of his life. She is not already. So he is quiet.
He receives judgment. Surrenders. Arranges his future as a deceased person. Doesn’t leave a widow
After him. He diminishes his power and parachutes to his place inside
A scribbled painting.
Basquiat is dead from drugs. He will die from the mess. It is his end. They will not bury
One near the other. They banished each other’s place. That is final. Now
All the will is anchored in accordance with law and custom. At least
They freed the way. They put the key
On the step.
When you don’t have and don’t have and don’t have
and you are not and you have and you are not
And then from your point of view everything which exists in the world is just
And this home is unstable
And this home doesn’t contain
And this home is bleeding
And this home is condemning
And you have to decide when
To stop standing in the entrance
The postwoman won’t be confused any more
Will not put the letters aside
Here I have an address now
And here is happiness now
And I’m coming and going and coming and going
And in all my days
© Translated from Hebrew by Michael Simkin