Sunday, September 6, 2015

To Jerusalem

On the express bus from Tel Aviv, on my way to the Jerusalem Poetry Slam, ecstatic from a poppy seed pastry breakfast (four shekels) and Israeli salad lunch (kind of a love song to parsley and tomatoes). My body stronger from slinging a heavy backpack through many sweaty miles. Old injuries continue to nag, as do ancient sorrows. I'm starting to ignore them.

With me on this bus: gorgeous Ethiopean women with regal postures and medallioned sandals, their thumbs flicking across the screens of their smartphones. Swarthy men probably from countries like Yemen and Morocco beside beige men probably from Europe... all of them sleepy in the slightly air-conditioned heat, most of them in yarmulkes. Sudanese, Polish-looking and Sabra (native Israeli-born) young adults in IDF uniforms, each one a calm and focused young adult.

I am a little afraid to be on this bus. I remember seeing the charred metal skeletons of Israeli buses that were blown up years ago, before protective measures were in place. I wouldn't be surprised to hear a terrible bang even now... But all I hear is rapidly spoken Hebrew, a baby croons, something emits a Tinkerbell "ting."

Rocks litter the hillsides, scattered among scrubby pines, palms and patches of parched, dun-colored weeds. Soon there are off-white cement structures on hilltops.

Someone told me that underlying much of Israel are large quantities of crystalline rock, mostly quartz. I wonder if this is true. I wonder if these crystals  have some kind of faint influence, something esoteric, some variant of gravity.

We reach Jerusalem and disembark. I pass a cluster of Catholic nuns with their hair tucked into black cloth and wearing black dresses, black tights, black shoes. A lovely Muslim woman with her hair just as modestly tucked inside a chic headscarf. Orthodox Jewish women with their hair covered as well, clear eyed and with passels of kids. Teens in shorts. Sarah Silvermans everywhere. 

This city is one big sweat lodge, but people go to sweat lodges to detox, to rinse clear, so maybe there's some of that going on. Everyone's getting along today. Things seem so peaceful. If it weren't for the metal detectors and tense guards at the entrance of every single building, I'd think I was in some kind of idyll.

Last time I was in Jerusalem a man tied a red thread around my left wrist after I gave a donation to feed hungry kids. I hoped that the thread would hold until I could return to this remarkable place. It has.

Ben Cowan Beautiful. Thank you for taking me there.
Penny Perlman Drapkin I'm transported with every post.
Yael Shahar Say hello to Rachel Stomel for me at the Poetry Slam! Wish I could go, but I would need to stay overnight in Jerusalem and leave the dogs outside all night. Enjoy!
Sari Friedman I just told her you said hi!
Sari Friedman

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Beth Raz Wow! Beautiful writing!
Lily Zajc Lovely descriptions. Peace to you.
Sandra Tyler gorgeous writing.
Adriane Rivka Wolfson Bernstein Sari Friedman you write so beautifully. I think you should keep these in a blog.
Sari Friedman Thank you! Check it out:

Short, funny, memorable blog about writing, compassion, lust, love, heartbreak, sex, violence,…
Sari Friedman
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Julie Justin Absolutely gorgeous. Being on a bus to Jerusalem is one of the best places to be! Even better to be in Jerusalem! Walking around so sweaty there is such an amazing experience! Enjoy every moment!
Chaya Rosen you write!!!
Sarita Elman Your pen is a paintbrush and shows us everything.
Hillary Homzie You weave magical threads with your words, Sari.
Sunny Hester Beautiful!!! Thanks again for allowing me to come along!! Have a wonderful day 😃
Deborah Birman Shlider Fun ! I loved this post!
Dawn Lenard Parrott I feel like I'm right there with you💜
Lorraine Sherwindt every line you write is like a novel and i am waiting to read more!
Bobbi Zahra "Old injuries continue to nag, as do ancient sorrows. I'm starting to ignore them." This is simply exquisite.
Donna Mendelsohn Beautifully and poetically said Sari. L'Shan Tova- savor the experience.
Gary Rimmer Wow you sure can write
Myrthia Moore Thank you for bringing wonderful memories of my trip to Israel. You write so beautifully. Xo
Rob Friedman I think you're absolutely where you are supposed to be. I'm starting to see the beautiful flower blossom again, that is you. All my love, please take care and be well. Let me rephrase, extremely well you do so deserve it.
Herb Glatter You are a gifted writer painting incredible pictures
Lisa Alberts Bring on the next one Sari! Brilliant x
Martin Potrop Fantastical ❗️🌹
Ziporah Horv You write so beautifully. I felt that I was with you and was able to visualize what you were experiencing. Thank for sharing Sari.
Katherine J. Harine Sari, you do write so beautifully. I love reading you words. smile emoticon heart emoticon
Hindy Abelson Beautiful. It reminds me of feelings that sprung to the surface of my skin and mind on frequent visits to Israel quite a few years ago.
Hindy Abelson This is so reminiscent of a poem I wrote about Jerusalem's #9 Bus. #9 BUS by Hindy Nosek-Abelson
The wait is a journey
The route a destination...See More

Deb Evans Experienced a moving realty of many senses...thank you...
Judith Gottlieb Wonderful description. I feel as if I am right with you!
Jack Katz Beautiful, evocative piece.


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