Three Poems by Asher Reich

BOMB 68 Summer 1999
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Requiem to a Dog in Rain

A winter-haunted sky.
Icicles like stalagmites on the ground.
The highway slippery as an eel.
Injuries of rain
and a dog in a puddle at the side of the road.

Sounds of Bach blast from the radio. Oh, God Almighty.
One hand on the wheel and with the other I search in my pocket
to find the name of the place: “Stickdorf.”
Cars zoom by honking
nervously. Potholes.

The car hops like a harried frog.
Another hour’s drive to Stickdorf.
The rain keeps falling.
Death embraces the dog.
Cars continue to honk.


New York: First Swim

As usual, as in the beginning, it all began with water.

Max Ernst’s blind swimmer
rose from the river, drenched with longing

for his life on land, fleeing every
abyss of his time, as if absconding
his eternal waters. I watched as his centrifugal

body shook off plutonium in the water. I also saw
how the water thirsted for your mouth recoiling from it.
The entire island ran like a rumor. You, too,

ran. Your spirit, too, changed seasons
like the green nakedness of Central Park
which changed colors into autumn. Later,
we crossed the wailing Hudson to Jersey,
to the frozen future of the American dream.

New York: Second Swim

Through a lit tunnel, under the river,
we went back to Manhattan. The island was

wrapped in silver clouds. There we lost
the sounds of bread, far from the land of honey.
There your stomach couldn’t tolerate the sugary

load of the city’s pies.
In Macy’s you threw up. In Alexander’s I bought
a pair of woolen long johns and got a long erection.
We felt such glass-lusts as tall

as the Twin Towers.
My face in the clouds was like an autumnal
sun in the Atlantic sky.
The eyeballs of my eyeballs filmed everything.

The tourist blood in us whirled delight, and still
craves soothing moments with books at Rizzoli’s.
Like the bears in the commercial you and I
flowed with the human stream of the Marathon.
At night we strolled with Eliot’s cats
and all your fears were thoroughly eroded.

Translated from the Hebrew by Tsipi Keller.

Tsipi Keller’s short fiction and poetry translations have been widely published. She is the recipient of a NEA Translation Fellowship, an Armand G. Erpf award from the Translation Center at Columbia University, and a CAPS and NYFA awards in Fiction. Her translation of Dan Pagis’s posthumous collection, Last Poems, was published by the Quarterly Review of Literature (1993), and her novels, The Prophet of Tenth Street (1995) and Leverage (1997), were published in Israel by Sifriat Poalim.

Asher Reich has published ten volumes of poetry, short stories, and a novel. His Selected Poems (1986) have been translated into French and German and won the Berstein Prize from the Federation of Israeli Publishers. His other awards include: the Anne Frank Poetry Award, the Akum Award (Writers Guild of Israel), and the Prime Minister Award. Reich lives in Tel Aviv where he is the editor of Moznaim.

Two Stories by Etgar Keret
Textes by Shuzo Takiguchi

A snow lark hovers over the isolated Isle of the Dead A shadow on the beach is an echo of Venus who bestows upon me some ripened red fruit In this isolated moment waves produce a dream that seduces me

from Some Girls Walk Into The Country They Are From by Sawako Nakayasu

Girl C is supposed to be hard at work today but she keeps missing her stops, slipping. As the train falls out of view once again, she returns to her world of desire, instead of the world of transport and commuting and punctuality. She allows herself to float into the passenger car, and her pockets empty themselves and her clothing flies off-screen as per instructions provided one hundred years ago.

Cecilia Vicuña by Elianna Kan
Cv Cabeza Amarrada 1 Hr

The poet and artist invokes ancient matriarchal cultures, Indigenous folkways, and the speculative capacities of language so that we might rediscover our kinship with nature.

Originally published in

BOMB 68, Summer 1999

Featuring interviews with Robert Altman, Ida Applebroog, Chuck D, Alvaro Siza, Joseph Chaikin, Peter Campus, Robert Pinksky, and Maryse Conde. 

Read the issue
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