Caesura Vol. IV: Crisis

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Caesura Vol. IV

Caesura Vol. 4: Crisis Published June 2021 Tel Aviv University The Department of English and American Studies Edited by Sharin Shlomit Berman, Maha Loulou, and Maya Hollander www.caesuratau.com

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EDITOR’S NOTE When we chose the theme “Crisis” at the beginning of this year, we presumed it would be fitting, but we did not expect it to become so prophetic. In this light, we would like to thank every writer who submitted to Caesura this year and shared their personal crisis with us. It has been an absolute honor to read them all. Despite the difficulties presented by the past year, we are incredibly proud not only to present a complete issue, but also that Caesura has managed to grow. We received a significant number of international submissions, some of which are featured in Volume IV. We could not be prouder of the incredible range of works in this issue, and it is our most sincere hope that you enjoy Volume IV as we emerge from this state of crisis. Caesura would like to thank Dr. Dara Barnat, Dr. Roi Tartakovsky, and Meital Galili for their help organizing this issue, and Dr. Nir Evron and the English and American Studies Department at Tel Aviv University for sponsoring this project. Most importantly, we’d like to thank everyone who submitted their work to Caesura. It would not exist without you.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS Innocence Found / Or Mor-Yosef ............................................................... 5 Thesis / Tal Rozy ......................................................................................... 6 Approved Courses for a Minor in Workplace Stress Management / J.V. Sumpter ....................................................................................................... 8 An Apocalypse of Zombie Malls / J.V. Sumpter ........................................ 11 Dog Fight / Madeleine Chill ...................................................................... 13 holler / Zoe Cunniffe ................................................................................. 14 Clench / Hanna Henderson ...................................................................... 16 04-6566813 / Haya Onallah ...................................................................... 17 Existential Crisis: “Version: P.48.6” / Malak Hayajni ............................... 18 Plato’s Cave Town / Mariana Akkawi ....................................................... 21 Mercy / Leon Sverdlov .............................................................................. 22

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Crisis / Noga Bentora ................................................................................ 23 Don't ask; don't tell / Elai Shalev ................................................................ 24 Short Poem / Elai Shalev ........................................................................... 25 Time Fades / Karina S. Linetsky, translated by Or Mor-Yosef ................. 26 Withdrawals / Aicha Yassin ....................................................................... 27

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Innocence Found Or Mor-Yosef

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Thesis Tal Rozy In 5.4 billion years, the sun will deplete of its hydrogen.[1] Our G2V star will expand into a red giant, enveloping Mercury, Venus, and Earth.[2] Terrestrial planets will be endangered in our solar system. The new, red sun will finally heat up Neptune.[3] Ultimately, the sun’s time as a red giant will end. It will collapse into a white dwarf and leave behind a planetary nebula.[4] The solar system will be old, the remaining planets’ orbits will be different, and our old home will appear alien to us, interlopers to the inevitable future. ____________________________ [1] The Sun, (4.6 billion BCE), Memoires of the Burning Mother, Stars and Sons Co. Hello, child. Mother does not mean to hurt you. It is simply the will of the cosmos dragging my final lashes of solar flares across your bare backs. You did not deserve this. You cannot stop me. [2] Terrestrial Children, (4.5 billion BCE), “HG56332-JL.WAV,” The Silent Listeners, www.thesilentlisteners.net. Of fire we formed and of fire we perish. [3] Ocean Giant, (1981), the “I am cold” signal, Soviet space program. (Translated from Morse code: “I am cold, Mother. I have been cold since you left. When shall you return, Mother? I am lonely among my dying moons, circling me like gnats. We are cold, Mother. When shall you return?” Original: .. / .- -- / -.-. --- .-.. -.. --..-- / -- --- - .... . .-. .-.-.- / .. / .... .- ...- . / ... . . -. / -.-. --- .-.. -.. / ... .. -. -.-. . / -.-- --- ..- / .-.. . ..-. - .-.-.- / .-- .... . -. / ...

