Photo by Beth Burrell

by Atar Hadari

Robin Williams and Orson

My friend called me on my birthday:
“At least we’ll live longer than Robin Williams.”
Then his voice dropped,
“Whenever my life took a turn of events
my own stupid fault or things entirely beyond my remit,
There was always, at the lowest point,
Even if you can’t see beyond,
There’s always a decent meal, a quiet shag,
an early morning walk in the country,
Anything can be reason enough to carry on.”

“Sixty three,” he answered when I asked
And then I remembered
Robin Williams in “Mork and Mindy”,
At the end of each episode looking out
and speaking to the alien who’d sent him
About the meaning of life on earth:
“You see Orson, it’s like this…”
and maybe one time he looked out
but Orson was no longer listening.


The Neighbors

The neighbors go out for their walk
on the low road nearing the meadow

they had four children at last count
they must have left them with someone.

He has long black hair blown in wind.
(She’s shaggy. They’re both shaggy.)

She stops to pick from the dill weeds.
He stops and looks, then walks ahead.

I am moved always by neighbors
the mirrors life makes of your stays,

when the neighbors go walking in peace
I think – there now, that could be us.

And we go on wending our ways
across the parting walls in the darkness

but sometimes who you come across
when you glance up, can stop you falling apart.

No one will stop your hand
reaching for the safety razor

but sometimes, when the wind is kind
you can see yourself crossing another border

See the wind letting your hand
stay up, the sail stay white as sand.


The Lost Crown

Philip Seymour Hoffman deceased, 46.
The parts he could have played still.
At 47 given his Macbeth.
At 50 his Lear. A first Lear.
A second could have come at – when?
Sixty, seventy, a hundred and ten?
Olivier played his virtually in an iron lung
This puppy sticks a needle in his arm
Not half way even to the Queen’s telegram?
The star parts. Small parts.
Double acts he could have played with Dustin.
Or Meryl or the Milky Way
He was a galaxy himself, the has-been.
Don’t even talk about his several sons.
Don’t speak of wives. Let’s not talk contracts.
Let’s sit upon the ground and talk of crowns
And how Philip Seymour Hoffman lost one.
And when the morning star rises tomorrow over Tinsel town
It will have only to rise so far
Because below it, masked, will be Philip’s blood
More precious than any of that glitter
They pour hard over the hands of a star.