Fiction/Poetry

Works and Days

By Paul Raboff

Works and Days is a series of poems written by Paul Raboff and illustrated by Joakim Lloyd Raboff that we will published as “loads”

With Illustrations by Joakim Lloyd Raboff

Load 1

The Chinese say,
“She has moth eyebrows.”
May I be
A piece of wool.

The hanging bed clothes
Look exhausted,
And I haven’t even begun
My insomnia.

“That’s what there is.”
The most popular saying
In Israel. Well,
I’ll begin with myself.

In Israel
There is no competition
For good manners.

Nothing has changed…
The Arabs are back
In our coffee houses.

The guy at the table
Next to me
Is blasting my ears.
That can’t be his wife.

I go from waitresses
At one cafe
To waitresses at the other.
Why aren’t they jealous?

Now she’s taken
Her mask off
And I’m sorry.

If he doesn’t
Want to work…
The telephone
Was never invented.

All this yelling…
As the mukhtar says,
“Doesn’t the God
Have ears?”

My old girlfriend…
Reconciliation
Not in her lexicon.
That’s why she is.

Her modest beauty
Just throttles me.
Years off my life –
Not enough.

Awkwardness.
Less beautiful
Than grace,
More interesting.

She looks good
Standing around
But even better
In movement.

The real religious life:
Complete unemployment
For those who are there.

You don’t actually
Have to tell the truth.
You have to invent it first.

Jerk. What’s the point
Of saying it
When it can speak
For itself.

Fortunate me
Who emerges
Out of a sea
Of failures.


Load 2

Honor is the most
Important thing to them.
You’d think they’d be
Better at it.

Alas, Arabs
Breaking the vials
Of hallucination
In your veins.

Outside the mouth
Of Demosthenes
The seashore
Is just a lot of noise.

The boy under the bush
Crying out in thirst:
The din is heard
Till today.

Michelle,
I was never proud
Of time until
It ousted you
From the White House.

“Start-Ups.”
The eruptions of sour
Financial stomachs.

Eating bitter herbs
For 6000 years
Grown on human nature.

Israeli politics:
A game where the counters
Are gleefully hate.

Horse flesh pickled
In the mathematics
Of betting.

“I love you.”
“I love you too.”
Saying makes it
So-so.

Waking and pressing
The light on
The digital clock…
1:14
Pickets around a trench…

She fixes on a story
In the N.Y. Times
Like a bat on fruit.

High-school kids
Locked in a cell
Of noise.

I was never
Bad enough to save.
Even that a failure.

I could speak to her
But there would arise
Too many unanswerables.


Paul Raboff writes about himself, “After college in the USA studying economics and art in the USA, I received the understanding that I should immigrate to Israel, for spiritual reasons. Settled outside Jerusalem in the village of Ein Karem, set up and ran an art and design studio with a small community of like-minded people where I also continued writing and publishing. Recently moved to Jerusalem where I continue the same activities and look forward to the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Joakim Lloyd Raboff is a visual artist and film-maker. Born and raised in Santa Monica, he currently lives and works in the ancient city of Vejbystrand in Sweden. Click here for his website.

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