For Harry Nudel and Joe Halper
In Jerusalem, there are always guns
And market places
And these stones
Where birds nest between
The cracks or fly overhead,
Filling the air with their
Screeching and songs to each other.
I think some of them must have gone mad
From years of hearing
People who just stand here
Reciting prayers that also
Hang in the air for a moment
Like the one cloud overhead
In a blue sky, drifting away.
I write names on a piece of paper
And push it into a crack, feeling
The rough, worn history of this place
Against my fingers.
Behind me, some men dance and sing in a circle.
Erik La Prade has a B.A. and an M.A. from City College. Some of his writing has appeared in BOMB Magazine, Art in America, White Hot Magazine, The Brooklyn Rail, and other journals. His forthcoming book is WEATHER, Last Word Press. 2021.