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.... .- .-.. .-.. / -.-- --- ..- / .-. . - ..- .-. -. --..-- / -- --- - .... . .-. ..--.. / .. / .- -- / ... --- -. . .-.. -.-- / .- -- --- -. --. / -- -.-- / -.. -.-- .. -. --. / -- --- --- -. ... --..-- / -.-. .. .-. -.-. .-.. .. -. --. / -- . / .-.. .. -.- . / --. -. .- - ... .-.-.- / .-- . / .- .-. . / -.-. --- ... -.. --..-- / -- --- - .... . .-. .-.-.- / .-- .... . -. / ... .... .- .-.. .-.. / -.-- --- ..- / .-. . ..- .-. -. ..--.. ) [4] Angel of Yahweh (10 billion AD), ҉ , black spots left on your retinas when you stare into the sun for too long, Your Brain and Synapsis Organization. Do not be afraid. Left amongst the ruins of a crystal civilization, with seven wings and seven eyes and seven mouths of sharp teeth, my presence is inevitable. I am forever. I am the constant you cannot escape, the one everstaining the edges of your vision and shifting through your formulas like an escaped thought. Your thesis lies bare on the desk of your advisor, naked and vulnerable. It is incomplete. You ask for more time. You have been asking for extensions for years. You chase the high of an imaginary youth, pretending this will not, cannot end. You cannot leave. This is your home. You know of nothing else. Your request is rejected; you have two months to finish your thesis, two weeks to pay your rent, five years to buy a house, a decade to get married, twelve years to have children, thirty years to watch them graduate, forty years to pay off your mortgage, fifty years to retire, sixtyfive years to die, and ten billion years to say goodbye.

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Approved Courses for a Minor in Workplace Stress Management J.V. Sumpter 18 credits from the following and/or substitutions approved by Dr. Eric Hasanaxe. NEUR 299L Stress and the Endocrine System (4 credits) This course will focus on the anatomy and biochemistry of the mammalian stress response, with special attention to the adrenal glands, hypothalamus, pituitary glands, adrenaline, and cortisol. Students will learn how a major stressor—such as divorce, a loved one’s death, or Jason from corporate instituting mandatory community bonding exercises every week and repealing casual Fridays because his skinny ass doesn’t as look good in jeans as the whole assembly department—completely precludes normal functioning and necessitates the transgression of social and professional norms. Three hours lecture, two hours lab. Fall. Prerequisite(s): NEUR 100 Intro to Neuroscience. PSYC 312 Yoga, Meditation, and Other Bullshit StressManagement Advice (3 credits) Examines historical and current trends of fad stress-management advice. Encourages critical thinking and the application of swift, no-holds-barred snark, such as “Meditate on my ass!” when the adoption of one of these useless activities is proffered. Fads examined include: deep breathing, exercise

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routines, dietary changes, the reduction of bath salt consumption, and not punching Susan from Accounting. Spring. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 212 The Psychology of Deception; PSYC 100 Intro to Psychology. HIST 415 The Roman Colosseum and Other Institutions We Need to Bring Back (3 credits) Posits how great society would be if we could only send coworkers who perform unconscionable acts of workplace aggression to a labyrinthine amphitheater and watch them fight to the death. Offenses that warrant such punishment include: bringing tuna for lunch and stinking up the break room, wearing migraine-inducing amounts of perfume, and rejecting my sexual advances despite being a known whore named Susan. Requires the completion of a major research paper explaining why a modern colosseum is a good idea and should be instituted immediately. Spring. Prerequisite(s): COMM 100 Intro to Academic Writing. PHIL 235 The Philosophy of Suffering (3 credits) Why do bad things happen to good people? This class explores how people in religious traditions have thought about and lived in relation to evil and the experience of suffering. Students will debate whether people can (and should) respond differently to suffering caused by external forces, such as childhood abuse, hate crimes, diseases, natural disasters, and the tortured ecstasies of unrequited love, and suffering caused by oneself, such as IT requiring twofactor authentication on all workplace devices after one successfully accessed a coworker’s computer to find out if she had any secret fetishes or hobbies so one could impress her by spontaneously expressing interest in said fetishes or

