YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts

November 2010

VOL XVIII, Issue 11, Number 211

Editor: Klaus J. Gerken

Production Editor: Heather Ferguson

European Editor: Mois Benarroch

Contributing Editors: Michael Collings; Jack R. Wesdorp; Oswald Le Winter

Previous Associate Editors: Igal Koshevoy; Evan Light; Pedro Sena

ISSN 1480-6401



   Zohar Teshartok


   Zohar Teshartok
      The sooner the better
      The secrets of the park
      The lighthouse
      A game of honour

      A dream sketched
      Even Before You Say It
      The man
      In Reverse

   Joseph Farley
      Night Webs
      105 Degrees
      Flat Earth
      Dead Dogs
      Cuticle Moon
      Running At Midnight


   Joseph Farley


Zohar Teshartok


I was busy writing this story and did not even notice that Noa, my partner, had come into
my study, but I felt the touch of her delicate fingers very well. At first she pressed the
center of my nape with one finger as if wanting to press a hidden point that would cause 
me to stop my writing and pay attention to her. When she realized that this was of no
avail, she tried to cover my eyes with her shirt sleeves, longer than her hands, according 
to the European fashion. 

“I cannot write when you are covering my eyes”, I said, trying to push her, with her long
arms, away from me. “You don`t have to see in order to write, you can write with your 
fingers on my naked body as you used to do before.”

When she realized that I would not let her draw my attention away from what I was 
doing, Noa returned to her own affairs but she finally achieved her aim because the 
interruption of the electricity supply as a result of the stormy winter weather, compelled 
me to stop my writing and become immersed in thoughts about her touches and the way
she had come into my life.

Noa, my neighbour, had knocked at the door of my consciousness politely, about six 
months ago, under the pretext that she needed a refuge where she could escape from her 
parents. She said, that being a soldier about to be released from service, all her 
conversations with them were accompanied by pressuring questions such as: Noa`le, have 
you already decided what you would like to study? Have you started to look for a course 
for the psychometric tests? Do you know that a journey to the Far East will only take you 
further away from your goal? As if she was not under stress anyway.

Her explanations and the desperate look in her face left me no options. After a  short 
negotiation in my living room, we reached an agreement according to which the 
unoccupied room and all the facilities of the house would be placed at her disposal until
she went on the trip to the Far East and in return she  promised to help me with the 
household chores on a regular basis.

In spite of the electricity interruption in the candlelight I decided to take my pen and 
paper and continue writing the story. Soon I felt the touch of her fingers on my nape
again and this time it was accompanied by the exciting smell of her wet hair fresh from 
washing. Small drops of water wetted the paper on which I was writing, and with a soft 
breath she put out the candle.

Zohar Teshartok

The sooner the better

After having read the letter, there was nothing for him to do but burst out 
crying and shouting to give vent to his bitterness. The passers by in the noisy 
street paid no attention to him in spite of his distress. Had they known that 
he had nobody left in the world they would perhaps have stopped their
activities for a moment to find out how they could help him. 
The old man was so desperate that he had asked the “Hevra Kadisha” to 
transfer the burial site he had purchased with the money from his pension 
fund to the “destiny office”, in front of which he was sitting.
The wording in the copy of the letter, which for administrative reasons was 
sent to a relative of whom the old man knew nothing at all, was as follows: 
Dear senior, the destiny office has discussed your request and cannot 
comply, i.e. we cannot arrange for you to leave this world even one hour 
before you have fulfilled your destiny in this life. As for your second 
question – we saw fit to remind you that we are not in a position to reveal 
your destiny to you for reasons of public order and we thus inform you that 
any person guilty of transgression will be subjected to criminal law. 
Therefore, the only way open to you is to hurry up to fulfill your destiny…” 

