8 Poems from Tali Cohen Shabtai

Poetry, Tali Cohen Shabtai


When I don’t have cigarettes,

it determines my

Sabbath fate.


it all begins with a cigarette on


with an exhale just

before sunset

until the inhalation

the next day when the stars


with the blessing “That distinguishes between sacred and profane”

This is the most important day

to consume cigarettes, because the day when

God rested

from all his work is not an idea.

That every business is closed

in Jerusalem, even if they made

enough from tobacco

consumption during the week.

Really, there’s a woman for whom the cigarette is

her language

and the way she counts

in cigarette butts

corrects her phobia

with numbers.

I need a cigarette that does not exceed 10 centimeters and is no more than 7 millimeters in diameter

The effect of the nicotine substance found in tobacco on the human brain

inspires in me at the same time

the quality of writing on the Sabbath.

It should be seriously considered

that there are withdrawal

symptoms arising from a lack of

nicotine in the brain that is prevented from me

to contain them

when a person does not consume cigarettes

on the Holy Sabbath.

Accordingly, the biblical saying will come here that

“the Sabbath may be broken when life is at stake”

Should I silence any thirst

and adhere with the Creator blessed without

any adherence to an object

for an entire day?

Generally the week enters on the Sabbath.

For me? On Sunday.

Dear poem

I offered congratulations from this morning to tomorrow

even though I was corrected regarding the date of birth.

How do I explain that a person

has no idea when

he will end his life this time around?

I write to my mother my love for her

in the most unexpected moments

of tribute

how will I explain that perhaps it is the penultimate

greeting of a daughter to her mother before the present


the latter and not the resurrected midwife

from the year 80

the umbilical cord between me

and her placenta and not to give birth

to me again? but to kill.

I look at my father and cry for another

twenty years or so

that he will not be here

I was ahead of the artist to “grow and sanctify her great name”

in the Kaddish prayer in the twilight hour in Sacker Park.

I shed a tear.

If you live in consciousness as I wrote

“God does not pass over life from man, as he does not

pass over death.”

You are the most miserable person there is, with such insight

you do not enjoy a single piece of bread and no


You are dead.

A letter to myself

There’s a whole world

waiting for you

around the darker

corner of life

in which

you are adept enough to sort clothes

of the same

ethnic group of

the black cloth

of your life.

If you hadn’t been a little better

than the decorations that would add


so as to decorate the rhetoric

of the black cloth of your life

I promise you that you would


to see

a star fall in the dark! 


You are willing to come

To Jerusalem

Where I kill myself

Every single day –

You can’t live in a place

Where the Transfer is

Conceptually different

For you –

As much as you warned me

About America

Where people don’t realize “

The difference between Poetry

And Song”,

I want to go back to

Europe – where people live

By caricatures

You say you like Jews

You thought I came from

Those countries – where it is forbidden

To uproot

My Ghetto

So I am going to the hospital

What the hospital asks

Is one less lady

Who smiles.

My Doctor

I have

My own “Thousand”

Carring your signture.

I wear them as an amulet–

Much like Umm Kulthum’s scarf amulet

The one she carried at every performance,

With a Thousand seeds of Parisian cocIne in it

I walk with them–

Like the thousand chemicals

In the poison that

Nietzsche carried permanently

In his pocket

But I don’t praise it–

So don’t ever try to train my brains

To be pleased

You know my heroes,

I was happy before I knew them

Before I barely knew

The difference between you and

A passer-by.


I build tactics

While you sleep

On how to admit

To my crime

We make love


Your Carnival

And my War

On a bed where

“The half of the wharf that is bleeding

Is the half where I always


I like your gestures but

I can’t take you

To portray Others

In my language

I can’t live like this

And you can’t either

There is no better


I failed to be


* A person in the process of conversion

A Letter From Israel

I miss you so much

My poet

I miss Oslo.

You come to visit me,

Like a platonic figure


For a woman who lost the


In a city with no drawing,

With a man stuck with a broken foot


To the celebration of the woman that I am

And the women here named the same

Perfume over ten years

While I named (at the same time)

The same pills.

This is my accompaniment

I can not beautify

My life

As you can’t either.

So I’m eating you

A little too much – sometimes with

My ripeness.

With my clouded eyebrows

And a cigarette in

My mouth

You wear the Kippa that I bought you

With Norwegian letters

Spelling your name

There is no better tribute here

My love,

This is


By the force of my doom

By the force of my doom

The outcast

The blood of disgrace

Is in menstruation.

And not upon

(A foreign)foreskin

In humility

And not as

A wife to bear it

In humility

For this

I give

No guarantee.

Tali Cohen Shabtai, is a poet, she was born in Jerusalem, Israel. She began writing poetry at the age of six, she had been an excellent student of literature. She began her writings by publishing her impressions in the school’s newspaper. First of all she published her poetry in a prestigious literary magazine of Israel ‘Moznayim’ when she was fifteen years old. Tali has written three poetry books: “Purple Diluted in a Black’s Thick”, (bilingual 2007), “Protest” (bilingual 2012) and “Nine Years From You” (2018). Tali’s poems expresses spiritual and physical exile. She is studying her exile and freedom paradox, her cosmopolitan vision is very obvious in her writings. She lived some years in Oslo Norway and in the U.S.A. She is very prominent as a poet with a special lyric, “she doesn’t give herself easily, but subject to her own rules”.Tali studied at the “David Yellin College of Education” for a bachelor’s degree. She is a member of the Hebrew Writers Association and the Israeli Writers Association in the state of Israel.I n 2014, Cohen Shabtai also participated in a Norwegian documentary about poets’ lives called “The Last Bohemian”- “Den Siste Bohemien”,and screened in the cinema in Scandinavia. By 2020, her fourth book of poetry will be published which will also be published in Norway. Her literary works have been translated into many languages as well.