Poems by Shimshon Leshinsky

Salads of Discontent

The guests are an hour late
and maybe they will never show
Nobody wants your damn salads, says the wife
spitting out the venomous words
reaching flashpoint
Small colorful Armenian ceramic bowls
on the Sabbath tablecloth
Cubes of sweet beetroot in light vinegar
Avocado mashed in mayonnaise
Egg salad, cubes of potato doused in olive oil
You spend more time with your damn salads than with me
No wonder they didn't show
Slices of fresh tomato and cucumber
Eggplant mashed in mayonnaise with a hint of garlic
They didn’t show because they are sick of your monologues, I shout back
You can't tell when people are sick and tired of your long-winded boring stories, you dominate the conversation and don't want to hear others
Fresh hummus sprinkled with paprika and a drizzle of olive oil
Sliced pickles, Syrian olives, beaten and served with tiny pieces of lemon
The fresh challah soft to the touch
Waiting to soak up the dips
And then she pulls the tablecloth and everything comes crashing down.


Kaplinski in Berlin

You love women
I tell Kaplinski
Love and respect
He says at the Sony Center
Playing with his spoon
The custard sauce covers part of the plate
He stabs the apple strudel
Picking up a chunk of apples and raisins
Scooping  it into his mouth.
The pastry is flaky and dusted in fine sugar.
The  blonde woman next to him is German, in her early thirties
The grand-daughter of the Nazi, Max Merten
Kaplinski, you faked your death and moved to Berlin
He smiles
I had to think of myself
I had to do what was right for me
But two thousand people came to your funeral
There were three women there who claimed to be your lover
Don't you see a problem?
Don't you understand that this was too much, too many women, too much of the good life
You are like the Germans over here who eat their pork sausages and all the grease covers their mouth
You were never happy with what you had
You left a mess everywhere.
And what about your wife and kids?
What about them?
How do they figure in all your dirty games?
I want to know so much , there are so many questions.
How did you fake your death?
Your Mercedes was boobytrapped. Who was blown up?  Was it a foreign worker?  An illegal?
He nods
An illegal  Romanian, killed in a fight at the Tel Aviv bus station three days earlier.
He shakes his head
I did what I had to do
Life was too complicated in Jerusalem
I had to get out
And then he lifts up his cup of coffee and just laughs.


Shimshon Leshinsky made aliyah from Melbourne, Australia. His background is law/economics. He recently won an honorable mention in the annual Voices Israel competition. He has published a booklet of humorous Yiddishe Mama Poems and has been published in the Australian Jewish News.


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