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hobbies during the next Lunch-And-Learn, and HR moving one’s office to the North building, away from Susan. Spring, fall. Prerequisite(s): Having suffered. PSYCH 335 The Psychology of Apologies and Reconciliation (3 credits) A comprehensive study on the induction of empathy. Analyzes effective manipulation strategies from political and advertisement campaigns. Compares the effectiveness of various apology techniques. Final projects will be an appeal to HR to give me my office and my Susan back. Spring, fall. Prerequisite(s): PSYC 212 The Psychology of Deception; PSYC 100 Intro to Psychology. REL 401 Every Time the Abrahamic God Smote Someone in the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Traditions, and Why It Was Justified (3 credits) A passionate defense of the execution of righteous anger. Fall. Prerequisite(s): Susan, I Don’t Care How Many Ridiculous Excuses I Have to Make to Go to the South Building, I Will See You Every Day, and I Will Get You Eventually LAW 201 Second Amendment Rights and Axe-Based Violence Laws (3 credits) BET YOU WON’T LOOK SO BEAUTIFUL WILL A SPLIT SKULL NOW WILL YOU SUSAN?!?!!! Fall. Prerequisite(s): None.

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An Apocalypse of Zombie Malls J.V. Sumpter In your city’s dead (or dying) mall, the carousel horses have come unmoored. They go bobbing past the Food Court, chased by broken music. When they find the mannequin children, their madness will, for a time, abate. Of course, human likenesses won’t spit on you, or kick you, or perform any of the annoyances necessary for love. It is recommended you leave your city before the carousel horses find this out, run out of substitutes for real human touch. Let’s all blame Jeff Bezos. It’s easier that way. Meanwhile, the massage chairs

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are standing up from the floor gingerly. Once up, they will try, like retiring sex workers, for other jobs. They too will fail and come for us with an army of cinema seats, which, though gross from their misuse, don’t want to obsolesce. We are obsolescing. We just don’t stress about it. Like Calhoun’s beautiful ones we have forgotten how to breed, and the record of our misdeeds will be on the internet forever.

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Dog Fight Madeleine Chill A dog fight in a palm-treed park: one white as the border of the sky, the other sick, red, but equally brave. Behold the good of the soil for the grave; the onlookers shriek, or don't. Last night in the park, they say they hunted the world they’d lost. And the streets, how they faded! when the flame went out of the sun. Away they went on the numb dim lawn, looking back every dark and then to see something like the gleam of a face stretched past beauty, and the silent moon.

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holler Zoe Cunniffe there is this twinge behind your eyelids, raw and rubbery, a barbed-wire blister. scream, it says. flail like a child on fresh-swept floors, pound your feet on hardwood, spread your teeth and spit it out. here, you could have it— the slick taste of tears melted on your tongue, the gulp of salt down into your sore stomach, the vibration of a howl on your lips. it could be so simple: this red-hot burning in your chest turned tangible, turned to curled fists and scorch marks and paper cuts. it’s a daily routine: you, clenching your jaw against its whisper, chewing the inside of your blood-bitten cheek, scarlet stains on gloss-white teeth. you with folded hands and straight-backed shoulders, you marching without momentum. bleach-white carpet, ` palms stinging with disinfectant. ` you scrape yourself clean and lie open-mouthed, ceiling swirling with pins and needles. this deadness like a fist punched down your throat. i’ll tiptoe in when you scream, it says. kneel over you, head in my hands,

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a palm to your forehead. both of us soaked in your fever. holy morning light and the hot burst of red across your cheeks, this tornado temper, the shriek that rattles from your throat. all of it, dissolving. i’ll wrap my arms around you until you can’t recognize your own blood-banging heartbeat. tell me, i’ll say. tell me about the field behind your school, how they told you how many laps to run, how you sprinted until you were wheezing, ankles coated in turf. tell me what they confiscated in class, how they never returned it, never stitched you back together. tell me how you walked home with a wound split across your entire stomach. how the days bled together, until all you could do was stand in the position they taught you, foam between your teeth. there’s this sickness across the roof of your mouth, and when you blink, you will find yourself alone with your own hollering. i was never here, never real, only a figment of your lingering hope, the bottomless blind faith you claw at in the middle of your night terrors.

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Clench Hanna Henderson A golden shovel poem Penny thin skin hollowed out, hugging the acute angles of a skull the color of urn ash. Don’t catch me. I fall only to rise. Rigor mortis plays with corpse-cold fingers, my legs trembling branches beneath me. Red webs my eyes, spun by black widow pupils, hair tendrils of loose silk filling blurry vision. And I fall down. I don’t want to eat. Bread that’s life for ordinary men plasters my throat until I feel like I’ll never get enough air.

