Poetry: Mati Shemoelof

Straight fundamentalism

Gays were sent to concentration camps in Chechnya. Some of them were returned to their families, knowing that the shame would prevent them from marrying off the girls of the family. In Chechnya, they say there are no gays.

Don’t take me there, I don’t want to wake up with them
Those that think that our poems are

Words of perversion, bestiality, affliction, embarrassment, deviancy,
A word that must be treated with medications, a ghost that threatens their peaceful nights
No closet, concentration camp nor shame will bury the feeling
That we are different and thusly beautiful, we are different and so we are beautiful

Mati Shemoelof is a poet, author and editor. His writing is diverse and includes six poetry books, plays, articles and fiction. His works have won significant recognition and prizes. He is one of the leading voices of the Arab-Jews (Mizrahi Movement), and a founder of the “Culture Guerrilla” movement in Israel. He is also a founder of “Poetic-Hafla,” a series of multi-language Poetry-Art-Music parties in Berlin. These days, he is writing his second novel as part of the rising Israeli Jewish Diaspora in Berlin. Remnants of the Cursed Book, his latest short story collection was published by Kinneret Zmora (2014). His sixth book of poetry, Hebrew Outside of Its Sweet Insides, was published in 2017 by Pardes Publishers. German editions of his poems will be published by the Berlin publisher AphorismA in 2018.

© Mati Shemoelof 2018