Big City, Little
Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv Melody
Lynley Lys

The Mediterranean sea
murmurs its subtle verses
and the clinging sand,
no counter of miles or hours,
sticks to foot sole, rock and water.
This narrow stretch of shore
meanders south to Jaffa.

Inland, cross the street
to the city,
where any alleyway
may lead you
to spring parks blooming,
a nature trail
mere strides from the freeway,
or a tiny synagogue
where voices chant
Sephardic cadences
of lyrics from a time long ago.

There used to be a verb
to walk down this street:
to see and be seen;
to stroll the avenues,
cut a swath across
the metropolis,
pass the trendy boutiques,
wedding gown displays,
the multi-tiered mall,
crepes, juice stalls, pizza,
synchronized leaping water
fountains. The whole
motley collage of scents,
colors, sounds. And now
to Shuk ha-Carmel,
where sellers in stalls
offer books, shirts, eclectica.
Then over to Shenkin,
the hip fashion center.
I walk here only seeing,
being seen.

To Tel Aviv
should be a verb:
to be called to this city,
to hear its voices
to live only
within its gates.

Oh Tel Aviv,
I hear your clear melody.
It reaches me even
here in California.
And it is no mere matter
of clicking ruby heels together:
you fulfill no American Dream.
Your call comes as alarm.
I know your dangers;
they are not few.
Yet at your word
I am ready
to leave behind
all I know
just to 'lidzengoff'
within your walls,

(Lynley Lys is a senior in Comparative Literature at UC-Berkeley. Her work has been published in various magazines, including Road of Shadows, Cal Literary Arts Magazine, Sparks, and The Body Inside. When not studying Russian or Hebrew literature, she can be found walking around Berkeley or traveling in Israel. This is her first contribution to the magazine.)