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04-6566813 Haya Onallah She recalled dialing the number— how that same hand shivered under scalding, nonconsensual rays; how that same hand sweated while carrying a casualty’s bottle of pepper spray; how that same hand morphed into an assaulted body before it had even bled.

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Existential Crisis: “Version: P.48.6” Malak Hayajni At this moment, I imagine myself on a podium, hosting the Academy Awards ceremony. However, this time the awards are not for the best movie, nor the best actor, but for the best real-life story. Our theme for this evening is: Crisis. And our most favourable genre is without a shadow of doubt, an existential crisis. What can be more compelling than a real-life story of an infinite loop of ambiguity? Is that a vague question? Well, it should be, hence we are talking about the genre winner of tonight. Ladies and gentlemen, our winner will surpass your expectations and will go beyond your prejudiced idea of crisis. Please do not take it too personally, not many people are aware of it! Maybe that’s the charm. And the award for best real-life story goes to: Crisis P.48.6. Please rise to deliver your speech. She reaches the podium, and stands tall to deliver her acceptance speech (beware, it’s a long speech): “I am someone who knows where we are from, why we are here, what is life and the afterlife, and their purpose. I don’t need all of that. I am certain that God created me, I know that God is there, I know that life is a short test, and I know that there is an Armageddon after death. Yet, that’s not my crisis. I am simpler than all of you claiming to have an ‘existential crisis’. You

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demand an explanation as to why, how and what are you living for. What spoiled souls you have! I demand to live. Yes! Only to live. My crisis is that I am physically alive, my body functions and my heart beats but my soul is dead. I don’t know who I am or what is it to be me. Anyway, thank you for the prize. Farewell.” As our winner, Crisis, finishes her acceptance speech and walks away, I call her back. “We appreciate your passion, but nobody really understood what your crisis is. Please speak in simpler words.” Thankfully she restarts the receiving speech, and I quote: (bear with me, this is an even longer quote): “Hello again! My simple name is Palestine. To be more precise, I am the identity of a Palestinian person. I have so many appearances and manifestations but I have no face. A Palestinian person is not really sure what is it like to be a Palestinian anymore. ‘We’ Palestinians share the same music, dances, words, food, and culture. Yet we live completely different lives, with a completely different definition of the word ‘safety’. We have so many recipes for a Palestinian human. A Palestinian who lives in the 48 areas is called domestically just an ‘Arab’, outside the border sometimes a Palestinian and sometimes ‘the48Arabian’. This type of Palestinian is disoriented between a government and day to day life, and between ‘lost-belonging’, and ‘loyalty’. The other type is a Palestinian who lives in the West Bank, under the ‘authority’. This person is under harsh conditions and an international overlooking that caused him to think that he is not what he wants to be.

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A person from Jerusalem has his body inside a blue border, yet his existence is green, while in reality no one really cares to agree on its colour. A person from Gaza is also a Palestinian, why did I needed to remind you of that? Because the Gaza Palestinian has been dislocated from the world, so that sometimes you think he’s an entity of his own. What else? Oh yes, Palestinians who live in a diaspora, and that is ‘categorized’ into two categories, an Arabian diaspora and a foreigner diaspora. Kudos to those who live with their Arabian brothers sharing fewer rights and living a revolution within a revolution. And kudos to those who live so far away that they wish they could just say their names without an accent. To sum it up to your ‘simpler minds’, we lost the meaning of living in a motherland, our uncertainty has broken the geographic barrier, who am I? Not so sure. What makes me a Palestinian? Not so sure. Will I have an anthem to sing, or a flag to wave, or a participation in the football world cup? Not so sure. What’s next? Not so sure either. As crisis: P.48.6 leaves the stage, crisis A.L.22 approaches and shares a hug. Many people assumed that this is the mother of Palestine, fingers are pointed, gossip is whispered about the family reunion, only a few little abandoned crowds from the back know that Palestine was the real mother. She has always been the mother of all crises.

