Pasolini on the way to Haifa

by Roy Hasan. Translated by Michele R. Nevo

The number 7 bus drops me off  

in the hood, next to a low stone wall 

I see Amos 

and can’t believe he is still alive. 

His white eyes scored with bloody capillaries, 

rolling like Ferris wheels lit up with fluorescents 

in Satan’s amusement park, he tells us—  

there is nothing in the world that can kill me, I am 

God. 

 

When he was a boy he would  

wander the city with his father 

and sell shoes 

Rolstars and Adidos 

on a wooden cart with car wheels. 

He was with him 

when somebody put a bullet between  

his eyes. When he began to shoot up 

they stopped calling him  

Amos the retard 

and started to call him 

Amos the addict. 

Either way  

for a long time I had thought he was of  

blessed memory. 

 

Pasolini is on his way to Haifa 

and I’m actually thinking about what Yoko, 

my dog’s heart looks like.  It sounds as if 

the train conductor is announcing his death.  In Binyamina, 

changing trains, on the bench 

three smokers, 

on my right a model policeman who was overgenerous with aftershave 

on my left a girl connected to her headset 

speaking Dutch, 

the train tracks are the endless veins  

in Amos’ arms. 

 

Yesterday they burned a church in Tiberias 

and I am thinking about Pier Paolo Pasolini 

(what over-the-top names these Italians have) 

and his words confuse me because of the stinky 

shwarma that the pensioner with a doobon coat is wolfing down  

In the seat across from me, 

a young woman soldier tells another soldier “Nadav 

was a strict commander but he had a good heart.” 

And I think about what 

Nadav’s heart looks like and what Yoko’s heart looks like and somehow I 

tell myself out loud— 

 

when I have a little extra money 

I will exchange my rotting teeth 

for sparkling gold, it’s not modest 

on my part to be modest, I never 

found anything romantic 

in being poor.  As a child I dreamed 

of a sparkling champagne waterfall 

in a gold cup of The Notorious B.I.G 

that in his childhood dreamt about the limousine of Salt-n-Pepa and Heavy D. 

Since then I’ve loved gold and never understood why 

people leave their home to listen to poetry, 

just as I never understood people who don’t have a television at home 

or people who have time to read novels. 

 

Pier fucking Paolo mother fucker Pasolini 

I am in Haifa, 

reading poems on the patio of a  

coffee shop in the Hadar neighborhood 

and thinking about people leaving their homes to listen to poetry 

and about those who gave those sparkling  

names to all these places that look like my teeth, 

like an opulent project in Hadera 

where the neglect is the only thing that can be considered   

opulent.  I swear that 

I saw the local Amos 

sitting on a stone wall across from me 

rolling his dead eyes, I swear 

I didn’t mean to drink and I returned 

drunk on the last train.  Before midnight, 

the forest already  

dark, Pasolini got lost 

on the way to Haifa, 

Does it matter who murdered him? Now 

I don’t have any way to get home, 

so I go to the road and try 

to stop cars with my extended finger, 

the pensioner’s doobon played in my mind 

until I was swallowed up by a Honda Civic. 

 

The driver asks “Where to?” 

I answer “to the city.” 

He says “Hadera 

is everything, just not a city, it’s more 

like a giant cemetery.” 

 

 And ever since I’ve changed my mind  

about cemeteries. 

 

Please note that in the printed version of this poem, which appears in Winter 2019, the poem’s translator, Michele R. Nevo, was mistakenly omitted from the credits. We are sincerely sorry for this error as Nevo, clearly, is integral to what we consider the poem’s success.

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