The secrets of the park It cost me a great effort to discover the hidden secret of the things, but soon I was seized with panic because without my realizing it, I lost the sense of their simplicity. On that very day I went to a park that I used to frequent in the past, one of those that were the pleasure and joy of my city, but this time without one of my favorite books, in which I could find the hidden secret of the things. I sat simply on a wooden bench in the park, in the shadow of a tree, without any thought or contemplation bothering my mind, and let the panic vanish. I probably sat there for a long time since the cats in the park ignored my presence completely, the leaves of the tree dropped on me covering me, and my body became part of the park in its entirety. A pair of lovers came into the park arm in arm without even noticing me. The young man knelt in front of his beloved and addressed her: “will you marry me?” She did not waver in her answer: “Yes, I am all yours, yours!” Having witnessed this, the simplicity of the things came back to me and I was able to return to my favorite books.
The lighthouse Now both of them were standing next to a tall ladder that was leaning against the front of the round house. Yalo looked at an undefined point on the steaming earth, hearing and not hearing the reprimands of the man in the brown suit. His thoughts wandered to distant lands, far and green; to a place where the sun does not blind the eye of the man gazing at it even though it is in the center of the sky, and to the stream with its clear waters that stroke the bathers. He longed especially for the moments that used to give him a feeling of unlimited freedom when he used to play with Zukit. The shouts of the man grew louder and louder and interrupted his thoughts: “I told you that if you did not pay your debt in time according to our contract, I will come myself and demolish that strange house of yours with my own hands” Yalo. knew there was no point in trying to answer the usurer who had taken off his jacket and started to climb the ladder. The usurer was known for his stubbornness but he was the only person who had agreed to lend him a sum large enough to realize his goal and for the lack of an alternative Yalo had signed the draconian contract handed to him and had begun to build the house that he intended to serve as a lighthouse for people lost in the yellow wilderness. A blow was heard close to Yalo. The usurer, now standing on the roof of his house, began shouting at him to keep away before a torrent of tiles hit him. The usurer continued to tear the tiles from the roof and after he had gathered a nice heap, he threw them on the ground with a visible expression of pleasure. “I should have listened to Zukit and not gone out into the blazing desert. What would she have thought of me had she seen what was happening?” “Perhaps if you have to stay without a roof over your head in the blazing sun, you will understand why it is important to pay your debts in time”, the usurer shouted at him in a festival of madness. Yalo made a swift movement and thrust the tall ladder to the ground. The man remained standing on part of the roof of the house, dumbfounded, and on realizing the state he was in, began to wave his arms helplessly. Now, after having borrowed the man`s car, Yalo was on his way again and that man was still standing on the roof like a lighthouse waving his arms.
Clara After the rain had ceased and the wind had stopped to bother her, Clara`s happiness knew no bounds whereas that of her husband, Nahum, who was expected to carry out the chores in the yard, declined steadily. The wintry weather and its stormy emissaries created havoc in the yard. The easy chairs, the flower ports and the garden dwarfs lay in disarray on the muddy ground. Normally Clara was extremely proud of her tidy yard, and of the white fence with its posts of polished wood surrounding it. This fence protected them from whatever was likely to happen to their yard from the outside, since it bordered on an orange grove and the children playing there in their free time were keen to extend the boundaries of their playing ground. Clara`s calls to Nahum to come to the yard with his tools grew louder and louder and he was no longer able to ignore them. He got up from his bed, rather listless. He would have preferred the rain to continue so that he could go on undisturbed with his afternoon nap, but Clara – as her name suggests – was clear about what had to be done, especially since the Sabbath was approaching. From his place on the balcony, Nahum surveyed the yard in disarray and the children who took advantage of the pause in the gloomy weather to return to their games. After having arranged the necessary tools to restore order in the yard, Nahum reviewed the different options – things will not return to normal