Between Jerusalem I’m Sorry, Introduction

Lars Nørgaard, from Denmark, my hunger striking partner, made this flyer in March 1995

Introduction

I am the non-Jewish traveler in Israel, that one [1], that did a three-week hunger strike for peace in Jerusalem and afterwards taped poems of mine on holy sites in the old city, on the top of Mt. Sinai and inside and around the Great Pyramid in Egypt. This is the story of after Jerusalem and before the mountain and pyramid postings, a five month period in 1995 when I was in-between actions, when I was a vagabond sleeping outdoors more than in, when the Internet was yet too young to be the world wall or whatnot I posted my poems on. Those actions are told in a series of stories entitled, “A Journey of a Thousand Tongues”, posted on the world wide web, a stand in for honest to God face me reality, where we are yet but stand ins for human beings and not actual living and breathing people a world unto ourselves, or at least that’s how we act with one another on the net, where value is not put in terms of quality but in how great a diversion something gives. Nonetheless, it’s where I’m publishing this book, because of the absence of the usual censors, who most likely wouldn’t let this book pass. I doubt you’ll find a book that’s that hits us in the quick of our social selves more. Netizen, you’re in for a wild ride of a read.

You know about memory? Number one, no two people will remember the same event the same way, and even the same person will give slightly different accounts of it as time goes on, because memory gets things mixed up over time, puts this after that when this came first, forgets what a location was wearing, can’t remember this name but remembers that one (oftentimes more the name that did you wrong than did you good), adds things that weren’t there (usually things that make you look better), gets rid of things that were there (things that make you look bad), and it exaggerates events to make them more interesting or you more the hero or victim. Yet the mind is sure the story’s true when told. Dialogue is especially difficult, impossible really, since you basically just have to make it up when relating what was said (why I use it sparingly), trying as best you can to capture the gist of the conversation, if, that is, you are trying your best to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and many of us aren’t. It isn’t only Hollywood that embellishes stories to make them sellable. We all do that a certain extent, even when we don’t want to.

That’s just the way memory works, unless you’re under hypnosis or something, or the whole thing was filmed, the conversation taped, and even then there’ll be debate. It makes narrative nonfiction part fiction no matter how you slice it, why I imagine the genre autofiction has come about in the first place: just to admit at the get go you’re not letting the facts get in the way of the story, to quote partly Farley Mowat, author of The Dog Who Wouldn’t be and Never Cry Wolf. You might wonder if he’s not doing that with his attitude to the truth. Getting the facts as accurate as possible gives the story more reality, and that’s what I’m doing, showing you, as best I can, as much of reality as I can. If you haven’t seen sides of it I’m going to show, then I’m doing my job. My muse however, which gives the inner perspective on the happenings of the outer world, has been insistent on adding the following: “I don’t think facts life earth.” Since it’s basically also the inner that remembers events, it seems the deck’s stacked against a 100% factual narrative of any event in the whole history of us.

It’s all so normal, so everyday, but, when you look at it, it’s out of this world. I’m talking about the fact that we are only here for some seconds before here becomes a there you cannot go to again save by a faulty, elusive memory. It’s a little scary too. Did that really happen, I mean, anything that we’ve experienced? Past experience has a will-o-wisp feel about it, can make you doubt the reality of reality itself. When you top that off with the fact that you only hear your inner life and not that of anyone else’s, as if you’re the only real one around, even though you know you aren’t, know with the same sense you know you’re real, you get the strangest world, impossible to capture with so many words.

Now let’s just get down to business. What’s at the bottom of racism and bigotry? I explore that, with an eye on how to heal it, but I’m not looking at it through the usual lens, the Black and White card of racism, although I do look through that lens quite often in this book, as a way to see more clearly the main focus here, which is something that is not officially allowed to even be named, much less examined, without you yourself being charged with racism. It’s a no name situation. This book exams the bigotry I experienced being a non-Jew in Israel, not only by religious Jews but also by Jewish American university students and graduates, and it was so ‘don’t sit at the table with us’ it felt like the lines weren’t being drawn on religious lines but on racial ones, like there was a fundamental difference between us in our very humanity, and I was the inferior type among them. Many Jews will tell me I’m being anti-Semantic just by saying this, but I’ll tell you what I felt: I was the Black American trying to be seen not as nigger but as a human being. You know, maybe it’s here, in this unwieldy, unmentionable thing, the bigotry of Jewish people, not all Jews by any means, but enough it was the main course on the table, humble pie, when I was a gentile in the land of Israel, and I seriously doubt I’m the only person that’s ever experienced this, that we just might find the heart itself of Western racism, and in so doing, have an eye yet to heal the world’s.

Yet this book isn’t about racism, and it doesn’t put Jews low on the rank card in terms of being human (if you’re not Jewish you might be offended where I do place them on the totem pole). Racism’s the tool I use, the jumping off place, in order to get at world origin and human meaning. Can you think of a better one? And if those two inscrutable, cabalistic things aren’t enough, I will take this book all the way to spiritual enlightenment and beyond, all the way to God, mentioning even devils in-between, and I’ll do that with my very hands and feet, not just my mind and mouth, and, believe me, you’ve never read anything like it in your life.

You’re sitting right there a you. The complexities of the relationship between us preclude any real knowledge of me, I mean that you taste me as substantial as you taste yourself, and, like me, you taste yourself bigger than you appear, much bigger of course than me at this moment. That’s just human nature. But read this book, and another person will become real to you in taste, become a taste of your very self. That person is this author. You game?

Because curd rice
is a healthy alternative to chicken.
Center for where things go alone.
Are you anti-Semitic?
I think you see the healthy alternative:
examine racism in all its forms.
That's the hero of the day.
We get rid of racism that way.
Now let's go.

You’ve added onto barley.
This smells the world.
Tell me about it,
a feature of muse.
Come on let’s go ride the mountain,
a lonely seer’s voice in time,
the exclamation of the book.
I’m modal thinking.
I’m reachin’ for everything
that will knock your socks off.
You’ve got the book.

Chapter 1
Where White Puts Supremacy Last

Title of tomorrow’s post
I’ll be publishing this book serially, daily, or thereabouts,
unless circumstances don’t allow that.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] The writing of this book resulted from the efforts I made over a period of months to get Ari Mahler to speak to me after he accepted my friend request on Facebook. He never did, although finally a personal friend of his did and told me basically to be quiet, that he was a public figure and to leave him alone, and I did but began this book, which has been some three years in the writing, put down, picked up again, and now picked up to finish and significantly edit all I wrote before. Ari wrote the famous Facebook post: “I am The Jewish Nurse. Yes, that Jewish Nurse. The same one that…

3 thoughts on “Between Jerusalem I’m Sorry, Introduction

  1. Pingback: Listen to My Dog – Harm's End

  2. Pingback: Father Brochure Does Bhavana a Taste of Heaven – Harm's End

  3. Pingback: A Verb of Words – Harm's End

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