Ray Greenblatt

Ray Greenblatt

Ray Greenblatt has lived in New England, the West Indies, and along the Eastern Shore. He has written short stories, essays, and poetry which have been published across the U.S. in periodicals as diverse as America, English Journal, and Joseph Conrad Today.

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize and won the Anthony Byrne Prize. He was also the editor of the magazine General Eclectic. A teacher for many years Ray Greenblatt has taught writing in the Philadelphia Writers Conference as well as spoken at the John Steinbeck Festival in Salinas, California.

 
A TRANSLATION FROM ALEXANDRIA

The library is destroyed–totally!
O, sadness! O, misery!
It is like my limbs lopped off
like memory ripped out of my skull.
I sit on a wall in the relentless sun
the eternal dust
arms raised above me my only shade
not caring as I lament.

I observe the passers-by
the beggar, the leper, the blind woman
the uncaring children
and realize they are the essence
on which books are based.
So once again writing must return
as the gods always do
but in different disguises,

life must go on.

 
IN TEL AVIV

We sit under a bright umbrella
heat showering like a gold excrescence
on the cobblestone square around us,
dining on S. Peter’s fish
the bones becoming minuscule script
we must analyze before discarding.

As Tel Aviv grew out of and
away from ancient Arab Jaffa,
the white wine bubbles nothing like
American Manischewitz,
here you will find no kreplach for bulk
nor kugel for dessert.

Tanned young people play volleyball
on the beach as bonfires blaze
and striped cabanas flap in stray winds,
Bauhaus buildings soaring behind them
gleaming white and pure as paper
in a bleached Hebrew scroll.

 

CARTHAGE

Sea azure as usual
sky painted like a boy child’s bedroom
sun pasted in its rightful place

when we go to the beach I look for
the bones of Romans
broken statues of gods
palace foundations

we lie and loll
nibble dates and figs and grapes
sip effervescent Tunisian wine
her lips luscious as the fruit
skin tawny and smooth as a grape

she is no longer x-ray technician
she is my princess as we open
an inlaid teak cabinet
to watch tinted human figures moving there
while high overhead a machine
hovers to take us to other worlds.

 

 
For other contributions by Ray Greenblatt, please follow the links below:

 
All poems on this post: © Ray Greenblatt
Published with the permission of Ray Greenblatt