on their own – and decided that it would be a good idea to rest a bit before starting on the tasks before him. He took a few steps towards his favorite corner in the yard – a stone bench standing permanently under the giant avocado tree - and sat down on it. His eyes closed unintentionally and in his dream he saw the garden dwarfs coming to life and diligently returning everything to its proper place. “Nahum get up, up up!” When he opened his eyes he saw Clara standing in front of him with a furious expression on her face. Her glance made clear to him that he must find a quick and creative solution to the chaos reigning in the yard. Clara was on her way to return to the house and Nahum went towards the fence on the border of the yard pretending to tighten its hold on the ground, but when he heard the balcony door close behind her, he began to tear out the wooden posts one after the other. As he progressed in his work of tearing out the fence, the border between their yard and the orange grove began to disappear. After he had finished he returned to the avocado tree and climbed its branches as high as he could, and when he had achieved a good balance between the branches of the tree he called out loudly, “this yard has no owner!” After a short time the inquisitive children, who had followed the incidents in Nahum and Clara`s yard, swiftly went on to occupy the ground that had been closed to them up to that moment, and restored its independence in their play.
A game of honour He is standing naked behind the closed door, waiting. Every Tuesday of the week, Eliezer surprisingly gets up from his bed in the evening and stands naked behind the closed brown steel door. His shadow, liberated from the obstacle of his clothes, could free itself from him and go on its way. Now it was late at night. His shadow had already passed through the keyhole of the steel door, slid quickly down the staircase and gone out into the empty street and into the café, that was converted into a gambling club at night. Eliezer used to spend time there gambling regularly before the medical experts decided that he was mentally ill and had to be confined to his bed. His gambling friends in the club were careful to keep his seat at the table and place a few cards and his usual drink in the corner of the table in front of his chair. Eliezer`s honour, as the oldest player in the group and the arbitrator whenever a conflict appeared in the course of the game, hovered over them till the break of dawn. On the next morning the nurse returned Eliezer from where he stood, to his room and during that time he told her all about the card game in which he had “participated” at night and about his old friends. His stories were very detailed up to the smallest details and anyone who happened to hear them would certainly have got the impression that Eliezer had spent the night playing cards just as he had done in the past. When they neared his bed the nurse dressed him in his pyjamas not before she had persuaded his shadow to come back and cling to his body.
DUSAN COLOVIC A dream sketched The end of the holiday The last silhouettes landscape In the house lullabies Under a soft pillow of A dream sketched.
Even Before You Say It Even before you say it an unwritten poem whispers on your lips. Teach your heart, the source of flame carries wounds, painful memories. Say it, my love from the primer, who recorded my dreams where is my worn out life stored? We broke the bread of love there where we turned into the bridge of departure.
The man In the maelstrom of temptation At the crossroad Squeezed between Thought and emotion Caught in silence Without answer Warming his soul With a sacred word Coming from a cosmic temple Washed in an elusive Flame of night.
In Reverse You two can calmly page back the age rings and fruits of your trunk the fragrance of early pollen to sense the breathing and the breath. Through a clear memory you hear the echo of your soul to the last letter. You too can In reverse Live your path.
Joseph Farley SCENARIO WITH SEX, VIOLENCE AND A CHASE SCENE Bleary eyed birds sing at midnight, tricked by the false dawn of a porch light, while hungry alley cats take notice. A thief on the prowl stumbles over lovers, mistakes legs for tree roots, and continues unaware. A lighted window attracts moths and other peeping toms. The girl is new to the neighborhood. She wears tight shorts and tank tops, and hasn't discovered curtains. High in the branches of a neighboring oak, binoculars study the curve of her spine. A burglar discovers a lighted window, but trips over a cat knocking over a garbage can. Operatic sparrows topple from their perches, pubescents tumble from trees. The blinds are drawn, the police are called. Sirens disrupt dressing lovers, headlights chase cats from their spoils, lights bloom in windows causing more birds to sing while lovers sneak home to parental frowns.
