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POEM: “Rita” by Roman Baembaev

–These buffoons have lost their minds. Did you see the bill that we got? I asked Rita. –Let's make a baby, Rita said, not listening to a single word. I went up to the window and looked outside. An old toad crossed the courtyard diagonally.

Let's make a baby, said Rita.

I got dressed and went out. I walked to the beach. The weather kept the animals at home, sitting in front of the TV, chewing and farting, but the seagulls remained outside and were as shrill and annoying as a group of tourists enjoying a hotel breakfast. Out of nowhere an ass appeared, consumed with greed, and tried to push his crap on me for five shekels a kilo.

Let's make a baby, said Rita.

Nancy Blue More than once I've been asked why I don't have children. How am I supposed to know?! I'm not the type who loves a child that has yet to be born. That may change someday. Gita wanted a cat but I didn't. In the end I took care of it. I also tended to Miri's aquarium and looked after Tsipi's dog.

Let's make a baby, said Rita.

The moment my mother first laid eyes on me, after giving birth, she broke out in a panic: "Oy vey iz mir! Er iz a kopye Volya." The bastards called my uncle Lazy Volya, but he thought of himself as a global ambassador for Micky Mouse. All day he'd walk about with an olive pit in his mouth and his hands in his pockets. He filled the drawers of his table will all kinds of metal: sockets, pipe joints, ball bearings and whatnot. From time to time he'd scrape together some lame toy out of this mess and put it aside to collect dust. He had no money sense. In the end, cancer came and ate right through him.

Let's make a baby.

Terry KingPeople tried to make a lion out of me–they gave me the means to earn a living. My parents believed that this way life would be easier for me. My exes and their parents, so life would be easier for them. The authorities, so there would be something to take from me. Strangers, including those that I met by chance or only once, congratulated me for doing well, hoping that they might sell me something.

Let's make a baby!

I stopped to light a cigarette and then I realized I had left the pack at home. On the way I bought a bottle of Extra Fine and in the evening finished it off with some friends, as if it had been Rémy Martin or some other classy drink.

And then I slept.

 

Roman Baembaev was born in Russia in 1956, and lives in Tel Aviv. He has published widely, including a book of poems, Roman Baembaev sums up his experience–the man who lives among microbes dies from this (1998), and a book/CD with Danny Tsukerman, Haleway and Goodbye (Auris Media, 2005).

 

Translator Notes:

Adriana X. Jacobs is a graduate student in Comparative Literature at Princeton University working on twentieth-century Hebrew poetry. Her poems and translations have appeared in Kritya, Zeek, and Drunken Boat. She is currently translating Maya Arad's Makom acher v'ir zarah (Another Place, a Foreign City).

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