Thursday, November 4, 2010

say cheese

Rich old ladies in America
like to fold and unfold a big smile
they learned from musicals with Ginger Rogers
when they were young and fresh.
Now their imitation smile,

challenged by repeated facelifts,
looks like aged cured cheese

in a discount emporium;
but they can’t help it.

Needless to say they even think

they are the big cheese.

That’s why these ladies

don’t make wonderful grandmothers.

And when rich old ladies in America
visit family for Thanksgiving Day,

they could irritate all turkeys in the nation

with their ostentatious display

of Tiffany adornments,

if the big birds were not already

stuffed and roasted.

As to sneak away another fifteen years

from savings, pension funds,

and Parcae,

rich old ladies in America

move Southeast Sunshine Florida

in their seventies.

You can spot them dozing off on a veranda

in Palm Beach,

completely unaware

of a sheepish smile

they wear; possibly they have this reverie
of being Eves in Eden,

when a sweet cool breeze
sweeps off the mystic leaf,
and Adam’s eyes read sin.

You wouldn’t miss this smile:
it is as charming as Mona Lisa’s.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

First published poem in the USA

My first published poem in Tiferet journal, Vademecum -a survival kit.

Click on the link and read under: words of the day.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

American Breakfast with Cereals

I hold the word “elegant” between my fingers

trying to match it with a familiar thing.

While dipping a spoonful of cornflakes

in skim milk,

I think: milk would be fine;

yet between its whiteness and my palate

- the spoon , like a shovel,

like a tool of farm workers,

a scene

almost mythical

from old Columbia Pictures,

except for the morning prayer.

Too bad!

My fingers would look so elegant

resting the pointed pyramid

of two grateful hands

against my forehead.

© Elena Malec, California 1997

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I would hold my eyes between my teeth

like a killer his knife

while he is tying up his victim.

In this way I can walk

almost safe

among the fittest;

and no one would know

I am but a Schöne Seele,

and no one would tell me:

watch out.

Who would bother with a cubist


©Elena Malec, California 1997

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Sand was running from their mouths,

but we thought it was Salt,

and our food would taste better.

Soon the earth was covered with dunes

of Sand and Sacrifice- Still life

of military genius Set free;

the children of the few who Sat

by the rivers of Babylon and wept for their city,

the even fewer infants Spared

from Herod’s Sword

only to grow up witnessing the burning

of the Sacred Scrolls at Alexandria -

the earliest Holocaust of knowledge –

and thousands of Hansels-and-Gretels in Europe

never to be rescued from the Ogre’s furnaces

are now potash

on the Shores of the Dead Sea.

(We all know this, said a preschooler,

tell us who killed the sea.)

©Elena Malec, California  1997

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Der Krieg ernahrt den Krieg.

Fr.Schiller, Piccolomini

Brief declarations
of three ministers of war
facing a crisis,
Mein Kampf,
and only one nuclear formula;
each of them –
weighing a few tones –
was opening
horrendous black holes.

How time is realtive!

Gravity slows down,
and all together
now barely can weigh
one pound of paper waste –

(An efficiency-oriented Homo sapiens sapiens

ponders on recycling this paper waste.)

how time is cyclic!

©Elena Malec, Bucharest 1982-California 1996

Monday, June 7, 2010


When turtledoves yield their turtlenecks

in order to wing a peace accord,
the sacrificial birds have been inspected

by haruspices at dawn.

The choice meatmarkets will sell fresh giblets

at a premium.

©Elena Malec, California 1998

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Those seated on the floor of this cavern,
cross-legged like Indians,
watching a blockbuster video on the wall,
can only see the imitation of the perfect idea
of Liberty,
the shadow of the Statue – an image;
hanging over their shoulder is the light,
but they cannot turn towards it.
Still those who travel to these shores from afar

may have a glimpse of it
in New York Harbor –
majestic, dazzling, lightening the world

(like a trick of gods – the Form,
yet hollow – a trojan horse,
tabernacle of so many perfect ideas,
most feared cortege of silhouettes
that at night sneak out and rape

lady Liberty in the dark.)

I believe, there are also those with a passion
for the Δ, those who dedicate the night
to contemplating the brightest thing of all,
the Supreme Idea of Goodness.

