Tel Aviv TV

“quick quick grab your costume
we’ll explain on the way”
Israeli fixers with radios
hustled me into a jeep
“they need someone from your circus
to be interviewed and to perform
so that’s you - COME ON
the plane is already waiting”

the dust flew up we sped along
and skidded to a stop
at the airport
more people with radios
waving us through
we ran through the building
and out on to the runway
the plane looked like the one
at the end of Casablanca

a soldier let me have
his window seat
“I’ve seen it before”
he pointed out the Sea of Galilee
Nazareth, Bethlehem
I held back tears
we saw the golden dome
way over in Jerusalem
I was lost
in astonishment
the plane came to Tel Aviv
and wheeled out over the sea
and back to land
suddenly I was on the pavement
no on there to meet me

I twiddled my thumbs
feeling like a lemon
until a car zoomed up
“Oh God, we’re sorry!
there’s been a mistake
the TV studios are shut today.
How about some shopping?
Your plane back
is this afternoon”

I wandered around
found a nice necklace
and bought it for my girlfriend
I tried to haggle in Hebrew
having learned “one” to “ten”
the guy spit out his toothpick laughing
slapped his thighs
and called his friend out
they said they admired “chutzpah”

back at the airport
I joined the queue
to check in bags and guns
an enormous man in front of me
pulled out this massive cannon
silver
amazing
from a holster under his arm
it sounded like a typewriter
when he clunked it down

my turn came
they opened my suitcase
and pulled out some beanbags
two ping pong balls
some rizla papers
they guy hefted a juggling club
with a look of sheer contempt
it looked like he was thinking
“how could you kill someone
with that?”

back in Eilat at twilight
I was bunged back in a jeep
“quick quick the show is about to start”
again the dust and speeding
this time past a huge crowd
my brain was already overloaded
but it was suddenly time
to step out and go to the mic
“erev tov kahal nichbad”
(good evening honourable audience)
8000 people cheering
really knocks your socks off

the show went ok
apart from some dayglo paint
accidentally poured
on my hand and in my eye
just before I was supposed
to juggle

the excitement of that day
faded all too fast
but that night over beers
I thought it would last
forever

Eilat, Timna Park