Money by Tali Cohen Shabtai

Tali Cohen Shabtai was born in Jerusalem, Israel, and is an international poet of high esteem with works translated into many languages. She is the author of three bilingual volumes of poetry, “Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick”(2007), “Protest” (2012) and “Nine Years From You”(2018). A fourth volume is forthcoming in 2021.  She has lived many years in Oslo, Norway, and in the U.S.A.


I unfortunately know many people who

acquire an education to stabilize their

money status

without deviations from the framework in a static state, most

of their disciplines

are boring enough to me

and they belong to the business class on the second floor

of bank branch 690 on Jerusalem’s King George Street

I also know a few hired juniors

whose tenure at work is

shrouded in mist,

they use flattery

to a boss who has been granted

idol status

because of them.

They work full-time

with a minimum hourly wage

and accrue interest in arrears with a family

of many relatives

even though in Judaism there is a halachic ban on interest

of biblical origin.

I also know people who only earn


without awakening in the morning to work

one day with a bill and one without a bill they scrape

a piece of fresh bread

in a half penny with a yogurt additive

on the side.

And then there are the homeless people on Jaffa Avenue to Agripas Street

and back

they are exposed to the climate and humans

in an extreme fashion

– and they are my best friends.

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