AN ITALIAN TOWN volunteered to go into space my neighbors never volunteer how lucky we are someone is willing to take up the flag spread our earthly quarrels to the stars
Night Webs winter trees branches turn to webs a sycamore spider has captured the moon
Contagion crows perch on telephone wires squawk to each other, unaware of the silent conversations whispering between their toes words catch in black tail feathers friends hear static on the line later the birds seek new perches and drop adjectives as they pass these blow in jumbles through the streets and drip from the tops of trees bleak and lifeless viruses needing sullen, luckless minds before they can incubate, blossom into the disease called literature.
Monster Is there a doctor in the house who can save the patient now, stitch it back together, make it new with parts stolen from the tombs of Shakespeare, Mallarme, and the June Taylor Dancers? Somehow it moves with a life of its own, hideous monster, creaking on flimsy joints, suffering from motion sickness, pleurisy, and terminal ennui. Its shadow brushes against truth (or what passes for it). A shudder passes through the crowd, suddenly revealed by parting curtains, as the monster lurches through its lines before a silent, unmoved audience.
105 Degrees 105 degrees on Broad Street. cars sink in asphalt puddles. a black dog dances at the end of a leash, a slow death by strangulation: it's not just the heat, it's the humidity.
Flat Earth There is no future. There is no now. The past is over. There is no future. This is a closed loop. We can go on forever like this. There are no questions worth asking, no answers worth searching for. Somewhere between here and tomorrow a fog hangs low against the ground obscuring the place where the guardrail is smashed through, and the newly painted yellow line guides traffic over the edge and into a hungry, waiting abyss.
Dead Dogs – For Michael Vick The dog dies, old and blind, knowing his master, or waiting his return. Odysseus killed his loyal greyhound for fear it would betray him with affection. The Women's SPCA at Front and Erie Streets will kill your dog for free - a humane act by a humane decompression chamber to crush the lungs of your boyhood friend, or perhaps you prefer the needle? Death mainlined. It's a dog's life. In Korea they eat dogs. The Aztecs ate dogs. Eskimos eat their sled dogs in a pinch. A mutt, half-spaniel/ half-shepherd, plays tag with cars at rush hour. Our merciful hero saves the day with a burst of speed, a bump, a howl, and the grinding of wheels.
Cuticle Moon Clipping my nails to feed the cats something of myself when the refrigerator's empty because I was too tired to go to the store, thought the woman who shares my bed would go on her own in an act of desperation, but she also decided there are other things in this world to see besides supermarket aisles. Out on the porch, Juan watches the sunset. I've promised to get it on videotape to save us both the time it takes to reach its conclusion. Fast forward and in reverse, the horizon will shrink, rise and fall, the sun will bounce like a yoyo at the end of my remote control. Sunsets are all reruns anyway. The cats lap stale milk from bowls in the sink left over from breakfast. Shaohai stretches against the window eyes following the growing sliver of a cuticle moon. Tomorrow will be a different page on the calendar, a red date as opposed to a blue one. Maybe the change will be enough to burn away the mists and cobwebs clouding my life, a spark in the engine to get the world moving again.
Running At Midnight Deer feed on traffic islands in the middle of Holme Avenue. Raccoons, big as dogs, knock over trash cans, snarl when startled by the runner.
Suppliant the emperor walks in the surf, pant legs rolled up, toes digging in the sand a small crab dances sideways away from a wave the emperor wipes his glasses, stares at tiny legs on the empty beach


Joseph Farley


several overexcited atoms
were picked-up
at Front and Allegheny Streets
for ogling the girls.

Their electrons, frenzied
at the sight of legs,
shot through the ionosphere.

Safely in custody,
they stew in negative cells
hoping for a positive outcome
and a swift return
to a stable society.


All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of
these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is

YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993 - 2010 by 
Klaus J. Gerken.

The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's 
World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.  No other 
version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. 
Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged.


  * Klaus Gerken, Chief Editor - for general messages and ASCII text
  submissions: kgerken@synapse.net