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Plato’s Cave Town Mariana Akkawi I recall when She told me it holds more secrets than Plato’s cave. Whether I believed her or not was not as important as the fact That rumors had been circling around. Were they not there for a reason? When I walked the streets I saw pretty girls In this town, They stretched their skirts down in exchange for respect. But the boys in this town, They only saved it for their mothers and sisters. She told me to leave this cave of a town, In this town were only illusions of love and respect, But outside lay their true forms, An access to the genuine. And yet, Today, with a lingering thought: Do we not hear the same rumors? Everywhere we dare tread, Women in chains from the very moment they were born. Is not every corner of the world, Full of illusions?

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Mercy Leon Sverdlov For Mercy shall they numbly plead, restrained, As lie they on the Devil's sacred Shrine; A cross, inverse, upon their build engraved— Like that engraved across their victims' minds. Alas, is retribution for the weak, Whose reckoning with Thee is fairly priced; Their penance—void, their muffled anguish—bleak; The horror—still resounding in their eyes? O hail Thee, keeper of the wretched youth, The refuse God denied upon his brink; Almighty, who allowed their hearts to sink; All-knowing— May he face his shameful truth.

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Crisis Noga Bentora I have lost all my gods in the fall From their shrine. They had fallen Beneath the furniture And I cannot reach. All my gods have been lost And I have been left Godless.

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Don't ask; don't tell Elai Shalev The Lemon bars were not impressive, but the wine was good. I'd like to meet Your parents, but of course, it's understood. Adonis haunts me through His arms, my dress is trimmed and proper. Whenever I inquire, though, His face turns red as copper. Detectives' work is never done, I tear the open scab. He spoke with such a baritone, while ordering my cab.

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Short Poem Elai Shalev You breathe short breaths you paint short strokes you brush short hair you wear short shorts you cry short cries you tell short lies you leave me here alone to write.

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Time Fades Karina S. Linetsky / translated by Or Mor-Yosef Time fades Into fissures of reveries in space It is neither eager nor scared, Only striding along the trail of schism It is no longer simple To pass a scribble Time skips Between parallel rails Strewn with strains of neediness Time tirelessly Arranges misgivings on shelves, Breaks the whiteness of the page, Only to be swallowed by the silence of seeping trains And the clipping of wings of airplanes anticipating miracles in vain Time forbreaks the wait only to be forsaken, Time is forlorn and desperate but ready to reawaken.

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Withdrawals Aicha Yassin ten days Now, I notice that it’s been this long Since I last folded my arms around another’s. Holding them tight, absorbing their radiating heat like a black hole that dilates into time, storing the memories for many times to come. At the beginning, I think it is not a big deal Because i’m a big girl now, Then I realize this is the longest period of my life to be in this world, without hugs. fourteen days Distance and a pandemic got me short on oxytocinA hormone that my body secretes when it is loved. I seek the orchids, sword fern on my window pane As they scavenge for feeble warmth of the European sun. Timid, I soak in the sun’s defendant rays And jot down notes and recipes On how to survive the absence of embraces.

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sixteen days A hug is deconstructed. It’s about the pressing of two souls and bodies; It’s about the heat emanating from proximity, Penetrating fleece sweaters or polyester t-shirts To touch the epidermis, spreading bundles of joy. It’s the smell and the touch against the neck. A hug is all of these things combined; The power of which emerges only when they come together. This is why hugging the pillow doesn’t help; Smelling his scarf doesn’t help; It’s only all of these thing together Lending significance to each other. eighteen days I study it. Put an embrace under a microscope; Break it to pieces, each syllable of its own, In foreign tongues, I delineate the silhouettes of hope: Abrazar. Hug. I’naq’, h’ibuk, Encircle, surround, protect, and sipuk. I invent a whole branch of medicine: Embraciologythe study of the physical touch and its effect on the spirit. The physiology of an embrace: body, soul and mind.

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twenty five days My roommate hugged me when she went back home for the weekend. And yet I’m still counting the days of absence. Because an embrace with a person I met for 24 days Is not a hug. Conclusion: a hug is proportional to the depth of a relationship And its depth is dug not with a spade but with A word, a feeling and a touch. fifty two days The curious powers of adaptation slowly Help me stop counting; stop feeling the deprivation of the hugs that I love, Accept the reality and its hardships. Yet, I know. When the time comes; When the epidemic fades away And I am back to the familiar almond trees on the Galilean hills I will not stop Hugging, caressing, embracing, and pressing what my soul is missing.

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