Roy Liran


Roy Liran

is an archaeologist and architect for the Israeli antiquities authority specializing in prehistoric architecture, a retired infantryman and generally an astronaut. I live in a Galilee village with my wife and twins, a boy (Omri, like the biblical king) and a girl (Nurit, Hebrew for the flower buttercup) who are the poems of my life.
My first (Hebrew) poetry and drawings book got published feb. 2016 here in Israel (לא מי שחשבתי – ‘Not Who I Thought’) by Pardes Publishing. A book of poems and drawing in English (‘Weightless in the Nets’) has been accepted by the wonderful Dublin-based Blue Nib publishing house, was published December 2018.

The privileged

A street bench, unfixed. We had

1.
everything, there. Cigarettes.
Sometimes talk, warbled with
punctured hopes. The boredom of
counting upside-down corpses of
bubble-gum and torn newspapers. In-

2.
side the beheaded dangers of
suburban humility, we calculated
cars flooding into the industrial
zone, waiting for just the one to
take us to the bridge, where we’d
lean against the railing and watch

3.
drivers stopping for a pee. This
was rare, as our parents locked
all doors and all the windows,
and kept us from the shutters

4.
which were never open, and
when open we could see faded
head-lights on the freeway. The
deaths of others gave our lives
meaning. We were glad, then, for

5.
the privilege of being truly sad.

Highway 40

We drove through the desert looking
for that place where the only light
comes from above, and you needed
to pee. We stopped by the lonely

bus-stop where the road is endlessly
straight, cutting the flatness of the
Meishar in perfect halves, and I stood
to watch the rumbling dust raised by

Ahab’s newest chariots, thinking how
far they have advanced from the
iron gates of Megiddo. There are
no right and wrong here, I thought.

A bare tin can was nailed to the
wooden beam and post, full to the rim
with cigarette butts and crumpled
scriptures, and on the ground was a

torn plastic bag ravaged by jackals
and crows. A half-eaten rotten apple
had rolled away from all that savage
politicking, but I found it crouching

face down in the drainage ditch. Its
pale peel shone moon-like in the
midday sun, not unlike you. Here, I
thought, one can only self reflect.

All the right things

See those two houses, the one
in the middle is hers. She keeps
endemic animals in the larder
and a rain-forest in the fridge,
where she took out the light bulb
to allow room for the natural

moonlight to glow. Every other
Sunday she allows indigenous
freedom fighters to leave long
scratches on her back, and
round coffee stains to map their
ever-pending advances. Later,

in the unending afternoon’s
ablutions, she sobs their retreat,
just one more naked woman
in its suburban natural state,
bleating teardrop revolutions
into the exotically white tiles.

The end of the world

The world had ended
this morning, just before
breakfast. We ate in
deferred silence, listening
to silverware tapping
nonsense on the
porcelain, like rain on
absolute concrete.

Later, when I was walking
down the street, and
all the details were the
same, the cracks in the
pavement, the dry oak
leaves blowing, the deadlight
reflected in the lake, I knew
everything was different.

And in the evening when
you were sleeping, I was
watching the news and
they said someone had the
bomb, and I thought: Why

bother. Why bother. Why bother.

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