(Apparently, they are to be found

mostly in catacombs.)

©Elena Malec, California 1997

Saturday, June 5, 2010


One morning,

when I opened the window

the sun spilled on my Persian rug

like a huge cup of Turkish coffee,

bittersweet hot;

yet, retaining all burned grounds

for itself.

Had I been a Gypsy fortuneteller,

I could have read the signs in every spot I saw,

or I'd have called the news reporters

and, why not, I could have started

a healing business;

but I lack the marketing vocation.

Had I had children of my own,

I would have placed the rug in their room

to watch delighted how they crawl

and tumble and sit down on it

with picture books,

smeared top to toe by the caressing light;

but I have not been blessed with children.

What I did

was to slide the window,

and draw the curtains shut -

dazzle to my sight

there was this arabesque

sanguineous spill

in the velours grenat;

I kneeled on it and closed my eyes;

one after another,


came back to me in wreaths,

like the bluish smoke from a nargileh,

like the aroma of dark roast Arabica,

like the sweet fragrance of blooming

orange groves,

and I heard the lament of lutes

and wailing muwassahas

composed by Yehuda Halevi

in times of peace and splendor

of Andalus.

"Open your eyes and watch me acting as your voice"

urged our Representative in Congress.

I did try for a while,

then I knew

I couldn't open wide my eyes again,

because my sight was sore,

very, very tired and old,

maybe as old as Sepharad;


I left my specs either in Baghdad,

or in the Patio de los Leones,

and nobody, not even I could tell

the entrance or the exit of my hell -

this beautiful enchanted Alcazar

in which I will be groping

to my eternity.

©Elena Malec, California ,1997

Friday, June 4, 2010

Adam's Nudity

an essay on Edenic Happiness

Eden is often, if not always, associated with happiness. Adam is the first man (or the last) who experiences happiness, living in harmony with his environment, and enjoying in his human solitude this intimation with Nature.

The question one might ask is whether Adam is really happy in Eden, happy in his nudity. By nudity, here, I understand privation: Adam’s nudity is, in my opinion, a state of privation.

In Eden, Adam is not allowed to enjoy either life or knowledge; thus being deprived of the human dimension.

Adam becomes human only after Eva makes him eat the apple.

Therefore happiness as an idea or a state of mind – a concept debated over millenia by all philosophies –

appears as a questionable statement in relation to Adam(and Eve) in the Garden of Eden.

Because happiness as a complex feeling is not a natural state, but a human (read manmade) abstract notion.

Happiness comes both with life and knowledge.

Since the moment when Adam is banished from Eden,

doomed to temporality, to mortality, this duality life/knowledge has been split in him.

And Lord Byron tells us in “Cain”:

The snake spoke truth; it was the Tree of Knowledge;

It was the Tree of Life: knowledge is good,

And Life is good; and how can both be evil?

(Lord Byron,"Cain",act I,scene I)

This may appear as a riddle to any reader.

Indeed, in its answer lies the secret of happiness: never can humankind be happy with half-truth.

The key to happiness is a balance between body and soul, life and knowledge, work and pleasure, reality and illusion. Whenever the whole is split there is not only inhumanity, but insanity and infelicity as well.

And the humankind exists from the moment when Adam is expelled from Eden.

By living and striving to learn how to live, man finds a meaning of his condition.

After the Fall, Adam starts re-creating himself as a human being.

A fallen man, Adam, is a creature of God deprived of full enjoyment of Eden: life and knowledge.

Indeed, man appears in the world in its complete nudity. The newborn, this miracle of our planet, comes in its nudity before life and knowledge.

And neither clothes nor any other human being can protect it better than God alone, that is eternity and wisdom - peace.

© Elena Malec, Bucharest, March 4th, 1992. All rights reserved.

Writing in English

I enjoy writing and thinking in English even if this is not my mother tongue.I started the study of this language at 15-my highschool years - and for about 10 years I studied from books, literature, magazines, no contact with the spoken language.
Living in America gave a new dimension to my usage of this language.
For about two or three years I wrote about America, the way I understood it from my direct contact with American life.
This blog is a place for my thoughts of the '90 and some of my poems written during that period.